HL Deb 01 February 1849 vol 102 cc5-72

The Queen's Speech having being reported by the Lord Chancellor,


, in rising to propose to their Lordships to adopt an humble Address in answer to the gracious Speech which had that day been delivered from thee Throne, said, he felt the necessity of soliciting at their Lordships' hands the utmost amount of their indulgence. He could assure their Lordships no one ever rose in that House under greater feelings of embarrassment. If noble Lords who had had experience in debate often felt themselves obliged to ask for such indulgence, when placed in the position he then occupied, how much more incumbent must it be upon him, who had never before had the honour of addressing their Lordships, and who, moreover, had never had the advantage of speaking in the other House of Parliament, to ask their Lordships to extend to him the greatest indulgence, patience, and forbearance, while he ventured to address to them a few remarks upon some of the topics contained in Her Majesty's Speech. He would, indeed, willingly have forborne any observation at all, and have proceeded at once to move the Address in answer, were it not that, pursuing so unusual a course, he might appear to be acting disrespectfully towards their Lordships, and perhaps in some degree towards Her Majesty, to whose gracious Speech the Address was intended as a reply. The foreign relations of the country formed the first topic adverted to in the Speech. It was scarcely needful for him to assure their Lordships that he fully shared in those feelings of gratification which had no doubt been excited in that House by the declaration of Her Ma- jesty's constant desire to maintain the most friendly relations with every foreign State. Her Majesty was pleased to inform them that both in the north and south of Europe negotiations were going on having for their object a settlement of peace between countries and parties lately involved in war. Amongst these, the case of Sicily had been more particularly referred to. It was impossible that this country should not feel a deep interest in the affairs of that island, when the terms in which, during the period between 1806 and 1815, we stood towards it were considered; but although he, in common with every Englishman, must feel great sympathy with the inhabitants of that country, be confessed he could not feel sorry to be informed that it was not on that ground, but rather on the ground of humanity that the officer in command of Her Majesty's naval forces in that part of the world had been impelled, in conjunction with the French admiral, to interpose to prevent the further effusion of blood, and to prevent the continuance of those horrible atrocities which were known to have taken place in that Island. He believed that the deeds which had been perpetrated, and which had induced the admiral to move, were of such a nature, even in the estimation of those who were used to the scones which a state of warfare produced, that they could not witness them without feelings of the utmost horror and dismay; and the officers of both nations had felt constrained by a sense of duty to interfere to prevent a recurrence of them. It seemed very desirable that the inverval thus obtained for negotiation for peace should not be neglected. It would not, he considered, be right, while these negotiations were pending, to refer more at length to the subject, especially as he felt, in common with their Lordships, that he was but imperfectly informed upon the subject. It would be not more just than prudent to wait for the papers which Her Majesty had been graciously pleased to promise should be laid before their Lordships. Let them, meanwhile, rather content themselves with the satisfaction they must all experience, that notwithstanding the extraordinary events which had occurred on the Continent during the last year, the peace of this country had not been disturbed. Lot them not forget, in their prosperity, that if any one had ventured to prophesy last spring to their Lordships that not only peace would have been maintained during the whole of 1848, but that Her Majesty would be able at the commencement of the Session of 1849 to say that the present aspect of affairs enabled Her to propose great reductions in the estimates, every one of their Lordships would have answered, that if such should prove to be the case, it would be a source of congratulation not only to this country, but to the whole world. He (Earl Bruce) would do no more than allude to that attachment to the Throne, and that love of peace and order, which had been so eminently displayed in this country during the past year. That good feeling towards the institutions of the country had already borne good fruit. While almost every other country in Europe found its revenue diminishing, and its expenditure increasing, we were fortunate enough to see our revenue increasing and our estimates proposed to be diminished. In a financial point of view, this was very encouraging; and he trusted their Lordships would receive with as much satisfaction the announcement of some alleviation of the burdens of the people by a diminution of the expenditure, as that with which it would be assuredly received by the nation in general. At the same time be had no doubt their Lordships would desire to see any retrenchment, especially if it concerned the effective force of Her Majesty's service, carried out with the greatest possible caution. He fully concurred in this desire, and felt perfect confidence that Her Majesty's Government would not propose any reductions which the state of the country and of Europe would not fully justify. No doubt it was a very difficult thing to make any great reduction in the Army of this country. It must not be forgotten that the Army of this country, with the exception of the portion of it employed in Ireland, were almost entirely kept up for the protection of the colonies; but until some other means were devised for the defence of our vast colonial empire, a large number of troops were necessary for that purpose. The position of the British Array was different to the armies in other countries, where, whatever the force kept up, it could in cases of emergency be readily concentrated upon a given point; but the peculiarity in the case of our Army was, that if we had 50,000, or even 100,000 men, in fifty different parts of the world, thousands of miles apart, they could not be concentrated: no one colony, generally speaking, could expect aid from another colony, but each colony must be provided with- in itself with a force sufficient for its own defence. Unless, therefore, we were provided with other means of defending the colonies, and we wished to preserve them, an efficient force must be maintained at each station. Whether or not the colonies ought to be kept by the mother country might be a fair subject for discussion; but it must be decided upon its own merits; and so long as it was proposed to maintain them, every Government of this country would think it their duty to provide them with the necessary troops. He had full confidence that such was the intention of the present Government. But if economy and retrenchment could be introduced into the Army, be was confident that their Lordships would hail it with joy. If he ventured a remark upon this subject in the presence of the noble and gallant Duke, and the other high military authorities around him, it would be that under no circumstances should any reduction be made in the artillery of this country; it was the only kind of force which could with any certainty contend against superior force of numbers; and he confessed that for every 1,000 men reduced in the line he should like to see 300 or 400 added to the artillery. He thought that such a force might be made capable of fulfilling many of the duties of the line in garrison and guard duties, and might be made available in aid of the civil power. Moreover, the artillery was the kind of force with which, as it required a long time to render it efficient, we should be always amply provided. Reduction of expenditure was unquestionably desirable. It would show to the people of this country that the Government did not neglect economy in making reductions whenever practicable, and it would inspire confidence in the maintenance of peace, a confidence which would be useful both in this country and abroad. In France, he was happy to believe, there was a great disposition at this moment to reduce their army, and to cultivate peaceable relations with this country. Let them show confidence in those peaceable professions, which he believed to be sincere. A small reduction in the Army of this country would greatly contribute to confirm that disposition. In a financial point of view, the increase in the revenue was satisfactory; but more, if possible, as an index of gradually returning prosperity. He need scarcely remind their Lordships of the deplorable state of trade at the close of the year 1847, or of the unusual assistance it was thought it might require during the year 1848. After the meeting of Parliament, last year, there was some return to a better state of things, an improvement which might have been more rapid and apparent in the course of that year, had it not been for the extraordinary events on the Continent. No doubt those events, and the state of Ireland at the time, had a considerable effect on the ordinary revenue, already crippled by the famine of the preceding year; but by the returns of the revenue made up in October, it was apparent that there was a great improvement; the increase in the ordinary revenue in the quarter ending the 13th of that month, as compared with the corresponding quarter of the preceding year, being no less than 722,000l. or thereabouts; and on the 5th January last there was an increase of 442,615l., as compared with the corresponding quarter of the preceding year—on the whole year there was in ordinary revenue an increase of 875,705l. He trusted that a continued improvement might be anticipated as the year 1848 receded from view, and that he might claim their Lordships' concurrence in congratulating Her Majesty on the improved circumstances of the country, the revival of manufacturing industry, and the progressive improvement of the revenue. On the subject of Ireland—though a separate paragraph was as usual necessary—would that the same expressions of congratulation as to the loyalty of this country and its improving commercial prosperity, should be equally applicable to every part of the united kingdom! But though a separate allusion was still necessary, he was happy to say it was not quite so unfavourable as at some foomer periods. Compared with the noble Lord who had moved the Address last year (the Earl of Yarborough), he (Earl Bruce) had some advantages, for it had been the duty of the former to forewarn their Lordships of the storm that was coming, and to point out the necessity for the Government asking them for new and more extended powers. In this respect he (Earl Bruce) was more fortunate, in being-able to remind them that the storm was past, that the rebellion which was looked forward to by many with great alarm—by all with anxiety—was crushed, and that at a time when revolutions in almost every country had been, for a time at least, successful. Thanks to the prudence and foresight of the Government last year in asking for those increased powers; thanks to the ala- crity and cordiality with which they were granted by their Lordships and the other House of Parliament; and thanks also, it was no more than justice to add, to the energy, discretion, and firmness with which those powers were exercised by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—that rebellion, or rather attempt at rebellion, was effectually put down without the loss of a single man on the side of order and the law. When it was considered that that success was achieved not in ordinary times, not at a period cither when popular outbreaks, as now, were on the decline, but at a time when almost every country in Europe had succumbed to the effect of insurrectionary movements, he thought it a subject for great satisfaction; and in that opinion he hoped their Lordships would concur. It had, however, seemed necessary to the Government to ask for a continuation for a limited period, of those extraordinary powers which had been so promptly granted to them last year; and he was sure from the discreet and moderate manner in which they had been used, and the salutary effects which they had produced, their Lordships would not hesitate in renewing the Act of last Session. Not only was this desirable for the sake of present peace and quiet, but as giving, under Providence, the fairest opportunity for the introduction of salutary measures for the improvement of Ireland in future. When outbreak was impossible, the Irish people of themselves might turn to more profitable employment; but at all events, peace was the only chance for those well-disposed and energetic men really anxious to benefit their country, to carry out improvements which they were willing and anxious to introduce. Without tranquillity no confidence could exist, and consequently no capital be employed. It had been the good fortune of this country to have in Ireland at a most anxious time a Lord Lieutenant who had proved himself competent to all the difficulties of his situation. That noble Lord was not likely to ask unnecessarily for a continuance of increased powers: it would be contrary to his nature and to his political inclinations to govern otherwise than with a light hand, whenever practicable so to do; and if the noble Lord, with his experience of Ireland, asked for these powers, it was certain that he felt them necessary, and that it would not be safe to refuse them. Having now al- luded to the principal topics in Her Majesty's Speech, he trusted it would not be deemed improper in him, who was the first to address their Lordships this Session, to say a few words as a tribute of respect to the sad losses which the country had sustained since the last Session, in those public men who had been taken from the world in a manner so sudden and unexpected. In the presence of noble Lords opposite, who were so much more competent than he was to describe the talents of a noble Lord, a Member of the other House of Parliament (Lord George Bentinck), whose loss must be deeply deplored, he (Earl Bruce) would only venture to say, that having had the honour and good fortune of living on terms of intimacy with that noble Lord, though differing with him generally in political opinions, no one could more highly appreciate his abilities, his perseverance, and the manly sincerity of purpose apparent in all he undertook. In the other House of Parliament, also, the Government and the country had to regret the loss of a most able and talented Member of the Administration who had recently been appointed to fill a high office (Mr. Charles Buller), at a time when his abilities were peculiarly useful. In their Lordships' House, likewise, the country had sustained a great loss, and the Members of the Government had most unexpectedly been deprived by death of an able Colleague and amiable Friend; and he was only speaking, he felt sure, the sentiments of all their Lordships, without distinction of party, when he said that the late Lord Auckland had possessed the universal respect and esteem of every one in that House. He would not omit alluding to another noble Lord, though he had lately taken but little part in public affairs; but his (Earl Bruce's) side of the House could not forget that that noble Viscount had been for many years their distinguished leader in that House, and he felt certain that every one must have been deeply grieved to learn that Lord Melbourne had ceased to live. The noble Lord then expressed the hope that the House would agree to the Address cordially and unanimously, for never had there been an occasion on which cordiality and unanimity were more desirable than at the commencement of the Session of 1849, as showing to the world, notwithstanding the extraordinary events of last year, on the one hand a Sovereigntouchingly alluding to the loyalty of every class of the people, and on the other a Parliament anxious to give new proofs of its loyal attachment to the Sovereign. Europe would then better believe in and understand the solidity of the British Monarchy, which, while showing its own strength, demonstrated to the world that a constitutional monarchy, on a really liberal basis, was unquestionably the best form of government to withstand those revolutionary storms which had nearly torn to pieces every other form of government around it. The noble Lord concluded by expressing his grateful thanks for the kind attention and patience with which their Lordships had heard him, and then read the following humble Address, the adoption of which he moved:—

"MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, WE, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Lords, Spiritual and Temporal, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to return Your Majesty our humble Thanks for Your Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne. WE beg leave humbly to assure Your Majesty that we participate in the Satisfaction which Your Majesty has been pleased to express, that both in the North and in the South of Europe the contending Parties have consented to a Suspension of Arms for the Purpose of negotiating Terms of Peace. WE thank Your Majesty for informing us that the Hostilities carried on in the Island of Sicily were attended with Circumstances so revolting that the British and French Admirals were impelled by Motives of Humanity to interpose, and to stop the Effusion of Blood, and that Your Majesty has availed Yourself of the Interval thus obtained to propose, in conjunction with France, to the King of Naples an Arrangement calculated to produce a permanent Settlement of Affairs in Sicily. WE beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the Assurance of Your anxious Endeavour, in offering Your good Offices to the various contending Powers, to prevent the Extension of the Calamities of War, and to lay the Foundation for lasting and honourable Peace. And we beg leave to acquaint Your Majesty of the Gratification which we derive from the Expression of Your constant Desire to maintain with all Foreign States the most friendly Relations. WE thank Your Majesty for informing us that the Papers connected with these Transactions will be laid before Parliament by Direction of Your Majesty, as soon as the Interests of the Public Service will permit. WE beg to state to Your Majesty, that we regret to learn that a Rebellion of a formidable Character has broken out in the Punjaub, and that the Governor General of India has been compelled, for the Preservation of the Peace of the Country, to assemble a considerable Force, which is now engaged in Military Operations, and we cordially rejoice at the Information which Your Majesty has imparted to us, that these unprovoked Disturbances have not affected the Peace of British India. WE beg leave humbly to assure Your Majesty that the Restrictions imposed upon Commerce by the Navigation Laws will engage our most earnest Attention, and that it will be our Duty to consider whether it be right to repeal or to modify their Provisions, if we shall find that these Laws are in whole or in part unnecessary for the Maintenance of our Maritime Power, while they fetter Trade and Industry. WE beg leave humbly to express the Satisfaction in which we participate with Your Majesty that this Portion of the United Kingdom has remained tranquil amid the Convulsions which have disturbed so many Parts of Europe. WHILST rejoicing that the Insurrection in Ireland has not been renewed, we unite with Your Majesty in deploring the Existence of a Spirit of Disaffection, and we assure Your Majesty that our serious Consideration will be devoted to the Intimation of Your Majesty that Your Majesty is compelled, with Regret, to ask for a Continuance, for a limited Time, of those Powers which in the last Session were deemed by Parliament to be necessary for the Preservation of the Public Tranquillity. WE most sincerely share with Your Majesty the Satisfaction which Your Majesty feels at the Revival of Commerce from those Shocks which at the Commencement of last Session were to be deplored; and we learn with Gratification that the Condition of the Manufacturing Districts is likewise more encouraging than it has been for a considerable Period, and that the State of the Revenue is one of progressive Improvement. WE assure Your Majesty that we participate in the great Concern which Your Majesty has been pleased to express on account of the very severe Distress in some Parts of Ireland which has been caused by another Failure of the Potato Crop. WE humbly assure Your Majesty that our best attention will be devoted to the Subject of the Operation of the Laws for the Relief of the Poor in Ireland; and we beg leave humbly to convey to Your Majesty the Expression of our Thanks for Your gracious Intimation, that any Measure by which those Laws may be beneficially amended, and the Condition of the People may be improved, will receive Your Majesty's cordial Assent. WE beg leave humbly to thank Your Majesty for the gracious Manner with which Your Majesty has been pleased to advert to the loyal Spirit of Your People, and to that Attachment to the Institutions of their Country which has animated them during a Period of Commercial Difficulty, deficient Production of Food, and Political Revolution. WE join with Your Majesty in humbly looking to the Protection of Almighty God for Favour in our continued Progress; and We beg leave to convoy to Your Majesty the Assurance that we will faithfully assist Your Majesty in upholding the Fabric of the Constitution, founded as it is upon the Principles of Freedom and of Justice.


My Lords, in rising to second the Motion made by the noble Earl, I feel that I need not ask for that indulgence at your hands which I am sure will be cheerfully and voluntarily given to one who for the first time addresses your Lordships' House. My Lords, Her Majesty has with satisfaction alluded to the state of tranquillity which at present reigns throughout Her kingdom, and at the same time has given us assurances that it is Her earnest desire to maintain friendly relations with all foreign Powers. However accustomed we may have been to the same assurance, yet, my Lords, at a period like the present, this announcement from the Throne ought to fill us with more than usual gratitude and satisfaction. We may, indeed, esteem ourselves fortunate, inasmuch as that while we have deplored the state of anarchy and revolution by which other neighbouring empires have been so lately convulsed, we have the blessings of peace preserved to us intact. I need scarcely remind your Lordships of the changes, both social and political, which have rendered startling the history of 1848. It were well indeed for all could a veil be thrown over scones almost unequalled in their astounding consequences. But were I to ask you to take with me an impartial, unprejudiced, retrospective glance at the events which have been felt by their terrible results throughout the whole continent of Europe—events of the most unprecedented character—events which have followed each other in such dread and such rapid succession as to baffle the energies and to outstrip the calculations of the keenest politicians—I think, my Lords, that, with me, you will be induced to value, even at a higher rate, the advantages we possess in our own country—to admire the firm basis of our own long-established constitution, and at the same time cordially and impartially to appreciate and to praise the honest direction, the prompt energy, and the wise ability of those advisers of Her Majesty, who have upheld—and with safety upheld—that constitution, through such difficult and perilous times. It has been their desire and their aim throughout, not only to preserve undisturbed our own tranquillity at home, but by acting the part of mediators to prevent as much as possible other nations from going to war. Whilst your Lordships will hear with delight the intelligence conveyed by Her Majesty that an armistice has been concluded in the north and south of Europe, you will also cordially join in the regret expressed that differences have existed amongst more southern Powers. It is, however, satisfactory to be informed that negotiations are now pending, and conditions are now being offered, which, if accepted, will, I trust, prove the wisdom of our mediation, and by the adjustment of existing differences tend to produce a permanent settlement of affairs in Sicily. I now come to that part of Her Majesty's Speech in which allusion is made to the success of those measures which have been adopted for the suppression of tumult and outbreak in Ireland. I think, my Lords, that you will not refuse to award that praise which is so justly due to those who have so ably carried out those measures, and that you will, in common with myself, confidently hope that the noble Earl who, with the support of Her Majesty's Ministers in England, has been instrumental in preserving a state of pacification in Ireland very different from that which existed at the commencement of last year, will, with the same co-operation, and with the assistance of your Lordships' advice and deliberation, endeavour to give increased protection to life, security to property, and eventually a more healthy prospect to our Irish fellow-subjects. Her Majesty has been pleased to recommend to your Lordships' consideration a modification of the Irish Poor Law; such a modification as will tend to alleviate the pressure upon landed property which in certain districts has been so severely felt. My Lords, our thanks are duo to Her Majesty for Her forethought, and the usual care which has been evinced, and the measure which has been suggested for lessening the sufferings of that portion of Her people. The wish that Her Majesty has graciously expressed to alleviate as much as possible the burdens of the people, by a reduction of the national expenditure, cannot fail to be as satisfactory to your Lordships as to the people of this country. The investigation which has been made, and is still continuing, under the sanction of Her Majesty's Ministers into the expenditure of public offices; the recent appointment to the Admiralty of one so well experienced in financial detail—are sufficient guarantees that, in obedience to Her Majesty's wishes, every reduction in the expenditure shall be promoted. I do not mean, my Lords, any reduction which might be viewed through the false medium of a democratic and shortsighted policy; but such a reduction, and such a reduction only, as is consistent with the proper maintenance and efficient regulation of the different branches of the public service, and, at the same time, a due regard to the welfare and adequate defence of our various colonies, that so justly expect from the mother country the protection they are entitled to receive. There are other topics to which Her Majesty has alluded, which will, ere long, come before your Lordships' House in Committee, and will receive that attention and patient consideration which their importance to the welfare of our navigation, and to the prosperity of our agricultural interest, so justly entitle them to claim at your hands. Upon these matters it would be presumptuous in me to offer an opinion, from my inexperience in public affairs, and my short acquaintance with your Lordships' House. Indeed, I should be sorry, if in the little I have said, I should inadvertently have given utterance to any expression which might provoke discussion, and thereby prevent that cordiality, that unanimity, with which I am most anxious you should vote for the Address which I have the honour to second.


rose to address their Lordships under a deep sense of the responsibility of one who, in the present condition of this country, but still more in the present complicated condition of the world at large, ventured to deliver any opinion, however maturely he might have formed it, or whatever rare opportunities of obtaining information he might have enjoyed, upon the important events which had occurred during the past year. It gave him most unfeigned satisfaction to agree with his noble Friends opposite (the authors of the Speech, and the two noble Lords who moved and seconded the Address) in believing—although he was much afraid that his noble Friend the mover had expressed too strong an opinion upon the subject—that there was a considerable improvement in the commercial and manufacturing situation of the country. But with respect to the alleged improvement in our financial position, he could not help thinking that the noble Lord had unfortunately taken rather too much credit for an increase in the revenue over the preceding year to the extent of 800,000l., omitting, as he did, the material consideration, that this was the exact amount of duty collected under a law which had now expired, and of the repeal of which he (Lord Brougham) most cordially approved. This revenue was the result of a system which was defended by his noble Friends behind him, but of which he could not approve. The consequence of the new measure, the repeal, coming into operation, would be to cut off the very sum of 800,000l., and which, as it chanced, on that very day ceased to be receivable. His noble Friend should not have forgotten that 800,000l. was paid for corn duties during the last year, and that that amount, which was received in the year ending the 1st of February, 1849, could not be received in the year ending the 1st of February, 1850; he thought, therefore, that his noble Friend had taken rather a rose-coloured view of the subject; but if the commerce of the country increased, and the manufactures increased, the result most probably would be a corresponding increase of the revenue in excise and in customs from other less questionable sources than corn duties. He was bound to say that there were one or two points in Her Majesty's Speech, which had been much adverted to, with respect to which he could not help feeling some apprehension. He knew that he took a very unpopular view of the matter when he stated that he could not agree in the expressions of congratulation of his noble Friend on the large reductions which they were told were to be made in the estimates. He could not help thinking that an agitation—to use the popular expression—an agitation commenced in this country under very unhappy auspices, in his opinion—an agitation influenced by very questionable motives, though for very unquestionable objects—for the most pernicious objects—commencing somewhere in the West Riding of Yorkshire, passing over into the county palatine of Lancaster, and installed in one metropolis of agitation, Liverpool, with branches in the subordinate capitals of agitation—of Manchester and elsewhere—aided and assisted by the Chartist. Radical, and pseudo-economical press of the metropolis, the centre of all agitation—he could not help thinking that such a movement was one of a most dangerous character. There was now, he found, a crusade against the land. He had been from the beginning, he confessed, the avowed, and open, and though feeble, yet zealous and conscientious friend of free trade. He confessed that he had been one who, out of his great attachment to the principle of free trade, had been induced to tolerate the means, though they were most objectionable, by which the free-trade movement had been promoted, but certainly not carried; for it was not true to say, but false, that the corn laws were repealed by the eloquence of certain agitators out of doors or in Parliament. The corn laws were repealed by the Ministers of the Crown, backed by the Opposition of the day, of which he formed an humble portion. But for them those corn laws would never have been shaken, which were now by their help repealed. The love which he entertained for the principles of free trade, and the zeal which he felt to have those principles recognised by law, had induced him to bear with the unconstitutional and all but unlawful agitation out of doors by which the great measure of the repeal of the corn laws was supported, though not carried. Therefore, he felt it the more incumbent on him, from the part he bore in that controversy, to take now his stand in the outset against the present agitation that had commenced against the landed interest. They were told that it was the bounden duty of Parliament to alter the system of finance of the country in two material particulars. The Speech from the Throne, he grieved to say, appeared to partake of that opinion as to one of those particulars, for it indicated, as he understood it, an intention to make reductions in the Army and Navy. That undoubtedly was the intention of the allusion, although the estimates were referred to in general terms; but if he wanted a commentary on the meaning of the large reduction of those estimates which the Speech spoke of, he should have had it from the speech which had been made by the noble Mover of the Address. That noble Lord read that passage as meaning a large reduction of the military and naval forces of the country. The other particular to which he referred was one which formed the main object of the present agitation—namely, that not only should the Army and Navy he reduced, but that the expenditure of the country should be contracted by somewhere about 10,000,000l., so as to assimilate it to the expenditure of the year 1835; and this demand was made without making the slightest reference to the position of the country at those two periods, without the least knowledge probably of the actual state of the country in either the one period or the other—for he perceived a manifestation of the most profound ignorance of all the details connected with this important subject. But, say these persons, not only shall the expenditure be reduced by lopping off these ten millions, but the revenue shall be raised upon totally different principles from those on which it is at present raised. It seemed, according to these parties, that the aristocracy of the country—that was the popular doctrine—in both Houses of Parliament, had long resolved to case itself of all burdens by throwing them on the trading, manufacturing, and monied interests, and on the poorer classes; that there was, to take a favourite example, no tax imposed upon the succession to landed property, while, on the other hand, there was a heavy tax upon the succession to personal property. It was a common thing to hear it said by these agitators, that by this inequality of taxation the widow and the orphan were robbed, in order that the great lord's estate might be permitted to pass in succession free from all taxation. Now, anything so utterly absurd—so wildly wide of the truth as this doctrine, which was made the great stalking-horse on these occasions, during his whole experience he had never heard broached. They were told there were two millions a year received in the way of legacy duty, but they were not told that of this sum 300,000l. was taken upon leasehold, that is, landed property; consequently it was only 1,700,000l. in personal estates; but, at least, say they, I,700,000l. is taken upon personal property, not upon land. They said, look at a man who died worth 20,000l, 2,000l. of this money was taken as legacy duty. But this was not the fact. The only case in which such a duty would be paid was, where the money was left to a stranger—that, however, was a case which very seldom happened. If it were left to the widow of the testator, nothing at all would be paid; if to the children, I per cent; or if to other relations, 3 or 4 or 5 per cent. He had the curiosity of looking into the returns lately upon this subject, and he found that just one-sixth of the whole amount of legacy duty paid out of personal property was derived from the charge of 10 per cent. From the returns it appeared that the one per cent charge was paid on 4,000,000l, while the higher duties were paid on 26,000,000l Well, now suppose that a man leaves 20,000l., the duty upon an average required to be paid is 400l. once in twenty years. Suppose on the other hand that the 20,000l. be vested in land, what docs he pay yearly in the way of tax on the 800l. a year income? In the first place he pays land tax every year he lives, which alone amounted to a great deal more than the tax upon legacies of personal property. This tax also was paid, not once, namely, when a man died, but every year of the lives of the landed proprietors. Again, more than 500,000l. was paid for church rates, all of which fell upon land, though traders went to church as well as squires; 1,150,000l. a year was paid for highway rates, all of which fell upon land; and 8,150,000l. for poor rates and county rates; and besides these, there were charges for road making and other local burdens of a similar character. These charges together amounted to nearly ten millions a year charged upon the landed interest of the country. Now, by one calculation of the Committee, this amounted to 15 per cent on the rental of the country, by another to 11 per cent; but take it at only 10, it was more yearly than all the legacy duty together. He knew that he might as well address himself to the walls as to those financial reformers, as they called themselves, for they would disregard his statements, as only fit for the House of Lords, and say it was safer to trust their round assertions. He had thought it to be his duty to give his opinion as to the proposal for throwing the burden of taxation on land, as well as on the propriety of the agitations which had been excited, which he not only should not join, but which he should resist to the uttermost. He would pass over the circumstances that the land tax, when it was enacted in the reign of William and Mary, was intended to apply to personal as well as to landed property, and the former in as great degree as the latter; but now personal property was not liable to be charged at all on this principle of taxation. But we, the aristocracy, pass every year an Act to exempt personal property from the poor rates, else it must pay. But then some of those Gentlemen denied that the land paid the great bulk of the poor rates, for they told the world that they, the traders, paid poor rates upon their factories. What of that? They paid as landowners. Suppose the rent of a factory to be 1,000l. a year, and the profits made in that factory to be 30,000l. a year, which of the two sums formed the basis on which the poor rates were calculated? Most assuredly the 1,000l. a year. What pretence, then, was there for saying that personal property contributed to the poor rates as largely as did the landed interest? Of course a man might have land as well as factories, and in that case he paid as a landowner. These manufacturers, perhaps, did not tell the world that they manufactured other things, besides cotton twist; but every one who knew anything of them well knew that they manufactured paupers; where the land produced one pauper, manufactures created half a dozen, and the land paid for the whole. He had said nothing of another burden, and a heavy one, on the land, and on the land alone—the stamps on conveyance or transfer of real property: not an acre can be sold, nor an acre mortgaged, without a heavy duty. When an attempt was made in 1830 or 1831 to subject the transfer of stock to a small tax, such a cry was raised in the City, that the plan was at once given up; but the meek agriculturist pays without any complaint at all. Such was the state of the argument as between the landed and the commercial and manufacturing interests. The objects, then, of the Gentlemen who were engaged in the present agitation were unquestionable. He must say that he doubted the good faith of these persons in the present agitation, for he could not conceive how it was possible for men to put forward such statements, when the truth was staring them in the face, unless they wilfully shut their eyes to it, as these persons found it convenient to do. Then they were told that there should be a reduction to a large amount in the naval and military establishments of the country. His noble and illustrious Friend who then sat at the table (the Duke of Wellington) always desired to reduce the Army till it came within the smallest possible limits that were necessary for the defence of our honour and our possessions. It was said, the French were reducing their army. But our case was not similar to that of France. The case of England with regard to her army was peculiar to herself; but, whether this country enjoyed unmingled prosperity or was reduced to the deepest poverty, it mattered not; in neither case ought a single shilling to be taken for the maintenance of cither the Army or the Navy beyond what the strict necessity of the case demanded. Now, looking at the state of Europe, he saw no reason whatever for saying that any large reductions in the Army or the Navy could be safely effected. Since the last meeting of Parliament there was every reason to feel that the defences of the country ought to be strengthened. He could not conceive what the noble Mover meant by all Europe having been at peace; nor what the Speech meant by a suspension of hostilities everywhere. If he began by turning towards the north, and then carried his view southwards from Schleswig-Holstein to the foot of the boot of Italy, he saw nothing but grounds for apprehending war. Whether he looked at Hungary, Croatia, Vienna, Piedmont, Venice, or Sicily, he saw nothing calculated to relieve that apprehension. It was confessed by the Speech from the Throne that hostilities were only suspended in those places whore war had so recently raged; and there was no part of Europe which presented that unbroken tranquillity which would warrant this country entertaining a proposition for any extensive reduction in the military or naval establishments. It was said that there was a suspension of hostilities; but how did that suspension take place? After the battle of Waterloo, when the enemy sustained a complete defeat, there was no doubt a cessation of hostilities. So now Charles Albert, the King of Sardinia, having been completely routed with his army, and only saved from being driven from his capital by the tender mercy of the Austrian general and Austrian Government, was, undoubtedly, forced to suspend hostilities. A suspension of hostilities was an incident, and a necessary incident, of great success. If one party was completely victorious, and the other soundly beaten, there must necessarily he a suspension of hostilities. Hostilities implied two parties. To have fighting at all, there must be two to fight. Anything more complete than the victory of Prince Windischgratz in Austria there could not he. In honour of that gallant officer he could scarcely say too much; and, though he was charged with cruelty—with superfluous cruelty in the execution of an individual who was a deputy from Frankfort—though an example was here made of which he deplored the necessity—he yet believed that nothing was done in this respect by Prince Windischgratz but what necessity required. He (Lord Brougham) was satisfied that the parties who thus complained, bad forgotten that this person had taken an active part in the revolt at Vienna, which had been attended with such atrocious assassinations. He had actually made a speech declaring that 200 of the aristocracy must be "Latourizeert," that is, murdered with torture, like General Latour. For such conduct had he been executed. He deplored the necessity for resorting to such a proceeding; but he heard not one word from those who so strongly censured it me commiseration for those who were killed by the mob in Vienna. In Hungary there had been very large talkers before the battle, but the great majority absented themselves on the day of fight as the Milanese had done, and as the Irish had done; and the few who did appear were as completely defeated by Jellachich as Carlo Alberto was in Italy by Radetzki; and in that case, as in the north of Italy, there was a suspension of hostilities from there being a want of combatants. With respect to Sicily, the two gallant officers, the English and French admirals, they were told in the Speech, had been moved by feelings of humanity to interfere to put a stop to sanguinary hostilities. After reading a description of what was said to have taken place there, he felt horror at those atrocities; but he also thought it was most perilous to allow military or naval officers to take upon themselves to enter upon proceedings out of the four corners of their instructions, and to take part in political proceedings from their feelings of compassion, and to judge as to the propriety or non-propriety of interference, instead of waiting until they had received instructions from their respective Governments. It was said, to be sure, that they interfered out of compassion, and that then our Government stept in and offered terms for reconciling the Neapolitan Government with its Sicilian subjects; but he doubted whether that rule would hold good if applied to ourselves. Let their Lordships suppose such a case as Ireland complaining of oppression and misgovernment, and that the Dutch, the Austrian, and the French squadrons were to present themselves in our harbours. What would they think of the Austrian Admiral saying "We interfere out of compassion? "or what would they think if the French Government were to come and say—"We take this opportunity of the suspension of hostilities to step in, and we beg to interpose with a proposition which we hope will accommodate all interests. We propose that there should be a Parliament in Ireland upon a certain footing, and for local, and not for Imperial purposes?" Why, our answer of course would be, that we were much obliged by that kind offer of interference, but that we did not wish to have any earthly interference with our government of Ireland. We should request of the Dutch or the French to keep their wisdom for their own purposes—they might have occasion for it hereafter; and we should beg of France to leave us to govern Ireland in our own way. Suppose, as he (Lord Brougham) said in last July, this answer had been given by Naples to our offer of interference in Sicilian affairs, he confessed he knew not what reply could be given; and, therefore, he thought great caution should be observed as regarded any interference on our part with the affairs of other States. With respect to the state of things on the other side of the Channel, he must say that he felt the deepest desire, and the most sincere wish, that nothing might interfere to disturb the harmony that at present prevailed between the two countries. He must say, that with regard to France, he gave his noble Friend (Lord Palmerston) the greatest credit for the course he had pursued—for the judicious and skilful management of their relations with that country. The greatest praise was due to his noble Friend and former Colleague, for the address and good management he had displayed with respect to all his arrangements. These arrangements had had very great influence in his (Lord Brougham's) opinion in preventing France from taking prematurely steps to interfere in the affairs of Italy. He believed that that had been contemplated, and it was the greatest delusion that could enter into any man's imagination to suppose that all that had taken place was a matter of course, that it was all downhill work, even if there had been no interference on our part. "For, "said those persons who knew nothing whatever of the particulars—and he (Lord Brougham) happened to know something of them—" France has enough to do at home—she is crippled in her finances—she has a deficit of 22,000,000l. sterling—she is torn by contending parties, and is in no mood for war." They did not know the state of France who said so. He (Lord Brougham) gave his opinion on that point advisedly, and he said that they were ignorant, profoundly ignorant, of the state of France who held that doctrine. The present position of France was, undoubtedly, a very peculiar one, and such as was never before witnessed; but when he looked to the probabilities of war, he must look to the actual government of the country whose going to war was in question. A short time since the French Government were not perhaps going to war, but they were doing things that would render a war inevitable; and a new Government might any day do so again. France might, to-morrow, issue a proclamation, commencing, "Whereas it is fit and proper that we should go to war in order to establish a universal republic, we hereby proclaim a general war against all crowned heads." They might think it right to do so in order to promote republican and democratic institutions. This they had done in 1792. But had they never done so again? Why, ten months ago there was a pledge almost formally given that France would assist the people everywhere against their rulers. The question was, what security had we that the present tranquillity would remain unbroken, and that the existing peace would continue? The question was how long was that unbroken, secure tranquillity to endure? It was no longer ago than last Monday that it had been found necessary to call out 60,000 troops in Paris in order to prevent insurrection, and to plant cavalry and artillery at every post throughout the city, to prevent an outbreak. How long, then, was that unbroken peace to continue? Suppose a similar unhappy occurrence were to take place to-morrow as had happened in the month of June, were they quite sure that it would be as effectually resisted and put down? Could any man say how long the present French Government was likely to continue No man could tell how long the Republic itself would last. Why, not later than three weeks ago it was said by those best informed on the subject, that there was not a republican to be found except in Paris. If France decided upon returning to monarchical institutions, she might then count upon peace and prosperity; and instead of having the customs of the country coming down to one-half—instead of having the trade diminished to one-half in the course of a year—instead of Prance being in distress—instead of Strasburg being unemployed—instead of Marseilles being unoccupied, and almost all the other great towns of France in distress—instead of that, they would have France raising her head and putting forth her strength, and showing those elements of illimitable prosperity which no arithmetic could count: that would be the result of a restoration. If there should be a restoration, and there being no republicans in France, if, as was very natural, France did not choose to have a republic—no doubt then prosperity to France, and peace to France, and peace to Europe, would be the inevitable and the happy consequence. It appeared to him that sooner or later that day would come. Although there might be some delay, it was not the loss certain; but the delay might be very considerable, because, when men committed themselves to a certain form of government, however much against their will, if it was effected by a great and overruling force to which they had once yielded, a feeling of self-conceit—of human pride—of obstinacy—prevented them from retracing their steps; and, therefore, it would be some time before they could take the step which he believed, from the bottom of their hearts, the rulers and leaders as well as the people of France desired. But, then, instead of the monarchy, they had another alternative proposed to them. Let them look at the late Presidential election. Why, one-third or one-fourth the number of the persons who voted for General Cavaignac voted for Ledru Rollin and Raspail. What did that mean? What did the vote for those two individuals mean? A republic. Ah, but not the republic of Cavaignac—it was the Republique Rouge—the republic of the Jacobins—the republic of '92, '93, '94; and to those 400,000 who had so voted we must add as many more who voted for Cavaignac under the influence of office, but who in their hearts were devoted to the Rouge Republique. Those men cared nothing about a deficit in the finances—they cared nothing about the huge, the appalling deficit of 22,000,000l. sterling—they had nothing to do but to apply the sponge—they would at once issue assignats; and it should be remembered that Ledru Rollin, the leader of the Jacobins, had charged the Provisional Government with a dereliction of duty in not having before this time issued two milliards of assignats. Why, the advent of that party to power was inevitable war. Bankruptcy for Franco no doubt it was; but war for Europe—since nothing was more certain than that a warlike people, when bankrupt, nowise lost the power of engaging in hostilities. It appeared to him that in this state of things it would be very hazardous to reduce our establishments. With regard to the reduction of our military establishments, it must be observed that there was a great difference between ourselves and France in that respect. If the French reduced 50,000 men in the next year, and then found it necessary to go to war, they would recruit those 50,000 men in a month much more easily than we could recruit 10,000 men in a year, the French system being entirely military. Why, 50,000 men left the French army every year, and were absorbed into civil occupations, and there would be little difficulty in rendering their services again available. He would not refer to the other topics that had been alluded to in the Speech, but he would once more impress upon the Government the necessity of cautiously avoiding all interference in the concerns of other nations, and of strictly adhering to the faith of treaties. There ought to be a determined resolution to reject the modern cant, the mere senseless jargon of nationality applied to the distribution of power among the States of Europe; for instance, the saying that Austria had no right to Lombardy, because there was no national community of interests or feelings between Italians and Germans. As well might it be said that England had no right to Ireland, because Ireland was not Saxon; and yet that was the observation made with regard to Austria, which had possessed Lombardy for three or four centuries, He trusted they would disregard all those baseless, fantastical theories which would lead to the distribution of power upon such principles; and to discountenance them he held to be the imperative duty of the advisers of the British Crown. There was another thing he held to be equally advisable—he meant an adherence to the ancient alliances of this country. If there was one country more than another which should be the cornerstone of our foreign policy—a country which was the national ally and had a common interest with ours, and which came into conflict with us in no possible point—he would say it was the great Austrian empire. They should on all occasions court that alliance, and her enemies should in all cases be ours. Next to Austria, he would name another great empire, the remoteness of whose position, and its having no point of conflict with France, would, in the ordinary state of Europe, make her an ally of the French. Happily, the accident of republican institutions had for the present alienated those two Powers, and thrown Russia, if not into our arms, yet into our counsels. Of this we should avail ourselves to ally ourselves with a mighty empire, which, impregnable in itself, and having resources that no other country possessed, even pecuniary as well as military resources, was become a still more valuable bulwark against the assaults of the great central republican organisation. With regard to German policy, he must say that a more complicated subject did not exist. One thing he had certainly formed expectations of a short time since, namely, that there would be no objection on the part of the German States to form one great Western Germanic empire, placed under the jurisdiction of one of their own sovereigns; but those hopes were now at an end. The Diet of Frankfort had completely failed in its object, and he anticipated with much composure of mind, if not with joy, seeing it removed from the face of European polity, leaving matters in that part of the Continent to return to their pristine state before the mania of revolution and the itch of constitution-making had so unhappily disturbed and distracted the Continent. Before he closed, he could not avoid referring to what had been said in Her Majesty's Speech with regard to Ireland. He believed that there was not a shadow of doubt that their Lordships were disposed—and he hoped the other House of Parliament was disposed.—to assent to measures, strong measures if they should be required, for the maintenance of peace in that country. There was another thing-he wished to see. Whatever difference of opinion there might be as to the necessity of new laws for Ireland, no one would doubt the inestimable benefit of giving them new lawyers. Could any mortal man out of Ireland ever have thought of putting fifteen men upon their trial under a recent Act of Parliament for an offence under that Act, and not describing the offence out of that Act of Parliament? It was said that the Irish law officer of the Crown was only a Chancery lawyer; but no Chancery lawyer in this country would think of putting a man upon his trial, and omit to tell him what he was charged with, any more than of filing a bill in equity, without letting the defendant know the complaint against him. But if the law officers of the Crown in Ireland had shown too little law in one instance, they had shown too much in another of the State prosecutions; for on the failure of a demurrer in a recent case tried at Dublin, they had prayed for immediate judgment on the prisoner. Who ever heard of sending a man to execution without trial, because a special pleader made a mistake? No doubt in civil cases when a demurrer was put in to a plea or declaration, the facts well pleaded were held to be admitted; and if the party demurring failed in his demurrer, he failed altogether; and the same rule in strictness applied theoretically in criminal cases. But what mortal being ever heard of taking a man at his pleader's word in actual practice, and hanging him because that pleader mistook the law? The court very properly overruled the attempt; but the attempt reflected no honour, no credit on the Government or the Crown lawyers, who had shown too little learning in the one case, and too much in the other. There was another reason why he must protest against the reduction of the national force below what necessity absolutely required—ho alluded to the position of our affairs in India; and he believed there were some who heard him, men of long experience and proverbial sagacity, who had a very good inkling of what had since happened, as far back as last March. He feared we had sacrificed the advantage which we had obtained, by not taking possession of the Punjaub when we ought. He thought Her Majesty's Ministers had shown a wise discretion in not singing any Io pœans upon what had happened in the Punjaub; and he could have wished that the general officer in command of our forces there had evinced the same forbearance. When an officer in high command, copying the example of Lord Nelson, began his despatch with "It has pleased Almighty God to bless Her Majesty's arms," it should be a success, like that of the Nile, so great and so indisputable that there could be no doubt about it. Undoubtedly they were told, that good Christians should be thankful for small mercies, and that reverses ought even to be received with thankfulness as chastenings from the Divine hand. Viewed in this light, the general in command of the British forces in the late engagement seems to have commenced his despatch in some such words as these—" It has pleased Almighty God to permit me to be out-manœuvred by the enemy," than which thankful resignation nothing can be more exemplary or more edifying, though somewhat novel in war. The despatch, however, concluded by expressing a most proper hope that it might please Divine Providence to improve the victory, and to turn to good account what had been done—a safe wish to breathe, and in which all must join. Nothing could certainly give him more sincere pleasure than to hear the noble Lord who had so ably moved the Address, and who certainly had no reason to deprecate their Lordships' impatience, for no one had listened to the noble Lord with any impatience; nothing could give him greater satisfaction than to join the noble Lord in congratulating the country on the improved state of trade and commerce; and it was to be hoped that they might now enjoy a continuance and realisation of the cheering commercial prospect at present before them. He could only trust that when that prosperity came, our merchants and manufacturers might show more sober-mindedness than on former occasions of returning prosperity after distress. We were still ignorant of the laws which governed these reverses and alternations of commercial fortune. The Newton had not yet arisen, who could explain these mysterious cycles. But they know generally the tendency towards repletion, after the channels of trade had been drained; and he hoped, when the crisis should have passed, that it would be found that the wisdom of our fellow-countrymen in the commercial and speculative classes would be improved by such repeated experience as they had had of the miseries of over-trading.


said, there was so much in the speech of the noble and learned Lord who had just sat down in which he agreed, that he regretted there should have been anything at all from which he felt compelled to dissent. The very circumstance, however, of his agreeing with the noble Lord on some points, imposed upon him the necessity of disagreeing with him in others; for he could not, like the noble and learned Lord, reconcile things totally contrary to each other, and in the same breath commend or recommend two lines of policy diametrically opposed to each other in principle. For instance, while he with the noble Lord commended and admired the Government for maintaining friendly relations with, France, and keeping up the close intercourse between the two countries under all forms of government, he could not at the same moment, like the noble Lord, adopt the doctrine that it was the duty of the Minister of this country to attach himself exclusively to the absolute policy of Austria, and in every way to support her pretensions, because they were hostile and opposed to France. He also differed from the noble Lord on the question of Sicily, and could not refrain from expressing his surprise that the noble Lord should have so far overlooked the circumstances of the two countries as to compare the connexion between Sicily and Naples with our connexion with Ireland. The noble and learned Lord, contrary to his wonted practice, had forgotten altogether the history of Sicily, and excluded from his consideration of the subject the many treaties and transactions which had passed between this country and that island. Was it possible that he could be ignorant that for many centuries Sicily was a separate kingdom in every respect, enjoying separate privileges, a separate constitution, a national legislature, and all the rights of an independent country? Did not the noble Lord know that again and again the kingdom of Sicily had been separated from Naples in the person of the Crown? Had we adhered to treaties solemnly entered into, and which were supposed to bind nations, we should have been obliged to not merely adopt the mild and moderate policy of friendly negotiation which Her Majesty's Ministers had pursued, but to have insisted on the total and complete separation of the two countries, and have assisted Sicily in recovering her ancient independence. Going as far back as the Treaty of Utrecht, which treaty we still quoted as part of the obligations of Europe, we find Sicily separated from Naples, and the crown given to the house of Savoy. This separation was the solemn act of a treaty at which we were present; and a short time subsequent to that, England makes a distinct and separate treaty with Sicily as an independent kingdom, acknowledging thereby that she was no way bound to Naples. But it was not so much to those more distant periods that he wished to draw the noble Lord's attention; it was to the year 1812 that he would fain recall his memory. At that period Sicily was occupied by our troops, and the Royal family maintained and protected in the sovereignty of the island by us. The King attempted to infringe the ancient constitution of Sicily; and what was the course adopted by England? England not only prevented any invasion of the rights of Sicilians, but aided and protected them while they were engaged in reforming their ancient constitution, and developing their civil institutions in accordance with the progress of liberal opinions. In the constitution thus remodelled and reformed, occurred an article respecting the crown of Sicily which ran thus:— Should the King of Sicily reconquer the kingdom of Naples, or acquire any other kingdom, he must send his eldest son to reign in the new dominions, or leave his son in Sicily, granting the kingdom of Sicily to him. Declaring hereafter the kingdom of Sicily independent of Naples, or of any other kingdom or province. Thus ran Article 17, Chapter of the Succession. To this the King answered— Placet, agreed for the independence, all other matters to be settled between the King and his son at the general peace, to know which of them ought to reign in Sicily. Was it not, then, admitted in the very words of the constitution that the crowns should be for ever separated? And were not we present, if not parties to the constitution of 1812? Did not we look upon ourselves as bound to protect the Sicilians in their long-acquired liberties, and did we not put our honour in the fulfilment of the engagement between the King and his Sicilian subjects? He (Lord Beaumont) found this view of the question adopted in the subsequent despatches of Lord Castlereagh and Sir W. A'Court. In a letter addressed by the latter to the Sicilian Government, he found the following passage:— England could not be insensible to the appeal which was made to her, and whilst she charged herself with the protection of Sicily from any foreign invader, she at the same time lent herself to the invitation she had received, and became the protectress and supporter of alterations founded upon principles so just in themselves, and so creditable to those from whom they had originally emanated. Did not this confirm the opinion that we were bound to protect the constitution of 1812, if called on by the Sicilians, and to see its enactments fulfilled? If, therefore, we were to be guided in our policy by treaties and similar obligations, we should be forced to insist on a total separation of Sicily from Naples. With such treaties in force, and such solemn engagements still in existence, he could not understand upon what principle the noble Lord could draw a comparison between the case of Sicily and that of Ireland; for the one had always enjoyed a separate existence, been always entitled to a separate Government, and had its constitutional rights guaranteed by powerful foreign countries; while Ireland had by its own act and deed united itself to England, and never been in the position Sicily was in 1812 with regard to any foreign Power. Ireland lost no constitutional privileges, but merely made a legislative union of its own accord; whereas in Sicily it was by brute force that the Neapolitan Government succeeded in destroying the constitutional rights of the Sicilians, and establishing that frightful system of tyranny which had existed in the island over since. The Sicilians petitioned to have a Parliament called together, and the petitioners were imprisoned. Sir W. A'Court protested in the name of England against the infringement of the constitution; and now that they were called on to negotiate, they should act up to that protest. So far from blaming the English Government for insisting on too much in their proposals to the King of Naples, he found fault with them for not going far enough in supporting those principles to which they had declared themselves bound in 1812, and in maintaining that constitution which, according to his reading of various treaties, they were bound to see carried out. It was said that the Treaty of Vienna secured the absolute government of the Two Sicilies to the King of Naples. He disputed that point, and maintained that in no article of that treaty was it laid down that the independence of Sicily should be destroyed. Sicily was not mentioned in the treaty, except as Ferdinand's title. The Article ran thus— His Majesty, King Ferdinand IV., is re-established, for himself and his heirs, on the throne of Naples, and recognised by the Powers as King of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Now in this there was nothing of destroying the constitution of 1812—nothing of making Sicily a province of Naples—nothing of releasing Ferdinand from all the obligations he had entered into. In every case where there was a change in the frontiers of ancient kingdoms, or a consolidation of States, or a union of two countries in one—a special article was introduced in the treaty, setting the plan out, and regulating the future relations of the united countries. But in the case of Sicily, nothing was said, things were left as they were; and since no alteration was proposed or stated at Vienna, the engagements of 1812 must have been understood to have held good. The constitution of 1812 ought, therefore, to be the basis of our negotiations; namely, total separation. It was with pain and surprise that he heard the noble and learned Lord blame the Admirals for the part they had acted before Messina. What was the conduct of the Admirals, which the noble Lord disapproved of? They took no part in the contest—they did not interfere with the military operations of the belligerents—they did not assist the Italian forces—but when the battle was over, when the Sicilian troops were withdrawn, when the town had surrendered to the Neapolitans, when all resistance had ceased, when the sick and the dying—the harmless portion of the population—the old men, women, and children were alone left in the place—they witnessed a scene which made them take on themselves a responsibility which it would have been an eternal disgrace to them to have declined to impose on themselves. For eight long hours they saw the Neapolitans bombard the helpless, defenceless, surrendered town; they saw the barbarian lot loose his savage hordes upon the hopeless, helpless beings who could not escape from the burning town; they saw women and children abused and murdered; the sick and the old tortured; and all this in a town which had for many hours surrendered, and in which the enemy had not a single soldier left. It was then, and then only, that the Admirals, moved by a sense of their duty to common humanity, and to God, insisted that the useless massacre in the surrendered town should cease, and declared that if the Neapolitan commander had not sufficient control over his own troops, that they would interfere to establish order in Messina. It was evident the Neapolitan commander could not maintain discipline in his army; and they therefore restrained him from advancing on to enact similar scenes in other towns of Sicily. He honoured the French and English Admirals for the part they had taken, and he rejoiced to think the Governments of both countries had adopted the measure of their naval officers. What would have been said in after times if they had disavowed the generous acts of the two Admirals, and rebuked them for having saved from the brutality of a lawless soldiery, some hundreds of helpless women and children? The character of the war is enough to justify the interference of Franco and England in the question. It is held to be a sufficient ground of interference, when the conduct of the war assumes so brutal a nature, that some powerful neutral Power can alone prevent the belligerent forces from converting their contests into a succession of massacres—and we have more than once interfered on no better ground than the bloody character of the struggle. Witness our interference in Greece; again in the Plate, where the only attempt at an excuse for our folly in commencing hostilities, was to prevent more dreadful cruelties. Our interference in Sicily has not only a better excuse, or rather a better grounded excuse, but is luckily of a very different nature. We have not taken part in the military operations of either party, nor prevented those military operations from being carried on, so long as they were conducted on the principles of regular warfare; but we have availed ourselves of an armistice to renew negotiations to which we were invited. What concessions the mediators may find it advisable to impose on either party, it would be unwise at that moment to surmise; but if ancient and still-existing treaties are appealed to, we cannot well stop short of a total separation of Sicily from Naples. With regard to the other subject touched on by the noble and learned Lord, namely, the late war in the north of Italy, he would say but a very few words. He agreed with his noble and learned Friend that her Majesty's Government had displayed great discretion and ability in preventing the interference of the French south of the Alps. He also believed with his noble and learned Friend that it was a mistaken idea to imagine that France was not burning, and had not for some time been burning, with a desire to send her troops across the Alps for the purpose of supporting the liberal party in that quarter of the world. He certainly gave the Government of France credit for having restrained that feeling; but he was convinced that they could not have restrained it, if the people of that country had thought that England, instead of supporting France in striving to obtain justice and fair terms for the inhabitants of Italy, and to establish something like Italian independence, had resolved to aid in the re-establishment of the cruel Government which had lately existed in Lombardy, which had been purely German in its policy, and which had sedulously endeavoured to remove every trace of Italian nationality. But we had been invited to mediate between the parties at an early period of the war; and that invitation we had willingly accepted. More than one proposal had been made as the basis of negotiation between the contending parties; but it appeared that Austria in her proposals wished to retain more than could with justice, or a prospect of permanent peace, be conceded her. A suggestion had been made on our part, which might settle the question; but negotiations were at present pending on that subject, and he felt that it would not therefore be discreet on his part to discuss it in detail. All he should then say was, that he trusted that in those negotiations the vain and extrava- gant idea of establishing in Italy anything like an Austrian province, and an Austrian Government, under an Austrian archduke, would be altogether abandoned. They might rely on it, that if any attempt were made to force on the north of Italy the sway of Austria, that attempt would only lead to another of those outbreaks, which must he perpetually occurring until something like Italian independence was conceded once and for ever. Those were the only two subjects of foreign policy to which he meant to refer. There was one remark of his noble and learned Friend on a point of a different character, which he wished briefly to notice. His noble and learned Friend had said that the land tax was levied in different proportions on land, and on other property. But he believed his noble and learned Friend was mistaken in that matter. The amount had formerly been 24s. in the 100l., the current rate of interest having been 6 per cent, and when the interest had fallen to 5 per cent, an Act had been passed reducing that amount to 20s. in the 100l.; so that the same proportion had always been preserved; that is to say, four shillings in the pound, whether the pound represents the rent of land, or the interest of money. In fact no difference was formerly made between personalty and realty—rates and taxes affected both equally.


said, he could not help taking that opportunity of protesting against that part of Her Majesty's Speech which announced the determination of the Government to propose a reduction in our naval and military forces. He believed most conscientiously that if that course were adopted, a fatal injury would be inflicted on the best interests of the country. It appeared to him that such a proceeding would argue nothing less than infatuation; and he felt convinced, from his confidence in the wisdom of Her Majesty, and in Her anxious desire to promote the best interests of Her empire, that if She had been left to the dictates of Her own heart and understanding, She would never have recommended so dangerous a policy. He also felt bound to express his surprise that the Speech from the Throne contained no reference to the present deplorable condition of two great national interests—he meant the colonial interest and the agricultural interest of this great country. Our colonies were certainly in a position in which we could feel no pride; and with regard to the agricultural interest, it was his firm and honest conviction, from what had taken place within the last few months, that that interest was in a most perilous position, and that, if things were to go on as at present, before twelve months more fearful calamities would occur, involving the total overthrow of that great interest, on the prosperity of which that of the nation at large so much depended. But he should again warn their Lordships not to reduce the existing naval and military forces of the country. When he looked to the state of Europe, and saw the fearful convulsions which had already taken place, and which so far from having subsided, were only waiting for a more fitting opportunity to renew the conflict; when he saw the oldest established governments and monarchies overthrown—the revolutionary spirit which was abroad—and the dissemination of those principles which, if successful, as they were in 1791, must tend to overthrow all the social principles upon which society existed—he considered it nothing better than national insanity upon the part of this country, if at this moment she consented to a reduction of a single man either of the Army or Navy. The present state of Ireland was another reason why no such reduction should at present be made. A reduction of any part of our defences would lead only to the encouragement of that party which would never be satisfied until they had succeeded in breaking off the connexion with England, and establishing the independence of Ireland. He believed that any attempt to reduce the military or naval strength of the country would be fraught with the utmost danger to every interest in the united kingdom, and to England's peace and England's glory.


My Lords, I certainly had hoped, and I must say I think your Lordships had expected, that after the able and powerful speech addressed to your Lordships immediately after the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Address by my noble and learned Friend who now sits near me (Lord Brougham), some one of Her Majesty's Ministers would have felt it to be his duty to offer some observations on those comments—those most important in substance and most eloquently expressed comments—which my noble and learned Friend made on various parts of the Speech which has been read from the Throne by Her Most Gracious Majesty. But, my Lords, I really believe that such is the simplicity of mind of Her Majesty's Ministers, and such is the art—the consummate art—of my noble and learned Friend, that Her Majesty's Ministers are actually under the impression that the observations which my noble and learned Friend made on their foreign policy were really intended to be of a laudatory character, expressing entire approbation of what they have done, and perfect confidence in that which they intend to do, and may do hereafter. [The Marquess of LANSDOWNE: Hear, hear!] The noble Marquess assents to that view of the matter, and believes that the tendency of my noble and learned Friend's observations was to approve of the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government, and that my noble and learned Friend entertains a most confident opinion that the anticipations he has expressed on the subject will be verified by the production of the papers relating to that policy. I am sorry to dissipate so happy a delusion on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers. There is nothing more painful—there is nothing more irksome—than, after a very good joke has been made, to find that there is some person of so obtuse an intellect that, for the life and soul of him, he cannot make out the joke, and that somebody must afterwards laboriously explain the matter to him, telling him—" Why, such a person meant so and so, and can you not see the joke? Do you not see that he was not in earnest?" A new light is thus made to break on the unfortunate innocent who was the object of the joke, and he finds that what he took en grand seigneur, as a high compliment, was, in reality, a jest made at his expense, as every one except himself had at once perceived. It certainly appears to me that such was very much the character of the observations addressed by my noble and learned Friend to Her Majesty's Government on their foreign policy. And I am much mistaken if, when my noble and learned Friend declares that he has no doubt that when these papers are produced we shall find that Her Majesty's Government had, in all things, sedulously respected the obligations of treaties, sedulously and cautiously and scrupulously abstained from interfering in the slightest degree with the internal and domestic affairs of other countries—above all, that they had repudiated the idea of nationality and independence of Italy—that they had given no countenance to those persons who, putting forward the most unfounded pretensions, sought to get rid of the most well-founded claims to dominion on the part of other Powers—and especially that the had sedulously and carefully abstained from giving to our most ancient and most faithful ally, Austria, the slightest reason for supposing that by one hair's breadth we had deviated from the strict observance of those obligations to which the faith of treaties, policy, justice, and honour alike bound us—I am much mistaken if my noble and learned Friend, when he was stating this, had not already in his mind anticipated that surprise and dismay which I have no doubt he will most eloquently and powerfully express to yours Lordships on the production of those papers, when he finds that the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government has in reality been at variance with that which at the present moment he states that he presumes it impossible but that they must have adopted. My Lords, for my own part, I am at all times most unwilling to interfere by any observations of mine, and still more by any amendment, with that unanimity which I think, under ordinary circumstances, it is most desirable should prevail, in tendering to the Throne, in answer to the Speech delivered by Her Majesty, the expression of loyalty on our parts, and of a respectful reception of the recommendations and the observations which it may have pleased Her Majesty to make. I must also observe, that it has been generally the policy of all Governments—and I should have thought it would in an especial manner have been the policy of a Government which has been, as I think they must admit, treated with no ordinary forbearance during their tenure of office by their political opponents—to whom more than usual allowance has been made for the difficulties in which they were placed, the magnitude of which we did not disguise from ourselves or from the country, and with regard to which we were free to admit that the whole of those difficulties were not of their own creating—my Lords, I should have thought that a Government so situated would be careful to abstain in the Speech which they advised the Crown to deliver, from every statement which could provoke cavil, from every observation which could lead to controversy, and, above all, from every representation of the state of the country which could bear on the face of it the character of exaggeration, or of a tendency to mislead. My Lords, when I look to this Speech, unsatisfactory as I find it from first to last, I can hardly discover one paragraph in it which is not open to hostile comment, or one statement which does not give, to my judgment, an incorrect view of the fact which it professes to represent, I confess I am at a loss, entirely at a loss, to arrive at the conclusion to which that Speech has come, with the premises which it has laid down, as well as with the facts, which from your experience must be within the knowledge of your Lordships. Above all, in my judgment, that Speech docs greatly exaggerate that which the Government is pleased to consider, and that which my noble and learned Friend has also described, the present prosperity of this country. I believe that, although there may be some trifling amendment, and it is but trifling, in the commercial prosperity of this country—I do believe that, although the state of the revenue is more promising than it was at the period of the commencement of the last Session of Parliament; yet, I confess, I am at a loss, to whatever quarter I look, to find what subject of congratulation there is in the state of our foreign relations, or of our domestic condition generally. My Lords, for the first time since I have had the honour of a seat in Parliament it has not been in the power of Her Most Gracious Majesty to introduce those words into Her Speech which are usually and ordinarily used on similar occasions—namely, that She continues to receive those assurances of friendly relations from foreign Powers which are the best guarantee for general peace. My Lords, I cordially concur in many paragraphs of that Speech, particularly in that with respect to the tranquillity and loyalty of the people of this country during the prevalence and continuance of the trials and vicissitudes to which other nations have been subjected. I rejoice that the Government—for, of course, the Speech is the sentiment of the Government—has thought proper to put such a paragraph therein, and that they should call upon your Lordships—a call to which I know you will respond, and that you will cordially aid Her Majesty to the utmost of your power, in "upholding the fabric of the constitution, founded as it is upon the principles of freedom and justice." I am grateful, deeply grateful, to Her Majesty for another announcement in the earlier portion of Her Speech, in which She declares, not that She has received assurances of friendly relations from foreign Powers, but that" it is Her constant de- sire to maintain with all foreign States the most friendly relations." I am deeply grateful for that announcement, because it relieves my mind, as I hope it does the minds of your Lordships, from the apprehension that it was the desire of the Ministers of the Crown to maintain the most unfriendly relations with other Powers, in consequence of their constant, uncalled-for, and mischievous intermeddling in the affairs of every country in Europe. My Lords, I ask Her Majesty's Government to tell me of what country in Europe they could venture to insert in the Speech the declaration that they could rely with confidence upon the friendly feelings of the Sovereign of that country? I ask, my Lords, have we renewed our diplomatic relations with the Court of Spain? With regard to the Court of Spain, the state of your relations, or rather your nominal relations with that Court, is this—you have, I think most unwisely, through your Minister, interfered in the internal administration and affairs of that country. The offence, if it were an offence, on the part of our Minister towards that country, has been visited by the Government of that country upon that Minister and upon this country by an act in itself so offensive, that, great as was the provocation which was given on the part of the British Minister, yet, with the information we possess, I believe no one could stand up and say that the Government of Spain was justified in the course they pursued, or that the offence, however great it may have been, was sufficient to justify their conduct. The state of affairs in Spain is this—that your Minister has been ignominiously driven from Madrid, and that you have passively and quietly acquiesced in that insult which a foreign Government has put upon you. Will you venture to say that you are on friendly relations with the King of Naples? Will you say that you are on friendly relations with the Government of Austria? Have you given to the Government of Austria reason to entertain friendly relations towards you? Have you reason to believe that the Government of Austria does entertain friendly relations towards you? I ask, are you or are you not the only Power in Europe to whom the Government of Austria has not officially, by the mission of an Ambassador, signified the accession of the present Sovereign to the Throne? And, more than that, has that omission or has it not been accompanied by any intimation that the cause of that omission, as respects you, and as respects you alone, was the unfriendly attitude which the Government of this country had assumed towards the Government of Austria? Are you on friendly relations with the Court of Rome, or with the Sovereign of the Roman States? You were in great haste last year to enter into diplomatic relations with the Court of Rome, and to enter into friendly relations with the Sovereign of the Roman States. But what is now the state of your relations with them? Have you not, with respect to the affairs of all the foreign countries I have named—have you not, with regard to the Italian provinces, Spain, Austria, Naples, and Sicily—taken precisely that very step which a most illustrious author, an able man and Minister, has declared to be that which, above all other things, a Government cannot safely undertake—have you not fomented underhand the spirit of disaffection, and have you not at last vainly attempted to struggle with the creature of your own creation? Have you not fostered a spirit of disaffection, and then vainly sought to quell it? I think, my Lords, that in the course of the last Session of Parliament, I ventured to express, with every respect for the motives and amiable disposition of the Sovereign Pontiff, my doubts as to whether he was wise or far-seeing in the march which he was then pursuing, or would be able to check the progress of that revolution to which, with the best and most praiseworthy feelings, he was then giving rise. Did I not tell you that with regard to Italy to Naples, to Rome, and Florence, the intervention of the noble Earl (the Lord Privy Seal) might be of very great importance in affording encouragement to liberal intitutions, yet that the Sovereigns of those States should be careful that they were able to stem any excess of public feeling, if they lent themselves to the advice of the noble Earl? Amongst them there was none whose moderation was spoken of in higher terms than the Sovereign Pontiff; and what has been the result of the encouragement he has given to liberal institutions? That encouragement was fostered and supported by the special mission of a Cabinet Minister of Her Britannic Majesty; and the consequences have been, that the head of the Roman Catholic Church—the undoubted sovereign of the Roman inheritance—has been wholly unable to stem the torrent, having broken down the dam in the first instance by your assistance and support, and that at this moment he is an exile from his dominions, and that those dominions are under the control and management (if indeed any control there prevails) of no regular or systematic Government, but of a body, call it what you will, the avowed and open advocates of foul and atrocious murder. What has been the result of your intervention in Naples and Sicily? I am not about to follow the noble Lord who has just sat down (Lord Beaumont) through an historical statement of the relations between this country, Sicily, and Naples; but I cannot help saying that it would be more to the purpose if the noble Lord, in commenting upon the obligations which this country had assumed, had commenced his observations at a later period, and applied himself to the present state of things. We are not to deal cither with Naples or with Sicily, for, by any guarantee that has been given, they are not separate and independent States. We cannot deal with, Naples or with Sicily; but we have treaties of alliance with the King of the Two Sicilies, and with him, and with him alone, in that capacity, is it competent for the English Government to confer. I took the liberty of asking the Government, last year, for some intimation of the principles upon which it was their intention to tender their intervention in the affairs of Sicily, there being, at the time, some apprehensions entertained with regard to the proceedings of Her Majesty's Government. There was a very general belief that the British and French squadrons would, by the orders of their Governments, prevent the sailing of the expedition of the King of Naples to recover possession of Sicily, and I made an inquiry on the subject, but no answer was given to me. However, in point of fact, no interference did take place; the armament did sail from Naples, and was uninterrupted, though followed by a British squadron. But far better would it have been, in my judgment, if that humanity which is so prominently put forward in Her Majesty's Speech, not indeed as a vindication, but as a palliation, of the manifest infraction of the law of nations—far better, I say, would it have been, if the Government had so interfered, and prevented the sailing of the squadron, rather than interfere at the time and in the manner in which they did subsequently interfere. The like has been the case in every country in which we have interfered, alternately giving encouragement and support to each of the contending parties, so that those who professed and fought for liberal opinions, and those who vindicated the views of the Government and the maintenance of its authority, have each in turn been led to believe that they might count upon the support, or at least count upon the neutrality of the British Government. The result has been, that each in turn has found itself deceived and betrayed by the Government which they have trusted. The horrors of civil war have been prolonged and aggravated to an incalculable degree by the policy of the British Government; and your reward, your just, equitable, unfailing, certain reward, must be, and has been, that you are distrusted and condemned by both parties. As regards the intervention of the French and British admirals, I have learned, with some astonishment, from the language of Her Majesty's Speech, that it is upon the unauthorised acts of the French and British admirals, the burden of the responsibility of that intervention is laid. At the period of that intervention, the Sicilian struggle was virtually over. The King of Naples had taken possession of Messina, the stronghold of the insurgents, and their cause was hopeless when the intervention of the British Government stopped the Neapolitan forces. They did not simply stop the effusion of blood; but if we believe the statements that are made, they took upon themselves to stop the Neapolitan army in the full tide of its success, and prevented that army from prosecuting its operations. But after that intervention had taken place, and that prohibition—that unwarrantable prohibition to continue the war had been announced—the strict neutrality professed by Her Majesty's Government, and which, at all events, it was their duty to maintain, I fear it will be found was not in point of fact observed by the British squadron. I fear it will appear, if all the papers connected with this transaction are laid before us, that all the moral influence of the British arms and power was thrown in Sicily into the scale of the insurgents, and against the monarch with whom we had treaties. I hope it is not true that any British officer should be so far forgetful of his duty as to appear in public holding a tri-coloured flag, and that he should have said the cause of Sicily was the cause of England and of France; and that they might rely on their support. I shall rejoice to hear that no officer has been so forgetful of his duty as to join in public clamour and in vivas for the independence of Sicily. I confess I heard with some surprise from the noble Lord opposite (Lord Beaumont), and I hope I shall not hear from any other noble Lord, the cry raised in this House for the independence of Italy—that phantom which I thought had long since vanished into thin air—or such a sentiment as that the government of Austria in the Milanese was a brutal government that ought to be denounced. Setting aside all our connexions and the ties of friendship with Austria, placing the Government of Austria on the merits of its administration, I believe that the administration of that Government may challenge comparison with the administration of any Government in Europe, however free or liberal the institutions of that Government may be. The noble Earl, in moving the Address, referred to the paragraph of Her Majesty's Speech in which Her Majesty said— It was satisfactory to her to be enabled to state, that both in the north and in the south of Europe, the contending parties had consented to a suspension of arms for the purpose of negotiating terms of peace. With regard to that paragraph, it is not very clear who are the contending parties who have agreed to a suspension of hostilities. No distinction is drawn between the consent to the suspension in the north, and the consent to the suspension in the south. With regard to Denmark suspending hostilities under your direction and control, this statement is not accurate. With regard to Austria it is undoubtedly false. It is false that there is any suspension of hostilities between Austria and Turin, except that which was so eloquently and humorously adverted to by my noble Friend—that the King of Sardinia has been foiled in his most unjust aggression. There is, as far as I know, no suspension of hostilities between the Sovereign Pontiff and his subjects at Rome. But now, with regard to this negotiation, by what principle, by what right, are you entering upon any negotiation whatever? What is the object of that negotiation? As regards Austria and Lombardy, what have you to negotiate for? From those provinces, to which Austria has an undoubted right, the King of Sardinia has been driven, and the war there is virtually at an end. Are you going to carry your love of liberal principles so far in the person of Charles Albert as that, having refused to mediate at a time when Austria was anxious for your mediation, now, when the success of Austria is complete, without the consent of Austria you are about to negotiate and to propose terms of mediation, by which the King of Sardinia should derive some advantage from his most unprincipled aggression? The King of Naples has not asked for our assistance. All he desires is simply to be left alone. It was not an unreasonable request his Majesty made, that he should be allowed to manage his own dominions without our meddling interference. We have no more right to be interfering between Naples and Sicily than the King of Naples has to intermeddle in our affairs. But, in spite of the protest of the King of Naples, we are going, it appears, to effect what we conceive to be a just and equitable solution of the question, having already given a rather premature intimation of our views when we sanctioned the offer of the throne of Sicily to the son of the King of Sardinia. I will not ask whether, in the threatened negotiations, the King of Naples is to be insulted with, the proposition that Sicily is to be governed by a Sicilian assembly, and garrisoned by a Sicilian army—I will not believe that you can have the effrontery to offer such terms to an independent Sovereign as the solution of this question, until I actually see evidence of it in the black and white of official documents. But suppose for a moment that you have offered your terms, whatever they may be, will you enforce those terms upon unwilling parties? Do you mean to compel the King of Naples to accept the terms which you may dictate to him, whether he will or no; and on the other hand, if the Sicilian insurgents refuse your terms, will you enforce those terms upon them with the strong-hand? Why not in the first place leave them alone to settle their own affairs? Well, my Lords, in my judgment the whole of the foreign policy of the kingdom is in a most unsatisfactory state. No one foreign Government are you in relations of friendship with—if yon are not involved in quarrel with them, at all events an unfortunate feeling of distrust exists, and if it has not grown into a feeling of hostility, it is not due to your administration of the foreign affairs of the country, but to the wise forbearance and good souse of the foreign Governments. But true there is one Government, if Government it can be called—there is one country—one Power with which I believe you are on friendly terms. I believe at this moment you are on friendly terms with France—a country which I shall again say, as I have often done before, I look upon the maintenance of a good understanding with—I mean my Lords, that in my opinion a good understanding between this country and France is at all times, and especially at the present moment, essential to the maintenance of the general peace of Europe; and whatever the Government may be—and, my Lords, I may have better hopes of a friendly alliance between the two countries under one Government than I may entertain under another, but I do not consider this the time to enter into that question; but I say, under whatever Government Prance may at the moment be placed, I hold that it is of the utmost importance that friendly relations should be maintained between that Government and the Government of this country. But, my Lords, how has this state of things been brought about? Why, by a cautious and prudent avoidance of any interference in the internal affairs of France—by leaving France to settle the form of her own government. We had not interfered with France either by negotiation or advice. But, my Lords, if we now have friendly relations with France, who, possessed of common sense, will dare to predict what may be the state of affairs in France in a month, in a week, nay, my Lords, in a day? Who will say we shall be able to maintain amicable relations with France for any given period? Well, my Lords, passing from that subject, what is the next statement which I find put into the Speech from the Throne by Her Majesty's Ministers. Her Majesty says, "That a rebellion of formidable character has broken out in the Punjaub, and the Governor General of India has been compelled to assemble a considerable force, which is now engaged in military operations against the insurgents;" and then, with strange inconsistency, while they announce the rebellion in the Punjaub, they declare that" the tranquillity of British India has not been affected by these unprovoked disturbances." Now, my Lords, if I understand the English language, a rebellion is a rising, an outbreak of a people against the government of their legitimate ruler. In terms you exclude the Punjaub from the Queen's dominions in British India. You have never claimed it. I do not venture to express an opinion as to whether policy may render it desirable, or necessity may make it unavoidable, to annex the Punjaub to our territories in India. But at the present moment the Punjaub is no portion of the British dominions; and although it is true that there has been a rising in the Punjaub, it is not true that a rebellion has broken out in that country. I say, my Lords, that a war has broken out there—a war of a formidable character has broken out in the Punjaub, and one which is, at this moment, calling for not only the forces possessed by the East India Company, but for an augmentation—a large augmentation of that aid which is usually furnished to the India Company by Her Majesty's service in the shape of military assistance. Then, my Lords, I shall call your attention very shortly to that paragraph which relates to Ireland. With respect to Ireland, we are told in the Speech that the insurrection has not been renewed, but the disaffection still exists, and it compels Her Majesty with reluctance to call for a renewal of those large and stringent powers which the Legislature entrusted to the Government last Session. I know not where my noble Friend who moved the Address found his reasons for congratulation upon the state of Ireland. It is true, as he said, that last year the storm was gathering; the storm, not very formidable in its results, certainly did burst. The deluge has taken place, and it has been repressed by the strong arm of military force, and by nothing else; and I tell you, my Lords, that the moment you reduce that military strength—the moment you reduce your power to crush that spirit—the moment you take off the pressure—that storm is ready to burst out again, for the spirit of disaffection is still rife in that country. The Speech from the Throne authorises me to say so much, and my own knowledge tells me that although an unsuccessful, a premature, and an impotent attempt at a great rebellion has been put down, it has been done without producing in the minds of the great body of the people of Ireland any degree of hopelessness, still less any sense of the criminality and guilt, of the rebellion. With respect to our foreign relations, then, it appears that we are upon amicable terms only with France; with respect to India, we are engaged in a formidable war there, and in two or three of our colonies insurrection has already broken out, which it will require a considerable body of troops to quell. I regret to see that in some other of our colonial possessions the feeling of exasperation at the treatment which they have experienced from the Imperial Legislature has engen- dered a spirit amounting now to discontent, but which is fast ripening into disaffection; and, as they despair of obtaining relief from the mother country, no one can be bold enough to predict the result. Lastly, we have Ireland almost universally disaffected—a country in which the ordinary process between man and man can be enforced by military power alone. In the face of all this Ministers have had the confidence to place in the mouth of their Sovereign the astounding declaration that the aspect of affairs is such as to enable them to effect large reductions in the estimates. My Lords, in my opinion, it is not the aspect of affairs abroad, nor the aspect of affairs in the colonies, nor the aspect of affairs in Ireland, which has caused the estimates to be reduced—no, my Lords, it is the aspect of affairs in another and a very different sense; I believe it is, that they have been ordered to be made by a power which the Government dare not withstand. I have no doubt, my Lords, that reductions may be effected in some of the civil departments of the Army—in the civil department of the Ordnance, and in the civil affairs of the Navy; and large reductions might be effected by a proper system of checking the payment of wages in the dockyards, and looking after the great abuses which exist in the administration and management of the dockyards. But the greatest security we could obtain for having the work well done in the dockyards would be the passing of an enactment to deprive all persons employed in those yards from voting for Members of Parliament. I have heard at least twenty naval officers express an opinion on that—until persons employed in the dockyards shall be prevented from voting for Members of Parliament, it will be impossible to exercise efficient control over the work performed in those establishments. If reductions can be effected, in God's name let them be made; and, although one may wonder why such a course has been so long delayed, I will applaud the Government which shall economise without prejudice to the permanent interests of the empire. But when the country is in such a state as to require to have all its resources and all its powers at hand and in readiness, I, for one, cannot concur with those who seem to think it is a wise economy largely to reduce our establishments, although probably it may be a politic economy. It is also announced by Her Majesty's Government that it is their intention to take some steps with regard to the relief of the poor in Ireland. A more important or a more difficult question cannot engage the attention either of Her Majesty's Government or of the Legislature. If I understand the purpose of the Government, it is to make that subject a matter of further inquiry. If it be the intention of the Government to appoint a Committee of cither or both Houses—if they intend especially to appoint a Committee of this House, and lay before that Committee a clear and distinct statement of their views for the amendment of the law, and the details of the law to which they would invite the attention of all parties—I shall have no objection to such a course of proceeding, and I am sure there will be no lukewarmness—no partiality—shown in the investigation of the subject on either side of the House. But if the intention of the Government be to throw the consideration of the question loose upon Parliament—to make no statement of their intentions—if it be the object of the Government to throw the whole question before a Committee in order that they may inquire into that which has already been inquired into usque ad nauseam—I must enter my protest against such a proceeding. Considering the powers of a branch of the Government instituted expressly for the purpose of working the poor-law, and which is able from its position to obtain more accurate information than any Committee can—seeing that we have a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland who, I am glad to have the opportunity of saying, is always anxious properly to discharge the duty of his high station—one who is always accessible to men of all parties, and consequently enjoys peculiar advantages of obtaining knowledge and advice upon so important a subject from men of all parties—if such a question is to be thrown loose upon Parliament and the inquiry of a Committee, I shall say Her Majesty's Government shrink from the responsibility properly attaching to a Government, and do not properly perform the duty which they owe to their country and their Sovereign. The Speech from the Throne also calls your Lordships' attention to the "restrictions imposed upon commerce by the navigation laws," as they are pleased to phrase it. I do not feel it necessary upon the present occasion to enter at any length into the question of the navigation laws; not because I do not hold this subject to be one of the greatest importance, but because of the introduction into both the Speech and the Address, with reference to this topic, of that happy peacemaker "if." As the Address says, "If it can he shown that these laws are in whole or in part unnecessary for the maintenance of our maritime power," or that they" fetter trade and industry," I, for one, shall he perfectly ready and willing to repeal or modify them. With the "if," I am quite prepared to agree to the Answer to the Speech which is proposed; but I cannot do so without declaring my fixed opinion, founded upon all the inquiries I have been able to make—and I have given the subject the patient attention which its importance demands—as being entirely contrary to the allegations of the Speech as put into the mouth of Her Majesty by the Government. My firm belief is, that the navigation laws are indispensable for the maintenance of your maritime prosperity, and that they do not impede commerce, or for a moment interfere with the mercantile supremacy of this country. I now come to the last portion of the Speech from the Throne. Though I dissent from many of the statements contained in the Address relative to the topics to which I have already adverted, I do not feel myself called upon to propose any Amendment to the Address; but the portion of the Royal Speech to which I am about to refer contains so exaggerated and erroneous a view of the actual condition of the country, that, reluctant as I am to disturb the unanimity which it is desirable should prevail upon such an occasion, I feel myself under the necessity of proposing an Amendment to the Address which refers to this part of the Speech from the Throne. Her Majesty said in Her most gracious Speech:— I have great satisfaction in stating that commerce is reviving from those shocks which at the commencement of last Session I had to deplore. The condition of the manufacturing districts is likewise more encouraging than it has been for a considerable period. It is also gratifying to me to observe that the state of the revenue is one of progressive improvement. I cannot join in thanking Her Majesty for making a communication on the state of the country, as it appears to Her through the eyes of Her Ministers, because I do not think the statement conveys accurate information relative to the condition of commerce, manufactures, and the revenue of the country. True, the panic which prevailed in November, 1847, has passed by, but those are strangely mistaken who suppose that its results on the commerce of the country have ceased to be felt. The few documents to which I am able to refer will show that the favourable view which Ministers take of the state of the country is erroneous. The noble Lord who opened this discussion spoke in sanguine terms of the progressive increase of the revenue. With deference to the noble Lord, I deny that there has been any progressive amendment of the revenue—it has not been progressive. I say, my Lords, it has been immediate, and within a limited period. I say that it has arisen from a single cause; and that you are now about to sweep that cause away. The improvement you boast of, you are about, with your eyes open, to check. I find that the revenue of the last year—I am speaking now of the ordinary revenue of the country—exceeded by 900,000l. the revenue of the preceding year. There is an excess of revenue for customs to the amount of 900,000l., but there is a falling-off in other branches. There is an apparent increase in the excise to the amount of 1,100,000l., but I apprehend that is in consequence of the transfer to that department of the stamps and taxes. The precise increase in the revenue of last year was occasioned by the customs duties paid on the importation of foreign corn. This revenue was raised without suffering on the part of the people, for moderate prices have prevailed during the time it has been flowing in, and yet you are this very day about to cut off the source from which you obtained last year a surplus over the preceding one. My Lords, there is another matter, which, although the item it relates to is small, yet it is by no means unimportant. I allude to the article of property tax. I find that there has been a diminution in the property tax during the last year, to the amount of 103,000l.—that quarter by quarter, in 1848, the property tax diminished, until it reached that amount. Now, my Lords, I think I am right in saying that every diminution under the head of property tax, is an indication of the loss of capital upon which that tax is levied; and consequently this diminution of 103,000l. indicates a loss or destruction of British capital, in 1848, to the amount of nearly 3,500,000l. My Lords, I cannot see that Her Majesty's Government have any greater reason to boast of the prosperous condition of our manufactures than of our revenue. I find by the papers on the table, which are periodically published by the Board of Trade, that the exports of our chief manufactures during eleven months of the last year, as compared with eleven months of the year preceding, had considerably diminished. I will take six of the leading articles we manufacture—cottons, woollens, linens, silks, hardware, and earthenware—and I find that instead of there being an improvement in those branches of trade, there was a diminution in the value of the exports of the articles, as compared with 1847, to the extent of 4,000,000l., and as compared with 1846, a diminution of 5,200,000l. These exports had fallen from 37,000,000l. in 1846, to 32,000,000l. and a fraction in 1848. There is another important fact which is likewise an indication that our manufacturing and commercial conditions are not quite so prosperous as has been represented—I allude to the amount of deposits in the savings banks. I have conversed lately with several noble Lords and Gentlemen connected with different parts of the country, and from one and all I heard, without exception, that the withdrawal of deposits during the last year exceeded considerably the withdrawals of the year preceding; and I find that in the great manufacturing town of Manchester, the excess of withdrawals over deposits in 1848 amounted to between 40,000l. and 50,000l. Under these circumstances I think I am justified in saying that the Speech from the Throne gives a more favourable view of the commerce, manufactures, and revenue, than is warranted by the actual condition of the country. My Lords, I have entered into these details because I feel very strongly that the whole tone and general character of Her Majesty's Speech, especially those parts of it which refer to the manufacturing interests and financial position of the country, are not warranted by the facts of the case. But I have to allege sins of omission as well as of commission against the Royal Speech. My Lords, it certainly does appear to me rather strange, that Her Majesty's Ministers, who are usually considered responsible for any Speech delivered from the Throne, and who profess to have regard to the social condition of this country—it does appear to me rather strange—whether it arises from indifference, or that the subject is unworthy of their notice, I cannot pretend to say—that they should pass by interests which, to say the least of them, do not yield in magnitude or importance to commerce or manufactures—I mean our agricultural and colonial interests. Go where you will, go to what authority you please, and the fact will not be denied—it will not be denied even by Her Majesty's Ministers—that those interests are at the present moment labouring under deep and serious depression. Why then, I ask, do you not take notice of those which are the great fundamental interests of every country, but especially of a great maritime country like England? Why do you not express that which you cannot but feel with regard to those interests, instead of passing them by with contemptuous and indifferent silence? My Lords, I fear that the recent measures of the Government are going far to perpetuate and to increase the distress which unhappily prevails amongst those connected with agriculture and the colonies. My belief is, that we have entered upon a mistaken course of policy; and although my noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham) supported the unhappy corn law, I am rejoiced that the landed interest and the colonies are now about to receive his powerful aid in advocating their just cause. My noble and learned Friend very properly views with constitutional jealousy that combination which, having already proved its power, is, as I anticipated would be the case, not satisfied with the repeal of the corn laws, but has declared its intention to make an onslaught on the landed interest and the great colonial interests of the empire. I rejoice at the admission of my noble and learned Friend, that he had, on a former occasion, winked at the unconstitutional proceedings of the League; and I trust that, warned by experience, my noble and learned Friend, and your Lordships generally, will bear in mind that for the attainment of no object, however desirable in itself, is it wise, honourable, or safe to avail yourselves of unconstitutional means. My noble and learned Friend professes himself to be still the advocate of free trade; and with equal frankness I avow that, whilst I do not advocate any unnecessary restrictions on commerce, I am the uncompromising enemy of the miscalled, onesided, bastard free trade, which has been introduced by the Government for the benefit of foreigners, and to the detriment of British subjects; and I declare myself to be the uncompromising advocate of the old, just, and equitable principle which gave necessary protection, not monopoly, to the labourers and producers of this country, and to our fellow-countrymen, wherever they were to be found throughout the world. I am not favourable to prohibitory duties; but I maintain that it is necessary to give to our fellow-countrymen that amount of protection which is necessary to counterbalance any disadvantages which may arise from the admission of foreign produce. I hear it said, that free trade has been adopted, and that we must proceed in that course—vestigia nulla retrorsum. From that doctrine I dissent. It appears to me that the principle of protection to British industry is a sound and rational one. I will not consent to take it as a fait accompli that protection to British industry must be abandoned. Every day's experience convinces me more and more that this country will never prosper—that you will never be able to thwart the dangerous designs of mischievous men who think they have obtained a lever to upheave and uproot the old foundations of the constitution; that if you wish to see prosperity return to the interests of the country, agricultural as well as manufacturing—and when I speak of the agricultural interest, I mean not that of country gentlemen alone, but of the farmers and labourers of England—every day's experience convinces me that you must retrace the steps you have taken; you must make part of your revenue depend on a moderate import duty; you must return to the principle of protection. Such is my conviction; but my belief, moreover, is strong that to that conclusion within no distant period the full and deliberate opinion of the country will compel you to come. The price to which I ventured to predict that free trade would bring down your corn was 45s.; and I further ventured to affirm that you would have introduced, one year with another, four millions of quarters of corn. It is a singular circumstance, that the price of grain is at the present moment 45s. and a fraction; and there has been imported in the year about five millions of quarters of corn. If those prices are to be permanent, it is impossible that the agriculture of the country can be carried on with profit to the farmer; and if so, the loss will fall on the labourer, and on all who are connected with the agricultural interest. There is a significant fact obvious at this moment—I ask, whether it is not within your knowledge, more especially of the southern counties, that, in spite of those low prices which were to bring universal plenty and contentment, there is a larger amount of vagrancy, a greater prevalence of mendicancy, a larger number of ablebodied agricultural la- bourers thrown on the poor-rates; and whether the poor-rates, pressing exclusively on the land, are not becoming a more intolerable burden than for many years? If such be the case, it is not honest to sink the fact; and, believing that in this Speech you have given an erroneous colouring to the state of matters, that you have omitted, not perhaps unaccountably, but most censurably, all mention of interests in a condition approaching even to ruin—I need not allude to the West Indian colonies—I think it proper to submit a Motion by which, as I think, a more correct picture will be afforded of the true state of things, namely, to insert at the conclusion of that paragraph of the Address, which says that "the state of the revenue is one of progressive improvement," the following words:— We regret, however, to be compelled humbly to represent to Your Majesty, that neither Your Majesty's Relations with Foreign Powers, nor the State of the Revenue, nor the Condition of the Commercial or Manufacturing Interests, are such as in our opinion to justify us in addressing Your Majesty in the language of congratulation; and that large Portions of the Agricultural and Colonial Interests of the Empire are labouring under a State of progressive Depression calculated to excite serious Apprehension and Anxiety.


said, that had it not been for the speech of the noble Lord who had just sat down, he would have been perfectly content to rest the grounds of his vote in favour of the Address that had been moved that night upon the speeches of the two noble Lords who had moved and seconded it. Those speeches were both remarkable for having been delivered by noble Lords who had never addressed their Lordships before, but who had shown themselves well qualified to take part in their deliberations; and he was sure that no person could have listened to either of those two speeches, without being convinced that the noble Lords who had delivered them were possessed of powers of eloquence and of argument such as were not always possessed by those who most frequently addressed the House. A more clear or more distinct statement, in favour of every topic contained in that Address, than that which had been brought forward by his noble Friend who had moved the Address on this occasion, he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) had never before had the pleasure of listening to in that House; and, as he had said before, he would have been perfectly willing to rest his vote in favour of the Motion upon the strength of the argu- ments embodied in the speech to which he had referred, and would certainly not have, in so doing, intended to evince the slightest degree of discourtesy or disrespect towards any one of their Lordships who thought proper to differ with him in the manner in which he intended to vote. But after what had fallen from the noble Lord who had last addressed the House, he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) felt it necessary to make a few observations. The noble Lord who had just sat down, was pleased to conjecture that this silence had been occasioned by the supposition on his (the Marquess of Lansdowne's) part, that the speech of the noble and learned Lord (Lord Brougham) was favourable to the Address, and to the policy which it recommended. Such was the simplicity with which the noble Lord had been pleased to charge him. But he did certainly think the noble Lord had shown as much simplicity when he considered, as he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) well knew at the time, and expected he would consider, the speech of the noble and learned Lord, which went so much further in approbation, and therefore so much less far in disapprobation, of the Address, to be in favour of the sentiments he himself had just expressed. Yet, although he congratulated himself upon having secured the assistance and approbation of the noble and learned Lord in favour of what he was pleased to call the landed interest, that noble and learned Lord had taken the opportunity already of reminding him that he must not congratulate himself on having secured his assistance in going backwards to protection, which he had just announced to their Lordships to be the great object of his policy. In that respect, at least, he could not assure him of having found much encouragement or assistance from the learned Lord. With regard to the silence alluded to by the noble Lord, and his own reasons for abstaining for the while from offering himself to the attention of their Lordships, he would say, that the noble Lord had availed himself, as undoubtedly he was well competent to do, of that opportunity, and the terms of the Address, in order to state an opinion, and to found that opinion on assumed facts, at a moment when, in the very terms of the Speech, it had been announced that the whole of the papers would be very shortly laid upon the table. He must be permitted to say, that the noble Lord could not, for his purpose, have ever adopted a more propitious time. If the noble Lord had waited for these papers, there was no one of the assertions which he had hazarded in his speech, and which he had made the foundation of that opinion which he invited their Lordships to adopt there, not one of these assertions which would not have been found falsified. And was it right, then, in him to avail himself of that occasion to pronounce an opinion which he sought to attach in the minds of their Lordships and of the pub-lie, by making those assertions and deriving those deductions? In proceeding to reply to the speech of the noble Lord, he would take it up in the order which the noble Lord himself had pursued. First, with respect to the noble Lord's remarks on the subject of foreign policy; he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) could not find where the noble Lord had discovered it to be stated, in the Speech from the Throne, that hostilities had, by means of the British Government, been suspended between Austria and Hungary. He assured them that, as regarded the internal affairs of Austria, they had never Interfered—never meant to interfere with them—and never were desired to Interfere. At the same time they could not but contemplate, in common with the rest of Europe, with deep interest a struggle carried on under circumstances of great difficulty, a contest which had led to the display of so much lofty character on the part of individuals. Had this been the place or the occasion, he should have been as ready as the noble Lord to pay his tribute of respect to Individuals who had appeared in that part of the world, and had been most successful in their efforts to restore the glories of the Austrian army in her own dominions. He assured the noble Lord that they had taken no part whatever in the negotiation between the Emperor of Austria and his subjects—a negotiation in which he deemed they had no right to take part. These negotiations, he hoped, would end in consolidating the Interests of that Power, and the general peace of Europe, which he, for one, would wish never to see disturbed. It had been said, that the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department had been in the habit, unassisted and uncalled for, of offering and forcing his mediation on others. When the papers were produced, it would be seen that no interference had taken place with the affairs of other Powers, but with the consent of those Powers, and in many instances upon their express invitation. It was Austria that made the application to the British Government for mediation in the question between Austria and Sardinia. The British Government did not refuse; they had communicated to Austria the terms on which they proposed to mediate—terms which were favourable to the Austrian interests. At the moment Austria did not think fit to accede to those terms; but a time elapsed, new circumstances occurred, and the relations of parties were somewhat altered, when at length their mediation was accepted, and a congress would be called upon such terms as perfectly justified the course determined on by the noble Lord the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He did not, certainly, think that his noble Friend opposite (Lord Stanley) would go so far as to say, that, having undertaken a mediation at the request and in consequence of the application of another Power, they should offer only such advice as she herself might wish. Such, at least, were not the terms on which they had, or ever would, consent to interfere in any country; and when the noble Lord chose go to misrepresent the policy of his noble Friend at the head of the Foreign Department, he might remind that noble Lord of the time when he was in conjunction with the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department, and that it had fallen to the lot of no man, within the same time, to have to mediate so frequently among different parties, and to have brought that mediation to a successful termination, with the approval of all mankind, with that of the noble Lord, then given, though now withheld, and of all who valued the peace of the world, and desired to see it secured, not by giving to one party that advice which it wished to receive, but by giving both parties the best and wisest advice that could be given. He could enumerate no fewer than eight or nine successful mediations brought to an end by this "Minister of War," and without which war might have arisen between the most powerful kingdoms. If, however, it were conceded to the noble Lord that the policy of his noble Friend (Viscount Palmerston) had been of a disturbing and unpeaceful character, why, the noble Lord, by his own expressed opinion, had still the consolation that his noble Friend, during the past year, had been most unsuccessful in his endeavours. These endeavours had been made at a crisis the most exciting, and under circumstances the most trying, which for many years had occurred in Europe—at a time when those evil passions alluded to by the noble Lord had been let loose, and hostilities existed between country and country, and even forgotten nationalities had been revived in a spirit of bitterness; but, thanks to the policy on which his noble Friend had proceeded, and thanks to that conjunction and co-operation of France with England, noticed in the Speech from the Throne, those evil passions—those hostilities between country and country—those nationalities—had been for the time successfully prevented from ending in a general war. There was, at that moment, no war; he hoped that there would be no war; he did not prophesy that there would be no war; that was no promise of his: but he would say that it was mainly owing to the policy of his noble Friend that there had not been a general outbreak, and he hoped that that policy would finally terminate for the interest of the Powers immediately concerned, and for the maintenance of the peace of Europe. He would now come to another topic on which the noble Lord had dwelt at some length. He now came to notice the comments of the noble Lord on their mediation in the affairs of Sicily. In the first place, the noble Lord would have their Lordships to believe that, as regarded any of the parties concerned, the interference of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs had been uninvited.


explained that his remarks applied to the interference of the squadron.


said, he would come to that afterwards; but he would first proceed to explain the occasion of the English Government having interfered at all in the affairs of Naples and Sicily. His noble Friend the Lord Privy Seal had never wished to interfere in those affairs, and he did not interfere until after the importunate solicitation of the King of Naples himself. They had been solicited for their advice in the affairs of Naples, and when once in Naples, they were urged and solicited to pass over into Sicily. If they had not gone to Sicily, or if they had not gone to Naples, what would now have been the language of the noble Lord opposite in animadverting upon the conduct of the Government? "Is that the way," he would have said, "in which you use the King of Naples, an ancient Power in friendly relations with the British Go- vernment? You have neglected your obligations in so treating a friendly Power who has solicited, under important circumstances, your advice and mediation." We did go to Naples, with the approbation of the Neapolitan Government, but when there, we were solicited to send also into Sicily. "Would the Secretary of the Legation at all events not go? Or would they not send, if it were only an attaché? Would nobody go? "Somebody did go, therefore. As respected Naples, then, it was a Power with which they had been in a state of alliance, and a Power which had solicited their interference. Indeed, looking at Sicily, not as independent of Naples, not as a country which they wished to be independent of Naples, but as a country having certain rights, and in possession of these rights, as being practically independent, these rights were recognised as the ground of British interference in Sicily. He did not say that they had been invited, at the time, to effect for Sicily the recovery of the possession of these rights; but circumstances had occurred, which made it obligatory on the British Government to give the weight and assistance of their moral influence for the recovery of these rights to the nation. In their interference they had expressly limited themselves by the same principle which had ruled the negotiations of former Governments with the same kingdom. He might quote, from more than one document, a precedent in support of the course adopted by the Government in this case, but he would confine himself to the instructions given by Lord Castlereagh to Sir William A'Court, at that time the British Representative at the Court of Naples, in circumstances precisely similar. In that despatch, Lord Castlereagh said, that, "however reluctant the Government was to interfere in the affairs of Sicily, nevertheless, any attempt to reduce Sicily to such a state as should amount to a change of system which would in the end impair the freedom and happiness of the inhabitants, as compared with what they formerly enjoyed, must be resisted." What did the noble Lord think of that? It would be in the recollection of the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington, that not more than a year had clapsed after the Congress of Vienna when it was thought necessary to make that representation. But it was very convenient for the noble Lord to despise any mention of moral obligation, as though the Government had had nothing to do with mediating between the parties. As for consequences resulting to the British Government, the Neapolitans would not think England bound to go to war. The Government had warned them that they would not go to war, and could they do more? But at the same time they had not disclaimed a warm interest and a strong feeling on their behalf. The British and French squadrons, then, without any preparations for war, and without any instructions either to make war, or to be prepared for it, lay in the waters over against Messina, and observed the motions of both parties in that city. They were surprised to see, without notice or warning, a series of hostilities commenced; and even after the white flag had been hoisted, a terrible bombardment began, and continued throughout the whole of the day. Soldiers were landed from that expedition who destroyed the suburbs of the town, after the town itself had surrendered; and it was then that the Admirals, witnessing the wanton and barbarous atrocities which were perpetrated, felt it their duty to take all the means in their power to put a stop to such horrors. Those officers saw not merely soldiers killed, forts destroyed, houses demolished, but they saw the lame, the sick, and the infirm, taken from the hospitals, and butchered—women who had taken refuge in churches were in those churches violated and murdered, and people were dragged from cottages on which the white flag was flying, and were killed upon the road near the seashore, or were slain in their attempts to escape; and they were prompted by feelings of humanity to interfere in order to terminate such atrocities. Sir W. Parker and the French Admiral had a right to suppose that, having upon three occasions been on the point of bringing negotiations to a successful issue, they might eventually be able to accomplish that object; and that, at all events, if hostilities could be suspended for a short time some negotiation might be concluded which would spare other towns and villages from the horrors of which Messina had been the scene, and put a stop to such acts of inhumanity and wickedness as had never been witnessed in any civilised country. He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) was ready to hold himself responsible for the course taken by Sir W. Parker; for, had he been placed in similar circumstances, he would have acted in the same way. The noble Lord seemed to think, however, that all the interference had been on one side. But it so happened that a short time be- fore the period to which he had alluded, the patriots or insurgents had been successful; they had captured Palermo, and the Neapolitan garrison of that city was in danger of being butchered. Where did they find refuge and protection? On board British ships of war, in which they were conveyed to Naples, and restored to the King's service. The officers of Her Majesty's fleet had, on this as on all other similar occasions, distinguished themselves by a spirit of humanity; and with respect to Sir W. Parker—who in almost every part of the world had performed diplomatic as well as military services, in a manner which had uniformly given the highest satisfaction to his Sovereign and Her Government—he could only say that he had in this case fully maintained his former reputation. Her Majesty's Ministers, he might say, were at that moment in negotiation for a happy termination of these painful contests; and, although he might not venture to express a definite opinion, he would express his sanguine hope that their negotiations would be brought to a prompt and acceptable issue. In regard to what the noble Lord opposite had said upon the subject of the duchies of Schleswig-Holstein, he could only assure the noble Lord that that negotiation was proceeding, if not speedily, yet satisfactorily, and that the difficulties had in a certain degree disappeared. By the assistance of Prussia, and by the partial intervention of Sweden, Russia, and other Powers, the conflicting and difficult pretensions in which this conflict originated had by degrees to a certain extent been withdrawn or disappeared, and there was every prospect that a satisfactory arrangement would be concluded. The noble Lord had also referred to Spain. There was, undoubtedly, a suspension of diplomatic intercourse between the Spanish and British Courts, that suspension having originated in an unpardonable act of violence on the part of the Spanish Government towards the English Ambassador. Upon false accusations the British Minister had been ordered to leave Madrid. The noble Lord had said that Her Majesty's Government left this insult unnoticed; but in this respect the noble Lord's memory deceived him. The consequence of this proceeding was, that the Spanish Minister was directed to leave the British Court. This was the mildest, but, at the same time, the fittest notice that could be taken of the conduct of the Spanish Government. He hoped, however, to see the time when the Spanish Government would recognise the injustice of the charges which had been brought against Sir Henry Bulwer; and he took upon himself to say that there would be no slowness on the part of Her Majesty's Government to re-open diplomatic relations with Spain on such terms as were consistent with the honour of this country. The noble Lord had also referred to the Irish Poor Law. He (the Marquess of Lansdowne) was decidedly of opinion that that law required some revision, and he hoped that the inquiry which it was proposed to institute on the subject would be brought to as speedy a termination as possible. With regard to the request of Her Majesty's Government for an extension of the powers which had been granted them for maintaining tranquillity in Ireland, he would refrain on this occasion from going into any statement to show the necessity of that measure; but before the House adjourned to-night, he would lay upon the table a despatch from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland containing a distinct statement of the grounds on which he recommended this step, and which had led the Government to acquiesce in his suggestions. It was the duty of the Government to devise and carry out every safe and practicable measure for ameliorating the condition of Ireland; but those remedial efforts could only be rendered successful by the maintenance of a continued state of tranquillity, which would give confidence and security to those individuals who might be induced to embark their capital, their exertions, and their fortunes in that country. The noble Lord had referred to those passages in the Speech which referred to the revival of commerce, and to the encouraging condition of the manufacturing districts. Did the noble Lord mean to reject the evidence which was afforded in proof of these statements, by the increased number of cotton mills in work, the increased number of hands employed, and the increased demand for our manufactures? With regard to the statement in the Speech, that the public revenue exhibited a progressive improvement, he (the Marquess of Lansdowne) would be enabled, at a future time, to lay before the House details which would satisfy them, and, he believed, the noble Lord also, that there was a solid improvement in the revenue, independently of the corn duties. He believed it would be found that, putting aside the corn duties altogether, there had been an increase of 200,000l. in the customs in the course of the last year. He had been informed yesterday that there had been a considerable increase of deposits in the Westminster Provident Institution; he believed the same would be found to be the case with the savings banks; and he sincerely trusted that the commencing prosperity, of which there were such evident signs, would be of a permanent character.


said, the noble Lord who had just sat down had admitted the existence of great agricultural distress. He asked his noble Friend, therefore, if he ought not to have asked Her Majesty to express her deep regret at the unfortunate condition of the agricultural class. For his own part he had known the sufferings of that class to be great on many former occasions, but never so great as at present. There was positively no sale for barley in the market, in consequence of the superior quality of the barley which came from Franco and other parts of the Continent, and the farmers were prohibited from malting it by a heavy tax. They had rightly maintained a protection of from 5 to 15 per cent on manufactured articles, while the landed interest had no protection at all. And why? Was not flour a manufactured article? The farmer could now get scarcely 45s. a quarter for his wheat in any market in the country. Loaded as the English farmers were with tithes and local burdens, and subject to that obnoxious and unjust law the malt tax, it was impossible that they could continue to compete with the foreigner, who was almost entirely free from similar burdens. In the workhouses of the county in which he lived, there were more ablebodied men than had ever been known since the passing of the new poor-law; for when the farmers found they could no longer pay the same number of men, they retained those with large families, and were obliged to discharge the others. He had always been an advocate for the new poor-law, there and elsewhere; but he declared to Heaven, he never thought it possible that by Acts of Parliament, by men voting against their conscience, which he regretted to say many of their Lordships had done on the passing of the corn law—he never dreamt that by such a course they were driving into the workhouse the honest, independent, industrious labourer, who only sought to support himself by doing a good day's work for a good day's wages. This was the result of their Anti-Corn- Law League mania, which now, forsooth, the noble and learned Lord had discovered to be an unconstitutional body. His noble and learned Friend declared that he knew it to be so from the first, and yet most extraordinarily consented to receive a boon at their hands. Now, his noble Friend, and, he suspected Her Majesty's Ministers also, appeared to think that the unadorned eloquence of the free-trade senator, and his colleague, Mr. Bright, by their speeches delivered at Liverpool and Manchester, were doing great mischief. He would not do the Government the injustice to believe that they were such cowards as to consent to a reduction of our naval and military forces from the threats of so despicable a body of men. Why, these men would have had no power if they had not worked on the cowardice of the then Minister, who truckled to popular clamour, and abandoned the opinions which he had always held. Large sums of money had been voted last year for the purpose of improving the defences of the country, and securing its soil from the pollution of foreign footsteps. Were they then prepared much to reduce the best of all their defences, the Navy, and the bayonets of the British infantry? He hoped Her Majesty's Government, when they came to propose the reductions which had been talked of, would state their reasons for making them. Was it always economical to make such large reductions? What happened one or two years ago to the East India Company? They thought to effect a saving by sending some regiments home; but they were very shortly after compelled to supply their place by sending out others, so that the economy in that case consisted in the expense of bringing the first home and sending the second out. What would be the result of reducing the Army and Navy? Some Brighton fishermen some day might probably go a little too near the French coast, and the result would be that they would get laid hold of, and perhaps receive a couple of dozen; and then you would hear from one end of the country to the other that our national honour had been insulted, and war would be the cry. These were things for which they ought to be prepared. He was an advocate of peace. It was said that men accustomed to warfare and bloodshed became hardened. He knew the contrary to be the fact; he knew that no men detested war so much as those who had witnessed scenes of the greatest slaughter. He should like to know of what avail their Coercion Act for Ireland would be if they withdrew their forces. The most effective coercion was the knowledge that there was a large British force ready to come down upon them. They were always afraid of the red coats. They might depend upon it there was no economy in such reductions. The parish rates must be increased by such means, because it would not be the most effective young men, but the least effective who would be discharged. What, then, would become of these? They would be perfectly unfit for agricultural pursuits, and must go to add to the crowds already filling our workhouses. Still he felt that his noble Friends on the other side would not retrace their steps. When men were entirely wrong, and began to find out that they were so, they invariably persisted in obstinately following the same course. He had always contended that the home market was the best market for the manufactures of this country; and he looked forward to the time when the failure of this would cause such a pressure from without as would compel Ministers to do justice to the agricultural and colonial interest. There was now not the slightest argument to justify the present system of local taxation. There might have been some reason for it, when protection was extended to agriculture; but now that protection was withdrawn, the system was totally without justification. He still hoped to see protection the law of the land. People said this was impossible; but who would have believed that the Peelites would, in 1841, have voted for a total repeal of the corn laws? For his own part, he would always stand up to oppose free trade and defend protection; and to his latest dying day he should deeply regret that so many of their Lordships should have voted on the question of the corn laws in opposition to their own convictions. It was a great triumph to unconstitutional agitation, and would, he feared, be drawn into a most dangerous precedent.


said, no one could entertain the slightest doubt but that his noble Friend who had just sat down would redeem his pledge. But his noble Friend evidently failed to appreciate the effect of public opinion in producing the change which he so greatly deprecated; for the efforts of the Anti-Corn-Law League would have been powerless unless they had found a response in the feelings of the great mass of the people. His noble Friend might, perhaps, find a willing audience in that House; but the great mass of the people of this country would listen far more willingly to the arguments of those who told them that every article of consumption must be cheapened, and that the last remnant of protection must be got rid of. It was a great mistake to imagine that local taxation fell exclusively on the agricultural interest; for all realised property contributed its share. The low price of agricultural produce, to which his noble Friend had alluded, was the result of the unfavourable season, which had spoiled the harvest in the south, although the northern part of this kingdom had suffered comparatively little, in consequence of the harvest occurring later in the year, when the weather was more favourable. He deprecated that war of class interests which speeches such as that of his noble Friend opposite tended to encourage. In that warfare he had never joined; and he warned his noble Friend, and those who acted with him, to beware lest by their conduct they put those in the right who raised an outcry against the landed interest. That interest in 1841 might, if they had chosen to do so, have made a much better bargain for themselves; and if they were now without protection they had only themselves to blame. He wished to say a few words on a subject of the greatest practical importance—he meant the condition of Ireland. They had been told by a noble Friend of his, that it was his intention to move for a Committee on the subject of the Irish Poor Law. Now, he believed that if that Committee were to adhere to the scheme which his noble Friend was disposed to lay down for its guidance, there would be no difficulty in conducting its inquiries. But he, nevertheless, rather agreed with his noble Friend opposite, that it would be better that the Government should at once introduce the measure which they meant to propose as an amendment of the existing law, rather than leave the matter to the inquiries of a Committee. At all events, he felt convinced that it would be advisable to do at once whatever was to be done on the subject. It was of great importance, in his opinion, that amendments in the law should be effected, and especially that the area of taxation should be diminished. It must be recollected that, in the view of Parliament, the Irish Poor Law had a double object—one was to maintain the people; the other (a less legitimate one, but one much insisted on by the English portion of the Legislature) was to stimulate the Irish landowners to give employment to the population. This latter object would never be attained unless the area of taxation were diminished so as to give the employer of labour the full benefit of his outlay by the reduction of his rates. He believed that without such a change, the measure would entirely fail in stimulating the landlords of Ireland to employ the labourers of that country.


said, he wished to express the grounds on which he felt it his duty to vote against the Amendment. He had been opposed to the repeal of the corn laws; but he could not vote for that Amendment unless he was prepared to endeavour to reverse that policy; and he confessed that he was not ready again to expose the agricultural interest to all the uncertainty, and all the agitation from which they had so much suffered of late years. He felt that although the adoption of the free-trade policy was a dangerous experiment, it was desirable that that policy should have a fair trial. He was not sorry to find that the Speech from the Throne contained no allusion to the agricultural interest, and he had hoped that no allusion would have been made to that interest in the debate. He felt certain that Her Majesty's Government had not meant to treat that interest with contempt. In conclusion, he had only to state that he was prepared to wait with patience the result of the experiment of free trade that had been made; and he was not then prepared to say that because that experiment had an unfortunate beginning, the agriculturists of England were to acknowledge that they could not compote with foreign countries.


said, he considered it would be nothing short of a great public calamity that the Amendment of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) should be adopted. He would not then discuss the merits or demerits of those who had supported or opposed the abolition of the corn laws. He honoured the consistency and the chivalrous spirit which the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley) had employed in the course he had pursued upon that question; and he could not doubt but the noble Lord gave similar credit to those who had thought it their duty, contrary to their previous convictions, to pursue an opposite course. But the question of protection had then been disposed of; and he felt that it was not right that they should reverse the decision to which they had then come, until it had been proved that the change had been a failure. Now, he could not admit that such proof had been given. He already perceive in this country symptoms of commercial improvement. At all events, he felt that that was not a time to come to the foot of the Throne with querulous complaints of the state of certain portions of the country. He said emphatically" of certain portions" of the country; for he had been in communication with some of the ablest and most enterprising farmers in Scotland, and he could state that they regarded the present crisis with no alarm. He believed they were prepared to take their chance under the altered commercial policy of the country. They believed the present prices of corn were due, in a great measure, to the operation of a period of transition. Under these circumstances, he should decidedly give his vote against the Amendment.


said, that notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, he was anxious to avail himself of that opportunity of explaining to their Lordships, in a few words, his view of the question then under their consideration. He deprecated their adoption of the Amendment, and he should proceed to give his reasons for voting against it. He greatly admired the speech of his noble and learned Friend (Lord Brougham), who was the person in that House most capable of appreciating that state of affairs on the Continent, which rendered it exceedingly difficult for this country to give efficient aid in maintaining the peace of Europe. He certainly was not able to estimate those difficulties with the same local knowledge which his noble and learned Friend possessed; but he had always been sensible of the extreme delicacy and difficulty attending the situation of public affairs on the Continent of Europe, during the whole of the year 1848; and he had always been most anxious that nothing should be done to throw the smallest difficulty or impediment in the way of the Government in carrying on our foreign relations, or that any step should be taken which could give occasion for the smallest grounds for the belief that the Government was not supported by the public opinion of this country. For that reason he confessed that he had been relieved from the utmost anxiety, when he had heard Her Majesty read from the Throne that para- graph in Her Speech in which She stated that She would, as soon as the interests of the public service might permit, direct that the papers relating to our recent policy on the Continent should be laid before Parliament. He had been gratified to hear that declaration from Her Majesty, and he had hoped it would have had the effect of preventing a discussion on those delicate and difficult affairs until the House should have been fully informed of what had occurred, and of the measures really adopted by Her Majesty's Government. Unfortunately, however, the House had already entered into a discussion of those questions, notwithstanding that Her Majesty had given grounds for the postponement of that discussion, until the papers relating to the subject should have been laid before the House, when their Lordships might have considered the matter with a full knowledge of the facts. He was certainly aware that there was a good deal to be explained with regard to these affairs before they could be properly discussed. The noble Lord who had spoken on that (the Ministerial) side of the House, had expressed a strong opinion respecting Naples and Sicily; and he (the Duke of "Wellington) was anxious to move in that House for the production of certain documents which he had not found among the Parliamentary papers connected with that question. He alluded to the declarations made by the King of Naples when he acceded to the Treaty of Vienna. He was at that time King of the Two Sicilies. It was true that he was not at first de facto King of Naples, because Bonaparte had military possession of Naples, and had made his brother King of Naples. But he was recognised by this country as King of the Two Sicilies, and it was in that quality he made his treaty with his late Majesty George III After his Majesty had obtained possession of his Throne of the Two Sicilies, he had accepted the Treaty of Vienna. Now his Majesty and this country were as much hound by that acceptance as by any other portion of the Treaty of Vienna. He (the Duke of Wellington) intended to move for the production of the document signed by his Majesty, which was at present out of print, and which was a document of considerable importance. He did not think it was desirable that the House should discuss such questions of foreign policy as those which had been introduced that evening, until their Lordships should have had all the necessary do- cuments before them. It was true that his noble Friend's Amendment did not turn exactly on the foreign policy of the Government; but his noble Friend, and his noble and learned Friend, had addressed the House at great length upon that subject; and the noble Marquess had also entered into that question. He entreated their Lordships, however, not to let it go forth to the people of this country, and to the people of foreign countries, that an amendment and a division had taken place in the House of Lords on the subject of our foreign relations. Let the Government continue their negotiations until they should see from the papers to be laid he-fore them that they ought to withdraw their confidence from the Ministers of the Crown, under these circumstances he could not vote for the Amendment of his noble Friend, and he entreated their Lordships not to give it their support.


, in explanation, begged to say distinctly that he wished it to be understood that be did not consider the two subjects alluded to by the noble Duke as at all connected. He called upon them to give no opinion as to our foreign or colonial policy. All he asked by their vote was for the House to declare whether they thought that, in the description of the domestic circumstances of this country, the Speech from the Throne did or did not give a faithful and real account of its condition. I3y his Motion he gave them an opportunity of saying, whether or not they thought it right that no reference should be made to the agricultural and commercial interests of the country; and it was on that ground that he would, with all respect to the noble Duke opposite, press his Motion to a division.

Question was then put, "Whether the said Words shall be there inserted?" House divided:—Content 50; Not-Content 52: Majority 2.

List of the NOT-CONTENTS.
DUKES. Carlisle
Argyll Chichester
Norfolk Ducie
St. Albans Essex
Wellington Fortescue
Anglesea Grey
Breadalbane Minto
Clanricarde Strafford
Conyngham St. Germans
Headfort Yarborough
Lansdowne Waldegrave
Besborough Ashburton
Bruce Bateman
Beaumont Hastings
Byron Littleton
Camoys Lilford
Colborne Lovat
Crewe Milford
Cottenham Monteagle
Campbell Poltimore
Denman Saye and Sele
Eddisbury Suffield
Elphinstone Sudely
Erskine Teynham
Foley Vaux
Godolphin Vivian
Paired off.
Archb, of Canterbury Lord Middleton
Duke of Roxburgh Lord Exmouth
Bishop of Hereford Lord Lyndhurst
Marquess of Donegal Lord Munster
Lord Langdale Earl Tankerville
Lord Holland Lord Digby
Earl Fitzhardinge Lord Ward
Earl Lovelace Lord Boston

Resolved in the negative.

Then the original Motion was agreed to; and a Committee appointed to prepare the Address, which, being afterwards reported and agreed to, was ordered to be presented to HER MAJESTY by the Lords with White Staves.

House adjourned to Monday next.