HL Deb 05 February 1822 vol 6 cc3-19

His majesty's Speech being again read by the lord chancellor, and also by the clerk at the table,

The Earl of Roden

rose for the purpose of moving an Address of thanks to his majesty. He began by observing, that he could assure their lordships, that he sincerely wished the duty he was about to perform, had been undertaken by one better able to discharge it, and, in particular, better qualified than he possibly could be, to enter into all the details, which the full consideration of so gracious a communication as that which now called for their lordships' attention, required. As the day on which he appeared before their lordships was the first on which he had taken his seat in that House, it might, perhaps, have been expected that be would have waited for a more remote opportunity of expressing his sentiments; but he freely confessed, that he had undertaken to move the Address with particular satisfaction; because he anticipated their lordships concurrence in it; seeing that what he was about to propose would contain nothing which they or any individual could object to. It must have afforded much gratification to their lordships, as it would do to the country, to hear from his majesty, year after year, that he continues to receive from foreign powers the strongest assurances of their friendly disposition towards this country. It must indeed afford much satisfaction to learn, that those powers continued to maintain among themselves, as well as with us, those amicable relations which had now subsisted for seven years; and which, after a long war, permit the taking advantage of a time of peace to cultivate those blessings which can alone be secured in a period of repose. But, notwithstanding the friendly relations which subsisted among the European powers, and the assurances of the friendly disposition of foreign powers towards this country, differences had arisen between the court of St. Petersburgh and the Porte. Those differences, however, his majesty had endeavoured, in conjunction with his allies, to reconcile. Hopes, it was stated, were entertained that they would be satisfactorily adjusted; and be was sure their lordships would concur with him in wishing that those hopes might be speedily realized. But if, unfortunately, the endeavours to restore a good understanding between Russia and the Porte should not be successful, their lordships would, perhaps, be of opinion, that the proper line of conduct for the British empire to observe, in the first instance, was, to keep clear of the dispute, and to look on the conflict as distant spectators. But, however advisable this course might be, a great interest would unavoidably be excited by such a contest. For his own part, he was free to declare, that he could never look on a war between a Turkish government and a Christian power without feeling great anxiety for the result of the struggle. It was impossible to look on a Christian government, acting on Christian principles and influenced by Christian motives, engaged in such a contest, without taking a strong interest in all the events that might occur. Whether the Russian government had, in the dispute, acted on those principles and motives, was a question on which their lordships were not called upon to pronounce any opinion. All that he would propose was, that they should return their dutiful thanks to his majesty for the exertions he had made to preserve tranquillity.

In alluding to that part of the speech which related to the revenue, it was with great pleasure he referred their lordships to his majesty's declaration, that, during the last year, there has been a considerable increase in the revenue, and that it appeared to be in a course of progressive improvement. His majesty had also acquainted parliament, that a considerable improvement had taken place in the manufactures and commerce of the country; and that they were, in many important branches, in a very prosperous state. This was a subject of congratulation in which their lordships would be happy to concur with him. It was true that the depressed state of the agricultural interest was much to be regretted and deeply to be deplored. In the distress and difficulty produced by this depression, their lordships were themselves, in common with all landed proprietors, involved. Into the state of this distress, parliament, he was confident, would, without delay, institute a dispassionate inquiry, and he trusted the result would be, if not a total removal of the evil, at least a considerable mitigation. It was not necessary for him to enter farther into this important subject at present. He should only observe, that in discussing it, or any other question of the kind, it would be necessary always to bear in mind the duty of preserving public credit. Their lordships, he was sure, would never allow any feelings of their own interest to enter into competition with public faith and national honour. He was aware that the difficulties with which the agricultural interests had to contend were ascribed to burthens and national expenditure. He was aware that blame was by some attached to the government, which had, by its measures, produced so large an expenditure; but what would have been the state of the country now, had not those measures been resorted to? Without such measures, the war certainly could not have been successfully carried on. He could not anticipate in his own mind what might have been the state of the country, had another course been followed; but he had no doubt that whatever saving was practicable would be adopted; and their lordships were assured, that the estimates for the year had been framed with every attention to economy which the circumstances of the country would permit. The distress of the agricultural interest arose in part from difficulties which were past. Parliament, he had no doubt, would early in the session take the subject into consideration; and he was confident that no endeavour would be spared to apply a remedy.

His majesty, in his gracious Speech, had alluded to his visit to Ireland. In his majesty's reception in that country, he (lord Roden) had had the pleasure and the privilege of participating. His majesty was pleased to state, that he had derived the most sincere gratification from the loyalty and attachment manifested by all classes of his Irish subjects. Every one who knew the loyalty of Ireland must be sensible that such an occasion was calculated to call for its expression. His majesty's visit, notwithstanding what had since occurred, had been and would be attended with most advantageous results. It had been the means of removing longstanding differences and heart-burnings. Enmities which had existed for many years had been reconciled. His majesty's parting advice to the Irish people, conveyed in a letter from lord Sidmouth, had been followed by most beneficial effects. With regard to what had been stated from the throne on the condition of Ireland, he might be permitted to say, that in that part of the Speech he felt himself more deeply interested than any other. But, attached as he was to the best interests of that country, in which a spirit of outrage, as his majesty justly remarked, had led to daring and systematic violations of the law, still he was unwilling to enter at present into any details on the subject; and the more so, as an opportunity would probably soon arise of which he could with more propriety avail himself, to state his opinion of the nature and extent of the evils which afflicted Ireland, as well as of the remedies which, in his judgment, ought to be applied. It, would, however, be in him a dereliction of duty, were he not to state the conviction of his mind that the great cause of these evils was non-residence. It was the great number of absentee landlords which formed the principal evil. Their absence broke those links which were necessary to preserve confidence between the different ranks and relations of society. Many possessing great property in that country remained strangers to it; and, whatever might be their rank and influence, they did not contribute by their presence to the wel- fare of Ireland. He would most earnestly entreat the absentee landlord to consider the cause to which he had alluded, and not to look with indifference on a country from which he derived so much benefit. Let him reflect on those scenes of outrage which, though his absence may not have caused, his presence might have prevented. While adverting to the spirit of outrage which unfortunately prevailed in Ireland, he should be guilty of a great omission were he not to acknowledge the vast improvement which had, particularly within the last ten years, taken place in that country. That improvement was chiefly owing to an extended system of education on the principle of general instruction, supported by private funds and subscriptions. The operation of this system of instruction had been in itself most beneficial; but it had been powerfully assisted by that great engine of the Reformation, which he was sure every noble lord who heard him would be disposed to approve and support—he meant the Bible society. Among the other benefits which that society had conferred on Ireland, it had greatly contributed to heal differences which had subsisted for many years among different parts of the population. The state of Ireland must, however, soon come under the consideration of parliament as a whole. Among other questions which must then be entered into, would be that of the, existing powers of the law, in order to ascertain how far those powers were fitted to meet the present exigency. He was sensible, however, that any cure of this kind which might be applied, could only be in its nature temporary, and that residence was the great means by which tranquillity was to be secured, and civilization promoted. He was therefore anxious that their lordships should look to that as a permanent remedy. The interest he naturally took in this part of the subject had induced him to trespass longer on their lordships' attention than perhaps such an occasion required; but he could not be satisfied to return next week to Ireland, as be intended to do, without stating the conviction of his mind on this important question of residence. The noble earl concluded by moving an Address, thanking his majesty for his most gracious Speech, and recapitulating its several topics.

Lord Walsingham

solicited their lordships' indulgence, whilst he said a very few words on seconding the Address which had just been moved. The noble earl who had moved it, had happily relieved him from the necessity of saying much, by his able and eloquent exposition of all those points to which it was necessary to advert. It was satisfactory to hear from his majesty the assurance of the continued friendly disposition of foreign powers, the continuance of peace being undoubtedly of the greatest importance to the interests and welfare of the country. It was also satisfactory to learn that there was every reason to believe that the differences between Russia and the Ottoman Porte would be amicably adjusted. It was highly gratifying to learn the prosperous state of our commerce and manufactures; and though, undoubtedly, the agricultural interests of the country were at the present moment suffering a great depression, it might be fairly hoped that relief was at no great distance.

The Marquis of Lansdown

said, be was anxious to offer a few explanations as to the grounds of the vote he intended to give. He should not have thought it necessary to take that moment for making those explanations, but no other noble lord having presented himself to the House, he thought it proper now to state his view of the importance of the topics touched on in the Speech from the throne—topics, indeed, of the most distressing nature for this country, and which had forced themselves into special notice, notwithstanding the natural reluctance which those who framed the Speech must have felt to bring them forward. Following nearly the order taken by the noble earl who had, with so much propriety, moved the Address, the few observations which he had to make would be divided chiefly between the topics which related to the state of England and Ireland; and here he could not but remark upon the melancholy circumstance, that, although it was now twenty years since the union with Ireland was concluded, still it appeared necessary for persons, in discussing the interests of the United Kingdom, to consider those of Great Britain and Ireland separately, as two distinct parts; and this, too, at a time when to both countries there belonged one common feature of agricultural distress. Much as he rejoiced in the prosperity stated in the Speech to be experienced by the manufactures and commerce of the country, he could not but consider the consolation thereby afforded to be greatly overbalanced by the distress in that branch of industry which formed the solid foundation of national wealth. He hoped he should not be regarded as undervaluing those sources of prosperity which his majesty's Speech stated to be in a flourishing condition, when he observed, that he chiefly estimated the advantages of that prosperity for its influence in vivifying agriculture. He wished their lordships, before they came to the conclusion that this prosperity existed, to be sure that they reached that conclusion on a solid foundation. He did not mean to say that it did not exist; but when it was recollected that a great portion of the commercial prosperity alluded to arose cut of a new trade to North and South America, it was of importance to inquire upon what footing that trade stood. It was obvious that the advantages of the trade must depend upon the nature of the speculations which had been entered into; and some time must elapse before the success of those speculations could be ascertained. But, be the result of the inquiry what it might, still he must place the chief value of this commercial prosperity in the influence it might have in stimulating to the cultivation of the soil, and in vivifying all the branches of agriculture—with regard to the means of relief for the existing agricultural distress, he should be ready to listen to any measure which might be proposed; but he was happy to observe that the Speech and the Address directly pointed to the only course by which that object could with certainty be obtained. This was the first time since the peace, that in an address from the throne, a large reduction in the annual expenditure to be produced by a diminution of the great establishments of the country, had been distinctly promised. To retrenchment of the expenditure their lordships must look for any thing like real relief; and it was with great satisfaction he had heard, that on the present occasion something more than mere profession was meant. But, after the experience he had acquired on this subject, he must beg to be allowed to see the extent of the retrenchment, and the principle on which it was to proceed, before he could look with confidence to it as a means of relief. He must also observe, that when he should be called upon to exercise any species of gratitude for such retrenchment—which be believed he was not called upon to do by this address—he should think it is duty to remind those who made such a demand upon him, that it was much to be regretted that the economy now found to be so advantageous had not been practised before. They were now told that a system of retrenchment would be advantageous, and that great economy was indispensable. This reminded him of an observation which had been made on a book written by a noble lord, once a member of that House. When lord Lyttleton published his Dialogues of the Dead, Dr. Johnson remarked, that his lordship had only told the world, at the end of fifty years of his life, what the world had for fifty years been telling him. The reductions formerly proposed, had always been met with defiance, and positive declarations that no farther reductions could take place consistently with, the public interest. During the last summer, therefore, some new light must have broken in upon ministers, which enabled them to see that reductions formerly deemed impracticable could now be effected. This new light enabled them to discover, that Receivers-general, who could not be dispensed with two years ago, were now fit subjects for reduction. The address to the throne, at the end of the last session, had pledged ministers to measures of economy, and the new light of last summer had enabled them to carry them into execution. Though he thought them tardy, he rejoiced at last to see that their professions of economy had been followed by some result; and he hoped that their measure had been applied so as to effect the intended object on a principle of impartial justice. With the principle on which it had been done, and the extent to which it had been carried, he must be acquainted, before he could pledge himself to an approbation of the proceedings alluded to, and of the Speech from the throne. He would not now enter into the question, whether economy was the only source of relief that could be pointed out for the prevailing distress, or whether any other means of alleviating it could be applied; but if the paragraph in the address, holding out other hopes of relief, had a reference to a communication said to have been made within these twenty-four hours, by the noble lord at the head of the Treasury, to certain bankers, whom he consulted as to its tendency, he must protest against the opinion, that such a measure would be productive of any beneficial effect. He called upon the House, he called even upon the noble earl himself, to reflect whether it would not aggravate the distress which it was intended to relieve. He need not inform their lordships that he alluded to a proposition, stated to have been made by the noble earl opposite, for issuing Exchequer bills to the amount of 5,000,000l. to be advanced to the agricultural interest, through the medium of the country bankers. Their lordships would consider whether relief could be found in offering to advance money, at a time when money was abundant and security rare. The great aggravation of the farmer's distress was, that he could not find security; because if he produced good security, there was not a banker in England who would not advance him the money he required. If, on the other hand, the advance was intended as a free gift to the agriculturist, the effect of it, even on the noble earl's own principle, must be detrimental to the interests of the country, not excepting the agricultural itself. This, he thought, could not be denied by the noble earl himself, if he still believed that the farmer's distress arose from a superabundance of produce above the demand of the consumer. The application of four or five millions of additional capital, to increase an amount of produce already above the demand, seemed a strange mode of remedying the distresses of the grower. On the noble earl's principle, the remedy ought to consist in a diminution, and not in an increase of the capital applied to agriculture. But he need not enlarge upon this topic: he was convinced that the measure was already given up—that it would not be brought forward in parliament, and could not receive the sanction of their lordships. If advances were made to distressed farmers upon good security, he saw no objection to it; but be was sure it was unnecessary, and that it would produce no relief, considering that, if such security could be given, advances might be obtained from private bankers, as well as from government. He had stated thus much, not to withdraw their lordships attention from the subject of the agricultural distress, or to discourage all hopes of its alleviation, but to direct their efforts to the only real, certain, and expedient mode of relief—a reduction of the public expenditure.—He came now to the second great topic in the speech of the noble earl who moved the address; namely, the state of Ireland. There were none of their lordships who could refrain from experiencing the deepest feelings of pain and sorrow, on contemplating the scenes of outrage and violence which had occurred in some districts of that country; and all must look forward to the means of removing them with the greatest anxiety. And here he must observe, that he was most happy to express his approbation of the choice which government had made of the individual whom they had deputed to superintend the administration of Ireland. A more wise or judicious selection could not have taken place. In the marquis Wellesley would be found, he was convinced, a firmness and vigour sufficient to repress existing disorders, and to restore speedy tranquillity; at the same time that he would display a reach of mind capable of discovering future legislative and political remedies; the causes of these afflicting evils he would not fail to probe to the bottom, and, soaring above the prejudices of the past and present, would lay the ground of general and lasting amelioration. He (lord L.) was not now prepared to inquire into the causes of those frightful disorders to which he had alluded. He believed their removal must be effected, not by any single remedy, but by a combination of remedies; as they were occasioned not by a single cause, but by a combination of causes. The evil of absentee proprietors (within which number he was included, from causes beyond his own control) which the noble earl who moved the address had deplored, was not the sole or even the principal, evil to be cured. An evil he admitted it to be, not only as a cause, but as the effect of others, and which, in its combination with others, rendered Ireland different in law, and different in fact, from any other country. He did not look to the vigorous arm to which its government was now confided merely for a present and immediate termination of outrage, but for the commencement of a new system of policy. The liberal mind of the noble marquis would discard the absurd, though by no means uncommon prejudice, that there was something in the soil and climate of Ireland which necessarily tended to produce a semi-barbarous race, incapable of improvement, and insensible to the advantages of civilization. When we looked at the state and condition of that people, we could easily discover that it had its origin in causes unconnected with their natural situation; that the evils under which they laboured were deeply fixed in the events of their history, and the system of government under which they had been ruled. He would not enlarge further on the subject, as it was his intention to bring the state of Ireland on an early day under their consideration, unless anticipated by his majesty's ministers. But, whether the subject was introduced by the ministers of the Crown, or by so humble an individual as himself, he trusted that the remedies in view would not be confined to new penal enactments alone. He did not deny that additional powers might be necessary to check and repress the spirit of disturbance which so unfortunately now existed; but an immediate cessasion of outrage produced by such means ought not to satisfy them.—The noble earl who moved the address had alluded to the state of our relations with foreign powers; and the observations he had made on that subject, with the paragraph in the address which embodied them, relieved him from the necessity of expressing any opinion, which must be in entire concurrence with what had been already said. He fully agreed with the noble earl that in a contest between Christians and infidels, and between Greeks and their oppressors, there could be but one feeling and one hope amongst a civilized and Christian people. At the same time, he concurred with the noble earl, that it was not by direct interference that any good could be accomplished, or any progress made, towards a result so generally desired. He was happy, however, in this opportunity of expressing his hope—a hope which he should be ashamed to disguise—that Greece might be freed from the yoke of its tyrants, and become happy and independent. With these observations, and with this reserve, he was willing to give his support to the address.

The Earl of Liverpool

said, that, as the noble marquis had made no positive objections to the Address, he should not have felt himself called upon to offer any remark, had it not been for one passage in which the noble marquis had alluded to a transaction in which he (lord Liverpool) was concerned; namely, to the interview which he had had the day before with some of the London bankers. Although called up by this circumstance alone, he would, however, take the opportunity of, saying a few words on the other topics introduced into the speech of the noble marquis. Adverting to the subject of economy, the noble marquis had accused his majesty's ministers of tardiness in making the necessary reductions, and had spoken of the present as the first time in which any practical retrenchment had been effected. Now, it would be in the recollection of their lordships, that in the course of last year, reductions had taken place to the amount of between one and two millions; and that at the time those reductions were announced, others were promised for the present year. It had been stated immediately after the conclusion of peace, that our establishments must be reduced, but that from the nature of the case these reductions must, in some instances, necessarily be gradual. Government had accordingly proceeded on that principle, and, both during last year and the present, had fulfilled their pledges. Whether the reductions alluded to in the Speech from the throne would satisfy the expectations of the noble marquis, he, of course, could not say, nor did he now feel himself bound to state either their amount, or the mode in which they had been effected. He only wished to guard himself from a suspicion hinted at by the noble marquis, that, in carrying them into execution, any of the principles of justice or impartiality had been violated. He claimed only a candid suspension of their lordships judgment, until the whole scheme should be laid before them; and they would then see, that strict justice had characterised the arrangement—that the changes had not affected persons in inferior situations only—and that those who were at the head of our different establishments, and whose duty it was to advise the proceeding, had not exempted themselves from the application of the rule which they were prescribing for others. Being on this subject, and allowing as fully as any of their lordships, the propriety and expediency of all practicable retrenchment, he could not, at the same time, permit their lordships to go away with the delusive idea, that any possible reductions could afford any material or sensible relief to the distress of the agricultural classes. Reductions of every kind might, he acknowledged, be right in, themselves: they might relieve the minds of the people, and reconcile them to the endurance of their temporary difficulties, and might ultimately be of real advantage; but, to hold out that they could immediately remove the existing pressure by such means, could only mislead the public mind,, and raise hopes which must be disappointed.—The noble marquis had concurred with that paragraph of his majesty's Speech which represented the improving state of our commerce and manufactures; and he added, with perfect truth, that such improvement was the more satisfactory, as it must necessarily produce a beneficial influence on our agricultural interests. In this sentiment he most cordially joined. There was no idea so erroneous, or so unworthy of a statesman, as the supposition that the interests of any of the great classes of the community could be separated from, or placed in hostility to, each other. They were all—agricultural, commercial, and manufacturing—linked together; they all flourished or suffered from the same causes, and the prosperity of one must finally extend its beneficial influence to the rest. He agreed with the noble marquis, that notwithstanding the importance of our commercial and manufacturing interests, agriculture must still be considered the great source of our wealth and greatness; but prosperity could not exist for a long time, or to any great extent, in the two former branches, without promoting the improvement of the latter. Those, therefore, who would depress one class in order to raise another, who spoke of making one class pay the price of relief to another, were striking a blow at the interests of both. The advancement of our trade must lead to the relief of our agriculture, as an injury to the former must be prejudicial to the latter. No one understood better, no one would more readily admit this principle, than the noble marquis. The doubt which the noble marquis had thrown out, regarding the possible insecurity of our present commercial transactions, and of the danger of excessive speculation leading to re-action, he trusted would prove unfounded. He could not, indeed, say how far the continuance of our recent commercial successes could be relied on. On former occasions, he was aware that over-trading had produced serious calamities; but there was this difference between those periods and the present—that our merchants were now more cautious, were satisfied with smaller profits, and were free from that spirit of gambling enterprise, natural in time of war and which had pre- vailed during the first years of the peace. Although, therefore, their profits might not be so great as heretofore, they were raised upon more solid foundations, and might fairly be regarded as more substantial and durable. As connected with this subject, he now returned to that topic which was the cause of his rising—he meant the proposition which the noble marquis supposed him to have submitted to certain bankers of the city of London, with a view to the relief of agricultural distress. That noble marquis stated him to have proposed an issue of Exchequer-bills to the amount of 5,000,000l., to he applied, through the medium of the country bankers, in advances to the landed interest. No such communication was made; nor was the proposition, thus specified, in contemplation. Government had taken, undoubtedly, into their serious consideration, the best mode of extending the relief in question; and a proposal for issuing Exchequer bills was certainly in view, and might yet be brought before parliament. He would not now enter into its details: he admitted that the state of agriculture must be judged of by the usual principles of supply and demand, and that reference must be had to those principles in every proposed measure of relief. There were some who thought that excessive importation in 1816 and 1817 was the cause of the present distress. In this opinion he could not concur; because the distress had continued and increased, after the ports were shut against foreign grain. There were others, and he was certainly one of them, who ascribed it chiefly to superabundant home production. When the situation of Ireland was taken into the account, this opinion was rendered the more probable. In the course of the last five years, seven and a half millions of quarters had been imported into Great Britain from that country; and even during the last nine months the importation amounted to a million and a half quarters. The last Corn bill, which excluded foreign competition, and allowed a free import of corn from Ireland, had (and he had suggested the probability at the time) caused an excessive increase in the production of that part of the United Kingdom, and must have, in some degree, extended cultivation throughout the whole. It had been said by the noble marquis, that the advance of further capital to agriculture could not remove an evil that arose from an already excessive produc- tion; but there might be a natural evil of this kind, and another that was artificial, and which the principal of over-production would not account for. The latter might be removed by a measure like that in contemplation. Government had, on several occasions, issued exchequer bills for the relief of commercial distress, in cases where the objections were nearly the same. These issues had produced their effects: they had been advanced upon good security, and had been repaid without the smallest loss. He was aware of the difference between agriculture and commerce in many respects. He contended, however, that the difference between the two cases did not consist in the principle itself, but in the difficulty of its application. In this instance, as well as in the cases of commercial distress, no assistance certainly could be granted except upon good security, or without conditions, to be explained when the measure should be brought forward. All that he would now observe was, that there was no intention of applying it in the mode described by the noble marquis.—He would now briefly allude to that portion of the noble marquis's remarks which related to the state of Ireland, as it afforded him an occasion for mentioning, that before the House adjourned, he should have to lay upon their table, papers containing certain communications from the noble marquis at the head of the Irish government. These papers would be printed to-morrow, and upon their contents it was his intention to propose a measure for arming the executive government with additional powers. This measure was, however, to be confined in its duration to the present session of parliament; so that their lordships, before they separated, would have an opportunity of ascertaining its results, and deciding on the propriety of its continuance or expiration. It was allowed on all hands that government ought to be put in possession of the means of effectually protecting the lives and property of his majesty's loyal subjects, and of putting down that system of outrage and violence which prevailed. He concurred with the noble marquis in all the praise which he had bestowed on the vigour and talents of the noble person at the head of the Irish government; he was sure that he would direct all the faculties of his powerful mind to probe the evils with which Ireland was afflicted to the bottom, and to find out the most ef- fectual remedy for them. The noble marquis had expressed a hope, that though new penal measures might be necessary, they would not be the only measures resorted to. This hope he was happy to think might be realized. The whole state of the country ought to be looked into for the purpose of applying the proper remedy. This was a subject, however, into which be could not at present enter. The effect of absentee proprietors, and the other circumstances which characterized the state of Ireland, and which had been alluded to by the noble mover of the Address, could not be then discussed. But with regard to his majesty's visit to that country, and the consequences attending it, there could be but one opinion. Though it had not prevented those scenes of disturbance which commenced even before his majesty quitted its shores, it had increased the general loyalty and attachment of his Irish subjects to his person. No sovereign ever was received, not merely with louder acclamations, but with more heartfelt gratification; and it was a singular circumstance, that in the disturbed districts, where the laws were daily transgressed, no hostility was manifested towards his majesty's government. He had in his possession a letter which he had received from a well-informed gentleman of that country, which stated, that notwithstanding all that had taken place in the south of Ireland and some other districts, yet, were his majesty now to appear in Limerick, he would be received with demonstrations of satisfaction and delight similar to those which welcomed him to Dublin. It was, indeed, observable, that in all their discontents and excesses, these people never quarrelled with the government, as a government; nor did religion enter largely into the motives or pretexts of their outrages. He made this observation, not to prejudge any question that might afterwards come before them, but to suggest, for their lordships' consideration, whether the evil might not he deeper in the frame of society, than in any political cause or relation between the governors and the governed. The situation of that country was unlike that of any other in Europe; it had been so for ages, and continued to be so still. Though penal measures might, therefore, be resorted to for the purpose of putting down the immediate disorder, they ought not to place an exclusive reliance on the operation of them. In respect to our relation with foreign powers, he did not feel himself called upon to offer any remark, as no objection was made to that part of his majesty's Speech which referred to them.

The Earl of Blesington

said, that on the subject of Ireland, he was happy to be relieved from a task to which he had pledged himself last session, and rejoiced that the state of that country would be brought under their notice by a noble lord so much better qualified to do it justice. He might, indeed, fairly remind their lordships, however little inclined to listen to him, that he had, so far back as the year 1816, anticipated that, unless something was done, the present evils would inevitably occur. In 1819 be had repeated the observation, and had implored the attention of his majesty's government to this subject. He had always maintained, that the existing evil of non-residence was to be attributed to the Union. The war, too, had led to consequences not anticipated during its continuance. He did not, however, rise merely to give vent to his complaint that the subject had not been earlier investigated, but to express his thanks to the noble marquis, for the notice which he had given, as well as the gratification he felt at the prospect of government at length interfering on behalf of that country.

The Address was then agreed to nem. diss.