§ THE QUEEN'S Speech having been reported by the Lord Chancellor,
The EARL of DONOUGHMORE
rose to move that an Humble Address be presented to Her Majesty in reply to the gracious Speech which She had that day de- 22 livered from the Throne. In doing so, he claimed the forbearance of their Lordships while, in accordance with the course usually followed on such occasions, he made some observations—and he assured the House that in doing so, he would endeavour to restrict those observations within the smallest possible compass consistent with the importance and variety of the subjects alluded to—on the different topics alluded to in that Speech. During the last Session of Parliament, one of the principal measures passed was the Act for embodying the Militia. It was necessary that the people of this country should be placed in a position capable of resisting foreign invasion—not because such invasion was probable from any quarter, but because a great country like ours ought always to be ready to meet the possibility of such danger, not merely in a satisfactory but in a triumphant manner. It was a most satisfactory consideration that this measure had proved eminently successful. The population had everywhere readily and voluntarily come forward to fill the ranks of the Militia, and in very few instances, indeed, would it be necessary to have recourse to the ballot. The officers also of the corps which had been raised had exerted themselves in the most praiseworthy manner to train and discipline the men, and in no instance had any want of zeal or willingness been experienced. The condition of the Foreign Affairs of the country, their Lordships would rejoice to be informed, was satisfactory. Her Majesty said that "She continued to receive from all Foreign Powers assurances of their anxious desire to maintain the friendly relations so happily subsisting at present with Her Government." He could not, however, quit this part of the subject without expressing his humble opinion that the course which some part of the press of this country were pursuing on subjects of foreign politics was not only injudicious but mischievous. The ruler of a neighbouring nation had been subject to unmeasured abuse from a large portion of the public press. The people of England ought not to enter on a system of political propagandism. He apprehended that it was not at this day the feeling of the British nation that it would be wise or expedient to force on foreign nations any-particular form of government; the example of France at the end of last century, and the sufferings she had endured from her insane attempt to force her form of government on the rest of Europe, should be 23 a warning to us. He believed that in all parts of this country there was a deep feeling of attachment to the constitution under which we lived, and to the institutions by which we were governed, and a great appreciation of the benefits we derived from them; but that was not a reason why we should endeavour to force our system of government on other nations, or to cover them with invectives because they preferred their own. The French, for reasons best known to themselves, had thought proper to organise their government and constitution anew, as undoubtedly they had a perfect right to do; but whatever our opinion might be as to their proceedings, he hoped that opinion would not be made the ground of unjust and mischievous demonstrations on the part of any amongst us, and that there would be an end to the abuse which had been heaped on the head of the new ruler of France. He would only add that at the commencement of the last Session of Parliament, a similar opinion had been delivered in their Lordships' House by the noble Earl now at the head of the Government, and by the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Lansdowne). The next question to which Her Majesty's Speech referred was that of the Fishery Convention with the United States; and as he believed the recent disagreements on this subject between England and the United States arose from a total misconception on the part of the latter country of the terms of the Convention, he would take the liberty of saying a few words on the circumstances of the case. The Convention of Commerce between England and the United States was signed at London the 20th of October, 1818. The first article was in the following terms:—Whereas differences have arisen respecting the liberty claimed by the United States, for the inhabitants thereof, to take, dry and cure fish, on certain coasts, bays, harbours and creeks, of his Britannic Majesty's dominions in America, it is agreed between the high contracting parties, that the inhabitants of the said United States shall have, for ever, in common with the subjects of his Britannic Majesty, the liberty to take fish of every kind on that part of the southern coast of Newfoundland which extends from Cape Ray to the Rameau islands, on the western and northern coast of Newfoundland, from the said Cape Ray to the Quipron islands on the shores of the Magdalen islands, and also on the coasts, bays, harbours and creeks, from Mount Joly, on the southern coast of Labrador, to and "through the Streights of Belleisle, and thence northwardly indefinitely along the coast, without prejudice however to any of the exclusive rights of the Hudson's Bay Company. And that the American 24 fishermen shall also have liberty, for ever, to dry and cure fish in any of the unsettled bays, harbours and creeks of the southern part of the coast of Newfoundland hereabove described, and of the coast of Labrador; but so soon as the same, or any portion thereof, shall be settled, it shall not be lawful for the said fishermen to dry or cure fish at such portion so settled, without previous agreement for such purpose, with the inhabitants, proprietors, or possessors of the ground. And the United States hereby renounce, for ever, any liberty heretofore enjoyed or claimed by the inhabitants thereof, to take, dry, or cure fish, on or within three marine miles of any of the coasts, bays, creeks or harbours of his Britannic Majesty's dominions in America, not included within the above-mentioned limits: provided, however, that the American fishermen shall be admitted to enter such bays or harbours, for the purpose of shelter and of repairing damages therein, of purchasing wood, and of obtaining water, and for no other purpose whatever. But that they shall be under such restrictions as may be necessary to prevent their taking, drying, or curing fish therein, or in any other manner whatever abusing the privileges hereby reserved to them.It was necessary to state that this Convention had been maintained by the authorities of this country, and that a force had been sent immediately after its conclusion sufficient to express our determination to insist on the rights given to by it. From June, 1821, to October, 1851, thirty-five American fishing-vessels had been seized and adjudicated on in the new Admiralty Court of Halifax: but of late, complaints had been received in great numbers from our colonies that infringements were made daily of the treaty of 1818. There was a great call for the establishment of a new marine police to guard our rights and protect our interests. In former years it was our custom to send to the North American station a small number of large vessels; but latterly a larger number of smaller vessels had been sent, which had proved much more effectual in protecting our fishermen. In consequence of these proceedings on our part, some complaints were made by the United States, and a discussion arose as to the words of the treaty, and as to what was meant by the distance of three marine miles from any of the coasts, bays, & c. It turned out that the most valuable part of the fishery was within the distance of three miles from the coast; and that, even if Her Majesty had been inclined, as She was not, to surrender Her rights under the treaty, the United States would not have been entitled to enjoy any part of that fishery which was most valuable— namely, the mackerel fishery. Whatever feeling had been created in the United 25 States by the proceedings of our Government, there was reason now to hope that the Government of the United States was disposed to negotiate cordially on the point, and that great and important commercial advantages would be gained to our North American Colonies by the settlement of the question. His Lordship then referred to the next paragraph in Her Majesty's Speech relative to the recent opening of the great rivers of South America. It would be in their Lordships' recollection that in the last Session of Parliament, the noble Lord opposite (Lord Beaumont) had made a Motion on the subject of the great internal waters of South America. At that time the Dictator, Rosas, who had for years refused access to our shipping to the great rivers of the territories over which he ruled, had been hurled from power, and hopes were entertained that his successors would adopt a more liberal policy. It was most satisfactory to know that all the objects contemplated by the noble Lord and others who took part in that discussion had been accomplished; a joint mission of an envoy of Her Majesty, together with one from the President of the French Republic, had been most cordially received at Buenos Ayres, and the whole of the internal waters of the Argentine Confederation had been thrown open to foreign commerce. It was scarcely possible to estimate the benefit which our trade would derive from this measure. One whole State—the Republic of Paraguay—would now for the first time be opened to us, and our produce could now be conveyed, through these newly-opened channels, nearly to the foot of the Andes. The next paragraph of the Speech adverted to the efforts recently made by the Brazilian Government for the suppression of the slave trade. It would be in the recollection of their Lordships that the Government of Brazil had entered into a convention with this country on the 23rd of November, 1826, subsequently ratified in London on the 13th of March, 1827, whereby the slave trade was declared to be piracy after three years from the date of ratification. A law against the slave trade was subsequently enacted by Brazil on the 7th of November, 1831; but it proved ineffective. A large number of slaves were annually imported into Brazil for several years afterwards. In 1842 the number of slaves landed in Brazil was 17,435, and in 1848 it had increased ty 60,000. The law enacted by Brazil in September, 1850, and the subsequent de- 26 crees of the 14th of October and the 14th of November, 1850, had, however, been more effective. In 1849 the number of slaves landed in Brazil amounted to 54,000, but in 1850 it sank to 23,000, and in 1851 to 3,287. He therefore hoped that in a very short time the importation of slaves to Brazil would entirely cease. The slave trade was now principally directed to Cuba, the only part of America in which at present it was carried on to any extent. The means at the disposal of Government for the suppression of this infamous traffic could now be concentrated against the Cuban trade, and we might hope that soon the slave trade would exist only in history. Her Majesty had also informed them that the Portuguese Government had fully recognised the justice of the claim which our Government have long urged for the abolition of the discriminating duties on the export of wine, and have passed a decree for giving complete effect to the stipulations of the treaty on this subject; and he (the Earl of Donoughmore) thought the noble Lord the present Foreign Secretary (Lord Malmesbury), deserved great credit for the successful issue to which the negotiations on this subject had been brought. Her Majesty next alluded to the affairs of India. The Committee which sat last Session on the subject rendered it advisable to resume the inquiries which had been already commenced with a view to legislation on the subject of the future government of our East India empire. A very large addition had been made of late years to our territory, and a war was now proceeding which was very likely to lead to still further additions. Her Majesty next congratulated Parliament and the country on the generally improved condition of the nation, and the prosperous state of the industrious classes. He fully concurred in these congratulations, It gave him great pleasure to acknowledge that the state of the manufacturing population and the industrious classes generally was at present most satisfactory. A difference of opinion might and no doubt did exist on the cause of our prosperity; but he was disposed to admit that the improved condition of the working classes might be attributed to the cheapness of their food. The increased importation of gold, and the large amount of emigration to Australia and America, might also have contributed to it. His Lordship then referred to the paragraph in the Speech relative to the general improvement of Ireland 27 after its many years of care and suffering. The sufferings which the people of Ireland had endured were not to be described, and could only be understood by those who, like himself, had witnessed them. That unhappy country, however, was now, he was happy to state, slowly recovering from the slough of despond in which she had been so unfortunately plunged. He rejoiced to think that the policy which he understood the Government of the noble Earl intended to pursue towards Ireland was so just and good. Ireland must not he treated according to the cold and formal theories of political economy—she was in a peculiar position, and required peculiar treatment—she required indulgent care —she needed the paternal hand of Government to assist her in recovering from her exhaustion—to develop her resources, and gradually to establish a sound system. He was sorry, however, to remark upon some dark features in the picture of Irish affairs —he alluded to those disturbances and murders which had recently occurred there. One would have thought that the scenes of ruin and desolation which had taken place throughout the island would have taught the Irish people the absolute necessity of obedience to the laws, and that from the observance of the laws they were alone to expect prosperity; but it seemed that the terrible lesson had, at least to some extent, been lost upon them, and that insubordination and violence prevailed in many districts. He hoped the Government would assist to their utmost in developing the resources of Ireland, and encouraging industry and trade, but, at the same time, outrage must be repressed, and the power of the law must be maintained. Obedience to the law was an ingredient of the first necessity towards the tranquillity and regeneration of Ireland. The noble Earl then alluded to the following paragraph in the Royal Speech:—Anxious to promote the efficiency of every branch of our National Church, I have thought fit to issue a Commission to inquire and report to me how far, in their opinion, the capitular institutions of the country are capable of being made more effective for the great objects of religious worship, religious education, and ecclesiastical discipline.The National Church must always be an object of solicitude to their Lordships, but, like all ancient institutions, it needed reform; but those reforms must be administered with a tender hand. It was worth their Lordships' while to inquire whether 28 those capitulary institutions and our great Universities might not be made more consonant to the wants of the age; but the rights of the National Church should not be in any manner endangered by those reforms. Her Majesty had alluded to the question of University reform:—I have directed that the reports of the Commissioners for inquiring into the system of education pursued at Oxford and Cambridge should be communicated to the governing bodies of those Universities, for their consideration, and I rely upon your readiness to remove any legal difficulties which may impede the desire of the Universities at large, or of the several Colleges, to introduce such amendments into their existing system as they may deem to be more in accordance with the requirements of the present time.The question of University reform was akin to that of ecclesiastical reform. He thought the Universities should have the power of reforming themselves, and he hoped Parliament would confer on them such powers as were necessary to enable the heads of them to adapt those venerable seats of learning to the wants of the age. Her Majesty had also alluded to the question of transportation:—The system of secondary punishments has usefully occupied the labours of successive Parliaments, and I shall rejoice if you shall find it possible to devise means by which, without giving encouragement to crime, transportation to Van Diemen's Land may at no distant period be altogether discontinued.This question had long occupied the attention of their Lordships. The Colonies had often remonstrated against the present system, and the Government were anxious to find out some other mode of punishment which would not entail the evils now complained of. He had stated that the Militia law was the great Act of last Session, but there was one other great measure also which had been passed into law, he meant that of legal reform. Her Majesty observed upon it—The subject of legal reform continues to engage my anxious attention. The Acts passed in the last Session of Parliament have been followed up by the orders necessary for putting them in operation; inquiries are in progress, by my direction, with a view of bringing into harmony the testamentary jurisdiction of my several courts; and Bills will be submitted to you for effecting further improvements in the administration of the law.He felt sure that all their Lordships would concur with him in thanking the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack for the zeal, ability, and perseverance which he had shown in carrying out the intentions of the Legislature. The Government, he 29 was happy to say, did not propose to stop the progress of these reforms, but were prepared to bring in other measures which he trusted would meet their Lordships' concurrence. The noble Lords on the other side had arrogated to themselves the title of reformers. He did not quarrel with that designation, but he must apply the same epithet to noble Lords on his side of the House; and certainly the noble and learned Lord on the woolsack had proved himself well deserving of the name of reformer—for he believed none had done so much in the same time to promote legal reform, and place those reforms upon a sound principle. He had thought it better to reserve the most prominent paragraph in the Speech for the last subject of his observations. He believed their Lordships, in common with the whole nation, felt as one man with respect to the illustrious deceased— that great man who had in youth fought our battles, and who in age had guided our councils—that chair, which was now vacant, was that which their Lordships were long accustomed to see filled by the venerable presence of the Duke of Wellington, who, with painful solicitude, from the advancing weakness of mortality, endeavoured to catch the words which fell from their Lordships, and continued at more than fourscore years to discharge his public duty to the last. So much had been said, and so ably said, by public writers and orators—from the press, from the pulpit and the platform—upon the great features of the Duke's character, that it was unnecessary for him to dwell upon them at any length; but there was one point in his character which he thought had not been sufficiently dwelt upon—that his loss was not so much a loss to this nation as to the whole world. As a soldier he restored the equilibrium of Europe, and evoked order out of chaos, and in after years as a civilian, he preserved, by his moderation and good counsel, that peace which he had established by his genius and his valour. When that great man's ashes were laid in St. Paul's, his remains would be followed not by Englishmen only, but by deputations from most of the great nations of Europe. He had left behind him memorials of his worth which would live as long as the literature of the country lasted—documents not remarkable for their eloquence and fine writing, but the character of the man was stamped upon the despatches of the Duke of Wellington in a manner 30 unmistakeable; and the pages of those remarkable volumes would be read with interest and with advantage in ages still far distant. From one comment which had been made on his death, he begged leave to dissent. Now that he was gone, it was said that, if an European war should unfortunately break out, we should have no general capable of directing the action of the war, and of leading our troops on to victory. To that assertion he could not assent; for, in his opinion, the Duke of Wellington would have lived in vain, had he not inspired Englishmen by his example to follow in the course which he himself had run. He believed that there were many men now living who had drunk from the holy fountain which he had opened, and who were anxious to emulate his bright example. He believed that if a day should come when it was necessary to fight our battle on our own shores, we should find a hero equal to the occasion, and that among the officers formed under Wellington's eye, and by his precepts, there would be no lack of men capable of confronting the best chieftain which our enemies might bring against them. The noble Earl (who was throughout very indistinctly heard)then concluded by moving—"That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, in answer to Her gracious Speech from the Throne."
The following is a copy of the Address agreed to:—
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 to assure Your Majesty of our Participation in the deep Sorrow which Your Majesty in meeting us has been pleased to express, that our Deliberations can no longer be aided by the Counsels of that illustrious Man whose great Achievements have exalted the Name of England, and in whose Loyalty and Patriotism the Interests of Your Majesty's Throne and People ever found an unfailing Support.
WE beg also to assure Your Majesty that we cordially desire to join with Your Majesty in taking such Steps as may mark our Sense of the irreparable Loss which the Country has sustained by the Death of Arthur Duke of Wellington.
WE thank Your Majesty for Your Majesty's gracious Acknowledgement of the Readiness with which your Majesty's Subjects in general have come forward, in pursuance of the Act of last
Session, to join the Ranks of the Militia; and for the expression of Your Majesty's confident Trust that the Force thus raised by voluntary Elistment will be calculated to give effective Aid to Your Majesty's regular Army for the Protection and Security of the Country.
WE thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty continues to receive from all Foreign Powers Assurances of their anxious Desire to maintain the friendly Relations now happily subsisting with your. Majesty's Government.
WE beg humbly to thank Your Majesty for the Information that frequent and well-founded Complaints on the Part of Your Majesty's North American Colonies, of Infractions, by Citizens of the United States, of the Fishery Convention of 1818, have induced Your Majesty to despatch, for the Protection of their Interests, a Class of Vessels better adapted to the Service than those which had been previously employed; that this Step has led to Discussions with the Government of the United States; and that, while the Rights of Your Majesty's Subjects have been firmly maintained, the friendly Spirit in which the Question has been treated induces Your Majesty to hope that the ultimate Result may be a mutually beneficial Extension and Improvement of our Commercial Intercourse with that great Republic.
WE thank Your Majesty for informing us that the special Mission which, in concert with the Prince President of the French Republic, Your Majesty deemed it right to send to the Argentine Confederation, has been received with the utmost Cordiality; and that the wise and enlightened Policy of the Provisional Director has already opened to the Commerce of the World the great Rivers, hitherto closed, which afford an Access to the Interior of the vast Continent of South America.
WE humbly assure Your Majesty that we receive with Satisfaction the Announcement that the sincere and zealous Efforts of the Government of Brazil for the Suppression of the Slave Trade, now nearly extinguished on that Coast, have enabled Your Majesty to suspend the stringent Measures which Your Majesty had been compelled reluctantly to adopt, a Recurrence to which we, in common with Your Majesty, anxiously hope may be proved to be unnecessary.
WE thank Your Majesty for informing us that the Government of Her Most Faithful Majesty have fully recognized the Justice of the Claim which Your Majesty's Government have long urged for the Abolition of the discriminating Duties on the Export of Wine, and have passed a Decree for giving complete Effect to the Stipulations of the Treaty on this Subject.
WE beg leave to express our humble Concur-
rence with Your Majesty in the Opinion that it will be advisable to resume the Inquiries which were commenced by the late Parliament with a view to Legislation on the Subject of the future Government of Your Majesty's East Indian Possessions.
WE humbly assure Your Majesty that we participate in the Pleasure which Your Majesty is pleased to express at being enabled, by the Blessing of Providence, to congratulate us on the generally improved Condition of the Country, and especially of the Industrious Classes; and we beg humbly to thank Your Majesty for Your Majesty's gracious Recommendation that if we should be of opinion that recent Legislation in contributing, with other Causes, to this happy Result, has at the same Time inflicted unavoidable Injury on certain important Interests, we should dispassionately consider how far it may be practicable equitably to mitigate that Injury, and to enable the Industry of the Country to meet successfully that unrestricted Competition to which Parliament, in its Wisdom, has decided that it should be subjected.
WE thank Your Majesty for the Information that Your Majesty trusts that the general Improvement, notwithstanding many Obstacles, has extended to Ireland; and we assure Your Majesty that while Your Majesty may rely with Confidence on our Aid, should it be required, to restrain that unhappy Spirit of Insubordination and Turbulence which produces many and aggravates all of the Evils which affect that Portion of Your Majesty's Dominions, we shall readily attend to Your Majesty's gracious Recommendation that we should adopt such a liberal and generous Policy towards Ireland as may encourage and assist her to rally from the Depression in which she has been sunk by the sufferings of late Tears.
WE thank Your Majesty for informing us that Your Majesty, anxious to promote the Efficiency of every Branch of our National Church, has thought fit to issue a Commission to inquire and report to Your Majesty how far, in their Opinion, the Capitular Institutions of the Country are capable of being made more effective for the great Objects of Religious Worship, Religious Education, and Ecclesiastical Discipline.
WE beg humbly to thank Your Majesty for directing that the Reports of the Commissioners for inquiring into the System of Education pursued at Oxford and Cambridge should be communicated to the governing Bodies of those Universities, for their Consideration; and we humbly assure Your Majesty that Your Majesty may rely upon our Readiness to remove any legal Difficulties which may impede the Desire of the Universities at large, or of the several Colleges, to
introduce such Amendments into their existing System as they may deem to be more in accordance with the Requirements of the present Time.
WE humbly beg to assure Your Majesty that we concur in the Opinion that the System of Secondary Punishments has usefully occupied the Labours of successive Parliaments; and that we shall rejoice with Your Majesty if we shall find it possible to devise Means by which, without giving Encouragement to Crime, Transportation to Van Dicmen's Laud may at no distant Period be altogether discontinued.
WE thank Your Majesty for informing us that the Subject of Legal Reform continues to engage Your Majesty's anxious attention; that the Acts passed in the last Session of Parliament have been followed up by the Orders necessary for putting them in operation; that Inquiries are in progress, by Your Majesty's Direction, with a view of bringing into Harmony the Testamentary Jurisdiction of Your Majesty's several Courts; and that Bills will be submitted to us for effecting further Improvements in the Administration of the Law.
WE humbly beg to assure Your Majesty that to these and other Measures affecting the Social Condition of the Country we shall give our earnest and zealous Attention, and that we join most fervently in Your Majesty's Prayer that by the Blessing of Almighty God our Deliberations may be guided to the Well-being and Happiness of Your Majesty's People.
The MARQUESS of BATH
rose to second the Address. He said, that he must begin by entreating their Lordships to make allowances for the deficiencies of one who then addressed the House for the first time; and by their Lordships' kind indulgence he would proceed to make a few observations in support of the Motion which had been made by the noble Earl. The first topic in Her Majesty's Speech was the death of that lamented hero the Duke of Wellington. Her Majesty said—I cannot meet you for the first time, after the dissolution of Parliament, without expressing my deep sorrow, in which I am sure you will participate, that your deliberations can no longer be aided by the counsels of that illustrious man, whose great achievements have exalted the name of England, and in whose loyalty and patriotism the interests of my throne and of my people ever found an unfailing support. I rely with confidence on your desire to join with me in taking such steps as may mark your sense of the irreparable loss which the country has sustained by the death of Arthur Duke of Wellington.He was sure the sentiments expressed by Her Majesty, when She condoled with them on so great a loss, would find an 34 echo in the heart of every class of Her Majesty's subjects, and in none more than in their Lordships' House. The memory of the great Duke would be ever revered by his countrymen as that of one who was the exemplar and type of those great national virtues, devotion to the Sovereign, and attachment to the constitution, which distinguished the people of this country. If the illustrious warrior had been still living, he had no doubt that he would view with satisfaction the happy results of that measure on which he himself bestowed so much attention, and on which he addressed their Lordships—he rather thought on the last time he ever spoke in that House— with so much authority and with so great effect. He alluded to the Militia Bill, which was the next subject to which Her Majesty alluded in Her Speech, in which She expressed Her acknowledgments for the manner in which the people had cheerfully come forward in the discharge of their duties; and it was gratifying to observe that all classes had submitted with readiness to the requirements of the public service, that volunteers had come forward with alacrity, and that at the present moment nearly all the regiments had completed their full complements. Great praise was due, therefore, to the officers for the prompt way in which they had discharged their duty, and to the people of this country, who had so readily responded to the call that had been made upon them. By their conduct on this occasion the people of England had declared that though, at the present moment, there was nothing to fear from any foreign Power, and that though foreign affairs could not be in a more satisfactory condition than at present, yet, that if any change were to occur hereafter, their country would be protected, and that they had nothing to dread for their altars and their homes; and that, whatever dangers threatened, they would prove that they had never lost that love for their country and their constitution which justly distinguished them over every other nation in the world. He would not trouble their Lordships with any remarks on the present state of foreign affairs, though the settlement of the fisheries question with America —which if not in so satisfactory a condition as might be wished, could not fail being satisfactory to their Lordships—at least secured to this country assurances of a desire to maintain peace and friendly relations; and he would therefore proceed to that passage of the Speech in which Her 35 Majesty congratulated the Legislature on the prosperity of the country, and more especially of the industrious classes. It might be that this prosperity was the result of recent legislation, aided, perhaps, by the influx of gold from the colonies and Australia, and by the emigration which had carried away the surplus population, whereby the competition of labour was rendered less severe. The condition of the manufacturing interests and of the operatives throughout the country might be flourishing; but, though they might recognise the good effects of recent measures in these instances, they must not forget that certain very important classes of Her Majesty's subjects had not been so prosperous. The agricultural interest certainly was labouring under depression, and was suffering distress, which had been increased by those measures that had proved so much to the advantage of other classes. The agricultural interest had undoubtedly sustained considerable injury from the new system of finance; but however much they had suffered themselves, he knew that they had no wish to impede or obstruct measures productive of so much good to the rest of their fellow subjects. They were ready to aid and assist in every way they could in the full carrying out of that system. But although its benefits had been felt by the great majority of the industrial classes of the community, still it must be remembered a large portion of the nation, not less loyal, not less industrious, was suffering. He, therefore, hoped that their Lordships would dispassionately consider Her Majesty's gracious recommendation on this subject—To consider how far it may be practicable equitably to mitigate that injury, and to enable the industry of the country to meet successfully that unrestricted competition to which Parliament, in its wisdom, has decided that it should be subjected.He trusted their Lordships would attend to that recommendation, and that it might be practicable to find some alleviation of the distress of the agricultural interest which would not interfere with the system of policy the country had adopted, and devise some equitable measure of relief for the agricultural interest, that would not interfere with the system of policy which the country had now adopted, and equalise their condition to that of the rest of their fellow subjects. The noble Marquess, after briefly expressing his concurrence in the portions of the Speech 36 having reference to Ireland, and to the reform of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, said he would not trouble their Lordships with any further remarks, but would content himself with simply seconding the Address in answer to the Royal Speech which the noble Earl had moved.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
My. Lords, I confess that I should not perhaps have felt it my duty to address your Lordships at all on this occasion after the Royal Speech which has been made, and the Address which has been moved, were it not for the circumstance that the greatest feature in that Speech—the most prominent feature at its commencement, and at the commencement of the Address which the noble Lord (the Earl of Donoughmore) has proposed, is one to which I feel it my duty, not to call your Lordships' attention, because your Lordships' attention is already fixed upon it, but on which I feel it my duty to make some few remarks. For, although I do not feel myself authorised, either on this or on any other subject, to speak the sentiments and feelings of any large body of persons in this House, I perhaps have some claim, as an individual, to address your Lordships on this topic, not merely because, owing to the great personal respect that I entertained for the noble Duke whom we have lost—who is lost to the country and lost to our councils —not merely because without any political connexion whatever with that noble Duke, he has done me the honour at times to consider me as his friend; and on the very last occasion on which he addressed this House, he did me the honour to speak of me in those terms; but because as one of, perhaps, the oldest Members of the House, I remember the whole of that noble duke's military and Parliamentary career. My Lords, I stand in somewhat of a peculiar situation before your Lordships, addressing you on this subject, because it may not be known to the greater number of your Lordships—indeed, there are not many now alive to recollect it—that the individual who has now the honour of addressing you, some forty-seven years ago in his place in the other House of Parliament, when young in his Parliamentary life, was permitted and authorised by his colleagues of that time to call on that other House to do justice to the memory and to provide for the family of one of the greatest heroes that ever lived, and with whom alone in the military annals of this country the noble Duke now no more could be compared. It 37 was, my Lords, in the year 1807—at a time of great difficulty and a great crisis in the military affairs of this country— that the country was compelled by a stroke of fate to lose the services of the greatest admiral that ever distinguished this country, and who then fell in the arms of victory—Fallen from his high estate,And weltering in his blood.There was then but one unanimous feeling on that subject; hut when I addressed the House of Commons upon it I was then but imperfectly aware—those whom I addressed were also but imperfectly aware—that at the very moment when that great man had raised the Navy of this country to the highest pinnacle of perfection and of glory, there was rising in the far East another man destined to perform the same great services by the Army of this country, and to raise it—by efforts constantly directed to that object, by the most unremitting study, the most untiring efforts, and the greatest practical skill—-to a position in which it afterwards asserted the dignity of this country throughout the world, and established that high character which, thank God, the British Army, under his peaceful administration, as well as under his military career, have never forfeited. Such were the characters of these two illustrious men—differing from each other undoubtedly, as men do in particular points of their character, but resembling each other in all that was great and excellent— directing their attention to one great object—not indifferent, either of them, undoubtedly (as who is indifferent?) to the praise of others; but never allowing that praise to divert them for one moment from the service of their country, but making the honour of the Crown and the safety of the people the sole object of that unconquerable energy which regulated them in all the paths of duty. My Lords, I feel— any man may feel—proud of having lived with such cotemporaries. I have been reminded, in speaking of them, of that expression which is to be found in one of the most English of our poets, when adverting to the great men of his time, and speaking of the character of England and of Englishmen at that day, he says—Enough to him,That Chatham's language was his mother tongue,And Wolfe's great name compatriot with his own!This I can well apply to the great man to whom I allude; and I am sure that the 38 country will feel with me that it is a sufficient gratification of the pride which an Englishman ought to feel in his country and in its history, that he has lived to see in the same age two such men, of such actions, uniformly directed to the public good. My Lords, in selecting these great men as the glory of their ago and their country, I do not mean to overlook the fact, that during the same time and through the same lengthened period there has arisen genius of another kind—that the arts and sciences have not been dormant, and that men of great capacity, great industry, and great patriotism have helped to make this country what she is—have contributed, and essentially contributed, to her prosperity, her wealth, and her greatness. But, my Lords, we must always recollect, when we are called on to do honour to the heads of the military profession, that our wealth, our prosperity, and our commerce would cease to be secure unless it was protected. Let it be remembered that, to whatever pitch and to whatever extent the manufacturing and the commercial industry of the country may be carried, and whatever accumulation of capital may find itself employed and settled on our shores, that that capital and that industry would disappear at once, and instead of attracting the eye, would attract the rapacity of the world, if for a moment it was supposed to be defenceless. This is our position. For be assured, my Lords, that in the present state of the world, and in that state in which it must long continue, it is not merely to industry—however laudable as that industry is—it is not merely to science and to art, in their civil characters —noble as those pursuits are—that you can alone look for the continuance of the glory and of the Crown of this Realm, unless you make up your minds to protect them efficiently, and to show yourselves not only one of the most industrious, hut also one of the most powerful, nations of the world. I have thought it right, my Lords, to say so much on this subject, because it lies deep in my heart. I have associated these observations with the names of men who, in my opinion, have done more than any men have ever done to bring forward the resources, and to strengthen the power and efficacy of these resources, for the defence and the protection of this Empire. Having associated them together, I do not feel myself called upon to dwell more particularly on the history and the achievements of the illustrious man to 39 whom I have been referring. If it was necessary to enumerate those achievements, I should wish to leave it to greater eloquence and to greater ability; but I do not deem it requisite to enumerate them— they are in all their rapid succession one record, and in daily perusal forming now a part of the history of the world. They live, they are present in all men's minds —they are familiar to all men's tongues, and they are stamped and engraven on all men's hearts. Therefore, my Lords, I have risen for the purpose of giving vent to my own feelings on the subject, with the knowledge and the confidence that such must be the feelings of this House. Therefore I am less inclined even than I otherwise should be to enter upon the various topics of Her Majesty's Gracious Speech, and from the way in which those topics have been carefully introduced I am able to avoid entering upon them; because I do not understand this House to be now called upon for any distinct opinion with respect to them. They are all important; and in making the character of the illustrious person of whom I have spoken the prominent feature—as far as I am concerned—in this discussion, I shall not be accused of in any degree undervaluing the importance of the other paragraphs of the Speech from the Throne. My Lords, I find nothing in the terms of the Speech which attempts to engage your Lordships' support, or to engage your Lordships' approbation in any way that may now or hereafter interfere with that course of policy which your Lordships may think fit to adopt, and which I shall, in common with others, feel myself free to adopt on any future occasion. I certainly do wish that in the Speech we heard from the Throne there had been a less hesitating and a less faltering declaration of the views of Her Majesty's Government with respect to those great questions of commercial policy which have been alluded to. I certainly do think, my Lords, the time has come when, after months and even years have elapsed, when, after all the experience that facts could suggest, after all the arithmetic which has been brought to bear on those questions of policy in every form and in every shape, that not only the country but that even Her Majesty's Ministers might have been able to form a competent opinion. But their opinion has not been very distinctly enunciated; and, even aiding myself in the interpretation of the Royal Speech by the speeches of the noble Earl who moved and 40 the noble Marquess who seconded the Address, I do not know whether I may infer that it has been the opinion of Her Majesty's Government that what is called the recent legislation has had a large share in producing the present prosperity of the country. It is right and natural that when a ship is sinking the officers should be reluctant to be the first to abandon her, and that they should be desirous to be the last seen upon her deck. But I must say that I do not see any very great zeal shown, either in this House or elsewhere in the country, to encourage and stand by what was at one time called "the good old cause," namely protection, but which will be known by that name no longer. I believe that the country has abandoned that cause, having found, if it were not abandoned, that facts would be a cheat, that experience would be a liar, and arithmetic would be good for nothing. I hail with the greatest satisfaction the indirect admissions and direct acknowledgments of the benefits which free trade has conferred upon this country, coming as they do, in different shapes and in different degrees, from almost if not all the leading persons in the Kingdom, in and out of this House. We have had no intimation as to the policy of Her Majesty's Government on the subject of taxation; whether it is their intention to adopt direct or indirect taxation. I hope, however, we may be justified in inferring from this abstinence from all positive statement of the future policy of the Government, that they now entertain the opinion that not only has the legislation of late years been attended with the happiest effects, but that it is their intention to pursue that legislation in the same spirit and upon the same principles. If they should adopt this course, then I have no hesitation in saying that they will be entitled to the support of every man in the country who has been the advocate of free trade; and humble as my support and efforts are, I can assure them that they shall not be withheld from them. I will not say more on this subject. I do not wish to enter at present upon any discussion on the question of free trade and protection. Further opportunities will arise for doing so, if there should still be found persons in this House disposed to raise doubts, or to take up a question which has now been laid aside by Her Majesty's Ministers. When the Government are prepared to lay their explanations before the House, then will be the time to go into 41 detail upon this subject. Upon the other observations and the other paragraphs of the Speech from the Throne, I see nothing that I have to object to; but I must say that there was not one to which I listened with greater satisfaction than to that which testifies to the continuance of that zeal in the Government of Brazil for the suppression of the slave trade, which for the last two or three years has done honour to the Government of that country, and distinguished it from those of many other countries. I rejoice to hear that that zeal on the part of the Brazilian Government has enabled Her Majesty's Ministers—not to have done with, I trust, but—to suspend those stringent measures which had for their object the enforcement of treaties with that Government. Deeply convinced, as I was, that those measures were just, and that if necessary they ought to be I resumed, still I am persuaded that there is no reform so efficacious, no amendment so great, as that which springs from a Government itself becoming conscious of the duty which it owes to humanity, and anxious to signalise itself, as others have done, | in that noble career. We must all hope that, by following up the persevering exertions that have been already made, that most detestable of all trades may be effectually put down and abolished for ever. My Lords, having said so much, I will detain your Lordships no longer, and I will only add that I am sure your Lordships will receive the various measures which I presume Her Majesty's Ministers will ere long submit to you, with a very sincere desire to give them the most serious and impartial consideration.
My Lords, after what has fallen from my noble Friend, I should be doing a very superfluous act were I to detain your Lordships many minutes, by attempting to follow him with unequal steps over the ground which he has so successfully trodden, or by adverting to other matters which I agree with him in thinking we shall more conveniently discuss on future occasions. Upon the subject of the slave traffic, to which he has adverted, and upon that other great subject of law amendment, called in the Speech from the Throne legal reform, I need not say how entirely I go along with him. On that which now so justly occupies men's minds, and is so fitly made the leading subject of the Speech from the Throne, I would willingly forbear to dwell did not its connexion with the great interests of this country and 42 of the world, as well as the fear of misconstruction, make silence impossible—that ever-glorious, but now painful, subject on which all are agreed—the irreparable loss which all deplore. It asked, indeed, no gift of prophecy to foresee—there was no risk in foretelling—that when he should yield to fate who had never yielded to man, enemy, or rival, every whisper of detraction would be hushed, and each voice be raised to proclaim his transcendent merit. The event has surpassed the expectation. All classes—every description of his fellow-citizens, without distinction of rank, or party, or sect—abroad as at home—the country he served, the allies he saved, the adversaries he encountered—in just recollection of benefits, or in generous oblivion of differences—all, not inconsiderately, but upon discriminating reflection, have joined with an assent so unbroken, so universal, as I verily believe is not recorded in the history of human renown.—And yet it is not his exploits merely, not his genius, and his marvellous fortune, so apt to dazzle mankind, that we are called principally to mark. The example of his illustrious career is most to be studied for the constant abnegation of every selfish feeling which his whole life displayed—the habitual sacrifice of all personal, all party considerations, to the single object of strict duty— of strict duty rigorously performed in what station soever he might be called to act— so that his public virtue is even more to be revered, than his genius or his fortune to be admired. Heaven, in its great mercy, forbid that the time should come when we shall feel yet more sensibly than now we do, his irreparable loss! I agree entirely with the noble Mover of the Address, that we have no right whatever to interfere with the course which any foreign country may pursue in the management of its own affairs. We can have no possible title to complain of the institutions which other nations may adopt, or disparage the rulers whom they may choose to set over them. But, also, the noble Lord will allow mo to add, we lie under no obligation to regard the words rather than the acts of any Government, be it our own or another; and as when the people, here or elsewhere, are fondly and most rationally desirous of peace, a mighty security for that unspeakable blessing is afforded by free discussion prevailing among them, of all kinds, on all subjects, so, I am bound to admit, that this security is impaired by suppressing all discussion, of every kind, on every subject. Such mea- 43 sures may be quite right, or they may be wholly wrong—they may be absolutely necessary to prevent mischief, or they may be absolutely impotent to avert it, or they may be productive of worser mischiefs. With that we have no concern; it is not our affair— we have no right to interfere—God forbid we should!—but we have no right even to object—we may only as bystanders, as spectators deeply interested however, lament that any course should be anywhere pursued which weakens our protection against the last of calamities, not to us alone—not to this country or to that, but to Europe—to the world—to humanity itself—the disturbance of the general repose. Our security against that disaster is impaired. Still I hope and trust such evil times will not come — I even upon the whole believe they will not come—enough that they may—and assuredly it is not only our unquestionable right, but our imperative duty, to make timely provision against them.—And, may I be permitted to add, that in discharging this duty we shall render an appropriate tribute to him for whom we now mourn—the tribute himself would most have prized—if, adopting the opinion he deliberately formed, we follow the counsel he so earnestly gave, and do that which of all men, he of all things had nearest his heart, promptly and effectually complete the defences of the country—not neglecting, but cherishing, her ancient alliances— most available when they are neither forced nor purchased; but, having their origin in a common interest, are to be maintained by constant good offices and scrupulous good faith—good faith between Government and Government—good offices between people and people.
§ The EARL of DERBY
My Lords, before I proceed to any other of the topics alluded to in the Speech from the Throne, on which it may be expected that I shall address your Lordships, there is one topic on which I am sure you will feel that it is impossible for me to avoid addressing you briefly—and it shall be but very briefly— because that topic is one which at this moment is foremost in the minds, not of your Lordships only, but of every man in this country—nay, more, I think I may say of a large portion of the inhabitants of every country in the world. My Lords, it is impossible that we should again assemble together in this House of Parliament without remembering, as Her Majesty was pleased to remember in the Speech from the Throne, the irreparable loss we have 44 recently sustained. Even now, as I rise to address your Lordships, my eye instinctively turns to the head of this table, and looking to what my noble Friend the noble Earl behind me has so feelingly referred to as that empty seat, I miss there one familiar and venerable form—his grey head resting on his hand, upraised to assist the infirmity of his ear, as, conscientiously and laboriously, he seeks to catch the arguments of the humblest Members who may be addressing your Lordships. Again, my Lords, I see him rising from that seat amidst the breathless silence of your Lordships' House, and with faltering accents, with no studied eloquence, in homely phrase, hut with a power and grasp of mind which seized as it were intuitively the very pith and marrow of the matter in hand; slowly and deliberately impressing on your Lordships' rapt attention the pithy and sententious maxims of intuitive sagacity, the results of calm wisdom and of mature experience. Well, indeed, my Lords, do I feel it to be for me that I need not attempt to describe the achievements which have for ever illustrated the name of that great man. You are already all well aware of his unparalleled achievements in the field, his possession of all the qualifications which mark the great military leader, his sagacity in council, his unswerving loyalty to his Sovereign, his deep and untiring devotion to the interests of his country, his noble self-reliance, his firmness and zeal, and that distinguishing trait in his character, his abnegation of all selfish views in consideration of the welfare of his country. My Lords, all these great and high qualities are already written in the undying pages of history; they are already engraven on- the grateful hearts of an unforgetting people; they have already been honoured by the recognition of the Sovereign—they have been liberally acknowledged and confessed by all the world. But he is gone; he is gone where human honour is no more, and where mortal glory is lost in infinite benignity and justice. He is gone, in the words of the noble tribute paid by the Italian poet to the illustrious Duke's great rival—Ov e silenzio e tenebreLa gloria che passo.This country can never forget all the events of his long and splendid career—his triumphs on the field of battle, at the head of his troops—his services in the congresses of monarchs, in the councils of statesmen, in the cabinets of his colleagues, 45 and in the face of the assembled Parliament of his country, while throughout he remained unseduced by the lustre of his own great name, and undazzled by the blaze of his own transcendent glory—sted-fastly resisting the promptings of a vulgar ambition—flinging away from him as unworthy of his notice all motives of personal interest, he rose superior to the paltry struggles of parties, and in every stage of his life preferred the welfare of the nation and of the Crown which he served to any petty or personal feeling of self-interest. My Lords, from this great subject I turn to subjects of far lower interest, but subjects, nevertheless, of no inconsiderable magnitude. But before I touch upon them, I must return my thanks—and I am sure your Lordships will be disposed to join me on the occasion—-to my noble Friends, the noble Earl and the noble Marquess who moved and seconded the Address, for the signal good taste, the clearness and precision with which they have called your Lordships' attention to the various topics in that Address. Although I have often in this and in the other House of Parliament listened to the early efforts of young Members of either House, with respect to whom the country had afterwards reason to form the highest expectations, I can truly say that I have seldom listened to any discourses delivered under the same circumstances which held out stronger hopes of future distinction than the discourses which have this evening marked the introduction to Parliamentary life of my noble Friends, the noble Earl and the noble Marquess. I should also feel that I should not discharge my duty if I did not frankly acknowledge the courteous, and I hope I may be permitted to say, the friendly tone in which the noble Marquess opposite (the Marquess of Lansdowne)— who I rejoice is once more among us at the commencement of the Session—referred to the position in which Her Majesty's Ministers now stand towards Parliament. It is a source of great satisfaction to me to believe that there is nothing in the Speech from the Throne which can disturb that unanimity with which it is so desirable that we should present our Address to Her Majesty. I do not at all complain of the manner in which the noble Marquess referred to one point on which it will be necessary for me frankly and unreservedly to state the views which I entertain. I thank the noble Marquess and my noble and learned Friend opposite (Lord Brough- 46 am) for the language they have held with regard to the state of our foreign relations; and I concur with both of them in thinking that while it is our plain and obvious duty to abstain from interfering in the slightest degree with the internal condition of any foreign State—while I recognise to the fullest extent the right of every State to regulate its own affairs, the constitution and the form of its government, or any other matter of purely internal interest; and while, moreover, looking not to the language alone, but looking to the acts of all foreign nations, I see no apprehension at the present moment of an interruption of our friendly relations with any one of those nations with which we are at present in amity, whatever may be their forms of government, I cordially concur with the noble Marquess, and my noble and learned Friend, in thinking that it is not to the professions—it is not to the friendly acts-it is not to the attitude of any foreign country that this nation must trust if we desire to be independent and to be respected—I believe that while we are desirous of maintaining the goodwill of all foreign nations—while we are anxious to avoid all causes of offence and irritation, our real permanent security must rest on our own capacity for internal defence, on the hearts in the first instance, and in the next instance on the organisation of our own people. And, therefore, I think it is a legitimate subject of congratulation that, notwithstanding the efforts made in various quarters by persons of whom I desire only to say that I think, whatever may be their motives, their policy is mistaken, to prevent the formation of that purely defensive force which was provided by the Act of last Session, and which received the sanction of the illustrious Duke we have lost in the very last speech which he addressed to your Lordships—I think it is a legitimate subject of congratulation to find that, notwithstanding the efforts that have been made to prevent the formation and organisation of that force, there has still been found throughout the country that strong British feeling, that attachment to our national institutions—an attachment demonstrated not by words, but by actions —which has brought into the field for the public defence, and notwithstanding many difficulties has brought into some degree of efficiency, as fine and able a body of young men as ever volunteered their services for the defence of the country during the hottest period of the war. Nor will I deny 47 that there is much that ought to be done for the material defence of the country. That is a topic, however, into which I am sure that your Lordships will not expect that I should enter on this occasion. It is sufficient if I say that the attention of Her Majesty's Government has been sedulously and continuously directed to that most important object, and no doubt their means of effectively providing for the defence of the country, without any desire of giving offence to foreign Powers, will be not inconsiderably strengthened by the tone and language which the noble Marquess, with so much sound sense and good feeling, has addressed to you this evening. My Lords, I will not now touch on any of the topics of the Speech relating to our foreign relations, or indeed on any topic except one of those to which the noble Marquess has adverted; because—important as they all are, and confident as I feel, that more fitting opportunities will offer of discussing them —I am confident that Her Majesty's Government, whenever discussion shall take place upon any of them, will be able to justify the course which they have pursued, and the measures which they intend to recommend to Parliament. But I concur with the noble Marquess that this is not the occasion, nor is it desirable on any of these subjects, to pledge your Lordships, by agreeing unanimously to this Address, to the assertion of any principle as connected with any of these measures. But there is one topic, and that one of paramount importance, upon which I think I shall not discharge my duty to your Lordships and the country if I do not say a few words. I advert to that passage of Her Majesty's Speech in which She congratulates the country, and I believe with very good reason, upon the improved condition of the country generally, and more especially of the industrious classes. When I say the improved condition I mean this: For a course of three or four years, since a period of great difficulty, of great misery, and of great national calamity, there has been a gradual, and to my mind a most satisfactory, progress in each year in improvement over the year preceding, until at last in the year 1852, I believe we have returned in every respect to, and in some we have gone beyond, the period of 1846, which was a period of great and acknowledged national prosperity. I am not now speaking of causes, I am speaking of facts; and although I will not trouble your Lordships with many of them at present, I will 48 refer to some which I have obtained from the best sources of information, and which I consider to be the best tests of the real condition of the industrious classes of this country, and which show that that condition is one of unusual prosperity. I believe you can take no better criterions than, upon this subject, for example, the amount of pauperism, and the consumption of the principal articles, such as tea, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, sugar, and all those other articles which enter into the consumption of the great body of the people, and with regard to which, those being articles of exclusively foreign importation, we are capable not merely of ascertaining the amount which has been imported, but also the amount which has been consumed, without the possibility of the admixture of any article grown in this country, the amount of which, of course, greater or less, would materially affect the calculation. I find, then, that with regard to all these articles, there has been within the last few years a continuous and progressively rapid increase of consumption, from which I think we may fairly argue that the great mass of the people, so far as their expenditure would directly show itself in the consumption of those articles, are in a state of gradual improvement. I look again to the condition of the savings banks of this country; and I think that few circumstances more clearly show the condition of the great mass of the community than the proportions which are borne between the amount subtracted from and the amount deposited in the savings banks. Now I am not speaking of the number of depositors, or the amount of the deposits, because the sums deposited and the number of depositors may be influenced by certain accidental circumstances, and do not necessarily exhibit the amount of the sums saved from the earnings of the people; but I am speaking of the amount of the contributions. I find that in the course of the years 1847,1848, and 1849, there was a diminution in the amount invested in the savings banks of a most formidable character. I will not trouble your Lordships by many figures, but this is a case which shows, in a very striking manner, the extent to which years of distress had operated on the condition of the industrious classes in different parts of the country, and the period at which the tide began to turn towards prosperity. I hold in my hand a table, which, dividing the districts of this country into agricultural districts and manufacturing districts, ex- 49 hibits in each year since 1846 the amounts paid in to the trustees, and the amounts withdrawn from the trustees of the savings banks; and the balance between those amounts affords no bad indication of the prosperity or the distress of the country. Now, in the agricultural districts I find this remarkable result: In the year 1846, towards the close of that year, there had been withdrawn in those districts, beyond the deposits, a sum of 80,434l.; in the year 1847 the withdrawals had surpassed the deposits by a sum of 335,000l.; in the year 1848 that balance was no less than 782,000l.; in the year 1849 it was 379,000l.; in the year 1850 it was 542,000l.; in the year 1851 this adverse balance was reduced to 165,000l.; and in the course of the present year I am happy to say that the amounts of the withdrawals and of the deposits have balanced themselves within a few hundred pounds. This is so far satisfactory; but these statistics show that from 1848 to 1852 great sufferings had been endured by the agricultural population; for in those four years the balance withdrawn from the savings banks in the agricultural districts alone amounted to nearly two millions and a half. The manufacturing districts exhibited during those years a similar falling-off—that is to say, during the early period of those years; inasmuch as in the years 1846 and 1847, there was a predominance in the withdrawals over the deposits to the amount of 330,000l.; but in the years 1848, 1849, 1850, and 1851—in every one of those years—there had been in favour of the manufacturing districts an increase in the deposits, varying from 200,000l. To 400,000l. But without troubling your) Lordships with further figures, it is satisfactory to know that in the years 1850, 1851, and 1852, there is exhibited in these manufacturing districts in regard to the savings banks the same evidence of prosperity as is exhibited in the consumption of articles of prime necessity—the evidence of a constantly improving state of things, and of a recurrence to that condition of national prosperity which was experienced in 1846. Now, my Lords, as I said before, I am stating facts, and not attributing causes; but, at the same time, I will not shrink from expressing my opinion with regard to some, at least, of the causes which have been at work to effect these results. I do not hesitate in making an acknowledgment that in my opinion a great portion of the prosperity of the agricultural, 50 and the manufacturing, and the labouring classes, but more especially of the labouring classes, is to be attributed to that legislation, combined with other causes, which has given to them the advantage of cheap and abundant food, and which, at the same time, other circumstances have prevented from being accompanied by those concomitant evils which we had undoubtedly anticipated. Your Lordships will recollect the circumstances to which I refer as having neutralised the injurious effects of—while they have permitted to come into full operation—the advantages to be derived from a system of policy which makes the provisions of the people cheap and abundant. I do not hesitate to say that I concur in a great measure with my noble Friend the noble Earl behind me, that two causes have had a material effect in contributing to that result—namely, the discovery of extensive gold mines in different parts of the world, and the large amount of emigration, which, party arising from that discovery, and partly arising from other causes, has taken place to an enormous extent, and to a still increasing extent, during the law few years. The apprehensions which I entertained—apprehensions which were entertained by a large number of those who concurred with me in political opinion —that a fall in the price of provisions, other matters remaining as they were, would be quite certain to lead to a corresponding, and more than a corresponding, fall in the amount of wages, have not, I am happy to say, been verified by the fact. I think, however, that that is a proposition which might have been theoretically made clear, and which, but for the circumstances to which I am alluding, would have been proved by practical demonstration. My Lords, I read, perhaps, an erroneous report, but I read with considerable surprise a few days ago, a statement attributed to a right hon. Gentleman (Mr. T. B. Macaulay), whose improved state of health—and I rejoice to say it—permits him again to devote his abilities to the active duties of public life, the brilliancy of whose oratory, and the greatness of whose talents, the new House of Commons must look upon as a great and important acquisition; but, my Lords, if the speech of the right hon. Gentleman to whom I have referred be correctly reported—a speech, the eloquence of which I cannot but admire, although a considerable portion of it was directed—I will not say hardly, but in a manner not worthy of the talents of 51 the right hon. Gentleman, against myself, and against some of those friends with whom I have the honour and the happiness to act—I say, if that speech be correctly reported, I am compelled to give the right hon. Gentleman greater credit for the brilliancy of his oratory than for the soundness of his arguments. Because, in speaking of this very question of the connexion between the cheapness of provisions and the fall of wages, the right hon. Gentleman is reported to have said that he "never had any apprehensions upon the subject, because he bore in mind that the price of wheat was lower and the amount of wages higher in Ohio than in England." But that argument has nothing to do with the effect of the price of provisions upon the amount of wages. He compared two different countries in a wholly different state of society. He said that, because in Ohio, where land may be obtained for a trifle, where the population is scattered, and where labour is scarce, because there there is a coincidence of high wages and a low price of provisions, it will follow as a consequence that the same effects would take place in England in a totally different state of society, and where the amount of wages is regulated by the proportion which the supply of labour bears to the demand for labour in the labour market. My Lords, all that we contend for is this—that when in Ohio, as in England and everywhere else, the prices of corn or provisions fall to the consumer and to the producer, in that case, apart from other circumstances, there will be a diminution of wages in the same proportion. But, my Lords, the circumstances as affecting this country have been wholly altered by the two important causes to which I have referred—by, in the first place, the large production, the incredibly large and increasing production, of gold~-a circumstance important, not only in its effects upon the money price of all the articles of commerce, but which, by making money cheap and abundant, and consequently reducing the rate of interest, enables the employers of labour to make exertions which they otherwise could not make, and enables them to furnish an amount of employment which throws the balance in favour of the labourer, by diminishing the apparent number of the competitors for employment: and then, independently of this, look to the extent to which emigration has been carried during the last few years. Why, I have here a return of the amount of emigration in the 52 course of the last two years. I find that, taking England and Ireland together, the amount of emigration from these countries in the years 1850, 1851, and 1852, has been as follows:—In the year 1850, 220,000; in the year 1851, 273,000; and in the year 1852, 305,000 persons— making a total in three years of about 830;000 persons: most of them, be it recollected, being in the prime of life, and competitors in the labour market of this country. Now we must not suppose that this emigration is taking place exclusively from Ireland. The emigration from Liverpool must always be left out of consideration to a great extent, because it must be assumed that of the number of those who emigrate from Liverpool 9–10ths are in reality Irish; so that only 1–10th could be considered to be English emigration— that is to say, 18,000 out of about 187,000 persons. There have, therefore, emigrated from England alone about 80,000 persons. It is possible that these two circumstances combined—the large amount of gold, on the one hand, rendering money cheap and the means of employment easy; and, on the other hand, the great diminution in the number of competitors for labour in the market, must have had the effect in the long run of keeping up the price of the wages of the labouring classes, and of thereby altering the state of affairs, so as in a great degree to prevent the occurrence of those accompanying evils, which, but for those mitigating circumstances, would have occasioned a rapid and a considerable fall of wages. But, my Lords, without looking to what might have been the causes, the system is now established, and working more advantageously for the labouring classes than we had anticipated. I am bound to look, not to the causes, but to the practical result. I am bound to look, also, to the deliberate expression of the opinion and feelings of the country. My Lords, when at the commencement of the last Session, I had, for the first time, the unexpected honour of addressing your Lordships from the place in which I now stand, I stated to your Lordships that it was my desire to be enabled to conduct the business of the country through the Session which had then commenced without any reference to those important questions on which a considerable difference of opinion existed: I mean the fiscal regulations of the country. I was of opinion that that was a point which ought to be referred to the deliberate consideration of the country, 53 as tested by the result of a general election. I stated that, by the result of that general election I and my Colleagues were prepared to abide, and had determined we should have the full sanction and support of a large majority of the country, to abstain from proposing those measures which we ourselves, in our own private judgment, might have deemed most conducive to the happiness and prosperity of the State. My Lords, that appeal has been made; and I have no hesitation in saying to your Lordships that with regard to the imposition of any duty upon corn and provisions, not only is there not that large majority without the existence of which I declared that I would submit no such proposition to the consideration of Parliament; but the country by a very large and undoubted majority, including a very considerable number of the representatives of the agricultural districts "themselves, has declared that whether it might have been desirable or not as a matter of policy, yet that in the present state of affairs they are determined not to depart from that system of legislation which has been established—that the country will not agree to the imposition of any tax on the introduction of articles of provisions. My Lords, I say that that resolution carries with it the whole financial policy of the country. It might have been possible to have adopted the system of free trade, as it is commonly called, and to have made those particular articles exceptions to the general policy. But it is not possible to lay down a system of policy by which you should have free trade in corn and provisions, and yet not follow up, as far as possible, the same principle with regard to other articles. My Lords, if I understand the meaning of the common expression "free trade," it is this, that you will not impose taxes for the purpose of protecting individual or local interests, but that you will impose them for the purposes of revenue, and of revenue only; and that in the imposition of those taxes you will have especial regard to lightening the burdens which may be imposed upon those articles which mainly enter into the consumption of the great mass of the community. Now, my Lords, in that system I see much of advantage, but I do not deny that I see much of difficulty. I see great present advantages, but I am not sure—God forbid that I should be right!—that that system may not lead to future embarrassments as the necessary consequences of the 54 changes in our financial system. But, my Lords, I do not hesitate to say that after the opinion which has been pronounced by the country, whatever may be my own views, or those of my colleagues, as to the policy which we may deem it desirable should be adopted, I see that the recurrence of such a policy would be in itself impracticable; and that, even if it were practicable, it would be most undesirable to raise such a question for controversy among large masses of the community. On the part, then, of myself and of my colleagues, I bow to the decision of the country; and having so bowed, I declare on their part and on my own, that while desirous of mitigating to the utmost of our power that unavoidable injury which the adoption of that policy has inflicted, and must inflict on important classes, I do not adopt it with any reserve whatever. I adopt it frankly as the decision of the country, and I am prepared honestly and fairly to carry it out as a Minister of the Crown. My Lords, I hope that the noble Marquess will not, after what I have stated, say either that Her Majesty's Government require time to make up their minds as to the course which they will pursue, or that they have faltered or hesitated in declaring their intention. It would be obviously improper for me, upon the present occasion, to enter into the details of those measures by which we believe that that injury might be mitigated, and by which we believe that without interfering with the general policy which for shortness is called "free trade," we might confer advantages on those classes which have suffered from its adoption— I say it would be improper for me on this occasion to offer any statement in detail to your Lordships' House. But I have the satisfaction of stating to your Lordships that if you and the country can have patience and wait for a period of one short fortnight, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer will then be prepared to lay before the other House of Parliament, in full detail, those financial measures, which in the present state of affairs Her Majesty's Government are of opinion should be adopted. Until that period shall arrive, I trust that the House will abstain from pronouncing or expressing any opinion. I trust that your Lordships will hear at all events the views which Her Majesty's Government may entertain upon the subject. I trust you will give a deliberate and dispassionate consideration to that most important and vital 55 question. You may—the other House of Parliament may—dissent from those views, or they may adopt those views. They may, if they dissent from those views, and if they think fit to act upon their dissent— they may, if they can combine a sufficient number of Gentlemen capable of acting together on this subject, and on all other subjects in which the great interests of the country are concerned—they may undoubtedly, in that case, prevent the adoption of the policy which, with no difference of opinion among them—which, without hesitation, subsequent to the decision of the last general election, Her Majesty's Government have deliberately adopted. But I hope and believe, my Lords, on the other hand, that there will be displayed in Parliament a good sense and a moderation which will not sacrifice the great interests of the nation for the purpose of raising personal taunts or indulging in personal recrimination or personal charges. I believe and I hope that on all sides of the House there will be evinced, in the progress of this Session, that spirit of which we have had so honourable and so satisfactory an instance in the tone of the noble Marquess in this House to-night—a spirit which will induce Parliament to look at great subjects of national importance, not through the medium of this or that section or party— not through the medium of private interest —but as the great Duke whom we have lost would have looked at those subjects, through the medium of that national welfare of which not Ministers alone, but the Members of this and the other House of Parliament, are the natural and proper depositories. My Lords, I will not detain your Lordships by entering into any other topics introduced in the Speech from the Throne. With regard to this question, I have frankly stated that we shall endeavour as honestly to carry out the policy to which we have hitherto objected as if we ourselves had been the authors of that policy. On the other hand, I say as frankly and as distinctly that I will not abstain from any effort which in my judgment, and in the judgment of my colleagues, can be made to mitigate the evils which have been endured by those who have suffered from the inevitable effects of that policy which the nation has now finally adopted.
§ Motion agreed to Nemine Dissentiente; and a Committee was appointed to prepare the Address: The Committee withdrew; and, after some Time, Report was made of an Address drawn by the Committee, 56 which being read, was agreed to, and Ordered to be presented to Her Majesty by the Lords with White Staves.
§ House adjourned till To-morrow.