« ElőzőTovább »
NOT STRENGTH ENOUGH IN THE BOW.
When this debate, sir, was to be resumed, on Thursday morning, it so happened that it would have been convenient for me to be elsewhere. The honorable member, however, did not incline to put off the discussion to another day. He had a shot, he said, to return, and he wished to discharge it. That shot, sir, which it was kind thus to inform us was coming, that we might stand out of the way, or prepare ourselves to fall before it and die with decency, has now been received. Under all advantages, and with expectation awakened by the tone which it preceded, it has been discharged, and has spent its force. It may become me to say no more of its effect, than, that if nobody is found, after all, either killed or wounded by it, it is not the first time, in the history of human affairs, that the vigor and success of the war have not quite come up to the lofty and sounding phrase of the manifesto.
The gentleman, sir, in declining to postpone the debate, told the senate, with the emphasis of his hand upon his heart, that there was something rankling here, which he wished to relieve. But the gentleman disclaims having used the word rankling. It would not be safe for the honorable member to appeal to those around him, upon the question, whether he did, in fact, make use of that word. But he may have been unconscious of it. At any rate it is enough that he disclaims it. But still, with or without the use of that particular word, he had yet something here, he said, of which he wished to rid himself by an immediate reply. In this respect, sir, I have a great advantage over the honorable gentleman. There is nothing here, sir, which gives me the slightest uneasiness ; neither fear, nor anger, nor that — which is sometimes more troublesome than either — the consciousness of having been in the wrong. There is nothing, either originating here, or now received here, by the gentleman's shot. Nothing original, for I have not the slightest feeling of disrespect or unkindness towards the honorable member. Some passages, it is true, had occurred since our acquaintance in this body, which I could have wished might have been otherwise; but I had
used philosophy and forgotten them. When the honorable member rose, in his first speech, I paid him the respect of attentive listening, and when he sat down, though surprised, and I must say, even astonished, at some of his opinions, nothing was farther from my intentions than to commence any personal warfare; and through the whole of the few remarks I made in answer, I avoided studiously and carefully, everything which I thought possible to be construed into disrespect. And, sir, while there is nothing originating here, which I wished at any time, or now wish to discharge, I must repeat, also, that nothing has been received here, which rankles, or in any way gives me annoyance. I will not accuse the honorable member of violating the rules of civilized war- -I will not say that he poisoned his arrows.
But whether his shafts were, or were not, dipped in that which would have caused rankling, if they had reached, there was not, as it happened, quite strength enough in the bow to bring them to their mark. If he wishes now to find those shafts, he must look for them elsewhere; they will not be found fixed and quivering in the object at which they were aimed.
ON THE REFORM BILL.
My Lords, I do not disguise the intense solicitude which I feel for the event of this debate; because I know full well that the peace
of the country is involved in the issue. I can not look without dismay at the rejection of the measure. But grievous as may be the consequences of a temporary defeat — temporary it can only be; for its ultimate, and even speedy, success is certain, nothing can now stop it-do not suffer yourselves to be persuaded, that even if the present ministers were driven from the helm, any one could steer you through the troubles which surround you, without reform. But our successors would take up the task in circumstances far less auspicious. Under them, you would be fain to grant a bill, compared with which, the one we now proffer you is moderate indeed.
Hear the parable of the sybil; for it conveys a wise and wholesome moral. She now appears at your gate, and offers you mildly the volumes—the precious volumes-of wisdom and peace. The price she asks is reasonable; to restore the franchise, which, without any bargain, you ought voluntarily to give-you refuse her terms-her moderate terms — she darkens the porch no longer. But soon, for you cannot do without her wares, you call her back — again she comes, but with diminished treasures; the leaves of the book are in part torn away by lawless hands, in part defaced with characters of blood. But the prophetic maid has risen in her demands — it is parliament by the year — it is vote by the ballot - it is suffrage by the million! From this you turn away indignant, and for the second time she departs. Beware of her third coming: for the treasure you must have; and what price she may next demand, who shall tell? It may even be the mace which rests upon that woolsack. What may follow your course of obstinacy, if persisted in, I cannot take upon me to predict, nor do I wish to conjecture. But this I know full well, that, as sure as man is mortal, and to err is human, justice deferred, enhances the price at which you must purchase safety and peace; nor can you expect to gather in another crop than they did who went before you, if you persevere in their utterly abominable husbandry, of sowing injustice and reaping rebellion.
But among the awful considerations that now bow down my mind, there is one which stands pre-eminent above the rest. You are the highest judicature in the realm ; you sit here as judges, and decide all causes, civil and criminal, without appeal. It is a judge's first duty never to pronounce sentence, in the most trifling case, without hearing. Will you make this the exception ? are you really prepared to determine, but not to hear, the mighty cause upon which a nation's hopes and fears hang? You are - then beware of your decision! Rouse not, I beseech you, a peace-loving, but a resolute people, alienate not from your body the affections of a whole einpire. As your friend, as the friend of my order, as the friend of my country, as the faithful servant of my sovereign, I counsel you to assist with your utmost efforts in preserving the peace, and upholding and perpetuating the constitution. Therefore, I pray and exhort you not to reject this measure. By all you hold most dear, by all the ties that bind every one of us to our common order and our common country, I solemnly adjure you—I warn you - I implore you — yea, on my bended knees, I supplicate you reject not this bill.
There is one amongst you (Lord Lyndhurst) of the most distinguished talent and the most decided character. He is not a member of this house, but he spoke with at least more frankness than others of his party. He does not profess to do justice to Ireland, he is above imposture. This distinguished person tells us, when making an appeal to the passions of the English people, he tells us — - the people of Ireland - that in every particular by which strangers can be enumerated, we are aliens to this country. The phrase is certainly a remarkable one, and one which now belongs to history. It is one which must necessarily be the subject of fair and legitimate quarrel now, as it must be the subject of observation hereafter. I am surprised that at the moment the phrase was uttered, the Duke of Wellington did not start up and say that those aliens had done their duty. He ought not to have forgotten Vimeira, and Badajoz, and Salamanca, and Toulouse, and Waterloo; the last glorious conflict which crowned all former victories. I will appeal to the gallant and honorable soldier opposite (Sir H. Hardinge): I know he bears in his breast a brave and generous heart. Let him tell how on that day, when the destinies of mankind were trembling in the balance, when the batteries with fatal precision spread slaughter over the field, and men fell in heaps — when the legions of France rushed to the fight, and, inspired by the voice of their mighty leader, rushed again and again to the onset — the gallant soldier opposite will tell you whether, in that last hour of thousands, the “aliens ” flinched. And when at length the moment for
the decisive charge arrived — when the banner so long clouded was at length unfurled, he will tell you — when the mighty champion of the day cried out “Now boys, at them !” he will tell you, for he must remember, whether the Irishman, the catholic Irishman, was less forward in the charge. No: he will tell you that, on that day, the blood of England, Ireland, and Scotland was poured forth together, they fought in the same field—they died the same deaththey were stretched in the same pit — their dust was commingled in the same earth -- the same dew of heaven fell upon the earth that covered them — the same grass grew upon their graves. Is it to be endured after this, that we should be called aliens and complete strangers to that empire for whose salvation our best blood was shed ?
ON THE UNION.
I will not dwell on the miseries of my country; I am disgusted with the wretchedness the union has produced, and I do not dare to trust myself with the contemplation of the accumulation of sorrow that must overwhelm the land if the union be not repealed. I beg to call the attention of the meeting to another part of the subject. The union was a violation of our national and inherent rights; a flagrant injustice. The representatives whom we had elected for the short period of eight years, had no authority to dispose of their country for ever. They were the servants of the nation, empowered to consult for its good; not its masters, to traffic and dispose of it at their phantasy or their profit. I deny that the nation itself had a right to barter its independence, or to commit political suicide; but when our servants destroyed our existence as a nation, they added to the baseness of assassination all the guilt of high treason. The reasoning upon which those opinions are founded, is sufficiently obvious. They require no sanction from the authority of any name; neither do I pretend to give them any weight by declaring them to