HC Deb 03 February 1852 vol 119 cc61-158

rose and said: Sir, it now becomes my duty to offer to the House a few observations in moving an Address in answer to the gracious communication you have this day received from the Throne. The House, I am aware, is at all times most indulgent to those who are in the habit of taking an active part in their debates; how much more, then, must I require their indulgence, when, though a very old Member of this House, I have never for one moment intruded myself on its time and attention, and when the subjects upon which I have undertaken to address you, are of no ordinary importance, and the time one of no ordinary anxiety. The Member to whom is allotted the task of moving the Address is usually looked upon by the House as an uncompromising supporter of the Government in existence; and as thereby evincing not only his approbation of their measures past, but his perfect confidence in them as regards those which they are about to propose. I will acknowledge honestly that this is precisely my position. I have been in Parliament many years, and during that time I have seen many measures of vast importance introduced into this House for the benefit of the people. During that time I have seen all our most cherished institutions improved, strengthened, and extended, until we have arrived at a degree of greatness and prosperity which in my conscience I believe was never yet exceeded by any nation; the Throne better supported—the succession to the Throne placed beyond doubt—the Established Church, whose connection with the State many Members of this House think of the greatest consequence, second only in importance to the maintenance of the Throne itself, increased in its usefulness, its revenues more equitably distributed, its duties more regularly enforced, hundreds of churches erected, and thousands of pastors added to those who perform her ministrations. I have seen education more widely extended, and now reduced to something like a system. I have seen our commerce enlarged, and commercial monopoly extinguished; whilst we have been preserved from European wars, and domestic tranquillity has prevailed; and, above all, I have seen the social condition of the people improved, without which it would be worse than useless to attempt to improve their moral condition. These blessings and improvements I ascribe to the sound policy and enlightened views of liberal Administrations; and whether from the first introduction of the Reform Bill under Lord Grey, the Administration of Lord Melbourne, or the short Administration of Sir R. Peel, when the policy of the country was not materially changed, I, as a reformer, should think myself ungrateful if I did not claim for the noble Lord at the head of the Government the chief share in the merit of bringing about these happy changes. To his unflinching advocacy and strong constitutional and liberal sympathies, do I ascribe the success of those measures which at first extended the political rights and then improved the social condition of the great masses of the people of this country. These, then, are the reasons why for twenty years I have been an humble and not less anxious supporter of the noble Lord and of the Administrations of which he has been a Member; and these are the reasons why upon the present occasion I have taken upon myself a task from which I usually shrink, and which I would most willingly have seen performed by another.

I will now briefly call the attention of the House to the subjects alluded to in Her Majesty's Speech. It is usual, I believe, to mention them in the order in which they are delivered from the Throne; but I will so far trespass on the indulgence of the House as to reserve the passage relating to Ireland for later comment.

Sir, Her Majesty informs us that She continues to maintain the most friendly relations with Foreign Powers. I believe this will be most acceptable information to the country at large, in the present aspect of foreign affairs. It is evidently the interest of this country, and I am satisfied it is the wish of the people, to remain at peace; but amidst the revolutions with which we have been surrounded, between the struggles of the people on one side, striving after liberty and responsible government, and the oppressions, the treacheries, and the follies of their rulers on the other, I do congratulate the House and the country that we have not been entangled in foreign war. It is impossible, however, for the people of this country not to sympathise with other nations, appreciating as we do liberal institutions. We sympathise with those peoples who in foreign countries are endeavouring to obtain some shadow of freedom. We shall therefore sympathise with the oppressed—we shall offer them in this country an asylum—and let remonstrance come whence it may, I hope it will not be listened to. Nay, more, I hope that to those distinguished men, those able statesmen and generals, who, without crime, accusation, or trial, have been banished from their native shores, we shall offer not only a charitable asylum, but a hearty and generous hospitality. We may tender to those monarchs who owe their restoration to their thrones to the blood and treasure of this country, respectful remonstrance or friendly advice, but beyond that we must not go; no intervention, whether for the people or against the people. Whilst we are on this subject, I cannot help taking notice of an event which, though certainly not amongst the most important, is yet one of the most interesting of the present year—I allude to the visit to our shores of perhaps the most extraordinary man amongst the Continental exiles—Kossuth. He was, I acknowledge, but a nine days' wonder; but still, from the manner in which he was received in this country by vast members of the people, I cannot help noticing him. The misfortunes of Kossuth, the oppressions of his countrymen, and the intimate knowledge he has acquired of the English language, our manners, customs, and even our literature, and the honourable treatment he has received from our old friend and ally, the Sultan, created an interest in the breasts of the people of this country, in which, I confess, I shared. But if any mystery could be attached to his speeches in this country, that mystery is removed by a perusal of those he has made in America. He, it appears, visited this country and America for no other purpose than to engage us in a war of intervention—in a species of crusade which he proposed to form against what he was pleased to call the despotic Powers of Europe. We are informed that his mission has recently failed in America; and as regards this country, it is perfectly preposterous. It appears, however, that he proposes to visit our shores again, and the manner in which he was received by large masses of the people, and the addresses that were presented to him, may have led him to suppose that something more substantial than sympathy may be worked up in this country. But nothing, as I have said, can be more preposterous. The energies and resources of this country must be reserved for its own purposes, and, I was almost going to say, for its own defence. From the marked manner in which M. Kossuth was received by the people in the manufacturing districts, it may be supposed that I am not speaking the sentiments of the public generally on this subject; they are ably and numerously represented in this House, and can speak for themselves; I speak only the language of those connected with land. We want no war, nor rumours of war. We know that our land is the only tangible security for the expenses of war; we want no addition to the 800,000,000l. of debt; and we are heartily tired of the income tax. But for national purposes it is far different; invade our territory, or threaten our shores, and we will be united as one man. But there is one circumstance connected with the visit of M. Kossuth which, I confess, appears to me somewhat strange and inconsistent; it is the marked attention which was paid him by some gentlemen who are never tired of preaching up peace. We can understand why the King of Naples kissed the courier that brought him news of the coup d'éetat at Paris; but we cannot understand why those gentlemen of peace should be so anxious to fraternise with one whose sole object in visiting this country was to rekindle the flames of war. Are we, then, to understand from those champions of peace that wars are just when they are proposed by a republican, and for the purpose of establishing a republic—for it was not a constitutional monarchy that M. Kossuth sought to establish? His object was not merely to curtail the privileges of "an overgrown aristocracy," but to establish that form of government which he declares is the only one worthy of the dignity of man. Had he stayed but a few days longer on our shores, he would have seen the result of, for the second time in six years, an endeavour to establish republican institutions among a people who are not fitted for them.

Sir, Her Majesty proceeds in the second place to state that She regrets that the war which unfortunately broke out on the eastern frontier of the Cape of Good Hope more than a year ago, still continues to rage. I need not say how greatly Her Majesty's subjects sympathise with Her in this feeling. From the extent of the frontier, the difficulties of the country, and the character of our enemy, it is a war that may be protracted for a considerable time, and that must be expensive; it is hoped, however, that the vast resources which Her Majesty's Government have placed at the command of the new Governor of the Cape may enable him to bring it to a conclusion earlier than was expected. If so, it may be hoped that the colony of the Cape will be placed on a much better footing than at present, and that our troops may be withdrawn for the protection of the garrisons, and the frontier left to the colonists, who in former times were not only willing, but were fully capable of protecting their own property, and defending their own lives; and when these arrangements shall have been made, I hope that no false notions of humanity will influence Her Majesty's Government, and that no Aborigines Protection Society will be suffered to intrude its twaddle; but that those who rob, murder, and steal, may be brought to the justice to which robbers, murderers, and thieves are usually left in civilised countries; for I can assure you that the taxpayers of this country would ill receive the news of another Kaffir war. I am afraid that one of the worst features of this war remains to be told, and that it will unpleasantly interfere with that otherwise agreeable statement which at a more advanced period of the Session the Chancellor of the Exchequer will have to make to us.

Thirdly, Her Majesty informs us that there will be some increase in the estimates of the present over the past year—a circumstance which will not, I believe, surprise either the House or the country in the existing state of the Continent, and the present state of feeling at home. This addition, probably, will not be on a very large scale; a few thousands added to our army, and a Channel fleet to cruise in the summer, will satisfy present fears, and meet our real requirements; for it appears to me most absurd that a nation, which six weeks ago considered herself mistress of the ocean, with the largest naval force in the world, and a mercantile marine twice the extent of that of any other nation, should now abandon itself to the dread of invasion. I am also happy to say that, though it may suit the purposes of political writers, or of disappointed admirals, to say the contrary, the forces of this country were never, since the commencement of its history, in a more flourishing state.

I now proceed to bring under the notice of the House a subject of the greatest consequence—a reform of the courts of law, which was recommended by Her Majesty to our deliberate consideration. The criminal code of this country, and the administration of the criminal law, have been greatly improved within the last twenty years; punishments are less severe, and convictions more certain. We are indebted for this not only to the labours of great lawyers and statesmen now dead—and last, but not least, to the honoured memory of Sir Robert Peel; but we are also indebted to men who now adorn the Bench, the Lord Chief Justices of the Queen's Bench and Common Pleas, for improvements in procedure, especially in the establishment of the County Courts, which have been a great boon to the trading classes. But in the Courts of Equity there has been no improvement. The Court of Chancery always was, and will be till Parliament interferes with it, a plague and a misfortune to this country. There are many men in this House, and thousands out of it, who know nothing and care nothing for the law—who have never suffered personally from its miseries, and have heard only from others of its delays, trickeries, and disappointments. They have never been brought in contact with this often perilous institution. Now—not for any purposes of amusement, for the subject is one of too much concern to me personally—but for the sake of instruction, I will, if the House will allow me, give them a very short detail of a case in which I am personally interested, not as the sufferer, but as the trustee for a relative of mine, whose object in instituting the trust was to sell his property and pay his debts. The property, being one of great value in the neighbourhood of Liverpool, found ready purchasers at high prices. The title to it was unexceptional; my relative had the fee-simple of the property, which had been in his family for six hundred years. With objects so honourable, under circumstances so favourable, and backed by the assistance of a firm of the highest integrity, and the greatest legal acquirements, Gentlemen in this House who know nothing of the Court of Chancery will fancy that the operation was as easy as possible. My relative, however, got connected with usurers, extortioners, money lenders, and Jews; with mortgagees more ready to seize on the land than to seize their money; and with agents unwilling to disgorge their ungodly gains. Eight suits in Chancery were instituted against him. To the second suit there were 54 parties; to the sixth suit there were 47; to the seventh suit 51 parties; and to the eighth something like 60 parties. We, however, proceeded with the object of the trust; and we have been now three years employed in effecting this simple operation. In one Jay, at one table, we paid down 40,000l. for interest, which was owing to the delays which these processes in the Court of Chancery had given rise to. We paid 10,000l. for the costs of actions not legitimately connected with the sales of the property; and, finally, it has cost us 70,000l. in litigation and costs. Thus, by the operation of the Court of Chancery, a solvent estate has been rendered insolvent, and instead of having a surplus to hand over to the proprietor, there is a deficiency to a considerable extent. Sooner than such a nuisance should exist in this country—sooner than that such a violation of justice and common sense should be perpetuated—I would say, Perish the Court of Chancery, the Masters in Chancery, and everybody connected with that Court. An Encumbered Estates Act would be a great blessing to the country, for let the landowners recollect that while the bankruptcy laws are available for the conversion of the estate of a bankrupt trader, and the distribution of the money thus realised, the owners of land are subject to this system of robbery and plunder. But who is there in the House that is capable of reforming the Court of Chancery? Who is there that can cleanse this Augean stable? Perhaps the noble Lord is happy in the time he has chosen for attempting to reform this institution; for I believe that there never before were so many Gentlemen of the legal profession within the walls of this House—Gentlemen not less distinguished for their high legal attainments than for their general usefulness as Members of this House. What a service would they render to their country if they would render the noble Lord their assistance in the honest endeavour to reform this Court! But, perhaps, it is expecting too much from human nature that Gentlemen should pull down a system by which they live.

Sir, we are told in Her Majesty's Speech that the attention of this House will be called to a constitutional measure for the colony of New Zealand—a measure which will, it is hoped, be acceptable both to the colonists themselves and to those who are about to leave these shores for that settlement. I have only to express a hope that the Anglo-Saxon race in those waters will grow into a great and powerful nation, and that by this Act their affection for the mother country will be increased and strengthened.

The Speech refers with great satisfaction to the state of the country, and states that, notwithstanding the reductions in the taxes which have taken place of late years, the national income has not undergone a proportionate diminution, and that while the revenue of the past year has been fully adequate to the demands of the public service, the reduction of taxes has greatly tended to the relief and comfort of Her Majesty's subjects. I believe I may safely congratulate the House on the state of the country, which is at present in a condition of almost unexampled prosperity. The manufactories of this country are in full work, and the operatives are orderly and peaceful; and although their wages may not be so high as they have been known to be, still they are now able to obtain a greater share both of the necessaries and comforts of life than at any former time. In commerce there have indisputably been great losses; but this is simply a case of over production, and the public have benefited by it, for the commodities have gone into consumption. There are a vast number of Gentlemen, both in and out of this House, who constantly assert that our commercial prosperity is all a fallacy; but during the many years that I have been in Parliament, I have always heard the same statement. From the Reciprocity Duties Act of Mr. Huskisson down to the extinction of the navigation laws, I have heard the same arguments and the same prophecies—that our commerce was decaying, that our trade was without profit, that our ships were rotting, and our sailors gone to America; and still here we are with a revenue increasing, the people in full work, and quiet and tranquillity reigning in the land. I firmly believe that the country was never in a more prosperous condition than at present.

I come now to the consideration of a measure upon which there may be some little difference of opinion. I allude to the extension of the suffrage. Advanced politicians and political writers have been very loud in declaiming against the noble Lord for not having brought forward this measure at an earlier period. They say that the people are very anxious for it, and that they are now in a fit state to receive it. But I think that in this they are unjust to the noble Lord and his colleagues. They do not seem to remember the number of measures of importance which have occupied the attention of this House during every Session of the present Parliament. Have they forgotten that we were occupied for one Session in taking the duty off corn—that in another there was the extinction of the Navigation Laws, and the sanitary condition of the people—and that last year our attention was divided between the amusements of the Exhibition and the miseries of religious warfare in this House? Do the public not know that any single Member of this House can impede, delay, and protract, the discussion of any measure, however useful, and however much it maybe desired by the country? Do the public not know how greatly many Members of this House avail themselves of that licence? Do they not know that dozens of notices of Motions are entered upon that book which (although they occupy two or three nights' debate) never come to anything, and are never intended to come to anything? And I think that even the "early closing" movement of the hon. Member for Salford (Mr. Brotherton) impedes the transaction of business. Ministers are like other men; they must have some repose; and between their attendance at their offices in the morning, and their duties in this House in the evening, I believe that no operative engineer works so much overtime as Her Majesty's Ministers. Nor do I think that representatives who spend here five months out of the twelve in attending to the public interests, can be said to betray their trusts. But the time has now arrived when Her Majesty's Ministers are about to place on the table of this House a measure for the extension of the franchise. Some very funny writer—I know not who or where—has very justly remarked that in this country, "we think in herds," and that what one man says another repeats, until it becomes the fixed sentiment and opinion of a party. Now for this night only I will be an exception to this rule, and I will bring before the House my own notions on the subject of Parliamentary reform. As a reformer I should be well pleased if every man who contributed to the direct taxation of the State had a vote; I should be well pleased if every man who contri- buted to the poor-rates had a vote; and if every man who had a certain sum, say 50l., in the savings bank had a vote. I would not give any one man two votes; and as to the manner of taking the votes, I do not hesitate to avow my utter abhorrence of the ballot. And although I think the duration of Parliament might be very properly curtailed, yet if it were reduced to three years, the first year of each Parliament would be occupied in finding out who were its Members, the second might be devoted to the public business; but in the third we should be occupied in addressing our constituents with a view to the ensuing election. I think, also, that a resort to triennial Parliaments would drive every person of station and property out of this House. For who is there with decent means, and a regard for the moderate enjoyment of ease and comfort, that would submit himself to the nuisance of a triennial election? My Bill, no doubt, considerably differs from that of the noble Lord—but who is there in this House that is afraid to extend the suffrage? Can we forget that within a very short time the principal towns of Europe—Paris, Berlin, and V ienna-—were nearly at the same time in the hands of a mob? and can we forget that in this country not the slightest effect was produced upon the working classes? Was their loyalty to the Throne for one moment shaken; or was their submission and respect to the constituted authorities of the country one bit lessened? Can we forget that when a wretched band of politicians threatened to roll a petition on the floor of this House, so large that eight horses were required to drag it, every man who had a shilling in his pocket or a character to sustain enrolled himself under the banners of order and of the constituted authorities? and when that awful day came which was to sack London, that miserable, deluded, humbugged set of creatures, with a Member of this House at their head, vanished at the appearance of the first policeman, through all the by-alleys, and holes, and corners, to their miserable abodes, the subjects of derision rather than of punishment? If it is asked what substantial benefits the people of this country have derived from reform, I reply, many and great. The whole attention of this House since the passing of the Reform Bill has been directed to bettering the condition of the lower orders. The taxes upon the first necessaries of life have been diminished; their beef, their bread, and I wish I could add their beer, have been reduced in price. Their education has been attended to, and their sanitary condition has been improved. A limit has been placed to the hours of labour of those of tender age and of the weaker sex; women are now forbidden to make beasts of burden of themselves. Now, for these and for many other beneficial measures the people are entirely indebted to the reformed Parliament. Had not the House of Commons been rendered by that measure a more faithful representative of the people, I am firmly convinced that no Minister would ever have attempted these measures, for he never could have succeeded in obtaining the assent of the Legislature to them. I, for one, sincerely congratulate the country that we are about to receive an extension of the suffrage, for I am sure that in the hands of the people of this country it will always be well exercised.

I now come to a subject alluded to in the earlier part of the Speech from the Throne—the outrages which have taken place in some districts in Ireland. Sir, what measure can Government pass, or what arguments can I use, which may lead us to expect that we may enjoy three consecutive years of peace in that country? Who is there that ever entered that country who was not astonished at its capabilities, and delighted with its scenery and its people; and whoever left it that was not more puzzled than when he entered it? Famine does not appear to appal the people; nor abundance to give them content. The late Sir Robert Peel was wont to say that he never remembered a Session of Parliament in which there was not a Salmon Fishery Bill. During the many Sessions in which I have sat in this House I scarcely remember one in which the grievances of Ireland have not formed a principal subject of discussion. I am happy, however, to be able to inform the House that Her Majesty's Ministers do not seek for any increased powers, and we hope that the ordinary powers of the law will, for the hundredth time, within no long period be successful in putting down outrages. But while I am on the subject of Ireland, I cannot resist addressing a few words to some hon. Members of this House. There is a section of Members of this House, not formidable by their numbers, but yet respectable on account of their talents, and who last Session were bound together by the strongest tie that can bind men together—that of common religious opinions. This party, though not able to defeat, were still able to resist and to delay a measure which the noble Lord the Prime Minister of the country thought it necessary to introduce. They informed the House then, that, let the measure be what it might, the weight of their combined numbers would always be thrown into the scale of the Opposition, and that they would lose no opportunity which the nice balance of parties in this House might hold out of damaging the Government; and we learn from the statements of the organs of that party in the Irish press during the recess, that the same line of conduct is to be pursued in this Session. Let the measure be what it may, it is to be "war to the death" to the noble Lord and his colleagues. Sir, I earnestly implore these Gentlemen, at the commencement of the Session, to think well of their line of conduct. Let them look round this House and the country, and ask themselves where, under existing circumstances, they could find a party, in sufficient numbers or talent to occupy those (the Treasury) benches, that would have dealt with the occurrences of last year with greater leniency than the noble Lord? Suppose they bring in the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir James Graham), will they make it a sine quâ non that he brings in a Bill to cancel the Ecclesiastical Titles Act of last year; or will that right hon. Baronet evince the sincerity of his convictions by bringing in such a measure of his own accord? But there are circumstances taking place around us in Europe, to which, as Englishmen and Protestants, we cannot be insensible. It may be indiscreet to give utterance to these sentiments, but they occupy the attention of the people of this country. There are two parties striving for mastery in Europe. There is constitutional freedom on the one side, and despotism on the other. Despotism has called to its assistance the ultramontane section of the Catholic Church, and they have accepted the mission. Now the people of this country cannot and will not further the ends of despotism, whether it is that of the acknowledged imperial dynasties of Europe, or that of some upstart whom the circumstances of the times has enabled to obtain a self-constituted authority. I am satisfied that the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and his colleagues, and the party that support him, wish well to our Roman Catholic brethren, and that they wish that they may have the fullest enjoyment and exercise of their religious liberty. We wish that not only the letter but the spirit of the Emancipation Bill may be extended to them, and that they, as well as ourselves, may enjoy all places of trust, honour, and emolument; and we wish that we may be restored to that degree of religious harmony which existed in this country before the fatal measures taken by the head of the Roman Catholic Church. But we have constituents, and they expect us studiously to guard over and fearlessly and jealously to defend that principle which placed the family of Her present Majesty on the Throne; and that is the principle of Protestant ascendancy. Sir, the utmost licence of language for which you obtained permission at the commencement of the Session will not allow me to break through that etiquette and custom which forbids the Mover and Seconder of the Address to dilate upon the personal character of the Sovereign. I have therefore only to say that, looking to the deep and sincere feeling of attachment to the Throne which is entertained by all classes of the people, I am satisfied that this is a fit and proper time for adopting measures of constitutional reform.

Let us, then, I hope unanimously, agree to a loyal and dutiful Address to Her Majesty, in reply to Her gracious Speech from the Throne; and then let us proceed to business. The hon. Member concluded by moving— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, to convey to Her Majesty the dutiful Thanks of this House for Her Most gracious Speech from the Throne: Humbly to concur with Her Majesty, that the period has arrived when, according to usage, Her Majesty can again avail Herself of our advice and assistance in the preparation and adoption of measures which the welfare of the Country may require: That we rejoice to learn that Her Majesty continues to maintain the most friendly relations with Foreign Powers: Humbly to thank Her Majesty, for acquainting us that the complicated Affairs of the Duchies of Holstein and Sleswig have continued to engage Her attention, and that Her Majesty has every reason to expect that the Treaty between Germany and Denmark, which was concluded at Berlin in the year before last, will in a short time be fully and completely executed: To assure Her Majesty, that we participate in the regret which Her Majesty has expressed, that the War which unfortunately broke out on the eastern frontier of the Gape of Good Hope more than a year ago still continues; and to thank Her Majesty for informing us, that papers will be laid before us containing full information as to the progress of the War, and the measures which have been taken for bringing it to a termination: That, while we unite with Her Majesty in the sincere satisfaction with which Her Majesty has observed the tranquillity which has prevailed throughout the greater portion of Ireland, we deplore in common with Her Majesty that certain parts of the Counties of Armagh, Monaghan, and Louth have been marked by the commission of outrages of the most serious description; that we rejoice to learn that the powers of the existing Law have been promptly exerted for the detection of the offenders, and for the repression of a system of crime and violence fatal to the best interests of the Country; that we thank Her Majesty for acquainting us that Her attention will continue to be directed to this important object: To thank Her Majesty for having ordered Estimates of the Expenses of the current year to be laid before us; and for the confidence which Her Majesty has been pleased to express in our loyalty and zeal to make adequate provision for the Public Service: To convey to Her Majesty our thanks for informing us that where any increase has been made in the Estimates of the present over the past year, such explanations will be given as will, Her Majesty trusts, satisfy us that such increase is consistent with a steady adherence to a pacific policy, and with the dictates of a wise economy: To thank Her Majesty for informing us that the improvement of the Administration of Justice in its various departments has continued to receive Her anxious attention, and that in furtherance of that object Her Majesty has directed Hills to be prepared founded upon the Reports made to Her Majesty by the respective Commissioners appointed to inquire into the practice and proceedings of the Superior Courts of Law and Equity: That we humbly concur with Her Majesty in the persuasion that nothing tends more to the peace, prosperity, and contentment of a Country, than the speedy and impartial administration of justice, and it will be our duty to give our best consideration to those measures which Her Majesty has recommended to our attention on this subject: To express our thanks to Her Majesty for informing us that Her Majesty believes that there is no necessity to renew the Act of 1848, for sus- pending the operation of a previous Act conferring Representative Institutions on New Zealand, which will expire early in the next year; and that no obstacle any longer exists to the enjoyment of Representative Institutions by New Zealand; to assure Her Majesty, that the form of those Institutions shall receive our best consideration, and that we trust, with the aid of the additional information which has been obtained since the passing of the Acts in question, to arrive at a decision beneficial to that important Colony: Humbly to state to Her Majesty, that we participate in the satisfaction which Her Majesty has been pleased to express in being able to inform us, that the large reductions of Taxes which have taken place of late years have not been attended with a proportionate diminution of the National Income; that we rejoice to learn that, while the reduction of Taxation has tended greatly to the relief and comfort of Her Majesty's subjects, the Revenue of the past year has been fully adequate to the demands of the Public Service: Humbly to join with Her Majesty in acknowledging, with thankfulness to Almighty God, that tranquillity, good order, and willing obedience to the Laws, continue to prevail generally throughout the Country: Humbly to thank Her Majesty for the expression of Her opinion that this is a fitting time for calmly considering whether it may not be advisable to make such Amendments in the Act of the late reign, relating to the Representation of the Commons in Parliament, as may be deemed calculated to carry into more complete effect the principles upon which that Law is founded: That we thank Her Majesty for the expression of the confidence which Her Majesty feels that, in any such consideration, we shall firmly adhere to the acknowledged principles of the Constitution, by which the Prerogatives of the Crown, the authority of both Houses of Parliament, and the Rights and Liberties of the People, are equally secured.


rose to second the Address. The hon. Member commenced by requesting the considerate indulgence of the House, remarking that when he remembered that of late years the position which he then occupied had often fallen to the lot of those of greater experience than himself, and when he considered the great importance of the subjects which had been submitted to the attention of the House in Her Majesty's Speech, he felt he had need of the fullest measure of their forbearance. Nor could he forget that on the present occasion there was an additional reason for embarrassment in the circumstance that they now for the first time took a formal possession of the House in which they were assembled. This event might naturally suggest grave thoughts. If long years had elapsed in the preparation of a building suitable for the councils of the nation, might we not trust that in its permanent character, in the solidity of its fabric, we might recognise a due adaptation to those institutions which had existed for ages in this country, and which, he trusted, would be our protection and our pride for ages yet to come? And further, might it not be observed that while they were constructing the new building, they had not laid the hands of wanton destruction on the old? He thought that no one would regret that they had retained that magnificent building which led back our thoughts to past ages, and that no one would pass to his duties less thoughtfully because he went through the venerable area of Westminster Hall. Whatever events might take place, whatever subjects might be discussed there, he believed that the House of Commons would ever maintain its dignity; and although they did not profess to emulate the splendour of the other House of Parliament, although their walls were not adorned by pictures representing episodes in the history of the country, they had before them the body of the people, who had the freest access to their discussions; the walls of that House were not adorned with the poetic conceptions of art, yet he trusted that the history of their country was not the less present to their minds, and that "Chivalry," and "Justice," and "Religion" would not the less pervade their counsels. The people of this country ever viewed with great interest, and often regarded with great solicitude, the state of our relations with foreign countries, and especially with that great country which had ever been in the foremost rank in arts as in arms; and that as much on account of the character of the people as on account of their geographical position. England had long ceased to entertain hostile feelings towards any country. Her earnest desire was to see established a Government of a permanent character, in accordance with the wishes of the people, of whatever State it might be, and of which the principal aim should be the promotion of a peaceful progress in the way of prosperity. Englishmen were naturally proud of their institutions—they were naturally proud of their liberty; but while they would wish to see those institutions adopted as far as they were known, they would force them on none; they would, however, desire to sec everywhere observed the guarantee of individual liberties and popular rights. This he believed to be the unselfish view of every Englishman; but it must not be forgotten that our material interests were also intimately bound up with the interests of foreign States. That confidence was essential to the development of industry, and was the life of capital. Any great sacrifice of capital, whether by the withdrawal of a large portion of the population from industrial pursuits, or by interfering with the channels in which it would naturally flow, or in consequence of events and measures such as those of 1848, was disastrous to the country in which it took place, must always have an effect on neighbouring States, and ultimately most of all upon a commercial country like England. For those reasons, the people of this country heard with great satisfaction the assurance of the continuance of friendly relations with Foreign Powers. God forbid that, in our time, there should be any interruption of the blessings of peace, that had done so much to extend the comforts and multiply the sources of happiness of mankind since the beginning of the century! He believed that no precaution was wanting on the part of any who had a share in the government of this country, or on the part of any man who had the interest of his fellow-countrymen, or, indeed, his fellowmen, at heart, to maintain the continuance of peace and of those relations which conduced so much to its assurance. He ventured, with great confidence, to say that the character which this country should maintain amongst the nations of the world was shortly described by an ancient annalist:— Populus nobilissimus; quique magnitudinem suam malit justitiâ tueri, sine cupiditate, sine impotentiâ quieti secretique; nulla provocant bella; prompta tamen omnibus arma, ac, si res poscat, exercitus. Quiescentibus eadem fama. Fearing none, arrogant to none; and whilst by our insular position we were removed from many of the risks of collision, he hoped that the just weight and authority of this country would ever be exerted in earnest endeavours to arrange differences which might arise among foreign States.

Her Majesty had called their attention to a painful subject, which had occupied a large share of public attention, and which, he regretted, they should have to discuss at that time. He would not have ventured to offer any observations on this subject had he not served upon the Committee of last Session for inquiring into our relations with the Kaffir tribes. Papers relating to the disputes and proceedings which had taken place, would here-after be laid before the House, and this was not therefore the time to discuss the relative merits of different systems, or to impute blame; but he would venture to remark, that with regard to the outbreak at the Cape, he did not think it could be attributed to any act of aggression on the part of the colonists, and that witnesses of ail tendencies and of all classes agreed that it was absolutely necessary that this country should thoroughly vindicate its power and authority. Until that was done, and until the close of the war, it was almost premature to discuss what measures should be adopted, or what future arrangements should be entered into with the natives of that colony. Persons who had considered the subject were not surprised that the war was so long prolonged, because they knew that there had existed there a chronic state of hostility—an intermittent fever of war—and that the natives possessed exceedingly great advantages in the nature of the country, and in their mode of warfare. They were not incumbered by the equipments of war, and the nature of the country; vast tracks covered with an impervious and incombustible thicket, facilitated very much their marauding expeditions, whilst it afforded a great protection against the operations of regular troops. That being the case, they should not be surprised that it was necessary to send out a large number of additional regiments; and the withdrawal of a large body of troops from this country, combined with other circumstances, fully justified the Government in asking for an increase of the Army. The state of feeling in the country of late years was so manifest that there was no doubt but the House of Commons would approach every question respecting the expenditure of the public money with the closest regard to economy; he thought, indeed, that every Government ought to court a constant and strict supervision. If private individuals, with the most intimate personal interest in those great undertakings which were so numerous in this country, found it impossible entirely to exclude laxity and waste, how much more must the Government be subject to the same tendencies. He thought that the country ought to secure to itself the most efficient service, and would grudge no reasonable expenditure for that end. But while he believed that in many departments great savings could he effected, he (Mr. Carter) would deprecate a system of continual demand for general reduction, irrespective of special propriety and of the exigencies of the public service. There were some who thought that the highest wisdom was contained in the reiteration of "the great revenue derivable from thrift;" but the advocates of such a system were unmindful of the equally true fact that the parsimony of to-day might be the burden of the morrow. Her Majesty had informed the House that measures would be submitted to it for improving the administration of the law. He believed this announcement would be hailed with pleasure throughout the country. He would not venture to go into the details that had been put before them by his hon. Friend the proposer of the Resolution; he would merely remark, that the House in dealing with the question must receive encouragement from the experiment already made by the establishment of the County Courts. In considering the question, they would not only have the aid of able and eminent men who had been appointed to the Commissions of Inquiry, and whose opinions would be placed before them; but also of the able professional Gentlemen who were Members of the House, who would, he was certain, afford them every possible light that could be required for the elucidation of such an intricate subject. He trusted that the close of the Session would see added to their statutes, not merely some hundreds of Acts increasing the already overwhelming mass, to be interpreted by a select few, but some distinct steps of improvement; and that henceforward they should not cease from a course of revision of that system of cumbrous proceedings, productive of delay and expense, which had tended so much to undermine the respect for the machinery of justice. Her Majesty had graciously informed the House that it gave Her great satisfaction to state that the large reduction of taxes which had taken place of late years had not been attended with a proportionate diminution of the national income, while the reduction of taxation had tended greatly to the relief and comfort of the people. He (Mr. B. Carter) felt that the present state of Her Majesty's subjects must afford great cause for congratulation—the main tests of national prosperity were satisfactory; the national barometer was rising; and though he would not trouble the House with statistics, he would just mention that their exports had materially increased in the last year; he believed they had increased to the amount of 3,000,000l. Their commercial shipping had not failed, in spite of the auguries of the past year and the year before last. He found that the number of their ships had increased very much. They had now three ships for every two that were in existence in 1832. They had a ship of 130 tons now for every ship of 100 tons at that former period, and a larger amount of tonnage than had ever yet been known. All that afforded strong evidence that the people of this country do not want remunerative employment. The home market was in a favourable condition, and satisfied the requirements of the manufacturers. That test so constantly referred to—the poor-law—did not on this occasion fail them. He found a great reduction in the amount of relief afforded to ablebodied persons. Local observation confirmed his views on this subject; and, without troubling the House with details, he would merely say that in a district which had generally been preeminent for wretchedness, namely, the north-eastern suburbs of London, there now appeared a great advance in the comforts of the people. Their clothing is better—their houses are more comfortable—they now consume more of the necessaries of life—they consume more tea, sugar, and animal food. The experience of medical men, whether attending in the districts or the hospitals, confirmed these observations, and they noticed the comparative rarity of those cases of disease, aggravated by want, which had formerly existed. The report of the Registrar General of Births, Marriages, and Deaths corroborated, in the increase of the two former and decrease of the latter, these views, and was such as was alone consistent with a state of prosperity. The consequence was, naturally, an increase of contentment to an extent seldom known. Last year saw gathered in the metropolis perhaps the largest assemblage of all classes and of all nations which the world had ever beheld, met together to note and to compare for future efforts the progress of civilisation, and display the noblest trophies of victory,—those of the application of human skill to the physical, intellectual, and he would add, moral, advancement of the welfare of; mankind. From that free intercourse—from that great appeal to the senses and reason of so many millions, he argued the happiest results. He remembered being in the Crystal Palace with upwards of 100,000 people; and no one could observe the content visible in their faces—and nobody could fail to remark the general appearance of comfort among those great masses—without rejoicing in the prosperity of the country. He now begged to call attention to a subject to which Her Majesty had very properly referred at the close of Her Speech. He believed that when they had every evidence of good order and of contentment, without any sign of agitation, it was the most fitting time to take into consideration the extension of the suffrage. Since the passing of the Reform Bill a new generation had arisen to enter into the business of life, and in the time that had qualified them for the duties of manhood, they had had ample opportunity to perceive the defects in the measure of reform that had been passed at a period of great popular excitement, and undoubtedly with exaggerated expectations, not less from its supporters than its opponents. He believed that this was a most favourable opportunity for remedying those defects, for removing anomalies, and for enlarging the basis of the constitution. Without pretending to any detailed knowledge of the measures to be now submitted to Parliament, he might express the confident hope that they would embrace a very large amount of intelligence and capacity excluded by the present tests, necessarily rough and imperfect, of that Act, and which could never be more than approximate, for their simple application to so wide a subject. He could not believe that the people of this country had been uselessly occupied for the last twenty years; he could not think that they had been labouring strenuously to raise the standard of education, and to extend it throughout the country, entirely without effect. Not only the good order but the intelligence of the country justified them in taking this serious measure into consideration. He should venture to submit to the House one or two facts in illustration of this subject. He would call atten- tion to the increase that had taken place in the number of letters that pass through the Post Office. The number of letters passing through the Post Office had risen from 75,000,000 in 1832, in the time of dear postage, to 169,000,000 in 1840; and now to nearly 1,000,000 a-day, for the number in 1851 was 360,500,000. This showed that the people were disposed to take advantage of opportunities placed within their reach, and though, doubtless, it was in a great degree attributable to increased commercial correspondence, and that of the educated classes, he could not believe but that it also showed a great amount of increased acquirement of the whole community, and many now wrote who never wrote before. No person could fail to observe the increase that had taken place in the number and cheapness of useful books in circulation amongst the people, He would venture to read to the House a short extract from the statement made by a member of a firm which had been most eminently distinguished in supplying works on popular education. Messrs. Chambers of Edinburgh, stated— As regards our own publications, they are mainly addressed to classes of a generally humble position, and amount to about 10,000,000 sheets per annum. It may be curious for you to know that, in proportion as we go on, we find it necessary to rise in point of style and subject. What we gave ten years ago would not do now, such is the improvement in popular tastes. In twenty years we are conscious of a very great change in this respect. The higher order of workmen, such as foremen, steady journeymen, and people in a small way way of business, are all very different from what they were when we began our literary occupation. MR. Charles Knight stated— The number of books read in mechanics' institutes and similar societies is multiplied prodigiously. Many have very valuable libraries, winch are extensively used for reference and home reading. Again, take the number of friendly societies—a subject on which the lower classes were so much indebted to the hon. Member for North Wilts. There had been 13,732 societies enrolled since 1832. It had been estimated that there were 4,000,000 of members. The depositors in savings banks were 433,000 in 1832; they were now nearly 1,100,000. These were evidences that a large extension of the franchise might be properly and wisely made; and he (Mr. Carter) hoped, that under the proposed Bill no large class would be able to show that it possessed the elements of a sound judgment, and could appreciate the trust, and yet that it should long remain without participation in the simplest function of government. He would also remind them that a great social question was looming in the distance, and that they had lately an instance of it before them. He referred to the laws that should regulate the relations of the employer and labourer. We had had a prominent instance lately before us; and if it was true that there were crude notions with regard to the laws, natural or artificial, which regulate the relation of capital and labour, and that sooner or later such subjects would in some form be submitted for our discussion; surely it would be wise and proper that the tribunal to which such questions should be referred should enjoy the confidence of the people, because their decision must often run counter to the popular prejudice, and therefore it should be so framed that its decisions would receive a ready acquiescence. He would not further enlarge upon the grounds which justified their entertainment of such a measure; but he believed that a well-considered supplement to the Reform Act, conceived in the interest of no party, conceded to no agitation, but granted to reasonable claims, would be well-timed and appropriate. He would not longer trespass on the House. He felt that he had but inadequately executed the duty he was called on to perform. The page of history yet unturned might chronicle events of the greatest importance. Difficult problems might be submitted for their solution, and at all events the questions which in that Session they were called to deliberate upon were grave and serious. Such questions might embarrass any one; and he could not pretend to give adequate expression to the sentiments which at the present time must press upon every man's mind, as to the duty of gathering round the Throne at the coming time. But he felt no evil forebodings, convinced that Her Majesty might have the fullest reliance on them, for he believed that the stability of the empire had its foundation in the hearts of the people. We, of the Commons (said the hon. Gentleman) know that the stability of the Empire has its foundation in the character of the people: that they will continue to strive earnestly to afford to the other nations of the world an example of consistent and peaceful progress, of regard for liberty and order, and of a just consideration for the rights of all. And in the maintenance of principles and of our position as a free country, Naught shall make us rue, If England to herself prove true. The hon. Gentleman seconded the Address."

Question proposed.


Mr. Speaker, I beg to assure the House that I do not rise at this moment for the purpose of offering any opposition to the Address that has been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey; but as I observe that the first paragraph of that Address relates to the foreign policy of this country, and as great and important changes have taken place in the Ministry of this country, especially in that part of it which relates to the administration of our Foreign Affairs, I trust I may be excused if I take this, the first opportunity the Session affords me, of asking the noble Lord at the head of the Government to give to us, and to give to the country, some explanation of the causes which led to the change to which I have referred; and although I am perfectly well aware that the course I am now taking is an unusual one, yet it is consequent on circumstances which are of rare occurrence. But we have had in late years a precedent for the very course I am now adopting; and it is a precedent which must be in the recollection of many of those I now have the honour of addressing. On the 29th of January, 1828, Parliament met after a change that took place in the Administration of this country; and almost immediately after the Address had been moved, the Government was called upon for an explanation of the circumstances that had led to the alteration in the Cabinet; and although an objection was made to give that explanation at that moment, it was not in consequence of the time at which the explanation was asked—but the reason for not giving it was a good and sound one— it was because the individuals who were concerned in it were not present in the House at that moment; and on referring to the debates that took place at that time, you will find that the then Secretary at War (Lord Palmerston) stated that such explanation would not be given until the parties concerned were present. In this instance I believe the parties concerned are present; and in the instance to which I have referred, as soon as the parties concerned entered the House, the explanation was given to the House and to the country, And it is that I ask for now. I must, now refer to the opening of Parliament on the 31st January, 1850. The Parliament was opened by Royal Commission, and the Commissioners were commanded to state that "Her Majesty, happily, continues in Peace and Amity with Foreign Powers." It will be in the recollection of the House that a debate took place on the Address, an Amendment was moved, and although 507 Members were present, not one word was then said with regard to the foreign policy of our country, and not a single objection was taken to the administration of the noble Lord who then presided over that department. On turning to the journals of the other House of Parliament, we find that a Motion was made a short time afterwards on what was called the Greek question; but which was really directed against the general foreign policy of the Government in regard to Foreign Affairs, and was more especially directed against the noble Lord then at the head of Foreign Affairs. That Motion was carried by a largo majority against the Government. Soon after that Resolution was passed, condemnatory of the policy of the Government, and more especially of the course the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) had taken, the Gentlemen on the other (the Opposition) side of the House, were taunted for not bringing forward a Motion in accordance with that carried by their political friends elsewhere, and on their declining to do so, the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck) moved a Resolution, which was carried by a large majority—I may say a triumphant majority—in this House. The parties placed in opposition were invited to attend: and all those who sat at the opposite side of the House voted against all those on the Ministerial side of the House, and the Resolution moved and carried was to this effect:— That the principles on which the Foreign Policy of Her Majesty's Government has been regulated have been such as were calculated to maintain the honour and dignity of this country; and, in times of unexampled difficulty, to pie-serve peace between England and the various nations of the world. This was carried by a large majority of the House. This, however, was not done in favour of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, and the noble Lord, his Colleague, at the head of the Foreign Affairs of this country. And I beg to call the attention of the House to a topic in that debate which was much discussed and canvassed in this House, and much spoken of outside the walls of this House; and that was, that it was part of a cabal actively prosecuted for the purpose of removing the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) from office. It was openly talked of as having been determined to carry out the object that now has been achieved. And in allusion to that cabal, I find a remarkable passage in the admirable speech of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, in which he refers to it, and gives his unqualified approval to the administration of Foreign Affairs by his noble Colleague. The noble Lord said— Let not any man, therefore, be misled by the notion which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford stated last night, that while my noble Friend was Foreign Secretary this country was constantly on the brink of war. Why, that would be indeed a strange conclusion to come to, seeing that, in the thirty-five years of peace we have so happily enjoyed, for upwards of fourteen of them the foreign affairs of this country have been under the peculiar administration of my noble Friend. If such has been the case, I think it is presumption that there has been, however it may be denied, a foreign cabal at work, which has endeavoured to impose upon the public of England false statements, which, for the sake of its own ends, has raised unfounded suspicions with respect to the foreign policy of England, and which endeavouvs to overturn that foreign policy, partly out of a wish to see a Government more favourable to views of absolute power on the Continent, and partly out of a wish to diminish the power and reputation of England." [3 Hansard, cxii. 719.] Such were the memorable words of the noble Lord when advocating his former Colleague. He admitted that there might be a cabal, and yet at the same time he said that everything that had been done by the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department was most admirable with regard to policy and the execution of his measures. So passed the Session; the noble Lord having had a triumphant majority in this House, his conduct approved of by the representatives of the people, and, I believe, approved of by the people out of doors. On Tuesday, the 4th of February, 1851, Parliament was opened by the Queen, and Her Majesty said— "I continue to maintain relations of Peace and Amity with Foreign Powers." During last Session not one word was said against the foreign policy of the Government. The Parliament closed in the month of August: who could have supposed that when we should meet here again at this usual time, the Government of the country would have lost one of its greatest ornaments, and one of its ablest supporters? I have now to call the attention of the House to some remarkable facts, and shall refrain as much as possible from making any comment upon them. I shall not refer to rumours which are as contradictory as they are various; my object is to put such facts before the House, and elicit information that we may know the real cause that led to the change in the Administration. On the 2nd of December last, events occurred in Paris, the cause of which we are in a great degree ignorant of, but the result of which we are well acquainted with. On the 24th of December, the resignation of Lord Palmerston was announced in the Times newspaper; on the 20th of January, the Ambassador from this country to the Court of France was either recalled or gave in his resignation. And now I am led to consider a matter which, whether it be of importance or not in discussing the present question, should be put before the House, that the noble Lord at the head of the Government may notice it, and inform us if there be any foundation for the statement that there has been a cabal at work. I have stated that Lord Palmerston's resignation was announced in the Times newspaper on the 24th of December last. It is a curious fact that a letter was written in Vienna on Tuesday the 23rd, the day previous—it was printed in the Breslau Gazette on the night of the 24th, and was published on the morning of the 25th; and it announced as clearly as it could do the intended dismissal or resignation of Lord Palmerston. I will quote a passage from that letter:— There is a report here (in Vienna) of certain secret negotiations carried on by persons holding high position in England with the Court of Vienna, unknown to Lord Palmerston, having for their object a closer alliance between the two Courts, and at the same time the withdrawal of the noble Lord from the British Ministry. That letter was written the day before Lord Palmerston's resignation was known to the public in this country, and was printed and circulated on Christmas-day— the day after that resignation or dismissal was made public. It was followed in Vienna by placards announcing it, put forward by the Government. It was followed also by rejoicing of an extraordinary nature, sanctioned, as I am informed and believe, by the Prime Minister of that country. So the matter stands up to this day. Her Majesty has opened Parliament in person to-day, and is advised to state from the Throne, "I continue to maintain the most Friendly Relations with Foreign Powers." The adjective is put in the superlative degree at the present time. And if we continue, as doubtless we do, in amicable relations with Foreign Powers, why is there this change? This time last year we were in peace and amity with Foreign Nations. Now we are informed, we are on the same footing with them, and we and the country ought not to be left in darkness any longer as to the reasons that have led either to the dismissal or resignation of the noble Lord, who so lately held the seals of the Foreign Office. I put it in the alternative—dismissal or resignation; for I do not pretend to know anything or to prejudge anything, but I put the question to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, that he may have the earliest opportunity of answering it, and I feel quite confident that he will do so at once. And having put this question to the noble Lord, I am sure the House will do me the favour of remarking that I have endeavoured to avoid touching upon any one topic contained in the Speech—that I have endeavoured to confine myself to this plain and simple question, and I admit I should not be acting fairly towards the noble Lord if I did otherwise.


Mr. Speaker, I am quite ready to answer the appeal that has been made to me by my hon. Friend the Member for Marylebone. I cannot do so, however, without entering a good deal into statements of details, both with respect to the particular occurrence to which my hon. Friend has alluded, and with respect to the administration of Foreign Affairs. I hope, therefore, the House will give me its indulgence, that if other topics in the Speech from the Throne are hereafter alluded to, and if any explanation in regard to them shall be required from me, I may be allowed to refer to them. I will now, Sir, proceed to answer the questions of my hon. Friend. I am entirely ready to admit that which he has stated, that in the debate of 1850, with respect to Greek affairs, I expressed the utmost confidence in the administration of Foreign Affairs by my noble Friend. I will say more. It was not in words only that I had shown my sense of the energy, the ability, the knowledge of the interests of this country in all parts of the world, which are preeminently the qualifications of my noble Friend the late Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I have more than once given testimony of it otherwise than in words; and I will state to the House that when an Administration was formed by Lord Melbourne, in 1835, the first proceeding of that noble Lord was to send for me and to ask what office he should recommend the Crown to place at my disposal, and whether I was disposed to undertake the office of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. My answer was that I. did not wish to take that office, unless it suited the convenience of my noble Friend, but that, if it would the convenience of my noble Friend Lord Melbourne, my noble Friend Lord Palmerston, who was then out of Parliament, was eminently qualified for that post, and that I should be ready to take the Home Department if that arrangement should be found more beneficial to the public. Again, when in December, 1845, and in July, 1846, I was called on by Her Majesty to submit a plan of Administration to Her Majesty, I earnestly recommended to Her Majesty to place Lord Palmerston in the situation of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, as the person best qualified to hold that high office. The House will recollect that Her Majesty was pleased to approve of my noble Friend, and that from that time until December last he continued to hold that situation. It was with deep regret that I found that circumstances had occurred such as in my mind made it impossible for me to act any longer with my noble Friend in that situation in which he had shown such distinguished ability. But, Sir, before I enter into further explanation, it is as well that I should state what I conceive to be the position of a Secretary of State as regards the Crown in the administration of Foreign Affairs, and what I conceive to be the position of a Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs as regards the Prime Minister of this country. I think that when, on the one hand, the Crown, in consequence of a vote of the House of Commons, places its constitutional confidence in a Minister, that Minister is bound, on the other hand, to the Crown, to the most frank and full detail of every measure that is taken, and is bound ether to obey the sanction of the Crown, or to leave to the Crown that full liberty which the Crown must possess, of no longer continuing that Minister in office. Such, Sir, I hold to be the general doctrine; but with regard to my noble Friend, it did so happen, that in 1850 precise terms were laid down, in a communication made to my noble Friend, with respect to the transaction of business between the Crown and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I became the organ of making that communication to my noble Friend, and thus became responsible for the sanction of the document I am about to read. I shall refer only to that part of the document which has reference to the subject now under consideration:— The Queen requires, first, that Lord Palmerston will distinctly state what he proposes in a given case, in order that the Queen may know as distinctly to what She is giving Her Royal sanction. Secondly, having once given Her sanction to a measure, that it be not arbitrarily altered or modified by the Minister. Such an act She must consider as failing in sincerity towards the Crown, and justly to be visited by the exercise of Her constitutional right of dismissing that Minister. She expects to be kept informed of what passes between him and the foreign Ministers before important decisions are taken, based upon that intercourse; to receive the foreign despatches in good time; and to have the drafts for Her approval sent to Her in sufficient time to make Herself acquainted with their contents before they must be sent off. The Queen thinks it best that Lord John Russell should show this letter to Lord Palmerston. I sent that accordingly, and received a { letter from my noble Friend to the following effect:— I have taken a copy of this memorandum of the Queen, and will not fail to attend to the directions which it contains. I conceive those directions were such as should be maintained between the Foreign Secretary and the Crown. And now, Sir, I will state what is the duty of the Prime Minister, and I will state it, not in my own words, but in the words which were used by the late Sir Robert Peel, in giving evidence before the Committee of this House with respect to Official Salaries. The words are— Take the case of the Prime Minister. You must presume that he reads every important despatch from every foreign Court. He cannot consult with the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and exercise the influence which he ought to have with respect to the conduct of Foreign Affairs, unless he he master of everything of real importance passing in that department. I conceive Sir Robert Peel there lays down the duty of a Prime Minister, and makes him responsible for the business of the country. I may say, likewise, that I was informed, both by Her Majesty and Sir Robert Peel, that Sir Robert Peel had advised Her Majesty to consult me whenever a question should arise with respect to foreign affairs, and to take my advice on such question. Such, then, being the state of the relations which I held towards the Crown on the one hand, and to my noble Friend on the other, I must say I have found the situation one of great difficulty. When my noble Friend first held the seals of the Foreign Office, he was placed under Earl Grey, a statesman of age and experience, to whom my noble Friend, then young in that particular office, would no doubt readily defer. When Lord Melbourne was at the head of the Government, that noble Lord's long intimacy and connection with my noble Friend would naturally incline him to place some confidence in the conduct of my noble Friend. Without either of these advantages I have certainly found, from time to time, that those relations were very difficult to maintain; while, at the same time, I felt that great responsibility devolved upon me. I will now, however, pass at once to the events of the autumn of the past year. There was a meeting of the Cabinet on the 3rd of November, and I happen to have my memory more impressed with what passed on that occasion, as I had taken a note of the statement I made. I stated that I thought the situation of Europe was exceedingly critical; that I thought we were on the verge of seeing, in 1852 (and there I was mistaken), of seeing the triumph of what is called social democracy in France and in other countries on the one hand, or on the other of seeing absolute power prevail over most parts of Europe; and I said, in either case the situation of England would be one of some peril, and that we could not expect that the social democratic Republic of France would observe the faith of treaties, or refrain from attacking our allies. I said, on the other hand, if absolute power should prevail, that there was a danger that this country, being an exception in its form of government from some other countries of Europe, might be made the subject of a combination on the subject of refugees in this country, and that demands might be made which this country, in consistency with its honour, could not concede. I stated my own opinion, that in this critical situation of affairs it was the interest of England to observe a strict neutrality. I maintained we ought to beware most especially against giving any just cause of offence to France; and to show the utmost vigilance in order to prevent any such cause of offence. I think my colleagues generally, and my noble Friend, who was more immediately concerned, entirely concurred in that opinion. No resolution was come to by the Cabinet on that occasion; but there was a general understanding as to the desirableness of adopting such a policy. Now, Sir, it happened, as I think, very unfortunately, a very short time after that Cabinet had taken place, that my noble Friend received at the Foreign Office certain addresses from districts of the metropolis, conveyed in terms most offensive to Sovereigns in alliance with this country. Now, Sir, I was fully persuaded at the time, and I am still fully persuaded, that though my noble Friend had not exercised due caution in that respect, though he had not taken the precaution of seeing those addresses before they were presented to him, and though he had not taken the further precaution of seeing that his words on that occasion were duly and accurately reported, I felt that this was simply an error in judgment; and I was also satisfied that there was great misrepresentation with respect to the reply given by my noble Friend to those addresses. I was therefore ready to accept the whole responsibility of my noble Friend's conduct on that occasion; but I could not forbear seeing that an error had been committed. I did hope that after that my noble Friend would have treated me with that frankness to which I think I was entitled; that he would make no important communication to a Foreign Minister without giving me information, without enabling me to give my opinion on the step that was to be taken, and, in short, without acknowledging that supervision to which Sir Robert Peel referred in the answer I have read. Sir, the next transaction which occurred is that from which the whole of this unfortunate subject has arisen. It has relation to the events which took place at Paris on the 2nd of December last. On the 3rd of December a despatch was received from the Marquess of Normanby, containing a question as to the diplomatic relations which were to be maintained by him with the Government of the President of France. A meeting of the Cabinet was held on the subject, and there existed a general prevailing opin- ion among its Members that the Government of this country had nothing more to do than to abstain from any interference whatever with the internal affairs of Franco. My noble Friend correctly represented the views of the Government in this respect in the following despatch:— Foreign Office, Dec. 6, 1851. My Lord—I have received and laid before the Queen your Excellency's despatch, No. 365, of the 3rd instant, requesting to be furnished with instructions for your guidance in the present state of affairs in France. I am commanded by Her Majesty to instruct your Excellency to make no change in your relations with the French Government. It is Her Majesty's desire that nothing should be done by her Ambassador at Paris which could wear the appearance of an interference of any kind in the internal affairs of France.—I am, &c. PALMERSTON. There was this solemn and formal decision of Her Majesty's Government, approved by the Queen, conveyed to the Ambassador at Paris, and, as I conceive, pointing out the line of conduct that was to be pursued by the Government, whether here or at Paris. [Mr. GLADSTONE: What is the date of that despatch?] The date of that letter is the 5th December. The draft was sent to Her Majesty on the 4th, and came back on the 5th. A few days afterwards, among the Foreign Office despatches that came to my hands, there was one from the Marquess of Normanby to Lord Palmerston, dated December 6, and received December 8. It was as follows:— Paris, Dec. 6, 1851. My Lord—I this morning received your Lordship's despatch, No. 600, of yesterday's date, and I afterwards called on M. Turgot, and informed him that I had received Her Majesty's commands to say that I need make no change in my relations with the French Government in consequence of what had passed. I added, that if there had been some little delay in making this communication, it arose from material circumstances not connected with any doubt on the subject. M. Turgot said that delay had been of less importance, as he had two days since heard from M. Walewski that your Lordship had expressed to him your entire approbation of the act of the President, and your conviction that he could not have acted otherwise than he had done. I said I had no knowledge of any such communication, and no instructions beyond our invariable rule to do nothing which should have the appearance of interfering in any way in the internal affairs of France, but that I had often had an opportunity of showing, under very varied circumstances, that whatever might be the Government here, I attached the utmost importance to maintaining the most amicable relations between the two countries. I added that I was sure, had the Government known of the suppression of the insurrection of the rogues at the time I had heard from them, I should have been commissioned to add their congratulations to mine. I have thought it necessary to mention what was stated about M. Walewski's despatch, because two of my colleagues here mentioned to me that the despatch, containing expressions precisely to that effect, had been read to them in order to show the decided opinion which England had pronounced.—I have, &c. NORMANBY. Now, Sir, I confess it did not appear to me that any serious difficulty would arise from that despatch. I wrote to my noble Friend to ask an explanation of it, which I felt convinced he would be able to give, and that, without denying what had been stated with regard to the communication made by a foreign Ambassador to M. Turgot, my noble Friend would have explained that he had done nothing more than stated to M. Walewski what appeared to him to be on the whole the best for the interest of France; and not that the Marquess of Normanby was the less to be guided by the instructions which were forwarded to him by his Government, or that he was to rest entirely upon information derived from other sources; but that in all his communications with the representatives of the various Governments of Europe at Paris he was to let it be understood that the Government of England expressed no opinion with regard to the internal affairs of France. I own that was my own opinion, and that it was the only wise and safe course to be pursued under the circumstances. However, I received no explanation from my noble Friend. Let me here, however, state what is the view I take of this case. If England were to allow her Foreign Secretary to pronounce an opinion of that kind, it could no longer be said that she had no interference with the internal affairs of France, for in pronouncing such an opinion by her Secretary for Foreign Affairs, a moral support, a moral sanction, and a moral influence would be given and exercised in favour of the course which had been taken by the President. Some days elapsed before I heard anything more on this head, not having had any communication from my noble Friend of any kind relating to these affairs. But on the 13th of December a messenger arrived at Woburn, bringing a communication to me from Her Majesty, making inquiry with respect to this same despatch, expressing incredulity at such an intimation of opinion, but asking for explanations as to the real state of the circumstances. The next morning I sent a messenger off to the noble Lord, and he must have arrived in London on the 14th inst. I received no answer on that day. On the 15th I received no answer whatever. On the 16th I wrote a note by the early post, expressing my opinion that such a silence was not respectful to Her Majesty, and asking for an answer. However, neither on the 15th nor the 16th did any communication reach me. The same extraordinary silence was observed. The inquiry of the Queen, as to what was the meaning of the alleged conversation between her Foreign Secretary and the Ambassador of a foreign country, was left entirely unnoticed. I own I was greatly surprised at such a state of things; but on the morning of the 17th I received copies of two despatches, one of which had been received, and the other had been sent. The first was from the Marquess of Normanby to Lord Palmerston, dated Paris, December the 16th, and received on the 17th. It was in these words:— Paris, Dec. 15,1851. My Lord—In my despatch, No. 372, of the 5th inst., notifying my communication of my instructions to M. Turgot, I reported that his Excellency had mentioned that M. Walewski had written a despatch in which he stated that your Lordship had expressed your complete approbation of the course taken by the President in the recent coup d'état. I also reported that I had conveyed to M. Turgot my belief that there must be some mistake in this statement, and my reasons for that belief. But as a week has now elapsed without any explanation from your Lordship on this point, I must conclude M. Walewski's report to have been substantially correct. That being the case, I am perfectly aware that it is beyond the sphere of my present duties to make any remark upon the acts of your Lordship, except inasmuch as they affect my own position. But within these limits I must, with due deference, be permitted to observe, that if your Lordship, as Foreign Minister, holds one language on such a delicate point in Downing-street, without giving me any intimation you had done so—prescribing afterwards a different course to me, namely, the avoidance of any appearance of interference of any kind in the internal affairs of France—I am placed thereby in a very awkward position. If the language held in Downing-street is more favourable to the existing order of things in France than the instructions on which I am directed to guide myself upon the spot, it must be obvious that by that act of your Lordship's I become subject to misrepresentation and suspicion in merely doing my duty according to the official orders received through your Lordship from Her Majesty. All this is of more importance to me, because, as I stated before, several of my diplomatic colleagues had had the despatch read to them, and had derived from it the conviction that, if accurately reported, your expressions had been those of unqualified satisfaction.—I have, &c, NORMANBY. Now, although no answer had been given to me, and although I was unable to satisfy the inquiries which were made by my Sovereign, it appears that Lord Palmerston, on the 17th, the day on which this despatch was received, wrote of his own authority a despatch, which was sent to our Ambassador at Paris, and which had not obtained the sanction of Her Majesty, or the concurrence of myself and of my colleagues. Foreign Office,Dec. 16, 1851. My Lord—I have received your Excellency's despatch, No. 406, of the 15th inst., referring to the statement made to you by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs on the occasion of your communicating to his Excellency the instructions with which you have been furnished by Her Majesty's Government for your guidance in the present state of affairs in France; and I have to state to your Excellency that there has been nothing in the language which I have held, nor in the opinions which I have at any time expressed on the recent events in France, which has been in any way inconsistent with the instructions addressed to your Excellency—to abstain from anything which could bear the appearance of any interference in the internal affairs of France. The instructions contained in my despatch, No. 600, of the 5th inst., to which your Excellency refers, were sent to you, not in reply to a question as to what opinions your Excellency should express, but in reply to a question which I understood to be, whether your Excellency should continue your usual diplomatic relations with the President during the interval which was to elapse between the date of your Excellency's despatch, No. 365, of the 3rd inst., and the voting by the French nation on the question to be proposed to them by the President. As to approving or condemning the step taken by the President in dissolving the Assembly, I conceive it is for the French nation, and not for the British Secretary of State, or for the British Ambassador, to pronounce judgment on that event; but if your Excellency wishes to know my own opinion on the change which has taken place in France, it is that such a state of antagonism had arisen between the President and the Assembly, that it was becoming every day more clear that their co-existence could not be of long duration; and it seemed to me better for the interests of France, and through them for the interests of the rest of Europe, that the power of the President should prevail, inasmuch as the continuance of his authority might afford a prospect of the maintenance of social order in France; whereas the divisions of opinions and parties in the Assembly appeared to betoken that their victory over the President would be the starting point for disastrous civil strife. Whether my opinion was right or wrong, it seems to be shared by persons interested in property in France, as far at least as the great and sudden rise in the funds and in other investments may be assumed to be indications of increasing confidence in the improved prospect of internal tranquillity in France.—I am, &c, PALMERSTON. Now, Sir, it appears to me that that despatch in the first place was not written in the usual style of my noble Friend, which is a style of great clearness and directness, but was a despatch altogether evading the real question which was at issue. The Marquess of Normanby had asked, and I think he was entitled to ask, "Have you expressed a complete approbation of the act of the President of the 2nd December, and, if so, am I to guide myself by that opinion; or am I to act according to the despatch of the 5th December?" To that question no answer whatever was returned. Neither is there in that despatch a reference to the opinions of the Government, nor is there any opinion expressed with the sanction of the Crown; but the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, putting himself in the place of the Crown, neglected and passed by the Crown, in order to give his own opinion with respect to the state of affairs in France. Now it struck me that a Secretary of State, constitutionally, has no such power. It appears to me that he can only act with the sanction and the authority of the Crown in matters of very great importance. In matters of small importance, I am ready to admit that the Secretary of State must be allowed to take a course which to him seems best, without a continual reference to the Crown; but in this matter, which was of the utmost importance, namely, that of giving the moral influence and support of England to the act of the President of the French Republic, it seems to me it was an affair so great that the opinion, not only of the Prime Minister, but of the Cabinet, should be taken, and that no such opinion should have been expressed without their concurrence, and without the sanction of the Crown. But, Sir, there is a further question. It is a question of the utmost delicacy, but it is a question on which I cannot refrain from saying a few words. The act of the President was not referred to in that despatch merely as dissolving the Assembly. That was an act which in the first instance dissolved the Assembly, and put an end to the existing constitution; it was an act, in the second place, which put an end to the elections of 1852, with respect to which great apprehensions were entertained; and, in the third place, it was an act putting an end to Parliamentary government in France; and, together with Parliamentary government, suspending those rights of freedom of speech and freedom of the press which we consider usually accompany Parliamentary government. Now, I am not going to enter into any dispute as to whether that was a fit thing to be done. That was entirely a question for the French people to decide. The French people might say, and were justly entitled to say, "What you call in England Parliamentary government has produced such evils in France, it has so frequently led to convulsions, it is so incompatible with the order and peace of society in our own country, that it ought to be at once abolished, and a different system established in its place." If the French nation chooses to say that, who has the right or the least pretence to contradict it? But it is another question to give the moral approbation of England, to place the broad seal of England upon that doctrine with regard to a great country. If France has so resolved—if that is her decision—I should do nothing but re-grot that the great qualities of human nature, brought out by Parliamentary government, by free discussion, and by a free press, should henceforth not have their full development. But with respect to our position it will be recollected, that during the existence of the present Administration, with my noble Friend as its organ, we have been continually giving the moral support and the moral sympathy of England to constitutional Parliamentary government. We have done so in Spain, we have done so in Portugal, and we have done so in Piedmont; and none was more ready than my noble Friend to impart that moral influence. But if we were at once to sign our approbation to this act of the President, however necessary, how could we say to other countries that we had advised other countries to continue the Parliamentary government which they enjoyed? It would, therefore, have appeared to me to have been a signal and a wide departure from that policy which the Government had hitherto pursued, and which my noble Friend especially sanctioned. But when this took place, as I conceive the authority of the Crown had been set aside, and set aside for a purpose which they could not sanction, it appeared to me that I had no other course than to inform my noble Friend, that while I held office, lie could no longer hold the seals of the Foreign Office. Later in the day, and after I had formed that resolution, I received a long letter from my noble Friend; stating the reasons why he approved of the act of the President of France. But it appeared to me that those reasons no longer touched the case; because the real question now was, whether the Secretary of State was entitled, of his own authority, to write a despatch as the organ of the Queen's Government, in which his Colleagues had never concurred, and to which the Queen had never given Her Royal sanction? It appeared to me, that without degrading the Crown, I could not advise Her Majesty to retain that Minister in the Foreign Department of Her Government. I at the same time informed Her Majesty that a correspondence had taken place between Lord Palmerston and myself with respect to Her Majesty's wishes on the subject of despatches and diplomatic notes. This was on the Wednesday. I waited till the Saturday following, in order to consider and reconsider the matter before I finally resolved to submit this correspondence to Her Majesty. On Thursday I informed my noble Friend that I should wait till that day, as I thought it possible that he might either propose some course, or suggest some course, by which a separation might be avoided. Nothing of that kind, however, occurred, and being then as fully convinced as before, I, on Saturday, the 20th, wrote to Her Majesty, conveying copies of the correspondence which had passed, and likewise intimating my advice to Her Majesty, that my noble Friend should be required to give up the seals of the Foreign Office. In coming to a decision so weighty, by which I must be separated from a Colleague with whom I had acted so long, whose abilities I admired, and whose policy I had approved, I felt fully—whether I was right or wrong in so acting, I do not say—that it was one which I was bound to take by myself, and one upon which I ought not to consult any of my Colleagues, and one for which, in order to avoid anything which might hereafter be tortured into the appearance of a cabal, I ought to assume the sole and entire responsibility. With respect to the stories which my hon. Friend (Sir B. Hall) has related of the appearance of a letter in a Breslau paper written from Vienna, I can only assure him, however curious the coincidence may appear, that there was no truth whatever in the story of any intention on the part of the Government to endeavour to draw closer the relations of this country with Austria, or of the other matters to which that letter referred, and which arose solely and entirely from the conduct which I have stated and the motives I have laid before the House. Upon the 22nd the Cabinet met, and at that meeting I read the correspondence, both private and official, which had taken place between my noble Friend and myself, and I then stated that I was, of course, responsible for my conduct, and that, if my Colleagues disapproved of my conduct, of course I must leave office. I left it to them to form their own judgment upon the subject, and they decided, without any difference of opinion, that they thought I could have taken no other course than that which I had taken. I immediately proceeded to Windsor and advised Her Majesty to make choice of my noble Friend Earl Granville in the room of my noble Friend (Lord Palmerston). Now, Sir, with whatever pain the separation may have taken place, I was convinced then, and am convinced still, that, Consistently with what is due to the honour of the Crown and to the character of the country, I could take no other course than that which I took. But here, let me state—because some parts of my statement may perhaps have led to that opinion in the minds of some hon. Members—that I am far from accusing my noble Friend of any intention of personal disrespect to the Crown. My belief is, that having been long conversant with the affairs of the Foreign Office, and having great confidence in his own judgment and his own mode of managing its affairs, he forgot and neglected that which was due to the Crown, and that also which was due to his Colleagues; but without any intention of giving any personal disrespect to either. But, Sir, it is impossible for me to make this statement without also referring in some degree to the state of affairs which now exists upon the continent of Europe. I think it necessary to make that statement, because I have been necessarily led into the avowal of my opinions that we could not properly or fairly express an opinion here favourable to the conduct of the President of France upon the 2nd of December. I thought it was necessary on our part not to do what we heard that the Austrian and Russian Ministers had done, namely, to go at once and congratulate the President on what he had done. This, however, I am bound to say, that the President of France, with the large means of information which he possesses, has no doubt taken that course from a consideration of the state of the country, and that the course which he has taken is that best fitted to secure the welfare of the country over which he rules. [Laughter.] Let me re-state what I have said upon this subject. I stated I could not give my approbation to the conduct of the President; but I have no reason to doubt, and everything which I have heard confirms that opinion, that in the opinion of the President of France the three things which I have mentioned, namely, putting an end to the French constitution, preventing the elections of 1852, and the abolition of the Parliamentary constitution, were all measures conducive, and perhaps essential, to the welfare of France. But I have something to state further, because I confess that I have seen with very great regret the language which has been used by some portion of the press of this country, with respect to the President of France and the affairs of that country. I remember something as a boy, and I have read more, of that which occurred during the peace of Amiens, which rendered that peace of so short a duration, and which involved these two great nations in the most bloody hostilities which ever mangled the face of Europe. I believe that temperate discussion, temperate negotiation, between the two countries might have averted the calamity of war with England, but that the language of the press at that time was such as greatly to embitter all negotiation, and to prevent the continuance of that peace. Sir, I should deeply regret if the press of this country at the present time were to take a similar course. We have indeed the great advantage over the time to which I refer, which is, that the First Consul of France, great as wore his abilities, was totally ignorant of the means and of the constitution of this country; the present President of France has that advantage over his uncle, that he is perfectly aware how much liberty, nay, how much licence, of discussion prevails in this country, and that the fiercest and most unmeasured invectives of the press do not imply any feeling of hostility either on the part of the Government or on the part of the nation. I am convinced of this, that there never was a time in which it was more essential that these two great countries should preserve relations of peace and amity with each other. There never was a time when the peace of Europe would more contribute to the cause of civilisation and happiness. I am convinced also, from every assurance that I have had, that the ruler of France, the present President of that country, is desirous of keeping upon those terms of amity with this country; and it shall never be any fault of ours, while connected with the Government of the country, if those terms of peace and amity are not continued unimpaired. I have said this more especially, because it certainly will be our duty, as has been intimated in Her Majesty's Speech, to propose some increase in the estimates of the present year. When the proper time comes—when the measures are submitted—it will be shown, I trust to the satisfaction of the House, that those measures do not increase the armament of the country, and are, in fact, nothing more than what every nation on the Continent, and even the United States, think it necessary to take for their own national defence. It is impossible not to see that with the great changes which have taken place in the world, that with the other arts, the art of war has also greatly improved, and that it was necessary, even in the case of possibility of war, that we should not be without those means of defence which that improved art of war has provided. But really, to hear or read some of the letters—some of the language—used by some portions of the press, one would imagine that these two great nations, so wealthy, so similar in enlightenment, were going to butcher one another merely to try what would be the effect of percussion shells and needle guns. That feeling is, I am confident, but partial and limited, for I am convinced that the solid and deliberate opinion of this country is in favour of the continuance of the most permanent and solid peace, and which I think is the greatest blessing which the nations of Europe can enjoy. But, Sir, there is something further, to which, if I may be permitted, I will call the attention of the House. Four years ago we were astonished with news of insurrections in most of the capitals of Europe, and of a general, or something very like a general, establishment of the most democratic constitutions. I heard hon. Members in this House express their great joy at the establishment of these constitutions; but I could not participate in their joy or praises of what had occurred. I said I looked upon those events with mixed feelings—glad if they should turn out to be events which promoted the liberty and freedom of the nations of Europe, but being by no means confident as to that result. We have now seen four years pass over, and we have witnessed in almost all the countries where those democratic constitutions had been established, absolute power put in their place. For instance, in that little country of Tuscany, in which I lived for several months under the benignant rule of a most mild and enlightened Government, we have seen that country overturned by democracy; we have seen the Grand Duke driven from his dominions by the party which seeks for what is called Italian unity; and we have afterwards seen that democratic government suppressed, and the Grand Duke restored to absolute power, but with the addition of a foreign force occupying the country, and the subsistence of which is provided for by funds raised by the Italians for a very different purpose, while the inhabitants have made no more progress than before. In other countries, also—Austria, for instance—the constitution then given has been destroyed, and absolute power has been restored; in Hesse a foreign force has also succeeded in replacing, and still upholding, absolute power. Now, Sir, is there no moral to be drawn from all these circumstances? Does it not show in the first place that we should not give a hasty or rash approval of the events occurring in foreign countries? Does it not show, likewise, that, with respect to ourselves, though it was thought we had not the same degree of liberty as some of those States, we have done wisely to adhere to our ancient institutions, and that freedom of the press and liberty of speech—quid velis exponere, quid sends dicere— the essence of freedom are here more fully enjoyed than where popular liberty prevails to the utmost? I trust, therefore, that we shall, with regard to our own country, continue in the path of peaceable and safe reform, rather than by the hasty adoption of anything different from our institutions run the risk of losing the very liberty for which we make the change. But as to foreign countries there is this to be said, that while we do not interfere with their domestic concerns—while we abstain from any intemperate judgment on their internal affairs, yet there is one result which comes home to us, and which imposes on us a duty from which we cannot flinch. All these various Governments of foreign States, as each gets uppermost, send their enemies and opponents out of the country, and the consequence is, that we have many who are seeking refuge in England. In giving them hospitality we are but pursuing the ancient and known policy of this country; we are but doing that which was celebrated two centuries ago, when Waller said— Whether this portion of the world were rent By the rude ocean from the continent, Or thus created, it was sure designed To be the sacred refuge of mankind. I trust that we shall never see this boast falsified; that while we disapprove of any attempt made in this country to change the established Governments of other countries, so long as those exiles conduct themselves peaceably, we shall consider it the honour and distinction of this country to receive indiscriminately all those who are the victims of misfortune. With these opinions, therefore, with respect to foreign affairs, and as to the advantages that we derive from them, as to the obligations which they impose upon us, I shall conclude when I say to the House, that, not wishing in any degree to enter on the topics which have been introduced, it has been necessary that at the request of my hon. Friend (Sir B. Hall) I should give the explanation of the conduct I have pursued with respect to my noble Friend (Lord Palmerston), and that it has been impossible to do so without at the same time recurring to what took place in a neighbouring country; but I must again repeat that in any measures which we have to take— that in any measures which we may think it our duty to submit to this House, it shall be our object not to increase that unreasonable panic, but to alleviate it. It is my persuasion that it is wise at all times to take precautions against contingent and possible danger; but at the same time, I say, there is no reason to suppose that any danger threatens us; that there is in fact, at the present moment, no dispute between us and any other Power. I have the happiness to say, that the relations of peace exist between this country and foreign nations in the fullest degree. I trust they may continue to do so; and while I deplore events which have passed on the continent of Europe—events which I fear were but the too certain consequences of the revolution of 1848, I trust that, with peace and civilisation, with the knowledge which is daily gained by us, with the inventions which are hourly made to improve the condition of the times, national liberty will at length be firmly established, and that, with religion, it will govern the hearts of men, and produce a happier age to mankind.


Sir, I am sure the House will feel that after what has passed on the part of my hon. Friend behind me (Sir B. Hall), and the noble I Lord who has just sat down, it is absolutely incumbent on me to make some observations to the House. I should be sorry, indeed, Sir, that this House and the country should run away with the impression which the speech of the noble Lord has been too well calculated to make, that I have abandoned principles I have, ever entertained—that I have changed opinions, and which, I trust, I never shall alter—that I have been the advocate of absolute power—and that I have been in favour of the abolition of constitutional government; but I shall come to that immediately. The noble Lord at the head of the Government began the remarks he made to the House by stating his opinion of the relations which ought to subsist between the Foreign Secretary and the Crown on the one hand, and the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister on the other. In that definition I most entirely concur, and I flatter myself I have done nothing which is inconsistent with either of those relations. Sir, the practice that prevails in the Foreign Office was that which the noble Lord has described as laid down in the Memorandum of 1850; but the practice did not begin at that time, but was in existence before—namely, that no important political instruction is ever sent to any British Minister abroad, and no note addressed to any Foreign diplomatic agent, without the draught being first submitted to the head of the Government, in order that the pleasure of the Crown might be taken upon it; and if either the higher authority or the Prime Minister suggested alterations, those alterations were made, or the despatch was withheld. It has, I know, sometimes been said, that though the general tenor of the policy pursued by me had met with the approval of Her Majesty's Government, and was right, yet there was, notwithstanding, something in the manner of conducting it calculated to excite irritation on the part of foreign Governments. Now, the manner of conducting that business consisted in the framing of despatches or notes; and I have stated that these despatches and notes were never sent unless they had obtained the previous sanction of the noble Lord at the head of the Government. The noble Lord has commented upon an incident which I am ready to admit excited some degree of regret on my part—namely, the interview which took place between me and a certain deputation from Finsbury and Islington on the subject of the efforts made by Her Majesty's Government to obtain the release of the Hungarian refugees detained in the Turkish dominions. I was asked by letter to receive a deputation, instructed to express the acknowledgments of a certain meeting to me, as a member of the Government, and the organ of its foreign policy, for the efforts made to obtain the liberation of those refugees. I thought it was my duty, being thus applied to by respectable persons, to receive this deputation from a meeting of Her Majesty's subjects. I certainly did not expect, not being so much in the habit of receiving deputations as my noble Friend probably is, I did not expect that what passed in conversation with those persons was to appear in a newspaper paragraph next day as "an important declaration on the part of Her Majesty's Government." But nothing was said to that deputation by me which I had not stated previously in my place in this House, and elsewhere, and which has not been perfectly well known to the Government. I certainly regret that the meeting should have mixed up with their acknowledgments to Her Majesty's Government expressions with respect to foreign Sovereigns, which it was entirely unfitting to be addressed to a person in my situation. If I had taken the precaution, which I certainly might, to see the address previously, I might have objected to such parts, and they might have been expunged; but, being taken by surprise, and the address being read to me on the spot, all I could do was to repudiate those expressions, and to disclaim any participation in the opinions which they expressed. I do not think that what passed on that occasion was reasonably calculated to impair the friendly relations between Her Majesty's Government and any Continental Power. I will now come to the particular transaction to which the noble Lord has referred as the groundwork of my removal from office. The event which is commonly called the coup d'état happened in Paris on the 2nd December. On the 3rd the French Ambassador, with whom I was in the habit of almost daily communication, called on me at my house to inform mc of the news which he had received, and to talk over the events of the preceding day; and I stated conversationally the opinion I entertained of the events which had taken place. That opinion was exactly the opinion expressed in the latter part of the despatch to Lord Normanby, which the noble Lord has read; and the French Ambassador, as I am informed, communicated the result of that conversation in a private letter to his Minister. On that day, the 3rd of December, Her Majesty's Ambassador at Paris wrote a despatch to ask what instructions he should receive for his guidance during the interval which must elapse before the vote of the French nation upon the questions to be proposed to them by the President was known; and whether in that interval he should infuse into his relations with the French Government any greater degree of reserve than usual. I took the opinion of the Cabinet on that question, and a draught of answer was prepared and sent for Her Majesty's approbation. The answer could only be one, in consistence with the course we had pursued from the very beginning of the events in 1848, and was such as the noble Lord has read. Her Majesty's Ambassador was instructed to make no change in his relations with the French Government, and to do nothing that should wear the appearance of an interference of any kind in the internal affairs of France. There was no instruction to communicate that document to the French Government; it simply contained instructions, not, in fact, what the English Ambassador was to do, but what he was to abstain from doing. The noble Lord, however (the Marquess of Normanby), thought it right to communicate to the French Minister for Foreign Affairs the substance of that instruction, accompanying his communication with certain excuses for delay. Delay, however, there had been none, because his despatch was dated the 3rd, the answer was sent off on the 5th, and he communicated the reply on the 6th. The French Minister stated that he had nothing to say with respect to the delay, and the less, indeed, because two days before he had received from the French Ambassador in London a statement which the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) has read, namely, that I had entirely approved of what had been done, and thought the President of the French could not have acted otherwise. That was a somewhat highly-coloured explanation of the result of a rather long conversation. Those particular words I never used, and probably the French Ambassador never would have conceived it consistent with the dignity of his country to ask the approval of a Foreign Secretary of State. Consequently, the approval was not given, and was not asked. When the Marquess of Normanby's despatch reached my noble Friend (Lord J. Russell), he wrote to say he trusted that I would contradict that report. There was, as he has stated, an interval between the receipt of the noble Lord's letter and my answer. The noble Lord's letter was dated on the 14th, and my answer the 16th. I was at the time labouring under a heavy pressure of business, and, wishing fully to explain the opinion I had expressed, it was not until late in the evening of the 16th that I was able to write my answer. The noble Lord got it early next morning, on the 17th. My answer was, that the words quoted by the Marquess of Normanby gave a high colouring to anything I could have said in my conversation with the French Ambassador on the 3rd of December; but that my opinion was, and that opinion, no doubt, I expressed, that such was the antagonism which had arisen between the French Assembly and the President of the Republic, that their long co-existence had become impossible, and that it was my opinion that if one or the other were to prevail, it would be better for France, and, through the interests of France, better for the interests of Europe, that the President should prevail than the Assembly. My reason was, that the Assembly had nothing to offer as a substitute for the President, but alternatives ending obviously in civil war or anarchy; whereas the President, on the other hand, had to offer unity of purpose and unity of authority, and if he were inclined to do so, he might give to France internal tranquillity with permanent good government. This was the opinion I expressed on the 3rd, the day after the coup d'état. I will not trouble the House with all the arguments in my letter of the 16th to the noble Lord at the head of the Government, or with all the illustrations it contained. My noble Friend replied to that letter, that he had come to the reluctant conclusion that it would not be consistent with the interests of the country to allow the management of the Foreign Affairs of the country to remain any longer in my hands. He said that the question between us was not whether the President was justified or not in what he had done, but whether I was justified or not in having expressed any opinion on the subject. To that I replied, that of course I should be ready to give up the Seals whenever my successor was appointed; but I added that there is in diplomatic intercourse a well-known and perfectly understood distinction between official conversations, by which Governments are bound, and which represent the opinions of Governments, and those non-official conversations by which Governments are not bound, and in which the speakers do not express the opinion of Governments, but simply the opinions they may themselves for the moment entertain. I said, that in my conversation with Count Walewski, on the 3rd December, nothing passed which could in the slightest degree fetter the action of the Government, and that if the doctrine of the noble Lord were established, and if the Foreign Secretary were to be precluded from expressing on passing events any opinion to a Foreign Minister, except in the capacity of an organ of a previously consulted Cabinet, there would be an end to that freedom of intercourse between Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Ministers, which tends so much to good understanding and to the facility of public business. To this my noble Friend replied that my letter left him no other course than to ask Her Majesty to appoint a successor to me. Now, it is my humble opinion that my doctrine is right, and that of my noble Friend is wrong; because it is obvious that if the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs were never allowed in easy and familiar conversation with Foreign Ministers to express an opinion on foreign events, whether important or not, not as the opinion of the Government, but as an opinion which he had formed himself at the moment, then such a restriction on his intercourse with Foreign Ministers would be extremely injurious and very prejudicial to the public service. Now be it remembered that I expressed this opinion to which the noble Lord has referred, to the French Ambassador, on the 3rd of December, the day immediately after the coup d'état; but was I the only Member of the Cabinet who did thus express an opinion on that event? I am informed that on the evening of that very day, and under the same roof, the noble Lord at the head of the Government, in conversation with the same Ambassador, expressed his opinion. It is not, perhaps, for me to say what that opinion was, but from what has just now fallen from the noble Lord this evening, it may be assumed that that opinion was not very different even from the reported opinion which I am supposed to have expressed. Was that all? On the Friday, and in the noble Lord's own house, I have been informed that the French Ambassador met the noble Lord the President of the Council and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The noble Lord at the head of the Government again expressed an opinion, and the President of the Council and the Chancellor of the Exchequer also expressed an opinion. I believe their opinions were similar to mine; but, be it remembered, the charge against me was not the nature of the opinion I had expressed, but the fact that I had expressed an opinion, for the noble Lord distinctly told me, "You mistake the question between us; it is not whether the President was justified or not, but whether you were justified in expressing an opinion on the matter at all." I believe that the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies did also in those few days express an opinion on those events; and I have been informed also that the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, and now the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, also expressed his opinion. Then it follows that every Member of the Cabinet, whatever his official avocations may have been—however much his attention may have been devoted to other matters—is at liberty to express an opinion on passing events abroad; but the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, whose peculiar duty it is to watch over those events and to form an opinion—who is unfit for his office if he has not an opinion on them—is the only man not permitted to express any opinion at all; and when a foreign Minister comes and tells him news, he is to remain speechless, like a gaping dolt, or as silent as the mute of some Eastern Pasha? Why, Sir, I say such a course would not be consistent with the position of a Minister: it would not be consistent with the interests of the country. But I am told now, "It is not your conversation with Count Walewski that is complained of, but your despatch to the Marquess of Normanby." What did I state in that despatch, in reference to which a great parade is made, as if I had been guilty of breach of duty to the Crown, and of my obligations to the Prime Minister, in sending it without previously communicating with the noble Lord? No man can lay down the matter more strongly than I have as to the obligations of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I have always admitted that if the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs sends a despatch of importance to an Ambassador abroad, without ascertaining the opinion of the Prime Minister, or Crown, he is guilty of a breach of duty. But there are many cases in which he perfectly well knows that he is only expressing the opinion of the Government, and when inconvenience might arise from delay. There are many cases in which a sedulous and careful observance of the strict rule on my part has been attended with inconvenience to the public service, and has exposed me to imputations of neglect and delay in answering despatches received. But what was the despatch from the Marquess of Normanby, and what was my answer? Lord Normanby, in his despatch of the 6th Dec, had said that the French Minister had reported that I used certain expressions which Lord Normanby represents as inconsistent with the instructions not to interfere in the internal affairs of France. I cannot see, even if I had used the language ascribed to me, that it would have been in any way inconsistent with the instructions to him to make no alteration in the nature of his relations with the Government of France, and not to interfere in the internal affairs of France. But what does he report in that despatch of the 6th as having been done? He says, that after making that communication to M. Turgot to which the noble Lord has alluded, namely, that he had been instructed to do nothing which should have the appearance of interfering in any way in the internal affairs of France, he proceeded to tell M. Turgot that he was quite sure that if the Government had known the events of Paris on the Thursday and Friday they would have joined their congratulations to his. Surely that was a greater apparent interference in the internal affairs of the French nation than any conversation of mine with Count Walewski. However, Lord Normanby having reported the expressions of the French Minister to me, I did not think it necessary to go into any argument on the subject; but ten days afterwards, on the 15th of December, the Ambassador at Paris, rather inverting, I think, the positions of Ambassador and Secretary of State, calls on the Secretary of State to give him an explanation as to the language the Secretary of State was supposed to have used to Count Walewski on the 3rd. I repeated in my despatch to him, that neither the Secretary of State nor the Ambassador were entitled to pronounce a judgment on the events which had taken place in France; and I told him shortly what was the nature of the opinion to which I had given expression in conversation with the French Ambassador. Therefore it is a misrepresentation of the facts of the case to say that, in answering Lord Normanby's letter, I was giving instructions inconsistent with the nature of our relations with the French Government. It was no instruction at all. I did not give the opinion of the Government or of England. It was my own opinion; which I had expressed ten days before; and, whether right or wrong, it was shared by numbers in France. Therefore the charge which the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) has brought against me, founded on that despatch, has no foundation in justice or in fact. That is the state of the case as between the noble Lord and myself. As for the noble Lord advising the Queen to appoint a successor to me, that was a step which it was perfectly competent for the noble Lord to take without assigning any reason to me. But he chose to assign a reason, and that reason was, that I did, in conversation with Count Walewski, that which he and other divers Members of the Cabinet appear also to have done in conversation with the same person. I do not, however, dispute the right of the noble Lord to remove any Member of the Government whom he may think it better to remove than to retain in the Cabinet. With respect to myself, the noble Lord has done me justice by saying that the course of foreign policy of which I was the instrument had received the constant approbation and support of the rest of the Government. I think that course of foreign policy was the proper one for this country to pursue. I always thought it was the duty of the Government of this country to make the interests of England the polar star to guide our course; and that it was my duty to be—as the noble Lord described me in 1850, neither the Minister of Austria, of Russia, nor of Prussia, but the Minister of England. I have felt it my duty to maintain the interests of England, to afford protection to British subjects abroad in all parts of the world, to protect their commerce, their persons, and their property. It is not to be expected that, in pursuing that course, and in giving that encouragement which our own disposition and the wishes of the country stimulated us to give to the progressive diffusion of constitutional government in other countries—it is not to be expected, I repeat, that such a course could be pursued without meeting with opposition from persons and Governments who entertained opposite opinions, or who have happened to be wrongdoers, and from whom redress might be demanded. But I am happy to say—and my statement is confirmed by what has just fallen from the noble Lord— that after having for a considerable time had the good fortune and honour to be the instrument to guide the foreign relations of this country, I have loft the country in a state of friendly relations with respect to every country in the world, and that there is no question, no political question of any importance, creating a difference between this and any foreign State. It is not always that that could have been said. There have been periods when, unfortunately, differences have existed; but at all events, that "firebrand of revolutions," as I have been called, that individual who has been accused of having embroiled the relations of England with all other countries, after having found the country involved in difficulties, has left office with no question of serious difference between this and other nations, but with amity subsisting between this and all other countries. For instance, there are our relations with Russia. The time has been when we have had serious differences with that Power. But between England and Russia there now exists the most cordial understanding upon the very questions on which formerly differences prevailed, namely, with regard to Persia and Turkey. A short time ago questions arose in which Prussia was concerned, which seriously affected the peace of the north of Germany, and which we succeeded in arranging; and it was satisfactory to Her Majesty's Government that, by our conduct in seconding the proper and just pretensions of Denmark, we succeeded in wiping out the recollections of former events which had embittered the relations of the two countries, and that we were enabled to establish between England and Denmark relations of the most friendly and confidential nature. Then there is France. No man, Sir, can estimate more highly than I do those considerations which the noble Lord has adverted to, and which make it the common interest of France and England that the most perfect friendship and cordial good understanding should subsist I between them; and accordingly during all the changes which have taken place in France since the year 1848, whoever was at the head of the Government, and whatever form of government was adopted by the French nation, we ab- stained from all interference with the internal affairs of that country. Our principle has been to treat the authorities of the moment as the Government of the French nation; and with those authorities our relations have always been those of cordial amity. Then, with regard to the United States. The United States constitute a Power between which and this country in former years serious difficulties have existed. But the relations between these two countries are now upon a cordial footing, and a better understanding prevails between them than has ever before existed between those two great and kindred Powers. This is a state of things, which I must say, is very much owing to the ability and conciliatory manners of our late Minister to the United States, Sir Henry Bulwer; and very much also to the manly, straightforward, frank, and conciliatory character of that distinguished Gentleman who represents the United States at this Court. Well, Sir, with the Spanish States of America our normal condition, I may almost say, has been that of demanding redress for injuries done to British subjects. But many of these points of dispute are now either settled or in a train of adjustment; and our relations with those States are now as good as they ever have been, or as they are likely to be. I now come to Brazil. With Brazil we are co-operating, for the great object of the suppression of the slave trade. That object has been attained with such success that whereas in former years the number of slaves imported into Brazil had been 50,000, 60,000, and 70,000, the number of slaves brought during the last year was scarcely more than 3,000, of which a certain number were seized by the Government for the purpose of emancipation. And, Sir, if the measures now in operation between England and Brazil, and the measures which are now being taken upon the coast of Africa, are well and systematically followed out, the people of this country will in a short time have the satisfaction of fully accomplishing the great and noble object which for so long a period has been the aim at which they have directed their efforts. I will not affront the people of England by saying that they will gain thereby reputation and renown, because it is not to gain reputation and renown that those sacrifices have been made, and those exertions have been continued. They have desired the extinction of the slave traffic "not for fame, but virtue's better end;" and the people of this country, whenever that great object is accomplished, will look for their reward, not to the tongues of men, but to the dispensing hand of a just and retributive Providence. I now come to Spain. Our relations with Spain are now more cordial than they ever for a long time have been, notwithstanding our recent differences with that Power. With the States of Italy we have had questions also: with Naples relative to losses sustained by individual British subjects; but these have been settled in the most satisfactory manner. With Turkey our relations have been perfectly amicable, Austria is perhaps the only Power with which our relations have not been quite so cordial as in some former periods of our history. But with Austria, so far as outward appearances and diplomatic relations are concerned, we are upon friendly terms. With regard to Austria, I must remind the House however, that great differences of opinion and of principle have existed of late years between the English and Austrian Governments. England has always supported the diffusion of constitutional government, while the Austrian Government, on the contrary, has preferred the despotic system. In Portugal, in Spain, in Sicily, and the north of Italy, the two Governments were at variance in their opinions, and also in their views upon some difficult practical questions. They differed also in their views of Hungarian affairs, and upon the proceedings of Turkey with regard to the treatment of the Hungarian refugees. But these differences constitute no reason why the British and Austrian Governments should not co-operate with each other upon any matter on which their opinions and interests may agree. England and Austria had differences with each other in the years 1834, 1835, 1836, and 1837, with regard to the affairs of Portugal and Spain; but that did not prevent our cooperating with Austria in 1840 or 1841, when the objects and views of her Government were identical with our own. And whatever irritation may have arisen, and whatever differences of policy may have existed, that irritation was sure eventually to subside, and I am therefore justified in including Austria among the countries with whom we have satisfactory relations. Sir, having conducted the affairs of this country through periods of considerable difficulty, it was my good fortune to be the instrument of peace, and to combine therewith the not unsuccessful assertion of the interests of England. And I think I may say that in quitting office I have handed over the foreign relations of the country to my successor with the honour and dignity of England unsullied, and leaving her character and reputation standing high among the nations of the world.


said, he wished to make an observation with respect to what had fallen from the hon. Baronet the mover of the Address, in reference to the motives that had actuated the manufacturers in their reception of Kossuth. The hon. Baronet said that they had received him with the warmth they had exhibited because he (M. Kossuth) was a republican. Now, he (Mr. Muntz) begged, for his own part, to state that in taking part in his reception he had never once given the matter a thought, whether he was a republican, a monarchist, or an oligarchist; and he (Mr. Muntz) could likewise any the same for a large portion of his constituents. They had received M. Kossuth because they saw in him a man who had exerted himself much in opposition to a treacherous oppressor, and who would have done so successfully but for the interference of another country. The hon. Baronet had likewise stated that M. Kossuth had asked for the intervention of this country; but he (Mr. Muntz) could assure the House that he had never done any thing of the kind. What he asked for was non-intervention on the part of other countries. In this he (Mr. Muntz) entirely agreed with him, and so did his constituents; because, if when the governors and the governed of a country were at issue, and if when either party had gained an advantage, another nation was to step in and tyrannise over the party which had so gained the advantage, then every Government must soon become a despotism. If Russia, or any other third party, were allowed to interfere in this manner in the affairs of another country, every other Continental State would soon become a despotism, and they would join to make this country adopt the same form of government.


said, that he did not intend to enter into a discussion of the various topics which had been adverted to in Her Majesty's Speech; but he would make a few observations on the reasons which the noble Lord at the head of the Government had thought necessary to give for the retirement of the noble Lord the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He did not exactly understand on what grounds this explanation had been given. Had it been given to satisfy the curiosity of the hon. Baronet the Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall), or as an appeal to the judgment of the House? He presumed the latter, and therefore he would take the liberty of making a few observations on the subject. He was bound to admit that he was one of those who had always had the misfortune to differ from the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) on the subject of our Foreign Affairs, and therefore his opinion might possibly be regarded as not altogether unprejudiced. Having listened to the statements made on both sides, he must confess that he could arrive at no other conclusion than that the noble Lord had been offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole Administration. If it were true, as was stated in those great organs of the press which supported the Government, that our foreign relations were not in a satisfactory state; that the Government of this country was hated and abhorred by all foreign Governments; that we had not at this moment a single allied friend in Europe except Sardinia, and if all this was to be mainly attributed to the past conduct of the Foreign Office; if it wore true that in 1848 our Government outraged Austria, insulted Naples, encouraged and then betrayed Sicily, provoked Spain, excited rebellion in Italy, and in 1850 wantonly attacked Greece, then the noble Lord at the head of the Government was responsible for all this conduct. The noble Lord approved of that policy in the Cabinet, and he supported it in the House. But the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) was dismissed from office, forsooth, because, as the First Minister of the Crown had stated, that he was a most able, a most experienced, and a most successful Minister, and that he had taken upon himself, and had the presumption to suppose that he ought to have a knowledge of his own department. That was the head and front of his offending, and it was for such grounds as these that this most able, experienced, and successful Minister had been so lightly spoken of. Was there any Member of the House who believed that these were the real grounds? Was there any Member of the House who doubted what the real grounds were? Was there any one of them who could doubt that, in consequence of the recent changes in France and on the Continent of Europe, the mind of the noble Lord at the head of the Government had at length become convinced that his foreign policy had been a failure, and that, in the existing circumstances of the Continent, it would be dangerous to persevere in it. If it were necessary to offer up the noble Lord the late Foreign Secretary as a sacrifice to the evil genius of foreign despotism, the opinion of the House no doubt would be, that it would have been more just, more generous, and more chivalrous if the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) and his colleagues who shared his responsibility in the Cabinet, had thought proper to accompany the Foreign Secretary in his retirement from office. He (Mr. Baillie) believed that the explanation of the noble Lord at the head of the Government would lead to the impression that he had not hesitated to get rid of a difficulty by the sacrifice of a Colleague, for whose policy he was himself responsible.


said, he could corroborate what had fallen from the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz) as to the reception of M. Kossuth by the manufacturers. He (Mr. Geach) repudiated the idea that those who extended the hand of friendship to Kossuth were influenced by the fact that he was a republican. He (Mr. Geach) had never heard M. Kossuth say, either in any of his speeches or of the communications he had had with him, anything which could favour the idea that he sought the intervention of this country; on the contrary, he objected to intervention; and if the Hungarians had been left to settle their own disputes, the result would have been very different. He (Mr. Geach) also had to deplore that the hon. Baronet the mover of the Address, should have thought proper to apply the term "upstart usurper" to the President of France, who had been elected in the first instance by 4,000,000, and afterwards by 7,000,000 votes. He (Mr. Geach) had had engagements which had caused him to be a great deal in France since the 2nd of December. He had therefore had many opportunities of gathering the opinions of all classes in that country as to late events; and he could declare that there was an almost universal feeling of satisfaction at the solution of the difficulties by which the people of France had been surrounded. It was not a question as to what would have been abstractedly the best thing, but it was a question of what was the best under the circumstances; and though he should himself have been glad to have seen our neighbours enjoying the same liberal constitution with ourselves, he could not help feel- ing that in the state in which France had got, they might think themselves fortunate to have escaped the greater calamity which he believed would have fallen on them, but for the course adopted by the President. He did not wish to identify himself in feeling or in sympathy with any absolute Government; but he could not help expressing his opinion, that with regard to the events which bad taken place in France, he had come to a different conclusion from that of the hon. Baronet who moved the Address; and as he knew there was a growing feeling of irritation arising in France at the way in which the press of this country treated their affairs, he regretted that the hon. Gentleman selected for the important position of moving the Address, had been so indiscreet as to indulge in remarks tending to increase that irritation.


thought the noble Lord at the head of the Government would find that the speech of the hon. Member for Inverness-shire (Mr. Baillie) in a great measure represented the opinions of Europe on the subject of the dismissal of the late Foreign Secretary. He believed when the reports of this debate went forth to the public it would scarcely be credited in Europe that upon the mere ground of Ministerial etiquette and discipline a great change had taken place in the Government of this country, and that an important Minister had been summarily dismissed from office. He did not presume to doubt the perfect veracity of all that had been stated by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell); but he believed that public opinion, both in this country and elsewhere, would see beyond the statement he had made motives and intentions which he had not expressed, and of which he was, perhaps, hardly conscious himself. It might be said that the character and reputation of a Minister were hardly understood until he had lost power; and it was perhaps only when the news of the fall of Lord Palmerston spread throughout Europe that the estimation in with the noble Lord was held was really ascertained. What was the meaning of the universal jubilee of the absolutist Powers of Europe—of the rejoicings of the oppressors, and the lamentations of the oppressed? What was the reason that Lord Palmerston's fall had been regarded as showing the accession of the English Government to the new order of things to be inaugurated in Europe—in which England might perhaps be allowed to keep her Parliamentary constitution and free Government on condition that she did not interfere by word or deed in the affairs of the Continent in general? All these opinions showed the estimate, whether for good or evil, in which the noble Viscount was held on the Continent. He (Mr. Milnes) had always believed that the administration of the noble Lord had been entirely misunderstood and misrepresented throughout Europe. He had found that wherever upon the Continent men were aspiring after liberty, or were by the deprivation of it oppressed, there the name of Lord Palmerston was mentioned with respect and regard by the oppressed and the suffering. In the valleys of Piedmont, in the remote districts of Germany, in the cities of Spain, in all countries and portions of the world where principles of liberty were struggling into birth, the noble Lord's name was recognised with respect—he might almost say with reverential affection; and it was natural that those Powers which represented opinions totally alien from the wishes and desires of the people of England should regard the noble Lord with very contrary feelings. They consequently represented the noble Lord to their people as a sort of hobgoblin—an object of vague terror and evil repute, connecting his name with all kinds of revolution and confusion, to which his spirit was wholly alien, and thus endeavouring to diminish his real and just influence. He (Mr. Milnes) thought, therefore, that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had done great injury to his country by the course he had taken. He wished to speak with all respect of the young nobleman who had assumed the department from which the noble Viscount had been dismissed; but they were approaching times when the country required a practised hand to guide it, and the knowledge and experience of the noble Viscount might have been able to prevent evils which all the abilities of his successor might be unable to prevent. The fall of the noble Lord had not been accompanied by any peculiar demonstration of the improvement of our relations with Foreign Powers, but was coincident with a large demand for the increase of our national defences. He would have much preferred that our defences should have remained in the moral firmness and high tone of statesmanlike dignity which pervaded the administration of the noble Viscount, than in any material accession to our forces. He therefore, as a supporter of the Government, greatly regretted this circumstance, which he believed had weakened the efficiency, if it had not shortened the existence, of the present Administration, because of all the departments of the State, the department presided over by the noble Viscount was the most popular in the country, and the least obnoxious to general objection. The noble Lord at the head of the Government must have seen in the demonstration which took place some eighteen months ago what was the feeling of sympathy entertained for the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) on that (the Ministerial) side of the House, and which would follow him into the position of independence he had now assumed. He would only express his hope that the dismissal of the noble Viscount might not be the precursor of other symptoms of weakness and dissolution on the part of the Ministry, which he would sincerely regret.


said, if he had addressed the House, and made observations of a similar nature to those which had been used by the hon. Baronet who moved the Address, he had no doubt the House would say that he was introducing a subject which was not germane to the question in hand, and that in fact he was merely riding his hobby. The hon. Baronet the Member for Anglesey had very early in his speech referred in a disparaging manner to the visit of Kossuth to this country. Now, he thought that the manner in which Kossuth was received by the people of this country, showed that the feelings of all the working and of all the middle classes were in favour of that great patriot; and if the same feeling did not pervade the higher classes, he could only say that that backwardness on their part did them little credit. He could add his testimony to what had been already said by the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Muntz), and the hon. Member for Coventry (Mr. Geach); one of whom said, that he was not supported by the people of this country on account of his advocating republican doctrines; and the other said, he did not call upon this country to interfere in arms on behalf of any foreign country whatever. He (Lord D. Stuart) believed that the people of this country saw in Kossuth, and that they still saw in him, an illustrious man struggling against a barbarous tyranny for the rights of his country; and that as to whether he was a republican or a monarchist, they did not care one straw about the matter. He must say, he could not congratulate the hon. Baronet the Member for Anglesey (Sir R. Bulkeley) on his success in conciliating the liberal Members in the House; and he did not think the Government were obliged to him for the mode in which he had advocated their cause. If the House agreed to the Address, as he believed they would, it would not be from the mode in which that Address was recommended to them by the hon. Baronet. As regarded Parliamentary Reform, the hon. Baronet told them that he abhorred the ballot. Now, he (Lord D. Stuart) believed that on his side of the House the opinion was general that the ballot was a sine quâ non, without which there could be no real representation of the people. Then the hon. Baronet talked of the dislike entertained by the middle and upper classes towards the income tax. If he was to understand from that, that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer meant to relieve the country from that impost, that statement would be received with great and general satisfaction. Then, with regard to Ireland, the hon. Baronet used the ominous expression, that it had always been the policy of the Government to maintain Protestant ascendancy in that country. No doubt that had been the practice; but he had hoped that that system was now put an end to, and that Ireland was now to be governed on a principle of complete religious equality. He was therefore not a little disappointed by the speech of the hon. Baronet; but he believed all that had been put out of the heads of hon. Members by the discussion that had since taken place respecting the lamentable change in the composition of the Ministry. He called it a lamentable change, because He saw a great Minister charged with an important department of State for a great number of years, in which he had conducted the affairs of the country with credit to himself and with honour to the country, and in the most difficult times had preserved uninterrupted peace—he saw that distinguished statesman, whose name would go down to posterity as one of the greatest that had ever sat upon the Ministerial bench—he saw him removed from office on what he could not but call the most paltry pretence. The speech of the noble Lord at the head of the Government had been listened to with breathless interest in the House. That speech would go forth to the country, and would be scanned with careful interest not only in this but in foreign countries. What might be thought of it abroad he knew not; but he had no doubt the people of England would say it was pretty clear that the noble Lord at the head of the Government had been desirous to find some excuse for getting rid of his noble Colleague for some reason or other—whether because he was of too liberal principles, or whether because the advocacy of those principles produced remonstrances of a disagreeable nature from foreign Governments, or whether because of that foreign cabal of which the noble Lord spoke in the Greek debate in 1850, or for some other unknown reason—still that it was a foregone conclusion—it was determined to get rid of the Foreign Secretary as soon as possible, and therefore the first pretext that offered itself was taken. Could any man believe that if the Premier had been desirous to secure the services of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) he would have allowed a reason like that to operate for his dismissal? It had been stated by the noble Lord at the head of the Government, that the ground of the noble Viscount's dismission was that he had given an extra-official opinion on a certain subject. But it appeared from the noble Viscount's defence that the Premier himself gave the same opinion—that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, the noble Lord the President of the Council, the noble Secretary for the Colonies, and the noble Lord who had succeeded to the Foreign Office, all gave the same opinion. This was not contradicted by any of the Ministers, though no doubt they would have done so if that had not been true. Now if the Premier had said the ground of the noble Viscount's dismission was, that he gave an opinion in favour of the proceedings of the President of France, of which the Premier disapproved, then he (Lord D. Stuart) said he would rather go with the noble Lord at the head of the Government. He was intensely anxious that a good understanding should prevail between this country and France—he thought the welfare of Europe depended upon that—he believed, further, that France was the only country with which we could have any real or sincere alliance, for he could put no trust in our alliance with any of the three northern Courts. But, anxious as he was to see that good understanding prevail, he still could not look with complacency upon the conduct of the French President, and the nefarious proceedings that had taken place on the other side of the Channel. It was true that was the affair of the French people; and if they chose to be governed by a despot who had no regard to his oaths—who imprisoned and transported men without trial, and trampled all right and justice under his feet—if they chose to be governed by a ruler of that sort, certainly that was the affair of the people of France, and not one in which the people of this country had a right to interfere. He thought the true course for a British Minister would have been to abstain altogether from giving any opinion upon this subject, and therefore he disapproved, he confessed, of the conduct both of his noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) and of the Members now remaining in the Government, for he thought much greater caution ought to have been used with regard to approbation of these unjustifiable proceedings. Still he felt that no reason had been given to justify the dismission of the noble Viscount, and therefore he remained convinced that the whole proceeding was a foregone conclusion to get rid of the noble Viscount; he feared it had been done on account of representations coming from abroad, and he was sure it would not be found conducive to British interests.


thought the noble Lord who had just sat down had somewhat misapprehended the effect of the explanations that had been given. He stated to the House that five other Cabinet Ministers had been guilty of the same conduct which had been imputed to the late1 Foreign Secretary. Now he (Sir H. Verney) understood that the gravamen of the charge against the noble Lord was, not that he had addressed to Count Walewski a verbal approbation of the coup d'état on the 3rd December, but that on the 16th December he addressed to our Ambassador a written despatch containing his private opinion of that coup d'état. He regretted much the loss which the country had sustained in the services of the noble Lord, because he believed that every man who felt interested in the cause of liberty and of Protestantism must feel deeply indebted to the noble Viscount. Among the first events that have occurred since the noble Viscount left office were, that the efforts of the Bible Society all over the Austrian dominions, and in countries where the influence of Austria is paramount, were stopped, and three Scottish missionaries had been forced to leave Hungary. He did not say that these events had taken place in con- sequence of the noble Viscount's leaving office; but he deeply lamented that they should have so immediately followed his retirement—that these men should be turned out of the country who had done nothing contrary to the laws, who were living at Pesth as peaceable and good subjects, and under the protection of the British Minister. Still if it were true that on the 16th of December the noble Viscount did write a despatch containing opinions contrary to those of the Cabinet, and conveying to the French President's Minister the sanction of this country and approbation of his measures, although he might certainly have been blameless for his opinions uttered at the first blush of the matter on the 3rd December, yet if he did that on the 16th, it did appear to him that the opinion of the House and of the country would be, that under these circumstances the Premier was justified in his dismissal.


said, the noble Lord the Member for Marylobone (Lord D. Stuart) had commenced his observations by some severe remarks on the speech of the hon. Baronet who moved the Address. He thought that whatever cavil might be taken at some expressions which were used by a speaker unaccustomed to address the House, still he thought the House would join with him in an expression of admiration—and a feeling of regret that the hon. Baronet (Sir R. Bulkeley) did not oftener mingle in the debates of the House, in which He was so well qualified to take a part. The course of the debate had been wrapt up, he might say, in one absorbing subject, which would almost make it look like impertinence to allude to any other point. But he felt there were other points which were equally interesting to the country. Mention had been made of the state of Ireland in Her Majesty's Speech, and he was rather surprised that not one Irish Member had got upon his legs to say a word in reference to that allusion. He wished to say a word in allusion to that part of the Speech where Her Majesty said it was not necessary to call upon the House for additional powers. Now, whatever his own opinion might be—and certainly he was not likely to quarrel with Government because they did not come forward to ask for extraordinary powers—he thought the House might consider whether, in the existing state of three counties in the north of Ireland, the present mode of trial by jury was adequate for the repression of crime. At present it was almost impossible to obtain a conviction, for the jurors were afraid of being shot if they returned a verdict of guilty, and therefore He would suggest to the Government whether it would not be wise to import into that country the Scottish system of trial by jury. The Scottish principle he believed to be this, that, except in cases of high treason, a majority of the jurors could convict. There was another suggestion he wished to throw out. He thought the system of offering rewards for evidence was extremely mischievous. He need not say it was unproductive, because those rewards were never applied for; but he would ask whether it would not be better to offer a settlement of land in Australia, for as the law remained at present, no man could take the money, and afterwards remain in the country. He was speaking only of the three counties now under the special commission in the north of Ireland, for he was glad to say that the south of Ireland had never been so tranquil at as the present moment; but the "gentlemen of England who lived at home in ease" could have no conception of the horrors that prevailed throughout these three counties. He would now touch lightly upon the points in debate. He was not, on the one hand, satisfied with what he must call the plausible explanation which the Premier had offered to the House. He looked upon the loss of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) not only as a loss to the Government, but as a great national loss; but he could not, at the same time, entirely approve of the way in which the noble Viscount had spoken of recent transactions in France. As a Member of the House of Commons, representing the great county of Middlesex, He could not go before his constituents if He were to remain silent when he heard a Minister of the Crown, or even a late Minister of the Crown, give a qualified approbation even to the late coup d'état in France. He did not want to add fuel to the Same which was already existing in this country; but he would say in the words of a statesman, though used under very different circumstances — the great Lord Chatham— Power without right is one of the most pernicious and detestable things which the human imagination can conceive. It is not only pernicious to the man who holds it, but it is most destructive to the people over whom it is held. It is, in short, res detestabilis et caduca. He concurred in that sentiment, and he hoped there was not a man present who did not join him. He trusted that matters had not proceeded to such extremities but that in process of time these differences might be healed, and that the noble Viscount would again join the Government of which he was such a distinguished and leading Member.


said, he should be sorry if this debate arising out of the Speech delivered from the Throne passed with only a simple personal explanation. That Speech had travelled over a great variety of subjects, embracing almost every interest of the country, and after this statement, which the Chief of the Executive had made to the great council of the nation, he thought it unworthy of them that their discussion should turn wholly upon the question, why one nobleman had thought proper to dismiss another? But he desired, before touching farther upon that subject, to bring out of the discussion they had heard, some sort of moral, if he might so express it, as to the peculiar position which the Government was now in. It was admitted by the noble Lord at the head of the Government himself, and it was felt by every man in the country, that the position of affairs at home, in the colonies, and abroad, was in the highest degree critical. At the moment when they in England were on the eve of great administrative changes, there was a great want of energy, of firmness, of knowledge, of capacity, even in our common domestic administration, in addition to which we had in every colony discontent bordering on disaffection, and in some actual war; while on the Continent of Europe liberty was stricken down—representative government almost entirely abolished—despotism everywhere triumphant, and nothing in Europe which was not at the will of the persons in power there; and in England they were trembling, not with fear, but with anxiety, lest the peace of this great country should be invaded. Surely this was a time when they ought to scan narrowly, if not with severity, the power and capacity of those who were charged with the destinies of this country. It was at this critical period that the most marked person in the Administration—he around whom almost all the party battles of the Administration had been fought— whose political existence had been made the political existence of the Government itself—the person on whose being in office the Government rested their existence as a Government, was dimissed—their right arm was cut off—their most powerful arm was taken away, and at the critical time when it was most needed. He asked, what was left in the Government that should induce the House to support them? How did he judge of that Government? He judged of its future by its actual past. All now remaining, from the Prime Minister down to his most insignificant follower, he would call upon to answer for their acts to their country. The noble Lord's Government was, he thought, founded on a most unwise policy: the system of his administration, as tar as its formation was concerned, was that of a mere family party, while the just interests of the country were forgotten. The noble Lord seemed to select the faces with which he was most familiar, and the friends with whom he was most conversant, surrounding himself with those who no doubt were most near and most dear to him, but whose promotion was of little importance in comparison with the interests of this country, whilst they did not seem to know what was required. Dealing as they were with a representative government, the feelings of the representative body were of the highest importance. Now, he would ask any man in that House who had been in it for two or three Sessions past, if in reality there had existed a Government in that House? He wanted to know whether any one plan propounded by the noble Lord had been carried through; whether he had really had power over the House to carry, as a Minister, his measures through the various stages, so that there should be a unity of conduct, a firmness of purpose, and an understanding as to the principles that were to be enforced? He had seen the noble Lord commence the Session with a long parade of proposed measures, as in the last Session, which had fallen aside ignominiously. Take the subject of law reform: after having thrown abroad unreservedly his opinions to the country, the noble Lord had been unable to guide or control a single proposition. Had they not brought in one proposition after another, and no sooner brought them in than been frightened with their own work? In our colonies all was confusion worse confounded, and proposition after proposition was made apparently only to be abandoned. Turning again to those departments of the Government which depended on a knowledge of the ordinary rules of administration, he asked the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Admiralty, if the whole machinery of the administration of that board was not disgraceful to the country. We could not send a ship to sea to take a few hundred men to the Cape colony, but the vessel stopped at Plymouth, because it was so ill-found that it could not go on. [Sir F. BARING: Hear, hear!] He was sure the right hon. Gentleman would set him right if the statement he made was erroneous—[Sir F. BARING: Hear, hear!]—and as the right hon. Gentleman seemed prepared to explain that circumstance, he (Mr. Roebuck) would mention another subject for him. He referred not only to the last steamship despatched from this country with soldiers to the Cape, but also to a transport that previously made a voyage to the same destination, and not having three months' provisions on board, was obliged to stop a vessel in her way, in order to obtain a supply. These were things of mere written engagement, matters which a common clerk ought to be able to perform, and yet it appeared that the Admiralty was unequal to the task. They could not build a ship but they thought it requisite to cut her in two afterwards; and, in fact, from the beginning to the end of their arrangements, it was clear that a complete, searching, practical inquiry was needed. He asked if, in the annals of England, there was anything more disgraceful to us as a great and powerful nation than the Kafir war? Our proceedings throughout the whole matter had been disgraceful. In the first place, injustice attended our entrance into that country. Injustice having been perpetrated, it might have been expected that we should at least have profited by our own misdeeds; but instead of that, the pit of disaster into which we had sunk appeared to be unfathomable. It was said that there were 10,000 of our troops at the Cape at present, and certainly it was as fine an army for the number of men as England could furnish, and no doubt we should find by and by, in the increasing estimates, not for national defences, but colonial expenditure, what it had cost us to send them there. What was begun in injustice had been continued in imbecility, and at the present moment hundreds of colonists we had sent out were left unprotected, in danger of life, exposed to all the horrid cruelties which the savages of those regions could perpetrate, neither security nor comfort being known to them, whilst the natives ranged un- checked and uncontrolled, from one end of the colony to the other, and outrages, spoliation and devastation reigned triumphant throughout Kafraria. Why was this? The discontent of the colony was itself created by the Colonial Office; but had they done what was their duty, and abstained from first alienating the colonists, sending out at the same time the constitution as they desired, they might have told the colonists to take care of themselves, in the full confidence that they were well able to do it. They would then have had no call for such a material of war; the colonists would have been able to protect their own interests, and England would not have been called upon for this large outlay. He wanted to know why that colony had been kept in hot water for the last two years? Had they allowed the colonists to govern and protect themselves, it would have been unnecessary to interfere with them. Then there were the whole Australian Colonies in the same state; they accepted the constitution given them exactly as he said they would—as a means of enforcing more, and the constitution given to them had been the means of creating and keeping up discontent, instead of allowing the inhabitants to exercise their powers of self-government. At home the whole administration of the law was in a state of great disturbance; and he asked if it was fitting for the Government to throw the subject abroad, and leave private individuals in that House to take it up? Nothing was so mischievous as to keep the law in a constant state of change. Even if they improved it, the mere fact that they were keeping it in constant change was a great evil. One of the most important parts of the subject was the administration of the law, and at present the whole administration of the courts of judicature might be said to be in a state of dislocation. What was Government about to do on this great subject? Had they any comprehensive view—any great scheme? or did they mean, as in times past, to allow Gentlemen to bring in Bills to improve the constitution and procedure of the courts, and then leave them to their fate? There was no more fruitful source of legislative failure than the inadequate preparation of the measures, and the utter want of method or arrangement for that object. It should be the duty of a great officer of State, under an enlightened Administration, to review the comprehensive whole of the law and its administration, applying to the details his master-mind and all his extension of views, instead of their having the mischievous and perpetual meddling with the law which they had witnessed in the last Session. On the whole, he was justified in saying that the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) had not manifested any great degree of capacity in his office; but they were told that there were no others to take the Government, and that the Gentlemen opposite could not do so. He was quite willing to throw himself on the noble Lord; but at the same time he must express a hope, that for the future some well-matured scheme would be laid before them, and that such important changes might not be left to Gentlemen who were only trying their hands at legislation. There was one other important subject to which he wished to refer. The Foreign Affairs of this country were a matter of the most delicate concernment. He should be sorry if any expression of his could have the effect of adding to the dangers which he saw around; but though as a Government and a Legislature they were not called upon to express their opinion upon the changes that had occurred abroad, yet as individual Members of a representative assembly, perhaps the most important in the world, he did not think they were travelling beyond the bounds of their duty in expressing in plain though guarded language their solemn disapproval, if not their indignation, at the extraordinary occurrences they had witnessed during the past year. In dealing with this matter, it was his fixed opinion that they had to deal with a man whom no sanction held. He might be told that there was no danger of disagreement between France and England after the revolution was settled; but he who could forget the most selemn obligations to his own countrymen was not likely to be troubled with scruples in dealing with others. It was clear that he would only consult his own interests in matters that regarded ours, and we should do wisely to be on our guard, not in any way whatever showing the most distant approbation of his proceedings, but following out strictly the rule we had laid down to ourselves not to interfere in the affairs of foreign nations and Governments. With the person himself we had nought to do; we saw his acts, and the dangers likely to result from them. He should be sorry to throw his countrymen off their guard on this subject, though at the same time he should be very sorry to create an unhealthy panic, fancying that we were about to be made the victims of an unlooked-for invasion, when at the same time all that was required at the hands of Government was calmness, prudence, vigilance and caution.


was anxious to ask attention for a very few minutes to that portion of Her Majesty's Speech which related to Ireland, because he did believe that when that portion of the Speech was read in Ireland it would be received with disappointment and dismay. One part of the Speech relating to Ireland had reference to those three counties in the north where the recent murders had been committed. Within the space of two or three years there had been nine cases of murder and attempts at murder, and in no one instance, as yet, had there been a conviction for these desperate attempts. A special commission had been issued, and for the first time in his (Mr. Napier's) experience, that special commission had proved an abortion. They read in the Speech that the attention of Her Majesty would be directed to this most important subject; but in the meanwhile, whilst they were theorising on this question, and considering what had best be done, a reign of terror prevailed, and the most estimable persons lived in constant dread of seeing the sanctity of their families invaded by the midnight horrors of merciless assassination. Now, he had said from the first, that the remedy for this state of things was not to be sought in any Parliamentary magic, but in every man doing his duty honestly; and the most important thing to be done was to give the protection of the law to every one, and to bring all offenders to summary and condign punishment. A special commission had been issued by the Government of Earl Grey with the most distinguished success; but the present had proved quite abortive, and for reasons which he was not at liberty to go into; first, because the hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland was not present: and, secondly, because, until the commission was brought to a close, it would neither be proper or constitutional to enter into any minute account of the circumstances. He wished, however, to point out to the House that these attempts were not directed merely against the gentry; the farmers were also the object of them, and one of the first of the murders that took place was that of a small farmer, named M'Taggart. When the first Rib- bon Act was passed, it included provisions making penal the possession of pass-words, secret signs, &c. But in the Act passed last Session, those provisions had been omitted, although under those provisions most of the convictions had taken place. What had been the consequence? Why, in Antrim a nest of these conspirators, who had been discovered with all the signs and pass-words, had escaped, and been discharged. Nor was this all; for twenty-two others, who had, conscious of guilt, retired from that part of the country, returned. Thus the peaceable inhabitants were left at the mercy of these robbers— the law was powerless to protect them. Why, the Government had actually shrank from exercising their legal right of setting aside jurors. The prisoner had the right of challenging peremptorily twenty jurors, and of course exercised that right to the utmost; while the Government declined to exercise the right—for fear, forsooth, of the odium which might be incurred through exercising it for the purposes of justice and for the protection of life. And so noon-day murderers escaped conviction, and went abroad free. In one case the party accused had been let out on low bail, and escaped to America. If Parliament did nothing, the lives and property of the loyal would be at the mercy of assassins and conspirators. It was idle to talk of the amendment of Ireland while life and property were unsafe; and he called upon the Government to demand the powers necessary to execute the law. The Chief Justice of Ireland had justly said that if the law were executed, it would be sufficient; but a law not executed was as bad as one insufficient. There must be a sufficient law, sufficiently executed; and the Government must show itself determined to grapple with this dreadful system of crime, and resolve to put it down.


said, that the fearful murders alluded to by the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just resumed his seat, were as abhorrent to him as they could be to anybody, and he was ready to consent to almost any sacrifice to put them down; but he could not agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman as to his remedies, which, if they were anything, meant that the Government should try again a system of coercion. Depend upon it, that broken reed would fail them, and they never would be able to cure the evil by coercive measures. It was agreed on all hands that the causes of these outrages arose out of the relations of landlord and tenant, and He could not exonerate the Government from all blame in reference to that question. In 1849 they brought in a Bill to settle the question of landlord and tenant, and by doing so admitted all the evils of the present state of things; but towards the end of the Session they abandoned that Bill. In 1851 the same thing; occurred, and the question still remained unsettled. It was, therefore, to the Government that the country owed the much-condemned proceedings of the tenant-league. The Queen's Speech alluded to a new Reform Bill for England. He should be glad to know if its provisions would be extended to Ireland? The noble Lord might say that he gave Ireland a new franchise last year, and that therefore he (Mr. Roche) had no right to ask for Ireland to be included in the new measure. But the state of things under the new franchise was most anomalous, For instance, the constituencies of the thirty-two counties of Ireland numbered altogether 135,245 voters, and they had only sixty-four representatives, while the twenty-three boroughs (he omitted Cork, which of itself had more than 2,000 electors, from the calculation), with 5,349 electors, had twenty-three voices in that House. That of itself was a sufficient reason why Ireland ought not to be excluded from the Bill of the noble Lord. Whilst they had counties with 8,000, 10,000, and 13,000 electors, they had boroughs with one hundred and fifty and even only seventy electors. Nothing could be more monstrous than such a disproportion between the constituencies of boroughs and counties. What could tend more to promote corruption and misrepresentation than to retain the small borough constituencies in Ireland? He thought, therefore, that there was an ample case shown for extending any Reform Bill which might be introduced for England to Ireland. The mode of conducting Irish business in that House imperatively called for amendment. The present custom was to hang up Irish Bills during the greater part of the Session, and then, just at its conclusion, one-half of them were abandoned or partially carried out. The Medical Charities (Ireland) Bill was cut in half last Session, and, if he might be allowed the bull, the worst half given to Ireland. He would propose that they should have one night in the week for the discussion of Irish business, instead of prolonging the custom of dis- cussing their provisions at one o'clock in the morning. He would not allude to other matters of a general nature, but he would express a hope that there would not be a return to the old system of coercion.


I am unwilling, Sir, to assent to the Address to the Throne without making a few observations. I know that it is by no means agreeable to make any comments on the first night of our meeting on an Address to the Crown, on which no Amendment is offered. The subjects are so interesting, they are so various, they are so universally engaging, that nobody really thinks that it is anybody's business to attend to them; and everybody is convinced that, in the course of the Session, legitimate opportunities will be afforded of discussing in detail the programme of questions which the Government places before the House on what is really not the least important night of our meeting; and then it often happens that we are afterwards told by a Minister, if we oppose some of his propositions in the course of the Session, that the House is pledged by the unanimity with which they assented to the principle on the first night of the Session—an assent of which no one is conscious. Therefore, I am rather disposed at all times, although the office is not an agreeable one, not to pass by without observation the Address, though no Amendment is brought forward which naturally arrests the attention and secures the notice of the House. There certainly is to-night a reason why I think it scarcely respectful either to the Government, or to other great personages, to pass unnoticed the, if not unprecedented, at all events interesting and remarkable, scene with which the opening of this Session of Parliament has been ushered in. Sir, I have always observed, in an experience of the House of Commons, which, I am sorry to say, now begins to be longer than I care to recollect, that if it be the fortune of an hon. Member to make an inquiry of a Minister, he is in general not very successful in eliciting any particular information; and I am bound to say that I do not think that the hon. Member for Marylebone (Sir B. Hall) has to-night proved a particular exception to our general experience. The hon. Baronet gave due notice of his intention to address an inquiry to the First Minister on a subject of imperial interest. The First Minister has responded to his inquiry, and has been replied to by a statesman scarcely less eminent. The personages were considerable, the subject important, and the audience were the assembled Commons of England. But as far as I can come to a conclusion, after listening to this performance, I must say that it appears to me to be a Downing-street eclogue, and, as far as we are concerned, no reasons were given or any information imparted that could account for circumstances so remarkable, and a catastrophe so sudden. The First Minister did, indeed, impart one most interesting piece of intelligence. He gave the House one of the chief rules by which he manages his Cabinet. The First Minister told us that on the important occasion which, with due notice has engaged our consideration to-night, that he did not consult his Cabinet, because, if they had given their opinion, it might have been considered a cabal. A very extraordinary reason, indeed, for the First Minister not consulting his Cabinet! Why, we have heard some not very judicious comments made to-night on the conduct of the present Ruler of France; but he seems to have acted on much the same principle as the Prime Minister of England. He has not consulted any one—he has acted on his own impulses; he also felt that opinion, however expressed, ought to be treated as a cabal. Sir, notwithstanding these remarks of the noble Lord, I think we are bound, after the scene which has taken place, to express our opinion on what has passed. As far as the displacement of the noble Lord the late Secretary of State goes, it has always been my lot, and I have always felt it my duty, to oppose the political system represented by the noble Lord in this House. But I never refrained, under any circumstances, from doing justice to the noble Lord; I have never for a moment supposed that he was justly subject to those absurd and strange imputations sometimes circulated respecting him; I always believed him a faithful British Minister. I have always believed that the great object of his policy was to maintain and vindicate the honour and the interests of England. But I thought that, unfortunately for this country, the means by which the noble Lord sought that object, were very often means absolutely adverse to the result he wished to accomplish. But I have never severed the noble Lord from the policy of the Cabinet. When that great debate took place, some twelve months or more ago, which involved a direct impugn- ment of the policy of the department over which the noble Lord presided, I, for one, repudiated the idea that you could consider the transactions of the particular Minister dissociated from the policy of the complete Cabinet. I endeavoured to consider the policy of the Cabinet myself in that way. I am perfectly willing to acknowledge that the First Minister on that occasion candidly came forward to take his share of the responsibility of that policy. I well remember how that great controversy occurred; It was introduced in another place by a noble Friend of mine, and afterwards in this House. The step taken by that noble Lord (the Earl of Derby) was supported by various sections not acting in political community; and I remember what were the charges made by the First Minister against those who thus took part in that debate. We were called conspirators; we were, for expressing our opinion on the policy of the Government, held up to public reprobation, as being the instruments of a foreign cabal; and I was myself pelted one afternoon when I was coming down here to express my opinion, and to give an honest vote; and that was because Her Majesty's Ministers had denounced us to the public as being the instruments of a band of conspirators. I understand that, up to the present moment, the Government are still the champions of that policy which we then challenged. I understand, from what has passed to-night, that in no respect docs their policy vary from what they then defended and adopted; and I am bound to say that if this policy, which I believe to be a pernicious policy, is to be pursued. I had rather it were administered by the noble Lord than any other person I can see upon that (the Treasury) bench. I always thought that that policy would lead to the inconveniences and injuries which I understand that it has led to. If that policy is to be administered unchanged and unmitigated, I had rather have it administered by a man whom we all recognise to be able, and in whose panegyric all his recent colleagues join. If indeed the noble Lord the First Minister would come forward to-night and tell us that experience has taught him that he was rash in adopting that policy, and pursuing it in the spirit which he did; if he would say to us, "We have found our policy has left us isolated in Europe;" if he would say to us, "We found ourselves at a critical moment without an ally, and it was necessary to take steps which should place England in a more secure position,"—we should at least receive assurances from Her Majesty's Ministers which would be agreeable to the nation. How far their conduct to their late Colleague might be justified, would He an affair entirely between them and their consciences. I must make one other observation upon the speech of the First Minister. The noble Lord, eminent for many things, is peculiarly eminent for his constitutional spirit—for his acquaintance with the forms as well as the spirit of our constitution; and I make no doubt that He well considered the statement which he made to-night. But I am bound to say that I cannot at this moment recall any analogous occasion in which the name of the Sovereign was so frequently and peculiarly used. Whatever was done at the command of the Sovereign was at least done on the responsibility of the noble Lord; and though it may be expedient that Minutes should be read to this House, which, we are informed, were drawn up by a Personage whose name is rarely introduced in our debates, I must express my astonishment at the narrative of midnight despatches which were the cause, as I understand—though I may have misapprehended the noble Lord—of conduct on his part of a very urgent, not to say a precipitate, nature. Now, I suppose that for everything which has been done, the noble Lord the First Minister is responsible, and the noble Lord the First Minister is not a man to shrink from his responsibility; I am at a loss, therefore, to comprehend how the noble Lord will account for that introduction of Her Majesty's name—that frequent and unnecessary introduction—which has taken place in the debate of to-night. As I am one of those who never could have voted for that famous Motion in this House, that "the power of the Crown had increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished;" as, in fact, I should be willing to hail as a fact the converse of that proposition; and as I think it one of the great misfortunes of our time, and one most injurious to public liberty, that the power of the Crown has diminished—I am not one likely to look with an unnecessary jealousy on the assertion of the prerogative of the Crown. But the noble Lord is the eminent representative of a political party that has adopted opinions of a very different character. The noble Lord is a member of the party which introduced, as I think to our disgrace, that resolution upon the Journals of the House; and certainly, therefore, I am astonished that the noble Lord, on an occasion like the present, should have come forward, and, as it seems to me, have shifted from himself a responsibility which, under the circumstances, he should have been the first to adopt.

Sir, in examining this remarkable document, the Queen's Speech, I am under the necessity—rapidly, I trust, certainly not with any intention of wearying the House—of adverting to several topics. It is singularly composed. The subjects are various; the localities are different, and are introduced not in a geographical manner. We pass from Indus to the Pole with a rapidity that I have seldom seen rivalled. I shall solicit the attention of the House for a moment to nearly the last paragraph in this State paper. We are told by the Speech recommended by the Ministers from the Throne, that "it appears that this is a fitting time for calmly considering whether it may not be advisable to make such amendments in the Act of the late reign relating to the representation of the Commons in Parliament as may be deemed calculated to carry into more complete effect the principles upon which that law is founded." Now, Sir, without offering any opinion upon the necessity or non-necessity of what is called Parliamentary reform, or of any degree or kind of Parliamentary reform, I am bound to say that I cannot agree in the statement that this appears to be a fitting time for the calm consideration of this question. It may be a subject which should engage our attention; it may be a subject which a Minister, from a variety of reasons, may feel it his duty to bring forward; but when he asks the House of Commons to agree to a statement that this is not only a fitting time for considering such a subject as a reconstruction of this House, but for "calmly" considering it, it is impossible not to stop at expressions which I think are inapposite, without asking the House whether they can allow such an expression to pass unchallenged? Now, I must say, that at a moment when, as we heard to-night, the Continent is at least in a most critical state, when the noble Lord himself has told us that the whole aspect of circumstances, as regards the possession and exercise of the franchise in foreign countries, has been singularly changed within the last few years, disappointing or confounding the expectations of all men; at a moment when experience has failed, and experiment has distracted us, although it may be necessary to consider the question of Parliamentary reform, I cannot think that this is a fitting time for calmly considering it. Sir, I shall give no opinion on that question to-night. I shall listen with attention, and of course with interest, to the noble Lord when he favours the House and the country with the reasons which have convinced him that the immortal measure which he not only introduced, but devised, in 1830, has failed to attain those objects which he then supposed that it would accomplish. I shall listen with attention and interest to the noble Lord when he lays down the principles on which he thinks, after twenty years' experience, a new Reform Bill should be established. I shall listen with attention and interest to the noble Lord when he explains to the House how all those anomalies in our representation of which we are sensible maybe removed; many of these anomalies, perhaps, rendering our system of representation as practical as we find it to be. I need not say that there is no Gentleman—I believe that I am authorised to say that—on this side of the House who is not ready at any time to consider any means of remedying any flagrant abuse; that there is no Gentleman on this side of the House not prepared to supply any well-proved deficiency in our representative system. I say even more. I, for one, and I believe also that I express the opinion of my friends, I am not one who holds that an increase of the franchise is synonomous with an increase of democratic power. I shall consider the proposition of the Minister entirely without prejudice. I shall with interest watch the Whig critic 0on the Whig law. The noble Lord can hardly suspect that on our side there is any superstitious feeling in favour of the Reform Act. The noble Lord can hardly suppose that on this side there is any bigoted and inveterate prejudice in favour of the law that was constructed to destroy the Tory party. But I remember a time when it was said that the test of political purity and political efficiency was a sincere adhesion to the Reform Act; when it was said that no Gentleman who sat on this side of the House could ever be entrusted with Roy al confidence or with political power, in consequence of his opposition to the Reform Bill. And I remember that when an eminent man sitting on this side of the House, on behalf of a great party expressed their sincere adhesion to a change which they had as sincerely opposed, it was said, "Nobody can trust them—the Reform Act is a law with which they can never sympathise; it is the new Magna Charta of our liberties—"the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill." You cannot trust the men who opposed it." My answer to that will be the speech which we are on an early night to be favoured with from the author and critic of the same memorable act of legislation. While I express on behalf of myself and my friends a most sincere feeling on our part to receive without prejudice any proposition of the noble Lord which he may think fit to bring forward, I at the same time must express a sentiment which I took occasion to give utterance to last year, that if I find, that in the name and under the guise of a Reform Bill, only a reconstruction of this House which is to favour the predominance of some political party—which without that change cannot govern this country—is intended, I shall oppose, and I believe the whole country will oppose, all devices of that kind. If also, Sir, I were to find it a measure the object of which was to destroy, or even to disturb, that just and salutary balance which at present exists between the various classes of the country—if I find it, for example, a measure devised to impair the legitimate and salutary influence of the landed property of the country—if not the only, the surest, source of conservative government—the only security, as I believe, both for the prerogatives of the Crown and the liberties of the people—the fear of no imputation of being an anti-reformer would prevent mo from giving to such a Bill my determined opposition. But, Sir, giving Her Majesty's Ministers full credit for the intention of bringing forward a measure which sincerely desires— even if the means may not be adequate to the occasion—which sincerely desires the public weal, I can promise them on our part an earnest and a careful attention. But, Sir, I hope that both sides of the House will be at least cautious in this respect, that they do not let the subject of Parliamentary reform, captivating as may be the plea, divert them from subjects of as great, if not greater, importance. I hope that at a time when many departments of the Administration and of the State are challenged for their inefficiency —at a time when other great questions concerning the country require our attention—I hope the House will not, on the plea of Parliamentary reform—the old ex- hausted plea of Parliamentary reform—be prevented from giving its attention to those questions which so earnestly and so commandingly solicit its consideration.

Now, I will take up this Speech. It is a colonial Speech. I am not aware, in my limited experience, of a parallel instance to it. I find no less than two colonies specifically mentioned in Her Majesty's Speech, and at considerable length. Is Parliamentary reform to prevent us from inquiring into the Kaffir war? Is Parliamentary reform to be an answer to us if we humbly wish for some explanation of the singular passage on the constitution of New Zealand? Let me call the attention of the House to it. We have been so lost in the personal and interesting discussions of this evening, that our attention has, perhaps, been diverted from this remarkable paragraph. If there are colonial reformers in the House now, I beg their attention to this extraordinary passage we are informed that the Act of 1848, suspending a portion of the previous Act conferring representative institutions on Now Zealand, expires early next year; and we naturally suppose that the colony of New Zealand—the Act of Suspension being about to expire—is to enjoy those institutions which it has been long promised. "I am happy to believe (Her Majesty is advised to say) that there is no necessity for its renewal (the Act of Suspension), and that no obstacle any longer exists to the enjoyment of representative institutions by New Zealand." Now that will be most: satisfactory to those who have been the supporters of representative institutions in New Zealand, And what other inference could we draw from this paragraph than that, the Act of Suspension being about to cease, and being informed by the Crown that it is not to be continued, the inhabitants of New Zealand, of course are to enjoy the representative institutions which were suspended by that Act? But what is the next sentence:—"The form of these institutions will, however, require your consideration; and the additional information which has been received since the passing of the Act in question, will, I trust, enable you to arrive at a decision beneficial to that important colony." So that in fact, though you are in a pompous manner informed that the Act suspending the constitution will cease, and is not to be continued, you at the same time are told that the constitution is not really to be enjoyed, but that you are to be called upon to consider what the representative institutions that have been suspended shall be. Well, will you consider them? Will you allow Parliamentary reform to prevent you from inquiring into that comparatively humble yet very important question? Are you prepared to do that which the country, I believe, wishes you to consider quite as much as the constitution of this House—are you prepared to consider the whole subject of the relations between the mother country and the Colonies? You may rely upon it that you can no longer with impunity postpone that inquiry. Year after year your attention has been called to it by Gentlemen zealous and well informed on this subject, who have scarcely been able to command a House on the question. I need not refer to the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth). I do not agree with all or with many of his views and principles with respect to colonial administration; but no one can deny that he never addresses the House on that subject but in a manner which ought to command our attention and deepest consideration. Well, you have destroyed the ancient colonial system of England: you have destroyed it in deference to the dogmas of political economists and of abstract inquirers. I do not believe that the country itself really ever approved of that destruction. It did not certainly take an active part in opposition to it. The country has been perplexed and bewildered. I ask you to give no opinion now, and I am giving none, on the merits or demerits of the system you destroyed; but this, Sir, I wish to urge, that while we have destroyed the old system, we have never established a new one. We have never distinguished between imperial duties and municipal rights —we nave never settled any of the great questions on which the material prosperity of our colonies depends. We went on in the infancy of the change with cautious experiments, until five or six years ago we had an illustrious and avowed colonial reformer who took the seals of office; and what has been the consequence? A Kafir war. I must say, that as the noble Lord has such a talent for getting rid of a Secretary of State, I wish he would try his hand at another Secretary of State. Let him take a hint to-night. The noble Lord is a bold and an adroit man. He can finish such a business with a rapid dexterity which very few of us can rival. If half Europe was kept in alarm by the Secretary of State whom he recently discharged, I can tell him that all our Colonies are quite terrified at the other.

Sir, in taking up this remarkable document, and having travelled with it from Sleswig-Holstein to Germany and Denmark, the Cape of Good Hope, Ireland, and New Zealand, I was struck by a strange omission in the Speech, to which I beg the House's attention. I dare say, even in this age of rapid events, the House can scarcely have forgotten the circumstances under which it assembled last year. The noble Lord had written a letter, as he has written a letter now, and as he always writes a letter, about the latter end of the year; but that letter was published. It must still be fresh in the mind of the House and the country—a letter of passionate patriotism. The noble Lord appealed to the deepest sympathies of the country on a subject, not only of grave, but, I might say, of eternal interest. The noble Lord announced to the people of England that there had been an insolent and insidious aggression upon the Sovereign and the realm of England. Sir, I was not one of those who objected to that letter of the noble Lord. I regretted that there were expressions in it which hurt the feelings of large bodies of Her Majesty's subjects, and which, for aught I know, may have been misapprehended by them. It is enough that the noble Lord explained those expressions; and the noble Lord is not one whose truth under any circumstances, I would question. But remember that that letter was addressed virtually to the people of England. Remember the purport of that letter. Remember what it announced—to what sympathies it appealed, and what result it was pledged to. Remember the effect it produced on the country—one not equalled by the Reform Bill of 1830, with all its factitious excitement, and certainly not likely to be equalled by the Reform Bill of 1852. There were no hired agents going about England to stir up the passions of the people into a response to the letter of the noble Lord. There were no messages between Downing-street and Birmingham and Manchester. There were no organised committees; but the indignant conviction of the nation, alike in the proudest city and the humblest hamlet, answered that letter of the noble Lord. It was quite clear, then, that a Minister who took a step like that, was not justified in taking it unless he had resolved to act upon it. Talk of the noble Lord being a bold man, because he dared to turn out one of the Members of his Cabinet! Why, be was ten times a bolder man when he told the nation that the Pope of Rome bad committed an insolent and insidious aggression on their Sovereign. Well, it may be that the noble Lord acted from impulse—from the impulse of a high-spirited and generous gentleman as he is. He may, in a moment of indignation, have done that which was rash, but which He might fairly have believed that the feelings of the people and of the Parliament of England would sustain him in doing, even if it was not mechanically wise. But it was not a rash act. The noble Lord had three months to ponder on his course. The noble Lord met Parliament. He came forward and addressed us and the country in an oration equal to the occasion, sustaining his great reputation and not unworthy of his noble cause; be gave to the nation the reasons that had induced him to take that singular, that unexpected, that startling step, which for three months had agitated, without exaggeration I may say had disturbed and agitated, every hearth in the kingdom. He came to this table and told us that he had not acted in baste or in passion. He made what I at the time ventured to describe as the most important statement that had for years been made by a Prime Minister of England. He gave us the solemn conviction of the Cabinet— of that Cabinet of which the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) was a Member—that there was an organised conspiracy against the Protestant liberties of England and of Europe, and that he was determined to baffle the conspirators, and to look to the people and the Parliament of England, without respect to parties, to support him in his endeavours. With this conviction, and not acting from impulse, but from the statesmanlike conclusion of a man worthy to lead this empire, the noble Lord gave us the convictions of his Cabinet, and brought forward the measure which was to meet this all-surpassing emergency. I will not make any observations now on the measure of the Government—a measure that was heralded by the memorable letter of November—a measure which was introduced on the deeply-considered, elaborately-matured, and most important declaration of the Premier of England. I voted for that measure; for there were no other means of expressing, even in the most nugatory manner, the feelings of the House of Commons on the subject. But I ventured then to denounce that measure as paltry and inefficient, as one the least calculated to cope with the exigency, as one the least worthy of the cause and the man ever devised and brought forward in Parliament. I, on the part of many with whom I have the honour to act, ventured to express the principle upon which such a measure ought to have been founded. I said, the measure proposed by the noble Lord asserted and vindicated no principle—that it did not bring the hierarchies of the Roman Catholic Church in the United Kingdom within the grasp of the law. The noble Lord, however, notwithstanding his portentous announcement that there was, according to the conviction of his Cabinet, a conspiracy throughout Europe against the Protestant liberties of England, the noble Lord persisted in his measure. I did not doubt the statement of the noble Lord at the time. I am sure that no man in the position, with the character and the abilities of the noble Lord, could in his place in Parliament have made such a statement to the country, unless he was profoundly convinced of its truth. I am sure that on that occasion, instead of exaggerating, he placed before the House and the country, I should say, the calmest expression of what his Government felt. Well, now, I ask the noble Lord what has been the fate of the Bill which he persisted in carrying through Parliament? Has it vindicated the outrage which was offered to our Sovereign and Her kingdom? Has it punished the insolent aggression? Has it baffled that great European conspiracy against the realm of England and the Protestant faith? Why, we all know that it has been treated with a contumely which cannot he expressed, and with a derision which I think it merited. We know that, from the first, in Ireland it was publicly announced that it would be treated as a dead letter. But we may be told that Protestantism is weak in Ireland—that the language of men in Ireland is always to be regarded with peculiar consideration—that it was never intended to check in that country an indulgence in these illegitimate pranks—but that the honour of England at least has been vindicated—that the great Cardinal has been put in the position which he deserved. But the great Cardinal, whom the noble Lord recommended, in a manner which I think was scarcely as dignified as his usual tone, to quit England, has not quitted England, and I find him advertised in the newspapers, in the exercise of his official duties, as the Lord Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster. And I have had other instances brought under my notice which prove, not only that the law has been evaded, but that it has been as flagrantly set at nought in England as it had been in Ireland; and that recently, freshly, just as Parliament was going to meet, just as if they meant to show before Parliament met again how determined were the bishops of the Vatican to give a response to the law and letter of the noble Lord. Well, but I see no mention of all this in the Queen's Speech—no notice whatever of that which formed so prominent a part of the Royal Speech last year —nothing about the insolent aggression, or the insidious conspiracy which it was our duty to baffle, and which were the great topics of interest last year. Not a single syllable about all this. Surely, with regard to such an omission, I may ask the noble Lord what the intentions of the Government are? Do they mean—as the only measure they have adopted has failed in accomplishing their object—do they mean to have recourse to some other measure? Do they mean to propose some new law to Parliament in place of that which last year we were told was not only necessary but indispensable? Is it found that the aggression was not insolent, and that there was no conspiracy against the Protestant faith? If so, the noble Lord is bound to give us the information on which he has changed his opinion. It is a subject on which he is bound to speak frankly to the people of England. Has anything occurred to induce him to believe his letter of last November twelvemonth rash and ill-advised? In his place at this table, in the most solemn manner, after opportunity for the deepest consideration, the noble Lord informed this country that it was in the knowledge of the Cabinet that there was a conspiracy against the Protestant faith and liberties of England. Has the noble Lord discovered that he was mistaken? Until the noble Lord comes forward with that information, I, like others, must form my opinion from those means of public instruction and private information that are open to all. I don't see anything in the occurrences of Europe to convince me that Rome is less ambitious, that the designs of the Papal Court are mitigated, or that the Vatican has experienced such humiliating defeats that it no longer means to claim this realm of England, which the noble Lord last year told us it aspired to? Every place where the influence of Rome can be traced, we find her not only successful but paramount. What is her conduct in Ireland, or in England, or what course does she adopt in other countries? Everywhere we find success and supremacy. If the noble Lord was justified last year in sounding the tocsin in the national ear, how does it happen that on this occasion he does not think fit, either by intimation from the Throne, or in the speech of the Minister, to say anything on the subject? I think we have a right to press upon him, and to inquire in a manner that cannot be mistaken of Her Majesty's Ministers, what they see at present to change the mighty convictions which filled the public mind during the last year? The noble Lord said he would confine himself to-night in his first speech to the personal question; but, instead of confining himself to the personal question, the noble Lord has traversed not only all Europe and Asia, but America too. There were not the politics of a single Court, nor the relations with a single country, that the noble Lord did not touch upon and enlighten the House, with one exception—that very Court of Rome which last year he said had committed an insolent aggression on the Queen, and engaged in a conspiracy against our liberties.

As to the subject of Ireland, I am not going now to enter into any discussion upon that unhappy country, which I am sure, ere long, will elicit our consideration. It appears that some counties are the scenes of outrages of the most serious description. I must say, I am extremely disappointed in what has occurred in Ireland, and at the necessity for introducing in Her Majesty's Speech this paragraph. Considering the interest Her Majesty's Government take in the cause of "law and order," and considering that one Member of the Government has expended a considerable sum out of his own pocket to secure "law and order" in that country, it is extremely disappointing to England, and mortifying to the House of Commons, and must be most astounding to Lord Clarendon, that after so judicious an investment he should find so many counties in a state that almost requires a Coercion Act, That is a subject on which we require some in- formation. That investment of capital, if confined to the private revenue of the Viceroy, is one that for his sake I regret, but if it were a public investment for public objects, certainly the Queen's Speech seems to prove that it was a sorry one.

There is another point that I cannot but notice, and that is the absence from the Queen's Speech, of any expression of sympathy with the difficulties of the cultivators of the soil. Two years ago these were noticed without being acknowledged —last year they were sympathised with without being relieved. Notwithstanding some slight mitigatory circumstances, I am not aware of any change of such importance in the condition of the cultivators of the soil as would authorise a Minister who had established the precedent of noticing the state of their fortunes, in omitting them from the Queen's Speech this year. It might be a question, with the peculiar opinions of the noble Lord and his colleagues, whether it was originally expedient to make that acknowledgment and offer that sympathy which He has done on more than one occasion; but having established that salutary precedent, I think the noble Lord is bound to inform us what are the reasons why this omission has occurred, as well as the omission of any notice of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. Notwithstanding, I repeat, some petty and mitigatory circumstances, I believe there is still the same strain upon the energies, and the same drain upon the capital, of the cultivators of the soil. That has been occasioned by our legislation, and as we have occasioned it by our legislation, we are bound to consider whether by our legislation we cannot remedy it. I am told there is a slight rise in prices—an extreme free-trader just now told me so with great exultation. I expected to see him in sackcloth and ashes—yet it appeared that he was exulting. How gentlemen who advocate cheap bread can congratulate the country on a rise of price, is a problem which requires economical science to solve. That ingenious paper the Economist, has always a cheerful article to prove that a rise of price is inevitable. For my part, I never consider the question of price in the view of this subject. Have as free an exchange of commodities as you please, but take care first that you place the British producer upon terms of equality with those with whom he has to compete; take care that your legislation does not oppress him with burdens which he alone bears, and beneath the weight of which he must inevitably sink. I observe to-day a new edition of a treatise upon taxation, written by one of our most eminent writers and an unmitigated free-trader. I was anxious to see what were his views now about the agriculturists; for, however inveterate his opinions on particular points, his works are well worthy the attention of all who take an interest in political economy; and I found there a remarkable admission. Taking a calm review of taxation as it affects the cultivators of the soil, Mr. M'Culloch having explained, with his wonted ability, the Act of 1846, consummated in 1849, expresses in 1852 his opinion that the cultivator of the soil is subjected to unjust taxation—which no other class of the community shares, which is peculiar to him—and to injurious restrictions on his industry; and, taking into consideration our vast and artificial system of finance—feeling that it is impossible to adjust that taxation with absolute equality, or to terminate those restrictions, with a due consideration to our revenue—Mr. M'Culloch gives it as his deliberate opinion that the proper, just, and scientific means by which a fair adjustment can be arrived at, are countervailing duties; but, he adds, just as these duties would be, the opportunity for applying them has been lost, and the cultivators of the soil, in the present temper of the country, must submit to the injustice which is oppressing them. That is the political morality of a political economist. If the data of Mr. M'Culloch be correct, I say the consequence that he draws from them is an immoral consequence, and I say that the legislation that is founded upon them is an immoral legislation. If it be the conviction of Parliament that any class of producers is subject to unjust taxation, and are subject to it that another class of the community may be benefited by that taxation, they act immorally in upholding that system. It is confiscation in another guise—it is robbery under the formulae of political economy. Remember what this class is which, for the last three or four years, has been so severely suffering, and is now so severely suffering. Who are these farmers whom Gentlemen opposite seem to hold so light? Why, they are the largest employers of labour in the United Kingdom. The farmers of the United Kingdom are the most numerous and the most important portion of the middle class. I know there may be some of my friends, who, remembering the insolence with which they have been treated by a section of the middle class flushed with unexpected success, may naturally not be indisposed to triumph at the present altered position of the middle class throughout Europe. They recall the arrogant tone in which we were told that this country was in future to be governed by the middle class, and that too by the adversaries of class legislation. But I warn them, with great respect, not to indulge in this natural feeling of triumph, and to forget the headstrong assumption of what, after all, was only a limited section of the middle class. The power and the prosperity of the middle class are inseparable from the greatness of England; and the most numerous portion of it is peculiarly represented on this side of the House. For my part, I owe my seat to the middle class: the farmers of England sent me here, and therefore I protest against unequal laws which impair their fortunes. I ask again, are you prepared to go on with this system of injustice, to strain illegitimately the energies and to drain unlawfully the resources of the most important producing class of the community? If it be true that you have put unjust restrictions on their industry, and inflicted upon them taxation that no other class experiences, is it not your duty to remedy such evils? And if you cannot relieve them from restrictions they find so injurious, and from taxes you acknowledge to be so unjust, you should, in the construction of your financial system, give them that countervailing compensation that is their due on a fair consideration of the subject.

Last year we were told that the country generally was flourishing, and that our foreign commerce was vastly increased; but it is a remarkable circumstance, that in the Queen's Speech this year we have no paragraph congratulating the House of Commons on the general prosperity of the country. Is it at length suspected that exports at a ruinous sacrifice, pushed out in order to pay for imports merely speculative, is not exactly a profitable commercial exchange? If the present system be carried on by failures amongst the commercial body that have not been equalled since the year 1847, you must remember this, that you are at the same time diminishing the commercial capital of the country as well as the agricultural. If it be true that in Liverpool alone the mer- chants have lost of their capital nearly 7,000,000l. sterling, it follows that if our commercial and agricultural capital are both thus dilapidated, the employment of labour must be diminished, and the loss must ultimately fall on the working classes. Is this a time to encourage in the country the war of class against class? I am not going to enter into any of those high discussions of policy which the noble Lord in his first speech this evening so lavishly indulged in. I am perfectly willing to believe that no danger is at hand, and that the world will continue to be governed by the principles of peace, though we are going to increase our armaments and call out our militia; but no one can deny that not only in this country, but throughout Europe, there is a feeling of apprehension. Who are to sustain us if we are exposed to war and peril? We are told by our national poet that so long as England is true to herself she has no need of apprehension; but is England true to herself when, under the plea of terminating class legislation, an unjust war is waged upon one of the most important classes of Her Majesty's subjects? Is England true to herself when she makes one body of the producers of the country look upon another body of the producers as enemies? I see no very felicitous results of your new system in the circumstances around us. I see the cultivators of the soil, year after year, after all the exertion of energy and the sacrifice of capital, growing poorer and poorer. I see a list of bankrupt merchants, and secret societies of amalgamated mechanics. I see classes arrayed against each other; and, I ask, what are we to do if our condition becomes one of perilous isolation? If we find against us, whether on political grounds, or, as the noble Lord told us, from religious sentiment, all the national antipathies of Europe, where is there the appearance of that united England that was the boast of our forefathers and the bulwark of the country? No political system can be sound which has resulted in circumstances so menacing and ruinous. The noble Lord is about to reconstruct our constitution. May he be more fortunate than in his first enterprise Twenty years of reform have left this country in circumstances which lid statesman can disregard—an internal war of interests, and a total want of sympathy between the different classes of the people. The noble Lord will be a greater statesman than I give him credit for being, if on the ninth of this month he shall propose a measure which will terminate that domestic strife of classes which at present prevails, and which I hold to be most perilous.


was sorry that he could not offer his congratulations to the noble Lord at the head of the Government for the manner in which the government of Ireland had been carried on under his Administration. During the five or six years of a Whig Ministry, the middle classes of the people of Ireland had been driven from the country, and poverty had spread through all ranks. The noble Lord, in alluding to three counties in Ireland, had stigmatised the inhabitants as assassins. Now, why did he not bring some proof of that charge? He had not alleged one tittle of evidence in support of his accusations; but he had merely succeeded in showing the exceedingly ill manner in which the country was governed. The Roman Catholic population were compelled to support the Protestant clergy. The Protestant Church of Ireland was a great and crying injustice, and ought to be immediately abolished; and the case was made worse by the system of proselytism that was going on. Ireland required to be governed by maxims of common sense, and not by setting its different classes at war with one another.


Sir, there are some few points which have been mentioned in the course of the debate, on which the House, perhaps, will allow me to offer some explanation. In the first place, I wish to allude to what has fallen from the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, and to state what has occurred with regard to some approbation that I was supposed to have expressed as to the acts of the President of the French Republic. Now, the question did not turn on any conversation between one person and the other, because, as I stated at the commencement of this debate, if the noble Lord had written to the Marquess of Normanby to say that what had passed was to be considered as having occurred in familiar conversation, there would have been no difficulty in the matter; but the noble Lord has not taken that course, but has adhered to what he then said. Having heard of this matter, I took the opportunity of asking the French Ambassador whether he could tell me what passed in the conversation which I had with him; and the answer which I received was, that he had only a vague re- collection—that I might have said that I hoped the President would triumph over anarchy, but that I had not used any phrase expressing a direct approbation of the conduct of the President. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not recollect having expressed any such opinion. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: Hear, hear!] The hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier), in referring to the state of some parts of Ireland, has asked why the Government has not proceeded to introduce at once a measure on the failure of the Special Commission? The answer to that is, that the proceedings of that Special Commission are not yet concluded; and in the next place, until we have before us an account of the trials, and the opinions of the Judges upon them, it would be exceedingly premature to bring in a Bill to alter the present state of the law. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) has spoken at some length on the subject of the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill of last year. I do not wish to revive the controversy as to whether that measure is or is not sufficient for the occasion. My own opinion is, that the measure is sufficient for the occasion—that it aimed at the mischief it sought to remedy, and that it would be very unwise to extend it beyond that mischief; and when the hon. Gentleman asks what that Act has done, my answer is that it has done the utmost any Act ever proposed to do, because it has prevented the acts it was intended to prevent. I asked my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary for Ireland, only this morning, whether he believed the Act had been violated; and my right hon. Friend informs me that he believed the Act had not been violated. The offence sought to be remedied by the Act was not the offence of calling some one or other archbishop or bishop of any particular place, but the offence consisted in certain persons taking upon themselves these titles; and I believe that the apprehensions of the Act having been violated are fallacious, and that it does not appear that the Roman Catholic bishops have thought it became them to commit any such a violation of it. As to further legislation there is one circumstance which I think important, and which gives me hope that it will not be necessary to have recourse to further legislation on the subject, and that is, that a great portion of the most intelligent of the Roman Catholics of Ireland are de- termined to carry on the system of mixed education, and to allow their sons to go to the Queen's Colleges and to promote national schools. As to the agricultural part of the hon. Gentleman's speech, I can only say that, although it has been frequently said, and the hon. Gentleman himself has frequently argued, that the landed part of the community are suffering great injustice, he has never been able to persuade the House that it is so. With respect to the countervailing duty which Mr. M'Culloch said the landed part of the community ought to have, the hon. Gentleman's opinions might have some weight; but I think also, that Mr. M'Culloch had some reason on his side when he said that the time had been allowed to go by when a fixed duty on foreign corn might have been accepted by the Legislature of this country. In 1841 the present Earl of Derby treated with the greatest scorn a proposition for a duty of 8s. on foreign corn, and said over and over again that to propose such an insignificant protection was an insult to the agricultural interests of this country, and that they never would submit to so low a duty; and yet in 1851 the noble Earl stated, at a meeting at Merchant Taylors' Hall, and at other places, that he expected a great triumph—that they would have success in their endeavours, and would attain the object they all desired. And what was that object? A fixed duty of little more than half what he had formerly rejected. With respect to what has fallen from the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), I readily admit that the House can at any time declare they will withdraw their confidence from the present Ministers of the Crown, and that there are others whom they may think more entitled to their confidence, and who, they believe, will carry on the Government more for the welfare of the country. If the House should so decide, the present Ministers will be ready to bow to that decision; but in their present position they hold they had nothing more to do than their duty with respect to the different subjects they they might from time to time bring before Parliament, and be ready to bow to the decision of Parliament upon them. Of this I am sure, that after the time they have held office, there is nothing so requiting or delightful, there is nothing belonging to office to induce them to be unwilling to submit at once to that decision. All I ask now of the House is, not at once to carry the measures I have mentioned, but that, if they are disposed to support the present Ministers, they will enable them to carry on the Government for the benefit of the country, and that they will make full provision for that purpose. As to the observations of the hon. and learned Gentleman as to the system of conducting the Government, I think it is hardly worth the while of a person of the ability and station of the hon. and learned Gentleman to adopt such jargon as he has referred to. The noble Lord the present Secretary for Foreign Affairs has shown considerable ability in the other House of Parliament; he has conciliated great goodwill by his manner of conducting the business which has devolved upon him, and it would be absurd to suppose that it is because my great grandmother was the sister of the noble Lord's great grandfather, that the noble Earl has been appointed to his present office. I do not know that I need now enter into the explanation of any other relationships. There is, it is true, a connexion of mine who holds the office of Lord Privy Seal, and that noble Lord has held office under Lord Grey and Lord Melbourne; but it would be rather hard if it were forbidden to all those who are connected with me, by marriage or otherwise, to fill any position in the Government of the country. These, however, are trifling matters; and although they might be fair subjects for comment, the real question is whether the persons who fill public offices are or are not competent for the posts which they occupy. If the House thinks them Competent, and will extend its confidence to them, they will endeavour to discharge their duty in carrying on the Government of the country; if otherwise, it is desirable that the House should at once come to a decision upon the point.


strongly condemned the commercial policy of the Government. He said he must attribute a considerable portion of the depression in trade to the Great Exhibition of Industry in the past year. There was but one opinion—and it was universal—as to the gross insult which had been offered to the merchants and tradesmen of this country by the wholesale introduction of foreigners and their wares which had taken place in consequence of the Exhibition; and, for his own part, he would not for a thousand guineas enter the walls or approach within smell of the unwieldy, ill-devised, and unwholesome Castle of Glass. The Speech which the Ministers had put into Her Majesty's lips was a mass of trickery, trash, and trumpery. It was they who were responsible for the sentiments it contained, and he sincerely hoped that the Queen would speedily escape from their fangs.


said, he must deny the assertion that the lion, and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Napier) had said that it was necessary to have a Coercion Act for Ireland. On the contrary, the hon. and learned Gentleman said the ordinary law of the land would be sufficient to repress all outrages existing there, provided it were properly administered. He (Mr. Whiteside) could bear his testimony to the fact that the law was not properly administered in Ireland. He bad been nineteen years on the Northern Circuit, and at no period within his memory had the three counties of Armagh, Monaghan, and Louth been in a more disturbed state than at the present time. The arm of the assassin was firm and strong; the arm of justice was paralysed. All he asked was, that the law might be so administered by sincere and conscientious men that the lives of honest people should be protected, and due punishment be made to overtake the guilty.


said, that the language of the Speech was perfectly correct in stating that the outrages were confined only to certain districts in the counties of Armagh, Monaghan, and Louth. If the hon. Gentleman meant to impugn the conduct of the Irish Government by saying that there had not been an honest and zealous attempt on its part to put into force all the powers which were vested by the law in the Lord Lieutenant, he (Sir George Grey) would be quite ready to meet him upon that point on a future occasion, and to demonstrate that the assertion was utterly incorrect. The hon. and learned Gentleman was mistaken if he supposed that the Speech contained any statement to the effect that the Government might not hereafter deem it necessary to meet the prevalence of crime and outrage in Ireland by powers of an extraordinary character. The Government hoped that the powers of the existing law would be sufficient for the punishment and suppression of the evil; but if they should be disappointed in that expectation, they would have no hesitation in applying to Parliament for more extensive powers.

Question put, and agreed to.

Committee appointed, "to draw up an Address to be presented to Her Majesty upon the said Resolution:"—Sir Richard Bulkeley, Mr. Bonham Carter, Lord John Russell, Sir George Grey, The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Labouchere, Sir Francis Baring, Lord Seymour, Mr. Attorney General, Mr. Solicitor General, The Judge Advocate, Sir William Somerville, Mr. Cornewall Lewis, Mr. Hayter, Mr. Baines, Mr. Parker, and Mr. Bernal, or any five of them.

Queen's Speech referred.

The House adjourned at a quarter before One o'clock.