Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

was not allowed to elect its chairman, ted on the bullion question, but had written Some intelligent member of the cabinet a book upon it. He had spoken on the not only anticipated the names of the men subject a hundred times, and always with whom the House were to choose as the effect. He had moved finance resolutions committee, but also the name of the indi- over and over again, in which the sinking, vidual whom that committee were to fund was mentioned ; he was a political select as their chairman; and he had never economist, at the head of a set of political found that those anticipations were not economists, and was even a member of accurate.—But to return. The right hon. the political economists' club; and yet, gentleman had stated, that he was too with all these qualities, so objectionable insignificant to blow up the government, in the eyes of the late chancellor of the and the inference he would have the House Exchequer, he had made no sort of objecto draw was, that the destruction of that tion whatever to his appointment; though, ministry was preconcerted. Now, let the rather than consent to the nomination of House consider what were the objections lord Althorp with only one of those objecof the right hon. gentleman to lord Althorp tionable qualities, he was prepared on the —that he was a party man. Why, the 21st of December to resign bis situation. reverse of that was the cause why he had The right hon. gentleman could not conbeen named, in the first instance. He sent to this appointment, as it derogated had never been recognized as a party man. from his dignity: about that dignity he He was at the head of a set of gentlemen was quite solicitous, so as to be angry who acted independently, without refer- with lord Goderich's administration, and ence to the views of any party. But, it yet at a nod or a beck from the duke of appeared that lord Althorp stood com- Wellington he became mild as a lamb. mitted on the bullion question, and had The moment the field marshal gave the given a strong opinion respecting the word of command, he was all obedience, sinking-fund. Were the committee, he and gave up, without a murmur, his begged to ask, to be precluded from mak- office of chancellor of the Exchequer, ing any inquiries respecting the bullion resigned the golden gown, in which question ? Were they not to inquire into he (Mr. B.) had seen him swom into the expenditure, into the rise of salaries, office in the court of Exchequer, and retired in consequence of the depreciation of the to the less dignified, the less responsible, currency, into the increase of taxes, as the and certainly the less lucrative, office of result of the same cause? If they were Master of his majesty's Mint.—The hon. not, they need not send to Downing-street and learned gentleman went on to say, for the appointment of a committee; they that they had now sat till two o'clock in could appoint one themselves, and it would the morning, and he who began the disnot be difficult to get those who would |cussion was not better informed on the move and second a motion for such a com- subject than at the outset. He had heard mittee. When he said this, he begged to many statements, and much anecdote, be understood as not meaning to quarrel some of a gay and some of a more serious with the committee. It was as fair a character; but something untold still committee as he could desire; by one remained behind, which would have exthird fairer than any Finance Committee plained the matter at once. Would it not he had before seen. He augured well have been better to say at once, you from its formation ; and he had no doubt wish for information as to the cause of the that it would inquire into the rise of late break up, but I will not tell you ?" salaries, into the increase of taxes, and For his own part, however well others had into the bullion question. That question acquitted themselves in this explanation, was at the root of all these—the sinking- he must confess that the statement of the fund was only part and parcel. Yet the right hon. gentleman had given him no Jate chancellor of the Exchequer, because satisfaction; it still left some doubts on he considered lord Althorp as committed his mind; the shifting of his ground, first on the bullion question, was prepared assenting, or at least not objecting, to the rather to resign on the 21st of December, appointment of lord Althorp, afterwards than consent to that appointment; al- protesting against it, and then attributing though the right hon. gentleman had not the dissolution of the ministry to a preobjected to he appointment of sir H. Par concerted plan on the part of others. - As nell, a gentleman who was not only commit-Ito the statement of the right hon. gentle

man who spoke last, he was surprised he was said, that the guarantees were undershould have found it necessary to occupy stood to be implied by the presence, in the time of the House in making a defence, the same cabinet, of the Secretary for Irewhere there was no charge. It was true land, the President of the Board of Trade, he had obtained a triumph, if that could and the noble Secretary at War. Were be called a triumph, where there was no these the guarantees? He was afraid the antagonist. It reminded him of a person public would not so consider them. Let who had gone into a court of justice, and the House look to the situation of Ireland, having got himself into the dock, and see and ask, whether a change for the better ing a jury in the box, demanded to be put had taken place. The learned gentleupon his trial; but on being informed man here alluded to the late sentence of that he could not be tried, as there was eighteen months' imprisonment against Mr. no charge against him, left the dock, Eneas Macdonnell,' in Dublin, for a libel boasting of his triumphant acquittal. The on archdeacon French; and after remarkright hon. gentleman boasted of the con- ing that it was much more severe than the sistency of his conduct, in resigning office punishment of many atrocious libels against in April last, and re-entering it at present. some of the highest personages in this That, however, was not the question. country, asked, could any man doubt that Why had not some of his right hon. friends the judges who sentenced Mr. Macdonnell near him imitated that conduct, and de- considered, not that they had the author clined office for a similar reason; namely, of a libel on Mr. French before them, but that the person at the head of the govern- the active, and zealous, and persevering, ment possessed too much influence upon agent of that hated body, the Catholic Asa question which they held to be so im- sociation. Then it was said, that the right portant to the country?- As to the hon. gentleman had a guarantee for the lengthened statement of the right hon. foreign policy of the country in the person Secretary for the Colonies, to prove that of lord Dudley. But who sat on the same he had not got a guarantee, it was wholly bench with him, as member of the same unnecessary. Did any man believe that cabinet? A young nobleman, who cerit could have been meant that he had got tainly possessed hereditary claims to great a guarantee in the legal sense of the word ? sagacity, and yet, somehow or other, had :A guarantee should be written, and on a not yet succeeded in establishing himself stamp. By the statute of frauds, for pre- in the possession. That young nobleman venting corrupt practices, no guarantee had stated, that he had never been opposed could be legal unless it was in writing, to the foreign policy of Mr. Canning, yet and on a proper stamp. Now, he would he could not disguise the fact, that he had ask, was it necessary for the right hon. always been of opinion, and in that his opigentleman to show that he had not a nion remained unchanged, that Mr. Canguarantee of that description ? Beyond ning was a dangerous man. Yet these that, then, the statement of the right hon. were the discordant materials, of which gentleman did not go, on the subject of the guarantees for the policy of Mr. Canpledges or guarantees. Still

, however, ning were made up! As to the guarantee that statement was the most important for free trade in the person of a right hon. they had heard that night. If a man gentleman (Mr. C. Grant), the House, spoke to an audience of having had con- without in any way detracting from that versations, explanations, and understand gentleman's merit, would know what value ings, with another on a particular subject, to set upon it when they recollected the would they not apply those conversations, events of last summer, and saw in them an explanations, and understandings, to that efficient counter-guarantee in the policy subject, just as much as if it were written? of the duke of Wellington. One point more Would the million in Ireland understand he would advert to. He meant the dilemma these conversations, &c., to apply to the between which the late under Secretary policy of the measures of one or other of for the Colonies (Mr. Stanley), whose tathe parties with whom they were had ? lents all admired, had placed some memWould it not be said, that explanation was bers of the present, who had belonged the result of conversation, and that the to the late ministry. Either the members result of that explanation, in the case be- who resigned when Mr. Canning became fore the House, was the acceptance of of- prime minister did so from personal hafice by the right hon. gentleman ? But it I tred to him, or from opposition to his

principles. If they went out from the for- | character. As this had, he knew, been mer feeling, it showed a disposition at more especially said of lord Lansdowne, once weak and contemptible, and such as of whom it had been insinuated, that he should ever prevent any friend of Mr. had not put himself sufficiently forward, Canning's from joining with them; if from so as to have prevented all this mischief, hostility to Mr. Canning's principles, how by acting in resistance to these machicould those who affected to be guided by nations, with the vigour and firmness those principles, take office under men which became him, he wished to say, that who had thus publicly opposed them ? the vindication of lord Lansdowne's conThis was an argument to which he had duct did not belong to him, while that noheard no answer; and he believed it ble lord himself was so much better capawould be very difficult to give a good one. ble of sustaining it; but he would never-Upon the subject of the construction of theless take leave to say, that no charge this new administration there would still was more unfair than that which would atbe much to say, as well as with reference tach this degree of responsibility to one to the treatment experienced by that la- who was placed in so delicate and perplexmented person, to whom allusion had so ing a situation; that such a man, possessfrequently been made. He wished to ab-ing boundless fortune, great and commandstain from touching further upon this to- ing talents, equanimity and magnanimity pic. He was not about to bring a charge of temper, the highest virtue, the most exagainst any man, nor indeed to find fault tensive popularity, should be placed in the with any person's conduct. Those to altered government—not first, but somewhom he referred must have feelings by thing like second, and at times, hardly which they were swayed; and to the ope-that-was, indeed, a perplexing and haration of those feelings, of which they rassing position : it was one of too equifought to be the best judges, he left them. vocal, too uncertain, a character, to enable But, while he made this allusion to one him to put forward-indeed, it rendered class of the members of the late govern- impossible that he should put forwardment, there was another, from which he that manly vigour of character which he could not withhold his highest admiration, knew that noble lord eminently to posfor the display of generous and dignified sess, from a more than thirty years' intifeeling which had characterized their uni- mate acquaintance, qualities which he form conduct-unawed by power, or de- knew naturally and habitually to belong to terred by the weak and childish effeminacy him. For his noble friend to be charged by of abstaining from the manifestation of his worst enemies, at this, which he might feelings which, when true, always did ho- call advanced, period of his public life, nour to human nature—in coming forward with only wanting the forwardness of feelingly and gallantly to rescue the me- pert intermeddling and interference, was a mory of their departed friend, from the high gratification to his friends. It was unsafe keeping of some of his surviving to say of him this, and it was no small colleagues.For his own part, seeing the praise, that, as in his early years his chamanner in which this government had racter had been tempered with the discrebeen abolished, and afterwards so re-con- tion and foresight which other men structed, to the exclusion of some men could only attain at riper years, so in his with whom the parties had professed to maturer age, he united the experience of act while in office, and the admission of his more confirmed character, with the others with whom they had not had the modesty of youth. same degree of cordiality, the excluded The Committee of Supply was then being those in whom the public were, he postponed till Wednesday. believed, disposed to place implicit confidence—he confessed he could not antici

HOUSE OF LORDS. pate much from the change which had recently taken place. With respect to those

Tuesday, February 19. who no longer formed a part of the admi CHANGE OF ADMINISTRATION-MI

nistration, he might now and then have NISTERIAL EXPLANATIONS.] The Marthought of some of them, that they had quis of Londonderry, on presenting a Pe* failed a little in the exhibition of that tition from the Roman Catholics of Lonpromptitude and firmness, which ought to donderry, praying for the repeal of the belong to persons of their reputation and Laws against them, said, he had heard,

with extreme surprise, a question put a flected on my fitness to fill the office few nights ago, to the noble duke at the which I lately held, I should have passed head of the government, as to whether or them by in silence; but I cannot forbear not he intended to bring forward any to say something, because, if the imputameasure for the relief of the Catholics. tions cast upon me be true, they would This surprised him very much, when he make me ashamed to show my face before recollected that the noble lords opposite your lordships. It is now imputed to me, had been nine months at the head of the that what I stated to his majesty was a government, and had never ventured to false pretence; that I had a covert design propose any measure of this nature to to dissolve the government, and that I parliament. They had then found out, acted from some profound calculation. I that it was not the season for promoting should have thought, my lords, that what the cause of the Catholics; and though the world knew of me would have been they had been so long clothed with the sufficient to save me from any imputation outward and visible signs of authority, of this kind; and I can hardly believe they had not taken one step in favour of that such imputation has been made; but. the Catholics. But, hardly ten days after if it has, there can be no justification for his noble friend had taken office, he was such conduct. My lords, it is imputed asked, whether he had any measure to to me, that I went down to his majesty bring forward ? In his opinion this was with a statement that was not correct; only done to excite the intemperance of and that the immediate cause which led the Catholics. He lamented the conduct to the precarious situation of the governof the Catholics, and he hoped some le- ment was not that which I stated it to be. gislative measures would be adopted to If the immediate cause was not the reprevent the continuance of the acts of the signation of the chancellor of the ExcheCatholic Association. They collected the quer as I stated it to be, then am I the Catholic rent, which amounted to five or basest of mankind. But it is impossible six hundred pounds a week. Such sums I could be guilty of such baseness. When were not collected for any good purpose, I wrote to the chancellor of the Exchequer and could not serve the cause of the on the subject of the committee, I told Catholics. They could only hope for him in the plainest terms what was the success by the progress of opinion in this opinion of my right hon. friend. I stated country: and to promote that, they must that he considered it impossible for him act with patience, resignation, and obe not to acquiesce in the nomination of the dience, to the laws. By this alone could chairman of the Finance Committee, which their object be ultimately obtained, and had been the subject of discussion. My not by violence and disorder.

right hon. friend stated, that if the deci On the motion of adjournment, sion should be against that nomination, Lord Goderich rose, and said :- It is he would resign; and I stated also that with great pain, I can assure your lord- the resignation of the Secretary of State ships, I feel myself under the necessity of would dissolve the government. I added again calling your lordships' attention to to this, that his own resignation would, a personal subject, with reference to the in all probability, be attended with the topic on which I addressed your lordships same consequences. How, then, could in the course of last week. In what I the right hon. gentleman state—how could then threw out, I was anxious.not to say any man state that I went down to his any thing that might offend the feelings, majesty with a false pretence, to procure or affect the character, of any individual. the dissolution of the government ?' WheMy object was to justify my own conduct, ther my proceeding was right or wrong and not to complain of, or to make out | is, perhaps, of little consequence, but the a case against, others. I had no wish to statement which I made was the sole reflect on any individuals, or say any ground of my actions ; and I defy any thing but to state the whole truth, the man to say that I acted from any other. plain truth, and nothing but the truth. I went on the following day; I have letters How, my lords, could I state, for I had here, my lords, which will prove this to no motives to state, what was not abso- your lordships, and they are at your serlutely necessary to make your lordships vice. On the next day I stated my opinacquainted with the truth? If the ob-ion to the right hon. gentleman. I reservations to which I allude had only re- I commended him to reconsider his decision.

I told him I could not accede to his opin- , late government, to say one word in corion. I urged him not to take the step roboration of what had just fallen from his he contemplated. He said he would take noble friend. It was with the greatest it; and I' foresaw the consequences. I surprise that he had heard that it had been added, that we owed it to ourselves, to stated, in another place, that the difference our king, and the country, not to break of opinion between two right hon. gentleup the government, unless it was abso- men had not been the cause of the dissolutely necessary. It was our duty, I said, lution of the late government; no other to meet parliament and wait its decision. cause was assigned at the time in his hearAll this proved ineffectual. The right ing, and he confessed himself entirely ignohon. gentleman referred to his original rant of any mysterious knowledge of secret letter, in which he said he would resign, machinery and secret intrigue, employed unless the nomination was changed. What in the dissolution of that government. ground, then, was there for the declara- The cause which had been stated by his tion, that I went to his majesty with a noble friend was, as far as his information false pretence? I say that the conduct extended, the real and immediate cause of the right hon. gentleman was the im- of that event. He felt that his noble mediate cause of the dissolution of the friend needed not the vindication of his government. These were the motives for testimony and assurance; he considered my conduct; and it is not possible for him utterly incapable of palming a spuriany person justly to impute to me any ous, and if spurious, a dishonest and disother. It was with me a conclusive reason honourable, cause of action upon

his colthat there was a tender of a resignation, leagues and his sovereign. Under these and it is an imputation made against me circumstances, it was scarcely necessary to that this did not take place. Your lord corroborate the statement of his noble ships will also have seen it represented— friend. though I cannot say whether correctly or Being upon his legs, and as explananot-but that there existed a design, a tions were the order of the day, he begged plot, to break up the government. My the House to allow him to offer a few lords, who entertained it? When was it words in explanation of his own conduct. concocted ? I positively deny that I knew He assured noble lords, that it was with any thing of it; and I deny that any per- great reluctance that he obtruded upon son, as far as I know, had any such de- them any observations that applied almost sign. I will not say that circumstances exclusively to himself; but he was, in some had not occurred which might make the measure, relieved from the difficulty, by government not receive the countenance referring to a document, not indeed

reguand support of parliament; but that there larly before their lordships, but which had was a design to alter or change the go- been frequently quoted, in the course of vernment, or to break it up, is a most the late discussions. He meant a speech gratuitous assumption. It is not neces- purporting to have been lately made at sary for me, however, to trouble your lord - Liverpool; no part of that speech was ships with a repetition of all the topics I more correct than that which represented before adverted to; in doing which, I him to have been an old and personal might, with a view only to defend myself

, friend of a right hon. gentleman now unintroduce new matter for discussion, and fortunately no more. It was a friendship new matter for controversy in both Houses that existed from a very early date of their of parliament. If what has been imputed respective lives ; it continued amidst the to me had only affected my character as fluctuations and differences, the jars and a minister, I should not have said one contentions, of political life, steady and word; but I felt that I should not have uninterrupted: it was a friendship, the done justice to'ıny character as a gentle- remembrance of which he should cherish man, if I had not stated to your lordships, to the latest period of his existence. He that I am incapable of going with a false would not now dwell upon the manner in pretence to impose upon the king—that which his departed friend had been perI am incapable of betraying my sovereign ; secuted when alire, nor on the political as, at least in appearance, is imputed to rancour with which he had been assailed : me.

even death conferred no immunity, the The Earl of Carlisle said, he thought it grave to him was no sanctuary. He had his duty, having been connected with the heard, with great regret, a noble lord

« ElőzőTovább »