HL Deb 13 April 1807 vol 9 cc351-423

The order of the day for summoning their lordships having been read,

The Marquis of Stafford rose ,

pursuant to notice, to submit a motion to the house, respecting the consequences of the late change in his majesty's councils. He expressed his regret that a matter of such delicacy and importance had not been taken up by abler hands; but observed that there were times and circumstances under which it was the duty of every noble lord in that house to come forward and offer the best advice his judgment could suggest for the maintenance of the public good. It had always been his anxious wish to see the best talents and abilities the country could boast of, United in a rival exertion of those talents for the public welfare; but he had to lament the loss of one distinguished man (Mr. Pitt) at a most critical period of our affairs, which considerably weakened the administration of which he was the head. He next had the satisfaction of seeing another ministry constituted, which certainly embraced a very great portion of the character, integrity, and talents of the nation. This ministry also lost one of its main supporters (Mr. FOX); but still it was one from which he expected the country would reap much benefit. That administration had recently, and very unexpectedly, been removed; and he was sorry to observe, that their removal did not seem to be accounted for on any constitutional and satisfactory grounds. By this double loss, and by the change that had thus taken place in his majesty's councils, the affairs of the nation were left in a situation which he could not but lament. Indeed, much as he lamented it, he had still more to lament the causes that led to that change, and the nature of the advice which induced his Majesty to make it. For, advisers in so critical a measure his majesty most undoubtedly had, whoever those advisers might be. It was an excellent maxim of the constitution, a sacred one in his eyes, which made the person of the sovereign inviolable; and which, by pronouncing he could do no wrong, rescued him from all responsibility for any public measure. That maxim he was confident their lordships would maintain, and upon it he would rest the necessity of adopting the motion, at least in part, which he should have the honour of concluding with. He trusted that nothing he should offer would be construed into personal disrespect to his majesty; of that he was incapable from principles of duty, as well as from inclination and gratitude; but his anxiety for the safety of the state, and for the prosperity of the country, made him solicitous to see a more able and comprehensive administration. He would not impute to any noble lord the circulation of the misrepresentation that had gone through the country respecting the conduct of the late administration, and the actions that influenced their dismission from office; but it was with sorrow, and indeed with some indignation he observed, that many of these misrepresentations had a tendency to stir up religious animosities and disunite several descriptions of his majesty's subjects without any adequate cause whatever, and much to the danger and detriment of the general welfare. He next earnestly deprecated all such pernicious attempts, which could never be ventured on without hazarding the most perilous consequences to the country. Various causes had been assigned for the sudden change that has occurred in the administration, but not one of them was, in his mind, sufficient to justify those who had advised the removal of so much integrity and talent from office. He therefore felt himself justified in submitting the following motion to their lordships: "That this house, feeling the necessity of a firm and stable government in this most important crisis of public affairs, is impressed with the deepest regret at the change which has lately taken place in his majesty's councils, and that this regret is greatly increased by the causes to which the change has been ascribed; it being the opinion of this house, that it is contrary to the first duties of the responsible ministers of the king to restrain themselves by any pledge, expressed or implied, from submitting to his majesty faithfully and truly, any advice, which in their judgement, the course of circumstances may render necessary for the honour of his majesty's crown, and the welfare of his dominions."

Lord Aberdeen rose

in reply to the noble marquis. The question now started appeared to him to involve a very serious inconvenience, inasmuch as it intimately connected itself with the personal conduct of the sovereign. That was unavoidable, however studious noble lords might be to avoid it. For though it appeared a general and abstract proposition, it was calculated, at the same time, to serve as a justification of the conduct of the late ministers; and by justifying them, to insinuate blame in some other quarter. He could not but consider the question as embracing two parties; the late administration, and the prerogative of the crown. It went to exculpate ministers: it could not go to exculpate the crown, to which no blame could attach. Indeed, it was very difficult, from the insulated manner in which the question was brought forward, nay it was impossible, to discuss it without recurring to other circumstances, which it did not purport to comprehend. When the late ministers consented to withdraw a bill which they deemed to be indispensably necessary to the safety of the country, they hinted that, in future, they might be under the necessity not only of reproducing the same measure, but perhaps some further measures of a similar nature. How could it be imagined his majesty could listen to such proposals, when it was known, perfectly well known, that the opinions of the sovereign upon these points were immutable? It might naturally occur to his majesty, that the same measure might be again proposed to him at a time when perhaps it might not be equally in his power to resist it. How natural then was it for him to demand an assurance from his ministers, that they would no longer think of any such measure; but that so far they would allow his feelings and his conscience to remain undisturbed? That assurance the late ministers refused to grant, and their refusal made it necessary for his majesty to dismiss them. Much had been said about secret advisers on this occasion, and it was contended, that the sovereign could do nothing without responsible advisers. This might be the case; but it was impossible to make that true which was false, or give existence to what no where existed. Would it be attempted to make the present ministers responsible for measures that were taken before they came into office? But if the measure for which it was wished to fix responsibility upon them referred to the late change of administration, he trusted the present ministers would not shrink from it; for it was the only line of conduct which the sovereign could, under such circumstances, adopt, consistently with his ease and dignity. The noble marquis contended that his motion was necessarily connected with the preservation of the constitution in its purity. He was as desirous as the noble marquis could be to vindicate that purity of the constitution, and therefore he should contend against putting any constraint on the free exercise of the prerogative, which, in his opinion, was equally inconsistent with the purity of the constitution. On these grounds, he should move the previous question.

The Earl of Hardwicke

expressed his deep regret at the change which had taken place in his majesty's councils, and lamented that a cry should have been set up which could only tend to revive religious dissensions, and produce the most deplorable consequences, and for which there was not the slightest reason arising out of the conduct of the late ministers. Those ministers, anxious, from the best motives of policy, that the whole population of the empire should be effective towards its defence, wished to extend the provisions of the bill passed in the Irish parliament in 1793, to this country. They afterwards found that if merely that measure was adopted, dissenters would be excluded from those privileges which were granted to Catholics; it was therefore deemed necessary to include dissenters, and open the army and navy to both classes. With respect to the act of 1793, he had understood, from what had been said by a noble lord (Buckinghamshire), who was then secretary in Ireland, that it was at that period intended to extend the provisions of the bill to this country, and that the bill itself was understood to extend to the navy. [The earl of Buckinghamshire said no, no.] He had understood that to be the case.

The Earl of Buckinghamshire

observed, that what he had stated, and which he was authorized at the time to state, in addition to the objects of the then intended bill with respect to Ireland, was, that it was the intention of his majesty's then ministers to propose a similar measure in this country; but certainly the bill of 1793 was not intended to extend, nor did he ever understand it to extend, to the navy.

The Earl of Hardwicke

resumed. It had, he said, been the opinion of several able lawyers, that the bill did extend to the navy. The bill, however, which the late ministers introduced, was one which did not afford the slightest reason for that cry which had been raised against it; on the contrary, it was, in his opinion, a highly beneficial measure. The bill, however, was given up out of respect to his majesty's feelings upon the subject; and then a pledge was demanded from the late ministers, which he could not but consider as highly unconstitutional. He lamented the change that had taken place in his majesty's councils. Conceiving the late ministers to be much more adequate to the task of managing public affairs, at a crisis like this, than the present; and agreeing also in the unconstitutional nature of the pledge demanded, he should on these grounds support the motion.

Lord Erskine rose

and said: My lords, the particular situation in which I was placed in his majesty's late councils, as it regards the subject now under consideration, and the many public references which have been made in various places to my office and to my opinions respecting it, make it not unfit, I hope, that I should seek the earliest opportunity, consistently with the forms of the house, of delivering my opinion to your lordships.—The opinions of men, my lords, upon this, as upon most other subjects, must be expected materially to differ; but there is one thing in which I am persuaded all men of honour must agree, i. e. that the case should be fairly stated, and that the question to be presented to the understandings of those who are to judge of any matter, be it what it may, should not be disguised or misrepresented. Many triumphs in large assemblies, and still more amongst large communities, have been obtained by artifice and imposture, but besides that they are most contemptible, they cannot possibly be lasting. Fact and reason must for ever prevail in the end.—The circumstances which have given rise to this extraordinary conjuncture, though involved and complicated in their details, may be brought within a very narrow compass; within, I should think, ten minutes by your clock: yet without omitting any thing upon which a difference in the argument could ultimately be taken by any can did or reasonable man. I will state the matter to your lordships as I understand it; and as I was no party to the transaction, as nothing blameable, if there be blame any where, can possibly attach upon myself, I may at least be expected to be an impartial historian, and an historian too near the scene, to have gross ignorance or error reasonably imputed to me.—My lords, it has been the fashion to represent the introduction of the bill into the house of commons, which led to the dissolution of the late administration as an extravagant act of political suicide; as a rash, useless, and wanton proposition, dictated by no expediency, and opposed by insurmountable obstacles, within the knowledge of those who introduced it. Nay, my lords, charges much more serious have been made. It has been more than insinuated, that, to overcome these obstacles, recourse was had to the most unworthy deception and deceit. Nothing is more easy, my lords, for those who have an interest in such misrepresentations, to invent and propagate them; but it is not so easy to obtain credit for them in such a country and age as we live in. It is not easy to obtain belief (except in the surprise of the moment), that persons of acknowledged skill and ability as statesmen, should suddenly conduct themselves so absurdly, or that distinguished and characteristic integrity should suddenly give place to dishonour and falsehood.—My lords, there is no foundation, no not the smallest, for either of the charges; though I readily admit that if statesmen ought to have no views but to preserve their places, they acted improperly. Your lordships very well know that in 1793, the remainder of that long volume of penal and disabling statutes which vexed the Roman Catholics of Ireland for so many ages, was extinguished by an act of great beneficence and wisdom of the king now upon the throne; an act which I trust to the manly and honest character of the Irish people always to remember, and the memory of which, I trust, will for ever induce them to impute only acts of grace and benevolence to his majesty, and resolutions of eternal exclusion to advisers who abuse their trusts. That act of 1793, which was an act only of the Irish parliament, threw open the whole bosom of civil and military establishment in Ireland to that immense majority of people; with certain exceptions, however, which, I have no doubt, under all the circumstances of that time, were just and reasonable; but which, nevertheless, could not but create great difficulties in the future application of any indulgences to be granted upon an union between the two kingdoms. I am speaking against myself, my lords, in this admission.—The Irish act continued for 14 years without a single danger or disadvantage which can be stated, and several years had also passed since the union, without the extension of it to other parts of the empire. That extension, my lords, like almost all changes in human policy and government, was forced upon the consideration of the late ministers, not so much by the claims of the Catholics, as by the peculiar crisis in which they were called to the administration of public affairs. The crisis was alarming, and indeed, in every respect, unexampled. Amidst a series, however, of distressing events, a prospect suddenly seemed to open, of yet delivering Europe, not only by rational combinations of her own powers against the common enemy to her repose and independence, but by balancing her conquests in the most distant parts of the world. But, unhappily, my lords, our population kept no pace with our other capacities for these grand and useful projects, except by bringing into action our whole national force. Our fleets and armies must long ago have failed, but from the great nursery of Ireland; and the great majority of Ireland was Catholic: catholic from all time, and not from any acts which our wisdom or prudence could controul or alter. This, my lords, was the consideration which led to the introduction of the bill which has raised such a clamour, and which has produced such consequences. It was to extend to England, now united with Ireland, the services of the Catholics in the defence of the whole empire, which his majesty, with the advice of the parliament of Ireland, had sanctioned, whilst it was an independent kingdom, which had been productive of so many advantages, and to which no objection was on foot any where. But difficulties stood in the way of the mere strict extension of that statute to Great Britain. The English Test act would have shut out the Protestant Dissenters, whilst the army and navy, from the effect of the extension, would have been laid open to the Roman Catholics. But what, I confess, struck my mind most forcibly, (though I was no party to any part of the measure,) was, that to open a profession to honourable men upon the principle of liberal trust and confidence, and yet to set up a bar against its highest honours and ambitions, was not only unjust, but, to the last degree, impolitic. In the mind of my most enlightened friend, at the head of his majesty's late councils, I know that this objection was so unsurmountable, that the bill was on that principle abandoned in toto, instead of being modified. It was therefore that the bill went beyond the Irish statute, though it was undoubtedly built upon the model of it, and it was so proposed to his majesty, and so offered to the house of commons.—My lords, I purposely avoid the details, because I was no party to them; but I do not believe that any deception was practised; no such charge was ever made by the king; I know it never was. I am willing to argue the matter upon the footing of a misunderstanding, and, for argument's sake, to the utmost extent which has been or can be stated. What then?— the moment the misconception was discovered, was not the bill, in deference to his majesty, and in consequence of the misconception, immediately abandoned, and abandoned with the most honourable and a ectionate professions of attachment and respect? It has been asked in other places, upon what principle the abandonment could be justified, when the measure was professedly introduced upon the principle of expediency and duty? My lords, the answer is easy. There is a plain difference between even the strongest expediency and imperious necessity. The first was, all circumstances considered, not sufficient to make it such a point of duty, as to abandon the government rather than the measure; but the second would have rendered that duty absolutely indispensable; the course pursued, therefore, was surely unexceptionable. They abandoned the measure, but, to mark the principle of the abandonment, they expressed a reservation to govern themselves by future circumstances, in the advice which they might from time to time be called upon to offer to his majesty upon the subject. Without the reservation, the king might have considered, and would have been justly led to consider, his ministers as pledged not to resume the measure in question, nor any other measure of indulgence to the Catholics, though offered under circumstances which could not, from duty to his majesty, enable them to give way to his opinions: and the Catholics might also have been impressed with the same opinion, which, besides the utter dishonour of such a proceeding, would have led to the very discontents which the present conjuncture is so unhappily calculated to produce.—My lords, I was not present when the minute in question was prepared; but if I had been present, I could have neither given assistance nor resistance, because I could not have assisted in drawing up a statement of what was intended by others, upon a subject on which my own views and opinions were different. But this I can declare, that though upon that ground I might have objected to the reservation altogether, yet I never should have thought of objecting to it, lest such offence should be given to the king by it, as to lead to a dissolution of the government, when I knew the measure had been, from dutiful deference to his opinions, and from the most affectionate personal considerations, wholly put aside and abandoned. Such an idea would have never presented itself to my mind, be- cause it would have been inconsistent with the reverence and respect which I sincerely feel for his majesty, who could not, in my opinion, take just offence at the whole cabinet, because one minister or two had misconceived his sentiments. Their declarations were surely legitimate proof for the rest of his servants to act upon, and what more could they possibly do than unanimously to abandon the whole measure, when the misconception was discovered? By that abandonment, his majesty and his late ministers were brought back to the very situation in which they stood at the formation of the administration. They reciprocally knew each other's opinions. Sufficient for every day is the good or the evil of it. It was open to the ministers to propose, and for the king to reject, their propositions. If their duty had called upon them, on any future occasion, not to yield to his majesty, it would have been their duty to resign; and for the king to have removed them if they did not, instead of exposing the country, at such a crisis, to the serious consequences of a change, even though the change were for the better. I never, therefore, at the time the ministry was upon the eve of dissolving, could discover any just or rational ground for its dissolution; and I have never therefore been able to persuade myself, that their removal was the spontaneous act of the king on that account; because, having the highest opinion of his majesty's honour and fairness, I could not reconcile their removal with either. A pledge was tendered, which is not only not argued to be legal, but the illegality of which is considered as a childish truism, utterly unfit for debate in parliament; and yet this refusal, without farther parley or explanation, and in the midst of the most respectful and affectionate submission, (a large majority of the cabinet, not even chargeable with any misconception,) was made the only ground of a total indiscriminate removal; I say the only ground, because if the pledge had been taken, their continuance was of course; the king could not have gone back. Professing therefore the most sincere reverence and affection for his majesty, which I do really feel, and which I cannot help feeling, from every thing that I have seen and known since I have had the honour to be near his person, I do not believe that the ministry was dissolved by the spontaneous act of the king, on that single account. I believe that, independently of this, it must have been doomed somehow or other to dissolution. That the king's opinions, and scruples, and feelings, were most honest, honourable, and conscientious, I most firmly do believe; but not that all that has happened was the unmixed result of them: and I cannot help thinking that, independently of the legal presumption, the king was advised, in the ordinary sense of the expression, in some quarter, or by some means or other, to remove his ministers. My lords, I do not mean to say, nor in the most distant manner to insinuate, for I never will insinuate what I am not prepared to assert, that any noble lord now present, nor any honourable man in any other place is to be considered as such adviser though he should upon his word declare, that he was not. I assure your lordships, that I have no such meaning, but still my belief upon this subject, such as I have described it, is not at all shaken. We all know, my lords, that in political life there are wheels within wheels, as many almost as in a silk-mill; that the smallest, and apparently the most insignificant, are sometimes, from their situations, the most operative, and that some of them are, besides, sunk so deep in the dirt, that it is very difficult to find their places, though one can very easily discover their tracks and their effects.—My lords, I am the more inclined to be of this opinion, from the gross perversion and exaggeration of the danger and illegality of the extension beyond the Irish act of 1793. We have nothing to do with the civil exceptions in that act, but only with those which are military; these exceptions are the commander-in-chief, and general officers on the staff. His majesty consented, by the Irish act, to open the whole army to the Catholics, with these exceptions; and nobody charges his majesty now on that account with the breach of his coronation oath. It is admitted therefore, that, consistent with the coronation oath, Roman Catholics may be ensigns, lieutenants, captains, majors, and colonels in the army; but it is argued that they cannot rise to the rank of staff officers, consistently with the king's solemn obligation to support the Protestant establishment of the church of England. My lords, what in the name of wonder can the church have to do with this distinction? Whether it was or was not consistent with the spirit of the coronation oath, as it applied to the state, though not at all to the church, to open the army to the Catholics at all, it is not now open to argue; the thing is done, and was by his majesty consented to be extended to Great Britain. We are therefore confined only to the mysterious enigma of the perjury, in carrying on their promotion to be officers on the staff. My lords, as I was no party at all to the bill, I cannot but feel a most natural anxiety to deliver myself from the possible imputation of such gross stupidity and folly as to have ever objected to it on that principle. I will state the foundation of my objection by-and-by. The question of entire emancipation is totally different, and ought not to be mixed with the present consideration. But I am quite sure that a man would be pointed at in the streets, who had incurred the ridicule of gravely asserting that, upon any possible view of the coronation oath, in its letter or in its spirit, the difference between colonels and staff-officers, could have any rational application. When it is considered upon the footing of expediency, the question may be very different; but even there, the king has the staff in his own hand; for though such promotions might be open to Catholics, the appointment still rests with the king himself. What I object to, therefore, my lords, is, that danger to the church is made the stalking-horse upon this occasion. As far as it is a question of political prudence, it is a fair and reasonable ground of difference of opinion; but so far as it is a clamour upon religion, it is imposture. It is for that reason that I cannot therefore help thinking, my lords, that this is a change, which though it could not have happened without the occasion, yet had not the occasion itself for its only cause, because the consequences altogether outrun such a cause. The objection to this way of considering the subject is, that it conveys a charge or an insinuation on the king himself. My lords, I deny it. It is the present ministers who make that charge upon his majesty, because they give up the pledge as illegal; they disavow it altogether; they deny that they have taken it, and leave it with the king. My lords, the obstacle of the king's oath appears the more extraordinary when we hear it in the mouths of the present ministers, who step into office upon the refusal of the pledge, by their predecessors. When one hears so much of the church, and upon an occasion with which the church can have no possible concern, one would think that the king upon his coronation took no oath but to support the religious establishment, and that the civil liberties of the people were nothing. My lords, does not the king solemnly swear to govern according to the statues of the realm, and to the laws and customs of the same? My lords, the king enters into this solemn obligation: and is it consistent with the laws and customs of the realm to demand a pledge from counsellors that they will not impartially and honestly counsel? Is it consistent with the laws and customs of the realm, that the king shall make a rule for his own conduct, which his counsellors shall not break in upon, to disturb with their advice? Who is the man that will stand up and say, that this is the law and custom of this realm? The church therefore, and all observations concerning Catholics, are foreign to this grand consideration; because if this can be supported and sanctioned in one instance, it may in any number of instances; and the king, instead of submitting to be advised by his counsellors, might give the rule himself as to what he will be advised in, until those who are solemnly sworn to give full and impartial counsel, and who are responsible to the public for their conduct as his advisers, might be penned up in a corner of their duties and jurisdiction, and the state might go to ruin. But no doubt it will be said, that here again is a direct attack upon the king. I deny it again, it is no attack upon the king. I cannot see the king but in the responsible officers of state, who, by serving him in office, sanction all proceedings of the crown. The noble earl who spoke first on that side, declared that if an address was presented to the king to know the author of the supposed advice, his majesty would return for answer, that his adviser was the faithful monitor within his own breast in the suggestions of his conscience. My lords, the king might undoubtedly give such an answer, but I should be glad to see the ministers who would be bold enough to deliver such an answer to parliament. My lords, I will hazard my reputation as a lawyer with your lordships, that the responsible minister who was the organ of that message here, would be subject to an impeachment. The Great Hall, and not this chamber, would be the proper forum for the consideration of it. The king can perform no act of government himself, and no man ought to be received within the walls of this house to declare, that any act of government has proceeded from the private will and determination, or conscience of the king. The king, as chief magistrate, can have no conscience which is not in the trust of responsible subjects. When he delivers the seals of office to his officers of state, his conscience, as it regards the state, accompanies them. No man in England, my lords, is less disposed than I am to abridge the king's prerogative, or to degrade the dignity of his high office, by reducing him to a cypher. The public, on the contrary, are entitled to the full benefit, nay, they have a right in reason to expect the advantages of the personal virtues and capacity of the king. Whatever follows from either is therefore his own. The fame and honour of his actions are his own; but as all men must have errors, the wisdom of our government turns them aside from him. The maxim, that the king can do wrong, does not seek to alter the nature and constitution of things, but to preserve the government not only against the impeachment of crime, but even against the irreverence and loss of dignity arising from the very imputation of it. No act of state or government can therefore be the king's; he cannot act but by advice; and he who holds office, sanctions what is done, from whatever source it may proceed. This, my lords, is not the legal fiction of the constitution, but the practical benefit and blessing of it. I am pleading the cause of the king and of the people together, in enforcing it; and I never will remain silent whilst this principle is disturbed. Apply it, my lords, to the case before us. We never should have recourse to a simile, when the case itself will serve us for illustration.—My lords, the illustration may suffer from circumstances at this moment. The hands of our great enemy are full; the brave Russians keep him at bay in the East, and I pray God for the continuance of such critical successes. But should he return to the coast, and fill the shores of Europe with his troops from the Baltic to the Mediterranean; should he threaten Ireland with invasion, would any man be permitted with impunity to tell the Catholics that they must not look to any possible change in their condition during his majesty's reign? that no changes could relieve them whilst the king was on the throne? My lords, I maintain, without the hazard of contradiction, that this declaration would be a seditious misdemeanour, punishable by indictment. The criminal motive, unless as circumstances might repel the inference, would be inferred from the sentiment, because the king can have no such purpose either in law or in fact imputed to him. He cannot in law, for the reasons I have already given; and I believe he will not, in fact, under every possible circumstance, because the king's oath, and the danger to the establishments of church and state, were opposed from time to time just as they are now, to all the important indulgences which his majesty, during his reign, has nevertheless granted to his Catholic subjects; and I conceive that I have even the sanction of the present ministers for supposing, that upon corresponding emergencies the indulgences would still be extended; for they say that they have taken no pledge, and consider the imputation of having taken it as a reproach, which it certainly would not be, if all further indulgences were against a fundamental and unalterable principle; and if further indulgences be not on that account inadmissible, but are to depend upon emergencies as they may occur, then upon what principle were the late ministers removed, and how are they distinguishable from their successors, since the late ministers abandoned all indulgence for the present, and only contended that emergencies ought to regulate their advice?—This is the whole. I hope I have not departed in any thing I have said from the declaration I made the other day of my duty and attachment to his majesty, which is most sincere and affectionate. What weighs heavily on my mind, my lords, is, the dangerous and alarming distinction between putting by from time to time the claims and expectations of the Catholics, which I am as much disposed to as any man, and the public declaration of unalterable refusal upon a principle which admits no alteration. I trust we shall never see the danger of such a declaration brought home to a practical test in the discontent of subjects who might otherwise be affectionate and faithful.—My lords, I have nothing to add to the trouble which I have already given to your lordships, but to assure you, that no man can be more deeply impressed than I am with reverence for God and religion, and for all the ministers and professors of the Christian Protestant faith. I am sure that I need not except even the worthy and excellent prelates in whose presence I make this solemn and public declaration. My lords, I glory in the opportunity of making it. Would to God that my life could be as pure as my faith! I consider the æra of the Reformation, and its irresistible progress in the age which has succeeded it, as the grand æra in which the Divine Providence began most visibly to fulfil the sacred and encouraging promises of the Gospel. I look forward, my lords, believe me I always have, with an anxiety which I cannot express, but with a hope which is unex- tinguishable, to the time when all the nations of the earth shall be collected under its shadow, and united in the enjoyment of its blessings: It is that feeling, my lords, mixed perhaps with what may be considered as the prejudices of education, but which I cannot myself consider to be prejudices, that have kept me back from going the full length of Catholic expectation. I consider the Roman Catholic faith as a gross superstition, not chargeable upon the present generation, which contains thousands and ten thousands of sincere and enlightened persons, but the result of the darkness of former ages, and which is fast giving way under the hourly increasing lights of religious and philosophical truth. Not that vain and contemptible jargon which has usurped the name of philosophy, but the philosophy of nature, which lifts up the mind to the contemplation of the Almighty, by approaching to Him nearer, and discovering his Attributes in the majesty and harmony of his works. Toleration is the right of every man, and the policy of all wise states; but seeing that religious superstitions were falling into a wholesome and visible decline, I have never sought to give any encouragement to set them up again, but have rather wished that inconveniences should be felt, though no injustice suffered by their professors; because, when religious distinctions are not so importantly material as deeply to affect the conscience, they are often by imperceptible degrees diminished and melted away. These ideas, my lords, and not any objections affecting either the establishment of the church or the safety of the state, though formerly these were very solid objections, were my reasons for not giving my support to the bill without a more urgent occasion; for there are occasions to which such ideas ought to yield, since we are frequently without choice in the order and government of mankind. These opinions, however, can have no bearing on the present motion, the first branch of which I pass by altogether, having been myself an humble member of the administration which it supports; but I not only subscribe to the second, but shall conclude by returning my thanks to the noble marquis for having introduced it to the house.

The Earl of Jersey

supported the motion, which, he contended, was called for by the extraordinary circumstances that had recently occurred. That some farther concessions should be made to the Catholics, had been the opinion of many statesmen of great eminence. Even one of the present ministers, the secretary of state for the foreign department, a person certainly not of inferior talents, had formerly held this opinion. It could not therefore be a subject of charge against the late ministers that they brought forward this measure wantonly or hastily. He thought there was great reason to regret the change in his majesty's councils, and he considered the pledge demanded as highly unconstitutional.

Lord Harrowby

began by observing, that he fell under the same embarrassment as the noble earl who had just spoken, from the want of proper documents. This deficiency was in itself a sufficient parliamentary ground for refusing to assent to the motion of his noble relation. No motion, he said, pretending to be grounded upon facts, ought to be entertained, unless it rests either upon facts notorious, or admitted on all sides, or proved by documents on our table. The nature of the present case admits of no such proof: it rests upon statements of the contents of dispatches which we have not seen; of the contents of confidential communications between the king and his cabinet, which are not, and cannot be before us: and upon the relation, not so much of the terms of confidential conversations between the same parties, as of the impression which such conversations made upon the minds of those who held them. Such are the documents on which we are called upon to assent to a motion, which, grounding itself solely upon the defence brought forward by one party, is in fact (though I trust not in intention) an accusation against the other; a motion which places your lordships in a situation, equally unknown to the theory and the practice of the constitution, equally alien from your legislative and judicial functions, the situation of sitting in judgment upon the personal conduct of your sovereign. I am well aware that the mention of his name within these walls is in itself disorderly, but the nature of this question renders it impossible to be avoided. More need not be said to prove at once the indecorous and unparliamentary character of the debate into which we are driven. I shall not however forget the doctrine laid down in another place by what is now the highest authority in this house, that the right which necessity creates, necessity limits. So far at least it will be agreed on all sides, that before we determine to assert an abstract proposition, for the declared purpose of applauding the late ministers, and with the direct effect of censuring our sovereign, we ought to examine (as far as the imperfect lights we have can admit) how far that abstract proposition can be applied to the present case, considered in all its bearings and with all its circumstances. It would ill beome us, in any cause, much more in one so extraordinary in its complexion, so momenous in its consequences, to content ourselves with taking up the transaction nearly at its close. We must consider what were the steps which led to that close, what was the necessity which left no other issue. It is not enough to say, a pledge was demanded; no minister ought to give a pledge; the king has dismissed his ministers for refusing it; therefore the ministers were right, and the king was wrong. A mutual confidence between the sovereign and his servants appears so indispensable to the good conduct of public business, that when once there is so little confidence on either side, that the ministers are reduced to demand a pledge from their king, or the king from his ministers, there seems little option left, but for him to dismiss them, or for them to resign. What is the mode best calculated to preserve this necessary confidence? A clear and distinct explanation of proposed measures on one side, and an unreserved communication of opinions on the other. If ever there was a question upon which such clear and distinct explanation was peculiarly necessary, it was that lately in discussion. It was a question upon which the sentiments of a majority of his majesty's servants were known by themselves to be contrary to his; upon which his opinion had not only been repeatedly and decidedly declared, but had been acted upon by him under the most trying circumstances, and was founded not upon any arguments of political expediency, but upon a religious regard to the sacred obligation of his oath. If measures of concession to the Catholics had been consented to by the king, upon former occasions, with evident reluctance, arising from a conscientious fear lest they should pass the hallowed line, how deeply was it incumbent upon those, who proposed advancing but a single step within that limit, to define with the utmost precision the extent of that single step? Can we, who have heard little upon this subject, except the voluntary defence of ministers, can even they, who made it, now say, even to themselves, either that this caution was not necessary, or that it was not neglected? Can they say, that in the first proposal to his majesty to extend the privileges of the Roman Catholics, the limits of that extension were accurately stated to him? were perhaps even accurately defined in their own minds. The measure was first proposed to be introduced by clauses in the mutiny bill. Could this by possibility go beyond the army, or include the navy? The notice of the intended motion referred, as I am informed, to the Irish act of 1793, and professed to admit Catholics to certain commissions. Could this be supposed to include the admission of all dissenters to all commissions and appointments? But what was the reasoning by which this proposal was supported, when addressed to his majesty? Am I misinformed, when I hear that he was told, that it was the earnest wish of ministers, to avoid every discussion, which could in the remotest degree be painful to any feelings, or repugnant to any opinion of his majesty? That this object they hoped they had attained by the measure then suggested: and why was it supposed to be attained? Because, so far from being repugnant to any known opinion of his majesty, it was perfectly conformable in principle to that concession which he had consented to in 1793; because it was only fulfilling the engagement which had been entered into under his majesty's authority at that time. Was it not stated, that the Irish act enabled the king's subjects in Ireland to hold commissions in the army, with no other restriction than is there pointed out? and that if a similar provision be refused with respect to this part of the united kingdom, it would (amongst orher arguments) bear an appearance of a conduct not consistent with openness and good faith? If this was the manner in which the proposal was represented, (and if it was not, I shall be contradicted,) can any man wonder at the impression made upon his majesty's mind? I will not argue against the cavil which may be made upon the reference to the principle of the act of 1793. It is answered at once by the proposal, after referring to the restrictions in that act, of a similar provision for England. Besides, what is the principle of an act? Is it not to be found equally in what it withholds, and what it grants? If it allows certain privileges for the relief of his Catholic subjects, does it not impose certain restrictions for the security of his Protestant establishment? Is it fair to argue, that the only object of a legislative measure is to annihilate all distinctions between different sects, when it is an equally prominent object of the same measure to preserve a part of them? But, if we, who are left to collect our information as we can, find a want of precision in this clear and distinct explanation, how did it appear to those who were most conversant and most deeply interested in every part of the transaction? To the king, to whom it was proposed; to those ministers who were consulted upon it, or by whom it was advised; to those, through whom it was communicated to the Catholics? That it was not understood by the king, we have his majesty's own authority, as stated by the noble baron lately at the head of his ministry. That it was not understood by the cabinet, we have the authority of a noble viscount, and, as I am informed, that of two other members of the cabinet, who, if they had understood the measure, would, as well as himself, have dissented from it, and who, when they did understand it, took no part in the further proceedings. That it was not understood by the noble lord himself, who brought it forward in another place, we have his own authority, collected from his own notice, and from the manner in which his clauses were to be introduced. We are further told by that noble lord himself, that he had not sufficiently attended to the distinction between his own measure and the Irish act. The candour of this admission does honour to the noble lord; but it removes all our wonder, that others should not have understood what those who proposed it did not understand themselves; it removes also some of our regret, that the proposal of great measures is no longer vested in the same hands; it removes also much of our surprise, that in an intercourse of a confidential nature between the king and his servants, some precautions should have been thought absolutely necessary to prevent future misunderstandings. To the measure, however, thus stated, and thus understood, the king, after repeated instances, gave a reluctant consent, adverting, however, particularly to what had passed in 1793. Did he not also add, in precise and positive terms, that he thought it necessary to declare, that he would not go one step farther? If this cannot be denied, is it not a fact which ought to have been brought forward by those, who, in the defence of their own conduct, have forced us to discuss an accusation against the king? Whatever difference of opinion there may be as to the line they should have followed after this declaration, this at least will be conceded, that it imposed upon them not only the duty of stating with the utmost distinctness what was the nature and the extent of the further steps which he was required to take, but of ascertaining, with the same distinctness, the nature and the extent of the consent of his majesty. Did the ministers perform this duty? Was it sufficient to rest such a point upon the understanding of a conversation, in which the king believed that he had signified his perseverance in refusal, but which the noble secretary of state understood as a reluctant consent, or, as he candidly admits, rather as not withdrawing the consent which had been originally given. The ministers being in possession of the written opinion of his majesty, giving a reluctant consent to a measure evidently limited, with a declaration that he could not go one step further, his consent to an unlimited measure is implied, from what? From the expression of his decided disapprobation. It ought not to be forgotten, that immediately after this conversation, an opportunity was offered, by the audience of the leading member of government, to clear up the doubt, while it was yet time. We understand from that noble lord, that nothing passed upon the subject. That the king should not have repeated his dissent, was perfectly natural. His determination not to advance one step beyond his former concessions, had been declared in writing; his dissent from the new step proposed, had, as he thought, been distinctly expressed to the person, whose immediate duty it was to conduct the measure: and he might well think it unnecessary to repeat it. But it would have been fortunate (and that it did not so happen must now be regretted by himself), if the noble person who had the second audience had felt that necessity for clearing up all doubts upon so delicate a point, which the very information he received at the door of the closet would to most minds have naturally suggested. Undoubtedly, however, it may be supposed that the information received by government from Ireland, placed the necessity of the measure every day in a stronger light, and afforded greater and greater hopes of quieting the Catholics. Will the ministers state this as a ground for enlarging the measure, or even for persisting in it? What hopes could be entertained of quieting the Catholics by a limited measure, supported upon principles which required one unlimited, which made what was granted no favour, and left what was refused injustice and oppression? Did the Irish government give hopes that these concessions would keep back the petition? Was it not known, that, exclusive of the claims which that petition would bring forward, the previous requests, a compliance with which could alone give even a chance of keeping it back, were such as neither the Irish nor the English government were disposed to admit? Was not the meeting of the Irish Catholics, at which the petition was decided, a sufficient proof of the inefficacy of these concessions, even if the declarations of some leading orators had not spurned at their nullity? What then had happened? The clear and precise dispatch to the Irish government had been so well understood, that Mr. Elliott, though answering in the words of that dispatch, had given a doubtful answer; and that the Catholics, as was natural, were disposed to explain this doubt in their own favour. This favourable explanation was confirmed by the dispatch of the 3d of March, to which the consent of the king was implied, from the circumstance of his having returned without observation a draft which was sent to him without observation; and upon his consent, equally implied from the conversation above stated, in which the difference was explained, the measure in its new and extended form was pressed on in the house of commons. At length it became evident that the whole business had been involved in misconception. On the 13th of March, the majority of the cabinet, convinced that the king was immovable in his determination, communicated to him, through the medium of that noble lord, their resolution to modify the bill, so as to bring it within the limits of the act of 1793. With this resolution it appears that his majesty was satisfied. Why then was the whole bill abandoned? It would, it seems, have been difficult to find arguments to justify an adherence to the exact letter of the Irish act. Was there no difficulty then in finding arguments to justify the voluntary and entire relinquishment of a measure, stated by themselves to be indispensably necessary, and which they should be deeply criminal if they neglected to propose? If it could be done in the latter case (as the noble lord in another place has stated that it might) without committing his majesty, why not in the former? If it was necessary to com- mit his majesty, was it not better to commit him upon a strict adherence to the act of 1793, and to carry their own principles into effect as far as that act carried them, rather than to abandon without necessity every part of their own measure, and to bring forward the sacred person of the king as the only bar to the progress of civil and religious freedom? If it were true that his majesty were himself the only supporter of those principles which seated his family upon the throne; if he feels himself bound by the obligation of an oath (not voluntary but imposed upon him as the conditio regnandi), to draw a line which he cannot pass, who is there but must respect such adherence to principle? Who is there but must wish such a conscience to remain unmolested? But is it true that his majesty is thus insulated from his parliament and his people? Did the ministers really believe that they should carry their bill in parliament? Has not one of their leading members in another place declared his opinion that they could not carry it there? After the late and decided opinion which your lordships have expressed upon the subject, was there a hope of carrying it here? Is there a doubt in the mind of any man as to the general sentiments and feelings of the country? Where was therefore the necessity of relinquishing the measure in a manner which gave a wrong impression of the real obstacles which opposed it? Still more, where was the necessity of accompanying the resolution to withdraw the bill with the stipulations contained in the minute of the 15th of March, as they have been stated by the noble lord? As to the right of expressing in parliament the individual opinions of members of the administration, it was a right which no man contested, and of which his majesty only regrets the exercise, because it appeared decidedly adverse to the great object of their exertions, the quieting the Catholics, and keeping back their petition. As to the right of giving such advice in future to his majesty respecting Ireland, as the course of circumstances might appear to require, this was a general right, upon which if they had been silent, no man would have entertained a doubt; but as applied to this particular question, what did it mean? After a long and distressing contest with their sovereign, they had discovered, what they might have known before it began, the ultimate point at which he was determined to make his stand. By relinquishing their own bill entirely, instead of condescending to restrict it within the limits of the act of 1793, they had proved that any future proposal must go beyond that act. The power, therefore, which they thought it necessary to declare it was essential to their characters and to their duty that they should reserve, and from time to time exert, was a power to bring forward from time to time, for the decision of his majesty, measures to which his oath forbade him to consent. On this point, the king had decided, not lightly or inconsiderately. He thought himself bound to his Protestant people not to do any act, which was, in his own opinion, contrary to the pledge he had given them at his coronation; he thought himself bound to the Almighty, not wilfully to transgress the oath which he had sworn. However the arguments brought forward by others might convince the consciences of others, it was by his own conscience, right or wrong, that he must stand or fall. If he violated this sacred contract with his eyes open, with his judgement unconvinced, he must at once break his faith with man, and prevaricate with his God. Under these distressing circumstances, his majesty proposes to his ministers to withdraw this intimation of their intentions, Was this a concession which it was impossible for them to make? They had declared themselves desirous of keeping off the discussion of any question, contrary to the opinions and feelings of his majesty. By the exertion of their weight and influence in that direction, it was far from impossible that they might be successful. If they failed, it was still in their power to inform his majesty that, as they could no longer in their opinion administer his government, without proposing measures contrary to his sense of his oath, they must retire from responsibility, and leave his majesty to the advice of other counsellors. Having failed in convincing the king by the strongest statements of the indispensable necessity of the measure, which they had nevertheless abandoned, having consented to become deeply criminal by withdrawing what it would have been deeply criminal not to propose, from what further arguments could conviction and success be expected? What was the invariable prospect, but a fruitless and unaviling contest, productive of nothing but distrust and irritation? Are we then prepared to censure his majesty, if, after proposing in the first instance that the intimation should be withdraw, be claimed some positive assu- rance that this contest between himself and his confidential servants should not last for ever? Having seen how loosely, how inaccurately a proceeding of such importance and delicacy had been conducted: having seen how easily his consent had been implied to the very measure to which he thought his dissent had been unequivocally expressed, can any man be surprized that he should require to be secured from all future apprehensions? From all future apprehensions, of what nature? Not that measures would be proposed to curtail his influence, or to abridge his power, but that he should be forced, against his conscience, to consent to the extension of his prerogative, Is it not clear that when there is so little confidence between the king and his confidential servants as to make it necessary on either side to require a pledge of any kind, the public service must suffer, if the conduct of affairs continues in the same hands? When ministers perceive that they have inconsiderately, and for what appear unnecessarily, brought themselves into this situation is it honourable to their sovereign, is it useful to their country, to cling to their official posts; to force their king to remove them, instead of removing themselves; and to attempt to gain popularity by dismissal which they must be conscious they have not gained by their administration? This brings me to the second branch of the motion of my noble relation. It was not expected by me, and it would require a long, but not difficult detail to answer it. Having been prevented by the state of my health from attending my duty in this place during their continuance in power, I can only form my judgement from a general view of their conduct. Of their entrance into office I say nothing, except that they chose to come in upon that very principle of exclusion, applied to a whole party from the highest to the lowest, a resistance to which principle, said to be applied to a single person, had been the declared reason of their refusal to join in a former administration. Of their actions I can only seize the prominent points in a hasty and imperfect review. I look for their œconomy, to the immense burthen entailed, I fear for ever, upon the country, by the increased expence of the army, and consequently of the navy, incurred in order to try in the army upon a large scale an experiment grounded upon visionary theories, but which in practice the volunteering of the militia into the line had proved to be almost hopeless of success. I look for their just distribution of offices and rewards; to their foreign appointments; to their civil promotion; to the persons whom they have placed in pecuniary trusts; to the persons whom they have prosecuted; to the persons whom they have pensioned. I look for their energy and ability in the disposal of the military and naval force of the country, to the expeditions they have sent out with so little delay in the dispatch, so little contradiction in the orders and counter-orders; to the conquests we have gained; to the victories we have achieved; to the stupendous advancement of our military and naval glory. For their talents in the management of foreign politics, I must look to the cordial footing on which we now stand with those powers in whose welfare we are most deeply interested; to the prompt and liberal succours they have sent to that remnant of Europe, which is still struggling for existence. For the wisdom and precision of their negotiations, I must look to their negociation with France; a perfect parallel to their negociation with their king, where the point on which the whole turned was left for months so clearly defined, that it rested at last upon the recollection of a verbal communication, which was understood by one party in one sense, and by the other in a sense directly contrary. I see nothing upon this review, which should induce your lordships to express, as you would do by agreeing to this motion, an implied or rather a direct disapprobation of that exercise of his majesty's undoubted prerogative, which you have upon former occasions stood forward to support. From my own personal feelings, I may regret much what has passed. I did not wish the fall of the late administration. It was strong; it was, or had been supposed to include sufficient ability; it contained in it some persons in whom I had been accustomed in other times to repose confidence; but I wished it either to be strengthened by the infusion of some better blood, or to be checked by an opposition sufficiently powerful to guard against undue exertions of the strength of government. On one ground indeed I may be permitted to regret their fall; on a consideration of the principles of the persons who opposed them. I knew them to be incapable of harassing or fettering any administration in the real discharge of its duties; incapable of taking advantage of ne- cessary difficulties and burthens, to raise a clamour against them, which would aggravate those burthens and increase those difficulties. They would object to what they thought objectionable, and guard those principles which they could not desert without inconsistency, and which to them were sacred. Whether the experience of the last twenty years can give the present administration much hope of a similar opposition, it is for your lordships to consider. My temper is not sufficiently sanguine not to leave me, upon this ground, some regret for the past, and some apprehension for the future. With these feelings and these opinions, I cannot but have some regret at the addition made by this struggle to the dangerous pressure of the times. If the struggle were not necessary, it ought not to have been made. Having been made because it was necessary, it ought not to be abandoned. It is no child's play. The change is not the result of court intrigue, or party ambition. The present ministers have been called upon to support the king in the defence of his conscience. I approve their cause; I do not distrust their ability or their zeal. They will stand firm to him and to each other. With the sanction of your lordships, with the voice of the country in their favour, what have they to fear? But, be the event what it may, with their king they must stand or fall.

The Earl of Selkirk

declared, that the propositions contained in the resolution moved by the noble marquis had, in the abstract, his unqualified assent. He had no doubt of the principle, that a privy counsellor, who should restrain himself by a pledge, from advising his majesty to the best of his judgement, would be guilty of a high breach of duty. He was also satisfied, that the late administration possessed and deserved the confidence of the country. He did not mean to imply an unreserved approbation of all their proceedings; but he did not expect to see an administration of more than human perfection. The fair criterion, by which to judge the late administration was, to compare their conduct with that of others; and in this view he was ready to maintain, that considering the short duration of their power, they had accomplished, or put into a fair train of accomplishment, more important measures of public good, and that with less of reprehensible conduct, than perhaps any administration within our memory. He was also of opinion, that in the present state of Europe, the loss of a firm and stable administration was an event deeply to be deplored.—The question before the house, however, was not whether these principles were true, but whether it was proper, under all the circumstances of the case, for the house to record an opinion on the subject. The plain object and intention of the motion, was to convey a censure on the dismissal of his majesty's late ministers, as founded on an unconstitutional act; a censure in which he could not concur. The adoption of this motion, or of any other of a similar tendency, he considered as an unwarrantable interference in the exercise of the prerogative.—The right of parliament, he said, to advise the crown upon the choice of ministers, cannot go so far as to entitle the house to question the motives of his majesty, for dismissing ministers who had lost his confidence. The king cannot be required to take advice from men, in whom he cannot confide; and, were there no other reason, a diminution of confidence is a sufficient ground for a change in his majesty's councils. If upon such a change, improper persons are substituted, it becomes the duty as it is the right, of parliament to state their opinion of the unfitness of the persons appointed: but it is on these grounds of expediency only, that they can recommend one set of men or reprobate another. It can never be maintained, that the king is accountable to parliament for his conduct in changing his advisers. Such a doctrine would sap the foundations of the constitution. If the motives for a change in his majesty's councils be a fit subject for parliamentary investigation, as well might the two houses proceed to the election of a ministry by a ballot.—Except upon the principle here contended for, it would be impossible to prevent discussions, which are admitted on all hands to be utterly unfit for parliament discussions upon the personal conduct of the king, and on points at issue between him and his ministers. To illustrate this, let it be supposed, that the opposite principle were established, that the motives for a change of ministers are a fit subject of parliamentary enquiry; and then let an extreme case be put: let it be supposed, that a minister should in council offer a gross personal insult to his majesty, such as would be an unpardonable offence from one individual to another; would there be a doubt that such a minister, be his talents and his virtues what they may, might be properly dismissed? Now let the supposi- tion be varied; instead of a gross insult, let us suppose an offence less unpardonable. The supposition admits of every possible gradation between the grossest insult, and the most venial inattention. Between the two extremes, cases may undoubtedly be imagined, in which it would be a matter of the utmost nicety to determine whether the offence were or were not a sufficient ground for dismissing a minister. If such questions as that are to be determined by parliament, where is an end of the improprieties into which it would lead; and how are such questions to be avoided, if the motives of his majesty for dismissing his ministers are to be held a fit subject of enquiry? When a change of administration takes place, on the ground of any great public measure, the propriety of the change becomes a fit subject of enquiry, as involved in the discussion of the measure which led to it. The present is not a case of that kind, but one of those in which there is no criterion to be referred to, except the feelings in his majesty's breast, excited by the personal behaviour of his ministers towards him.—The measure, from which all this discussion originated, having been abandoned by ministers, is not the essential ground of difference, and therefore it is not at all to the purpose to enter into the merits of that measure. The whole question relates to the manner in which the measure was brought forward. As to the idea of the late ministers having had an intention to circumvent the king, I cannot see the least ground for such an accusation: but it is not equally easy to acquit them of very blameable carelessness, and of the want of a becoming attention to his majesty. The very existence of misapprehension on so important a point, would entitle us to presume carelessness; and the statements made to both houses of parliament, by members of the late administration, fully prove the fact. I cannot agree with some noble lords, who consider his majesty's determination on the Catholic question as immutable: yet when his opinion had been so often and so strongly expressed, the king had certainly a right to expect that a change in his opinion should not be lightly presumed, without a very full and distinct explanation. It appears, however, that ministers did imagine a change in his majesty's opinion, upon the most vague inferences; and proceeded to act upon that supposition with a levity that would scarcely have been becoming on a subject of the most trifling consequence. This conduct may fairly be considered as an act of personal inattention to the king, requiring an apology: and when an apology might have been expected, his majesty received what, without any disposition to exaggeration, may be construed into a defiance.—When the late ministers subjoined to the minute of council, in which they agreed to withdraw the Catholic Army bill, the reservations which have been the occasion of so much comment, it may be granted to them, that they had no disrespectful intention: yet, if they did not take sufficient care to explain themselves they have no right to complain that their expressions were misunderstood. The king had said nothing which appeared to call for these reservations. The act, to which they were annexed, did not imply the admission of any principle, to the contrary. The noble and learned lord, lately on the woolsack, has himself stated, that the deference of ministers to the king in the present circumstances did not imply that they must shew the same deference in others of more extreme urgency. If circumstances should hereafter have arisen, such as to render the Catholic concessions a measure of indispensable necessity, without which the affairs of the nation could not be carried on, it would have become the duty of ministers to state it to his majesty as a measure without which they could no longer remain in office; and it is altogether ridiculous to suppose that they would have been precluded from this conduct, because they had on a former occasion relinquished a similar measure, at a time when it was to be considered as expedient and useful, but not of vital importance and absolute necessity. The insertion therefore of these unnecessary reservations might fairly be considered as a threat to renew the subject under circumstances of no greater necessity than the present. This interpretation is confirmed by the expression, that the advice alluded to, was to be submitted from time to time; an expression which cannot easily be limited to those cases of impending destruction to which it is now construed as applying.—Whatever might be the meaning affixed by the council to these expressions, it is certainly no extravagant supposition to imagine that the king may have considered them as a disrespectful defiance, and as such, a sufficient ground for the immediate dismissal of his ministers. This, however, he did not resolve upon, but conveyed to them an expression of his willingness to overlook the conduct, of which he had a right to complain, provided he could be assured that he should not meet the like in future. Such appears to be the obvious spirit and intention of that note from the king, which is described as the demand of a pledge from his ministers. Though in form, that note does demand a pledge, such as ministers could not constitutionally accede to, yet it is to be considered, that this was a paper, dictated on the spur of the moment, and in which we are not to look for the accuracy of a special pleader. The spirit of it is essentially friendly to ministers, and implies a reluctance, on the part of his majesty, to part with them, totally irreconcileable with the idea thrown out by a noble and learned lord, that it must have been dictated by secret advisers, and founded on a previous resolution to dissolve the administration.—It appears, then, that the dismissal of the late ministers may be fairly traced to the circumstances of their personal conduct towards his majesty; and in this view of the matter, no one will consider it as a proper subject of parliamentary investigation, whether these circumstances were or were not of sufficient weight to induce his majesty to that determination. The noble lords on the opposite side, however, abstracting altogether from those emotions and feelings, from which the royal breast can no more be exempt than those of other men, overlooking all the circumstances, which provoked the ultimate demand of a pledge, consider the subject as a dry and insulated constitutional question. It would have been unconstitutional, they say, for ministers to have given the pledge required, and therefore it was unconstitutional to demand it; and if this act was not owing to a secret adviser, the new ministers who accept offices, vacated in consequence of that unconstitutional demand, must be held as assuming the responsibility.—The principle, that a new ministry are responsible for the dismissal of their predecessors, and retrospectively for the measures upon which it proceeds, I hold to be sound constitutional doctrine, but the application, which is made of that principle to the present case, appears to me to be fallacious.—That the king can do no wrong, and that he can never act without advice, are principles of constitutional law, which, like many other doctrines of the law of England, are expressed in figurative language, like all those principles which juridical writers express under the form of fictions. These maxims, stripped of their metaphor, and translated into plain language, appear to me to mean: 1st, that the king has no power, by the constitution, to do any public act of government, but through the medium of some minister, who is held responsible for the act: and, 2dly, That the personal actions of the king, not being acts of government, are not under the cognizance of law.—The principle that the king can never act without advice, applies therefore only to acts of government. This interpretation is quite sufficient for the purpose, which that maxim is intended to effect, viz, to secure the people from the abuses of bad government, through the restraint which the fear of responsibility may put on ministers. If this responsibility attaches on every act of government, on every act of the king in his executive or legislative capacity, the people have all the security, which that maxim can impart; and it would be absurd to extend it to the personal actions of the king as an individual, to the occurrences of his domestic life, or to the circumstances which may arise in the course of confidential communication between him and his ministers, previously to their determining on any measure, which is afterwards to make its appearance to the public as an act of government.—Upon a change of ministry, the new ministers are undoubtedly responsible for the dismissal of their predecessors as a public act of government; and where the dismissal is connected with any other public measure, on that likewise, retrospectively, they become responsible for the negative of their predecessor's intentions, but not for any private consultations, between the king and his former ministers, which did not terminate in any public measure. In the present case, the demand of a pledge from the late ministers, cannot be considered in any other light than as an occurrence of private consultation in the cabinet; an occurrence which cannot be a proper subject of parliamentary enquiry, since it is only in consequence of the king's permission that the knowledge of the fact could ever have come to parliament. That permission was granted for the sole purpose of enabling some of his late ministers to clear their characters of aspersions thrown upon them, and it is surely a most improper trespass upon the generosity which led to that permission, that a proceeding, such as the pre- sent, should be founded upon it; a proceeding which, however it may be intended by the noble persons who bring it forward, cannot be debated without a continual infringement of that important constitutional maxim, that the personal actions of the king are not to be made the subject of discussion.—Upon the whole then it appears that the argument in favour of the present motion rests entirely upon the gross fallacy, of considering the demand of a pledge from ministers as an insulated fact, and their refusal as the only assignable motive for dismissing them. It appears on the contrary, that, independently altogether of any such refusal, the dismissal would have been justifiable; that, before the demand was made, circumstances had occurred which might naturally and fairly have led to that dismissal. If upon receiving that minute of council, by which his ministers agreed to give up the Catholic bill, the king, instead of requiring that the reservations should be withdrawn, had immediately and without further explanation, sent for the seals of office, could any one venture to say that the act would have been unconstitutional? and shall we be told that the act which the king might constitutionally have done before the demand of a pledge, became unconstitutional after that demand was refused? that the mere circumstance of the king's having inadvertently made a demand, which his ministers could not with propriety accede to, can be sufficient to annul and bar the exercise of one of the most essential prerogatives of the crown? The noble lord proceeded to state, that the avowed object of the motion was to lead to the re-instatement of the late ministers. However much he might regret that a change should have taken place, it could by no means follow that he should concur in machinations for forcing back upon the king any set of men who had lost his majesty's confidence. He argued that no practical good could ever arise from such a proceeding, even if it should succeed; that a ministry forced upon the king without his cordial approbation never could be secure; that the only consequence would be to multiply changes; and that every change necessarily involves much inconvenience to the public service. He agreed, that it was of peculiar importance in the present circumstances of Europe, that we should have a strong and stable administration. Such, undoubtedly, the late administration was; and on this ground, among others, he regretted the change: but, though the late administration was I strong, it was by no means to be inferred that, if re-instated, it would be equally strong. The strength of an administration depends in a great measure on the opinion, which the public entertains of its permanence. Before these unfortunate transactions, the late administration was universally supposed to be immovably stable. Such an opinion can never be renewed. They formerly possessed the confidence of the king and the country, united; now, they would possess neither: for, whatever sense the public may entertain of the great and splendid abilities of the late ministers, the confidence formerly reposed in these talents, must be greatly shaken by a view of the extreme indiscretion of their late proceedings.— Lord Selkirk further observed, that, in the present circumstances, he could not approve or concur in a systematic opposition to an administration, whose conduct is as yet unknown. He thought them entitled to a fair trial, and that they should not be condemned till their measures should prove them unworthy of confidence. It is true, that many individuals of the present administration are well known as public characters; but, as a government, they are a new combination of men, and as yet untried. He could not deny, that many members of the present cabinet had expressed opinions on various subjects, which he did not concur with; and that, from a view of their former conduct, he could not avoid feeling considerable anxiety and doubt, as to what their future conduct might be: but he could not carry this so far as to say that they should be excluded, as utterly unfit to be trusted. Notwithstanding the opinions which some of them had delivered, against measures which he highly approved, he trusted they would see the wisdom of the maxim which their predecessors had acted upon in coming into office, that, taking into consideration the unavoidable mischief of repeated changes, they ought to acquiesce in many things which they found established, notwithstanding their having objected to them when first enacted. He referred particularly to the measures adopted last session for the improvement of our military system, the spirit of which he trusted would be still adhered to. It was also alledged, that the new ministers were pledged to a system opposite to that of conciliation in Ireland. He could not how- ever perceive how they could fairly be considered as under any such pledge, and he trusted they would take the earliest opportunity of evincing the contrary, by giving to the Catholics, not merely assurances, but practical proof, that, however they might resist further concessions, they were determined to execute in a liberal manner, the laws already enacted in their favour. Such a conduct, he was persuaded, would not only be more honourable, but of more advantage to the new ministers, and tend more to promote the stability of their power, than if they should go on to encourage religious animosity, and to excite apprehension in the public mind for the safety of the ecclesiastical establishment. By raising a cry of no popery!, they might gain the assistance of a wild and fanatical mob, but would excite the disgust and reprobation of every honest and sensible man in the kingdom.—Lord Selkirk proceeded to state, that those who, in the present circumstances, do not approve of the avowed principles or former conduct of the newly appointed ministers, are by no means reduced to the alternative of joining with the determined partisans of the late ministers in a systematic opposition; that there is an intermediate line of conduct more honourable, more constitutional, better in every respect; that of giving an independent but qualified support to government so long only as their measures are reconcileable with the main and essential objects of national safety. In times like the present, a systematic opposition, maintained by so powerful a party, must tend to embarrass the operations of government, and to waste, in the struggle for power, that strength which ought to be directed against the common enemy. Such proceedings may be fit for those, whose interests are involved in the re-establishment of any particular individual at the head of administration: but those who are sensible of the imminent danger of our situation and whose primary object is that national safety in which our all is involved, will not be inclined to join the violent partisans of either side of the house. If a few persons of acknowledged character, would unite in an independent line of conduct, they must gain the confidence of the people; though their numbers might at first be small, every thing they might say would carry weight, and even a small phalanx of such men might be able to repress ebullitions of a factious spirit, whether it should ap- pear on the one side of the house or on the other.

Lord Boringdon

said, he thought the resolution proposed was much too vague and indefinite, and as such he should, before he sat down, make a motion for the purpose of getting rid of it without coming to any resolution on the subject. The latter part of it, he thought, was a kind of surprise on the house, and he was of opinion that none of it was called for by any circumstances which could induce the house to come to any resolution. It was in his mind a proposition which their lordships ought to entertain with much caution, as it related so very nearly and particularly to the personal conduct of the king. A pledge had been required from his majesty's late ministers, respecting the bringing forward a particular question; and it had been assumed that the present ministers had entered into some such pledge. He believed, however, from the declaration of the noble secretary of state below him, that no such pledge had been given by the present ministers. Indeed, there could be no occasion for asking it, for they had never shewn themselves favourable to the Catholic question. He was also adverse to the proposed resolution on another ground. He did not think it would be binding on the house. Their lordships would recollect, that in the reign of queen Elizabeth, that house came to a resolution, while at war with Spain, that the country should make no peace with a prince of the house of Bourbon; yet the queen and her ministers made peace very soon afterwards, and the resolution of the house was so much waste paper, and no more. He was ready to absolve the late ministers from the imputation which had been charged upon them, of having attempted to force on the king any measure that militated against his feelings or his conscience; but he could not absolve them from negligence and inattention in the mode in which they had conducted themselves. He adverted particularly to the uncertainty and ambiguity contained in the Irish dispatch, and thought them blameable in endeavouring to obtain his majesty's opinion through the medium of a draft of a dispatch. He thought if the noble lord at the head of the late administration had openly and candidly communicated directly with his majesty on this important and delicate subject, the late misunderstanding could not have happened. As to the pledge, about which so much had been said, he would ask, whether, under all the circumstances which had been stated, it was very extraordinary the king should require such a security to his peace of mind, and to the dictates of his conscience, after the representation which had been given in by the late ministers; and that, after a refusal of such pledge, his majesty should be desirous and anxious to look for other servants who would not treat him in a similar manner. What did the late ministers say respecting this pledge? Why, that it was not fit to be given; they introduced therefore the reservation, as a sort of counterpoise, and by so doing made it in some degree incumbent upon his majesty to call to his councils other men, with whom he could act more in unison. It had been more than insinuated that this change had been brought about by secret advisers. It did not, however, appear by the statement made by the noble lord (Grenville) before the recess, that even the smallest insinuation could ever be made that the king had acted in this matter by the advice of any person whatever. Much had been said as to the effects this would have on the Roman Catholics of Ireland: he hoped, however, that when that body of men reflected on the many disabilities which had been removed by the gracious favour and condescension of his present majesty, who had, from the commencement of his reign, shewn himself desirous to act as far as possible for their relief, they would remember his gracious regard to their situation, and would not be angry when they saw their complaints were not set aside from any cabal, but that they would accordingly conform themselves in such a manner, as to evince they had a true sense of their own case, and were convinced that no intention remains in his majesty but to maintain the oath he had taken at his coronation. Feeling that the motion included a personal inculpation of the king for the exercise of an undoubted prerogative, he could by no means assent to it, and would therefore conclude by moving, that the house do now adjourn.—The question having being read from the woolsack,

Lord Kinnaird

said, he was both surprised and sorry to hear the sentiments expressed in the noble lord's speech, but more particularly the latter part of it, in which he said that the Catholics would not be angry when they saw their complaints were not attended to from any intrigue or cabal, but that they must solely attribute it to the will of his majesty. This, he thought, was not the happiest way of reconciling that large body of men to the opposition made to their claims, or of conciliating their affections, which had been weakened by repeated disappointments. The noble lord had told their lordships, that he objected to the resolution, be- because it would not be binding; and he had quoted an instance of a resolution passed by the house about two centuries ago, that they would not make peace with a prince of the house of Bourbon, though the queen and her ministers did very soon after make peace with a prince of that house. He did not see how this applied at all to the present case, or why, if a resolution of former times had been departed from, and thereby rendered of no avail, the house should not, at a subsequent period of time, pass any resolution which a present case might require. The noble lord then addressed himself to the earl of Selkirk, and expressed himself truly and sincerely sorry to perceive that noble earl had become so easy a convert to the support of his majesty's present ministers; and that he had exerted those talents, for which he had so great a respect, in calling for the confidence of the house, on the ground that those new ministers were untried. Much as he respected the noble earl, and highly as he valued his talents, he could not, however, agree with him in that particular, of their being untried. If he looked to the noble duke at the head of the present administration, no one could say he was untried. He had been in repeated administrations, none of which had effected any very great advantages to the country during their continuance. If he looked to the noble secretary of state for the home department (lord Hawkesbury), he too well knew the effect his former diplomatic conduct had had on all our allies, to draw any very favourable conclusions from it; and that if it did not assume a more favourable aspect, it could not fail to merit all the wit and humour which his right hon. colleague, the present foreign secretary, (Mr. Canning,) had then so profusely bestowed on it. If he looked to the noble lord at the head of the war and colonial department, (lord Castlereagh,) he had given such striking specimens of the versatility of his genius, that he might safely be set down as a fostering, careful, and attentive guardian, to whom we might, without risk, commit the care of the virtue and talents of the present administration. A noble lord, who had spoken last but two, speaking of the talents of the late ministers, had asked, in a kind of triumphant tone, what "All the talents " (as the late administration were called) had done for the service of the country. He, for his own part, thought the question might be readily answered, and that highly to the credit and honour of the late administration. In point of economy, he had ever found them ready to listen to all persons who were desirous and capable of pointing out any retrenchments. In regard to dispatch of business, he had seen none equal to them, for they had brought the public business to a degree of forwardness that was unexampled. That noble lord had also talked of expeditions planned by the late ministers. He was, however, the last person in the world who should talk of expeditions to the continent, when he recollected and maturely considered the mad expedition to which he had been himself a party; but on the subject of expeditions, he would tell the noble lord, that if one of the greatest powers on the continent, if Turkey were at this moment at the feet of this country, such a glorious event was owing to the wise, politic, and spirited measures of the late administration. He could say the same as to Monte Video; and he greatly feared the next thirteen months would not be marked by any such splendid and important acquirements, from the combined talents and wisdom of the new and untried ministry. He was extremely sorry to find that attempts had been made to rouse the efforts of bigotry and superstition, and to re-kindle the flames of religious animosities. If there were those now in being who would carry those baneful and destructive passions into the very bosom and seats of learning, and would wish to revive the brilliant exploits of the dark and barbarous ages, let the effects to be produced by them rest on their own heads. This, he believed, was the first time that secret advisers of the king had brought on the downfall of an administration which enjoyed the confidence of the country, since the time of that great statesman lord Chatham, who had declared, that there was a power behind the throne, greater than the throne itself. Yet before his administration was in a similar manner overturned, that great and immortal character had laid the foundation of drawing into the service of the country a large body of the subjects of the state, against whom as many and as violent prejudices existed as did now against the Catholics of Ireland. During a long time antecedent to his glorious administration, the war-whoop and cry of the country had been loudly and constantly raised against the jacobites in the north of Scotland. When that illustrious statesman came into office, he found the army in a state of decay—and how did he raise it? Not by fomenting the prejudices which were then so prevalent, but by calling those very jacobites into the service. He from their ranks recruited the ranks of the army: and a braver or more loyal set of men never fought with more energy and constancy the battles of their country. Such, he had no doubt, would be the case of the Catholics of Ireland, if confidence were placed in them, and opportunities given them to shew their gratitude and attachment. For their endeavours to effect this great national purpose, he considered the late ministers as entitled to the highest praise, and as such the present motion had his hearty support.

Lord Sidmouth

said, that the motion of the noble baron had relieved him from a considerable degree of difficulty. He could not have concurred in giving a negative to a resolution which expressed regret at the late change in his majesty's government, and which also stated the impropriety of acceding to any pledge, that might fetter the conduct of ministers in the discharge of their public duty. To the previous question he should have objected, because he was of opinion, that such a proposition as that brought forward by the noble marquis (Stafford) ought not to be entertained under any circumstances; and it therefore appeared to him, that the proper mode of disposing of it, was by a vote of adjournment.—The resolution proposed by the noble marquis must be considered as arising out of the discussion which immediately preceded the Easter recess, and the renewal of it only served to increase the regret which he had felt at the time, and ever since, that such a discussion should have taken place. Every allowance was however to be made for the situation and feelings of the noble baron (Grenville), by whom the explanation had been then given. The circumstances, which occasioned it, were new, and extraordinary: a mutilated extract of a cabinet minute had appeared in a public paper, even previous to the change of government; and no efforts had been spared to place the conduct of the noble baron in the most unfavourable light.—These circumstances were sufficient to account for, even if they did not fully justify, the steps which he had taken in his own vindication. But, whatever might be the cause in this particular instance, it must be admitted to be highly desirable and important, that such a proceeding should not be drawn into precedent. Some of the consequences of it already began to be seriously felt. Their lordships were now called upon to vote a resolution, founded on alledged facts, to be collected from a speech, delivered on a former occasion, of which, consistently with the privileges of that house, there could be no existing memorial;—but without any record on their journals, or any document on their table; in fine, without such a basis as the house would require to sustain a proceeding even on an occasion the most unimportant. As, however, certain particulars had been stated, it was indispensably necessary that they should be fully detailed and correctly understood, in order that the transaction to which they applied, might be placed in its true and proper light. Under this impression, he relied on the patience and indulgence of their lordships, whilst he laid before them such information as appeared to him to be material for this purpose; which however he should not presume to do, without the sanction of that authority, under which the noble baron (lord Grenville) had himself addressed them on a former day. [Lord Sidmouth was here interrupted by the earl of Radnor; who objected to his lordship's proceeding in the detail upon which he appeared to be entering, as being irregular in point of order, and not to be justified even by the permission to which lord S. had alluded. His lordship said he should have given the same interruption on a former occasion, if he had been present when similar topics were first introduced by a noble baron, lately at the head of the government.] Lord Sidmouth replied, that, whatever might have been the objection to the agitation of this question in the first instance, which he felt, and had before expressed; he could not but throw himself on the justice and impartiality of the house, to be allowed the same indulgence, which others had experienced, whilst he endeavoured to state such circumstances, as came within his own particular knowledge, and which, he thought, were absolutely necessary to the right understanding of the transaction; professing at the same time, that he was not apprehensive that he should have occasion to disclose any thing which would not be sanctioned by the allowance he had received, consistently with the obligation under which he had acted, as a confidential adviser of the crown. He then proceeded to state, that the noble baron had asserted on a former day, that, up on his entrance into office at the commencement of the last year, no declaration, or pledge had been required of him on the subject of the Catholic question; of this he could entertain no doubt: and he further owed it to that noble lord, and to those of his colleagues who concurred with him(lord G.) in opinion on that subject, to declare, that he believed it to have been their earnest wish and fixed intention to avoid any discussion of it, or of any topics connected with it, as far as it could be done consistently with what appeared to them to be due to their own character and to their conscientious sense of public duty. As to himself, he had at the period when the late administration was formed, and at his first interview with the noble baron, and with a right hon. gent. now no more, (Mr. Fox,) strongly expressed his hope that the subject would not again be agitated in parliament, and he had stated distinctly, that, if it should be brought forward, as his sentiments upon it did not depend on feelings, and opinions, entertained in any other quarter, or on circumstances which were temporary, no consideration should prevent or controul his determined opposition to it.—During a period of more than 12 months, nothing occurred which indicated a probability that the Catholics in Ireland were disposed to press the agitation of the question in parliament: but soon after the commencement of the present year, it because too probable, that their quiet forbearance was temporary, and that it was only by fresh concessions that their dissatisfaction could be restrained from venting itself in the form of petitions to the legislature.—At a meeting of his majesty's cabinet at earl Spencer's, on the 9th of Feb. various expedients which had been suggested for allaying this sort of irritation, were discussed, without being finally approved: a dispatch, however, to the lord lieutenant was produced by the noble lord at the head of the government; which, from a misconception of the objects, that it appears to have been intended to embrace, gave rise to those embarrassments that ensued, and which ended in a change of ministers. That dispatch, and the reasoning by which it was recommended, appeared to him, and to other members of the cabinet, to refer exclusively to three objects, to which the attention of ministers was called, as was then stated by considerations of policy, good faith, and consistency. His majesty having been empowered, by the Irish act of 1793, to grate military commissions to his Roman Catholic subjects, in Ireland; it was deemed necessary from the considerations above stated, first, that persons holding commissions under the authority of that act, should not become liable to penalties, if called upon to serve in Great Britain: secondly that there should be secured to Roman Catholic officers, and soldiers, the same toleration in the exercise of their religion which was afforded to all other classes of his majesty's subjects: and thirdly, that the capacity of holding military commissions, which was conferred by the Irish act, should be extended to his majesty's Catholic subjects in this part of the united kingdom. Such a measure was stated to derive importance and urgency from the circumstances of the times, which called for the united zeal and strength of the whole population of the empire, to enable it to cope with the immense military power, and insatiable ambition of the enemy.—Much stress was also laid upon intimations given in the year 1793, by lord Clare in the Irish house of lords, and by Mr. Hobart, now lord Buckinghamshire, then chief secretary to the lord lieutenant, in the house of commons, of an intention on the part of the English government, to propose to the parliament of this country a measure, similar to that which was adopted in Ireland; but though Mr. Pitt's administration continued 8 years from that time, no such measure was brought forward, and though he had since been 5 years in office with his noble friend the earl of Buckinghamshire, he had never heard of this supposed pledge till the present occasion. It had however been explained by his noble friend on a former night, in a manner which had materially weakened, if not destroyed the argument, which was founded upon it.—when this dispatch was first under discussion, he had stated explicitely that he would not agree to any new concession, and that if it was a question whether the king should now, for the first time, be empowered by law to grant military commissions to his Roman Catholic subjects, he should entertain strong doubts of the expediency and policy of such a measure; but it appeared to him that there was no alternative but to repeal the Irish act, or to go the length proposed; and it was upon this ground, and to the extent of this act only, that his concurrence had been given.—The dispatch was sent to the king at Windsor on the evening of the 9th, and returned on the following day with a note expressing his majesty's disapprobation of the measure which had been recommended; and "the hope he had entertained that the subject would not again have been agitated." In the evening of the 10th, another cabinet meeting was held; at which a minute was prepared, describing in terms the most respectful, the precise ground on which his majesty's servants deemed it incumbent upon them to solicit his majesty's permission to propose to parliament a clause, to the effect before stated, to be inserted in the mutiny bill, then pending in the house of commons; with ut adverting, however, to the expediency of repealing the exceptions in the Irish act, or of extending the measure to the naval service. To this minute of cabinet, which was communicated to his majesty, not by himself (lord S.), as had been erroneously supposed, but by the secretary of state, no answer was returned the next day; but a council being then held at the Queen's palace, he had previously to it, at an audience on the business of his office been questioned by his majesty on this subject; when he informed his majesty, that he had been induced to concur in the proposed measure, as a necessary consequence of the Irish act of 1793, from the consideration of which, combined with the act of Union it appeared to him that there was no alternative but the repeal of the Irish act, or the adoption of this measure. His majesty declared, that he could not consent to any new concession, but that, in consequence of the Irish act, and on that account alone, he would take the proposition of his cabinet into further consideration, and return an answer on the following day.—The answer stated, that, "however painful majesty had found it, to reconcile to his feelings the removal of objections which may have the most distant reference to a question, which had already been the subject of such frequent and distressing reflection, he would not, under the circumstances, in which it was so earnestly pressed, and adverting particularly to what took place in 1793, prevent his ministers from submitting, for the consideration of his parliament, the propriety of inserting the proposed clauses in the mutiny bill. Whilst, however, the king so far reluctantly conceded, he thought it necessary to declare that he could not go one step further."—Hence it appeared evident, that his majesty conceived the proposition to be grounded entirely on the act of 1793; and to have no other object than that of extending its operation to Great Britain. This, as he had before stated, was the light in which it had been regarded, not only by himself, but by other members of the cabinet. By the lord chancellor it had been described to his majesty on the 11th of February, as nothing more than a corollary from that act; and in this view of it, lord Howick, on a subsequent day (Feb. 20), gave notice to the house of commons, of his intention to propose some additional clauses in the mutiny bill. In that light it was so far understood by Mr. Elliott, the secretary to the lord lieutenant, that he made his communication to the Catholics accordingly, and referred to the government at home a question which had been put to him at a meeting at Dublin, whether it was intended to repeal "the limitations of the act of 1793, and render Catholics capable of holding the situations of commander-in-chief, master-general of the ordnance, and of generals on the staff?"—It must also be observed, that the dispatch, according to the terms in which it was conceived, was, strictly speaking, applicable to no other than this limited construction. It proposed to give to the Catholics a competency to "hold any military commission whatever:" but military offices, excepted by the act of 1793, are not understood as being held under military commissions: and it is remarkable, that, in the clauses which it was intended to insert in the mutiny bill, the words, "or appointments" were added to the word "commissions," as being apparently necessary to repeal the limitations of the Irish act: and so strongly was the supposed import of these words impressed on the minds of some most intelligent members of the other house of parliament, that, for the purpose of giving effect to their opinion of the expediency of confining the measure to the Irish act, they had intended to propose that the additional words "or appointments" should be omitted; which alteration would have rendered the clauses not only conformable to their wishes, but to the terms of the dispatch of the 9th of February, as well as to what he had conceived to be the true construction of it. It therefore appears, that the dispatch itself, as well as the reasoning upon which it was recommended, was not calculated to impart to his majesty's mind a knowledge of the extensive import which it was actually intended to convey: and that it was not only not extraordinary that it should have been understood by his majesty in a limited sense, but that it would be justly a matter of surprise if it could have been viewed in any other light.—Lord Sidmouth then proceeded to state what had occurred after he had learnt that the measure was designed to be carried beyond the provisions of the Irish act. His own objections were immediately stated to the noble lord at the head of the government, accom- panied by a declaration, which was frequently repeated on subsequent occasions, of the necessity under which he should feel himself of opposing the extension in parliament. A few days afterwards, upon being informed by the judge-advocate-general, that he had been directed to prepare clauses, to be inserted in the mutiny bill, which would have the effect of repealing the limitations in the Irish act, he went to the Foreign office, the noble baron (lord Grenville) being out of town, and expressed to lord Howick his own sentiments respecting the measure, and his conviction that the extent of it was not understood by the king; and he owed it to that noble lord to declare, that he manifested the utmost anxiety, that means should be taken to prevent or obviate any misapprehension on the part of his majesty, before the measure was submitted to parliament. On the return of the noble baron (Grenville), he made a similar communication to his lordship; and on the 1st of March, this subject was discussed in cabinet.—At that meeting, he (lord S.) declared his persuasion, founded on his majesty's language to himself on the 11th of February, and on his majesty's answer to the minute of cabinet on the 12th, that his majesty was not aware of the extent of the proposed measure, and likewise expressed his own sense of the indispensable necessity of putting an end to all doubts on a point of so much delicacy and importance. The noble baron, however, then stated, that he had seen his majesty on the 11th of Feb. subsequently to the audience granted to himself (lord S.), and that he had no reason to doubt his majesty's full comprehension of the measure, as now intended to be submitted to parliament. After much discussion, it was proposed by lord Howick, to transmit to his majesty a copy of the clauses intended to be inserted in the Mutiny bill. Of this suggestion he (lord S.) declared his entire approbation; but added, that it would be necessary for him to accompany the communication of these clauses, with a note from himself, expressive of his dissent from those parts of them, which carried the measure beyond what he had understood to be intended by the dispatch to the lord lieutenant, of the 9th of Feb., and the minute of cabinet, of the subsequent day. In the result however, the suggestion of sending the clauses was not then adopted, and no communication on this point was made from the cabinet to the king. In the evening of the following day, he pressed the re-consideration of the subject on lord Grenville, and was informed by his lordship in answer, that the clauses had been sent on that day to his majesty;—they were accompanied, as he had since learnt, by a dispatch to the lord lieutenant, and a note from the secretary of state. On the Tuesday evening (March the 3d) he found, that the clauses were returned by the king without any comment; from which circumstance, his majesty's acquiescence had been inferred; an inference somewhat hastily drawn, as he thought, and upon insufficient grounds.—On the following day, he waited on his majesty at the Queen's palace, on his official business; and then stated, at an audience, what it would have been more satisfactory to him to have expressed in a note at an earlier period, and which he should have had an opportunity of doing, if the clauses had been communicated to his majesty, in consequence of a minute of the cabinet. On that day the king having been fully apprised, not only by himself, but by lord Howick, of the nature and details of the measure, communicated to lord Howick his sentiments, in a manner which had unquestionably been misunderstood by that noble lord: but it was also an indisputable fact, that it was intended by his majesty explicitly to declare that his consent was confined to that part of the measure to which he had before reluctantly acceded, viz. the extension of the act of 1793 to Great Britain.—On the Friday following, it having been judged proper to relinquish the mode of proceeding by clauses in the Mutiny bill, lord Howick moved the house of commons for leave to bring in a bill, the object of which was to open both army and navy, without restriction or limitation, to the Catholics and Dissenters of the United Kingdom. The bill was accordingly brought in, and ordered to be read a second time on Thursday the 12th of March. Under these circumstances, and having been apprised of the favourable manner in which lord Howick's proposition appeared to have been received in the house of commons, he (lord S.) wrote, on Monday the 9th, to lord Grenville, stating, that "He found it impossible to act up to his own opinions on parts of this bill, in the manner which their influence on his mind necessarily required, and, at the same time, to satisfy his sense of what was due to the government of which he was a member," On the next day, he had a conversation on the subject with the noble baron, and, on the day following, he informed him, by letter, of his determination to retire from the office of president of the council, "as the only course he could pursue with justice to the noble lord, and with honour to himself." On that day (March the 11th), he made a communication to his majesty to a similar effect, and immediately received his majesty's gracious commands to remain in his office. The noble baron (lord G.) having also expressed to him, by letter, his wish, that his resolution might be suspended, he acquiesced, upon a distinct understanding, that he was to be considered as completely at liberty to take such steps as he might think proper for opposing the bill then before parliament.—On that day (March the 11th), his majesty expressed to lord Sidmouth in strong terms, as soon as he entered his closet, his surprise at the extent of the proposition which had been opened in the house of commons; his majesty having, as he conceived, apprised lord Howick, on the preceding Wednesday, of his decided repugnance to that part of it which went beyond the Irish act of 1793. There could be no possible doubt but that on this point lord Howick had misconceived his majesty. Lord H. was incapable of opening a proposition in the house of commons in his official character, contrary to the known opinion of the king, and in the face of his authority. Lord Howick however stood not in need of any farther vindication on this subject; ample justice had been done him by the gracious declaration of his sovereign. It should be stated, that, on that day, lord Grenville was distinctly informed by his majesty, that to that part of the bill which exceeded the limits of the act of 1793 he could not be induced to give his consent.—From this statement, lord Sidmouth said, it appeared, that his majesty, having received the clauses on Tuesday the 3d of March, took an opportunity, on the following day, of expressing to lord Howick, in person, his objection to the extent to which the measure was proposed to be carried: that his majesty, unaware that he had not been so understood by his lordship, manifested, on the 11th, (the day on which his majesty was next at the Queen's Palace) his surprise at the proposition which had been submitted to the house of commons; and on that day declared his sentiments to lord Grenville in a manner upon which no misconception appears to have arisen.—Under these circumstances, he (lord S.) entertained a hope, which he expressed to the noble lord at the head of the government, that the bill might be so modified as to free it from objections which were evidently insuperable: that hope was however disappointed.—On the 15th, a meeting was held of a large majority of his majesty's confidential servants, to which neither the lord chancellor, the chief justice of the king's bench, nor himself, were summoned; and of which they were not apprised. At that meeting, it is understood that a minute was prepared, declaring a willingness to abandon the bill, but accompanying the offer with certain reservations, which were, he thought, deeply to be lamented, and which appear to have been the immediate cause of the events which ensued.—The effect on his majesty was such as might have been expected. He probably apprehended that a question from which he had already suffered so much, was never to be at rest: that his mind, made up as it was from a combined sense of religious and politicial obligation, was to remain perpetually exposed to a recurrence of importunity and anxiety. Having expressed his hope, but a short time before, that he might not again be distressed on this subject, he now required that he should hear of it no more; and claimed from his ministers a written declaration to that effect. This he (lord S.) understood to be the case; though at the time when he was speaking, he had neither seen the minute of his late colleagues, nor his majesty's answer. He believed, however, that the statement was correct; and he had no hesitation in declaring, that, under any pledge whatever that was to fetter him in the performance of his public duty, he would never accept office, nor remain in it. But this requisition was to be considered with reference, not only to the abstract principle upon which he trusted there could be no difference of opinion, but to the peculiar nature of the case, and to the circumstances with which it was attended. The question to which it applied was not, in his majesty's estimation, merely political; it was one of honour and of conscience, connected with the deepest sense of public duty, and of religious obligation; deriving its importance from the conditions which established the house of Brunswick on the throne, and which at the time of his coronation had been solemnly ratified by himself.—Was it then possible for the house of lords to fix on their journals a recorded censure of a step which could only be ascribed to such feelings, and such principles? For his own part, had he been one of those to whom the answer was addressed, he should have considered it in no other light than as a painful but decisive proof, that he no longer possessed that portion of the royal confidence, which could afford him a prospect of carrying on the government, to the satisfaction of his majesty; and he should accordingly have asked permission to retire from his service. Such would have been his conduct; and here was a material point of difference between his late colleagues and himself. He could not forbear adding, that his majesty, he was confident, had no intention to part with his ministers, previous to the communication of the 15th of March: and he had no other reason for supposing that such was his intention afterwards, excepting as far as he thought it might be inferred from his majesty's answer. Lord Sidmouth then proceeded to state what appeared to him to be the meaning and tendency of the noble marquis's motion. It was founded on the supposition of a wrong done; and that, by the intervention of a secret adviser; a supposition unsupported by evidence, or by any reasonable presumption, and therefore manifestly inconsistent with justice. No one, he said, could feel more strongly than himself the sound wisdom of that great constitutional principle, that the king can do no wrong: that is, that for every act of executive government, there must be a responsible adviser. But he contended, that there were many functions of the sovereign, which, though strictly legitimate, not only might, but must be performed, without any such responsibility being attached to them, and which must therefore be considered as the personal acts of the king. Of these the constitution does not take cognizance; nor can they be fit subjects of public discussion. In the present instance, there were few indeed who did not believe that the answer was the answer of the king himself; that it proceeded from the uninstigated impulse of his own heart. If so, (and there was not only no evidence, but no rational presumption to the contrary,) where did the resolution point? To the throne, to the king himself! Such, he was bound to admit, could not be the intention of the noble marquis, or of those who supported the motion; but such was its obvious and necessary direction, and such must be its effect. From these considerations, he was compelled to resist it.—Inconsistent, however, with justice, and with the best principles of the constitution, as this proposition appeared to him to be, it was also objectionable, because the supposition which it implied, even under its most favourable interpretation, was utterly unwarranted by experience. He denied, that there was a pretence for imputing to the august personage, whose name, and whose conduct had been too much brought into discussion, a disposition to listen to secret advisers. That great and distinguished man, who had served his majesty with unrivalled ability, and with signal benefit to his country, during a period of 17 years, had, to his own personal knowledge, rendered ample justice, in this respect, to his royal master; and to his attestation he thought it incumbent upon him to add his own, founded on an experience of that degree of confidence which fixes the most unqualified, but at the same time the most honourable responsibility on a servant of the crown.—It had however been said, that to resist such a motion would be to excite and justify apprehension and distrust in the minds of the Catholics; feelings ill suited to the spirit of toleration, and to the benignity, by which his majesty's whole reign had been so eminently distinguished. The great body of the Catholics, he was persuaded, would not forget the liberal and magnanimous policy, of which they had experienced the advantage since his majesty's accession to the throne. It was during the present reign, that the penal code, and various disabilities, to which they had been liable for nearly a century, were done away; and they were therefore fully assured that nothing could be withheld from them in consequence of a want of benevolence on the part of their sovereign. His majesty's gracious disposition, so long tried, and so frequently manifested, was, they well knew, only restrained and limited by a sense of duty to his whole people, and by his view of the obligations which at the time of his coronation, had been solemnly contracted by himself.—It was not, however, true in fact, as had been stated by a noble lord who had spoken against the original motion, that "the obstacle to the wishes of the Catholics was to be found in the honourable and conscientious feelings of the king." This position he absolutely denied. A decisive obstacle was to be found in the declared opinion of parliament, and in the prevailing and undoubted sentiments and feelings of the people.—What, however, were, in fact, the claims against which the door said is to be shut? Claims, for the success of which no great degree of solicitude had either been expressed, or could be felt, by the great mass of the catholic community in the united kingdom. It had been said, that the policy of the measure, which had lately been so much discussed, was to substitute a system of conciliation for one of persecution. He was, however, at a loss to conceive, at what period of his majesty's reign it would now be said that a spirit of persecution had been manifested by the government, or the legislature, towards his majesty's Roman Catholic subjects. His majesty's accession had, on the contrary, been, as he had before stated, the æra not only of an enlightened toleration, but of a liberal and enlarged policy towards persons of the Roman Catholic persuasion in every part of the kingdom; and, with respect to Ireland, it could not be seriously contended that of late years, to say the least, such a spirit had appeared to actuate the government of that part of his majesty's dominions. No one would impute it to the administration of the duke of Bedford: that of lord Hardwicke was a subject of general and unqualified panegyric: and he would ever contend, that whatever instances of violence and cruelty might have occurred during the disastrous period of the rebellion, they were in no degree imputable to the system of government either in Ireland, or at home. Without recurring to an earlier period, he would only add, that in the year 1793, the measures adopted towards the Catholics in Ireland had not only been marked by a spirit of toleration and liberality which he admired and applauded, but by a prodigality of concession, which broke down the constitutional barrier between Catholics and Protestants, and made it, as he admitted, very difficult to take a distinction in point of principle, between what had been granted and what was withheld. For himself, who thought that too much had been granted, it was competent to say, that he would not consent to grant more. He was convinced that concession beyond the point at which it had long since arrived, instead of being the cure, was and would be a fresh cause of discontent; that, to preserve the tranquillity of Ireland, it was necessary to act on a firm, steady, and at the same time temperate system: to abstain from raising hopes, which could neither be realized, nor disappointed, without public inconvenience and danger; but, at the same time to let the Catholics feel, that, though, an increased portion of political power was withheld from them from considerations of policy and expediency, they are in other respects precisely on the same footing as all other classes and descriptions of his majesty's subjects, entitled to equal favour and equal protection.—This was the system upon which Ireland was governed in the time of lord Hardwicke, (a system congenial to that which, at the same period, was adopted in England); and, as he had the happiness of thinking, with general satisfaction and success. In Ireland, whilst it animated the zeal of the loyal, it had also the effect, in many instances, of calming the turbulent, and of silencing, if not of reclaiming, the disaffected. During lord Hardwicke's administration, there was no agitation in Ireland on the ground of catholic claims, and it was a well known fact, that Emmett, whose desperate project was occasioned by other causes, declared, a short time before his execution, that such was the impression generally produced by the lenity and liberality of the government, that, if he had delayed his attempt only for a few weeks, it would have met with so little support as not to afford any chance whatever of success. It did not, therefore, appear to him, that, for the purpose of tranquillizing the minds of Catholics, it was necessary to agree to this motion. That object could alone be obtained by a wise, and temperate system of government; by firmness without rigour, and by conciliation without concession.—He then stated, that the intent of the motion of the noble marquis was evidently to censure the dismission of his majesty's late ministers, and the practical tendency of it to raise the credit of the former government at the expence of the present, so as to effect the removal of the one, and the reinstatement of the other. From the motion abstractedly taken, he could not dissent; but he disapproved of its object, and still more of the mode of pursuing it. He considered the change of government as a public misfortune, particularly in the present state of this country, and of Europe: but he would not on that account concur in attempting to force back the late ministers into the councils of the king. He acknowledged that he could not contemplate the present administration without feelings of anxiety and distrust, though he had a high opinion of some of the members of it; and for the noble earl in particular, at the head of the ordnance, he entertained the most affectionate respect, founded on an intercourse of friendship, which had neither abated nor been interrupted during a period of near 40 years. But, on the present occasion, he was not called upon to weigh the merits of the new government, but to discharge a duty to his sovereign, and to the constitution of his country and the difference between one set of ministers, and another, important as it unquestionably was, and particularly at such a crisis, appeared to him to be of less moment, than the difference between reducing the monarch to a cypher, and supporting him in the full exercise of his constitutional authority. These reflections, however, applied solely to the appointment of ministers, and not to the measures of government.—Lord Sidmouth concluded with saying, that he thought it incumbent upon him to state some particulars which appeared to him to be material, in order to place in its true light a transaction, which, he repeated, ought never to have been the subject of public discussion; though the conduct of the great personage, who had been so much alluded to, must, he was confident, appear to have been such as to give him a fresh claim, if possible, to the veneration, affection, and gratitude of his people. In his vote on the question before the house, his lordship said he should be actuated by a determination to discountenance any proposition which might be considered as tending even by the most remote construction and inference to throw an imputation on the conduct of the king, or to fetter and controul his majesty in the exercise of his lawful prerogative; and onthese grounds he should support the motion for the adjournment.

The Earl of Lauderdale rose

and said:—My lords, in the course of my public life, I never heard a proposition more calmly, and decisively argued, than the proposition which has this night been submitted by my noble friend, to the consideration of this house. And never, my lords, was a mode of answer substituted, I will not only say, more unfair, but more calculated to excite unfounded prejudices, to propagate throughout the country a doctrine which must inevitably tend to produce improper feelings, and to mislead the general decision. Some noble lords have talked a great deal of conscientious scruples, and under the pretext of those scruples, they would call upon your lordships to judge of a constitutional question. Next, the noble viscount (Sidmouth) apprehends, and there- fore concludes, that the resolution of my noble friend is directed against the character of my sovereign; but I do contend, that a question, involving the conduct of the executive government, was never, in the history of this country, submitted to the decision of the legislature, in which the principle of responsibility was more clearly and accurately ascertained. The noble viscount has argued, that in order to make valid the charge against secret advisers, it must be proved, that the advice was given previous to the adoption of the measure. To this doctrine I cannot subscribe, because I am convinced that constitutional responsibility embraces not only advice given previous to the measure taken, but goes as well to a passive acquiescence in deliberating, as to an active assistance in carrying them into effect. Suppose, for instance, that a dispatch was sent to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, and that the noble secretary for the home department was ignorant of its contents; if he afterwards contributed in the slightest degree to give efficacy and extent to that dispatch, then I do affirm that he would be, in the spirit of the constitution, fully responsible to this house and to the country, for the consequences of that measure, whatever they might be. But, let us view the circumstances of this transaction. Let us, my lords, consider the various links by which the appointment of the new ministry is connected with the causes which led to the change in his majesty's councils. The noble lords on the opposite side, pretend not to be ignorant of the events, and of those circumstances which immediately led to the result. With such information, they assisted in executing the threat which was held out to obtain the written assurance from the late ministry; and, therefore, in my opinion, the responsibility upon them is much stronger. I will go further, and contend, that the very acceptance of their offices, after the knowledge they admit to have, of such a pledge being demanded, is, in the sound doctrine of the constitution, a sufficient ground for holding his majesty's present ministers responsible, both for the changes which have taken place, and the pledge which has been required. Were his majesty's present ministers even to say, It is true, we know that such a requisition was made, but we were not parties to it, and even for ourselves have refused; still the constitution considers them responsible. In the good times of this country, when the strong feeling of constitutional jealousy actuated every man in the state, there was no argument, no excuse, no palliation, for any inroad on the just and acknowledged privileges of the people. When my lord Somers himself, that able statesman, to whose talents and patriotism the country was so peculiarly indebted, when even he, I say, pleaded to parliament, upon the discussion of the Partition Treaty, that he was no party to the measure, it refused to listen to the justification. It spoke in the sound, stern, and salutary language of the constitution, that he who assists, that he who lends his name and sanction and character to carry it into execution, is the responsible person. At whatever period it might be ascertained that he engaged in it, or whether there were others who had previously introduced it, was not a matter of much consequence. The country has a concurrent judgment against them all, might bring them to the bar of this or the other house of parliament, and arraign them for the mischiefs which were the result. What was lord Danby's case? In his own defence he produced a letter, that was written by the king's order. But it did not avail him: wherever it originated, he was responsible for the execution. The present ministers might say, We have not agreed to any such pledge. The answer was, that in receiving their offices, they were bound by the spirit of that requisition, that they had virtually given it. Having shewn the late administration as a warning, the executive could say, You know the conditions upon which you are called to my councils; you are aware of the kind of men suited to my opinions. In fact, the very nature of the transaction, proves to the most common understanding, that his majesty himself felt he was acting under advice, and of course with his advisers, subjected to constitutional responsibility. The noble lord himself, who sits on the woolsack, must feel that his majesty was of that opinion, and therefore we may account for the expeditious determination, in two hours, of that noble lord—a shorter interval of time than he was usually expected to make up his mind in. But, to advert to the administration so lately formed, I am at a loss to judge in what manner the contradictory opinions of the component parts can be reconciled? How can we reconcile the opinion of the secretary of state for foreign affairs (Mr. Canning), as formerly expressed, with his present connection with the noble secretary for the home department? or in what manner reconcile the immutable opinion of the latter noble secretary, with the repeated pledges of his colleague at the head of the colonial department (lord Castlereagh) to the Catholics of Ireland? Were these contradictions to be got rid of, in what way can we conceive the repeated and long continued attachment and promises of the noble duke (of Portland) at the head of his majesty's councils! Consider the present ministry, my lords, in their individual characters, or in their collective capacity, and you must conclude in one of these two opinions, either that there is no principle or cement of union amongst them, or that they have agreed to give up every doctrine and opinion to which they were most sacredly pledged.—The noble earl here took a retrospective view of the parliamentary opinions of some of the leading members of the present cabinet, and on the views they entertained of the necessity of catholic emancipation. If that question was not now discussed, or brought forward before parliament, it was not owing to the exertions or delicacy of the present ministers, but to the genuine loyalty and unfeigned affection of his majesty's late ministers. He must repeat, that he had no hopes of any great national objects being accomplished by the present administration, for they had not the advantage to be well connected with any considerable body of persons in either house of parliament. They had nothing on which to depend, except the personal favour of their sovereign and the sheer influence of the crown, having rendered themselves obnoxious to all those who loved independence, by the servility with which they had accepted their situations, having recognised the pledge which their predecessors scorned; besides which, the discordant materials of which they were made up, left no room to hope any good from their exertions, differing so essentially as they had done on the most essential points; and upon none more than on the very point which had occasioned their coming into power. But it was said that the motion now before the house was a mere abstract proposition, and as such, unnecessary to be voted; now, he admitted it to be an abstract proposition, but he denied that on that account it was unnecessary to be voted; on the contrary, he thought it became absolutely necessary to vote it, on account of what had happened previous to the dismissal of the late ministers, and on account of the terms on which the present ministers came into office; for the maxim, that the king can do no wrong, had been brought into great danger by the conduct of the present ministers, if it had not been overthrown by it. What was meant by the maxim, that the king could do no wrong? Did that maxim mean so absurd a proposition as that the king was formed by the hand of God without defect, and different from every other mortal? Certainly nothing so stupid as that idea could enter a sound understanding; but it meant, that as all government was originally founded for the good of the people, and as ours had been fortunately so kept up a long while, the people had a right to say, when any mischief was done in government, there was a fault somewhere; and it was convenient to fix it on some other person or persons than the king; and as the king followed advice in his acts, it was said that the king can do no wrong; but, whenever any thing was amiss in his government, it was considered, not as the act of the king but the act of his advisers. That adviser was responsible to the people; and it was upon this principle that the maxim that the king can do no wrong, was founded. Hence the present resolution became necessary to support that maxim, because the present ministers had come into office in direct violation of the fundamental principles of the constitution; and unless the house marked that act with its disapprobation, part of that constitution would be lost. For these reasons, the present resolution had his most hearty concurrence.

Lord Mulgrave

observed, that notwithstanding the violent epithets used by the noble lord who had preceded him, he should discuss this question coolly on its own grounds. He contended that a resolution like the present was not to be found in any part of our Parliamentary History. He reminded their lordships of what took place in 1783, when an administration was removed; we saw then what we see now, an administration discharged, greatly dissatisfied on account of its removal. Opposition carried with it great talents, but with as little discretion as marked its conduct on the subject which was the cause of its removal: but not then as now, did such a resolution appear; nor was the king's name used so freely then as on the present occasion; and here he could not help reminding their lordships of the established rule, by which it was held disorderly to mention the king's name in a house of parliament to influence a debate. He thought that the late ministers had been putted up by silly and idle flattery, as if they possessed All the Talents of this country, and it made them think they could dictate to the crown; but this was not to be done by them, nor by any set of men in this kingdom. It was said, that the course they were now pursuing had been rendered necessary by the conduct of their sovereign; but that was not so, they were not put upon their defence, although they were pleased to say so. Their sovereign made no charge against them; but under the idea of making their defence, when they were not charged with any thing, they thought themselves at liberty to say something by which they ought to impute something to the conduct of somebody whom nobody knows, whom they call the adviser of the king, in a case in which it is manifest his majesty could not have had any adviser; and, as far as his own individual feelings went, he must say that he felt considerable doubt of the propriety of making the disclosures which had been made in this case. The oath of a privy counsellor had been much insisted on; but that did not call on them for their own justification in a case wherein there was no charge made against them, to bring forward resolutions in parliament indirectly tending to reflect on the conduct of his majesty. The substance of the measure before the house was, whether his majesty did not from the first signify his discontent to the measure which was proposed by the late ministers in favour of the Catholics. There was no question but that his majesty gave his reluctant and tardy consent to the clauses in the mutiny bill; that he meant to confine the whole matter strictly to the Irish act of 1793; and that his majesty then said he would not go one step further: and the papers now before the house established beyond dispute that fact. Now, considering how the business was conducted upon this, the measure attempted to be carried was grounded on the idea of preserving peace in Ireland; grounds on which his majesty's late ministers could not themselves agree, and yet they went on with the measure after they knew that his majesty could not assent to it according to his own conscientious sense of the oath which he took at his coronation—an oath which his majesty was awfully impressed with the conviction of its being registered in heaven. These ministers considered whether they could mend the act of parliament which they had brought into the house of commons; but finding that impossible consistently with the objects they had in view, they relinquished the matter altogether; although at the time they brought it in, they had solemnly declared it was absolutely necessary for the safety of that part of the British empire. And yet, after this, they claimed the right of proposing this or the like measure from time to time to his majesty; although they knew that the sense he entertained of his coronation oath prevented him from assenting to it, they claimed the right to do so—said they were bound to do so from the view they had of their oaths as privy counsellors; and yet they had not the same tenderness for the regard which the king had for his own coronation oath, registered, as he felt it to be, in heaven. They were not blamed for what they did; they were not bound to relinquish their oaths, for they could retire from office; and why should they ask his majesty to relinquish the sense which he entertained of his oath? He really should have been sorry that any of those with whom he had the honour to act, should have brought forward this subject before parliament in any shape; but the other side insisted on it, and the dilemma in which they had placed themselves was such, that he could not conceive how men of such understandings as the late ministers, could place themselves in it. As to the question of a pledge, he had to observe, that no pledge was asked of the late ministers, until they had set the example by laying in a claim to be at liberty to advise his majesty upon a subject on which they knew his mind was entirely made up; and that was the foundation of the pledge required by the king; nor did he see the idea of a pledge in the same light as that in which it struck some noble lords in that house. For instance, if William III. or George I. had said to any of the ministers employed by them—I have no objection to any of your principles in general, except that I think you are attached to the house of Stuart; and therefore, unless you give me an undertaking or pledge in writing, I will not employ you as my ministers. He apprehended there would not have been any impropriety in such ministers signing such a pledge; and he wished to know why his majesty should be less entitled to be satisfied against the re-introduction of popery into this land? How did the case stand at this time? The late administration gave way to the conscientious scruples of the king upon the present occasion; but they attempted to retain the right to bring forward the same subject again when occasion should require; which was as much as to say, When rebellion may rage within your dominions, and when you may be less able to resist the application, and may not on the sudden be able to form a ministry, then we will advise you to do what you have declared in your conscience you never can do. What sort of policy did these ministers call this? For these reasons the noble lord did not see the unreasonableness of the pledge demanded by his majesty from his late ministers. As to the secret advisers who had been talked of, all he had to say was, that no such existed: if the late ministers knew of such a person existing, let them bring forward proof of it. With regard to the difference of opinion which had subsisted between the present ministry on former occasions, he could only say there was nothing among them that was irreconcileable. But who were they who charged the present administration with disagreement upon public matters of opinion? Why, truly, those who never agreed on any thing until they united to form an administration. Some of them had differed from each other on the treaty of Amiens. many more of them on the subject of the French revolution, and that most substantially and radically, and had treated each other with remarkable acrimony and asperity; and therefore he owned his astonishment when he heard, from such a quarter, objections to an administration on account of its being composed of men who had formerly differed from each other upon matters of public policy. As to the principles of the present administration, the best thing he could say of them was, that they were founded upon pre-uniform and common feeling of regard and veneration for that great and illustrious man (Mr. Pitt), whose loss was so much and so justly deplored, and whose principles of policy were models which the present administration had the ambition to imitate. What was the conduct of that illustrious statesman on this very question? did he come forward in parliament to do what was now attempted to be done by the late administration? No; he abstained from it altogether. The noble lord then said, that he never had so much confidence in any other person as he had in that right hon. gentleman. All the praise the present administration could ever hope to meet was from acting on his principles, and imitating him as much as possible; for which reason, when out of power, they had never entered into any captious opposition. His lordship concluded with saying, that he hoped the present motion would not only meet the negative, but the reprobation of their lordships, pointed as it was against the sacred character of majesty itself.

The Earl of Limerick

lamented that Ireland was always made the scene of faction and discord, by holding out and encouraging expectations that could not be gratified while the resolution of his majesty on the Catholic question was so decidedly fixed. He expressed considerable disapprobation of the conduct of the duke of Bedford, in permitting the disturbances in the west of Ireland to spread from one district to another, till at last seven different counties were involved in disorder and tumult, and this before any means were adopted for the purpose of suppressing them. At length the judges had been sent on a circuit through that part of the country; but had they brought back the misguided men to a state of order and quiet? If his information was correct, the case was very different. He said that many of the Irish Catholics were at present disaffected, and he would wish to give them a speedy and a positive denial, as to the indulgences which they claimed, that they should no further have hopes, that they should not hereafter have any ground for complaining of hopes deferred. There had lately been upon a northern circuit some persons convicted of riotous conduct, and shortly after, eight of the witnesses were murdered. Afterwards, there were great enormities committed in Sligo, as if they meant to dare the government. What! would you give up to faction and clamour what you refuse to loyal representation? There were two cases which he could instance, where two of the most loyal gentlemen in Ireland were prosecuted; they were certainly honourably acquitted, but the judges themselves observed that they had never seen such a scandalous conspiracy against any man, as that against them was; their loyalty was supposed to be their only crime. It was a strange remedy to think of removing the discontents of the lower classes of the Catholics, by promoting the higher ranks to the top of the army. From the known fact that two regiments lately raised by gentlemen of high Catholic connection, were raised by ordinary recruiting, he concluded that very little facility of recruiting the army would be gained by passing the Catholic Officers' bill. The proceedings that had been taken by the authors of that bill were calculated to make the Catholics think the English the enemies of themselves and their religion. He reprobated the versatility of system pursued with respect to Ireland; a system at one time maintaining high Protestant ascendancy, and at another time conceding all to the Catholics. Either concede every thing, or come to a firm resolution to concede no more. He reprobated the practice of governing Ireland by a faction; and recommended not to discourage loyalty, nor to practise on the people for party purposes. It would be unbecoming the dignity of parliament to grant any indulgence to men who were in the temper that the Catholics of Ireland at present were in.

Lord Holland

expressed great surprise at the language which the noble earl who had just sat down had held respecting the government of Ireland and the conduct of the duke of Bedford, a lieutenant who had endeared himself to every class of his majesty's subjects in that part of the empire, and whose departure was the subject of universal regret, as his administration had been the subject of universal approbation. Though he had not the local information of the noble lord, and was connected with no factions and no factious families in Ireland, he would venture to assert that the duke of Bedford's vice-royalty was looked upon in a very different light from that in which the noble lord had placed it. And, after all, what was the amount of the charge against the duke of Bedford, and the anecdote which had been alluded to, but that the lord lieutenant had refused to listen to those, who pressed for violent and extraordinary measures to put down some disturbances which unhappily had prevailed, and persisted in employing the vigour of the law alone in maintaining and restoring the public tranquillity? Indeed, respecting the state of Ireland, different noble lords had given different views. One said that Ireland was quiet, and to bring forward any question about the Catholics was unnecessary. The noble lord who spoke last, however, said that disturbances prevailed; and seemed to censure the duke of Bedford's administration on that account. If any thing, however, more than another, recommended the conduct of the duke of Bedford to the people of Ireland and to the lovers of the constitution, it was that he claimed no extraordinary powers, and had put in execution no measures of severity. These topics, and several others, seemed to have been introduced with little application to the immediate question before the house, which consisted of two parts. The motion expressed two things, regret at the change which had taken place at this time in his majesty's government, and asserted that it would be unconstitutional for any minister to give any pledge not to give his majesty advice on any particular subject. It was said, that this was dragging the king before parliament, and sitting in judgment upon him. This doctrine had been most ably answered by several of his noble friends who had already spoken, and particularly by his noble and learned friend (lord Erskine) who had delivered a speech of so much ability and constitutional information, that to those most familiar with his eloquence, it seemed to excel any of his former exhibitions. If, however, he understood any thing of the constitution of this country, its freedom, its tranquillity, nay its safety, were involved in the maxim, that the king could do no wrong; which the doctrines on the other side tended completely to overthrow. He was much surprised to find that his noble friend (lord Sidmouth) had given countenance to such doctrines, and had maintained that there were circumstances in which the king was his own adviser, and instanced the remarks on measures submitted by the cabinet. But surely this was no proof that the king could act without a responsible adviser, but the contrary. If ministers, after receiving such remarks and suggestions, thought proper to adopt and act upon them, most undoubtedly they became responsible. In no instance whatever did the constitution presume the king to be without a responsible adviser. A stronger instance than the case of lord Danby could not be conceived. That was a case when lord Danby had been engaged in something relative to a negociation; but it might have been a matter in which the king's conscience might have been concerned. Yet, though the king, in the most authentic manner, and not in any garbled extract of a cabinet minute published in a newspaper, expressed his opinion and satisfaction of lord Danby's conduct; though the king took the seals and gave them to the purse-bearer to affix to the pardon, yet the house of commons voted, that lord Danby's defence, pleading the king's commands, was an aggravation of his offence, as it tended to hold up the king to public odium. Who, then, are the persons responsible for every act of the king? Those surely who publicly appear and give effect to the views of the king. It was not necessary therefore to seek for secret advisers. Those who gave effect to the resolutions of the king, were responsible; and if a contrary principle were once to be sanctioned, and to be supposed the law of the land, the constitution was at an end, the functions of parliament were a jest. Nothing more would be necessary than to make any public measure a question of conscience, and from that moment acts might be done for which there was no responsibility. Parliament had, in every case, in the exercise of the king's legislative authority, as well as every other, always presumed that he acted by advice, and they had addressed him, to know who were his advisers. In the present case the pledge of itself, though highly unconstitutional was little in comparison with the principle that the king can do no wrong; which must be totally subverted if it was established that acts could be done, from which the most important consequences proceeded, and yet there were no responsible advisers.— The noble lord here proceeded to illustrate these positions, and alluded to the letters under the signature of Scævola, which had appeared in the Morning Chronicle on the subject. Sir William Temple had told the king that he doubted whether it were not a contradiction to suppose that he could make counsellors that were not to counsel. What sir W. Temple thought a contradiction, the appointment of the present ministers seemed to render matter of fact. An allusion had been made to a supposed pledge given by Mr. Pitt on the Catholic question previous to his coming into office in 1804; but if such a report was well founded, it was clear that some person had been the bearer of the pledge of Mr. Pitt, who then was out; and if so, it was obvious that secret influence and agency had been employed in removing the noble viscount (Sidmouth) from power in 1804. Next, with respect to the misunderstanding which had prevailed on the subject of the bill brought into parliament, he would say little. It was not doubted that such a misunderstanding existed, and this circumstance alone could have led him to concur in its being withdrawn. But when the bill was withdrawn, and that sort of amende honorable made with respect to it, he could not see with what propriety a discussion of that measure was necessary to decide the present question. With respect to the bill itself, it was well known that its principle, indeed in a much larger extent, had received the approbation of almost all the leading men in this country. Mr. Pitt had expressed himself in the strongest terms as to the policy, nay the necessity of catholic concession. Another person of the most extraordinary talents, Mr. Burke, had, to his last moment, earnestly recommended the repeal of all the disabilities in the Catholic body. Was it not shameful, then, that an outcry should be raised against the late ministers as enemies to the church, for proposing part of what Mr. Pitt and so many others had so much approved of? Nay, several of those in the new ministry, and connected with it, had entertained similar sentiments, and he left it to the noble viscount. (Melville) to argue the policy of the measure with those of the new ministry, who attempted to raise clamours and disturbance on pretence of danger from popery on account of this measure. The noble lord then touched on some observations made on the minute of the cabinet, in which they reserved the right to submit to his majesty whatever advice respecting the Catholics circumstances might require. He was surprized to hear the noble viscount (Sidmouth) say that it would be unconstitutional for any member of the crown to vote in parliament in favour of any measure that had not the king's approbation. But, surely, nothing was more unfounded. It would not be pretended that Mr. Pitt had the king's permission to vote on the slave trade, or to propose parliamentary reform. As to the reservation contained in the cabinet minute presented to the king, at most it was superfluous, because it seemed only what was their duty to do, but in fact, if they had not made the reservation, it would have been said that they had deceived the king, in agitating matters he had thought to he abandoned. He now came to say a few words of the new ministers, and however amiable some of them might be in private life, or however qualified to shine in either house of parliament, it could not be forgotten, that a twelvemonth ago they had considered themselves incapable. But, when to this was added, that they came in upon unconstitutional grounds, the reason to regret the change was greatly strengthened. It had been asked, however, Would you take from the king the prerogative of choosing his own ministers, and give it to the parliament? No, surely; but parliament might give its advice on this as well as every other subject, and a more important occasion for doing so never occurred. Allusion had been made to the case of 1784, and an appeal made to his noble friend, late at the head of his majesty's councils, on that subject. But, if he were disposed to retaliate on this point, he might appeal to the duke of Portland, and claim his aid against lord Grenville. He was not disposed, however, to do so; he was content with the situation in which those noble lords stood in this matter. But there really was no inconsistency whatever in his noble friend on this occasion. In 1784, he might think that there was no occasion to advise his majesty; but at present having no confidence in ministers, he might consider it proper and seasonable for parliament to advise his majesty. But surely in every respect things were now different from what they were in 1784, when parliament was dissolved. Yet now it was unconstitutionally threatened that parliament should be dissolved if it would not support ministers. In 1784, we were at peace; now we were engaged in a most difficult and dangerous war. Then, Mr. Pitt had recently come forward in public life, supported by the immense reputation of his father, and himself affording the highest promise to many. Now, the duke of Portland was at the head of administration, and in all respects different. It would be cruel to push the comparison. But could the present administration, composed of such materials, expect to make any impression on the country by affecting the love, and following the example of Mr. Pitt? It was a degradation of parliament; it was a degradation of the country to suppose it. Often it had been remarked that breaches in free governments were made by men of splendid talents, and that they had paved the way for followers of the lowest character. Cæesar made way for Catiline and the duke of Portland imitated Mr. Pitt in establishing himself in power against the constitution. But if any thing could more thoroughly paint the ill effects of the success of Mr. Pitt in 1784, it would be the attempts now made to imitate him, and no small evil of that success would be, the country being brought to endure the present proceedings. But it was madness in the new ministers, the dregs, the lees, the rincings of all former administrations, to think that they could excite that fervour, or kindle that enthusiasm, which supported Mr. Pitt. If they attempted to procure addresses filled with the bigotry which some of them seemed to indulge, and that religious animosity they were so eager to excite, they would only be throwing a slur on Mr. Pitt, and stigmatising those opinions which he entertained. As to the late administration, he would say no more than was necessary to defend them against the reflections cast on them. He took a view of their economical regulations, their plans for auditing the public accounts, their military system, and various other points, and concluded with observing, that it was one of the evils of the new administration that they united no great portion of the people, or considerable interests in their favour, while they came into power with a pledge against four millions of their fellow subjects.

The Earl of Westmoreland

contended that the pledge had only been demanded in consequence of the previous pledges that had been required of his majesty by the ministers. The late ministers had given a great many promises, but had done very little. They had done nothing of any consequence, either with respect to our army, our navy, our finances, or any thing else. He maintained that the system acted upon by himself and his colleagues, on all occasions, with respect to Ireland, had been one of conciliation and mercy. The late ministry, though they united "All the Talents" of the country, had realized none of their magnificent promises. The present ministers however, humble and foolish as they were, would support the king and his prerogative.

Earl Darnley

maintained that, if the late ministers had given the pledge demanded, they would have abandoned their duty, their honour, and the cause of the constitution and the country. There could be no doubt, that it was contrary to the constitution to give a pledge of this nature. It was impossible, in considering this question of pledges, not to advert to the claims of the Catholics, which had given rise to the difference between his majesty and his late ministers. He was of opinion, that the restrictions ought to be done away; but at the same time, he was convinced, that this could not be done with advantage, without the consent of the parliament and of the king. He therefore thought it imprudent at present to agitate the question at all, as it only served to keep expectation alive, which was sure to meet with disappointment. He thought there- fore, that the late ministers might have fairly told the Catholics, that they were friendly to their claims; but, that there at present existed an obstacle, which it was impossible to remove, and that therefore it would be their interest to remain quiet for the present. He was sure the sensible part of the Catholics would feel the force of this reasoning, whatever might be the conduct of a few agitators in Dublin, whose speeches had been published. He concluded by declaring, that he felt himself bound by every sense of duty and of respect for the constitution, to support the original motion.

Lord Grenville

observed, that, late as the hour was, he must state, as shortly as he could, the grounds on which he would support the present motion, which must, in his opinion, be voted for by every man, unless he was contented to go away with the impression that the constitution was completely overturned. He did not say that their lordships must feel themselves bound to vote for the first part of the motion, though he was grateful to his noble friend who proposed it; but he must say, without affectation, that he regretted the dismissal of the late ministry, because they had a system in train, which was working for the best interests of the country. He said nothing of himself, but only looked at the talents of his colleagues, whose unwearied exertions and enlightened views, afforded the best hopes to the country: but if he regretted the loss which the country would sustain from their dismissal, he felt that regret doubled when he considered by whom they were succeeded. He did not mean any disrespect to them individually, but looked at their system, the grounds of their conduct, and the unconstitutional doctrines which they held. With regard to the origin of the difference between his majesty and his late ministers, he would not enter upon it, as he had stated it before, with the permission of his sovereign, and he felt it the less necessary, because that statement had not been shaken by any thing now said, though some attempts had been made, as on a former occasion, to garble and misrepresent it, by taking detached parts of it. A doubt had been expressed whether the draft of a dispatch should be laid before his majesty. He had had some experience in this way, had seen the practice of others, and consulted many documents; and therefore he could state with confidence, that it was both a common method and the best method that could be employed, because the king would be enabled to judge better by seeing the measure itself than by any explanation. In the particular dispatch adverted to, of which he had prepared the draft, it was distinctly stated, that the act of 1793 did not extend to generals on the staff, and it was then stated, that it was desirable to enable all his majesty's subjects to hold any military commissions whatever; and he was astonished at his noble friend when he founded an argument upon this, that the technical terms of an act of parliament were not used in such a dispatch. When he mentioned "any military commission whatever," he undoubtedly meant that these words should cover all military commissions, and nobody could read it with attention without being convinced of this. The word "appointment" was merely added in the bill in order that the shadow of a doubt might not be left; but he should be very well satisfied if the bill were allowed to pass without that word, because he had not the slightest doubt that the words of the dispatch went to the full extent to which the matter could be carried by the addition. But still he was convinced that there must have been a misconception. This misconception, however, he and his colleagues had left nothing in their power undone to remove. With a view to this, they presented to his majesty a remonstrance as dutiful and respectful as subjects could offer to their sovereign; the purport of which remonstrance was to shew, that the act in their contemplation was merely calculated to carry into effect the act of the Irish parliament in 1793, with the spirit of which it would have been manifestly inconsistent to grant those arrangements which were afterwards objected to. The noble lord, after dwelling more at large upon the arguments of the remonstrance referred to, as to considerations of general justice and of general and particular policy, proceeded to remark upon the words, that his majesty "would not go one step further than the act," which this observation alluded to. This act, he contended, was nothing more nor less than that of which his majesty had been frequently informed by the conversations held with him, and the dispatches submitted to his revision, before they were sent to the government of Ireland. With regard to those dispatches, he was really astonished to hear his noble friend on the crossbench (lord Sidmouth) state, that he had doubts as to the meaning of the first, which was sent to the duke of Bedford; for that noble lord had full opportunity of considering it. Upon a fair view of all the circumstances connected with this transaction, he was satisfied that no candid man would see any thing to justify, or even excuse the reproaches so liberally heaped upon himself and his colleagues. With the question now under discussion, however, that transaction had no connection whatever. For when the period did arrive that the misunderstanding as to the bill referred to was found to exist, and the bill in consequence was abandoned, the proposition was made which called for this motion. As to the dilemma put respecting this abandonment, he begged to make one short observation. A noble lord on the other side (lord Mulgrave) had asked, why the bill abandoned should have been at all proposed if not necessary, and if so necessary, why it should have been abandoned? but he would beg that noble lord to put this dilemma to some of the persons connected with him, to those who seceded in 1801, but particularly to put it, for instance, to lord Castlereagh, who had so particularly pledged himself to the Catholic question; who had, in fact, brought that question from Ireland with him. With regard to the coronation oath, he would ask, whether there could be any man in that house who had front enough to maintain, that after the Irish act had been sanctioned, which allowed the Catholics to hold certain commissions, it would be a violation of that oath to allow them to hold the rank of generals? The idea was quite untenable, as indeed, in his judgment, was every other proposition which would impress an opinion that to concede to the claims of the Catholics would at all interfere with that general system which the coronation oath bound the king to maintain. The noble lord reprobated in strong terms the artifices resorted to by ministers and their adherents, to excite a fanatical spirit in the country. He shewed, that so far from the present ministers being uniformly approved of by Mr. Pitt, as a noble lord (Mulgrave) had stated, that illustrious person had on many occasions marked very particularly his disapprobation of the greater part of them, and quoted the instances in which he condemned the conduct of some of them, particularly lord Hawkesbury, when presiding at the foreign department. The noble lord observed upon the explanation, which he had laid before the house with respect to the Catholic bill, and the pledge required of himself and his colleagues, and concluded with stating, that from the manner in which the present administration was formed, and the persons of which it was composed, he could not think of giving it his support.

Lord Hawkesbury

contended that the whole of the statement made by the noble baron, and of the debates to which that statement gave rise, were proceedings altogether irregular and unparliamentary. The noble baron had accused him and his colleagues of being the first set of ministers who had shrunk from responsibility, and meanly endeavoured to shelter themselves under the wings of their sovereign. He would tell that noble baron, that he and his colleagues were the first ministers who, in order to cloak their own misconduct and absurdities, had so strangely ventured to arraign the personal conduct of his majesty at their lordships' bar. He (lord Hawkesbury) had acted from a sense of duty in accepting a place in the present administration; and as long as he was conscious of acting upon such grounds, he should never shrink from the responsibility, to whatever extent it might be carried, to which his official situation made him liable. He had always been adverse to granting any further concessions to the Catholics, and even to cherishing any such hope in their minds. It was that hope which kept Ireland in a state of continual ferment and agitation, and until it was laid at rest, there would be no permanent tranquillity in that country. The Catholics of Ireland were, he was certain, perfectly grateful for the many indulgences which the whole reign of his majesty was distinguished for granting to them: and equally confident did he feel, that they would demonstrate that gratitude by their steady loyalty, and falsify the contrary prophecies, in which the noble baron seemed so much inclined to indulge.

Earl Camden rose

to reply to some allusions that had been made to his conduct, while at the head of the Irish government. The noble earl denied that he was tied by any pledge, on entering into the present administration, and concluded with giving his support to the motion for adjournment.

Earl Moira rose to explain certain points which his noble friend (lord Grenville) had omitted, and contended that it was not in the nature of man, that the Catholics should desist from prosecuting their claims, the concession of which they conceived them- selves to be entitled to by the steadiness of their loyalty, and the zeal and alacrity with which they were anxious to join in resenting the common enemy.

The Lord Chancellor (Eldon)

agreed with his noble friend (lord Hawkesbury) in representing the present and a former discussion as wholly new, irregular, and unparliamentary. Indeed, he thought the sense of their lordships should be strongly marked to that effect on their Journals. As to the insinuations that had been personally thrown out against himself, as having been one of those who secretly advised his majesty to dismiss his late ministers, he should treat them only with the contempt they deserved. The circumstance of his having had the audience of his majesty, he had stated to the noble baron (lord Grenville), and he trusted that that noble lord was perfectly well satisfied with the sincerity of his statement. The only pledge he had given was the uniform tenour of his public life. His majesty asked no other, and he should continue to serve his sovereign to the best of his abilities, without fearing any responsibility that might attach to his official conduct.

The Duke of Norfolk

spoke in favour of the original question. After which, the question being universally called for, the house divided on the motion of lord Boringdon, that the house do now adjourn.

Contents (present) 135
Proxies 36
—— 171
Non-contents (present) 69
Proxies 21
—— 90
Majority 81
—Adjourned at seven o'clock on Tuesday morning.
List of the Minority.
Norfolk, Fitzwilliam, Argyle,
Somerset, Hardwicke, Rawdon,
Devonshire, Fortescue, Somers,
Winchester, Carnarvon, Braybroke,
Stafford, Rosslyn, Grenville,
Headfort, Lucan, Auckland,
Derby, Clanricard, Upper Ossory,
Suffolk, Leven, Dundas,
Thanet, Northesk, Ellenborough,
Essex, Elgin, Blandford,
Scarborough, Breadalbane, Kinnaird,
Albemarle, Stair, Reay,
Jersey, St. John, Cawdor,
Cholmondeley, Say and Sele, Carrington,
Oxford, Darnley, Carysfort,
Tankerville, King, Erskine,
Bristol, Monson, Lauderdale,
Cowper, Besborough, Granard,
Stanhope, Holland, Crewe,
Ponsonby, PROXIES. Bolingbroke,
Cassilis, Grafton, Stawell,
Darlington, St. Alban's, Minto,
Lilford, Bute, Blantyre,
Grantley, Buckingham, Yarborough,
Mendip, Orford, Ashburton,
Hawke. Guilford, Glastonbury,
Bishops of Spencer, Carlisle,
Lincoln, St. Vincent, Bulkeley.
Landaff, Dorchester, PAIRED OFF.
St. Asaph, Fife, Berkeley,
Oxford, Eglinton, Leicester.
Kildare. Anson,