The Marquis of Londonderry
claimed their Lordships' indulgence while he, as shortly as circumstances admitted, stated the reasons which induced him again to bring the affairs of Belgium under their notice. He regretted the absence of the noble Earl at the head of his Majesty's Government, in consequence of a domestic calamity, because he should be very sorry if anything he should say in his absence could be construed into a supposition that he intended to offer any observation uncourteous to that noble Earl. He could assure their Lordships, that it was the furthest from his intention to do or say anything that could lead to such a supposition; but he might be naturally led into animadversions on various points, which the noble Earl and himself had already discussed. He, however, was gratified to see the noble Viscount, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in his place, because he should be anxious to hear from his noble friend, if he would permit him to call him so, whether he concurred in the views—and was disposed to argue them under former principles—which his Majesty's Government had taken with respect to Belgium; and, more especially, whether he concurred in those severe and uncalled-for animadversions 787 and philippics which the noble Earl, his colleague, had so unsparingly dealt out against all those great public transactions of 1814 and 1815, which formed the basis of a peace of seventeen years in Europe, and in which negotiations the noble Viscount himself bore a conspicuous and confidential share. This evening would probably put the House in possession of the noble Viscount's views, and shew whether his former principles and opinions were changed, in deference to the new friends by whom he was surrounded. His noble friend would likewise afford him satisfaction by expressing his opinions as to Holland, and stating how he thought that country had been used by his Majesty's Ministers; because he was anxious to learn whether the noble Viscount concurred in the line of policy which had been pursued towards our old and attached ally, he having been long a member of that Government which took so honourable and important a part in the arrangement by which Holland and Belgium were united, for the advantage of British and European interests, and having been one of those who defended that transaction. He should be glad to learn whether the noble Viscount was prepared to argue, that Holland had not been most unfairly, unjustly, and ungenerously treated, according to the conventions which exist between that country and England. Could his noble friend approve of that decision which excluded Holland from any participation in the arrangement with respect to the demolition of the fortresses, that measure being about to be determined on by the four Powers, and Belgium, without even the presence or participation of any negotiator on the part of Holland, through whom its opinion or wishes could be consulted? He begged leave to remind the House and the country, that for ten or twelve months, negotiations had been going forward on the questions of Holland and Belgium, every day increasing in anxiety, interest, and importance; but the Parliament of England had been kept in entire ignorance of every part of the negotiations, although a prince had been sent out from this country—supposed to be an independent sovereign—but, up to that moment, their Lordships were entirely ignorant whether the other great Powers—Austria, Russia, and Prussia—had recognised him. Numerous protocols had appeared from time to time, more numer- 788 ous, he would take upon himself to say, than ever appeared in respect of any negotiation whatever—more than the Congresses at Vienna, Troppau, and Lay-bach, together ever issued; still their Lordships were not informed, whether or no any one point of these important transactions were settled. These protocols were pitiful expositions; there was one, issued to-day, declaring that the principle which it laid down was irrevocable; and another was sent forth the next day, which overturned the irrevocable and unchangeable decree, and rendered it mere waste paper. There seemed indeed a protocol laboratory in Downing-street, whence these prescriptions and drugs issued wholesale; but the patient was still unfortunately suffering under the disease, without the smallest hopes of recovery. Like the cholera, the march of the protocol appeared irresistible. The infection had bounded to the banks of the Rhine, as the cholera had advanced to the shores of the German ocean, and its ravages in the Confederation seemed to be very dreadful. One protocol, issued by this august German Assembly, was rather of a strange description; and it would be necessary to see how this protocol would affect those issued from Downing-street. Whenever a strong case was made out against the conduct pursued by his Majesty's Government—and a stronger case was never made out than that which he had made out, of it being the intention of the government of France to leave 12,000 troops in Belgium—then out came a protocol to account for that measure, by a number of frivolous set paragraphs, wholly unworthy of great statesmen, and forming miserable excuses for impolitic and unforeseen omissions. What said the protocol of the German Confederation? Why, that Luxemburg belonged to the House of Nassau, and was not to be alienated; but, in the mean time, his Majesty's Ministers allowed Prince Leopold, by consent of his Majesty, to occupy the throne of Belgium, and to take the oath of the constitution of the Belgians, which provided that Luxemburg should form a part of his kingdom. The king of England, therefore, and the king of Hanover, though identically one and the same person, were, in fact, opposed to each other in these negotiations, as the king of Hanover was a member of the German Confederation, and the protocol of that body was directly 789 opposed to the arrangements of Downing-street. And thus it was, that when noble Lords in opposition felt themselves called upon, he might almost say goaded, to ask questions of his Majesty's Ministers, which might be inconvenient to them, but which were rendered indispensable by the singular position in which our negotiations stood, then they were told, that they were involving this country in war, and that their conduct was inconvenient, vexatious, and factious. The silence observed by his Majesty's Ministers was very different from the course pursued by his lamented brother; for his noble friend would recollect, that on that regretted statesman's return from the Congress at Vienna, he was attacked by Mr. Whitbread in the House of Commons, who moved an humble Address to his Majesty—"That he would be graciously pleased to direct a communication to be made to the House of Commons, of the progress made at the Congress now sitting at Vienna, towards the final adjustment and permanent pacification of Europe, of such transfer and annexations of territory, as may have actually taken place, together with other information touching matters still under consideration, as may be given without prejudice to the public service."* What was the conduct of his Majesty's Secretary of State on that occasion? With that candour, and with the manliness and openness of character, which so distinguished that eminent individual, he seconded Mr. Whitbread's motion. And, at the same period, a noble Marquis (Wellesley), now Lord Steward of his Majesty's Household, made a similar motion in the House of Lords, when Lord Liverpool declared, that every information should be laid on the Table that could be constitutionally and diplomatically afforded. It was curious to observe, also, that in the debates of 1815—and he referred to them because his Majesty's Ministers had taunted noble Lords with being disorderly in asking questions—Mr.Tierney, in an assembly which was praised for its due observance of order over their Lordships' House did, on many occasions, ask no less than six or seven questions, one after another In the debate May 26, 1813, on the subsidies to the Allied Powers, Mr. Tierney asked—first,for some information as to Denmark; second, Mr. Tierney wished to know what*Hansard's Parl, Debates, vol. xxx. p. 282.790 part Spain was to take; third, Mr. Tierney inquired, whether any part of the disposable sum of 2,500,000l. was to be given to Portugal; fourth, whether any, and what part of the sums, Sweden or Portugal was to obtain. His object in referring to the motion made by Mr. Whitbread for an Address to his Majesty, and which was seconded by his lamented brother, the late Lord Castlereagh, for the production of papers, was, only to show the readiness with which former Governments had met such demands, and that there was nothing either unusual or improper in his having asked for the production of papers connected with our foreign relations; and it should be recollected, the negotiations of that time embraced all the transactions of Europe, whereas, those of the present day only related to the creation of an unhappy king, and an undefined kingdom. Noble Lords on that side of the House, as well as himself, had been asked, when putting questions, whence they obtained their information? He could only say, that they derived it from no improper channel. They had no secret service money, but they had the confidence of those who did not trust his Majesty's Ministers. If they were attacked for getting their knowledge from the newspapers, he could only reply, by referring to the speech of Earl Grey, April 7th, 1815, on the events in France, when the noble Earl said—"The public journals were the only sources from which he could, of course, obtain information." He had an undoubted right to follow the noble Earl's example; and it was quite clear, that his noble friend's (the Earl of Aberdeen's) information, as regarded affairs at Lisbon, was much more accurate than any which reached the noble Earl at the head of his Majesty's Government, as was and, he rejoiced at it, now finally admitted. The next point to which he begged to call the attention of their Lordships and of his noble friend was, as to what had taken place, in respect of the assurance given by the noble Earl at the head of his Majesty's Government, that the French troops, more especially the last division of 12,000 men, would evacuate Belgium; and whether that assurance was likely to be carried into effect? Certain it was, that up to that day, the French troops remained in that country, and he did not hear that any positive time was fixed for their departure. If general report was to be believed—but he owned he could not for a moment give 791 credit to so monstrous an absurdity—it was said that a very large proportion of French officers were to be allowed by the Conference and his Majesty's Government to remain, for the purpose of organizing, drilling, disciplining, and acting with the Belgian army. He could not believe for an instant that such a proposition could be sanctioned by the noble Earl. The circumstance of 12,000 troops remaining in Belgium was unimportant, compared to giving any number of French officers the control and disciplining of the Belgian army. He should never have brought himself to mention such an arrangement, if he had not seen a numerous list of officers, who were understood to be positively named, and the particular branch of the army to which they were severally attached. There was Lieutenant-general Count Goundler, Baron Belnard (Infantry)—Baron Picquet, a distinguished officer under Napoleon (Cavalry)—Lieutenant-general Baron Evain (Artillery)—Lieutenant-general Desprez (Etât Major) Major-general Nempole, Engineer—Colonels Dillon, Chatry le Fond, &c. &c., Lieutenant-colonels Devaux, St. Peau, &c., and various others placed at the disposition of the above officers, altogether amounting to 300 or 400. An army like that of Belgium, under the command of French officers, would be French. All promotion in the army must go through those officers—and he put it to any one acquainted with military matters, whether King Leopold would have any command over a force so constituted, or whether it would be possible for him to do as he wished with an army so officered? He would ask his noble friend who was at the head of the Portuguese army, (Lord Beresford), whether that army, officered and disciplined by British officers, was not almost the same as a British army? Such an arrangement as allowing the Belgian army to be officered by Frenchmen, could not be submitted to for a moment. It had been said, in another place, that King Leopold was an independent Monarch, and must be allowed to keep what officers he pleased in his service. If King Leopold was independent, why did the Conference interfere to prevent 12,000 French troops from remaining in Belgium? The king of Belgium had been sent, by an arrangement of the Allies, to endeavour to make that country, by universal consent, an independent kingdom; but he could not be 792 considered in every respect as independent, because he must necessarily be under the direction of the Conference, through whose instrumentality he had been created King. But was it possible that his Majesty's Government, who urged the French government, with all the powers of language they could use, to order the French troops to evacuate Belgium, could now tamely acquiesce in an arrangement by which the army of that country was to be officered by Frenchmen? He put it to his noble friend, whether he did not conceive that some satisfactory explanation ought to be immediately called for from the French government on this subject? It appeared to him that the French government was endeavouring to undermine this country, and to make our Government truckle in all the arrangements of these Conferences, and on every other occasion. They were no sooner driven out of one fortress—(as they were by the eloquent speech of the noble Duke near him, on the subject of the Belgian fortresses, and the evacuation)—than "their wily politician" (he understood, when he used this phrase before, it gave offence, but he repeated it, because he thought it a proper phrase)— than their wily politician, the representative of the French government in this country, burrowed himself in another. No sooner was the arrangement made for the evacuation of Belgium by the French troops, than this curious arrangement was commenced, which would give the French infinitely more power in that country than keeping 12,000 French troops in it. To refer back to our former relative positions with Holland and Belgium. He hoped their Lordships would not consider it tedious if he detained them by reading some extracts from the statements made with regard to the junction of those countries, when that event took place under the sanction of the Allied powers and the direction of his lamented relative. Those statements shewed how Holland was placed with respect to the Belgian fortresses, and that she had a right to be a party to any and every arrangement respecting them. He hoped that their Lordships would be of opinion, that his noble friend would not be able to controvert the statements he had advanced, that our conduct with regard to Holland had been unfriendly and inexcusable. Holland was precluded entirely from all negotiations as to the fortresses which, though de fait in the power of Belgium, 793 are, du droit, unquestionably the property of Holland. His Lordship then read the following extract—Here was an arrangement between two crowns, in which certain colonies were ceded to this country, in consideration of our paying the half of certain charges which would otherwise have fallen on Holland alone. These colonies were materially connected with the interests of this country—they were important with a view to our possessions in the East Indies; and in Demerara, Berbice, and other Dutch settlements in the West Indies, three-fourths of the whole British capital in the West-India colonies might be considered to be vested. It became important, therefore, to bring these colonies under the natural protection of this country. This was not a proposition connected with war, but Parliament would be called on, in the course of the present year, to contribute one million in conseqence of that arrangement. That was the only part which would come into consideration in the course of the present year. There was another arrangement, which was not in the nature of a grant, of a specific sum, the interest of the loan obtained by Russia in Holland, which was applied towards the fortifications in the Low Countries.The total sum borrowed was three millions, but two millions of it only were applied to these fortifications. One hundred and fifty thousand pounds had been agreed to be paid as a consideration for that loan for a certain number of years. The object of that outlay was, the rendering of that part of Europe less vulnerable than it was when it was obtained possession of by the Allies. Russia was to be relieved of the charge of this loan, which was to be borne jointly between Great Britain and the king of the Netherlands. The price for the colonies could not be considered excessive; and it would not only go to create a system of fortification on that barrier, but it would make it the interest of the Emperor of Russia, as well as his duty, to prevent the Low Countries from ever falling into the hands, or being under the control of France. There was, therefore, this security for that country, in addition to the advance of Prussia to the Rhine, by which she became also interested in the safety of Holland.*It would have been in opposition to the feelings of the nation to have treated Holland in any other respect than as a country with which it was our object to maintain the most friendly relations; and much as he should have lamented if an amicable arrangement could not have been made by which England could retain the Cape of Good Hope, which was so important to this country, from its connexion with our territories in the East, and reluctant as he should have been to have lost an opportunity of placing so large a mass of British property*Hansard's Parl. Deb., vol. xxxi, p. 455–6.794as was contained in the islands of Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo, permanently under he protection of the Crown of England; much is he should have regretted such important cessions, still would he have been content to forego all the benefits of retaining them, rather than have failed to act with the utmost friendly liberality and justice towards Holland. It ought not to be disguised, that though France might have overrun Holland from the lust of conquest, much of the misery which had fallen on that unfortunate country had been inflicted on account of the attachment and devotion it had cherished for England. This feeling, so difficult to extinguish, has never ceased to manifest itself; and it was possible but that for this, Holland might for a much longer time have escaped the storm by which she was overwhelmed.*The system of fortifying the Netherlands he considered wise, even as a measure of economy. It was necessary to preserve Holland and her navy independent of France, and this could only be secured by making the Netherlands strong as a military position. This would save the country the excessive expense of repelling the attempts which France might be induced to make at any future period. With this view of the subject, he conceived this country to be highly interested in fortifying the Netherlands in the manner proposed, the expense of which would be met gradually.†The state of things which had called upon us to take this charge upon ourselves had given us an opportunity of fairly, and without the appearance of illiberality, proposing to Holland the cession of her colonies to England. He had much satisfaction in stating that our conduct in this respect had been justly appreciated on the part of Holland. She had viewed it as a fair proposition made by a friendly power, and not considered it as the demand of a nation who, having obtained possession of her colonies in time of war, refused to relinquish them on the return of peace. The colonies obtained by the arrangement entered into with Holland were of great importance to this country, not only on account of their connexion with our eastern possessions, but on account of the situation in which they placed us with respect to South America, by which a constant supply of cotton was secured, which would prove an important advantage to the manufacturers of one of our staple commodities.When he looked back and considered those speeches, and the manner in which his Majesty's present Government had acted towards the king of Holland, he could not but feel indignant as an Englishman. He would wish to know whether Holland might not justly demand restitution of those colonies which she ceded in return*Ibid. p. 743–4. †Ibid. p. 745.795 for the erection of those fortresses of which she was now deprived, and was not even allowed to interfere in the arrangement for disposing of them. Those fortresses were now in the possession of Belgium; but tomorrow they might be in the possession of France, and turned to purposes injurious to the interests of this country and of Holland. Here, then, was a case of much importance, and which deeply concerned the honour of this country, on which he wished for a satisfactory explanation and information; but his principal object, on the present occasion, was, to obtain information upon the subject of this strange plan for the Belgian army, to which he had already alluded; and he never could imagine that it would be permitted that it should be officered by Frenchmen. He was desirous not to trespass longer on their Lordships' attention; but, before he sat down, he must say a few words on the general foreign policy of the country, and on his own humble sentiments on the subject. A noble and learned Lord said that he was anxious for a war with France. He positively denied that inference. The difference between the noble and learned Lord and him was this;—the noble and learned Lord wished to embrace France closely as a friend, believing that if we were at peace with France, we must be at peace with all the world: he did not consider that all the endeavours of our Government to preserve peace with France might be subverted, as they would be, if the war party in France obtained power. All the concessions made by this country—all the efforts made to preserve peace—the abandonment, of our allies, and our acquiescence in their degradation—the robbery of the Portuguese fleet—the demolition of the fortresses—the occupation of Belgium—the Belgian army's being officered by French officers, would then all go for nothing. France was our natural rival, and as such must be considered our natural enemy. History pointed out this indisputable fact; and though it was well to treat an enemy with perfect honesty, courtesy, and civility, yet it was, in his humble opinion, always most prudent, and most congenial to the feelings of Englishmen, to keep him at arm's length. Instead of this, however, our Government was allowing that of France to keep us so close in its fraternal hug, that it squeezed out everything it wanted from us. There was a sort of flirtation 796 carried on between the noble Earl at the head of the Government, and the French government, which he could not say he beheld with approbation. We were obliged to yield every thing rather than incur the risk of overturning the present government of France, and run the hazard of a war with our crippled finances; and on its part it was ready, occasionally, in lesser points, to tamper with our negociators, and to meet the views of the noble Earl, in order that it might not upset the Reform Bill in its progress. The French Ministry believed the Reform Bill and the noble Earl's Ministry would favour France; but if, unfortunately, the Reform Bill should be passed, and the country be got into confusion by it, as he believed would be the case, we should then see whether the government of France would any longer desire to keep peace with a Government of this country, deprived of its advantages both of position and of character. By the great Treaties in 1814 and 1815, the Quadruple Alliance was formed to arrest the aggression and aggrandizement of France, and when peace was established, France was permitted to enter, at Aix-la-Chapelle, the general Quadruple Alliance for the maintenance of the repose of Europe; but Great Britain had never an idea of uniting closer in the bonds of alliance with France than with any of the other great Powers, and this policy and this attempt he deprecated, more especially when he saw the sacrifices made for it. These were his opinions on foreign policy. He was not anxious for war, but wished it to be avoided. At the same time, this country was bound to repress aggression, and to defeat projects of foreign aggrandizement, and, though desirous to avoid a war, in a just cause he was not afraid of it. He had formerly made use of some strong expressions with regard to the distinguished diplomatist who represents the government of France in this country, for which he was reprehended by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack—who, however, it must be recollected, said much stronger things both of the king of Holland and Don Miguel. He said nothing contrary to the private respect and esteem he entertained for that individual; but his public character was on record, and he dealt with it as a matter of history. That distinguished diplomatist was a Minister of Napoleon, of Louis 18th, of Charles 10th, and now of Louis Philippe. This Minister, therefore, 797 could not be looked upon or spoken of as if he came into public life for the first time. He had not stated his opinion of his character in any underhand way, but in a way which gave him a full opportunity of knowing what was said. What he had said had found its way into the public journals, and it was competent for that diplomatist to contradict anything which he found was not borne out by facts. When he found it stated that this individual was constantly near the King's closet, that despatches were shewn to him in that quarter before they reached the public, and that his Majesty's Ministers went one after another to him, appearing to consult, invite, and to wait for his decision, he, as an Englishman, heard of such proceedings with some degree of disgust. They were indecent, and probably dangerous. He did not wish to express himself unfairly towards any one; at the same time he could not retract anything he had said; and if any noble Lord wished him to state the source whence he had derived his information, or the foundation for any expressions he had used as to the great power and ability with which Prince Talleyrand served his own Court—while his opinions never had been favourable to England—he would refer to the memorial of Talleyrand to Napoleon, as first Consul, dated 15th Brumaire, year 11, which was universally in print, and must have due weight on all minds that read it, especially if our policy now leans to what was advised in that document. He had a right, then, to advert to the public character of this individual, to doubt the propriety of the course pursued by his Majesty's Government towards him, and to suspect that his proceedings would be a little too much for the interest of his own government, and would tend in no degree whatever to advance the interests of this country. He was well aware that Prince Talleyrand was in habits of close intimacy with his noble and lamented relation, who fully admitted his great abilities and private amiable qualities. But his noble relation was not a person to be influenced by any individual. It was his habit to take his own course on all public matters, and to steer clear of any attempts to exercise an undue influence. No one could ever feel at that period that France domineered over the councils of this country, in order to carry her own objects, or that England on any occasion had truckled to France in the negotiations in 798 which he was concerned. France was not then allowed to act as she had done of late, nor would she now have been so allowed had that Statesman been spared to his country. Feeling as he did on these subjects, it was impossible for him not to state his sentiments unreservedly. His Majesty's Ministers had reproached and blamed him for these discussions; but, they had done an infinite deal of good. The tone of the speeches delivered on that side of the House had been taken up by his Majesty's Ministers. The noble Earl at the head of the Government, had talked of pursuing "the even tenour of his way," and had said, that he treated the Opposition with perfect indifference, and that nothing said on this side of the House had any effect on him or the measures of his Administration. As the noble Earl stated this on his honour as a Peer of Parliament and a Minister, he was bound to believe him; but if any of his noble friends behind him should ever again come into possession of the portefeuille of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs—which, if Whig supremacy under the passing of the Reform Bill be not made eternal, may be the case—he should certainly beg to be allowed to see whether there were not some strange alterations in the Instructions sent after the debate which took place on the Monday as to Belgium. He should like to know what was done at the Conference immediately after this debate, on the Wednesday, and whether there were not some little memorandums then drawn up? He should like to see a copy of a certain short Protocol as to the fortresses, and also a certain private Letter, said to be addressed by the noble Earl at the head of the Government to M. Cassimir Perier, after the discussions in this House. He maintained that the speeches made in this House on that occasion (particularly the speech of the noble Duke near him) made a powerful impression on his Majesty's Ministers, which was visible at the time those speeches were delivered—it was universally noticed, and the discussion made the country know and feel that the course of his Majesty's Ministers, was most discreditable and disadvantageous. He believed that the debate had induced them to change—and insist upon the French troops being withdrawn from Belgium; otherwise they would have remained in that country. Before he concluded, he would beg to ask his noble friend whether 799 their Lordships were ever to have the communications respecting Portugal, which had been so long promised? Not a tittle of information had been laid before Parliament on our foreign affairs, since the present Ministry came into office, although negotiations had been carried on which had led to the most important results. The transactions with regard to Portugal were still wrapped up in mystery; and, if any reference were made to them, his Majesty's Ministers sheltered themselves by stating, that the House was not in possession of the papers which would enable it to come to an accurate conclusion; and now, if Parliament was to be prorogued—as it might be, according to what had passed in another place—and if no information was previously laid on the Table with respect to Belgium or Portugal, our foreign relations would be entirely at the mercy of his Majesty's Ministers, who had gone on so long without affording Parliament the slightest information on any one of those subjects with which it was most important their Lordships should be fully acquainted. The noble Marquis concluded by moving, "That an Address be presented to his Majesty, requesting that his Majesty would be graciously pleased to order, that there be laid before the House Copies or Extracts of all Communications that have recently taken place between his Majesty's Government, and the Governments of France and Belgium, relative to the employment of French Officers for the avowed purpose of disciplining, organizing, and acting with the Belgian Army.
§ Viscount Goderich
was afraid that, in the few observations which he should have the honour of addressing to their Lordships, he should be under the necessity of inflicting a grievous disappointment upon his noble friend who had brought forward this Motion. His noble friend appeared to think that it was the duty of the Government on this occasion to take an opportunity of entering into a general discussion of a most discursive nature, not only upon every point connected with his Motion, but also upon every other point which his noble friend had raised with regard to Portugal, to France, and, indeed, with regard to the foreign policy of this and of all other countries in Europe. Now he must be allowed to tell his noble friend, that either he or his noble friend had altogether mistaken the duty of an Administration, circumstanced as the present was, and 800 that he should, far from embracing, take care to avoid the opportunity which his noble friend had so temptingly furnished him with. A discussion like that in which his noble friend had embarked, was not only inconvenient, but even painful to the Ministers, under existing circumstances, because there was no other mode by which they could vindicate themselves from the imputations which his noble friend had cast upon them, than to abandon their duty by entering into explanations which would be in the highest possible degree detrimental to the public interest. His public duty restrained him from entering into the statement of those facts which were necessary for the vindication of himself and his colleagues; and his noble friend, therefore, must be left in the enjoyment of all the triumph he could obtain by casting imputations, which were not the less unfounded because it happened to be necessary that the public service required that the refutation of them should be delayed. He hardly knew how to deal with the motion of his noble friend, or, he should rather say, the speech of his noble friend. If he admitted any of the propositions which his noble friend had laid down, then his noble friend would claim credit to himself for having drawn correct inferences from those propositions; and if he gave his noble friend any explanation at all, his noble friend would be sure to ask for more. His noble friend appeared to think that discussions of this nature were the easiest possible. ["No, no" from the Marquis of Londonderry.] No: he knew that his noble friend had not said so; but then the clear and obvious inference from the course which his noble friend had pursued was, that nothing could be so easy as to discuss publicly, negotiations which, besides being the most important and most delicate possible, were not yet completed. He must contend that this was not a fair course of proceeding, and that there was as little of justice as of good reasoning in his noble friend's saying—"If you do not give me the information I ask, then the accusations I make against you must be true." This, he said, was not fair, because, though his noble friend would doubtless be very much gratified with that information, yet his noble friend ought to know that it was information which the Ministers were bound in duty not to give him. Unless his noble friend could prove that it was fair to assail an opponent whose 801 hands were tied, his noble friend must fail in demonstrating that the course of his proceeding was not unfair. This, then, was his answer to the motion of his noble friend; and with this answer he should cheerfully throw himself upon the good sense and justice of their Lordships, but that he felt himself called upon to advert to one or two points of his noble friend's speech. The first of these points—though the most insignificant of them—which he felt himself called upon to notice was this; his noble friend had asked him how it happened that, he, who had been a party to, and a coadjutor in the great settlement of Europe in 1814, could agree with his noble friend at the head of the Administration in the observations which his noble friend had made against many portions of that settlement. Now he assured his noble friend that he had given him credit for a part which he had not taken in that settlement. He was not even a member of the Cabinet at that time, although, through the kindness and attention of a relative of his noble friend, he had been made acquainted with the grounds of that settlement. He had no hesitation in saying, further, that he cordially agreed in that settlement, not because he thought it the best settlement, but because he thought that it was the best which could be effected under existing circumstances. He might have thought that, with regard to many parts of it, a much better settlement might have been made, and his noble friend was mistaken if he supposed that others, who were really what he was not—parties to the settlement—did not entertain the same opinion; but the question was, not what might be the best settlement, but what was the best settlement that could be made under all the various circumstances which must of necessity be considered in order to make any settlement at all. According to the limited means of judgment which he possessed at the time, he thought that the best settlement that was practicable was then made. Whether, will better means of forming an opinion, he had altered that judgment, or whether he retained that judgment still, were matters of no moment whatever; because, as a Minister, he was not called upon to look back to what things were seventeen years ago, and act in conformity with them, but it was his business, and the business of every other Minister, to look at existing circumstances, and to deal with them as 802 prudence, and justice, and the national interest required. But his noble friend had said to him further—"How could you, a party to the great settlement of Europe in 1814, agree to the separation of Belgium from Holland?" This was really a most extraordinary question. Had he or had any of his colleagues been parties to this separation? Did they not find that separation effected when they came into office? Had not the present Administration, on their accession to office, found both the Revolution in France and in Belgium completed? His noble friend must, upon a moment's reflection, see that the present Government could have had no hand in consenting to either of these events, and he could assure his noble friend, that the one great object of himself and his colleagues had been, to render those events as innocuous as it was possible to render changes so important and so extensive as these changes were; and he need hardly observe, that all changes which were sudden in their advent, and extensive in their effects, might, though tending to the most beneficial, lead to the most disastrous results if not watched over. Far be it from him to blame any one who had been a party to these events, and he had made these observations for no other purpose than to show how unreasonable was the imputation of inconsistency which his noble friend had been pleased to make against him. Another part of his noble friend's speech to which he desired to advert was that which related to Prince Talleyrand, whom his noble friend had supposed to have great influence upon the councils of this country, and whom, proceeding on that supposition, and upon certain parts of that illustrious person's past life, this noble friend had thought he was justified in pursuing with the most acrimonius animadversion, although an ambassador from a friendly power. His noble friend, to do him justice, had not dipped his arrows so deeply in gall on this as on a former occasion; but still he must say, that his noble friend had, even on this occasion, indulged in language the most imprudent and the most indiscreet, that any public man could be betrayed into with regard to the ambassador of a friendly Power. He would not willingly have touched upon this part of his noble friend's speech, because he thought, that the sooner it was forgotten the better; but then, if he were wholly silent on the subject, it might be 803 supposed, that the Government were of opinion, that these animadversions were not misplaced; and if that were the case, the plain inference was, that Prince Talleyrand ought not to be allowed to remain here. If the Government entertained the same opinion as his noble friend of Prince Talleyrand, it would be their duty to represent to his majesty the king of the French, that they could not transact business with such a person. He felt it necessary, therefore, to speak as he had spoken respecting these aspersions of the character of an individual whose station ought to have shielded him from such an assault. He knew that his noble friend would say that, because he protested against this indiscreet, and imprudent, and unjustifiable language, the Government were truckling to France. Let him, however, remind his noble friend, that Prince Talleyrand had been the Minister of the last two kings of France; and that Prince Talleyrand had also had a large and important share in the deliberations of the Congress of Vienna—the result of which deliberations the noble Marquis thought so wise and so good. Surely the noble Marquis might have remembered these facts; but if he had, he would never have entered upon the unjust, as well as the invidious, occupation of ransacking every portion of Prince Talleyrand's life, and bringing up in judgment against him, as present deeds and as acts of this day, transactions which had taken place when the circumstances of France were so different, and when no man could act as his reason or his inclination dictated, but as the strong and uncontrollable tide of affairs compelled him to fashion his course. He should be glad to meet in detail if he could, the charge of his noble friend, that this Government was truckling to France; but his noble friend had found the justification of that charge in a heap of measures and transactions which his noble friend had so huddled together, that he confessed he could see nothing but confusion in them. With the charge, therefore, and with that only, was it possible for him to deal. In the outset he indignantly denied, that there was the slightest ground for the accusation. The conduct of this Government towards France had been regulated only by considerations of amity and justice, which considerations had regulated their conduct towards every other power; and never, 804 he was happy to say, had there been a time at which a more cordial unanimity existed between a Government of this country and the representatives of all the Great Powers of Europe than the present moment. His noble friend had, indeed, stigmatized the policy of the Government in the harshest terms, and had given his advice as to what their policy ought to be, but he hoped, that no future Ministers would be absurd enough to take his noble friend's advice, however kindly it might be offered; and he could assure their Lordships, that the present Government to whom that advice was offered in any but terms of friendship, would never dream of taking his noble friend to their councils. He had only now to notice the nature of the information which his noble friend sought to acquire by this motion, which information related to the intention of king Leopold to include in his service foreign officers, and, among those, French officers. He had already stated, that the public interest precluded him from meeting this subject as it ought to be met. Allow him, however, to observe, that it was by no means a matter of course, that an independent State—for Belgium was an independent State, however difficult might be the circumstances by which it was surrounded—should be interfered with by any other State for the purpose of preventing it from taking into its military service foreign officers. Indeed, this, which his noble friend complained of as an intention of King Leopold, was a common practice with other Sovereigns—he might almost say an universal practice. There was nothing new in it; but, on the contrary, some of the most eminent soldiers who had led armies to battle, had not been natives of the countries whose forces they commanded. This was particularly the case with Russia, among whose Commanders who had not been Russians, it would be sufficient to mention General Diebitsch and Admiral Greig. His noble friend had, perhaps, forgotten, that it was under the auspices of the latter that the Russians first attempted to form a navy. The same was true with regard to Austria, to Prussia, to Spain; and, indeed, to every nation in the world. He need hardly observe, that Holland fell under this rule; or, he should rather say, that her forces had more commonly been led by foreigners than by Dutchmen, General Chassé, he believed, was a Frenchman.
§ [Here a noble Lord, either the Lord Chancellor or some other noble Lord in his vicinity, made an observation; but in a tone so low that it was not heard at the bar. Viscount Goderich appeared not to have observed it, and was continuing his speech, when]
The Marquis of Londonderry
said, "My Lords, I rise to order. I beg to put it to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, whether it is orderly for a noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, or for any other noble Lord, to prompt another noble Lord when he is speaking. I beg to put this question to the noble and learned Lord."
The Lord Chancellor
My Lords, I beg to state that I cannot sit here to be bothered with questions which emanate from the ridiculous ideas of individuals, who cannot or will not see anything however clear, nor understand anything however intelligible, and who, whether a noble Lord is engaged in conversation, or whether he addresses the House upon his legs, seem, by an unhappy infirmity of nature, to be lamentably incapacitated from understanding what is going on. I beg, moreover, to state to the noble Marquis, whom I have in my eye, that for the future I will answer no question of his—and will give him no information whatsoever. If the noble Lord feels aggrieved at anything I may happen to do, let him proceed against me by a vote of censure, and I trust I shall know how to defend myself, but I will answer no more of his questions.
The Marquis of Londonderry
I only asked the noble Lord a question as to a point of order, which I conceive that I had a perfect right to do. As to the personal and offensive expressions which the noble and learned Lord has thought proper to use towards me, I beg to tell the noble and learned Lord, that I shall be glad to hear them repeated in another place, and—
§ The Duke of Richmond
My Lords, I rise to order. I move that the words of the noble Marquis be taken down.
The Lord Chancellor
.—No; I trust that my noble friend will withdraw that motion, and allow so trifling, absurd, and insignificant a matter to remain where it is. Perhaps, to your Lordships I ought to answer on the point of order. My answer then, is, that, strictly speaking, for one noble Lord to prompt another—as the noble Marquis calls it—is quite as much out of order as ninety-nine out of a hun- 806 dred of the things which day after day pass in this House—or perhaps I am wrong even in allowing that one of every hundred of those things would be within the strict line of order, if each were subjected to the strictness of the letter of that line. As an illustration, let me observe, that if the strict rule of order had been observed, I ought to have called the noble Marquis to order when, in rising to put a question about Belgium, he made a speech about Spain, and Portugal, and Holland, and France, and Prince Talleyrand, and a thousand other matters. As to the hint which the noble Marquis has thrown out to me—filling as I do the highest judicial office in the land—and in a public assembly like the present, where such hints are not usually given—as to that hint, my Lords, I have only to say, that it has never been my habit to say in one place anything which I would not repeat in another; and that it is not likely I should fall into that habit now.
§ The Duke of Richmond
I shall certainly withdraw my motion, at the request of my noble friend. I am sure that the noble Marquis, when he talks of order, must see that nothing can, by possibility, be more disorderly than for a noble Lord to rise in his place, and invite the Lord Chancellor—or, indeed, any other noble Lord—to fight a duel; for such was the meaning of the words of the noble Marquis, and it is of no use mincing the matter.
The Marquis of Londonderry
rose again, and Lord Goderich with him. The former attempted to address the House, but
said, that he also must rise to order. When a noble Lord was interrupted upon a point of order, as his noble friend had been, that noble Lord had a right to be first heard.
§ Viscount Goderich
had some difficulty in speaking to the point of order, and had risen for the purpose of closing those observations which he was addressing to their Lordships when he was interrupted by his roble friend. He must, however, say, that if the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack had made any observation, not one word of that observation had reached him. He would not detain their Lordships any further than to observe, that he might add to the catalogue of officers in the service of countries of which they were not natives, the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, whom every one knew not 807 to be a native of Holland. If, then, the practice of employing foreign officers was common to every Power in Europe, surely there must be a very strong case made out before one country could be justified in interfering with an independent Power, for the purpose of preventing that Power from indulging in a practice which had not been denied to any other Sovereign. He believed that no case had been made out, and he could not consent to give his noble friend the information he sought to obtain by his Motion.
§ The Duke of Wellington
said, that in the very few words which he had to offer on this subject, he could assure the noble Lords opposite, that nothing could be further from his wish than to embarrass the Government, or to disturb that good understanding which, he was most happy to hear, prevailed between this and the governments of the other Powers of Europe. He must further assure their Lordships, that there was no man in this country more desirous than he was, to witness the preservation of peace, not only between England and France, but all over Europe. He might differ with the noble Lords opposite as to the best mode of preserving that peace, but he certainly did not differ from them as to the necessity of preserving it, and he should most assuredly do nothing to hamper or to obstruct them in their exertions for the attainment of that most desirable of all objects. At the same time he was free to confess, that his view of the subject before them (which was the employment of French officers in the Belgian army) was different from that taken by the noble Lord who had just sat down. Before, however, he stated what his view of the subject was, he must be allowed to say a few words respecting the illustrious individual who had been strongly animadverted upon by his noble friend near him. True it was, that that illustrious individual had enjoyed, in a very high degree, the confidence of his noble friend's deceased relative; and true it also was, that none of the great measures which had been resolved upon at Vienna and Paris, had been concerted or carried on without the intervention of that illustrious person. He had no hesitation in saying, that both at that time, in every one of the great transactions which took place then, and in every transaction in which he had been engaged with Prince Talleyrand since, the latest of which had occurred during the 808 short period in which he had been in his Majesty's councils after the late revolution in France—he had no hesitation, he said, in declaring, that in all those transactions, from the first to the last of them, no man could have conducted himself with more firmness and ability, with regard to his own country, or with more uprightness and honour in all his communications with the Ministers of other countries, than Prince Talleyrand. They had heard a good deal of Prince Talleyrand from many quarters, but he felt himself bound to declare it to be his sincere and conscientious belief, that no man's public and private character had ever been so much belied as both the public and the private character of that illustrious individual had been. He had thought it necessary, in common justice, to say this much of an individual, respecting whose conduct and character he had had no small means of forming a judgment. As to the subject before their Lordships, he could but remind them, that it was one in which the interests of Europe at large were materially involved, though we had taken the greatest part in it. When King Leopold left this country, he had congratulated their Lordships upon the proof which his Majesty then gave of his desire to be an independent sovereign. He believed that it was the intention of Government that he should continue independent, as well of this as of all other Powers. He firmly believed, moreover, that it was owing to our Government that the French army had been withdrawn from Belgium, and that the Government had insisted upon this withdrawal, from the conviction that King Leopold could not be independent while that army remained in Belgium. It was his opinion, that there never was, in any part of the history of the world, a period at which it would be more easy than at the present, for the independent sovereign of an independent State to assume a station independent of all the world, as a neutral State of Europe. This it was, at present, in the power of King Leopold to do, but it might not be in his power to do so a few months hence, for the events of a few months might make this as difficult as it now was easy. The noble Lord who had just sat down, had said, that, as an independent Sovereign, King Leopold had a right to take foreign officers into his service, and the noble Lord had instanced the practice of other countries in proof of this position. But, 809 allow him to observe, that if Belgium were like Prussia or Russia, which had very large armies, the employment of foreign officers would not be a matter of much consequence, because the number of them must bear a small proportion to the number of native officers, and a still smaller proportion to the number of the troops; Belgium, however, had an army of not more than 20,000 or 30,000 men at most. Let their Lordships remember what the commander of a regiment was—he was the very mind and soul of his soldiers. Let them look at their own Acts of Parliament, and they would find that, by the law of England, foreign officers were not allowed to serve our King. And why had such Acts been passed? It was because we were sensible how vast was the influence which the officers must necessarily have over the soldiers they commanded. Such, too, had been the law of Belgium, until it was altered at the instance of the King. It was said, that there were now in Belgium as many as 400 foreign officers. He had heard, too (he should be glad to learn that this was not true), that 200 cuirassiers had entered Tournay, that there were as many as 800 at Liege, and 300 or 400 in Ath. These reports might be erroneous, but the statements with regard to the officers rested upon good authority. They knew that French officers had received permission from the king of the French to serve in Belgium; but upon what condition? Why, the condition was, that they should wear the French uniform, and wear their national cockade. There was another point, too, connected with this subject, which ought not to be overlooked. General Belliard, one of these officers, was not only a soldier of well-known military talents, but he happened also to be the French Ambassador at Brussels. The noble Lord had said, that King Leopold was an independent Prince. Independent? What, with an army of 20,000 soldiers, officered by Frenchmen? The thing was impossible! But they had been told, that the independence of the king of Belgium was to be guaranteed by England and by the other great Powers of Europe. This, however, was again impossible, for there could be no such guarantee if the king of Belgium was to have an army so constituted. He supposed that this plan of officering the Belgian army with Frenchmen was a substitute for the use of French troops. if so, he must be allowed to say, that the 810 substitute had been most unwisely chosen. But this was not all. By the proposed arrangement, the Netherlands were to constitute a neutral State. He did not quarrel with this arrangement, considering the difficulties which would stand in the way of any other arrangement; and in spite of the inconveniences which might result from it to the other parts of Europe—inconveniences to which he was by no means insensible—he really believed that the arrangement would be found to answer if it were carried into strict execution, especially by France. The Netherlands, however, could never be a neutral State with such an army as it was now proposed to give to King Leopold, and he was sure it was only necessary to allude to these considerations, in order to awaken the noble Lords opposite to a sense of the impossibility of effecting what they proposed. No one could be more desirous than he was, to see this arrangement succeed, in order that the anxiety of Europe might no longer be intently fixed upon that part of the world; but it never could succeed if this military plan were allowed to go on. There was yet another point in which he should wish to put this subject, and that was, that the assistance of French officers was altogether unnecessary. He thought that he might speak with some degree of accuracy on this subject, because he had opportunities of knowing a little of that country and of its army. When the unfortunate dispute between Holland and Belgium broke out, and the expedition of Prince Frederick against Brussels failed, the military force of the two countries separated. All the Belgian officers remained in Belgium, and it was well known, that the service they had seen must qualify them for the duties which it was now proposed to confide to foreigners. Then there was the youth of Belgium. Was it meant to be contended that the youth of Belgium would not take up arms in defence of a Monarch who had been elected by the voice of the people, and that it was necessary for King Leopold to apply to his neighbour, the French King, for military assistance? He denied the existence of any such necessity. But he would not detain their Lordships further. His object in making these observations had been, to expose an arrangement which would make King Leopold little better than a Prefect of France, and lead to consequences that England would deplore.
merely rose for the purpose of observing, that, in order to come to a decision upon the Motion before them, it would be by no means necessary for their Lordships to enter into the consideration of the subjects to which the noble Duke had adverted. There was one part of the noble Duke's speech which had given him the greatest pleasure, and which reflected the highest credit upon the noble Duke. He need hardly say, that he alluded to the temper, the manliness, and generosity with which the noble Duke had animadverted upon what had fallen from the noble Marquis with regard to Prince Talleyrand. On public as well as on private grounds he thanked the noble Duke for that part of his speech. There could be little difference of opinion as to the injustice, and the want of generosity, of speaking in harsh and insulting terms respecting the ambassador of a friendly Power, resident amongst us. On the other hand, he felt that there could be no good taste in dwelling upon the virtue and merits of a man's own acquaintance, in an assembly like that of their Lordships; yet he trusted that he might be allowed to observe, that forty years' acquaintance with the noble individual who had been alluded to, enabled him to bear his testimony to the fact, that, although those forty years had been passed during a time peculiarly fraught with calumnies of every description, there had been no man's private character more shamefully traduced, and no man's public character more mistaken and misrepresented, than the private and public character of Prince Talleyrand. With regard to the question before their Lordships, he must remind their Lordships, that in coming to a decision upon it, they had merely to consider whether any parliamentary grounds had been made out for the production of the papers it called for. It might be, that much that had fallen from the noble Duke was of such a nature as to render it deserving of the notice and consideration of King Leopold; but had their Lordships any thing to do with it? He thought not; and if the Motion were agreed to, would that enable the Government to form a better opinion on the subject? Certainly not. The general principle applicable to this subject was, that an independent Prince might employ foreign officers if he thought proper. It was true that we had a municipal law—a very wise municipal law— 812 which prohibited foreigners from Serving in our army; but that law would not give any stranger the right of saying, that though we might choose to repeal that law, still we should not employ foreign troops. This was an internal regulation of our own, and whether we adhered to it or abandoned it, was our own affair, not the business of any foreign Power. Our municipal law did not change the general principle—a principle which had been acted upon by every nation in the world without any exception, and particularly in Portugal, where foreign officers had frequently been employed for the temporary purpose of organizing the military force of that country. And herein, let him observe, lay the fallacy of the noble Duke's reasoning; for the noble Duke had made no distinction between permanent employment, and the organizing and disciplining a force, which was a temporary affair. Well, then, if the general principle—the universal right, was as he had stated it to be,—and he believed that no one would venture to deny the position—the only remaining question was, whether there was in this case any peculiar circumstances, which took Belgium out of the general principle. If there were any such peculiar circumstances, had their Lordships any reason to believe that the Government had lost sight of them? No one had assigned any reason for such belief—no one had even expressed such belief. If there did exist such peculiar circumstances, and if there were no reason to believe that if they did exist, the Government, would lose sight of them, must it not be clear that the Government were engaged in a negotiation of considerable importance and delicacy, which, by agreeing to this Motion, their Lordships would take out of the hands of Government into their own management? This, he apprehended, was the real state of the question before their Lordships. The speech of the noble Duke might be, and, in his opinion, would have been, an exceedingly good speech for the Parliament of Belgium, but not for a British Parliament. He would not go into the facts connected with the subject, for that would be in effect to agree to the Motion, the object of which was, of course, to get at those facts. The noble Duke had justly stated, that the object of the settlement of the affairs of Belgium was, to make it a neutral State, and the noble Duke had admitted that he liked 813 the arrangement. But the noble Duke had forgotten that Belgium was not yet placed in that condition. King Leopold, at present, was only under an armistice with a neighbouring and hostile Power, and he was therefore taking, not from France only, but from any other quarter from which he could procure them, the means of organizing his army, which, surely, was not an improper but rather a necessary precaution, while in the neighbouring country preparations were making for warfare. The steps, therefore, which King Leopold was taking, might, in this view of the question, be very fairly considered as steps essential for his own defence. Let their Lordships see also to what inquiries discussions like these might lead. Might they not excite other Powers to call for an inquiry into the military force of each other? Might not Belgium call for an investigation into what was going on in the Dutch army, and might not France demand to know how many Prussians or Austrians happened to be in the Russian army which occupied Poland? He put forward these considerations for no other purpose than to show the tendency of discussions like the present; because he had already slated that he resisted the Motion for the reasons, that no parliamentary grounds had been made out for it, and that, if agreed to, it could not by possibility lead to any good.
§ The Earl of Orford
did not mean to deny the right of any independent Sovereign to engage in his service the officers of a foreign State, since he could not be expected to know, or, perhaps, to be able to ascertain to what country they belonged. At the same time, there were peculiar circumstances in the relations of this kingdom, France, Belgium, and Holland, that rendered the employment of French officers in the service of Belgium a matter of considerable delicacy. The French force having withdrawn, the enlistments from foreign States might amount to a new force as a substitute, and this Government ought to look with peculiar jealousy to the establishment of an army nominally Belgian, but virtually French.
The Lord Chancellor
observed, that the ground upon which he rested his opposition to the production of documents, if any such existed, was similar to that which had already been stated by his noble friend (Viscount Goderich). That ground was independent of any matter of 814 merits, and merely related to the expediency of the course recommended by the noble Mover. The question of interposition with the affairs of an independent State was at all times one of extreme delicacy, and at the present moment the difficulty was much increased. The embarrassment would be still further augmented by a compliance with the proposition of the noble Marquis. He would not be led away on this occasion to enter into the various more extensive topics upon which other noble Lords had incidentally touched, and which, in his opinion, had been somewhat injudiciously introduced into the discussion. The objection he had taken had been also relied upon by the noble Lord who spoke last but one (Lord Holland), and it did not seem, therefore, at all necessary that he should further enforce it. He could not help thinking that the debate upon these topics, however interesting and important, was premature, and that it would tend rather to retard than promote the object which the noble Marquis (Londonderry) himself no doubt had in view—the general pacification of Europe, and the removal of all the difficulties that at this moment presented themselves.
, in explanation, very briefly re-stated the point he had advanced in opposition to the Motion, adding, that he fully concurred with his noble and learned friend on the Woolsack.
The Marquis of Londonderry
said, that after what had already been advanced upon this subject—after, in his opinion, the unanswerable arguments of the noble Duke (Wellington), and after the reply that had been attempted by noble Lords in various departments of the Government, he was content to leave the matter as it stood, without giving the House the trouble of coming to a division. He would say no more on that subject, but advert to a different topic. He entreated their Lordships to bear with him for a few moments only, while he endeavoured to clear himself, and to set himself right with reference to what had passed in the earlier part of the evening. He begged to state most distinctly, that he invariably paid the greatest respect to all that fell from the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, and as it was his anxious wish, so it was his constant endeavour, to avoid every thing that might be considered personally acrimonious. If he were at all times desirous of avoiding offence, he was 815 more peculiarly so at this moment, when the House was on the eve of discussing a most important question, in the result of which the nation was so deeply interested. Hostility of the kind to which he had referred, at such a time was peculiarly objectionable. He was not aware, and did not believe, that he had ever given the noble and learned Lord just ground of exception, yet he could not help feeling, and therefore expressing, that no noble Lord who had ever addressed the House, had met with the same harshness of treatment as himself, and that not on this occasion only, but constantly and continually. This harshness applied equally to the arguments he had taken the liberty from time to time of using, and to the manner and form in which he had judged it right to clothe those arguments. It was not in human nature not to bear this circumstance in mind, and it was not extraordinary, therefore, if he were now and then betrayed into expressions which he had, no hesitation in admitting had been better avoided. The House would be aware, that on this very night the noble and learned Lord had again applied to him language, to say the least of it, of a very harsh description, solely, as the noble and learned Lord had admitted in the candour which really belonged to his nature, and which at times he so well knew how to display, because what he had then said was not absolutely and strictly in order. He had then thought it right to reply to the expressions of the noble and learned Lord in a manner which, in his cooler moments, he was satisfied he should not have exhibited. If in the course he had taken, or in what had fallen from him under circumstances of some irritation, he had employed expressions painful to the feelings of the noble and learned Lord, he desired that noble and learned Lord and the House to be assured that he had not intended them to be so. He wished to be permitted to add, what, indeed, he had already said, that it was far from his wish to come in collision with the noble and learned Lord at any time; all he asked was the display of a little more charity of manner, if not of feeling, on the part of the noble and learned Lord, and to avoid the infliction of that harshness of which he had so much reason to complain, if at any time hereafter he should have occasion to comment temperately upon the observations of the noble and learned Lord, Re- 816 verting again to the immediate topic before the House, he had only further to say, that after the speech of the noble Duke, which could not fail to produce its impression, even upon his Majesty's Ministers, he should be content to withdraw his Motion, satisfied with the good it had already accomplished.
The Lord Chancellor
said, that after the courteous expressions used towards him by the noble Marquis, which he heartily accepted, and after the explanation, so fit and proper, and at the same time made in so manly a spirit, a spirit of which he, as well as all their Lordships, must be sensible—he was anxious to say, that he had not heard without considerable pain the statement of the noble Marquis, that he was prone even to go out of his way to speak harshly of the manner in which the noble Marquis thought proper to discharge his duty in Parliament. He regretted that such was the impression upon the mind of the noble Marquis; but he should regret it still more if he felt that the remark was really justified by any part of his conduct. From the moment the noble Marquis commenced his observations of the kind, until now, he had been taxing his memory, in vain, to call to mind any occasion on which he had not been the party in the first instance attacked. While he said this, he was perfectly ready to admit that, it would be far better in future to put an end to any such disagreeable altercations on both sides. He was ready and willing to come to terms, to agree upon an armistice, or to sign a treaty of peace with the noble Marquis, which he was satisfied they could accomplish satisfactorily without the intervention of Prince Talleyrand, or any other great diplomatist. He would be his own ambassador, his own negotiator, on the subject; and, if he were let alone, he would engage never to break the engagement by becoming the attacking party. It was his earnest wish that the treaty should be permanent; but, at all events, a truce until the end of the Session, he was in hopes he could ensure, with the condition, that hostilities should not be renewed on either side without forty-eight hour's notice.
The Marquis of Londonderry
rose merely to say, that he should be most willing to accept the terms proposed by the noble and learned Lord.
§ Motion withdrawn,