§ The Order of the Day for resuming the adjourned debate on the vote of want of confidence in her Majesty's Government having been read,
addressed the House. If he were to refer to the speeches delivered last night, he should say, that her Majesty's Ministers must be most peculiarly alive to the truth of an old adage, the exact terms of which he could not at that moment call to mind, but which went to this effect—that it was comparatively easy for a man to defend himself against his enemies, but that he required supernatural aid to guard him against his friends. He considered, of all the speeches that had been delivered upon the important subject which now occupied the attention of the House, that the two speeches, which were more than any other likely to be mischievous to the interests and views of her Majesty's Government, were the two principal speeches which came from their own side of the House last night—the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Northumberland (Lord Howick), and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who closed last night's debate (Mr. Macaulay). If the noble Lord had been in his place, he should have congratulated him most sincerely upon the bold and manly manner in which he avowed the reasons for which he thought it necessary to resign his place in the Government. He should have congratulated the noble Lord upon his avowal, that it was not from any petty or personal motive, or from disappointed 836 ambition, but that he took that step from purely public grounds. He might congratulate hon. Gentlemen opposite on the support of the noble Lord, coupled, as is had been, with a speech which must inevitably injure them most deeply. With regard to the other speech to which he had alluded, and to which he would but briefly refer, he must say that it was a new thing, and, in his opinion, a most ominous thing, for a member of the cabinet to come down to that House, and boldly and openly declare, that he upheld and admired that system of agitation, to which the country owed all the evils it was now labouring under. He thought it was a new thing, and altogether an unprecedented thing, for a cabinet minister to come down to the House, and speak in terms of disparagement of the high and honourable office of a privy councillor; in terms which expressed that that high and honourable office was merely an empty name, and a nominal title of distinction. It appeared to him to be a new and anomalous thing for a cabinet minister to rise in his place in Parliament, ostensibly for the purpose of answering a number of serious charges brought against the administration of which he was a member, by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, and instead of alluding in the most distant manner to any one of those charges, to fly off and talk about the Reformation — about some nondescript animal, half Roundhead, half Cavalier— about the times of Milton and Locke, and fifty other things, which had no more to do with the matter in hand, than if he had talked of the sudden death of King Rufus, or, with his powers of declamation, had entertained the House with a panegyric upon the heroic deeds of King Alfred. It was extraordinary that the right hon. Gentleman should have concluded his speech, which was evidently most carefully digested—though he would not call it a speech, but an elaborate essay—it was extraordinary that the right hon. Gentleman should have concluded it by advising hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House to act, in the present conjuncture, as foreign nations would have done, if they had been placed in a similar situation. But quitting those speeches, he would proceed to the subject before the House. He rejoiced at the opportunity of expressing his cordial support of the motion of his hon. Friend, the Mem- 837 ber for Devonshire. It was a motion which, he was convinced, whatever might be its fate, would meet with the approbation of all thinking classes. He believed he spoke the sentiments of the great constituency that he represented, when he stated, that the present state of the country required a strong government—a government which would unite the suffrages of men of influence and education —a government which would combine the good wishes and energies of both Houses of Parliament—a government composed of men who sought not office, but who were sought by the country to fill office— a government of men, who would rather shun as far as they were concerned, the cares and anxieties of office, and who had shown through the general tenor of their political life, that they were in no hurry to receive office, and by the forbearance of their proceedings, with regard to their opponents, that they had nothing but the welfare of their country at heart—men who, by their talent, influence, and character, were fit to preside in the councils of the Sovereign. The present course of affairs as he had before said, required a strong government, and when he came down to that House, at the commencement of the debate, he confessed that he thought no individual on the other side of the House would have had the hardihood to assert that the present Government was entitled to that designation. He was satisfied that a weaker or a more inefficient government never presided over the destinies of a great nation than the present. It could not be denied that the voluntary principle was the principle upon which the government of the country was carried on; but the time had not as yet arrived at the extreme point of asserting that principle in so many words. With respect to the policy of the government, with regard to the Church, he knew there were some among them, who declared an adhesion to the Protestant establishment of the country; but that adhesion was goes in such a manner, so sleepy and apathetic, that, so far from strengthening, they actually paralyzed the energies of their supporters, who were almost persuaded to believe that there was something to be ashamed of in the cause they professed to advance — so reluctant were they to avow their attachment to it. They knew full well that to desert the Church openly was to surrender the pos- 838 session of power. They knew that the English people would not tolerate for a moment a set of men who would be guilty of such conduct. But there was a party small in influence, and in the possession of but a few votes in that House, and perfectly free themselves from all reference or influence with regard to religion; these men, backed by a strong Roman Catholic party, formed a phalanx without whose support it was impossible for her Majesty's Ministers to maintain their seats for an instant. They, without the most distant intention whatever (he was ready to admit) of gratifying the wishes of that strong party, carefully abstained from all outward expressions of their secret opinions in favour of the Church, but they hesitated not to give to that party all the increased weight of their expressive silence. Because if they openly professed their adhesion to that Church, they would run the risk of of offending that portion of their supporters who scoffed at all religion, while if they inserted the word "Protestant" into any of their state documents, they would offend the ears of that numerous body who, if they were sincere disciples of the religion they professed, must ardently desire the abolition of Protestantism. The voice of the country called for men to assume the reins of Government who would not be ashamed to announce their principles of religion, who would truckle not to any party, but who would manfully assert in a straight forward manner the principles of their policy—without turning to the right or the left to pick up a stray vote; who were determined to stand or fall, not by the precarious support of a party with whom they held nothing in common, but on those talents which the administration of the affairs of a great nation demanded, and on the general soundness of their principles, and their practical usefulness as statesmen. This was their policy with regard to the Church; but he considered their conduct in State affairs was even still more culpable. They designated by the names of forbearance and generosity a course of policy which was nothing less than despicable weakness culpable neglect. He was not about to allude except in passing, to the speech of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, at Liverpool, or to that of the Attorney-general at Edinburgh, which had been so ably commented upon last night. He did, however, think it was an unworthy 839 and an undignified circumstance on the part of a Minister of the Crown to emulate the conduct of an honourable Gentleman in Ireland, by going on an agitating tour through the country. There was one part of the speech of the noble Lord which he would allude to—that was, his boast of a paltry economy in the secret service money. He wondered whether the noble Lord, when he made that boast, contemplated his coming to the House with the extravagant demand with which he came down a few nights ago? He wondered whether it ever struck him, when he boasted of that paltry economy, that a judicious expenditure of a few pounds of that money might have saved the lives of many of those who fell at Newport, by obtaining for him a timely warning of the danger which was intended. There was another matter to which he should refer; and, although it had already been called a trifling matter, he begged leave to say, though hon. Members opposite might laugh at it, that that was no trifle which involved an important principle of Government. The present Lord-lieutenant, when he first went over to Ireland, was allowed to play the game of conciliation; but when all parties were hoping to find a temporary cessation, at least, of party rancour, and when, as the Lord-lieutenant would himself confess, he had received a most general and a most generous support from all his political opponents, he suddenly turned round upon them and showed the real principles upon which his government in future would be conducted, by inviting to his intimacy and to his hospitality, the hon. Gentleman who, for the three weeks previous to his receiving that ostentatious compliment from the representative of the Queen, not in one speech only, nor in two speeches only, but every day during those three weeks, had been loading with the most scurrilous calumnies, and assailing with the most unfounded and most unjustifiable abuse, and in the most unwarrantable terms, not only all that was good and virtuous in the land, but even the most valuable, and most sacred institutions of the country. These things might be called trifles, he could not tell whether they were or not, but he held them as demonstrations of principles on the part of her Majesty's Ministers. But he asked, what was the reason for this display of fellow-feeling and approbation on the part of Lord Ebrington? It was, 840 that the learned Gentleman, by means which his own conscience must justify, had attained a power in the state hitherto unenjoyed by any other individual, a power so extensive as to be most dangerous to the state, and which, so far from receiving favour from any Government, deserved the contrary, and ought to have been most seriously and steadily discountenanced. He was now about to state the position of that learned Gentleman in the House, but none could doubt it was a very great one. The hon. Gentleman could look before him and around him, and see everywhere men of the greatest wealth, the highest talent—aye, even of ancient rank, who held their stations in the House at his sovereign will. He might turn on one side of him and see the hon. Gentleman, once the independent Member for the county of Middlesex, the bugbear of the Treasury benches, the festering thorn in the side of each succeeding Chancellor of the Exchequer, and once the head of a respectable party in the House, reduced to the necessity of receiving rank among his satellites. No doubt, too, the learned Gentleman might reflect, that there were many in that House whose names, by the force of his influence, would go down to posterity, the candidates for fame, in having supported a Government which, but for his upholding hand, must with them have mouldered into dnst. It could not be denied that this was a proud position. But was this a power that should receive homage from any Government? a power which nearly approached to the absolutism of the imperial sway—a power which exceeded, nay almost superseded, the authority of the Crown in one important and integral part of the empire. Was it to be borne that the learned Member should have sixty seats in that House so entirely at his disposal as to be able to send these persons, utterly unknown to their constituents till they arrive there? And, indeed, if the boast of a priest at an election for the county of Meath were to be relied upon, he could as easily return cabbage-stocks to that House. Power such as that must be fatal to the peace of the empire in the hands of any individual, but in the hands of one who was continually raving at all our best institutions—who was the sworn foe of the Protestant Church in Ireland—who had agitated, and who again threatened the agitation of the repeal of 841 the Union, which would be the dismemberment of the empire who lost no opportunity of attacking private character—who to-day praised the man to the skies whom to-morrow he loaded with execrations— in the hands of such a man this power must be so dangerous that it should be the object of every Government that wished to maintain order and peace, and to uphold the dignity of the laws—to discountenance and discourage, and run every risk of defeat, rather then lend to it all the increased moral weight which their own exalted stations and important trusts must carry with them. He was not now about to dilate upon any of the other important topics on which, in his opinion, the present Government was open to censure. He had already trespassed too long upon the time of the House, but he could not sit down without taking a cursory view of the various difficulties of the country that were arrayed before them. They had, in the first place, an extensive Chartist conspiracy breaking out all over the kingdom; they had, in the second place, a Ribbon conspiracy, of a similar nature and similarly organised, in Ireland; and they had also a system of agitation kept alive in that country, which, like the effect of unwholesome excitement upon the human frame, tended to nothing but exhaustion and decay. They had numerous colonies; and mark—such in fact was their condition, that a state of discontent was a state of comparative tranquillity; some were discontented only, while some were in an utter state of disorganization which could only be subdued by force. If they looked abroad they saw that empire which had been the scene of a late military triumph, but which those who knew most about it declared would be a very short-lived triumph, in an equally precarious state. That empire, composed as it was of a number of petty states, partly independent of each other, was only waiting the signal from some foreign power to fall to pieces, like a string of beads when the thread that held them together was cut. They had a prospect of a war in the East, and were in an imminently exposed state at their own doors, being liable to be disturbed by the introduction of the Russian sword or of the French bayonet into the scales of their adversary. And what was worse, they had financial embarrassments at home; and to crown the whole, it was ridiculous to deny it, they had a Government which could 842 not pass a single measure through Parliament except upon sufferance—a Government distinguished by no peculiar talent, or remarkable ability—unillumined by one ray of genius, and unsupported even by the common attributes of a straight-forward and dogged and plodding industry. Their only characteristic was an aptitude at dexterous manœuvring; and even their efforts in that way were directed not to stem the torrent, but to keep their heads barely above the surface, and to float listlessly on its troubled waters. And now, their last resource was in the personal favour of the Crown, whose illustrious wearer was unfortunately so inexperienced and uninformed in state affairs, that she was altogether incapable of seeing or of knowing anything of the impending danger to which her kingdom was exposed, beyond what her own incompetent advisers might be pleased to communicate to her. With all these things staring him in the face, he had no hesitation in saying, whatever the fate of this motion might be now, that in spite of a limping majority, dwindling from day to day, and none knew how composed—in spite of a specious and accommodating system of open questions, and of those uncertain and contradictory evasions which rendered it impossible for friend or foe to say what from day to day they would put forth, the doom of the administration was sealed. They had been weighed in the balance and found wanting. The voice of the public had condemned them, and would push them from their stools, and send those in their places whose principles were in accordance with the principles of the constitution, and whose talents were adequate to the emergency of the times.
§ Mr. Fox Maule.
—When the noble Lord came down to this House to accuse my right hon. Friend, Mr. Macauley, of delivering last night what he termed an essay, I certainly expected to have heard from the noble Lord some more extemporaneous reply to what had fallen in debate on this question than he has given them. For I can not but remark that many of the points in the noble Lord's speech were directed to an individual whom the noble Lord evidently expected to see sitting in his place, but who unfortunately was absent. In what I shall address to the House upon this question, I feel that I must claim your indulgence, because my task will be one of mere matter of detail, which will neces- 843 sarily be of a drier nature than those remarks that are usually made to the House, and which are more consonant to the feelings of both sides. But before I address myself to these subjects to which it will be my duty to advert, I wish to make one or two observations upon what has fallen from the noble Lord. The noble Lord has attacked my right hon. Friend, for stating in his place, as a Minister of the Crown, his opinion upon the subject of agitation. Now I cannot think that the noble Lord has read my right hon. Friend's speech; if he has, he will see there the views taken by my right hon. Friend are not entitled to be described as affording encouragement on the part of Ministers to the people of this country to continue a system of agitation, in the noble Lord's acceptance of the term. The noble Lord has also attacked my right hon. Friend for speaking in disparagement of the office of a Privy Councillor. That was a delicate ground for the noble Lord, while sitting near the right hon. Gentleman who spoke last night (Sir James Graham) to touch upon. The noble Lord may not possibly have read the speech of the right hon. Baronet to which I refer; but if he has, I think the noble Lord will at least admit that the description given by my right hon. Friend of the office of a Privy Councillor, was at least better by many degrees than the emarks made by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Pembroke (Sir J. Graham) upon the same subject. With regard to the opinion which the noble Lord has expressed as to the feelings of the public in respect of the conduct of her Majesty's Ministers, that is a mere abstract assertion on his part. That is a question which will be decided by the public out of doors, to which I, with the noble Lord, am willing to refer. The noble Lord has also been pleased to attack her Majesty's Government as being the enemies of the Established Church; not that he can produce one single measure which her Majesty's Government had ever countenanced as tending to injure that Church—not that he can produce any measure of that description— while I can adduce various measures which have been passed in this House by the present Government on the subject of the Church, every one of which tends to confirm and strengthen the basis upon which it is founded, by removing from it many abuses, and thereby fixing it more and more in the opinions and feelings of the 844 public. The other topic which had been referred to, the insertion of the word "Protestant" into the address, I will leave to be decided between the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tamworth; because, when the question of the address was before the House, although the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford bewailed the loss of the word, and although the right hon. Gentleman, the leader of the party in this House, addressed the House upon that occasion, and although the noble Duke, the leader of the party in the other House, had inserted the word in another place, yet the right hon. Gentleman did not venture to move any amendment, whether from fear of not obtaining the acquiescence of hon. Members in the House, or from the fear of obloquy out of doors, I do not know; yet he did not venture to give to the hon. Member for Oxford any support to his proposal. The noble Lord had alluded to the visit of the Secretary of State (Lord J. Russell) to Liverpool, and had designated it as the agitating tour of a Minister of England! The agitating tour of a Minister of England! What! was the Secretary of State for the Home Department to be debarred from visiting one of the great sources of commercial wealth, not in his public capacity, but in his private character? If a Minister of the Crown, whilst visiting a most important part of the country, is to be told that he is on a tour of agitation, I pity the hon. Gentlemen opposite, who would deny to any Minister the privilege of hearing with his own ears, and seeing with his own eyes, what was passing in that country, the internal affairs of which were under his control. All the rest of the noble Lord's speech referred to the affairs of Ireland. The dinner table of the Lord-lieutenant has been again served up, and other matters have been mentioned in connection with Ireland; but I shall leave these matters to be discussed by other hon. Members more immediately connected with that country. The principal reason of my rising is to meet, as far as I can, some remarks which have fallen from the hon. Gentleman opposite, with regard to the internal policy pursued by her Majesty's Government in this country. The first point of attack on that subject against my noble Friend has been the appointment of Magistrates under the Municipal Corporation Act, and to that point I shall first address myself. They perfectly well knows 845 that when the English Municipal Corporation Bill was first introduced into this House, it contained a clause in which the opinions of the noble Lord were openly and boldly stated; it was proposed by the Bill to give to the Members of the Town Councils the power of recommending to the Crown such persons as they might think proper to be appointed to fill the office of Magistrate in those boroughs. That clause was struck out, and eventually the Bill was passed without it. But did not my noble Friend state to the House that he should still continue to act on the same principle? Did not my noble Friend say-so? All I ask is a answer in the affirmative; and since it is admitted that the noble Lord had said so, he accepted the admission in proof that my noble Friend had acted in consistency with his declared opinion. But after the passing of the Municipal Corporation Act it became necessary to appoint Magistrates for those various towns. You have heard much of the manner in which the noble Lord has betrayed the trust which he held as Minister of the Crown. It is easy to deal in generalities, but it is not so easy to lay one's ringer on particular instances of abuse. Such has been the case on the present occasion. The House was not perhaps aware of the number of Magistrates appointed after the passing of the Municipal Bill by the noble Lord. That number amounted to upwards of a 1000, and out of that 1000 appointed to administer justice in the various Municipal towns of the country, not one single complaint has ever been made in this House, save to the two names which had been alluded to in the course of the debate. The first regarded that unhappy man Mr. Frost, and the next related to the appointment for Birmingham. With both of those cases I will presently proceed to deal. Out of the number of Magistrates so appointed, none have been removed for misconduct, save the unfortunate individual to whom I have referred: and out of the entire number, twenty-three only have resigned their commissions, and those twenty-three have done so for the most part, because they found their duties as magistrates interfered with their business. I thought that if it had been proved, or if the fact were true, that my noble Friend had not paid proper attention to the appointment of persons who were to administer justice on those local benches in a way in which the peo- 846 ple could confide, and from which they might derive a proper and fair administration of the law, there were plenty of opponents to the Government in that House, through whom complaints would have found their way to the public, and I am convinced that no topic could be more satisfactory to hon. Members opposite to bring forward. I am, therefore, justified in saying that it is to the absence, and to the want of such a topic, and not the absence of any will to make use of it, and that it had not been urged. With respect to the case of Mr. Frost, I have this to say, that when the appointment of Municipal Magistrates took place, my noble Friend invited the opinions of the Town-Councils as to what individuals should compose the bench of magistrates in their respective localities. That not only was the fact which I do not mean to deny, but I mean to defend it, for I think that I can show that my noble Friend has pursued the fit, the proper, and the decorous course, a course which was well calculated to obtain from the inhabitants of those towns a greater respect for the law, because they would find it administered with impartiality and with integrity by those in whom they have confidence. When those appointments took place, a recommendation, came from the town of Newport containing the names of two gentlemen, Mr. Brewer and Mr. Frost. My noble Friend received, shortly after the recommendation a statement in objection to Mr. Frost's appointment. My noble Friend consulted those in whom he placed confidence on the subject. He consulted the Lord-lieutenant of the county, whether, in his opinion, Mr. Frost might or might not, with propriety, be made a magistrate; the answer from the Lord-lieutenant was that he knew no reason why such should not be the case, and consequently my noble Friend appointed the two gentlemen recommended by the Town Council, the one being Mr. Brewer, a strong political opponent of her Majesty's Government, and the other Mr. Frost, of whom, not with-standing the insinuation to the contrary, and although his situation is now one of the most unhappy that could exist, yet he must say that up to the time of his dismissal he had, in his office of magistrate, shown neither partiality nor favour, and that he had never heard that he had administered justice improperly. But Mr. Frost betook himself to other courses; he 847 took part in meetings at which speeches were made by himself and others, which as goon as they came to the ears of her Majesty's Government appeared to them at once to render Mr. Frost, if guilty of the charges brought against him, unworthy to retain her Majesty's commission. It may be objected to my noble Friend that he did not dismiss Mr. Frost, on the first information being received, from the Commission of the Peace. That may be the justice of the hon. Gentleman opposite; but it is the custom of my noble Friend upon those occasions to make inquiry, and to give the party an opportunity of being heard before he is condemned. That opportunity was given to Mr. Frost, on the 16th January, 1839; but Mr. Frost failed to answer the inquiry satisfactorily, and was removed from the Commission of the Peace. This is the single statement which I have to make with regard to the appointment and to the removal of Mr. Frost. I now come to the name of Mr. Muntz, and my attention was drawn to it by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Pembroke, in these terms: "But another individual was appointed, for whose appointment I have not heard a single word of apology." It is not my intention to offer one word of apology. I am prepared to maintain, not only that the appointment of Mr. Muntz was originally proper, but that it has turned out one of the best appointments that could have been made for the town of Birmingham, so far as the preservation of the peace of that town is concerned. It was urged in the statement of the right hon. Baronet, that Mr. Muntz was a delegate of the National Convention—that he was Treasurer of the Chartist fund—or that he had been the trustee of that fund. Now, what the right hon. Gentleman had stated with reference to Mr. Muntz was true in the abstract but false in the inference. It is perfectly true that Mr. Muntz had been a delegate to the National Convention; but what is the fact? Mr. Muntz was elected to the National Convention without his consent; he had never attended, and he had at once withdrawn his name. The right hon. Gentleman received the admission that Mr. Muntz was so elected with a sneer; but he was never recognised by that body as a member. But then he was a trustee of the Chartists' fund. Again, this is true in the abstract, but not in the substance. Mr. Muntz, 848 and his brother, the present Member for Birmingham, were both trustees of the fund. 600l. were placed in their names in the bank of Messrs. Grote, Prescott, and Co. The first step which the Messrs. Muntz took was to sign a check upon the bankers, transferring the amount to other names, and refusing to be the trustees to such a fund. Then it was said that Mr. Muntz was the Vice-President of the Potical Union. That is true; he was the Vice-P resident of the Political Union, and he was the Vice-President when he was made a magistrate. Was this an objection in the right hon. Gentleman's eyes? Was this an objection to Mr. Muntz being placed in the Commission of the Peace for the town of Birmingham? If so, why did not the right hon. Gentleman object to the Government of Lord Grey, of which the right hon. Gentleman was a member, when it placed Mr. Attwood, who was the President of the Political Union, in the Commission of the Peace for the County of Warwick? If the right hon. Gentleman was not aware of the appointment, it only proved that he did not take the same pains to enquire into the particulars of his own Government as he did into the Government of others. But I will go further, and will say that the appointment of Mr. Muntz is a credit instead of a discredit to the Government. Did the right hon. Baronet know this gentleman? Who is Mr. Muntz? He is one among the best educated men in Birmingham—not only has he received a good education at home, but he has travelled much abroad; he has been two years for the acquirement of knowledge in Germany, and, in addition to being a polished scholar, he was deeply interested in the trade of Birmingham— he employs several hundred workmen in a manufactory at Birmingham. He had been also a very active magistrate since his appointment. I happened to meet the Commissioner of Police at Birmingham, and asked him, "What, from your observation, has been Mr. Muntz's conduct as a magistrate, since you have had the control of the Police?" and I was told, without hesitation, that there was no magistrate from whom the commissioner had received greater support, nor one who could be more speedily resorted to, or was more willing to give advice. One word more, and it will be all upon this point. Had Mr. Muntz's conduct as a magistrate ingratiated him with the party with which 849 the right hon. Gentleman has mixed him up— the Chartists? What had taken place at the election which was held a few days ago? So far from the brother of Mr. Muntz being supported by the Chartists, two of the leading Chartists, who were of the council, had voted for Sir Charles Wetherell. Not only so, but a leading member of the body, but who was not of the council, who rejoiced in the singular name of Bradshaw, voted for Sir Charles Wetherell in preference to Mr. Muntz. I think, therefore, that I have given to the House and to the public a sufficient defence of the appointment of Mr. Muntz to the magistracy. These are the only two cases which have been brought forward against my noble Friend in his appointments to the Commission of the Peace. When any other cases shall arise, I will be both ready and happy to meet them, and if any hon. Gentleman is willing to make a distinct motion upon the whole matter of all the appointments, I will undertake to convince the House, and the people of England, that so far from having abused the patronage of the Crown in the administration of justice, my noble Friend has appointed such persons to the bench of magistrates in the different towns as had been useful to their fellow-townsmen, as were a credit to the bench on which they had been placed, and had shown that impartial spirit of justice which was required of them. Having thus disposed of two cases, I will come now to the great question of the existence of Chartism itself. It was bandied about as a charge from one side of the House to the other. First, they were charged with fostering it, and next they recriminated the charge on hon. Gentlemen opposite. Now, I do not want to make any charge that I cannot maintain; but I must say that, although hon. Gentlemen might be unconnected with Chartism, yet that they were not unconnected with the consequences which followed the prominence of Chartism. I have traced, as far as I can, the origin of Chartism. It had its public birth in the summer of 1837, at a meeting of the Working Men's Association, held at the Crown and Anchor Tavern, in the Strand, at which resolutions were passed in favour of Universal Suffrage. Some parts of the Charter were then adopted. When it was adopted by the Political Union of Birmingham I 850 do not exactly know. [Sir James Graham: The 11th of August, 1838.] I thank the right hon. Baronet. That, then, was the date of the adoption of the Charter at Birmingham; and six weeks afterwards, at the end of the month of September several speeches were made, in which expressions were used, and opinions savouring of disaffection were avowed, and dangerous sentiments pronounced. On looking back, I find that there was no alarm existing in the country with reference to Chartism, till the beginning of November, 1838; and the Government have been accused of neglecting the information which was then, and which has been since afforded to it, and by its inertness and inactivity, encouraging the growth of that of which I, in common with every Member of the House, and in common with the bulk of the people, deplore the existence. In the month of November, 1838, the first intimation was given to the Home Office of the disturbances and seditious meetings in the northern districts. I forbear to mention the names, but they are immaterial. In November, 1838, a variety of correspondence was sent to the magistrates from the Home Office, in answer to the communications which were then made, informing the magistrates how to act, and calling upon them to act with promptitude. On no one occasion since that time can the magistracy complain of having failed to receive from the noble Lord, at present Secretary of State for the Home Department, or from the noble Lord now Secretary of State for the Colonies, the most direct aid, either by way of advice or of armed assistance, in any way that the magistrates might choose to ask. In December, 1838, torch-light meetings were held, and the Government thought it right to inform the whole public of their illegality, and to call upon the people at large, in the Queen's name, to put them clown, and to assist in preventing such dangerous meetings. In December, 1838, this proclamation was issued on the subject of torch-light meetings. I am not sure, however, that these torch-light displays are to be attributed solely to the meetings in favour of Chartism: I think that they more concerned the discussions on the Poor-law than the discussions on the Charter. Now, I will show the first use that has been made in this country of 851 any of that language which had hitherto been foreign, and which I hope will again be foreign, to British tongues. The first threat of "fire and dagger" was used by Oastler in agitation against the Poor-laws long before it was applied to the agitation of Chartism. It was prevalent in 1837, when the whole of the northern district and the West Riding of the county of York, in particular, was inflamed against the Poor-law. I wish, I sincerely wish, that I could absolve hon. Gentlemen opposite from the charge. I wish I could say that they, whilst they were canvassing in 1837, did not avail themselves of this popular cry to obtain the support which they would not otherwise have gained. I wish I could acquit them of the charge; but, looking at their organs of that day, I cannot so acquit them. After the year 1837 the language about the Poor-law continued to exist, and the moment Chartism was agitated in that country, that instant the opposition to the Poor-law and the support of the Charter, became, in the hands of Messrs. Oastler, Stephens, and Co., one common cause, and so they have been ever since. The hon. Member cheered. [Mr. Liddell: I admit it.] I think I recollect some language used in which the hon. Member himself talked of the murder of the Innocents, and other terms of a similar kind applied to the Poor-law. After 1837, then, the Chartists made common cause with the agitation against the Poor-law. But what have the Government done? In November, 1838, it advised the magistrates: in December, 1838, also there was added to the disturbed districts of the north a large increase of military force for the preservation of the public peace. They have endeavoured to preserve, and they have preserved, as far as they can, the public peace, and if they had not acted so, they would not have been entitled to ask for the confidence of this House. In January, 1839, the first reports of arming and training were made to the Home Department. In February or March organized meetings were reported to have been held at Nottingham, and that large bodies of men were training in the counties of Nottingham, Wilts, and Stafford. The same reports went on during the year 1839. During the whole of that year continued additions were made to the military force for the protection of the public peace, and the Govern- 852 ment continued to watch vigilantly the public meetings that were taking place in the different districts. Did they want any further proof that the Government was not to blame for its inertness or inactivity? I will show the course which the law has taken since the commencement of 1839 upon this subject, and if I can demonstrate to the House and to the country, that without making any parade of coming down to ask for any extraordinary powers beyond the law, without spreading alarm in other districts, without resorting to any extraordinary course of severity, the disturbers of the public peace have not only been summoned to the bar of public justice but have been fairly punished; I think that I shall go far towards relieving the Government from the charge of any dereliction of its public duty, or of having given the slightest encouragement to outrage by its inertness and inactivity.—Since the commencement of the year 1839, I find that in the county of Chester twenty-three persons have been committed on various charges under the acts for preventing training and arming, and other charges arising out of Chartism. Of these, five were convicted and sentenced to eighteen months' imprisonment, and were now in gaol; two are imprisoned for a year, and fifteen were fined and discharged on giving sureties, making twenty-two convicted out of the twenty-three committed. In the county of Cumberland there have been two cases—one was of a trifling amount, and the party was imprisoned for six months, the other was fined and discharged. In Lancashire, no less than ninety-seven persons have been brought to justice. Of these, three have been sentenced to eighteen months' imprisonment, sixteen to a year's imprisonment, fifty-eight to imprisonment for six months, and three were fined and discharged; making in all eighty persons convicted out of the ninety-seven charges brought against them—charges preferred by the Crown directly or the local magistrates. A summary of the whole kingdom shews, that since the commencement of the year 1839, the following number of persons have been committed for trial, charged with high treason, unlawfully drilling and training, unlawfully possessing arms, seditious language and libel, seditions, conspiracy, and riots:— 853
So that, out of the whole number of 290 persons committed, the juries have convicted 232. Among those now undergoing imprisonment on charges following Chartist movements, are the following Chartist leaders, many of them members of the late Convention:—P.M.M'Douall, and J. R. Stephens, in Chester; Vincent, Edwards, Dickinson, Townsend, Frost, Jones, and Williams, in Monmouth; and Lovett and Collins, in Warwick. Prosecutions are still pending against Feargus O'Connor and Taylor. I think that when I have stated this, and when lay this before the House and the public, I have a right to say, that, without asking for any extraordinary power, but relying upon the laws themselves, relying upon the good feelings of juries, relying upon the justice of the cause, and abstaining from making any unusual demand, her Majesty's Government has not only not neglected their duty, but have maintained to the very best of their power the public peace. True it is that they have not been able to put down Chartism. That I admit; but wherever the magistrates have claimed assistance, it has been readily granted; wherever the inhabitants have experienced alarm, they have given protection. They might have partially failed, but I will put it to the House to say, after the statements I have made, whether they had allowed the advance of Chartism, by leaving any part of the country in which it had broken out, there unprotected by a military force, or by the presence of a military force in the shortest possible time. I have drawn the attention of the House to the number of convictions that have been 854 made by juries for this purpose, among others of justifying their reliance upon the loyalty and integrity of those who composed that body. Let them look back for a comparison to a similar time under a Tory Government. Let them look back to the year 1817. In comparing the state of the country in 1817, with the state of the country now, it gives me satisfaction to think that however bad they might now be, they still were not in so dangerous a state now as they were then, and I trust that the returning good sense of the people, seeing as they must do that punishment is falling upon those who have contravened the law, will enable me in a short time to say that such a state of things as in 1817 was not likely to occur now. The Government of 1817 came down to the House for extraordinary powers. They came down to Parliament for the Six Acts. The 19th Chapter of the 57th Geo. III., under the pretence of being an Act for the more effectual prevention of seditious meetings, was in effect an Act passed for the purpose of suppressing public discussion altogether. Not content with these powers, they applied for the most extraordinary powers which that House could give to any Government— they applied for and obtained a suspension of the Habeus Corpus. God forbid we should ever live in times when a necessity for such a step should exist! As far as I can form an opinion of the circumstances which gave rise to that course, I must say that I look upon it as having been a most unnecessary and extraordinary stretch of the powers of the Government. They nevertheless rather defeated than advanced 855 their own object; for they alarmed the country in a very great degree—they shook the confidence of the public—and they moreover held up to the country the most undesirable spectacle of bringing numbers of state prisoners to trial, against whom, either from the weakness of the charges or from some other cause, no convictions were obtained. I allude more particularly to the trials which took place at York, in August, 1817; of twenty-four persons against whom the Government Solicitor was instructed to institute prosecutions, ten were pronounced not guilty; against eleven others no bills were found, and one was liberated on bail; thus leaving only two persons against whom convictions were obtained of all those persons who had been detained, without trial, by the warrant of the Secretary of State, under the suspension of the Habeas Corpus. Now, when I contrast these proceedings of 1817 with what has recently occurred under circumstances very similar—when I look at the weakness of that Administration, as evidenced in the fact of so many cases which they had brought to trial having been dismissed in that abrupt manner—a dismissal which must very materially have affected public opinion at the time—when I advert to the number of convictions which have been obtained from juries in cases arising out of the recent disturbances—232 convictions out of 290 committals—I cannot help being confirmed in my opinion, that that Government best does duty to the State which stood on the authority of the law as it exists, so long as it will suffice, and did not come down to Parliament for extraordinary power until the last resource has failed. Above all, it is most essential that Government should not bring men to trial for political offences, without at least some satisfactory ground for concluding that conviction will follow, and that the prisoners would not be dismiss ed in triumph from the bar. While on the subject of the conduct of the Government of 1817, it is impossible not to revert also to the means which they adopted, in order to detect persons guilty of sedition and insubordination. In the Parliamentary History of that period, I find recorded against the Government charges of a far graver nature than those to which I have already adverted. I find it recorded, that the Government of that day, not content to rely on the ordinary or even the extraordinary powers the laws had placed in 856 their hands, in order to the conviction of those guilty of sedition, have employed spies to go among those misguided persons, to mix with them, to excite them, and then to betray them into the hands of the Government. Such was the conduct for which the Ministers of that day were arraigned. When has such a charge been brought against the present Government? Can they be accused of having had recourse to such men as Oliver, Reynolds, and Castles. It is no charge against the present Ministry, that they have contrived to obtain convictions against the individuals subjected to state prosecutions, by means which I cannot but consider of a most unholy character. It appears from a speech of Lord Milton, that one of these spies was the individual by whom the connection between the seditious in London and the country was kept up, and whenever he went into the country, that person's appearance was the immediate forerunner of confusion and disorder. The present Government have no charge brought against them of this nature. I have a right to go back to Tory times, and it is only in the Tory times of 1817, 1818, and 1819, that I can find the Government coming down to the House to ask for extraordinary powers, and employing spies, while they also moved for secret and ex parte committees, in which the cause of the people was left entirely undefended. Such is the parallel between the Government of 1817, 1818, and 1819, and that of 1839. I come now to another part of this case. The noble Lord (Lord G. Somerset), whom I do not see in his place, has charged the Government with having taken no steps whatever to protect the well-disposed portion of the community against the designing and disaffected. The noble Lord has forgotten, that at the close of the last Session, my noble Friend (Lord J. Russell) introduced a bill for the purpose of enabling the inhabitants of counties to raise a constabulary force for their own protection. If the noble Lord were now present, he being a magistrate for the county of Monmouth, I would ask him how it came to pass, that that county was among the first to repudiate the acceptance of that measure, and how it was, that the noble Lord's name was found in the majority which voted against it. Upon the subject of the Chartists, I think I have shown the House what the present Government have done in all the cases which 857 were brought under their notice. I have shown the House that the Government have been in active correspondence with the magistrates since November, 1838, and that military force has, on some occasions, been afforded, and that in all instances, they have given their advice. I have shown, that they have not allowed the power of the law to slumber, and that they have obtained 230 convictions. I am willing to rest the question of confidence or no confidence, so far as this part of the case goes, on the statement which I have made, and the papers which I am prepared to lay on the Table of the House. I will now proceeed to make a few remarks on the speech made last night by the right hon. Baronet opposite. The right hon. Gentleman began his speech by a compliment to his noble Friend, the Member for Northumberland (Lord Howick); and invited him to cross over to the other side of the House. The right hon. Baronet's invitation reminds me of that given in the fable by a certain animal, who, having lost his tail himself, was anxious to persuade certain other animals that they would find the caudal prolongation of the vertebrae an unnecessary and troublesome appendage. If my noble Friend were in his place I would, if I might take such a liberty, tender him a piece of advice, and my advice would be, that my noble Friend should not cross the House on the solicitation of the right hon. Baronet, but rather avoid that political will-o'-the-wisp which would lead him through quagmires and moss, until my noble Friend's reputation for consistency stood on the same insecure foundation as that of some other Gentlemen whom I could name. I would advise him rather to regard the right hon. Baronet as a beacon on the shoal on which political consistency might be most miserably wrecked. The right hon. Baronet opposite, said, that if the noble Lord crossed the House, he would find the party now arrayed there, agreeing with him on many questions. He would find them, he said, willing to remove the existing defects in the system of registration and willing to carry out measures of progressive reform. Now, I trust, that without the noble Lord's crossing to the opposite side of the House, or the right hon. Baronet's coming over to this side, my noble Friend (Lord J. Russell) will test the willingness of the hon. Gentlemen opposite to improve the registration, or lend 858 their assistance to measures progressive of reform. But it is not on these topics that I wish to remark. In the course of the speech of the right hon. Baronet, he had referred to the absence of a properly qualification as one of the "five points;" and when I suggested to the right hon. Gentleman, that no property qualification was required for Members coining from Scotland, the right hon. Gentleman, with that generosity and condescension with which he sometimes regards inferior abilities, said that "the Under Secretary of State was anxious to throw light on the subject, and informed him, that there was no property qualification in Scotland. He (Sir J. Graham) lived just on the borders of Scotland, and had seen the good effects of the property qualification on one side, and the bad effects from the want of it on the other." These are the words, as nearly as I can recollect them, which were used by the right hon. Baronet. I wish to give the right hon. Baronet every opportunity of retracting the expression; but if he has no explanation to offer, then I can attach but one meaning to these words— that the people of Scotland, in sending as their Representatives to this House those who are required to have no property qualification, have sent to this House Members who are inferior in talent, in integrity, and prudence, to those who come from other parts of the empire. If I am right in supposing this to be the meaning of the right hon. Baronet's language, then, I must say, that a more gratuitous insult was never offered to the representatives of the people of Scotland. I confess that I little expected, that the right hon. Baronet whom I have seen riding
Total. Death. Seven Years' Transportation Eighteen Months' Imprisonment. One Year & above Six Months. Six Months and under. Fined and Discharged on Sureties. Total convicted. Chester 23 . . 5 2 . 15 22 Cumberland 2 . . . . 1 1 2 Lancaster 97 . . 3 16 58 3 80 Monmouth 58 8 . . 6 17 10 41 Montgomery 43 . 3 . 4 31 2 40 Northumberland 5 . . 1 1 1 . 3 Nottingham 12 . . . 8 4 . 12 Warwick 29 4 . 5 4 5 3 21 Wilts 11 . . . . 3 5 8 Worcester 3 . . . . 3 . 3 York 7 . . . . . . . Total 290 12 3 14 41 123 39 232From Nertherby-gate to Branxholm Braes.in order to visit his friends on the other side of the border, and who so far stretched his panegyric as to congratulate themOn victories won in border fraysOr his own clan in former days.would have gone so far as to say, that the Representatives of the people of Scotland were, from their want of qualification, inferior to the Members returned to the House possessing a property qualification. The right hon. Baronet may rely upon it, that this speech of his will cross the border, and that no raid of any of his ancestors ever created more indignation than will be aroused in Scotland by his speech of last night. The right hon. Baronet the 859 Member for Stamford (Sir G. Clerk), cheered the remark of the right hon. Gentleman, the right hon. Member for Stamford having formerly been the Member for the metropolitan county of Scotland, and in cheering that remark made himself a party to the observation. Is it possible that the right hon. Baronet can have forgotten all that he received from the people of Scotland in past days, or is he smarting under the recollection of recent defeat?Manet altâ in mente repôstumJudicium Paridis, spretæque injuria formæ.I can only say, that to the charge thus made against the representatives of the people of Scotland, I give the most positive contradiction which I can do in parliamentary terms. The right hon. Baronet in his speech, also went on to quote a list of the division which took place on the question of a property qualification. I do not know whether the right hon. Baronet will find my name in that division; but I pledge myself that if ever the question is raised again, my vote shall be given in favour of a no-property qualification, so that I may do to others as I am done by. As a general charge of neglect has been brought against the department to which I have the honour to belong, I wish, in order to show the people that the Government might lay claim to some little improvement of the laws of the country, as well as a proper administration of them, to state in a few words to the House what has been done by the Liberal party towards the amendment of the Criminal Law. That subject was first taken up in 1808, by the Whig party, who were then in opposition. The important question was first taken up by Sir Samuel Romilly, than whom a brighter ornament of this House never occupied a seat in it; but after he had struggled for ten years against the whole force of the Ministers of that day, he ended his career as a reformer of the Criminal Code, almost with as little effect as when he began it. In 1819, when Sir S. Romilly was no more, Sir James Mackintosh took up the question, and moved for a committee of inquiry into the state of the Criminal Law. Lord Castlereagh refused to grant a committee of inquiry. Sir James Mackintosh, however, in a division of the House, earned that committee against the Ministers. In 1818, Sir J. Mackintosh brought in six 860 bills, some of which related to forgery. Three of them, abolishing capital punishment in obsolete cases, were carried; but the three principal ones, were not permitted to pass into law. In 1821, he brought in his bill for the abolition of the punishment of death for forgery; and although he carried the third reading of that Bill, Lord Castlereagh, after several Members had left the House, called for another division on the question that the Bill do pass, and so contrived to get rid of it for that Session; so adverse was the Tory Government of that day, to any amendment of the Criminal Laws, In 1822, Sir J. Mackintosh obtained a pledge from the Government, that they would consider the question next Session. In 1823, Sir J. Mackintosh proposed a series of resolutions on the expediency of abolishing the punishment of death in several cases. The right hon. Baronet, who was then in office, opposed them on the ground that the Government were about to take up the matter, and Sir J. Mackintosh, upon that understanding, surrendered it into their hands. Three Bills were then introduced; but although those three Bills went to abolish capital punishment in no less than 15 cases, yet they were of so little value, so little did they contain of the substance of reform, and so much resembled they the shadow, that those 15 cases were obsolete, and the Bills themselves useless in the end. That was shown by the criminal returns, from which it appeared that in the three years, 1820 to 1822 inclusive, there were 3,070 capital convictions, with 153 executions; while in the following three years, 4,076 capital convictions took place, and 256 executions, plainly showing that the right hon. Baronet, in all that he did in the year 1823, had "kept the promise to the ear and broke it to the hope." I will not deny that in the period embracing the years 1826, 1827, and 1828, the right hon. Gentleman abrogated a great number of statutes that never were acted upon, and consolidated the Criminal Laws to such an extent, as to make them much more intelligible than they had been. But for the abolition of the punishment of death in what were formerly capital cases, I give him no credit whatever. The only way in which the right hon. Baronet has shown himself a reformer of the Criminal Law, was by extending the amount which rendered stealing in a dwelling-house 861 capital from 40s. to 5l., thereby narrowing the offence. That was the whole sum of the reform of the Criminal Law which ever emanated from the right hon. Baronet, or the Tory party. But I will now turn to the account of what the Liberal party has done. In 1832, my hon. Friend, then Member for Liverpool, with the aid and assistance of the Government, brought in his bills for the abolition of the punishment of death for cattle-stealing, horse stealing, sheep-stealing, larceny in a dwelling-house above the sum of 5l., coining, and certain cases of forgery. In 1833, the bill for abolishing death for housebreaking was brought in. In 1834, that for abolishing capital panishment for returning from transportation. In 1835, the offence of stealing letters by the servants of the Post-office, was relieved from the same penalty; and in 1837, my noble Friend, then at the head of the Home Department, brought in those Acts by which, if he should be honoured by no other, he has raised an imperishable monument to his ability and humanity. These Acts repealed the remaining laws for inflicting capital punishment, except in six cases which are of very rare occurrence, and six more which are to be found on the present Criminal Code. A statement of facts will prove more than all the arguments I can use in support of my proposition, that the Liberal party has done much more to ameliorate the Criminal Laws than the Tory Government which preceded it. In 1818, exactly 10 years after the struggle for Criminal Reforms commenced, the convictions were 1,254, and the executions 97. In 1828 there were 1,165 convictions, and 59 executions. In 1838, after the laborious efforts of the Liberal party to reform the Criminal Code, the convictions were but 116, and the executions only 6. When I say there were 116 convictions, I overshoot the mark, because out of that number there were upwards of 60 convictions which took place before the Acts of my noble Friend could come into full operation; therefore the table, on that ground, should be reduced to 56 convictions, and 6 executions. I am quite willing to trust to the appeal which the Government may make to the country on the part they have taken in the reformation of the Criminal Law. I am glad that those hon. Gentlemen who are always "willing to wound, but yet afraid to strike," have brought this 862 question to an issue; and if there should exist out of doors any of those doubts which in their nature are calculated to engender difficulty within, I think nothing will tend to allay them more than a distinct decision on the part of this House upon the question of party opposed to party. I am willing to rest my appeal to the country upon the past conduct of the Government, believing that the people of this great country would rather judge from the past, than speculate upon the future. I believe that the people do not consider that interpretation of political gratitude to be a good one which describes it as a lively sense of favours to come. I leave this case cheerfully in their hands; and when I see them again willing to wind round their civil and religious liberties those chains, which, during ten years they have been engaged in shaking off—when I see them again willing to re-enfranchise the walls of Gatton and Old Sarum—then, and not till then, will I believe that they will withdraw their confidence from a Liberal Government, to repose it in the disciples and advocates of Toryism.
§ Lord G. Somerset
begged permission of the House to put a question to the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down in reference to a letter which he had stated had been addressed to the Home-office upon the appointment of Mr. Frost to the magistracy by the Lord-lieutenant of the county. He wished to know who that Lord-lieutenant was who gave his sanction to the appointment, and what was the date of his letter?
§ Mr. F. Maule
said, the letter of the Lord-lieutenant was a confidential communication in answer to a confidential application. He had stated to the House, and he now repeated to the noble Lord, that the Lord-lieutenant in that letter said he knew of no objection to the appointment of Mr. Frost. The noble Lord could scarcely ask him who was the Lord-lieutenant. It was Mr. Hanbury Leigh. That was all the information he had to give the noble Lord on the subject. He was not disposed to produce a confidential communication, and he hoped the noble Lord would take its purport on his statement. The letter was dated on the 13th February.
§ Lord G. Somerset
hoped he would be allowed to explain the reason why he had put this question to the hon. Gentleman. He understood that it was generally surmised abroad that the author of the letter 863 was not the present but the late Lord lieutenant, his deceased father. He had therefore, put the question in order that the hon. Gentleman might say whether it were so or not. It was far from his wish to call for the production of any confidential communication.
§ Mr. Liddell
was anxious to address the House for two reasons. He wished to express his opinion on the question before the House, and to offer some reply to the allusions which had been made to himself, and he hoped he should be able to answer those allusoins in such a manner as to spare himself the like trouble in future. One point which had been very much insisted upon by hon. Gentlemen opposite as a reason why the House should not concur in the motion, was that disunion which it was alleged existed between his right hon. Friend below him (Sir R. Peel) and a portion of those hon. Gentlemen who sat on the benches around and behind him. It had been asserted in a taunting and triumphant tone, both by the right hon. Gentleman the Judge Advocate, and, by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War, that such a disunion existed. The latter right hon. Gentleman went so far as to say that the right hon. Baronet, after the division which had taken place in his forces on the question of privilege, would find more difficulty in marshalling his ranks, and in carrying on the Government, than any difference of opinion en the opposite side could produce. A more fallacious and, he would almost say, a more absurd argument had never been adduced. As one who had voted in the minority against the right hon. Baronet on the question of privilege, he should take leave to explain to the House the grounds on which he had so voted. He thought he was speaking strictly to the question, because if it was imputed that that division had thrown difficulties in the way of the right hon. Baronet, he was prepared to show that such was not the case. He was perfectly ready to admit that the arguments which the right hon. Baronet had brought forward in the House were not to be refuted, and he was proud to see him standing in that position in which his logical reasoning had placed him, and which hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House had declared had furnished a most valuable defence of the course which the House had pursued. But, while be admitted that, he saw that the practi- 864 cal result of that course would be an act of injustice to innocent individuals, and he would rather reject the reasoning than commit an act of tyranny and injustice. He thought it was an act of injustice to imprison hon. Gentlemen, who, in the strict performance of their duty, were placed in circumstances which it was not in their power to avoid, being strictly bound to carry into effect the mandates of courts of justice in these realms. But, was it reasonable to infer that, because some hon. Gentlemen on his side of the House had voted in opposition to the right hon. Baronet, there was any ground for a permanent disagreement? Could any thing more clearly prove the desperate straits to which the right hon. Gentlemen opposite were reduced, than their venturing to impute a general disagreement and difference of opinion, because some hon. Members chose, rather than do that which they considered would amount to an act of injustice, to vote against the right hon. Baronet on a technical point? But he would pass on to the accusations which had been brought against the Government, as to their share in the origin and progress of Chartism. In their despair and agony, when attemping a vindication of the Government, some hon. Gentlemen had taken a course which he could not but designate as highly reprehensible. The hon. the Under-Secretary had charged those who had opposed the New Poor-laws, with holding the principles of Chartism. Some of the opponents of those laws had no doubt acted improperly. But the hon. Gentleman had included him personally in the charge, and had said that in his canvass in the county of Durham he had used violent language for the purpose of obtaining popular support—by which he presumed the hon. Gentleman meant to class him with hon. Gentlemen returned to the opposite side of the House. [Mr. F. Maule: By no means.] He was glad to hear the hon. Gentleman disclaim it now; but he certainly had classed him amongst those who used violent language. [Mr. F. Maule: No.] Why, then, had the hon. Member referred to him at all? The charge had been made by the hon. Gentleman, and he felt bound to reply to it in such a manner as would deter him from repeating it. Did the hon. Gentleman know that in the county which he had had the honour to represent in that House, the evils of the Old Poor-law were 865 never in any degree felt; and that the New Poor-law, however necessary it might be in some parts of the kingdom to check the growth of pauperism and crime, was not called for in either Northumberland or Durham? He had had as much to do with large bodies of the community as any hon. Gentleman in that House; and in the course of his canvass, the first question put to him was usually upon the subject of the poor-laws. Was it likely that such a subject would be a dead letter? No. But he had never said one word on it that he was not able and willing to repeat in that House, and to justify too. He had never told the people that he would vote for the repeal of the poor-laws. But he had said that he thought it absolutely necessary to introduce extensive changes in the poor-laws to adapt them to many parts of England. But while he admitted that such changes were necessary in many parts of the country, he did not think they were called for by the condition of the northern counties. He had said, moreover, that those laws contained many harsh and severe enactments, and that if he were returned, he would use his best endeavours to ameliorate them. However those who were determined to maintain them in their full rigour, might treat what he had to say, he would tell them that by those laws the poor had been ruled with a hard hand; and that as long as they attempted to violate the laws of nature, and relieve fathers from all charge of the children they had begotten, they would render those laws unpopular, and they must not be surprised if the people complained of them. Certain remarks had been attributed to him which he had not used. The words which he had used had been spoken in that House. He would not delay the House by referring more particularly to personal matters, but in justice to himself he must say that those words had been misrepresented from party feeling and for party purposes; and if hon. Members would refer to the authentic records of Parliamentary debates, they would find, that the words attributed to him had never been used by him. Now, with respect to the origin of Chartism, he would assert, that though some part of it might have had its origin in the state of the poor-law, yet that far the greater part of it had been produced by the encouragement given to agitation and excitement during the progress of the Reform Bill, 866 and though it might be urged that some noble Lords and right hon. Gentlemen who had since come over to that side of the House joined in that encouragement, he would still contend that it had been carried to an extent much beyond what prudence would warrant. The excitement created by the Reform Bill, and the disappointment of the hopes which were held out with respect to its effects, had, he repeated, been the great origin of Chartism. What, let him ask, had been the cause of the frequent changes that had taken place on the benches opposite since the Reform Bill? What had caused the retirement of Earl Grey, but the existence of the excitement caused by the Reform Bill? What was the meaning of "the pressure from without," but the excitement following the disappointment at finding that the Reform Bill had failed to produce any of the great effects which had been predicted of it? Did hon. Members recollect the great Birmingham union? Did they remember the Chartist or national petition, as it was called, which had to be brought to the floor of that House by several men —a petition which had the signatures of 1,200,000 persons. That petition adverted to the five points which had been alluded to in the debate, but did not say a word as to the poor-laws. Could that petition, and the proceedings which led to its adoption, be said to have arisen out of excitement caused by the poor-laws. He did not charge the Government with want of energy in repressing Chartism when it broke out into open violence—that was their duty as a Government; but he did charge them with having given encouragement to it by a long course of political excitement, arising out of some of their measures, and out of the known opinions of some of their members as to others. One Member of the Government would concede the ballot and an extension of the suffrage; another would extend the suffrage, though he would object to the ballot; but to all the ballot was now an open question. This was a state of things calculated to raise hopes which would not be realized, and which would, therefore, add to the already existing excitement. These were so many grounds on which he would vote that no confidence could be placed in the present Government. But there was another and a higher ground on which he would vote a want of confidence in Government. It was, that it had not the 867 confidence of the representatives of the people of Great Britain. The Government was at once supported and governed by an Irish majority. How could the people of this country have confidence in a Government supported by such a majority, at the head of which was an hon. and learned Gentleman who had never relinquished his cry of "Repeal"—an hon. and learned Gentleman who had threatened his Sovereign with bringing, he knew not how many thousand fighting men into the field, if she should venture to call to her councils those statesmen who were opposed to the dismemberment of the united kingdoms. [Cheers.] He would put it to hon. Members opposite whether it would be better that an Irish majority should govern England, or that an English majority should govern Ireland? What would Ireland have to fear from the latter Government? Let hon. Members opposite look to the past. Was it not an English majority which carried the Irish Relief Bill? He would for himself say, that he was one of those who, under the Government of the Duke of Wellington and the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, voted for and helped to carry that measure, though he would not hesitate now to say, that he had been most bitterly disappointed as to its results. The whole conduct of the Government of the noble Duke and of the right hon. Baronet with respect to Ireland while they continued in office after the passing of that act showed that they were determined to carry it fairly out; but it was never intended by that to substitute Roman Catholic ascendancy for general equality. There was one other point to which he would advert before he sat down, and before he did so he must express his sorrow not to see the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary at War (Mr. Macaulay) in his place. He hoped, however, that some hon. Member on the benches opposite might be able to give some explanation on the subject. He had not had the pleasure of hearing the right hon. Gentleman's speech; but he had that day seen with some surprise a report of it which contained a passage which he would read to the House. The right hon. Gentleman had been pleased to talk of the "furious bigotry," as he had called it, of the followers of the right hon. Baronet. After eulogizing the right hon. Baronet in deserved terms, he added, "he could not say his followers were the 868 same; they had changed for the worse' they had become more fierce and more intolerant. He judged by effects; he judged by their proceedings at their public meetings, and in their pulpits, which every week rang with invective and slander that would disgrace a hustings." He would beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Macaulay), or any of his friends opposite, what had the clergy of the Established Church in this country done to deserve the gross charge, that their pulpits rang every week with invective and slander which would disgrace a hustings? He expected that some hon. Member opposite would be able to adduce some instances which would justify the use of such language. It was not his intention to go to the other points which would justify the motion before the House, but there was one so important that he could not pass it over without some notice—he meant the condition of the finances of the country. A statement had been made the other day by a noble Lord in another place, from which it appeared that our finances were in anything but a flourishing condition. The fact was not denied by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who, however, held out nothing but vague conjecture as to its improvement; and yet, with such a declining state of income, the Government proposed and carried a measure which would make a still farther reduction of that income. It might no doubt be very popular that people should have cheap letters, but then it should have been a matter of consideration in the first instance whether the financial state of the country could bear such a reduction of income as that measure would probably occasion. That act of itself would be a good ground for the House to declare a want of confidence in the Government. He had often heard the advocates of a Government make appeals to principles of liberty—allusions to the glorious examples of those who had shed their blood on the scaffold in their country's cause; but here we had nothing of the kind. The present Government were content to cling to office and hang for support on Court favour. He sincerely hoped that their acts might not be the means of bringing the court into disrepute. But, whatever might be their acts, he trusted there never would be wanting a stanch and steady band of Conservatives ready to come to the aid of the court, and 869 willing to defend it with their treasure, and, if necessary, with their blood. Some faults might be imputed to the noble Duke of Wellington and to the right hon. Baronet, whom he was proud to acknowledge as his leaders. But supposing, but not admitting, that the imputation was well founded, still he would never desert them, but, as comparing them with Gentlemen opposite, he would say in the language of the greatest statesman, philosopher, and orator of antiquity—"Malo, mechercle, cum Platone errare quam cum istis vera sentire."
§ Captain Pechell
felt chiefly called upon to rise in consequence of some observations that fell last night from the right hon. Member for Pembroke respecting the service to which he had the honour of belonging. The right hon. Baronet had filled the office of First Lord of the Admiralty in this country, and some weight would be attached to what he said on this subject; he was, therefore, surprised and grieved at the language that fell from him. The right hon. Baronet said, that a blow had been struck at the efficiency of the naval service, and that, from the promotions that had been made, officers were left to understand, that services on the quarter deck were regarded as secondary to services on the hustings. The right hon. Baronet went on to state a number of cases, which he asserted were illustrations of this, and in many of which he had reason to believe, that the right hon. Baronet was not correct; he had stated a number of cases of officers who, he alleged, had stood contests when on half pay, and had, since that election, in 1837, stood contests. The first case which had been alluded to was that of Admiral Ommaney, who had been appointed to command the fleet at Lisbon. That gallant officer had hardly taken the command at that station, when he was attacked and libelled in the most gross and shameful manner by a number of the Tory papers, and that in a way which was most disgraceful to the character of the country. It had been made a charge against the gallant officer, that in order to conciliate the Board of Admiralty, he had been guilty of a gross neglect of his duty towards her Majesty the Queen Dowager during her visit to Lisbon, which charge, if substantiated, would have been most ruinous to his character, but he (Captain Pechell) felt assured there was not a naval officer 870 to be found who did not entertain the most loyal attachment to her Majesty, as well as the most grateful remembrance of the various acts of kindness which his late Majesty bestowed on the naval service. That gallant officer had felt it to be his duty to institute proceedings against some of those parties, and he was sure, that not only would it be made manifest that there was not the slightest ground for those accusations, but that the power of the law would show, that such charges were not to be made with impunity. The right hon. Gentleman then alluded to the case of Lord Clarence Paget, who had been a candidate for Southampton at the last election, and intimated, that that noble Lord had got his ship in consequence of this election contest. Now, the fact was, that at the period of the election, the noble Lord was in the West Indies in the command of a ship, and therefore, so far from his being appointed subsequently to 1837, he was actually in command at that time. Another officer had been alluded to by the right hon. Gentleman, namely, Captain Plumridge, the late superintendent of the Packets at Falmouth. The right hon. Gentleman had asserted, that that appointment had been made immediately previous to the elections; whereas, the fact was, that he had been appointed long before the illness of his late Majesty. There could have been no reason at that time, then, for sending this gallant officer to Falmouth, and on this point he would appeal to the hon. Member for Penryn (Mr. Freshfield), whether he was not correct on this part of the case. Another charge was, that the Government had forced a gallant and distinguished officer to resign the office which he held as superintendent of the Chatham yard. It was asserted by the right hon. Baronet, that Sir J. Gordon had been removed from the Chatham yard to make room for another officer, Captain Clavell, who was removed to make room for Captain Plumridge, who was stated to be a relative of the First Lord of the Admiralty. Now, if anything of the kind had occurred, it was most disgraceful to those who had the administration of naval affairs in this country, but he was happy to be able to shew, that it was altogether without foundation. Sir J. Gordon was a most gallant and meritorious officer, and he (Captain Pechell) had been an eye witness of that distinguished officer's early 871 career in a most gallant and successful affair under the forts of Cadiz, where he distinguished himself greatly. When that, gallant officer accepted the office of superintendent of Chatham yard, he did so on the contingency that he must resign it if he got his flag, as the superintendency must be held by a captain. This contingency did arise, and when that gallant officer got his flag he was necessarily removed from this situation. Captain Clavell, who was a most able and gallant officer, and who had been lieutenant to Lord Collingwood, was then nominated to be superintendent of Chatham yard, from Falmouth, and the former appointment was worth from 400l. to 500l. a year more than the latter. Captain Plumridge was then appointed to succeed this gallant officer at Falmouth, and he (Captain Pechell) had heard no objections to this appointment until last night. He could not help feeling, that it was not just to the navy that such assertions as had been made by the right hon. Baronet should go forth to the world uncontradicted; and still less just was it to employ the names of those officers as the means of giving vent to party spleen and party malice. Sir James Gordon, who had been alluded to, had not been set aside, for he was in the confidence of the Admiralty, and was now employed by them in a survey of part of the coast of this country. He thought that such statements were unworthy of the right hon. Baronet, considering the situation that he had filled in the country. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think, that the same rule should be applied to the navy as was acted upon in the army as regarded election proceedings and political meetings. The right hon. Baronet highly disapproved of Captain Plumridge, the commander of the Astrea, appearing as a candidate for the borough of Falmouth, but he did not object to a colonel of a regiment of foot contesting the borough of Kinsale, provided he would give his vote this evening in condemnation of her Majesty's Government. He would challenge the right hon. Baronet to point out an instance in which a naval officer, either on full pay, or on half pay, had remained in a room where malignant and insulting threats were used towards his Sovereign. He was happy to say that there was no instance of a naval officer, either on full pay or on half pay, ever having received a reprimand from his 872 superiors for remaining at a meeting where insulting speeches were made respecting his Sovereign. The hon. Member for Droitwich denied that there was any agitation against Roman Catholic appointments; but here the hon. Gentleman laboured under a very extraordinary misapprehension. There was one case which had fallen within his own knowledge. At a meeting held only a few days since, at a town not fifty-five miles from the metropolis, and itself the site of a royal palace (Brighton), at which meeting were present his hon. colleague, the hon. Member for Lymington, the hon. Member for Aylesbury, the gallant Member for Honiton, and several other Members of that House, a rev. speaker, and a chaplain to her Majesty, spoke in the following terms;The only other point on which I shall offer any observation is with regard to patronage, and I will speak of it, not upon any narrow or paltry considerations of pelf or party, but on the broad relation of church and state. At the termination of the last session of Parliament, many important offices under government became vacant and how have their places, and the places of others been filled up? The place of Mr. Wood, Lord Grey's son-in-law, who was Secretary to the Admiralty, and a conscientious member of the Church of England, was filled up by Mr. More O'Ferrall, A ROMAN CATHOLIC. Appointments to situations made vacant by the withdrawal of the members of the Church of England, are filled up in a wholesale way by my Lord Melbourne with Roman Catholics. Mr. M. O'Ferrall vacated his office in the Treasury; and who was called to fill it? Why Mr. Wyse, ANOTHER Roman Catholic. And who was Mr. Wyse? A man who had employed all his talents, and they were great, all his time and influence for many years as chairman of what is called the Central Committee of Education. He, a man who had always avowed himself an enemy to the church, is the man chosen to fill up the situation vacated by Mr. M. O'Ferrall.But the hon. Gentleman might rest assured, that all such attacks would turn out signal failures. The country at large was not prepared to coincide with the speeches of the rev. gentleman, nor with the speeches delivered at Canterbury, and elsewhere, by Members of that House. The gallant Member concluded by saying, that he should cordially join in opposing the motion, and he felt convinced he should be in a considerable majority.
§ Mr. Lascelles
said, that the present motion was one which should have his 873 most cordial support. In the course of the present discussion frequent reference had been made to the character and conduct of the Chartists, and he confessed that he thought some of the censures pronounced upon them were unfair. Their minds had been inflamed in the pursuit of objects certainly inconsistent with the maintenance of good order, and of the public peace; but, in his opinion, those who were most loud in their denunciations should remember the proceedings in which Chartism had its origin. In the course of the present discussion, as on former occasions, the right of the people to hold public meetings was most strenuously insisted on, as if any exception to that right had been taken by any Member on his side of the House. There had been no question raised as to the right of the people to hold meetings; but it was one thing to admit this right, and quite another to hold such language as frequently proceeded from the partisans of the Government in reference to that subject. The people were told, that the abolition of slavery had been effected by means of agitation; that other objects of great interest were attained by means of agitation; that the objects which the Chartists had in view were equally praiseworthy as those which he had mentioned, and that it only required equal time and exertion to attain success. If he were at a loss to give any reason why the Members with whom he was in the habit of acting, having hitherto abstained from any motion expressing want of confidence in the Government, should now come forward with a proposition of that nature, he could find it in the speech of the noble Lord, the late Secretary at War. That noble Lord, in the most explicit terms, told the House, that he felt, during the latter part of the period in which he was connected with the Cabinet, that the most respectable of their friends were dropping off day by day— that it was evident they required an increase of strength, not because they stood upon any such foolish doctrine as that of finality, but because they felt the wisdom and the justice of not permitting a further advance in that direction which some of their partisans desired. Now he conceived that such a state of things fully justified the vote in deliberating on which they were then engaged. He cared not what might have been the conduct of the Government in particular cases—he looked 874 to the dangers which beset the country, and the means of resisting those dangers, and he looked in vain to see such means disclosed in the speeches made on the other side of the House, and least of all in the speech which was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Edinburgh; one might almost imagine, from the language which he held, that the object he had in view was, to bring charges against the Conservative party, that they, and not the Ministers, were upon their defence. The right hon. Member for Edinburgh charged them with being in such a condition, that they could not form a Government without re-enacting the scenes of 1829; that they might be good for an Opposition, but that they were not good for a Government, and he instanced the policy which he conceived to be necessary with regard to Ireland. He professed himself unable to understand what doctrines of the Conservative party disqualified them from dealing with the present position of Ireland. He, for one, was prepared to concede a perfect equality of rights, but he would not allow the movement question to gain strength. He would not allow the principles of democracy to be propagated under the garb of religious toleration. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin, who wielded the power of the Romish hierarchy, did he use that power for the purpose of obtaining equal rights? Did he not, on the contrary, direct it against the House of Lords? Did he not use it to obtain an extension of the franchise? Did he not direct it towards the promotion of objects against which the Government were pledged? Surely the House could not doubt, that if the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, came into office, he would labour to carry out the Catholic Relief Act, according to its true spirit: in what respect would it be inconsistent with the sentiments at all times expressed by the right hon. Baronet, to govern Ireland upon principles of general equality? In addition to this regard for the rights of individuals, he thought that the past conduct of the right hon. Baronet entitled him to say, that he would give every possible aid to the establishment of sound commercial regulations, to the establishment of general principles of commercial intercourse, and to the removal of those restrictions. It was not to be inferred from that remark, that he 875 meant to make any specific statement of his own, or of any other person's views on the subject of commercial regulations. He certainly was not favourable to the existing corn law. Some there were who advocated a graduated scale; some were in favour of a fixed duty; between them, and those who contended for total repeal, there was perhaps no great difference. On that point, however, it was not necessary that he should trouble the House with any further observations; but, before he concluded, he wished to express an earnest hope that, in any conflict which might arise out of the present discussion, they would keep out of sight the personal sentiments of the Sovereign. It was true that, in the proceedings of last year, the personal feelings of the Crown were made to take rather a larger share than it was fit they should ever take in political conflicts. He was sure he spoke the sense of the House when he said, that nothing could be more dangerous than any political discussions involving the authority of the Sovereign. It was contrary to all constitutional maxims to use such influence in discussions of that nature, and he hoped that the practice would cease. As to the present Government, he should once more say, that he did not believe they were in a position to carry on the affairs of the country. The Lords were against them, the educated classes were against them, their hands were tied, they were much more incapable of carrying out measures of progressive reform than his right hon. Friend, and the party by whom he was supported.
§ Mr. Handley
observed, that in the third night of a debate in which so little had been charged, though so much had been said, he should confine himself to the course proposed by the hon. Baronet who opened the debate. That hon. Baronet had said, that he felt it his duty, as an independent country gentleman, to exhibit to the country how far the present Government was possessed of the confidence of this House. He thought he had not gone far enough; for, inasmuch as the resolution now before the House, if affirmed, would not only remove the present Ministers, but as a natural consequence, replace them by the Gentlemen opposite, it was his duty to have set forth the claims which they had to recommend them to the confidence of the country. He agreed with the hon. Baronet, that 876 it was time the public were made acquainted with the state of parties in this House. It was high time the public mind was disabused as to the calumnies and gross misrepresentations so rife during the recess; and he thought the country had a right to know whether that portion of the press which was the acknowledged organ of the hon. Gentlemen opposite, correctly represented their opinions. Before the close of the debate, he hoped the right hon. Baronet opposite, the Member for Tamworth, would inform them whether he, who in 1829 passed the Catholic Relief Bill, would now condescend to avail himself of the cry of "No Popery" as a stepping stone to power; how far he justified or denounced the language held by his followers at Canterbury and at Ashton; and above all, on what principles he was prepared to govern Ireland,—whether, as heretofore, as a conquered province, or as an integral portion of the British empire. The hon. Baronet who opened the debate, headed his list of charges against the present Government with the existing Chartist discontents. Indeed, with that exception, there was no other topic in his speech which would not as well have formed grounds for the present resolution in the last Session as now. Notwithstanding the taunts of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, as to the objection of time, he (Mr. Handley) confessed it did not accord with his sense of duty or of prudence, at a period when the Government required the aid of all well-disposed men to put down the outrages against the security of life and property, to select that as the fittest moment to hold the Government up to the country as weak and incapable. Was it supposed that, if the right hon. Baronet succeeded to office, there would be one Chartist the less? With the exception of those whom they might hang, would there be one man less to urge upon the deluded Chartists their destructive principles? Did the hon. Baronet believe that the Chartists, who were in fact the children of discontent, ready to break out into action at a moment of excitement, were peculiar to the present ministry, and to the present time? Did Gentlemen opposite forget the legacy which the Reform Government received in 1830 from the hands of their Tory predecessors, of a state of riot and public excitement, which induced the Duke of Wellington, and the right hon. 877 Baronet opposite, to recommend to the then Sovereign, not to expose his person to the hazard of attending a civic banquet? He did not doubt that the present Ministers, armed with the powers of the law; and aided by the good sense of the people, would put down present disturbances as effectually as they did those. The hon. Baronet had charged the present Government with hostility to the landed interest. Now he took this opportunity of stating in his place, what he had frequently asserted elsewhere, that of all the charges brought against the Reform Government, that was the most unfounded, the most unjust, and the most ungrateful. What measures, he would confidently ask, had been enacted during the half century preceding the accession to office of the Reform Government, that had conferred such substantial benefits on the landed interest as the new Poor-law and the Tithe Commutation Act. Did the hon. Baronet, who now enlarged on the disturbances throughout the country, forget the state of the rural districts in 1830? Did he forget the insubordination which existed amongst labourers, the intimidation excited by stack-yards blazing in every direction, agricultural machinery destroyed with impunity, farmers' servants becoming their roasters, the idle and profligate eating the bread of the industrious and well-disposed, and a poor-rate which threatened to eat up the fee-simple of the land? The Reform Government boldly grappled with the giant evil which their predecessors had shrunk from contending with, and introduced, despite of all unpopularity, the Poor-law Amendment Act, which had read to the labourers the great moral lesson that they must depend upon their own exertions, and the value of a good character: its results were, that the best man now got the best wages, and the poor-rates had diminished to an incredible extent. Did the hon. Baronet forget the hated tithe-waggon,—that enemy to the improvement of agriculture,—which not only carried away the tenth of the produce, but the tenth of the capital, the skill, and the industry of the occupier? and, by the constant bickerings and contentions between the clergyman and his parishioners, did more to undermine the interests of the Established Church, than the introduction of fifty Roman Catholics to the Privy Council, or even the Pope himself. The hon. Baronet had charged upon Ministers, 878 that they had made the Corn Laws an open question. Now, on this subject, he held opinions in concert with the hon. Baronet. He regretted much that many of her Majesty's Ministers took a different view of that question from the one to which he was, on the fullest conviction, attached: but, however he might differ from them, he did not quarrel with them because they had made it an open question, but he should have quarrelled with them if they had made it a government question; for, involving as it did so many and such extended interests, he thought it might be fairly left to the independent consideration of all parties; and he, for one, was willing to rest the case upon the force of reason, of argument, and of truth. But how were they to expect unanimity upon this point in a Government formed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite? Did they forget when a near relative of the right hon. Baronet, the unsuccessful candidate for Devonport (Mr. Dawson), within the walls of Derry, sent up, as it were, a pilot balloon, to discover the current of public opinion on the Catholic question? And could they forget how soon after, the right hon. Baronet, forsaking his "fixed opinions" on that question, turned round and followed the current of opinion, by passing the Roman Catholic Relief Bill? He could not be an inattentive observer of the change of opinion on the Corn Laws which the right hon. relative of the right hon. Baronet, who had been a Member of his former Government, and told his would-be constituents that he should be again, had avowed.—Again, Sir George Murray, a Member of the two last Tory Administrations, and a candidate for office' in the next, had avowed his adhesion to the Manchester Anti-corn-law League. Was this the unanimity which the hon. Baronet promised, if we confided in a Tory Administration?Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.It would be as presumptuous in him—as it would be unnecessary, especially after the masterly and triumphant speech of the Judge Advocate, were he to enter at length into the various measures of Government, but he could not avoid expressing his admiration of that portion of their policy administered by the noble Lord below him, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. The official duties of that noble Lord prevented his appearing much before the public as a Member of that House, but 879 the noble Lord's works were known by their fruit, and that fruit was the peace of Europe. He could not forget, in 1830, the prophecies made elsewhere, that under a Reform Administration, the country could not remain at peace for six months; that prophecy had been repeated Session after Session, only to be refuted by the event. After ten years of a Reform Administration, we still were in the enjoyment of the blessings of peace. He was surprised that the hon. Baronet should have, on this occasion, made the stale charge against Ministers, that they suffered the agitation of one individual in Ireland. "You have," said the hon. Member, "the means of putting him down within yourselves; arm yourselves with the mighty weapon of being in the right, and you will deprive him of the power of doing mischief, even should he have the desire." Before he concluded, he begged to offer a few observations to those hon. Gentlemen with whom he on most occasions, acted. His own political faith was reposed on the sound constitutional views, the abilities, the firmness, and discretion of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies (Lord John Russell). He knew many of his Friends thought he did not advance with sufficient rapidity in the march of progressive reform. He would, however, beg to remind them, this was not a question of detail: the simple question was, would they prefer a Tory Government to the one in power? He called upon all those who were bound together by the principles of the Reform Bill, to unite against the common enemy; and he implored them not by disunion, to resign the great cause of reform into the hands of those who would have strangled it in its birth.
§ Sir A. Dalrymple
wished to say a few words respecting a clergyman of the Church of England, the Rev. James Anderson of Brighton, upon whom the hon. and gallant Captain (Pechell) had made an unmerited, and he thought before he sat down he should show, as unwarrantable an attack, as had ever been made by one man on another. He had great respect for many of his opponents who were residing at Brighton, and he was convinced that no measure that the gallant Officer could have taken would give so great and so universal an offence in that place as the attack he had just made. The hon. and gallant Captain said that Mr. Anderson had made a speech on the 880 subject of the connection of Church and State. That speech was not in the pulpit, but he would venture to say, that he had heard speeches in the House and elsewhere, but he had never heard a more eloquent speech, or one more to the purpose than the speech which was made by that rev. Gentleman. He had made a quotation from Burke, in which Mr. Burke noticed that the connection of the Church and State went to all the institutions of the country, and that it was wound up in the education of the people. The rev. Gentleman thought that the measures now introduced might tend to dissolve that connection. The hon. and gallant Member, before he got up to attack another, should have made himself master of what was said. Mr. Anderson had said that More O'Ferrall, a Roman Catholic, had been appointed to an office in the Admiralty; he then went on to say that the ministerial papers had made a most unjust attack on the Protestant party, with the intention of making the Catholic Relief Bill a dead letter—that Lord Fingall had been in the household of their late Majesties—that the Earl of Surrey had held the same situation —that other appointments had taken place, against which no conservative had made any remark whatever—and he went on to say pretty much what was said by the late Secretary at War last night, that it was the appointments which took place in the summer which caused the alarm. [Cheers.] The hon. Member for Sheffield might cheer, but let him first hear what Mr. Anderson said. He said, that he objected to the appointment of Mr. Wyse, a Roman Catholic, because Mr. Wyse had applied his talents, and they were great, and had used every means in his power to carry forward the principle of education. He then said, that he objected to the appointment of Mr. Sheil, because Mr. Sheil, by his resistance to the law of tithes, had shown himself an enemy to the Church of England. These were the causes of his objections. It might be supposed, from what the gallant Captain had said, that the appointment of Mr. More O'Ferrall had been objected to, merely because he was a Roman Catholic. It never had been objected to on that ground by him or any other conservative. He concurred in the resolution moved by the hon. Member for Devonshire, and he for one would say, that in and out of the House, for these twenty, 881 three years, he was a strong, decided, and strenuous supporter of the right hon. Baronet, that he intended to continue to be so, and that it was on account of his declaring openly, decidedly, and strenuously, that such was his resolution, that the electors of the place which he represented had displaced a supporter of her Majesty's Government.
§ Mr. Sidney Herbert
rejoiced to hear the statement which had just been made by his hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, because it had overthrown the only semblance of attack which had been attempted to be introduced by the hon. Gentlemen opposite, in support of the assertions made last night by the hon. Member for Edinburgh. He could only say for himself in the outset, that he partook in the objection which was felt by hon. Members on his side of the House to these three Roman Catholic Gentlemen, not because they were Roman Catholics, but because of the course they had taken—not from their tenets in religion, but from their opinions in politics. For that reason he objected to them for the same reason that he would object to gentlemen of the established Church if they entertained the same political opinions. He observed that the Members of the Government cheered tonight when it was asserted that it could not be supposed that they themselves were hostile to the Established Church; but, nevertheless, he was compelled to doubt that when he saw them introducing, into a permanent place in the Government, the Gentleman who had not only become one of the loudest in demanding the destruction of the Established Church, but also had been opposed, personally, to the law, by withholding from the Church the tithes which were her due; he put himself forward in inventing a species of patriotism, which consisted in withholding from the Church that which, in common law, and, he would say in common honesty, was her property. He listened with some anxiety to the speech delivered by the hon. Member for Lincolnshire. He was surprised to hear that the hon. Member rejoiced to find that the corn laws had been made an open question. This was the compliment he paid to the present Government, in whom he professed to confide. He confessed that he did not doubt the sincerity of his professions, but he doubted the soundness of his opinions, when he found him taking the trouble to 882 go down to the country to canvass and bring into Parliament a most uncompromising opponent of the corn laws. The right hon. Member (Mr. Macaulay) had gone back to the precedents of former Governments, and had told the House that, under the Government of Mr. Pitt, Parliamentary reform was an open question, and that, under Lord Liverpool's Government, Roman Catholic emancipation was an open question. He did think that in these cases, particularly in the case of the Catholic question, the measure was greatly assisted by being an open question. But would he say that, having seen that the question was carried by means of being made an open question, he had a right to expect that every question to which he was opposed should receive the same assistance? At this moment he thought such conduct in the Government particularly dangerous. It had not been denied that when many opinions were in a state of transition, when the spirit of inquiry had gone abroad, it peculiarly became the Government to exert a moral influence, without which no Government ought to be in existence. However disposed to give fair play to all parties, he still thought it would be an abdication of all their functions if he or any other Member should affect to be neutral at such a time. The hon. Under-Secretary for the Home Department had, after searching for reasons for the outbreak of Chartism, suggested that it had originated in the violent opposition made by certain parties to the Poor Law Amendment Bill. That hon. Under-Secretary might have had the candour to say also, that never within his recollection had he known an instance of an unpopular measure, such as the Poor-law was, being taken so little advantage of by the opponents of the Government in that House. For not only had they abstained from making such a use of it as might render its authors odious, but they actually had suffered themselves to be made partakers in the odium of the measure. Although that law required amendment, he even now felt that the public mind was still too highly excited upon this and other subjects to permit the House with safety to attempt its amendment, and he for one had not hesitated to do his duty week after week watching the operation of the act, and thus incurring the odium and unpopularity which such a course of conduct was sure to bring upon 883 all its supporters. By a comparison of what had been spoken by hon. Members upon the ministerial side of the House, both there and at the elections, with the speech of Mr. Stephens, they appeared to to him to hold Chartist doctrines. [Mr. O'Connell.—Mr.Stephens was no Chartist, he was an anti-poor-law agitator.] He should not stop to dispute with hon. Members opposite as to what constituted a Tory, but, from speeches which he had heard, he should certainly infer that the speaker to whom he alluded was in favour of all those demands which were made by the Chartists considering the present excitement in the public mind, alluded to by the hon. Baronet on a former night, comprising the extension of the suffrage, the vote by ballot, and annual Parliaments, and seeing the country in such a state of anxious agitation on these topics, and combining that fearful consideration with the alarming yearly deficiency in the revenue of the country, he considered it was extremely improper that Ministers should have run the risk of further deficiency, incident to the experiment of Mr. Rowland Hill's Postage Duties Bill. Of the plan and of the ingenuity of its author he highly approved. The plan had merit, but the million of revenue which it appeared would be lost to the public, he thought could not be spared from the public emergency, and he thought it would require no small skill and fiscal ability in the right hon. the Chancellor of Exchequer to substitute some other tax for the purpose of repairing the loss accruing from a measure that was a boon to the higher classes. It would be very difficult to avoid by some new tax putting that upon the poor which had been taken off the shoulders of the rich, or those in comfortable circumstances. It was singular, that this country at a time of peace should be brought so low, and he could only account for it as the consequence of so many expensive commissions set on foot by the existing Government. Without insisting upon the singular coincidence of eight captains in the navy having tried their fortune at eight elections on Government interest, and their consequent appointment by the Admiralty to eight ships, which was no doubt, in some degree, contributive he was disposed to consider those expensive commissions as the parents of those scanty majorities which rendered the situation of Government so precarious, 884 that one day they asserted that they had the confidence of the House, and another day said they had lost it. Such was the conduct of Government, getting support from all classes of Reformers, from the noble finality Lord, down to the famous Mr. Owen, of whose presentation to the Queen he did imagine the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) must have been thinking when he stated that never had a Sovereign of England before been so insulted as her present Majesty. It was matter of rather curious inquiry how Ministers obtained that precarious support, and what were the motives that induced many of those who occasionally supported them to lend them their votes. The question might be thus solved. There was a large party in that House which was an extreme party. The individuals of that party were well aware that to obtain their demands it was better that they should have a weak Government rather than a strong Government. The support those hon. Members gave the Government, must, in the present case be taken to be evidence that these persons did not give the Government their confidence, but did evince their conviction of their weakness. Naturally, when the Government was pressed, they must resort for support to these persons, of whom one of them, with a plain hard hitting wit peculiar to him, had aptly said that he knew the present Government was made of squeezable materials, and therefore he stuck to it. They supported Government for what they hoped to squeeze out of it; but to a Government formed from the opposite side of the House, what could they look for or expect? Nothing but practical reforms, which fell far short of their large demands. The Government of the noble Lord addressed this party in the hour of difficulty, and said, "Don't desert us now; assist us with your vote, and in turn we will assist you."Ibimus utcunque precedes.To the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, the Secretary at War, delivered last night, he was bound to pay a merited compliment for the beautiful eloquence which characterized it; but, whilst charmed by those resounding periods, full of historical research, and containing a philosophical review of every Administration except this one, he had one regret, and only one—that the speech was ended before the subject was begun. In the review 885 taken by that right hon. Gentleman of the policy pursued towards Ireland, he only disagreed with him on one point, namely, that the party acting under the right hon. Baronet's (Sir R. Peel) guidance seemed to be influenced by a desire to repeal the Catholic Relief Bill. He conceived that the much-commended administration of Lord Normanby was only a faint and blameable imitation of the system which prevailed in the days of Orange ascendancy, when the Government was carried on and strengthened by giving an unjust ascendancy to one religious party over another; and in the late government of Ireland the same game had been played, reversing the ascendancy of the Catholic for the Protestant, giving a temporary triumph to jealous bigotry and intolerance. In looking to that country, he, and those with whom he acted, wanted not a Government which dealt out penalty and punishment to the weak and impunity to the strong—which scorned to make democratical encroachment a passport to favour and to place. Whilst he, the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir G. Grey) had confessed he was a reluctant convert to the ballot, the right hon. Member for Edinburgh, forgetting this defection in his own ranks, had taken an opportunity of congratulating himself upon the pregnant causes, as he termed them, of disunion in the ranks of the supporters of the right hon. Baronet, their leader. If the hope of the Ministers were only derived from the prospect of dissension or disunion in the array of opposition, that hope of continuing in office would fail them. They were a strong, compact phalanx, under a leader with whose value they were fully acquainted. They would not look on the Administration which should be constructed and led by him (Sir R. Peel), as the noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland, seemed to look upon the present—a Government which it would be too discreditable to join, but not too discreditable to support—but look to him as that public man who, from his tried principles and able conduct in the service of the State, might be safely depended upon to guard the property and the liberty of her Majesty's subjects, and stand as an insuperable barrier betweeen democratic encroachment and her throne.
§ Mr. Ward
said, he would have left such a matter as that of the rev. Mr. Anderson's speech to be settled between the 886 hon. Member near him (Captain Pechell) and the other hon. Member for Brighton, if the hon. Member for Wiltshire had not given it some degree of importance, by stating that it was the only semblance of a fact that had been offered to show an intention and desire on the part of the conservative party to interfere with the Emancipation Bill. He knew nothing of Mr. Anderson except that he was a most eloquent preacher, and a most excellent man. But with respect to the sentiments he had addressed to his audience on the occasion referred to, he must say, if the religion of the parties against whom he spoke had nothing to do with the strictures which he pronounced, there was a most unfortunate coincidence between the religion of the parties and the appointments complained of. The objection to the hon. Member for Waterford might have been his advocacy of an education plan to which the speaker conscientiously objected. But the hon. Member for Tipperary had never belonged to the central board of education, and therefore was not open to the charge brought against the hon. Member for Waterford. If it was not the religion, what was it that Mr. Anderson objected to in the appointment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Tipperary, to the situation which he now filled. [An hon. Member on the opposite bench said, "repeal]. Well, what was the objection to the hon. Member for Kildare? He had stood most gallantly in the breach against the repeal agitation. He had voted against the motion for repeal in that House, and risked his election by joining with the great majority of English and Scotch Members. He was a gentleman whose talents entitled him to promotion to the office which he now held, and no man in the House would dispute it, except upon religious grounds. But what did Mr. Anderson say? In the first place he disclaimed any design of being influenced by what he called pelf or party, but preferred to speak on the broad relations of Church and State. On these broad relations of Church and State the rev. Gentleman had proceeded to bring grave charges against the Government. He said, that in place of Mr. Wood, Secretary to the Admiralty, a conscientious member of the Church of England, Mr. More O'Ferrall, a Roman Catholic had been appointed. He did not say he was a repealer, or a member of the Central 887 Board of Education, but a Roman Catholic, as if the word implied a complete disqualification for place or power in this country. He did not wish to pursue this case any farther, because it was but one expression of a feeling generally admitted —universally recognized, except in that House where its admission was very inconvenient, and where hon. Gentlemen found it necessary to disavow the degrading, and as he had on an other occasion, called it shabby agitation, by which they endeavoured to profit, until they found that it failed. The hon. Member for Wakefield had never said a truer word than when he observed that both parties in the House were on their trial by the present motion. The motion was an appeal of the Gentleman opposite to the country as to the principles by which the Government was to be conducted. By the result of that appeal those hon. Gentlemen must stand or fall. He congratulated the House that the discussion was placed on intelligible grounds. Nothing however, could be more lame and impotent than the conclusion of the hon. Member for Devonshire—not in itself, for the conclusion was magnificent if it could be arrived at, and one which would change the destinies of the world; but the lameness and impotency were in the grounds on which the change was attempted to be made. The speeches made by the mover and seconder had been well characterised as "two of the most unanswerable speeches that ever had been made, for their was not one word in either of them that called for a reply." And then as to the speech of the hon. Member for Kilmarnock; he had commenced by deprecating the introduction of statistical details, and then overloaded the House with them, but they all proved that the hon. Member ought to vote against the motion, which he said he would support. What did the facts of that hon. Member prove? That their trade was decreasing, and that that decrease was to be traced to the Corn-laws; and yet the hon. Member gave his support to those who, if they formed a government, were pledged to resist any innovation on the existing system. The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke by alluding to him, forced him to take part in the debate. That right hon. Baronet had also alluded to the differences of opinion that existed on that side of the House. Few men had greater power, 888 and still fewer perhaps, would take the trouble of proving, and of giving importance to such trifling matters as those differences. The right hon. Baronet worked out these little matters with a skill that reminded one of the minute carvings in old oak works, and which were unrivalled in modern times. Thus was the right hon. Baronet unrivalled in his art, and he had given them, on the previous night, a very finished specimen of his style. The speech of the right hon. Baronet ranged over many years—ever since he had the honour of a seat in that House. The right hon. Baronet had, amongst other things, adverted to the opinions expressed by him two years ago, on a question upon which he remained unchanged, and respecting which he never would shrink from avowing his opinions, both in and out or that House. He had shown that upon the appropriation principle he was not to be influenced by any party or personal feeling from placing his opinions upon record. He lamented the abandonment of the appropriation principle: but was that a reason why he should favour a motion for bringing back to power those who, when that question was first moved, had always perseveringly and consistently opposed it? Did the right hon. Baronet suppose that he had not common sense. [Cheers]. That was not a very courteous cheer; but if he had anything like common sense, assuredly he would not, when he knew that the right hon. Baronet and the noble Lord near him had, upon his motion in May, 1834, rather than consent to his motion for inquiring into the abuses of the establishment, retired—he could not be likely to concur in a vote which would bring them back to office again. The right hon. Baronet talked about facts—he relied upon facts. Now, the the very facts, and the very things on account of which the right hon. Baronet found fault with the Government, were the very things for which he gave them his support. Why should there be any sort of mystery? It was perfectly well known that there were differences on his side of the House; and he said, that there were greater differences amongst those opposite. The question was, whether they could find a middle point on which they could meet without discredit to any of the party. The very things which the right hon. Baronet made a ground of accusation against the noble 889 Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, were the very things that enabled him with great gratification to find himself again as that noble Lord's supporter. If the same motion that was now brought forward too late, had been proposed last year, he did not know whether he should have voted with hon. Members opposite; but he certainly should not have agreed to a vote of confidence in Ministers. But now that which the right hon. Baronet objected to was the ground of union on that side of the House. They had now found a middle point upon which, without discredit to either section, they could meet. He would be glad to know, if the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley) and the hon. Baronet, the Member for Oxford, had found a middle point on which, without discredit to either section, they could meet? He would be glad to know if the man who carried Catholic Emancipation, and he who told them the other night, on the privilege question, that he had never felt so strongly on any question for eleven years —which was exactly the year 1829—he would be glad to know how these two discovered a middle point? He said, then, that those on his side they had found a middle point, and that was progressive reform. He said, moreover, that it was not that progressive reform such as the noble Lord, the Member for Northumberland, had defined, and which might signify nominal reform, but what they were agreed upon was bona fide progressive reform. Would the noble Lord, who was taking down his words, hear his definition? He said, that the progressive reform which they were seeking was that which the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies could, without the slightest inconsistency, assent to. It came within the very limits laid down by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke. They did not ask of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, to concede any opinion, but he had conceded open questions. The right hon. Member for Pembroke had told them that open questions were only a shuffling mode of avoiding to do that duty which statesmen ought to perform. The right hon. Baronet had quoted Lord Brougham for the opinion, that "they were the means resorted to by statesmen, who preferred keeping their places to the doing their duty." It was his opinion, that in a country like this open questions were a necessary step to 890 every great change. If he wanted a proof of this, he found it in the speech of the hon. Member for Wiltshire, who said, in reference to Catholic Emancipation, that it would not have been carried unless it had been made an open question. What, then, was the inconsistency in a Radical like himself taking that which he thought would be the fastest and the best means of advancing to the object that he had in view? What was the inconsistency in the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, admitting manfully, as he had done in that House, that he could not keep his party together on any other terms; and in thus making that concession, which was a wise, a necessary, and a just concession to the great majority of those with whom he acted. The right hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham) had quoted on the previous night Lord Brougham against the policy of open questions; but unfortunately, it happened that quotations of opinions might be taken from Lord Brougham all directly contradicting one another. It was because the Government had made certain questions open questions, that he gives them his support. It was true, that on these very questions differences might still exist between the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, and himself. Undoubtedly there were— and had he not a right to his opinion— had not the noble Lord a right to his opinion, and no one could doubt his integrity or his ability to fight his own battles? He took that noble Lord's letter to the electors of Stroud, and he there found many objects, in which he honestly concurred. The noble Lord said, he did not oppose having 10l. freeholders in counties. The right hon. Baronet had not brought this as a charge against the Government, because he knew that that would tell in their favour and not against them. Though the noble Lord adhered to the rate-paying clauses, the noble Lord had consented to a better system of registration. Not such a system of registration as the right hon. Baronet said he would consent to, for his propositions on the subject were not those which would be concurred in by the hon. Member for Bridport. The suggestions of the right hon. Baronet were not those that the hon. Member for Bridport could approve of in the Committee. He interpreted then, the words of the noble Lord on this point, in a very different sense from that which was put upon them by the 891 right hon. Baronet. The noble Lord, too, promised to remove the defects in the Reform Bill. He thought that all these were very valuable improvements, and they ought to enlist the sympathy of all who sought for amelioration, and who considered the present state of the country, and who were anxious for the security of person and property, and a due obedience to the law. He did not wish, at that moment, to discuss the franchise question, as he thought it was one both too grave and too great, in the present temper of the times. He thought that there was no man in that House who could doubt that it was absolutely necessary to resort to some measures to conciliate those vast masses of their fellow-countrymen who were placed beyond the constitutional pale — whose passions were excited, exasperated, and embittered by their exclusion from it, and being neglected by them were thus thrown into the hands of some of the most unprincipled adventurers and the very worst of men. There was no man, who was aware of the condition of manufacturing towns, who did not know that Chartism began where the franchise ended. Would they draw a line of demarcation between a slave class and a privileged class? Would they make the barrier between them still higher, so that it would be impossible for them ever to leap over it; and would they suffer the minds of those who were thus excluded to be still exasperated, and their passions to be inflamed! There were three parties in that House, although the right hon. Baronet did not seem to recollect the fact? The third party indulged in the hope, that if they kept the hon. Gentlemen opposite were they were, they might realise some of those objects that they had in view. There was, he could assure them, something very salutary in the air of the benches opposite. They had, for instance, heard from one on the opposite benches, that it would be madness now to think of governing the country upon the old Tory principle, in the old Tory times. He too had himself great pleasure in concurring with the hon. and gallant Member for Lincoln, a good Conservative, in a vote of economy, respecting which vote an observation had been made that night, and hon. Gentlemen he found were proud of the vote, and very justly. The hon. Member for Droitwich had said, that he belonged to a party in that House which was ready to stand, under all the circum- 892 stances, by the institutions of the country. What institutions did hon. Members mean? Did they mean the old or the new? Had time hallowed the Catholic Emancipation Bill in their eyes? Was the Reform Bill already become a sacred institution? Well, if it were so, he could only say, that this change in their sentiments was the greatest encouragement to them—the unhappy Radicals—to proceed. No sooner were changes carried than they became venerable in the eyes of those very people who, up to the last moment had strenuously opposed them. The Reform Bill, he took it, was one of the ancient institutions on which hon. Gentlemen opposite took their stand. What, then, was to prevent him expecting—what from living in the hope that the ballot might become "an ancient institution of the land" in two years? When the noble Lord opposite took an active part in the struggle for the Reform Bill, he had but little idea of seeing himself in the position of which he now stood. He had seen another change —the most eloquent defender of the ballot introduced into the Cabinet. He saw there one, whose talents, and whose genius, and whose powers of mind justly entitled him to have a place in the councils of the land. Without the ballot they should continue to see a great deal of corruption, and a great deal of intimidation every time that elections took place. He believed, that its progress was inevitable, and that they should see not one, but two Cabinet Ministers favourable to the ballot—that they should see the ballot made a Cabinet question, and they should see it carried by that same power which had successfully accomplished many eventful changes, and that in despite of hon. Gentlemen opposite—and then they would see the ballot enshrined with the Test Act, the Emancipation Act, and the Reform Bill, as one of the sacred institutions of the country, over which the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, would be bound to throw his shield. Thus the changes that he saw filled him with hope, for they forwarded the progress of reason and the triumph of truth. Perhaps they were nearer to triumph than even he ventured to hope, or than hon. Gentlemen opposite feared. He believed he must say, that the Government did not deserve the reproach that had been cast upon them of fostering the Chartists. He might be permitted to say, that the right 893 hon. Baronet, the Member for Pembroke, was the last man from whom an imputation of the kind should come. That right hon. Baronet had told them, that the speech of the noble Lord the Secretary for the colonies, had been read at Chartist meetings, and pleaded as an apology for the outbreak at Newport. That speech the right hon Baronet knew was not reported at the time—only some prominent passages of it were published without the qualifications that accompanied them. If the Chartists wanted something peculiarly exciting, they would have gone back to the right hon. Baronet's work on the currency; or they would have looked into his famous speech upon Privy Councillors, which was full of misstatement and inflammatory matter, and which actually was read at Chartist meetings, and received with unbounded applause. Did the right hon. Baronet, too, recollect that "the sponge" was a favourite instrument with the Chartists. Did the right hon. Baronet not know that his pamphlet on corn and currency was a favourite subject with the Northern Star? and that there was a great similarity between the opinions of the right hon. Baronet formerly, and those now professed by Mr. Feargus O'Connor, I he candidate for the West Riding of Yorkshire. It did not then become the right hon. Baronet to be critical and nice in his comments upon public men, because there was not an uniformity of action to be found in them, when circumstances had changed. In spite of his former opinions the right hon. Baronet had been a Member of the Cabinet of Earl Grey, nor would the fact of his Chartist speeches have prevented him from accepting that seat in the Cabinet which was offered to him by the right hon. Member for Tamworth last May. His own opinion was, that for the Radical party in that House, there could be no more complete justification for the vote they were about to give, than the speech delivered on the previous night by the right hon. Baronet. The right hon. Baronet had told them what they had to expect from the two parties. He himself was for a complete change in the Corn-laws— the right hon. Baronet had told them they were not to look for it. They were for the ballot—the right hon. Baronet told them distinctly, that he repudiated the ballot. They were for progressive reform—the right hon. Baronet said 894 they were not to look to him for it. [Sir J. Graham was for progressive reform.] Yes; that was according to the right hon. Baronet's own version of reform, which was similar to that of the noble Lord the member for Northampton, who was, he said, gravitating to wards those on the opposition benches; the "progressive reforms" of both, meant "nominal reform without any progress at all." The right hon. Baronet had next found fault with the colonial policy of the Government. Upon this subject he asked what hopes could they have from hon. Gentlemen opposite, when they knew that in almost all the colonies the Church question caused great embarrassment? Had not the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford admitted that it was the difficulty in the settlement of the affairs of Upper Canada. The colonial question was an additional argument with him for voting against the motion then before the House. He was indebted to the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Colonies, for introducing a most beneficial and useful reform in their colonial system, and for which he had in vain tried to find favour with hon. Gentlemen opposite. The noble Lord had adopted the suggestions of the colonial land committee, for he had appointed a commission to work out their suggestions. He believed that the noble Lord had not arrived at the conviction that an Act of Parliament was necessary. He himself did not know how it was possible to go on without it; he did not think that the noble Lord could stop where he was, but must go on with it. But then he recollected that upon that very committee was the hon. Member' for Newark (Mr. Gladstone), formerly Under Secretary for the Colonies, and that on every division in that committee the hon. Member voted on the opposite side to himself. He had only one more topic to refer to, and that was the religious question, which had been wisely and most effectually tabooed by hon. Gentlemen opposite—it was hardly alluded to. He did not see, as he had expected, the hon. Baronet the Member for Oxford in the front rank; he looked, too, in vain for the hon. Baronet the Member for Kent; while the hon. Member for Kilmarnock, who was a great authority in the North on this subject, made a speech in which there was not the slightest allusion to it. He had one word more to say to the right hon. Baronet opposite. He begged to inform that right 895 hon. Baronet, that when he alluded to him, it was not in reference to the corn-laws, but it was to the religious question —when he took the liberty of enriching his own vocabulary with one of the right hon. Baronet's own words, which was of peculiar signification and richness. The right hon. Baronet had on a former occasion called the Government "the shabby Government," and he himself had called the opposition "the shabby opposition." He so called them because, during the whole period of six months, they, without a symptom or a sign of life on the part of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, or the right hon. Baronet the Member for Pembroke, or of the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire— the three great and leading men of the party —had carried on a system of unprincipled agitation, or they allowed it to be carried on in every town and village in England, reserving to themselves the power, if it did not succeed, of coming down to that House and disavowing all that had been done. They had even in the town of Sheffield the rev. Mr. M'Neile and the rev. Mr. M'Ghee employed and paid in his opinion for that, and retained for the special purpose of being the venders and distributors of every species of calumny and falsehood in the name of the Protestant Church. Hon. Gentlemen had had their way during the vacation, and they must now allow him to give an answer, and to connect that agitation with the Conservative party—he said the leading Members of the Conservative party. At Sheffield there was Lord Wharncliffe, the president of the Reformation Society, by whom these two individuals were received and entertained. The hon. Member for Droitwich had said that he knew of no objection which had been made to the promotion of Catholics as such. If that were the hon. Member's conscientious opinion, he was not very well informed as to the proceedings of his party. The staple commodity of the agitation of that party during the recess was this, that there had been promoted a Papist Privy Councillor, a Papist Lord of the Treasury, and a Papist Secretary to the Admiralty; appointments that it was said were sufficient to draw down the indignation of heaven on this land. He would state this of his own cognizance. There was a Protestant Reformation Society in his own county. Lord Verulam moved one of the resolutions— 896 an excellent man (the hon. Member for Hertfortshire) had presided in the chair on the occasion; but they published an address, in which were enjoined fasts, prayers in public, prayers in private, prayers in the closet, and all to avert the wrath of God, because the right hon. Member for Tipperary had been introduced to the Privy Council. That was not all, for in some of these addresses the Book of the Revelations was quoted, and some of the most abstruse passages of God's word were perverted to make them apply to these miserable disputes. He asked the hon. Member for Droitwich whether he were prepared to support these proceedings. They were told that this was a Protestant Government [Cheers]. What did hon. Gentlemen mean who cheered that expression? Did they mean that there was to be a systematic exclusion of Catholics from power? If they did not mean that, what was their pretext for using the words "Protestant Government"—if they did mean it, did they, contrary to the desire of the right hon. Baronet who carried the measure, intend to tamper with the Catholic Relief Bill? [Cheers.] Hon. Gentlemen might cheer him, but there he left them, impaled on the horns of the dilemma—he left them to justify themselves to the House and to the country at large. They might palter in a double sense, they might attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the country, but if they meant by exclusion that no Roman Catholic was to be admitted into power, because he was a Roman Catholic, let them tell the country so. It was a very fair principle to propound for those who entertained such an opinion. He could understand them, and respect them, but it was not a principle which a statesman, as his right hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh had designated the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, would dare to apply to the practical concerns of this country [Cheers]. The noble Lord opposite cheered this, but he would ask the noble Lord how was the right hon. Baronet to keep his partisans in order? What did the hon. Baronet, the Member for the University of Oxford say? and yet that hon. Baronet would tell the House that he was going to support the vote of want of confidence, and would further tell the House that there was no division on the other side, that there was perfect unity of action, and that they only wanted an opportunity to 897 form the strongest and steadiest Protestant Government. He might multiply instances of this kind. The tactics of the party were to raise the "no-Popery" cry on the hustings, whilst the Catholic Relief Bill was their cry in that House. They all knew that at the election of Newark, when the hon. and learned Solicitor-general was elected, one of the most distinguished of the Conservative party told the people that he was opposed by the Government minions of Popery. But the party had gone farther, and had not suffered royalty itself to escape. They had hinted at some of their meetings at an anti-Protestant Queen, and they talked of the change of dynasty that occurred in 1688. Did the Gentlemen opposite disavow these things? They had been disavowed by the hon. Gentleman to whom the words had been attributed. He gave that hon. Gentleman the utmost credit for having expressed the deepest regret at the injustice which he had done to her Majesty. He would not allude to this subject further. Talk of schisms and divisions on his side of the House, they were nothing like those on the other. On the other side those schisms were much more deeply seated. They were all founded on a religious basis, and that was the worst basis of all. His explanation of that fact was this, that when they came to matters of conscience the judgment was overruled, and there was no option left. There were no errors greater in the history of the human race than those connected with religion which bore upon politics. Were the elements existing on the other side, the great difficulty would be to form a Government which should be entitled to practical support. If he wanted any other reasons than those he had alleged in the earlier part of his speech for the vote which that night he intended to give—he would find them in the course that had been taken by the Conservative party on this question during the last six months. He would not lend himself in any way to the meanness and madness of the policy which a great number of the Gentlemen opposite had adopted. He could not conceive anything more injurious to the honour, the interests, and the safety of England than to attempt to revive the dissensions which he had hoped had been buried by common consent in 1829. If others wished to revive those dissensions—if they wished to draw a new line of demarcation 898 where they were to separate the duties which Roman Catholics and Protestants had to perform in the community, he would not do so. They must not sow the seeds of discord between the two threat sections of the people of these kingdoms, if they wished the country to be powerful and happy, respected at home and abroad. Whether he looked to the Thames or the Indus, whether he referred to the preservation of Newport or to the capture of Ghuznee, he found the Catholic and the Protestant struggling together for the common country. He said distinctly, with a deep feeling, and with an earnestness for which it seemed that Gentlemen opposite were not disposed to give him credit, that on those who interfered with this arrangement, this most wise, most necessary, and most beneficial arrangement, on them rested the responsibility of dragging down this country to the very lowest stage of national degradation and disgrace, until she became the laughing stock of the world.
said, Sir, I had waited till a late period of the evening in the hope that some other than "the first cabinet Minister who addressed the House," would at least have attempted a reply to the lucid, argumentative, convincing speech which was delivered last night by my right hon. Friend near me; because I felt that in the absence of such reply, the ground was cut from under my feet, and because I felt also that in that speech, in itself embodying the principles upon which I, as one of a great body in that House, and of a still greater body out of the House, am prepared to take my stand, our case was made out that this Government is not worthy of possessing the confidence of this House; and whatever may be the result of the division this night, that it stands confessed that it does not possess the confidence of this House. Sir, I wish to speak with every respect of the talent, of the eloquence, of the ability, of the honesty, of the zeal, in propagating and promoting his own opinions of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Macaulay), who attempted to answer my right hon. Friend near me (Sir J. Graham). I will not say who attempted to answer him; for although my right hon. Friend opposite, at the commencement of his speech, said that it was indeed easy to answer, but easier to recriminate, of recrimination he attempted some little in an eloquent essay, but answer in reply to the facts and arguments of my right hon. Friend 899 near me, the right hon. Gentleman never attempted; and without commenting upon the luminous essay, the historical review of the last half century, (with the exception of the five years which are the subject of discussion), of that luminous essay, of that laboured speech, I will say no more than this, that it appears to me a somewhat dangerous course in the present state of the public mind, in the present state of the country, especially at home, that the one cabinet Minister who has yet spoken, that Minister who was last introduced into the cabinet, and who is therefore the last index of the principles of the Government, should have occupied the greatest portion of his speech in a laboured eulogy upon the benefits of agitation. And of what was it that my right hon. Friend's speech was mainly composed? In that speech two great propositions were propounded; first, that agitation was the mainspring of Government, without which no great or useful measure had ever been accomplished; and secondly, that agitation being the maintenance of good government, for the support of a government in which the country could place its confidence, it was essential and desirable that there should be a multitude of open questions. Now, Sir, to carry my right hon. Friend's propositions to their legitimate extent, there is no combination whatever of public men, no possible combination of the most discordant elements—if they were base and mean enough to sacrifice their political opinions for the sake of maintaining or accepting office—that would not be justified in abandoning their political opinions to carry that object into effect. But the right hon. Gentleman has not controverted any of the facts of my right hon. Friend near me. Let the House remember, that up to this moment, the whole statement of my right hon. Friend, the whole of his charges, the whole of his allegations, and of the grounds which he laid for this motion last night, stand unrefuted—yes, more than unrefuted, the whole stands uncontradicted. But although no second cabinet Minister has come forward, another Gentleman — a proximate cabinet minister, no doubt—has this night come forward in support of those whom, three years ago, he charged as a Government with the basest act of political tergiversation of which he had ever heard. That hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ward) came forward, and instead of grappling with my right hon. Friend as I hoped he was about to do, by 900 disputing his facts and repudiating his arguments, he said—"Your facts are my facts: I stand by those facts and assertions, and those facts and the positions you lay down, are the justification of my vote of confidence in her Majesty's Government." My right hon. and learned Friend, the Judge Advocate (Sir G. Grey) in the very able speech which he addressed to this House at the commencement of this debate, a speech which I listened to with the highest pleasure, because, however much I might differ from the opinions expressed in hat speech, those opinions were manfully and frankly stated, because they were stated in a way which I admire, and which in my Parliamentary life I desire to imitate—because they were stated with frankness, and in a manner and with a power worthy of the name he bears—a name which I for one never speak of here or elsewhere without respect; my hon. and learned Friend, at the commencement of his speech, expressed great satisfaction that at length the great Conservative party had departed from the position they had so long occupied—that they were about to try the strength of the respective parties in one great contest at the commencement of the Session, which was to decide whether this or that party was worthy of and possessed the confidence of the House, that he (Sir G. Grey) rejoiced to see them adopting this more manly course, instead of pursuing the course they had adopted of late years of impeding and obstructing the measures of Government in detail. My right hon. and learned Friend seemed perfectly surprised that at no earlier period was this step taken. Now without reference to the speech of the hon. Member for Sheffield, who gave some reason why we should consider that there has been an alteration of circumstances since the last Session of Parliament, for he told the House that if this question had been brought forward last Session, it would have sealed the fate of the Government, for he at least could not have voted with them:—without referring to the altered position of affairs, which in themselves may constitute some reason for diminished confidence, if any there could have been on this side of the House; allow me to say to my right hon. and learned Friend (Sir G. Grey) that I am yet to learn that a great political party is not to exercise their own discretion as to the mode and manner of their opposition to the Government, but that they are to take lessons as to when and how they are to bring 901 forward their measures of opposition from those who are opposed to them. If my right hon. and learned Friend will, however, ask me why we now come forward, and why we have so long hesitated, I will frankly tell him. I will tell him that it has been a constant principle with my right hon. Friend (Sir Robert Peel) and those who act with him, that at no time would they endanger the existence of the Government, or seek to overthrow the Government, unless they were at the same time prepared and, as they believed, able to take the responsibility of their places. I will tell my right hon. and learned Friend farther—that we have watched the growing feeling of the public and of Parliament; and we know, from one change after another—we know, to-night, from the highest authority—we see it every day—we have witnessed it in our counties, we know it from our own neighbourhoods, that, day after day, and month after month, one by one, and two by two, the most respectable and the steadiest adherents of the Government, are abandoning them in the reckless and downward course of policy which they are pursuing. We know the effect that has been produced in England—we know that the eyes of the people are open to the character and conduct of the Administration; we know, indeed, that they See, on the other side of the House, a set of Gentlemen holding office, but we know likewise, that they pant and languish for something that shall be a Government. But I should be sorry that my right hon. and learned Friend should delude himself into the idea, that the cause is to be won or lost by the division of this night. That that division will be lost we know. Do not let my right hon. and learned Friend flatter himself with the notion that the result of this division will produce the slightest alteration in the course which the great Conservative party is pursuing. Measure by measure, step by step, failure after failure we will watch, and we will mark, and we will control the Government. We will support them as occasions may arise and they deserve, (and many have arisen when they were glad) to receive our support. But no consideration shall restrain us in our fixed line of duty as one great united party in this House, from observing their measures, from canvassing their bills, and from obstructing if we please — ay, from obstructing if we please, and from throwing out, as we have done, measures which we believe detrimental to the best in- 902 terests of the country; and while from the commencement of the Session till the end of it we shall perform this important duty, we will leave to others the name, while we are content to wield the authority of the Government. My right hon. and learned Friend came forward and boldly, manfully, and frankly said, "I will meet the motion with a direct negative." Did the right hon. and learned Gentleman invite a vote of confidence in the Government? Why did he not go so far? No, he did not choose to do that; but he met a vote of want of confidence with a direct negative. What is really the plain question before the House? It is this, has this House of Commons confidence in her Majesty's Ministers? An hon. Member whom I do not see in his place, the hon. Member for Carlow (Mr. Gisborne), an independent Member as he himself said, a Gentleman who represents the unpurchaseable constituency of Carlow, the hon. Member who represents the sense of that constituency by so triumphant a majority, that after a scrutiny before a committee consisting of Gentlemen whom that (the Government) side of the House could not suspect of partiality for their opponents, he was at last seated in Parliament by a majority of one; that hon. Gentleman who claims to represent a large and important portion of the community, which great portion of the community is represented by the single unit that gave the majority:— what said that hon. Gentleman? He said that "he came forward to vote in opposition "to the motion of the hon. Baronet (Sir J. "Y. Buller); but let it not be by any means "supposed from that, that he placed confidence in the Government. Quite the contrary: he gave a negative to the vote of "want of confidence, but he by no means "meant that to imply confidence in the Government." Sir, I tell the House frankly, and I tell the country frankly, that the question to be decided upon this night is, not whether the Ministers possess the confidence of this House, but whether the House shall retain the Ministers in office or not? Whatever may be the result of this night's division—whether there be a majority of 5, or 10, or 15, or 20, or 30, I care not, because I say that the great importance of this debate and of this division is, that at the commencement of the Session parties may stand unmasked and placed before the country; and that the country shall know not only that the Government is supported by a bare majority in the House of Commons, but that the 903 country should also know upon what grounds, and by what assistance, and by whose co-operation, and with what future expectations the Government is kept in office, while it is debarred from, power. Now what, I would ask, is the meaning of the term parliamentary confidence? In my opinion the first requisite towards it is a general concurrence in the principles upon which the Administration is to be carried on; and to this end it is obviously necessary that Parliament, should know what those principles are. Nay, more, the idea of confidence involves a belief in the mind of the country in the superior sagacity and foresight of those by whom the public business is carried on—a belief in their firm adherence and reliance on their own principles, and their determination to push forward what they know to be right; and steadily and uncompromisingly oppose what they believe to be dangerous. All these ingredients are necessary to confidence, and if this is the true definition of it, that it combines an assent to certain fixed principles with a knowledge of what those principles are, and a general reliance on the sagacity and firmness with which those principles will be adhered to and carried out, insomuch that no considerations should induce them to do what they believe to be dangerous, or to forego what they believe to be right, and that rather than succumb in either of these respects, they would resign office—then I ask, if this is the true definition of confidence, how many are there in this House who can hold up their hands and say that they place confidence in her Majesty's present Administration? Why, if the question were to be asked in the country, it would be laughed at. You may find many men who will say we wish to retain the present Ministers in power, not because we place confidence in them, but because we believe that they are men whom we can push forward to do anything we like. In fixed purpose and unity of principle, in the name of heaven, what are they? There are three questions in agitation at the present moment in the country, of as great importance as any which could occupy the attention of any government. The first is, that of the extent of the franchise, that is, the principles and limitations under which the subjects of this realm should be admitted to a voice in the constitution of the Legislature. The second is, in what manner that voice or franchise should be exercised, whether with the responsibility which publicity incurs, 904 viewing the franchise as a public trust, and a great responsibility on the electors, no less than on their representatives. The third is the laws and restrictions regulating, in a complicated state of society, the supply of a swarming population with the articles of necessary consumption. On these three questions, I say, if we are to place confidence in any set of public men, we have a right to know what their opinions are. Yet is there, I ask, a single individual in the Government, or in or out of this House, who is able to say this or that is the opinion and the view of Government upon any one of these three subjects. And if we have not any means of learning what are the sentiments of Government upon these subjects, why should we give to them a blind, indiscriminating confidence, which could only be justified by finding men with the best means of information, and a large share of experience upon any particular subject, bound and united in one view of the policy to be taken in respect to it. Now, can any one pretend to say what are the views of Government upon the subject of the Corn-laws? I should like to hear in succession the explanations of the different cabinet Ministers of what they considered to be the views of Government upon this subject. There is one Gentleman, I believe, who is in favour of an absolute protection—no, I am not sure that there is any such Gentleman now in the cabinet. [An hon. Member, Lord Melbourne.] Yes, Lord Melbourne— the head of the Government in another place, stated so last Session, but really to say that the Government entertains any opinion on the subject now, would be impossible. It is not easy to carry in one's mind the opinions expressed by particular individuals, but when we find that every shade of opinion has been avowed by different Members of the cabinet, it is impossible to say that, as a cabinet, it views the question either in one light or another. All I know is, that the noble Lord at the head of the Government said, that the scheme of a free trade in corn was one of the wildest and the maddest he ever in his life had heard of; and then, as the very last act of his Government, the noble Lord takes into his Cabinet a Gentleman who says, that he is for sweeping away all restrictions upon trade; but on that of corn in particular. Now I can understand a Government laying down a broad principle, but as to details, saying, "We will not bind ourselves to lay them down absolutely, and make it 905 a principle of our Cabinet, that the price of corn in our scale shall be a shilling more or a shilling less," but I cannot understand a Government, the Members of which embrace such contradictory principles. As my right hon. Friend near me said yesterday, "we are for affording protection to the agricultural interests, and that by a duty falling as the price of corn rises, and rising as the price falls." This is a fixed intelligible principle, which all men can understand; and that principle being once declared, all the farmers and every man connected with the landed interest in the country knew on what they have to rely —whereas now they know not whether they are to have any protection at all, or, if any, they know not what the nature of it is. Now as to ballot. Is not the question, whether open or secret voting is to be adopted, one of the very utmost importance to the State? I believe there is no Gentleman on the other side of the House who has denied the importance of this subject. But what do I find? The noble Lord declares, that he considers secret voting to be dangerous and unconstitutional—that it will lead to universal suffrage—and, in its consequences, be ruinous to the State; and yet what course does he pursue in respect to this very question? He has affixed no mark of reprobation upon the Members of the Government who have supported the ballot, but, on the contrary, has studiously selected for the last admissions into his Cabinet, Gentlemen who frankly tell him that they have always been in favour of the ballot, that they are so still, and that they intend to use their influence in the Cabinet to counteract a principle which the noble Lord declares to be essential to the constitution, and to introduce another principle which he believes to be dangerous and destructive. I come now to the third question, the extension of the suffrage, and here we have the authority of the hon. Member for Sheffield, who says. "I will now give you a definite principle." I confess I opened my eyes at this speech, coming from such an authority as one whom recent events had converted and made him part and parcel of the Government. The hon. Member said for the Government, that their principle is that of progressive reform: and said further, that this was a principle upon which all Gentlemen on this as well as on that side of the House could agree. No doubt about it. The principle is so wide that there is not one of the Chartists throughout the coun- 906 try who might not, with complacency, take his seat by the side of her Majesty's Government, and give them all the support in his power, because he, like them, is prepared for progressive reform. But the hon. Member says, "Oh, we have a middle point—the point of progressive reform;" and he turns round on my right hon. Friend near me, and says—"You are prepared to alter the mode of registering voters, you are, therefore, for progressive reform." [Mr. Ward: No, no.] Oh, no indeed! That is not the real bona fide progressive reform of course. That is not the real bona fide progressive reform which scared from the Government my noble Friend the Member for Northumberland. I know my noble Friend well—I know his opinions, and I know that it must be a long time before any Government could take so extreme a course as to alarm my noble Friend. And with that knowledge, it was with mingled feelings of satisfaction and alarm that I saw my noble Friend depart from the Administration, scared by their baneful principle of progressive reform; —satisfaction that my noble Friend had t last found it time to tell the country that further he could not go with the Government,—that, liberal, indeed Radical, as are the opinions of my noble Friend, he had, at last, reached the termination, the ullima Thulé, of his ideas, and alarm at the nature of those contemplated measures, which could cause my noble Friend, like too many of his predecessors, to be shelled off with those who, however far they were inclined to go, dared no longer to follow the downward career of the chariot of progressive reform. Of all the positions in which a Government and a country can be placed, this I consider the most dangerous. I would rather see a Government entertaining the most extreme opinions, honestly telling us what those opinions are, than see one, in which every shade of opinion is included, held together in uncertain and motley array by the one principle of progressive reform—a Government which, it is true, does not alarm the country by the extremity of its measures, but into which, month after month, a greater and greater infusion of Radicalism is poured, and of which, whilst every Member declares himself to be for progressive reform, not one single Member will tell how far he does go, or what specific measures he is prepared to support. I cannot conceive a situation fraught with greater danger to the country, nor a Government which so little deserves 907 the confidence, or ought so much to excite the distrust, of all reasoning and sound-thinking men. But suppose it admitted that the principle on which the Government professes to act ought to be well known; there is, or I am much mistaken, another element necessary to confidence, viz., a reliance on the foresight, prudence, knowledge, and sincerity of the component Members of the Administration themselves. I wish that, on this point, I could pause, but there is a lamentable instance which has occurred within a short time which will show how much reliance is to be placed on the prudence and foresight of the Government, and that, too, in relation to a point on which they have particularly piqued themselves, viz., their forbearance, their mercy, their leniency, their absence of prosecutions, by which, they fondly imagined, they had put down even the shadow of disaffection in this country. The hon. and learned Gentleman, the Attorney-general, when he visited his constituents a few months ago, in a speech enumerating the merits of the Administration, told them that, owing to the course which they had pursued—a course so different to that taken by the Tory Administrations—Chartism Lad vanished from the land, and that discontent had passed away. He told them that leniency and absence of prosecutions had produced their expected effects, and that Chartism was known no more. At the very moment when the Attorney-general had uttered these memorable words, he stood on the crater of a volcano, then asleep, but which was soon to burst forth with overwhelming violence, and within one month after the delivery of that speech, that Attorney-general was himself prosecuting, for the highest offences of treason, no less than twenty-one of the many thousands of misguided men who had broken out, on no pretence of distress—on no question of absence of work—on no ground of want of wages—but who, misguided and misled by political agitators, burst forth into open revojution—had attempted, and, had it not been for the providence of God and a tempestuous night, would probably have succeeded in demolishing and sacking a peaceful town in the heart of England. Was this the extinction of Chartism? Was Chartism extinct then? Do you believe that it is extinct now? It was not. It might be slumbering, but it lived throughout the country. When it would rise again no one knew. Such was the result of the direct and unfortunate encourage- 908 ment which the fatal policy of the Government had given to it. The Government had the insurrection at Newport—they had the outbreak at Sheffield—they had the disturbances at Bradford—they had the troops under arms, the police called out, the troops prepared as if about to enter into an engagement; and where—where was this? In the very heart of the metropolis of England. And all this within four months after the boast of the first law officer of the Government that, by the sagacity and foresight of that Government, Chartism was dead, and discontent had passed away. But there is another main ground for a nation's confidence in a ministry—that they will not flinch from what they think necessary to be done, but peril their possession of office rather than neglect it. I grieve to say that, from the moment Lord Melbourne's Ministry was first formed to the present hour, the Government of this country has lived in popular opinion not on what it has done, but what it has undertaken to do, and knowing, at the same time, that it cannot do. The more certain the measure to be defeated, the better adapted has it been to their purpose; and they have gladly adopted it as the standard topic which should last them for a Session. Thus they have created a stock in trade of good intentions, which, being successively defeated, they said immediately, the Tories had obstructed all their good measures, and then some new Jack-a-lan-tern scheme is put forward, to delude the country into a new supply of confidence. On what, I ask, did the present Government come into power? Upon a pledge which to this hour they have never fulfilled, which they themselves have abandoned, and that upon a principle which they declared to be essential to the welfare of the country, sooner than not sustain which, the noble Lord said that he would not sit an hour in his seat in Parliament without displacing any Administration who should attempt to carry on the Government of the country without it. On this principle the noble Lord took office, and where, I ask him now, is the appropriation clause? Do I condemn the noble Lord for abandoning it? No. I know he would have carried it, if he could; but I do condemn him for founding his Government upon it—for having made the carrying of this principle the means of obtaining that support from the country which enabled him to throw out the Government of the right hon. Baronet; and for the sake of obtaining a poli- 909 tical object, adopting as a fundamental principle of his Government, one which, retaining office, he was afterwards compelled to abandon. I state this merely as one instance; there are many more—some of greater, others of less importance, upon which her Majesty's Government has come for ward with measures, and, disclaiming any particular bent on one side or the other, have said, with respect to them, that they merely wished to feel their way, and take the sense of the House upon the principle involved. Now, this is not the course which Government should take. An individual Member may come forward, introduce a measure with the view of taking the sense of the House upon it, and, after ascertaining that that sense was not in accordance with his own, withdraw it without the slightest blame to himself. But I say, that a Government ought to know its own mind and be able to carry its own measures. I say, that if they consider those measures necessary, they should maintain and persevere in them; if not, they should not bring them forward at all. I must say, I was astonished to hear the answer of the noble Lord, the Secretary for Ireland, to a question put to him by an hon. Member on this side of the House. The House is aware, that last year the noble Lord came down to ask an advance of 2,000,000l. in furtherance of the establishment of railways in Ireland— no doubt a very laudable and beneficial project; but, at the same time, it might have been a question whether, considering the finances of the country, that sum of money would have been most properly applied in the way proposed. However, the noble Lord obtained a majority; and then, upon an intimation of my right hon. Friend, as though he thought that sum of money might, by possibility, be much better applied in some other manner, the noble Lord withdrew his railway project, and now contents himself with talking of the good intentions of the Government which have been frustrated by the opposition. And what has happened in the course of the present Session? An hon. Member, asked the noble Lord — Do you intend to bring forward any measure on the subject of Irish railways? To which the noble Lord, in reply, said—I should like it very much—I think it very desirable; but I should like to know what hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House think about it, and then I shall be prepared to tell the country Whether I shall propose such a measure or 910 not. And this is a Government, and this they call conducting the affairs of the country! I recollect well, when I formed a part of Lord Grey's Administration, that a measure was brought forward by my Lord Althorp, to give relief from what was considered to be a great grievance, namely, the operation of Church-rates; and I believe, that when I quitted that Administration, one of the last things said to me was, you will of course support this measure out of office as you did in. Without the slightest hesitation I said, "Of course, I thought it a right and a proper one, and I think so still; I shall support it." The measure was brought forward; leave to bring in the bill was obtained by a large majority, but there it ended. Since then, there certainly has been a great outcry by her Majesty's Government against the grievance of church rates; but from1 that moment to the present they have never done any thing in the matter. Have they attempted anything? Yes, they brought forward another project. I will not enter into the question how the ecclesiastical commission was broken up; but a project was brought forward by Government, avowedly, for the purpose of doing away with church-rates, and supplying the deficiency by a new arrangement of ecclesiastical property. The measure was brought forward by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, who at the same time fully explained his views and the details of the plan by which he intended to carry it into effect. It was carried by a small majority but so threatening was the aspect of the House, that the convenient course of all weak Governments was adopted — that course which is ever adopted by those who wish to shift responsibility from themselves to somebody else—they sent the bill to a select committee to be inquired into by that tribunal. What was the consequence? Just what might have been expected. The plan was sifted, its calculations blown into air, and from that hour to this the measure has wholly disappeared. Now, Sir, for the last three years there has been a subject most pressing in its nature, and on which the Government has declared that it was necessary to legislate—I mean the subject of the Joint-stock banks. What has been done upon it? If there be one question which a Government ought to take up above another it is this. Well, year after year it has been referred to a committee; committee after committee has sat upon it; through successive years they have received evidence, they have made reports; but not 911 a single step has the Government taken in the matter. Look likewise at their conduct with regard to the bank of Ireland. The late Chancellor of the Exchequer determined to renew the charter of that bank, and, as a Member of the Government and responsible for the finances of the country, he pledged himself that this was an advantageous and desirable course? What happened? The subject was postponed day after day, and week after week, till the end of the Session; and then, through the opposition of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, who reposes so much confidence in the Government, by repeated divisions, and merely by wearing out the Ministers by delay, the Government was compelled to abandon that measure, the loss of which the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer, now a Member of the other House, declared would cost the country 20,000l. a-year. Really, I am ashamed of going through such instances of dereliction of duty: but I am endeavouring to show whether, in foreseeing or preventing danger—whether, in acting on their own principles or carrying through their own measures—they are entitled to the confidence of the House. Now I will take an instance of their steadiness of resistance to a measure which they believed to be dangerous. I will take the measure of Post-office reform. And when I use the term resistance to what they knew and believed to be dangerous, I say that so monstrous a proceeding was never known before amongst claims for services not rendered as that claim to a temporary, short-lived popularity, put forth by the Government on the ground of having carried the Penny-postage. Why, it is notorious to every man, that when the "pressure from without" became intolerable, the Government entertained that proposal, which the Postmaster-general declared to be so wild and impracticable that he would not listen to it for a moment, and according to their ordinary practice, appointed a select committee to consider Mr. R. Hill's plan of Penny-postage. What happened? Three Members of the Government actually served on that committee from first to last, and from first to last we find those Members of the Government voting on every division in the minority—succeeding in throwing out the Penny-postage plan, and substituting a Twopenny-postage, which, when it came to be discussed in the House, was repudiated by all parties. And then, forsooth, after the plan was examined by the Mem- 912 bers of your own Government, after evidence was taken before it, after you declared your conviction that it would be dangerous to the revenue, because a temporary popularity was to be gained, you adopted the proposal which you fought and combated in the committee, and you now claim for yourselves the confidence of the country on account of that "great boon, Mr. R. Hill's plan of the Penny-postage." Did you know this to be a beneficial measure, or did you believe it to be a mischievous one? Did you believe that in passing it the finances of the country would be safe, or did you not? If you did believe so, and thought you could safely undertake it, and that it was a beneficial measure, which ought to be adopted, you should, having first well considered it as a Government measure, and not yielding to clamour, have brought it forward on your own responsibility. But if you were of opinion that it would be dangerous to the finances of the country, you ought sooner to have abandoned your offices—you ought sooner to have waived any personal consideration rather than be driven to endanger the resources of that country of which you are the responsible Ministers. I tell you this, that you would have found (had you taken that ground), as you have done on former occasions, support from your political opponents; and had you honestly told us that the condition of the revenue was such that you durst not hazard this new, untried, and dangerous experiment, you might have safely thrown up the Government, for no set of men would be found bold enough, or rash I enough, or dishonest enough to take it. I have stated my notion of what is requisite to confidence in a Government. I say too, with all respect, that if there be any term in the English language the opposite of confidence, it is contempt; and if there be an epithet (it is not mine) which, when applied to an administration, in regard to its principle, firmness, and integrity, is indicative of such a feeling, it is that applied to the present Government by some who will vote confidence in it tonight, and who declared that you were formed of "squeezable materials." I ask you what that epithet means? I tell you it means that you dare not hold to what you believe to be right, and that you will not resist what you know to be wrong: but that, bit by bit, and little by little, you will suffer yourselves to be importuned and overcome by the ominous and. formidable argument, "we are seven" 913 —to be driven from this position, and from that in the course of "progressive reform," and to be left no principle to take shelter under, because, according to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ward), you are joined with him in that "course of progressive reform." What says the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield? "What we want is progressive reform, real bona fide, practical measures of reform. We have obtained (now mark this) since last year this important step—we have made the ballot an open question, and we have thus succeeded in compelling the administration to yield to us the principle, that there shall be open questions." "Open questions," says the hon. Gentleman, "are a necessary step to every great change." So says also the noble Member for Stroud. The concession on the subject of the ballot must lead to an extension of the suffrage, not to any definite extension, but to universal suffrage, e confesso by the argument of the noble Member for Stroud. "Open questions," says the hon. Gentleman, "are the necessary prelude to the carrying of every great question." How goes on the argument of the hon. Member for Sheffield?—"You have this year conceded open questions; next year you must make the ballot a cabinet question; before two years that question will be a matter of history and you cannot help, in the 'course of progressive reform,' granting us the climax to our radical aims (which means changes to an extent as far as ingenuity can conceive, or the wit of man devise), with no resting place short of a national democracy. This is the condition on which we join you." And I must say, that the hon. Gentleman and those who think with him, are consistent. But how great is the inconsistency of the noble Member for Stroud! and what is the excuse, what the apology, deemed all-sufficient by the hon. Member for Sheffield, for a departure from avowed principles? Because, truly, without such a departure the noble Lord could "not keep his party together." Now, Sir, let the House and the country know on what ground it is that confidence is about to be voted this night. It is not a confidence in the firmness—it is not a confidence in the character—it is not a confidence in the principles of the Government—but it is a confidence entertained by those who are wedded to extreme opinions, that step by step, and bit by bit, and inch by inch, you will be driven from one position to the other in the course of "progressive reform," until 914 you stop—none of you can say where— but, as must be necessarily concluded, at the abolition of our form of Government. I hold in my hand another illustration of this confidence. I hope I shall not offend the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, by recurring to a speech of his. The hon. and learned Gentleman is not in his place, but the passage I mean to read is not one for which I intend to impugn his conduct, or charge upon him the slightest inconsistency. In 1836, this friend and ally of the Government, who places great confidence in them, as they place great confidence in him, says, in a speech delivered in Dublin, "I am for a reform of the House of Lords, and, as a means of obtaining that end, I am for universal suffrage. I am for the ballot and doing away with property qualification," The Under Secretary of State has to-night given his adhesion to this view. "Now," says the hon. Gentleman, "I am for the Whigs, although they don't go the whole way, but when I get them to a certain point, I will bring them the rest of the way with me." So says the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, and is there any Member of the Government who has stepped forward in this discussion and said, "Here are our principles, so far we are ready to go as a Government; but any ulterior change we will resist to the utmost of our power?" Not one. Now, I want to know of what party in this House or in the country, the present administration commands the confidence? I need not ask if it have the confidence of this side. In the sense in which I use the word, I think I may safely ask, has it the confidence of the other side? Have the Ministers the confidence of the landed interest? Have they the confidence of the advocates of a free trade in corn? They have, I admit, the confidence of the latter to this extent, that in each fresh accession to the Government, they see themselves gaining more and more strength, and they have just the confidence which is derived from counting votes in this united cabinet. Have the Ministers the confidence of the clergy? [Loud Laughter.] That shout is the answer. It is a supposition too monstrous to be heard of. Have you the confidence of the constituencies of England? [loud cheers.] The answer to that cheer is the representation of England. Well, a majority of the representatives of this part of the United Kingdom do not give their confidence to her Majesty's Government. But, say 915 the Government, we have the confidence of Ireland. Now, have you the confidence of Ireland? Through what organ do you derive that knowledge? You have it is true, the confidence of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin "the representative of all Ireland." But how far is he disposed to repose it in you? He knows how to mould you to his purpose, to make you the instruments to accomplish his end; and he makes a boast, that if you, his instrument, be removed from office, so far are you from having the confidence of the Irish people, that let him but hold up his finger, and he will have 500,000 fighting men ready for resistance. And to resist what? The exercise of the prerogative of the Crown, if her Majesty should think at to exercise it in compliance with the voice of the English representatives. And you boast of the tranquillity of Ireland, and speak of it as being now in a safe condition! Do you believe this or not? Do you believe that it is so, while there is a man in Ireland who, on holding up his finger, can raise 500,000 men in rebellion? I say rebellion, for I know not how the leader of 500,000 fighting men can be "ready to die in the field" rather than admit his opponents to power, without incurring at least the penalties of rebellion. But I say, if that be the state of Ireland—if you believe that Irish tranquillity depends on such a precarious issue, what a fearful responsibility do you incur to the country for withdrawing from Ireland, and boasting that you have done so, that military force, which, under all circumstances, you may expect to be faithful to the Crown, and leaving the country in the hands of those who have told you, through their organ, that they have but to hold up their finger to kindle a rebellion! Sir, the hon. Under Secretary of State has told us that we should not speculate on the future, but look to the past; and he invokes the confidence of the English people and of this House, in consideration of the prosperous state in which the present administration has placed our affairs. Well, let us look to what they have done. They have now held the reins of Government five years, and at the expiration of that time I ask you (without going into all the questions which present themselves) to consider the great sad important interests which are now at stake, and what is their perilous condition. I ask you to look abroad, and take the department of the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Look at the 916 miserable condition of Spain for the last six years, caused in a great measure by your half and half interference in the sanguinary struggle, the termination of which forms an admirable commentary on the whole of the noble Lord's proceeding; for when he was asked whether the Government took any part in the Bergara Convention, he answered, that he could not say that our Government was a direct party to the treaty, but he admitted, that the officers of her Majesty did everything in then power, and under the direction of the Government, to carry forward the views of the Spanish Government. Let us look to the affairs of the East. That question may or may not be amicably settled. I know not in what position it may be now. I have not the information of the noble Lord, but the state of things there is such, that all Europe looks to it with anxiety, alarm, and apprehension. Look at the affairs of India, and the Judge Advocate-general taunted us the other night with not venturing in this debate to allude to the affairs of India. No man can admire more than I do the gallantry and intrepidity of our troops. No man can rejoice more at their signal success, proportionate as it was to their almost desperate exertions: but this, I know, that though you have gained your victory, you have not settled the question of your policy. I am aware, that you have carried your military point, but I question the policy of your invasion of Affghanistan, and which dictated your march to Caubul, leaving your army at so great a distance unsupported. [Sir J. Hobhouse: Not unsupported.] I rejoice to find so; but the estimates will show at what cost. I know very well that you were compelled in the course of these operations to violations of solemn treaties. I know that you violated your treaty with Persia, by taking part in the internal affairs of Affghanistan, and that you violated your treaty with the Ameers of Scinde by storming their capital and I doubt whether you are justified even by success (I don't speak of your partial and temporary success) in the course you have taken as a question of permanent and settled policy. I fear, I confess, that it will lead to interminable difficulties. What has been the first step after your proceeding? Russia has taken a leaf out of your hook, and advanced to Chiva., as you have gone to Candahar; and at this moment when the two. powers are filled with mutual jealousy, and when commercial interests for constant sources 917 of difference, you have destroyed the independence of those territories which formed a barrier against the encroachments of both nations. I certainly cannot approve a policy the only successful part of which has been the brilliant achievements of our troops. And if the recent news from India be true—if it be the fact that our army after their conquest on their march back to our own dominions, were again recalled to secure Shah Soojah on the tottering throne, his possession of which, within a few days of their evacuation was again threatened by Dost Mahommed; if this be the case, and that, fatigued and harassed as the soldiers were, they had been obliged to retrace their steps to restore the puppet monarch of your creation to the throne, then—[Sir J. C. Hobhouse: It is not the fact.] He rejoiced that it was not so. Unlike the right hon. Baronet, he had no access to official information, his only source was that which was public to all; and the right hon. Baronet must be aware, that such had been the latest public reports. [Sir J. C. Hobhouse: I saw such a report in a Limerick paper.] I am sorry, that the right hon. Gentleman throws discredit on anything that comes from that country. But if the case of India, was bad as against her Majesty's Government, and disentitled them to the confidence of the country, in what condition can they be said to stand in that respect as regards our relations with China? The trade of India with China in opium was not alone put an end to, but more than three millions' worth of the property of British merchants had been confiscated. The trade in tea with this country is stopped, and the most serious consequences to our commerce are apparent. This her Majesty's Ministers have done, or assisted to do. But, to crown all, they have completed the country's loss and our degradation in that quarter of the world, by giving a double triumph to the Chinese authorities—first, in permitting them to set our power at defiance, and secondly by allowing them to defeat our military and naval force. I should wish to know whether the proceedings which have taken place were the result of furnished instructions. [Sir J. C. Hobhouse: The Minister responsible for them is not present.] But, I suppose in this united cabinet one Minister can answer for another. The question whether we are at war is not, I presume, an open question. You have consulted on this subject, you have taken a 918 cabinet decision on it; and I ask any Member of it to tell me distinctly whether you approve or disapprove—sanction or disown —the proceeding of Mr. Elliot, and how you mean to deal with those British subjects, who, in obedience to your command, have incurred severe losses of property? I won't go through the colonial questions. Fortunately, there is one colony to which we can look with unmitigated satisfaction. We can look to the triumphantly satisfactory reports which come day after day, and week after week, from the colony of Jamaica. There is nothing but harmony between the Governor and the Assembly— nothing but praise from the Assembly of the happy manner in which their differences have been adjusted—and nothing but the most steadfast resolution expressed to carry into effect the provisions of the Emancipation Act, to deal justice between man and man, and to co-operate with the Governor in silencing the voice of discontent. And this was the legislature which you were about to sacrifice on the plea of necessity, and which we prevented you from sacrificing. The noble Lord has told us this year—within the last fortnight—that justice is not done. If justice be not done, and if we defeated that measure— if we prevented the noble Lord from the great object of justice being done—why is the noble Lord responsible for the conduct of affairs in the colonies when he confesses that our obstruction was the cause? But if justice be done—if affairs be prosperous — if there be little or no discontent-do not let the noble Lord refuse this side of the House the credit of having, at least, for once beneficially obstructed his course. The noble Lord at the head of the Government, has told you that you must be prepared to make a great effort, or submit to see this country sink in the scale of nations. Sir, under all these circumstances, with Chartist conspiracy at home—with all those great questions causing apprehension abroad —with the dispute, the long-pending dispute, relative to boundary remaining unsettled with the United States—with the aggressions of the French upon Monte Video—with the constant increase of the French navy—I ask what is the position of this country at this alarming conjuncture? Are you prepared to make a great struggle, or are you prepared to allow the nation to sink in the scale of nations? You are prepared to make a great struggle: then I ask where and what are your means of doing so? I ask you, with all these cir- 919 cumstances surrounding you — with all these dangers threatening you abroad and at home—in what state, under your management, are the finances of the country? You have been in power for five years, and for the last three of those years during a period of entire peace; you have had a constantly increasing deficiency and a constantly augmented expenditure. You have had this not with a decreasing, but with an increasing income, and in a time of profound peace. Such has been your management. In three years you have accumulated a debt of somewhere about three millions. In 1838 you had a deficiency of 1,400,000l.; in 1839 your deficiency was 425,000l., and the estimates of the deficiency for the present year are not less than a million. And the quarter which is to close that financial year is the first quarter in which you experience your new operation of the penny post. I ask, in this state of the country, in this state of the revenue, with your Indian trade cut off, your Indian revenue cramped by the loss of your opium trade, your domestic revenue damaged by the loss of your tea trade—how, and by what means are you prepared to meet the exigencies you must encounter, if you continue to conduct the Government, and keep England her rank in the scale of nations? The sacrifice of the Post-office revenue was an indefensible sacrifice under all these circumstances. But you tell me the House was pledged to make good the deficiency that might arise. I say on this side we scorn, we repudiate that pledge, and your own supporters laughed at your scheme when you proposed it. But when you come down here to ask for new taxes to make good your deficiency, I ask simply— where are you to get them? Have the House of Commons sufficient confidence in you to vote them? If not, in what state do you leave the revenues of this mighty nation? Sir, I am aware I have trespassed too long upon the time of the House, yet there is one question which I was most desirous to avoid, but which the observations of the hon. Gentleman force me to advert to. I mean the religious question. Now, at the outset, I make no hesitation whatever in declaring my strong and fixed principle to be, that, since the passing of the Emancipation Act, not only have I had no desire, but I would not consent to be a party to the repeal of that act. Also there is no Gentleman in this House who will go farther in carrying that act into full and 920 practical operation. That Act admitted a large class of her Majesty's subjects into full and fair participations in all civil rights; and I, for one, will not be a party to depriving them of those rights. When the hon. Gentleman seeks to connect the great body of the party on this side of the House with those extreme opinions which he says he has heard—when he talks of speeches we have never even heard—I say I never heard one of those speeches. I, indeed, on one occasion, and on one only, met one of those Gentlemen who, I believe, have been particularly alluded to—I mean the Rev. Mr. M'Neile; and I am bound to say that a more eloquent, sincere, and moderate speech, and one more free from bigotry, and one in which I could more readily concur, than that which he then delivered, I never heard. "But," asks the hon. Gentleman—speaking of 'the venders of every species of calumny'—speaking of persons he does not name, and from whose speeches he gives no quotation— "If you don't mean to repeal the Catholic Emancipation Act, what do you mean by a Protestant Government?" I will tell the hon. Gentleman what we mean. I, as a Protestant, tell the hon. Gentleman that this country is by constitution a Protestant country—that the Sovereign is, by the constitution, a Protestant Sovereign—that the Church establishment of the country is a Protestant establishment. What we mean by Protestant Government is—that the Members of the Government are not to be, to quote the words of an hon. Member opposite, the "minions of Popery." The words are not mine, but the hon. Member's opposite. To him they belong, for he made use of them. [Mr. Ward: They were Mr. Thesiger's.] Be it so: they do quite as well. Sir, there is a great difference between being the minions of Popery, in the sense in which I have used the term, and the determination to give to all her Majesty's Catholic subjects their rights and privileges. These I will maintain, but I will not forget that I am a Protestant subject of a Protestant Sovereign, and that I belong to a Protestant country—and I will not by any word or deed, private or public, endanger the security of the Protestant Establishment. This, as the hon. Gentleman asks me, is what I mean when I talk of a Protestant Government. I heard a hint thrown out by the hon. and gallant Member for Brighton against some gentleman I never heard of in my life, and the 921 accusation against him was that—not as the hon. Under Secretary said, in the pulpit, but at a meeting on the subject of education. [Captain Pechell: At a dinner.] Well then, at a dinner in Brighton—the accusation, I say, against this gentleman was, that at this dinner he objected to the appointments of the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary, the hon. Member for Waterford, and the hon. and gallant Member for the county Kildare, on the ground of being Roman Catholics. Now the hon. Gentleman had the printed letter in his hand when he made this charge. [Captain Pechell: It was a newspaper,] I have the speech, and I dare say it is identical with the report in the newspaper, and used by the hon. and gallant Member. [Captain Pechell: No.] Well, then, the hon. and gallant Member should have taken care to have it. The hon. and gallant Officer had gone on to read how the rev. gentleman had objected to these appointments on the ground of their being Catholics. There, however, he stopped. Why did he not go on? He had far better have done so—for the rev. gentleman went on to say—And here, gentlemen, I wish to make one remark on the fallacy now daily and studiously put forth in the Ministerial papers that the great body of the Conservatives are anxious to make the Emancipation Act a dead letter. Sir, we desire no such thing; we know that it is the law of the laud, and, like every other position of that law, must be respected and acted upon. For proof of this, I ask you, have there not been law offices in Ireland, many of which are of high importance, given, time after time, to Roman Catholics, without one word of murmur from the great mass of the Conservatives? Mr. More O'Ferrall was made a Lord of the Treasury, without any complaint from the Conservative body. Lord Fingal, again, is a Lord of the Bedchamber; Lord Surrey is Treasurer of the Household; and many other Roman Catholics have also received appointments without calling forth any general remonstrance from the Conservatives.And yet, that is the speech for which the hon. and gallant Officer attacked, in his absence, the rev. gentleman in that House. The hon. Member for Sheffield read his extracts. I believe from the same edition of the speech as the hon. and gallant Officer. [Mr. Ward: I read it from a manuscript.] I think the hon. Gentleman cannot be too cautious in respect to reading manuscripts in future.All this," the rev. gentleman went on, "goes to prove that the Conservatives, as a 922 body, have never regarded nor wished to regard the Emancipation Act as a dead letter.Why did not the hon. and gallant Officer read that? Why did not the hon. Member for Sheffield supply the omission from his manuscript copy.But," proceeded the rev. gentleman, "how stands the case now? Appointments and situations, made vacant by the withdrawal or promotion of members of the Church of England, are filled up in a wholesale and insulting manner by Lord Melbourne with Roman Catholics, and these"—(the House would remark that) —" the most obnoxious, by their public character and conduct, to all the faithful members of the Church and State. It is this point which forms the chief ground of our complaint. Mr. M. O'Ferrall vacated his office in the Treasury, and who was called to fill it? Why Mr. Wyse, another Roman Catholic.The rev. gentleman then goes on to state his objections to the appointments, not of the hon. Member for Kildare, to whom no objection was made, but of the hon. Members for Waterford and Tipperary. I will not read all which was said of the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary.[Cries of "Read on."] No, I will not read on, and if Gentlemen, who have the speech in their hands will look at it, they will see why I will not read on, but the objection stated, is one which should have much weight with those hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House who speak so emphatically of their exclusive loyalty, and are so indignant at a disrespectful expression towards a Member of the Royal Family of this country.
The rev. gentleman goes on to say of the right hon. and learned Member for Tipperary; and this I will read—And not only that, gentlemen, but, in his place in Parliament, he has spoken of the Church as 'that which a faction fattens, and by which a nation starves.' And, only a few years ago, he was among the foremost who refused to pay tithes; he rebelled against the law, and his name stands on the list of the persons who have been sued in the Court of Exchequer in Ireland, and over whom the law has triumphed. This is the man who has been made a Privy Councillor by Lord Melbourne!The objections to Mr. Wyse's appointment, were founded on the part he had taken in reference to the question of Education:—Who was Mr. Wyse? A man who has employed his talents—and they are great—his 923 time and his influence, for many years, as chairman of what is called the Central Committee of Education, in ripening those schemes, out of which has arisen the present Government plan of education—that plan which passed through the Commons by a majority of only two—that plan which was so introduced to the House of Commons by Lord Melbourne's Government, that the co-ordinate branch of the Legislature, the House of Lords, could not reverse the decision —that plan, matured by Mr. Wyse, and which, when announced in the House of Commons, he was the first to welcome—he, a man who had always avowed himself an enemy to the Church, is the man chosen to fill up the situation vacated by Mr. More O'Ferrall.Sir, I have now only to thank the House for the patient attention with which they have listened to me. While endeavouring to escape following on the same ground so ably trod by my right hon. Friend, the Member for Pembroke, I have endeavoured also to state the grounds why I have no confidence in her Majesty's Ministers. But, Sir, in stating those grounds, I believe that I also state the grounds upon which the great body of the people of this country have not, and cannot have, confidence in the present Government. And I do firmly believe, that if hon. Gentlemen were this night voting on their consciences, whether they had or had not confidence in the principles and the prudence, the foresight, the sagacity, and the energy of the present Ministry, and not whether from various motives they should or should not retain them in office, the result would be, that distinctly and clearly they would say, We have no confidence in her Majesty's present Ministers.
§ Debate again adjourned.