The Lord Chancellor
, at five o'clock, read his Majesty's Speech. It was again read by the Clerk of the House at the Table.
The Marquess Conyngham
said, that in rising to move that an humble Address be presented to his Majesty in answer to his Majesty's gracious Speech from the Throne, he could unaffectedly assure their Lordships, that he addressed them under feelings of a painful and embarrassing nature. It was painful to him thus early to obtrude himself on their Lordshipsattention, having been so recently called to the honour of a seat in that House, and knowing, as he did, how ill qualified 91 he was to perform the duty assigned him. Under these circumstances, nothing remained for him (having undertaken to address their Lordships) but to throw himself on their kindness, which he trusted would incline them to grant him indulgence. Were he merely to consult his own feelings, he should not trouble their Lordships on this occasion; but looking at the aspect of public affairs, and considering the spirit of the times, he thought it incumbent upon all persons situated as he was, to declare whether they were disposed to support liberal principles calculated to strengthen the foundations of the State or not. It was his opinion that, by pursuing a liberal and enlightened policy, our institutions would be best consolidated, and the happiness and security of the people insured. Such was the course which Ministers had hitherto adopted, and in which he trusted they would persevere. His Majesty had commenced his Speech by alluding; to and lamenting the continuance of a civil war in Portugal between the princes of the House of Braganza, and certainly no country was ever placed under more painful circumstances than Portugal. It was to be regretted that no opportunity had occurred to enable his Majesty to restore peace to Portugal; at the same time it was fortunate that, neither in reference to that country nor any other, did there seem grounds for apprehending a war in which England might be engaged, his Majesty continuing to receive friendly assurances from the chief powers of Europe. On this point he congratulated their Lordships, considering peace desirable; although, on grounds involving the national faith or honour, we should stand prepared for war. His Majesty had also expressed his regret that his endeavours to effect a definitive arrangement between Holland and Belgium had hitherto been unsuccessful. His Majesty found himself compelled, in conjunction with France, to take measures for the execution of the Treaty of the 15th November, 1831, not only from regard for the honour of this country, but with a view to put a stop to the war prevailing between the two neighbouring states. In this matter he was of opinion that his Majesty had been well advised. Notwithstanding all the abuse that had been lavished on the present Government, he hesitated not to say, that he conscientiously thought they had 92 acted with a sound and judicious policy in this respect. France, true to herself and her engagements, having sacrificed blood and treasure in the common cause, magnanimously withdrew her forces; thus falsifying the predictions of her enemies, and teaching a lesson of moderation to victors. The fall of Antwerp, he trusted would have secured the free navigation of the Scheldt and the peace of the world. But, however the case might be, he believed that all impartial men would agree in thinking that the British Government could not have acted otherwise than it did. He would again allude briefly to the case of Portugal, for the purpose of lamenting the continuance of civil war in that country—a war detrimental to commerce and fatal to humanity, which he trusted his Majesty would leave no effort untried to put an end to. His Majesty had adverted to the approaching termination of the charters of the Bank and the East India Company—subjects of an important nature in a commercial country like England—in relation to which it would be for the wisdom of Parliament to decide, after due deliberation, and take such steps with respect to those charters as should best promote our commerce and credit, and the prosperity and power of the British empire. With subjects of that nature, however, he was not sufficiently acquainted to offer an opinion. The next question was that relating to the state of the Established Church. He had ever been of opinion that a proper provision for the Church was absolutely necessary, not only for the stability of that establishment, but with a view to the security of the State. At the same time, he felt convinced that the condition of the Church required investigation, and he hoped to see measures of improvement adopted which would go far to remove the ill-will that had been fostered by growing abuses, in the management and distribution of Church property. All must admit the desirableness of correcting existing abuses, by the removal of which the purity and simplicity of the Church would be best secured; and he felt satisfied that the clergy—a body the most enlightened—would be the first to feel the necessity and expediency of such measures of improvement. By a change in the tithe system, and a more equal distribution of Church property, he was satisfied that 93 the clergy would find their own respectability, usefulness, and dignity, best consulted; at the same time that judicious measures of reform would strengthen the just influence of the Church, by conciliating in its favour the feelings of the people. His Majesty stated, that he had directed the Estimates of the year to be laid before Parliament, assuring both Houses, that as far as the service of the State would allow, the public burthens should be lessened. This was a satisfactory assurance, and it was also cheering to find that, notwithstanding the reduction in the Estimates of the last year, all the extraordinary services of the country had been amply provided for, and that the difficulties of commerce had not affected the revenue. The last topic of his Majesty's Speech was one of the greatest importance—he meant the condition of Ireland. Connected as he was by every tie of affection and property with that unhappy country, he looked with pain at its present state, torn by contending factions, become an arena for the display of the dexterity of every demagogue. Most joy fully did he hail the suggestions of his Majesty for the promotion of habits of order and industry among the labouring classes, for the removal of all grievances, and for the maintenance of the Union between the two countries. But, at the same time that conciliatory measures should be adopted, additional powers, if necessary, must be confided to the executive authority, with a view to put down and punish all disturbance of the public peace. What was Ireland at present?—a blot and stain on the empire. No man was more attached to his country than he, and he desired to see a termination put to the scenes that disturbed it. What could be more distressing than the bickerings between the established clergy and the people on the subject of tithes? No one could witness, without regret, the fact of tithes being wrung from men in support of a religion to which they did not belong. The administration of justice and local taxation in Ireland required serious consideration and reform; but the present was not a moment to enter upon the details of such measures. From the tone of the King's speech, he looked forward with sanguine hopes to the measures to be adopted; above all, he felt pleasure at perceiving that the bonds of the Legislative Union between 94 England and Ireland were to be kept unimpaired. That declaration would be received with joy from one end of Ireland to the other. He felt convinced that a Repeal of the Union would be a deathblow to Ireland and a vital stab at the prosperity of England. With respect to Ireland, in the event of such a measure, her commerce would be ruined and her manufactures destroyed. She would lose the market of this country. The bonds of union between the two countries once loosened, Ireland would be unable to support herself; she must become dependent upon a foreign state, or fall under the power of demagogues. Blind as those must be to the true interests of both countries who pressed for a Repeal of the Union, he thought there remained sufficient soundness of principle in the public mind of Ireland to avert such a consummation. He trusted and believed that the day of separation was far from us. The firmness of the King would rally all hearts around the existing settlement, and protect us from such a calamity. So long as he had a seat in their Lordships House, his voice should be lifted to deprecate a Repeal of the Union, and brand him as Ireland's worst enemy who ventured to recommend such a measure. It was unnecessary for an individual so humble as himself to implore their Lordships to take his Majesty's observations on the necessity of upholding the Legislative Union into their serious consideration. He thanked the Government for introducing various liberal measures. He did so as an independent peer, connected with no party, and having no objects of personal aggrandizement in view. He was convinced, that by adopting a liberal line of policy in every department of the State, we should best secure the prosperity and welfare of the country, and the permanence of our institutions. The noble Lord concluded by moving an address to his Majesty, which was, as usual, an echo of the speech.
, in rising to second the Motion of the noble Marquess, offered his apologies for obtruding himself on the notice of the House. He felt particularly embarrassed at presenting himself to their lordships on the present occasion, after the all manner in which the noble Marquess had expressed bis sentiments in moving the Address. He wished to be distinctly understood as joining sincerely 95 in the liberal sentiments expressed by the noble Marquess, although, for want of rhetorical powers, he was unable to deliver himself to their Lordships with equal ability. Various and most important were the subjects which his Majesty had been pleased to submit to the attention of Parliament, but he felt that to treat them aright would require more talent than he possessed. To bring the suggestions of his Majesty to maturity demanded master-hands, together with the assistance of the great artist, time, and the wise councils of Parliament; such were the elements that must enter into the accomplishment of these grateful earnests of future welfare for an anxious nation. He, in common with others, deplored the blood that had been spilled in consequence of foreign dissensions, particularly those of two countries near our own. His Majesty's Government had one consolation under these calamities, that no means of lessening or putting an end to the violence and dissensions complained of had been left untried. Peace had been preserved during two years of unexampled difficulty; the good faith of the French nation had been strictly preserved amidst the seductive influence of conquest, and unlimited success had not (as was too often the case) been followed up by unlawful aggression. These were agreeable reflections, and, joined to the peaceful assurances which his Majesty continued to receive from foreign powers, afforded grounds for hope that we should see firmly and securely established that peace which was so essential to the commercial interests, to the happiness, and welfare of this country. That the public peace in this part of the United Kingdom had been pretty generally preserved undisturbed was extremely gratifying, especially to those connected, like himself, with the northern part of the kingdom. That was the first time that the voice of the people of Scotland had had a chance of being heard—the first time that the many had been emancipated from the thraldom of the few, who would have had it believed that they knew better what was good for the people than they themselves—the first time that the Scotch people had come forward to exercise the elective franchise; and, throughout, the elections had been peaceable and orderly. There were various and important reforms which they must still look to; but the people had now a Reformed Parliament, which no longer 96 nominally, but virtually, represented them, and to this Reformed Parliament the people looked with confidence for the redress of grievances; trusting that it would act on those conservative principles (aterm frequently and most grossly misapplied) which were essential to the welfare and prosperity of the country. In the midst of the topics of the King's Speech, the subject of Church Reform was one of the most important. He hailed with delight the prospect of the dignitaries and heads of the establishment lending their aid to the correction of abuses which would be the best means of securing the interests of true religion. It was painful to find that the Church of Ireland must become a subject of separate consideration in any scheme of church reform. Owing to the unhappy state of that country, his Majesty had called for such aid to the Executive Government as would enforce a full and efficient obedience to the laws. It had become necessary to put a stop to the disturbances existing in Ireland. He should no longer trespass on their Lordshipsindulgence, contenting himself with observing that, in voting the Address now proposed, their Lordships would not, as far as he was acquainted with the rules of Parliament, stand pledged to approve the ministerial measures of foreign policy till the papers referred to in the Speech from the Throne should be laid before them for consideration. In conclusion, he begged to second the Address.
§ The Earl of Aberdeen
said, there were parts of the Speech and Address to which, if he did not endeavour to call the attention of their Lordships thus early, he felt that he should fail in his duty. The topics of the Speech opened a wide field of discussion, on which it was not now his intention to enter at large; but there were points that seemed to him to require immediate attention. There were parts of the Address to which he was happy to express his entire assent; there were others on which he desired to express no opinion; but there were some that expressed opinions which he certainly did not profess. He was sure the House must have felt satisfaction at the declaration of his Majesty's firm determination to have recourse to such measures as were indispensably necessary to restore tranquillity to that unfortunate country, so long the subject of discussions in Parliament, and to establish and perpetuate the dominion of the 97 law in Ireland. To any measures calculated to effect that object his humble support should be cordially given, without inquiring too nicely into their precise merits, or considering whence they came, provided they appeared likely to answer the desired end. But this declaration of his Majesty was accompanied by intimations which had excited alarm and uneasiness in his mind, when he saw the manner in which it was proposed to treat the Established Church. He could only express a hope that noble Lords were fully aware of the importance of the subject, but, not knowing what were the measures in contemplation, he would forbear from entering upon the subject; merely trusting that the noble Earl would approach, with due reverence and caution, the sacred edifice on which he prepared to lay his hands. Every man in the House must feel the necessity of caution in relation to such a subject, because with the Church would fall the Monarchy. The part of the subject which he more especially desired to approach was that which was popularly called by the common sense of the people "the Dutch war." He knew it was declared by Ministers that this was a misnomer—that there was nothing like a war—that to predicate "war" of the transaction was merely an exuberance of fancy—that all we had seen was neither more nor less than the execution of a species of judicial award, serving a sort of process of ejectment. As noble Lords opposite had acted in the spirit of attornies, it was fit that they should use the language of attornies. But what did the French marshal (a proper judge of war) say and do? After the termination of the siege of Antwerp, he took and held the garrison as prisoners of war—as prisoners of war they still remained in France. He knew it was proposed that they should be called prisoners of peace by the French government; but how the nature of an act was to be changed by a change of name he did not understand. The proceedings in this quasi war were all anomalous. However, their Lordships would probably recollect an event which bore some degree of resemblance to this—he alluded to the unprovoked and unjustifiable attack of the French on the Portuguese capital when redress was demanded for an insult supposed to have been received in the person of a French subject. He had ventured to maintain in the House that that was no 98 war—that the ships taken were not prizes of war—that there had been no declaration of war, no act of hostility on the part of the Portuguese—in a word, no intimation of war, except the attack of the French. But it was then the policy of noble Lords opposite to connive at an attack on the Portuguese fleet, and strip them of their defensive force against the armaments then preparing to act against them. He did not see how the attack on the citadel of Antwerp, and the capture of the garrison as prisoners of war, could be viewed in a different light from the event alluded to. Yet this attack on the Dutch was no war, according to the noble Lords, though the attack on the Portuguese, according to the same authority, was a war. And how did we and our ally act in this quasi Dutch war? We took the Dutch garrison prisoners of war. In the prosecution of the attack on the Dutch we laid an embargo on Dutch vessels. Observe to what consequences this proceeding might lead. Here we had an embargo, in time of peace, on the subjects of a friendly state; British commerce was indefinitely paralyzed by an Order in Council against a friendly state: this had lasted three months—what was to hinder it from lasting thirty? He had always considered an embargo against a foreign power as a measure adopted in contemplation of war. What was the ground of this embargo? It was impossible to say that it had been laid on as an act of reprisals, for where was the insult or injury that any British subject had sustained from the Dutch? As reprisals, then, the embargo could not be considered, but it might be an act done in contemplation of war. If this were the character of the proceeding, there must be a limit to its duration. It would be extraordinary, indeed, if the commerce of this country, and the interests of a friendly state, should be arbitrarily sacrificed and annihilated by Ministers of the Crown, without complaint or grievance alleged against a foreign power. But it was said we had entered into a treaty with France for the occupation of Antwerp; that rule would justify any iniquitous proceeding, on the ground that two parties had agreed to injure a third, which had not offended either. The Treaty between England and France of the 22nd of October, was stated to be for the execution of the Treaty of the 15th of November, 1831. Now this was untrue, for not only 99 was the surrender of Antwerp unprovided for in the Treaty of November, 1831, but it was absolutely contrary to that Treaty, the twenty-fourth article of which stipulated for its surrender fifteen days after the signing of a final treaty between Holland and Belgium. It was further said, that France and England had acted on the demand of the sovereign of Belgium; but by what right were we to accede to his demand, and employ force against Holland to make her come into our negotiations? Of the Powers who had assembled in Conference, three had maintained that no necessity for this proceeding existed: two determined quite the contrary. It was the more singular that we should have chosen this particular point for interference, as the Conference of London and the British Government had recognized the right of the Dutch to hold Antwerp, till fifteen days after the conclusion of a final treaty. Last summer a project of a treaty was offered to the Dutch, and they were asked to evacuate the Belgian territory by the 20th of July, but the Dutch naturally remonstrated, and said; "This is quite different from the Treaty of November, 1831, by which we were to evacuate fifteen days after a final settlement." The Conference replied to this—"True, but we thought the conclusive Treaty would have been signed long since, and that it would have brought the 20th of July far within the fifteen days." Seeing that the justification of the taking of Antwerp rested entirely on the necessity of executing the Treaty of the 15th of July, he wished their Lordships to look a little to what that Treaty would further lead. He presumed that the capture of Antwerp would not be the only part of the Treaty which would be executed. He presumed Ministers meant to execute other articles contained in the Treaty, as well as things not contained in it, and he therefore would call the attention of the noble Earl at the head of the Administration, to the guarantee relative to the payment of the Belgian Loan, which was contained in the thirteenth article. Now, the thirteenth article, which stipulated the payment of this loan, was to this effect, that the payment of the sura of 8,400,000l. should take place every six months, without any deduction whatever. We did not guarantee that Belgium should pay it, but we entered into a guarantee that it should be paid, and according to Vattel, and every writer 100 on the law of nations, as to the meaning of the word guarantee, we were bound to see the money paid, and even to make war for the purpose of enforcing payment. In this sense of the engagement, it would be admitted that it would be more economical for us to pay the money ourselves than to resort to that mode of securing its payment. Ours was not a contingent guarantee, or a guarantee limited to certain steps to be taken on our part to enforce payment, such as the sending 10,000 men, or the like. If we had entered into such an engagement we should have discharged our obligation by sending the stipulated number of men, whatever might be the result; but ours was a positive, general, and unconditional guarantee that we would see the money paid, and we were therefore bound to use all the means in our power to secure the payment. Now, the time might come, when, the king of the Netherlands not having as efficient an army on foot as at present, the Belgians might say, that they were not in a condition to pay; that, following the example of other great nations, they had remitted taxes to so large an amount, that they thought it better to let the money fructify in the pockets of the people, and that they were not in a condition to make good their engagements. If, under such circumstances, the Dutch were to take steps to enforce the payment, what would be our course? Should we allow another Marshal Gerard, with another army of 80,000 men, to prevent them from doing themselves justice? He hoped the noble Earl would not put that construction on the article in question, that had been already put upon it—namely, that all we were bound to do by the guarantee was to see so much of the debt transferred from the Dutch book to the Belgian. As we had taken such pains to fulfil an article which was not in the Protocols of the Conference, but contingent upon the signature of a treaty, to be signed between the parties, he did hope that the Government of this country would take measures equally effective, to see that the other articles were also complied with. With respect to the Convention between France and England, what, he would ask, were they to understand of its object from what had been its results? That object was avowed to be the mutual delivering up by Belgium and Holland of such parts of territory in the possession of either, as had 101 been decided to belong to the other. Well, how far had that end been accomplished? The citadel of Antwerp had, it was true, been wrested from the king of the Netherlands; but were there not other parts declared to belong to Belgium, still in his possession? Not only that, but was it not known, before any coercive measures had been resorted to, that the means employed for taking the citadel would not be sufficient to get possession of Lillo and Liefkenshoek against the wish of the king of the Netherlands, and that the great object of the large armament sent into Belgium must remain incomplete, until such a state of weather should arrive, as would permit those two forts to be approached by cannon? Here, then, it must have been evident, before the French army marched, that they could not accomplish the whole of the objects for which the Convention had been entered into. He was afraid, however, that the real object of the Convention was different from that which had been avowed. It was, he believed, resolved upon to satisfy the party of the Mouvement in France—that party which was anxious to carry the principles of the Revolution still further; it was entered into for the purpose of strengthening an administration which felt that it could not meet the Chambers, without the support of some popular measure. He was strengthened in this belief by the words in the speech of the king of the French, at the opening of the Chambers, and by the comments on it in some of the official organs of the government, in which it was said, that the dignity and honour of France required such a step; and he believed, that the Administration of this country had been led by the persuasions of that party into the adoption of a course, which, if left to itself, it would not have thought of. Well, he asked, what had been the result of the Convention? The citadel of Antwerp had been taken, Dutch commerce had been crippled, and, what was worse than this, British commerce had been still more restricted than before; and what had we gained? Why, the Scheldt, which before was open, was now closed for a time against all nations, but particularly against the commerce of France, England, and Belgium. A French marshal, it was true, had, at the head of a large army, performed a very gallant feat. An English admiral, at the same time, swept the seas of Dutch ships wherever he could find 102 them; but in what had all this ended? What had we gained by this act of warfare, against a people to whom, at the same moment, hypocritical pretences of friendship were made? He feared that, in the result it would be found that the Dutch would get all the honour of the affair, the French all the profit, and the disgrace of it, might, probably, be divided equally between the two governments, parties to the Convention. He owned, that he for one, was not disposed to join in the raptures of noble Lords at the conduct of the French on this occasion, looking to its probable effects on the future independence of Belgium. They had, it was true, retired from the Belgian soil, but they were still concentrated on its frontier, and three daysmarch would bring them back to their former position. The Prussians were on the other frontier, and, in that position, the motto of an old Scotch family, "I bide my time," might be applied both to France and Prussia. What-ever opinions might be entertained of recent events in Belgium, he owned that, looking to their probable future effects upon that country, he could not but concur in a remark of Mr. Pitt, that the separate and independent national existence of the Austrian Netherlands was absolutely impossible. As to the conduct of France, he owned that, with the experience of history before him, seeing that her ambition had mainly contributed to most of the wars of Europe for more than a century, he was not disposed to give her full credit for any very pacific disposition at the present moment. He should be glad to learn that her policy was altered in this respect, but he had not seen that the revolutionary governments of France were less disposed to warlike measures than those which had a more lasting character. He would admit, that, to preserve peace, it was necessary to be prepared for war; but when he heard one minister at the head of the French government declare that the king of the French would negociate at the head of 500,000 men, and when he heard M. Lafitte, the peace Minister of France, declare that the king would negociate with his hand on the hilt of his sword, he could not place much reliance on the protestations in favour of peace which were made by such men. The principle, that to preserve peace one should be prepared for war, might be true in the instance of small states; but when applied to great 103 nations, which had nothing to fear, it was rather a sign of coming aggression; and when he saw preparations for war still making on so extensive a scale, he repeated, that he placed no very strong reliance on mere declarations in favour of peace. But why, he might ask, should France be desirous of war? She had got, through the condescension of the noble Earl, almost all that she could desire as the result of war—she had got and continued in the possession of Algiers, without any consultation with any of her allies—she had got a footing in Italy, with what good faith he would let the noble Earl declare—and she was latterly increasing her force in that quarter—she had attacked and taken possession of the fleet of our ancient friend and ally Portugal—and, lastly, she had sent an army, and obtained by it possession of a fortress, to conquer which in a much longer time, the great Marlborough would not have thought unworthy of his glory. She had, therefore, as far as such objects as these were concerned, little to gain from war; but, still, looking to the Minister at the head of the government of France, he owned he felt but little confidence in the continued disposition of France for peace. He saw in that Minister a soldier, who, at the moment when he had in his pocket the news of the peace, had caused a great sacrifice of human life, and for no other object, as it appeared to him, than to snatch a single leaf from the laurels which encircled the head of the noble and gallant Duke (the Duke of Wellington) near him. In the continued disposition of such a Minister for peace, he repeated, he had not much confidence. Again, reverting to the result of the late Convention, he must say that Ministers had not advanced, but rather retarded, anything which was to be gained by negotiation. Three out of the five parties to the Conference had disavowed the intervention by force as unjust and unnecessary, and would not treat again with them on the same question. How could it be expected that the king of the Netherlands would treat with the two Powers? So that, in fact, the negotiation was now in a worse state than before. Undoubtedly, the king of the Netherlands might fairly refuse to advance a single step in further negotiation until things were brought back to the same state in which they were when the Convention was formed. Under these circumstances, he could not 104 see on what the hopes expressed in the Speech from the Throne, of the result of further negotiations, were founded, unless indeed it was intended to change the present unjust course. The course pursued by the Five Powers parties to the Conference from the time when their aid was first invoked by the king of the Netherlands, was unjust and inconsistent, for on all occasions the sacrifices to which the king of the Netherlands expressed his willingness to consent were turned against himself. He had gone in the way of sacrifice as far as he could go, but there were points which it would have been base in him to have given up. Such, too, was the feeling of the Dutch people, that even if the King had wished to make further sacrifices, he would not have been able. It was once said, that the Dutch were objects of pity, of wonder, or admiration to Europe. They were at present all three. They now exhibited the spectacle of a Sovereign deserted by those allies to whom he had appealed, and on whom he had relied; but he was supported by the calm and steady enthusiasm of his people, which, because it was calm and steady, was more likely to be permanent. It was impossible for any man to view dispassionately the situation of the king of the Netherlands without feeling, that great injustice had been done to him. It had been said, that the honour and independence of Holland was dear to Great Britain. So they ought to be, and so he trusted they would be, unless the policy of the noble Earl should induce the people to prefer the dignity and interest of France to the honour and independence of their ancient ally. He felt that he had detained the House at considerable length on this subject, but it was one on which he felt very strongly, and though he was not prepared to move any amendment to that part of the Address which related to the affairs of Holland, he felt he should not discharge his duty if he suffered that opportunity to pass without expressing his opinion on a subject in which the honour and interests of the country were so much concerned. He would now call the attention of their Lordships for a few moments to another subject connected with our foreign relations. He had come down to the House that day with some curiosity as to what might be said on the subject of the renewal of our diplomatic relations with Portugal. In the Speech of his Majesty last year was 105 this passage—"The conduct of the Portuguese government, and the repeated injuries to which ray subjects have been exposed, have prevented a renewal of my diplomatic relations with that kingdom."* Remembering that passage of his Majesty's Speech to Parliament at the last Session, he was curious to know, on the present occasion, what pretext would be used to account for the continued suspension of those relations. The cause now assigned was, the existence of a civil war; but the same cause might continue to exist for a century. He remembered that when, in 1830, allusion was made in the Speech from the Throne to the renewal of our former relations with Portugal, a noble Lord (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), who was certainly one of the honestest and most candid of men, said that he thought the renewal of those relations had been too long delayed. That certainly was an honest declaration, and he gave the noble Lord full credit for it; but how did it happen that those relations had not since been renewed? He would not enter at that time into the character of either of the Princes who were contending for the throne of Portugal. He had never approached either of them, and personally he had no knowledge of the character of one or the other. It was not improbable that what had been said of one might be equally true of the other. The question which related to Portugal was very different from that which concerned Belgium and Holland. In the latter there were, he admitted, great difficulties in which way soever it was viewed; but the difficulties which Ministers found in the question of Portugal were of their own creation—at least their continuance was owing to themselves; they could be put an end to by a word. Why, then, delay a matter which might be so easily arranged? Was it that a reformation might be effected in either of the contending princes? Or was it from any doubt as to the general opinions of the people of Portugal? That question was decided long ago? Could it be denied, that but for the foreign aid which had been granted to one of the Contending parties who had taken up his position in a strong town, the contest would have long since been brought to a close? Was it not notorious that money and foreign aid of all kinds had been sent*Hansard, (third series) vol, ix, p. 3.106 to Don Pedro from all quarters? Was it not matter of notoriety that supplies of men and money were publicly raised in this country? This contest, which the noble Earl had advised his Majesty to call a civil war, was a contest carried on by Jews and jobbers in London and elsewhere. If one or both of the parties chose to resort to foreign aid, he (The Earl of Aberdeen) would leave them to settle matters between them; but he thought that we were bound to attend to British interests, and not to sacrifice those interests to that which was known to be the self-love and vanity of certain individuals. In the course of the contest the Foreign Enlistment Act had been openly violated in this country. He would not ask the noble Earl why he had not moved for the repeal of that Act, but he would ask, was the course which some parties had been allowed to pursue in England, neutrality? If it were, he would only say, that if some such neutrality were permitted in another case, Henry 5th would have a good chance of being on the throne of France. Were we not bound to observe this neutrality which we ourselves had so strictly exacted in the case of Spain? But we had not observed this neutrality, and we were, at the present moment, actually in military possession of Lisbon. From some rencontre a Spaniard, who had been the servant of a noble Lord who held some military or civil employment from this Government in Lisbon, he did not know which, was killed. This was considered a case in which it was right to demand satisfaction. Although the matter was fully explained by the Portuguese government, a British admiral was despatched with orders to place his ships in a position in which they could command the city of Lisbon, and there they remained. Where was the neutrality of this proceeding? Looking at this question as it affected our commerce, he thought that at the present moment it was of the utmost importance to those interests that the Portuguese question should be set at rest as far as we were concerned. We had now an opportunity of advancing our interests by increased intercourse with Portugal, and particularly with Spain, the Sovereign of which was now acting by the advice of two of the ablest and most intelligent men in his kingdom—men who (and he spoke from personal knowledge) were the most disposed to favour British intercourse of 107 any who had for many years directed the government of that country. Why, then, he again asked, was not the question of our diplomatic relations with Portugal set at rest, when its settlement held out the certain prospect of so many advantages to this country? There was an additional inducement in the fact, that the ablest man, and certainly one in whom the greatest confidence might be placed, the Marquess of Palmella, had abandoned the cause of Don Pedro. [" No, no."] He would ask his noble friend who cried "No," whether that nobleman had not separated himself from the service of Don Pedro, and whether that noble Marquess was not at this moment more afraid of the success of the jacobin supporters of Don Pedro than of the despotism of Don Miguel? Considering the principles avowed by the jacobin party in the support of Don Pedro, and looking at what was going on in Spain, he felt that by allowing our relations with Portugal to remain as they were, we were hazarding our dearest interests in both countries. At a time when Ministers were professing to augment and to consolidate existing institutions, he trusted that they would not fail to put an end to this absurd and unjustifiable war, which was casting opprobrium upon the good faith of England, which was disgracing the country in the eyes of foreign powers, and which was pregnant with injury to all our best and dearest interests. Outraged and insulted as the people of Portugal had been by us in every way, he was still confident that they were most anxious to renew those engagements of amity with England which had existed so long between the two countries, for the common benefit of both. He therefore entreated the noble Earl opposite not to bow to the prejudices of others—for sure he was, that the prejudices which now misled the noble Earl were not his own—and to replace the country in a situation which was not less necessary to its honour than essential to its interests. He was unable, in his exhausted state, to enter into a discussion on the other parts of his Majesty's Speech; but he regretted it the less, as he should have other opportunities for declaring his opinions on all the various and important topics which it embraced.
§ Earl Grey
said, that the long and desultory speech of the noble Earl had been uncalled for by the language of the gracious Speech from the Throne, nor was it 108 incumbent on the noble Earl to enter into all the subjects which he had discussed with needless prolixity. He had hoped that the discussion into which the noble Earl had now dragged them would have been deferred to another day; for in framing the Speech, one of the first objects kept in view had been to avoid anything which was calculated to provoke such an expression of feeling as that into which the noble Earl had just permitted himself to be betrayed. The noble Earl must see, that the Speech was couched in terms which called for the expression of no opinion; and that being the case, and it having been stated in the Speech that his Majesty had given directions that there should be laid before their Lordships the various documents—voluminous they undoubtedly were, as the noble Earl had sneeringly called them—which were necessary for their information on the affairs of Belgium and Holland, he had hoped that, until their Lordships were in possession of those documents, this discussion might have been deferred. He had entertained this hope the more particularly, because, when he adverted to the other parts of the Speech, embracing, as it did, subjects of such vast and paramount importance as to render an expression of the full and unanimous opinion of the House upon them a matter most desirable, he had not expected to find among their Lordships any person ready to lead the House away from the consideration of those topics to the consideration of topics of much less interest to the community at large. The noble Earl, however, thought otherwise. Those points of the Address which others deemed so important he had passed over with a light and easy foot; and the only two points which he conceived to be worthy of his notice were the present relations of this country with Belgium and Holland, and the state of the war now raging in Portugal between the two princes of the House of Braganza. He did not approve of the practice—and he hoped that his own custom was in conformity with the sentiment which he was then avowing—but he did not approve of the practice of imputing personal motives to any of their Lordships, who, in discharge of what they considered their duty to their country, expressed opinions different from his own. But the noble Earl had said, giving him a credit which be could not take to him- 109 self, and which, if he could take, he should not admit to be a credit—the noble Earl, he repeated, had said, that he was not acting; upon opinions which he held himself, but upon opinions which were prompted by the prejudices of others, who were swayed by motives of personal vanity and passion. He did not know exactly, but he could guess, he thought, to whom the noble Earl alluded. He could have wished the noble Earl to have been more explicit. As it was, he would only say, that the individual who was most concerned in these affairs was as incapable of acting upon opinions which he did not sincerely feel, and of sacrificing the interests of his country to the unworthy motives which the noble Earl had insinuated, as any of their Lordships—ay, as incapable of such misconduct even as the noble Earl himself. If there were a man in the world who acted less than another from motives of passion and of vanity, it was the individual in question—whose diligence, sagacity, and laborious investigation into all the important affairs connected with these negotiations, were readily acknowledged by all who witnessed them. He above all men was bound to acknowledge those exertions, for he had seen them. Let him not then have this shield cast over him, for if that individual had erred, he too had erred; for not a single step had been taken in which he had not, and in which all his colleagues had not, he believed, fully concurred. He must, therefore, repel this mode of imputing personal motives without cause and without foundation. He would not follow the example which the noble Earl had set him; but if he wished to describe the conduct which would be pursued by a person who was anxious to embarrass the Government—who was anxious to give encouragement to those who were desirous of retarding the progress of a difficult and painful negotiation—who was anxious to continue that state of things, which, whilst it continued, must embarrass all the Powers of Europe—who, for that purpose, was anxious to inflame old prejudices, to revive old resentments, to re-kindle obsolete animosities, to excite jealousy, and to sow distrust where, fortunately for the world, no jealousy and no distrust existed at present—he would say, that he could not describe that conduct better than by referring to the course which the noble Earl 110 had pursued. He, for one, could not agree with the noble Earl in the propriety of canvassing these questions now. He was aware that it had been the practice, upon the discussion ensuing upon the King's Speech, to enter into a consideration of all the various interests of the country. Had the noble Earl stated his opinions generally upon the Belgic and the Portuguese question on the present occasion, no objection could have been made to such a course; but when no opinion was called for by the Speech, and when information was promised, he knew not what purpose, unless it were to increase the embarrassments of Government in a negotiation yet pending, the long, and irrelevant, and disconnected dissertation of the noble Earl could possibly answer. As, however, the noble Earl had started the subject, he must of course say a few words in reply; but he would not enter at length into the discussion of a Speech which was so desultory, so rambling, so disjointed, so little connected, or rather so unconnected in its different parts, that to follow the noble Earl through it was absolutely impossible. He would, however, state generally the policy which had been pursued by his Majesty's Government, and he had little doubt but that that statement would prove satisfactory to the House. He called upon their Lordships to recollect the situation in which the present Government had found the affairs of Belgium and Holland, on their first accession to power. The king of Holland had been expelled from Belgium; he had called upon the Five Powers to interfere in his behalf; the Conference created by that call had interfered so far as to prescribe to the contending parties an armistice within the limits of the ancient lines of demarcation between Holland and Belgium existing in 1790. That was an admission of the possibility of the separation of the two countries. Subsequently to that period the noble Duke opposite had more than once acknowledged in his place in Parliament that the re-union of Belgium and Holland had become impossible. That it had become so, any man who took the trouble of examining the case would speedily be convinced. In that situation, what line of policy was it the duty of the King's Ministers to pursue? They had taken up the work under the circumstances which he had already described; 111 a separation existed; a re-union was ac-knowleged to be impossible. What then was it their duty to do? To effect the separation on such terms as would tend to the advantage of both countries, and to the preservation of the general peace of Europe. On that work the Ministers entered; with that single view they persisted; and by that view they had, up to this moment, to the best of their abilities, directed their course. But, said the noble Earl, "it is a joke, a mere farce, to talk of the independence of Belgium; it is a small country, it borders on France; France will bide her time, and whenever that time comes, will overrun and make it her own." He would not then enter into an examination of the soundness of that position. He would admit that there were not all the securities for the independence of Belgium, which a statesman could wish; but he would at the proper time contend that, looking at the condition of Holland and Belgium respectively, looking at the general situation of Europe, looking at the different passions which the Belgic revolution had called into play in the different states of the Continent, the separate existence of Belgium under a neutrality avowed and guaranteed by the Five Powers was the best arrangement possible for Holland itself, and also for Europe at large. First with respect to Holland; he was not contending against the interest of that power when he said, that the separate existence of Belgium as an independent state was not for the benefit of Holland. The noble Earl admitted, that she could only be united to France, and if the union with Holland were impossible, and the nnion with France most dangerous for Holland, what could be found out better for Holland than making Belgium independent and guaranteeing her neutrality? But if Belgium were to be a separate and independent state, the opening of the Scheldt was necessary to her very existence; for, deprived of the navigation of that river, prohibited from using that channel for the importation of all the articles of foreign commerce, and for the exportation of all the articles of domestic industry, in the production of which her inhabitants excelled. Belgium must labour under a continual dissatisfaction, exciting a sense of continued injury, which would soon make her look to France for relief from the oppression of Holland. He 112 disclaimed the imputation that they had been sacrificing the interests of Holland, by endeavouring to obtain for Belgium what was absolutely necessary for Belgium if she were to exist at all as an independent country, for let their Lordships consider what was the alternative;—The division of Belgium between Holland and Prussia and France. Such a partition would have extended the territory of France, and brought France into direct contact with both Holland and Prussia. Now if the noble Earl had any pretensions to the character of a statesman, he would never give an opinion in favour of such a partition. He was sure that the noble Earl must recollect the opinions of De Witt, and of William 3rd, on this very point. Both those great men, both those illustrious politicians, had deprecated that advance of the frontiers of France which such a partition would have necessarily created. Was there, then, any other mode of giving away Belgium without incurring, not the risk, but the certainty of a general war throughout Europe? The fact was, that no such mode existed; and even if there had, no country would have accepted of so dangerous a gift,. Why, then. Ministers had no choice. Whether the separate existence of Belgium were secure or not,—whether its independence were satisfactory or not—the way which had been taken was the only way in which its separate existence and independence could be at all created. That was the principle on which Ministers had proceeded in these negotiations, and he should at a proper time be prepared to show, that they had adhered to that principle faithfully, and that, in adhering to it, they had acted with all due regard to the real interests of Holland. But it had been said, that he had hypocritically professed friendship to Holland—that country which had always been our friend, and to which we owed so many obligations. Now, at the risk of being again taunted with hypocrisy, a charge which the whole course of his life sufficiently refuted, he would frankly avow, that be considered the independence and security of Holland as a great European interest, nay more, as a matter of great importance to the safety of this country. He candidly avowed that to be his opinion; but when he heard it seriously advanced that we owed great obligations 113 to Holland, he could not help recollecting that Holland had not always been our friend—he could not help recollecting that in the two last wars in which we had been engaged, Holland had taken her stand, without provocation and without injury on our part, in the ranks of our enemies. In the war with America, when we were in greater danger than we ever were before, and he trusted than we should ever be again,—when we had lost our superiority upon our own element, the ocean—when the combined fleet of our enemies swept the Channel, blockaded Plymouth and even threatened to land and take it—when a line of battle ship was captured off our own coasts, and in sight of our own arsenals,—when a confederacy was formed for the express purpose of depriving us of our maritime superiority—and when the first victory which shook that confederacy asunder was the victory over the Dutch off the Doggerbank, gained by Admiral Parker—was not the whole population of Holland actively engaged in the hostility which was then directed against the power and prosperity of England? The noble Earl might shake his head; bat if he intended to express a doubt on the subject, he had only to refer to the history of those times in order to have it removed at once and for ever. Again, during the last war, let the noble Earl ask any officer who remembered the retreat from Holland, whether we owed the Dutch people any obligations for the kindness and hospitality with which they then received us? He only mentioned this to show that the injury and the injustice which had been committed was not so entirely upon our side as the noble Earl and his friends in opposition contended. He had not, however, on this account any unfriendly feeling towards Holland. He lamented exceedingly that a separation had taken place between Holland and Belgium, but the separation having taken place, the great object in the recent negotiations had been that it should be settled upon the best terms for both parties. As to territorial arrangements, he must state, that Holland had been justly treated. When the papers were printed, he would undertake to prove, that Ministers had not exacted from Holland anything that was inconsistent with Dutch interests, or that was not necessary to the security and independence of Belgium. He admitted that many and great 114 difficulties had occurred in the course of the negotiations. There were times when Belgium would not accede to the reasonable concessions which were expected from her. That disposition, however, had undergone a change. That which was originally a mediation, from the course of events became an arbitration, and at last, after consulting on the best mode in which a separation between Holland and Belgium could take place, a treaty was signed by the plenipotentiaries of the Five Powers—a treaty which was stated to be final, which was to be imposed on both countries, which was accepted (unwillingly, he admitted) by Belgium, but which, having been accepted, we were bound to carry into full effect. It was impossible, without having the papers on the Table, to go into all the details of the question; but there was one point connected with them on which he must claim credit with the House. The noble Earl, in the course of his speech, had taken care to draw a distinction between the course of policy approved by three of the Powers, and that pursued by the other two. Now, on that point, he would beg leave to set the noble Earl right. He would tell the noble Earl, that during the whole course of the negotiations, the points on which he founded his objections to the policy of the English and French Governments were the precise points on which the Five Powers were always unanimous. What the noble Earl might say to this he could not conjecture; but he could not suppose that the noble Earl, who said, that Ministers were led by others, would give them credit for leading others themselves. This, however, was the fact—that, at last, when no mode of delay, nor chicanery, no artifice had been left untried by the party to whom the noble Earl was that night lending his countenance, it was stated in the last protocol by the Ministers of the Five Powers unanimously, that all hopes of bringing the negotiations to a fortunate issue being at an end, they must now proceed to coercion. The noble Earl had said, that the protocols had become tiresome to read. He admitted that fact, and regretted the length of time during which these negotiations had continued. But he must at length speak out. When it was found, from the endless chicanery and delay of the king of Holland, that he would 115 never come into any terms which did not shut Belgium out from the navigation of the Scheldt, or which did not hold out to him a chance of the recovery of Belgium, what was it the duty of the Ministers of this country to do? Would it not have been worse than ridiculous to have remained longer in a dubious state of peace, which kept us in perpetual alarm of war? By all the Five Powers of the Conference coercion was deemed a necessary measure. The mode only was in dispute; and that being the case, it did appear to him that the only proper course was, for England and France to unite, as they had united, to bring Holland to reasonable terms. This was the situation of affairs when the Convention of the 22nd of October was signed. He would confess that it was with great pain that he had signed that document, but he was convinced that there was no other course left for him consistent with the honour and interest of England, and with the general tranquillity of Europe. The result of that Convention had been the capture of the Citadel of Antwerp. But then the noble Earl asked, "How does the capture of Antwerp bring you nearer to the object which you have in view?." He would answer that question by stating, that having given the Citadel of Antwerp up to Belgium, a great chance of creating a war for its possession between Holland and Belgium was removed; and that, having taken the citadel from Holland, a great temptation to go to war for its retention was taken away from that power. "But," continued the noble Earl, "you have the Scheldt now closed against you, which never was closed against you before." Now, before he admitted this inference, he must tell the noble Lord that he disputed his facts. He admitted that the Scheldt had once been closed by the king of Holland, but then it had been subsequently opened by the Five Powers, who had informed his Majesty, that if that river continued closed by his commands they should consider it an act of hostility. But the noble Earl insisted that the Scheldt was closed now; so it was against France and England, in consequence of the embargo which we had placed upon Dutch vessels in our ports; but the embargo which we had placed on those vessels prevented US from urging the shutting up off 116 the Scheldt as a just cause of war against Holland. With respect to the two fortresses alluded to by the noble Earl it had not been thought necessary for the French army to remain to take possession of Forts Lillo and Liefkenshoek, although, according to the terms of the Convention, they were dependencies of the Citadel of Antwerp, and under the command of the governor of that fortress. The noble Earl was too hasty in his observation, when he stated the French army had retired, because they felt that they could have done nothing against those forts. He was well aware that some persons, and those not exactly old women and children, had used just the same language about Antwerp. They had said that, owing to the season of the year, the dampness of the climate, and the insalubrity and inclemency of the weather, the French would "die like rotten sheep" before the walls of that fortress; but the fact had turned out contrary to the hopes, and he might even add to the wishes, of such persons; and he had little doubt that if the experiment had been tried, the result would have been equally fatal to the hopes and wishes of these persons both at Lillo and Liefkenshoek. Conceiving that the continuance of the embargo was sufficient to effect the remaining objects, the French Government had withdrawn its army from the walls of Antwerp with a good faith and honour which justified the confidence which he felt in the preservation of the general peace of Europe. The noble Earl was glad, he said, to hear, that even now, under the revolutionary government of France, good faith and honour were not mere idle words. The noble Earl might perhaps, succeed to the place which he (Earl Grey) had then the honour to fill in his Majesty's Councils. As far as he was concerned, he would say that, for his own comfort and happiness, the sooner the noble Earl did succeed to it the better; but he could not flatter the noble Earl by adding to that declaration, "the better it will be for the country:" for, speaking conscientiously, he did not believe that it would be so. He would, however, put it to the noble Earl, whether, in case he should succeed to the office he at present had the honour to hold, the noble Earl thought that, after directing such violent attacks, not only against the Government but the people of France, 117 he should be able to administer the affairs of this country as well and as amicably as he would be able to administer them by using wiser, and gentler, and more conciliatory language? "But then," proceeded the noble Earl, "the attack upon Antwerp was not made with the single view of ensuring to Holland and Belgium a separate existence on principles of mutual security and independence, but it was made to please the parly of the Mouvement;" and then, with an inconsistency which would be wonderful in any but the party to which the noble Earl belonged, he aded, "it was also made to keep the present French government in office." Now he had been led to imagine that the party of the Mouvement was adverse to the present government of France, and he must therefore ask the noble Lord to explain how the party of the Mouvement could be pleased by a measure, which was calculated to keep their antagonists in office. He would tell the noble Earl, however, that he considered the security of the present ministers of France in their offices to be a question of grave interest to England, and not only to England, but to Europe also, for on their maintenance in power, the preservation of the general tranquillity of Europe, he believed, mainly depended. He felt himself unable, and at the same time he did not feel it necessary, to go further into this subject than to state, that the principles on which the negotiations were conducted being the mutual security and independence of Holland and Belgium, were repeatedly frustrated and delayed by some parties—he would not say who they were—by whom the Dutch government was encouraged to persevere in a series of measures, which, if further persisted in, mu st have been destructive not only to the Dutch themselves, but also to the peace of the world; and that it was their opposition only which had prevented this measure from being brought to a successful and satisfactory issue. The noble Earl had endeavoured to throw ridicule on the assertion that at present there was no war with Holland. Ridicule it as the noble Earl might, the fact was so—there was no war with Holland, though there might be hostile measures in operation, made equally for peace or war. If war should take place, the vessels captured and embargoed would be declared good prize; if peace should take place, they would 118 one and all be restored. Nothing, he assured their Lordships, would give him, individually, greater pleasure than such an acquiescence on the part of the king of Holland with the wishes of the English and French governments as would enable us to restore to him all the valuable ships now detained in our ports on account of his mistaken obstinacy. "But a different course," said the noble Earl, "might have been pursued—the Five Powers might have united and compelled Belgium to subscribe to the terms which they proposed." To this assertion he must answer, no: it was necessary, if Belgium was to be an independent state, to provide and secure for her the means of carrying on her commerce, and to such provisions the Dutch monarch had positively refused his assent. But then the noble Earl says, "we should have used firm language; "in other words, he supposed the noble Earl meant to say, that we should have gone to war to compel Belgium to accept the terms of Holland. We might have had a war if such measures had been resorted to; but whether it would have been such a war as would have answered the noble Earl's expectations, must be very doubtful. The consequences of such a war,—which would have been a war of principles, and which, if once commenced, would have kindled a conflagration in every quarter of Europe,—he could not contemplate without horror, and he had, therefore, felt an earnest desire to avoid that evil,—of all evils which desolate humanity the greatest,—which the Ministers were told on their accession to office they could not prevent for two months, but which, by the gracious interposition of Providence, they had now prevented for more than two years. He desired their Lordships to give his Majesty's Government credit, until the papers were laid before them and printed, for having endeavoured to secure to Holland a frontier which gave her such means of defence as she had never possessed before—for having conferred upon Holland advantages which she had never previously enjoyed—and for stipulating that she should open the navigation of the Scheldt—a measure which would not injure her own commerce, but which was absolutely necessary to the independence of Belgium. He would undertake to show, at the proper time, that the principles 119 on which the English Government had acted were fair and just—that they were not selfish—that they rested on a principle of equal justice to Belgium and to Holland—that they were calculated to secure to both, advantages which were necessary to their mutual tranquillity and prosperity, and that they were likely to be conducive to the permanent peace and tranquillity of Europe. The noble Earl had next proceeded to throw great blame on the King's Government for its conduct in the contest now raging in Portugal. Looking to the origin of that contest, he must again say, as he had said with regard to Belgium, the fault was not with Ministers. They could not have prevented that contest. They were not parties to any of those transactions which placed Don Miguel on the throne of Portugal, by the violation of all the obligations of moral duty, by the violation of the oath which he had taken to the Monarch of this country, and by the violation of the engagements which he had contracted with the other Powers of Europe. They were not parties to any of those transactions which placed him on a bad eminence before all the Sovereigns of Europe in the character of a usurper, whom those Sovereigns would not acknowledge on account of his usurpation, and with whom they all of them, Spain not excepted, deemed it right to drop all diplomatic connexion. This was no work of the present Ministers. The usurpation and the breaking off diplomatic intercourse took place before they came into office, and had then continued for some time. The noble Earl went out of office; at that time a recognition of Don Miguel had been promised, but the consummation of that promise, that consummation for which the noble Earl now so devoutly prayed, had not taken place. The noble Earl required an amnesty as a preliminary condition to that recognition. That amnesty was not fairly promised, and certainly was not fairly carried into effect by Don Miguel. From the moment it was called for, all the cruelty, all the violence, and all the persecution, which the noble Earl was so desirous to stop, had raged with aggravated power. The prisons had been filled with women of rank, who were compelled to herd with the meanest malefactors. All the men of rank who were friendly to free government had either died on the scaffold, or had been in- 120 carcerated, or had been driven into exile and poverty. In addition to all this, there had been inflicted upon British commerce so many injuries, that we were at last compelled to insist on their reparation. The noble Earl accused his Majesty's advisers of having allowed the unsettled state of things in Portugal to continue. But how were they to prevent the continuance? How could they interfere in the quarrel? On the one side there was a usurper, against whom England had, if she had thought fit to insist upon it, a legitimate cause of war, who had placed himself upon the throne of Portugal contrary to the engagements which he had formed with the sovereign of this country, and with whom we had ceased for some time, on that very account, to have any diplomatic connexion. On the other side, there was a legitimate Queen, acknowledged by our Government, and received as the queen of Portugal by two of our sovereigns, Geo. 4th, and Wm. 4th. The noble Earl said, that this war we might have prevented; but would it have been consistent either with the honour or with the mural duty of this country to have said to Don Pedro: "You, the father of the Queen of Portugal, shall not be allowed to establish the rights which we ourselves have acknowledged you to possess?" The noble Earl appeared to intimate that we ought to have used this language to Don Pedro, and that we ought to have followed the language up by preventing him from making war on his usurping brother Don Miguel. He could only say, that we could not have pursued such a course towards Don Pedro without bringing down upon ourselves that general reprobation from the world which we had brought down upon ourselves by firing upon the vessels which were carrying out his troops to Terceira. He thought that we could not, in common justice, have said to Don Pedro: "You shall not establish your daughter's claims against Don Miguel, whom we call a usurper, and with whom we have ceased, in consequence, to hold diplomatic relations." But not having done this, what was it that the noble Earl would have us to do? To enforce the law? The noble Earl says, "the Foreign Enlistment Bill has not been enforced." Now he (Earl Grey) had no hesitation in saying, that he looked upon the Foreign Enlistment Bill as an impolitic meaisure, but as law it still ex- 121 isted. When ships were seized in the river for an alleged violation of the provisions of that Act, he had said, "Let the law be enforced," and had referred the cases to the King's Advocate; but the King's Advocate, on looking at the evidence, had reported to him, that there was no evidence on which the detention of the ships could be maintained. As a proof of his desire to enforce the law, he would mention another fact, and that was, that the admiral commanding the fleet of Don Pedro, being a British officer, had been dismissed from his Majesty's service in consequence. But the noble Earl complained that we now had an armed force at Lisbon, and that we were in military possession of that port. As to the military possession, that he must deny; but that we had an armed force at Lisbon he readily admitted; and moreover would contend that we were justified in having it there. If we had not had it there, the Ministers would have been besieged by numberless petitions from British merchants, all praying them to send out that force for their protection which was now fortunately within their call. What would have been the invectives of the noble Earl, ready as he was upon all occasions to pour his invectives upon his Majesty's Government, if, in consequence of there being no check upon that violent police which now rioted undisturbed in Lisbon, they had plundered the property and destroyed the life of every British subject resident in that place? What would have been his accusations against Ministers for having neglected British interests, if they had not stationed a naval force in the Tagus? That would have been a charge against which he should have defended himself with greater difficulty than he generally found in defending himself and his colleagues against the violent vituperations of the noble Earl. He scarcely knew how to answer the noble Earl, when he heard him speak of the deliberate attempt of the police of Lisbon to assassinate a servant of Lord William Russell's as a mere accidental fray on their part. Accidental it could scarcely be, when it was followed up, not only by threats that they would serve the master as they had served the man, but also by an attempt to burst into his house. Such was the insecurity occasioned by this violent conduct on the part of the police, that no British merchant thought himself safe until that force ar- 122 rived in the river. But the admiral there had orders not to interfere in case of any political disturbance between the partisans of Don Pedro and Don Miguel; and he was sure that all who knew that gallant officer would admit that no man could have executed his orders with greater discretion and forbearance than the gallant officer to whom he was alluding. He certainly did lament the unfortunate state of things existing in Portugal, with the well-being of which country the interests of Great Britain were intimately connected; and there was no opportunity of which he and his colleagues would not avail themselves to restore peace in that country, but, to effect this result, neutrality he considered to be indispensable. He would not, at the present moment, detain their Lordships by describing the unfortunate consequences which would result if Spain departed from a neutral course of policy. He would not anticipate such an event; for it was the wish of himself and his colleagues, in conjunction with Spain, to restore peace in Portugal on such terms as would render it permanent. The present government were not responsible for the afflicting circumstances in which that country was placed; but it was, nevertheless, their most anxious desire to see an end put to them as speedily as possible. He had now said all upon this subject that he conceived to be necessary; and he assured the noble Earl that he should be prepared to meet him whenever he chose to bring the question in a more distinct form under their Lordshipsnotice. Adverting, though with reluctance, to that part of his Majesty's Speech which related to Ireland, he must express his regret at the necessity which existed for the application of strong measures to that country; but he did nothing more than his duty to his Sovereign and his country, when he declared, that the authority of the law must be upheld; violence and disorder repressed; and all attempts which might be made to put an end to the Legislative Union, fairly and fully resisted; for he perfectly coincided in the opinion expressed by his two noble friends, who had so eloquently moved and seconded the Address before the House, that the effect of the Repeal of the Union would be ruin to both countries. The noble Earl opposite had stated to their Lordships, that he feared some hostility to the interests of the Established Church was implied in 123 the manner in which allusion was made, in his Majesty's Speech, to the necessity of reform with regard to that institution. He (Earl Gey) thought that anything of that nature had been carefully guarded against in the phraseology of the Speech from the Throne. He felt the necessity of effecting reform with respect to the Church, and he believed that a great majority of the members of the Established Church and the clergy themselves joined with him in that opinion; but he wished to effect that reform, as had been stated by his noble friend, on conservative principles. What he wished to do was, to uphold and not endanger the Church—to remove those abuses which produced general discontent and dissatisfaction, and to place it on such a footing as to command the respect of those who adhered to, and even of those who dissented from it.
§ The Earl of Aberdeen
rose to offer a few observations to the House, in consequence of the noble Earl opposite having imputed to him unworthy motives because he had thought proper to advocate what he conceived to be the just claims of the king of Holland. The noble Earl had accused him of being actuated by a desire to embarrass his Majesty's Government. Now, he could assure the noble Earl, that he should be ever ready to lend his feeble aid to embarrass the progress of injustice and oppression; and he declared that there was no act which he had ever done that gave him greater satisfaction than the endeavour he had made to uphold that cause which appeared to him to be the cause of justice, and right, and of England. The noble Earl, perhaps, might recollect that at the time when this country went to war with Holland, we also were at war with France; and Mr. Fox at that period said that the British Ministers must be in the pay of France to engage in such a war. At the present moment we were in a different situation—we were friends with France, and at war with Holland; and he would leave his Majesty's Ministers to imagine what Mr. Fox would have said had he lived to witness this state of affairs.
§ The Duke of Wellington
was surprised that the noble Earl opposite, having admitted the propriety of discussing the topics contained in the King's Speech, should have thought fit to find fault with his noble friend (the Earl of Aberdeen) for adverting, on the present occasion, to the questions of Belgium, Holland, and 124 Portugal. There could be no doubt that it was the duty of his noble friend, entertaining the opinions he did on those particular subjects, to avail himself of the first opportunity to state to their Lordships what those opinions were. The noble Earl opposite had insinuated, in one part of his speech, that it was the object of some noble Lords on that side of the House to create difficulties to embarrass his Majesty's Government, and that, indeed, they had created all the difficulties which the Ministers had met with. He had seen charges of a similar nature openly published in the public newspapers—to the effect that some of them had given advice to the king of the Netherlands what course to pursue in the late transactions relating to Belgium. He could tell the noble Lords opposite, that if he had advised the king of the Netherlands how to act, they would have found much greater difficulty in carrying into execution their measures of embargo and seizure than they had yet experienced. He could have told the king of the Netherlands that which he happened to know to be true—that, for some days after the issuing of the Order in Council, placing an embargo on Dutch vessels, the mouth of the Thames remained open, unprovided against attack; and that there was nothing to prevent the king of the Netherlands taking ample revenge for the injuries Holland had received. If he had been the adviser of the king of the Netherlands, he might have urged his Dutch majesty to take advantage of this favourable circumstance; but he was glad to say that the king of the Netherlands had acted a wiser part; and he would have acted still more wisely, in his opinion, if he had allowed British ships to resort to his ports. If he had done that, he would have shown the embargo to be impracticable and an entire failure, and he would have found that the country which he governed would have carried on as much commerce with British merchants as it did previous to the issuing of the Order in Council he had just alluded to. He, therefore, regarded with contempt insinuations which had been thrown out against the honour of those persons who entertained sentiments similar to those expressed by his noble friend, and who took the present opportunity of stating them to the House. The noble Earl opposite had been pleased to refer to an opinion which he (the Duke of Wellington) had expressed respecting the 125 practicability of effecting the re-union of Belgium and Holland. It was very true that he had stated, on a very early occasion after quitting office, that he did not believe it to be possible to re-establish the union between those two countries, but the union he alluded to was a legislative union; and he thought the noble Earl opposite, when reminded of the circumstance, that he himself had instigated the Prince of Orange to offer himself to the Belgians for the purpose of being chosen sovereign, would acknowledge that he at one time had some notion of re-establishing the two countries under the dominion of one sovereign. The noble Earl had stated to the House, that the present Government bad done nothing to cause any hesitation on the part of the king of Holland to sign the treaty which had been proposed for his acceptance. Now his opinion was, that from the very first moment the present Ministers had the charge of the negotiations respecting Belgium, they had abandoned the cause of the king of Holland. He bad frequently stated that while he was in office the cause of the king of Holland was considered the cause of the British Government, and that almost the only business of our Minister in the Conferences was to take care of the interests of Holland. But from the moment the present Ministers had the management of the negotiations, they abandoned that interest, and he would presently give their Lordships sufficient proofs of the truth of this statement. They began by abandoning the interest of Holland when they admitted the independence of Belgium in 1830, scarcely a month after entering into office, and in carrying on the Conferences without calling for the presence of the minister of the king of the Netherlands. They afterwards fixed on what was called the bases of a treaty, and the very moment those bases were offered to the king of the Netherlands he accepted them. The noble Earl had charged the king of Holland with a desire to recover his lost dominion of Belgium. If this were true, how happened it that he at once accepted those bases of treaty? Those bases were declared over and over again to be unalterable and irrevocable; and as France agreed with the other Powers on this subject, Belgium might easily have been forced to accede to them. But it presently began to be discovered that there was a possi- 126 bility of the election of Prince Leopold as sovereign of Belgium; and, ever afterwards, the whole conduct of the British Government appeared to be guided by that consideration. From that moment the good of Holland was considered a secondary object in comparison with the advantage of Belgium. From that moment difficulties began to occur, and they found it necessary, day after day, to make better terms for Belgium, and left Holland to find her way out of the negotiations in the best way she could. The consequence was, that those bases, which had been declared to be irrevocable, were changed, and new Articles were framed, which the king of the Netherlands was called upon to accept. These, however, he declined, and the Conference, which was at first called together for the purpose of reconciling the revolted subjects of the king of the Netherlands to his authority, and which afterwards was converted into a mediatory Conference, finished by becoming a Conference of arbitrators. The arbitrators then proceeded to draw up twenty-four new Articles, which were rejected by the king of Holland; and after considerable consideration, accepted by Belgium. Now, their Lordships would naturally suppose that his Majesty's Government, being aware of the repugnance of the king of Holland to accede to these terms, would not have been in a hurry to force them again upon him in the shape of a treaty. But in a short time after, on the 15th of November, 1831, these Articles were turned into a treaty, which from that time to this had been the source of continual divisions. It was curious enough, that two of the parties to this treaty, which was likewise stated to be unalterable and irrevocable, did actually make considerable alterations in it after it had been signed by Belgium. When this treaty came to be signed, Austria, Prussia, and Russia were found not to agree to it. The noble Earl asked, "Did we influence those powers?"—" Yes, we did." He knew what the result of this Conference would be, as soon as the cause of Holland was abandoned by the British Minister. From that time it was abandoned by the other ministers, parties to the Conference; and a proof that it was, might be found in the fact that those ministers were not authorized by their sovereigns, in February, to ratify the treaty. He went further, and said, that, in these very acts of ratify- 127 cation by those three Powers, it was understood that England and France were the Powers which pushed this measure forward, and not the other three Powers. The king of Prussia said, that, 'In sending in his ratification, he expects that the Ministers of the signing Powers will imme-diately occupy themselves with the rao-difications which might be made in the Treaty in favour of Holland, and which, without altering the substance of the twenty-four Articles, might be supplementary and explanatory of them, and have the same force and value as the other Articles; and Prussia considers herself more under the necessity of in-sisting upon this point, in consequenceof the assurances, frequently repeated by France and England, that the moment for taking these important modifications into consideration ought to present itself immediately after the ratification'. Was it possible, that the king of the Netherlands should have known what was then passing in this country? The emperor of Russia, in his note accompanying his ratification, spoke still more strongly in favour of those modifications of the treaty on behalf of Holland. After this, negotiations re commenced, and considerable progress was being made in bringing matters to a conclusion, when the Belgian minister came forward and said, that he could not submit to any alteration of the treaty unless Antwerp was first ceded. The business of the British Cabinet at such a juncture should have been to have per suaded the Belgian minister to give up this point; but they did nothing like it. The king of the Netherlands sent no an swer to the proposition, and from that me ment, the capture of Antwerp was the great object kept in view. He was thoroughly persuaded that the noble Earl (Earl Grey) would not be able to disprove one word of what he had advanced, as it was founded upon the contents of the documents them selves. His noble friend (the Earl of Aberdeen) had been blamed by the noble Earl, because he had stated his firm belief that the attack upon Antwerp arose out of a desire, on the part of the French govern ment, to conciliate the party of the Mouve ment. He entirely concurred with his noble friend. It was his opinion, that no man was more interested in preserving peace than the king of France; and he would take this opportunity of correcting his noble friend in a historical point, which 128 regarded the conduct of Marshal Soult. His noble friend was mistaken in supposing that Marshal Soult fought the battle of Toulouse, knowing at the time that peace had been concluded; that he could assure his noble friend was not the case. He was thoroughly convinced, indeed, that Marshal Soult, like others, was obliged at present to attend to the state of parties in France, and that the British Government, in order to assist that of France, had seconded this strange enterprise—not very honourable to this country, and very disastrous to Holland. The noble Earl had not attempted to answer that part of the speech of his noble friend where he had argued that the occupation of Antwerp had not advanced the object in view. True it was, that the king of Holland had thus been deprived of one means of annoying Belgium, but in what way did the capture of Antwerp forward the conclusion of the Treaty? The objections of the king of the Netherlands remained as strong as ever, and it was impossible that he should agree to the terms proposed. Even were he disposed to concede, the emperor of Russia could not allow it. A singular mistake seemed to have been made on the subject of the navigation of the Scheldt: it had never been disputed by the king of the Netherlands; and the Treaty of 1815 gave him six florins per ton upon all shipping entering that river, and by the virtue of that treaty the Belgians might navigate that river. The king of the Netherlands, when the question was raised, himself offered to make the navigation free. But the noble Earl stated, that the Treaty could not be carried into execution. He should like to know why it could not be carried into execution, as, for example, as far as related to the interests of Holland in the town of Venloo? The fact was, that Venloo was to be ceded to Holland by Belgium, but Ministers seemed to desire that Belgium should retain possession both of that and Antwerp, and therefore the Treaty could not be carried into execution. Was it wonderful, then, that the king of the Netherlands did not feel very grateful to the British Ministers, or that he should wish, by delay, or otherwise, to avoid the execution of what was attempted to be forced upon him? It was said, also, that this was no war. He did not pretend to be sufficiently skilled in the law of the question, to be able to say whether it did or did not come within the definition of a war; but this he 129 knew, that it was very much like it, and that an embargo had subsisted for three months, which had been imposed by the King in Council. He could not conceive how it could be fairly said, that Great Britain was not at this moment at war with Holland. He had thought it necessary to say so much upon one part of the subject, and he would now address a few words to their Lordships on the war in Portugal. And first, he would venture to remark, that there was no country of the world in which it was more the duty and the interest of the British Ministry to prevent hostilities than in Portugal. By treaty we were bound to defend Portugal almost as if it were England, while our engagement with Spain was to preserve neutrality. The magnitude of our commercial establishments, and nature of our commercial relations with Portugal, required that, as far as possible, we should preserve her in a state of tranquillity and independence; yet how had our interests been neglected, and our duty abandoned by the present Ministers of the Crown! The present state of Portugal was called, in the King's Speech, "a civil war." It was a revolutionary war—a war carried on by means furnished from England, and for the sake only of plunder. It was supported by persons who had no earthly interest, but that which was derived from the hope of plunder. Yet this was the war which the King of England was taught by his servants, to call "a civil war" between two princes of the House of Braganza. He had a right to consider the King's Speech the Speech of his Ministers, and there he found this passage—" From the commencement of this contest I have abstained from all interference, except such as was required for the protection of British subjects resident in Portugal; but you may be assured that I shall not fail to avail myself of any opportunity that may be afforded me to assist in restoring peace to a country with which the interests of ray dominions are so intimately connected." He knew something of war in general, and something of war in Portugal, and he would tell Ministers how they might put a speedy end to existing hostilities there. If, indeed, they wished to restore peace, let them issue a Proclamation calling all the King's subjects from the service of either party. Let them at the same time carry into effect the laws of the country. Let them not, 130 when the Commissioners of Customs had seized vessels laden with men and means, interpose to prevent adjudication. Let them allow the law to take its course, and judgment to be given in such cases in the proper tribunals, and the war in Portugal would terminate of itself and at once. If Ministers must employ fleets, let them send them where they were necessary—to the Levant, instead of crowding the Douro and the Tagus with British ensigns. Let them do this, and peace would be restored in Portugal in a much shorter time than war had been kindled there. The nut was, and he would engage to prove it, that in the autumn of 1831, the Commissioners of Customs did detain certain vessels in the Thames, which were loaded with troops, with arms, and with ammunition, for the purpose of carrying on war in Portugal. The Act of Parliament showed that the Commissioners were the proper persons to adopt measures on the occasion; but they were ordered by a superior power not to interfere, and to allow the vessels to proceed to their destination. This fact, as he had said before, he would prove, if the noble Earl would allow him the necessary papers. The noble Earl had said something about the last Government, and had remarked upon its conduct when Don Miguel was elected sovereign of Portugal. He did not know whether any charge was meant to be brought against the members of the late Cabinet for its conduct upon that occasion—for having omitted its duty, or exceeded its powers; but this he would say, on behalf of himself and his former colleagues, that they had not felt called upon to interfere with the decision of a people in the choice of a Sovereign. It had, however, appeared necessary at that time for the British Government to discontinue its relations with Portugal, and such was the state of affairs to the time when the last Ministers quitted office. They were then seeking the means of recognizing Don Miguel as sovereign de fado, if not de jure, and had they continued the advisers of the Crown but a fortnight longer, he would have been recognized—this, too, although the promised amnesty might not have been issued. He and his Colleagues would have been content to recognize Don Miguel as king of Portugal, from an earnest desire to preserve tranquillity in Portugal, by avoiding all ground of hostility. Such they had considered to be 131 their duty, not only towards Portugal, but with a view also to the interests of Spain. There were two or three other points in the Speech from the Throne which required brief remark; and the first upon which he would touch was the proposed Reform in the Church. Ministers were fond of what they called Reforms in all departments; but he wished that, in their zeal to recommend a Reform in the Church, they had not made his Majesty say something to countenance the notion that blame was to be attributed to the clergy. Why was it necessary, in the Speech from the Throne, to advert to the complaints regarding the collection of tithes? He did not say that such complaints did not exist; but he was sure that they were trifling in number and amount, and that what was said by the King would give encouragement to a party in the country, whose object was to pull down the Establishment. Let the House observe the consequences resulting from a paragraph on the same subject last year, in regard to the Church of Ireland. The condition of the Church of Ireland was most deplorable; it subsisted upon charity, to the abandonment of its rights, and some of the most pious and learned of its members were known to be living upon the bounty of some of their Lordships. With this experience, was it not worth the consideration of Ministers, whether such a paragraph in the Speech of this Session, and in relation to the Church of this country, might not be attended with injurious consequences? At all events, he hoped, since he found the passage in the Speech, that the measures in contemplation had been long considered and well matured. Having voted last year in favour of a measure, brought forward by a most reverend Prelate, whom he did not now see in his place (the Archbishop of Canterbury), upon this subject, and for a second measure, brought forward by the same high authority, relating to pluralities, he should be prepared to give the plans of the noble Earl his best consideration, with the most anxious desire to support them, if he found they were calculated to promote the great end of pacification without injury. Another paragraph in the Speech was devoted to a different branch of the same subject—the Church of England as established in Ireland. The noble Earl had stated the determination of the King's Ministers to maintain the Legislative Union; but, begging the noble Earl's pardon, he must say, 132 that when he had advised his Majesty to state that the question of the Church of Ireland must be considered on grounds different from those which applied to the Church of England, he had forgotten an Act of Parliament.
§ The Duke of Wellington
read as follows;—" In the further Reforms that may be necessary, you will probably find, that, although the Established Church of Ireland is by law permanently united with that of England, the peculiarities of their respective circumstances will require a separate consideration." Now, if the noble Earl would refer to the Act of Union between England and Ireland, he would see that this paragraph was in some degree opposed to it, and that the two Churches were there declared to be inseparably united; and that "the preservation of the United Churches, as the Established Church, shall be deemed and taken as a fundamental part of the Union." It remained to be seen what would be done for the Established Church in England; and whatever was found practicable here might, without objection, be applied to Ireland. He was afraid that the doctrine taught by the King's Speech—that one measure was applicable to the Church in England, and another to the Church in Ireland-would be employed to the disadvantage of the Establishment, by its numerous enemies in the sister kingdom. There was another view of the subject which he could not help stating, and to which he entreated the especial attention of the noble Earl. It was this: that in order to maintain the Union inviolate, it was absolutely necessary to pay some attention to the feelings of the Protestants of Ireland. He had paid some attention to the conduct of the Government of Ireland, and he was glad to see that they were about to adopt measures which at an earlier period, would have been more efficient. The noble Earl might, however, rely upon it, that if the Protestants were made to believe that any measure about to be introduced would diminish the efficiency of the Established Church, the danger to the Church and to the empire would, indeed, be imminent. The Protestants of Ireland were the natural friends of the connexion with England, and he entreated the noble Earl never to lose sight of this important truth. 133 He further begged to remind the noble Earl, and the House, first that the King was sworn to maintain the Established Church in Ireland; and secondly, that in the very last arrangement made, as well for the Dissenters of England, as for the Roman Catholics of Ireland, words were inserted in the oaths to be taken by them for the security of the Protestant Church. This, therefore, ought to be the principle of any change called Reform. He admitted that Ministers were placed in a most anxious and responsible situation, and he declared himself ready to give them every assistance in his power. Having thus stated, as was his duty, his opinion upon these various topics, he should not trouble their Lordships further.
The Earl of Roden
could not acquiesce in many of the remarks of the noble mover, but was happy to bear testimony to the temper and ability he displayed. Neither could he by any means concur in all parts of the Speech from the Throne, but he was nevertheless resolved to support Ministers, in all measures necessary for the protection of the property and establishments of the country. He trusted, with all his heart, that he should be able to approve the plans to be brought forward in relation to the sister kingdom, now in a condition so lamentably distracted. Having been placed by the loyal Protestants of Ireland in a situation of which he might be justly proud, he felt it his duty to state, that there was no class of the King's subjects more ready to aid the noble Earl in rescuing their native country from the horrors that seemed to await it. He was able to speak upon this subject—not from hearsay, or the reports of newspapers, but from actual and daily observation. He had returned only yesterday from a part of Ireland where he had resided for some time, and where the Protestant gentry and farmers were directly under the influence of the Insurrection Act—they were unable to leave their houses after dusk, lest they should be beaten or assassinated. The fact was, that no representation in the newspapers could come up to the real misery of the Protestant population of Ireland. On this account, he was rejoiced to hear the noble Earl state that order must be triumphant, and that all resistance must be put down by the strong arm of a vigorous law. He could say, from his knowledge, that the clergy of Ireland would be most thankful to receive any 134 alteration in the Church of Ireland, which was consistent with the maintenance of their rights as Ministers of the Church of England. He was glad to learn, by the speech of the noble Earl, that the separate consideration which he proposed to give to the affairs of the Church of Ireland, was merely on account of particular circumstances, and did not mean that the two Churches were separate. The speech of the noble Earl would gladden the heart of every loyal man in Ireland. The system of intimidation by demagogues and by priests was carried so far in Ireland, that no man could consider his life, his property, or his character safe. He spoke in the presence of several of his noble friends, who, like himself, had resided on their property, and endeavoured to preserve the peace, and promote the welfare of the country. He was anxious to endeavour to remove an impression from the minds of the noble Lords opposite—not that he had seen any evidence of it this night, but on former occasions—he was anxious to remove from the minds of those noble Lords the impression they entertained against the Protestants of Ireland. He could assure those noble Lords, and he spoke in a character these noble Lords would understand, that the Protestants of Ireland had no object whatever in view in the course which they thought it their duty to take, but to protect their lives and properties. When they found a government established capable of effecting that object, the Protestants of Ireland would support that government with all their strength; and that government would find that the Protestants of Ireland would be their right arm, in preserving the Union between the two countries. He knew that the dissolution of the Union meant the separation of the two countries. Though the opinion in favour of that repeal had gained ground, it had not gone so far but that he thought the speech of the noble Earl, and the measures he meant to take to repress disturbance, would open the eyes of those who had been disgusted by neglect and want of protection, and driven to adopt measures that would lead to their utter ruin. He had felt himself called upon to take that opportunity to say these few words. He was unwilling to detain their Lordships further; but he trusted their Lordships would ever remember that the Church of England and Ireland was one, and indissoluble, and that thev must stand 135 or fall together. If the Church of Ireland were attacked, the Church of England would not long be safe; if united, they might stand together and flourish.
Address agreed to.
The following Protest was entered on the Journals of the House of Lords, against the adoption of the Address on the Speech:—
" Because, in humbly thanking his Majesty for the papers on the affairs of Holland and Belgium, which he has given directions should be laid before this House, we feel it to be our duty, at the same time, to express our regret that his Majesty should have found himself compelled, in conjunction with the king of the French, to adopt measures which have led to the attack and destruction of the Citadel of Antwerp, and to the capture of the Dutch garrison as prisoners of war.
" We are not informed that any insult has been offered by the government of the Netherlands to the Crown and dignity of his Majesty—that any treaty or engagement has been violated—or that any of his Majesty's subjects have been injured or oppressed. We cannot, therefore, but deeply lament that his Majesty should have been advised to co-operate in the execution of measures directed, as we think, against the honour and independence of a faithful and unoffending ally, which are compatible only with a state of actual hostility, and which, as it seems to us, are at variance with the principles of justice and of all public law.
§ "GORDON (Aberdeen).
§ ERNEST (Cumberland).
§ WM. FREDERICK (Gloucester).
§ STUART DE ROTHESAY.