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House to watch with the closest attention the new financial measures of government-to support them, if they were abandoned, and to oppose them if they were based on the protective principle.
Mr. Sheil began by alluding in complimentary terms to Mr. Gladstone's retirement. There is no man," he said, "who feels for the public welfare who must not lament that Her Majesty is deprived of the services of the right honourable gentleman. I cannot help thinking it unfortunate that the statesman should be sacrificed to the author, and that the right honourable baronet should have reason to say, 'Oh that my friend had not written a book! (A laugh.) The right honourable gentleman, however, in that book—for it was impossible to read it without remembering almost every passage of it, at least it was impossible for me to read it without remembering that part of it which bore upon Ireland-did distinctly state, upon the question of Maynooth, that he conceived the question was one simply of contract. If,' he said, the Irish Parliament contracted for the establishment and maintenance of Maynooth, it ought to be maintained in a manner befitting the dignity of that great task which it had to perform, and also befitting the dignity of the donor from whom the endowment was derived. If it were not a matter of contract, it should be suppressed.' That it was a matter of contract we have the decision of the two Houses of Parliament. At the time of the Union, care was taken to pass an Act of Parliament maintaining the establishment of Maynooth. The British Parliament continued its grant from that day to the present; and I say that it was a contract, to all VOL. LXXXVII.
intents and purposes, entered into by the Irish Parliament, and ratified by the Imperial Legislature."
Mr. Sheil, after giving high praise to Sir Robert Peel for making this grant, and for the manner in which it was done, inquired whether the University of Dublin was to be thrown open, as it was a point of honour with every Roman Catholic to have its scholarships thrown open, without which they were not on an equality with their Protestant fellow-subjects. He showed that it was not a small insinuation which Lord John Russell had made against the present Government in his admirable speech; for it embraced the injustice of all their proceedings in the celebrated O'Connell prosecution, from its first commencement to its close. He then entered into a discussion on the merits of the Charitable Bequests Bill, and after some other observations asked Sir James Graham if he was still prepared to bring in his Irish Registration Bill, and to repeat his pledge that conciliation had now reached its utmost limit?'
Sir James Graham had no hesitation in stating that it was the determination of the Government to propose an Irish Registration Bill this session. As to the period of its introduction, he could not speak so decidedly, as it was clear that a measure of vast importance, of which notice had been given that night, must precede it. The May. nooth question, and the Academical Education Bill, would also precede it; but it was undoubtedly the intention of Government to introduce such a measure this session. He could not hold out any hope that Government would alter the main principle of the Bequests [C]
Bill, relative to the holding of land in perpetuity; but as it was not the intention of Government to place the regular clergy in a worse position than that they occupied before the Bill was introduced, they would have no objection to propose an alteration in it, if it should be found that the regular clergy were damnified by the 16th clause, and another clause which had relation to it.
Mr. Shaw said, that the scholarships and fellowships of Trinity College, Dublin, could not be thrown open to Roman Catholics, as they were a part and parcel of the Protestant Church of Ireland. He then entered into a legal explanation of the manner in which it happened that it appeared upon the record of "the Queen v. O'Connell and others" that there were sixty names omitted from the jury list, when, in point of fact, there were not more than twenty-four.
Lord Palmerston concurred in the satisfaction which had been so generally expressed by the House at the late visit of foreign sovereigns to this country. He was not, how ever, sanguine in his anticipations as to the real benefits to be derived from it. The effect of a good understanding between two countries was best seen when casual circumstances rose up which were calculated to disturb it. He thought that the cordial understanding so much boasted of last year had failed on the very first occasion on which it might have been useful. He denied the position laid down in France, and acquiesced in here, that Mr. Pritchard was not a consul when arrested at Tahiti. He had suspended his functions as regarded the intrusive French officers who had seized on the island and deposed Queen Pomare; but he was
still in the performance of consular functions to all British subjects frequenting that island as merchants. If there had been any charge against Mr. Pritchard for endangering the tranquillity of the island, then he admitted that the French authorities in the island had a right to require him to depart; but it was incumbent on them, before they called on him to withdraw, to have placed their charge against him clearly under his view. No such charge had been laid before the French Chamber, and there was nothing to justify his removal from Tahiti, even in the most courteous manner. The French officer removed him because he suspected that Mr. Pritchard had done something worthy of suspicion. Here there was a gross outrage committed; and it was the fault of the two Governments that it had been committed, for the protectorship of Tahiti never ought to have been allowed. That change in the government of Tahiti could not be made without incurring the risk of a collision which might bring the two Governments into a very awkward condition. If we had had a stout frigate or two on that station things would have passed in a manner more decorous, and less likely to have brought the two nations into collision. He would not say that there was great ground for the country to complain, as things turned out at last; still he could not say that the result justified those ardent expressions of satis faction communicated to the French Government, but not repeated to Parliament at the close of the last session. He maintained that our Government had not acted altogether in a way satisfactory to this country. country. The right honourable
baronet had described the outrage on Mr. Pritchard as a gross out. rage, for which he had no doubt that reparation would be given by the French Government, and yet no formal reparation for it had ever been demanded by the British Government. He felt it necessary to say something on the commission appointed to examine the treaties of 1841; yet, if the documents connected with them were to be as long delayed as those which he asked for last year respecting the negroes, the postponement might be more useful to the right honourable baronet than it would be agreeable to the House. If the object of the Commission were merely to inquire whether any measures could be substituted for the right of search, he regretted its appointment. To appoint a commission to inquire whether the right of search is essential for the suppression of the slave trade, is just about as rational as appointing a commission to inquire whether two and two make four, or whether they make any thing else. It is a perfectly self-evident proposition-no one can doubt it-that unless you have a maritime police it is impossible, absolutely and physically impossible, to put down the slave trade. I know that some projects have been spoken of as substitutes for it; that we could have, for example, a foreign naval officer to cruise in our cruisers, and that there should be a British officer on board every French cruiser; and then, I suppose, if it is to be done for one Power it must be done for another; so that there would be perfect little Noah's arks sailing about-naval officers by pairs in these slave trade cruisers! The idea is perfectly absurd, and any man who intends seriously
to propose such measures as that, means nothing less than to get rid of the treaty altogether, and to render it perfectly inefficient. The right honourable baronet, however, says,
But you must consider, gentlemen, that when the treaty becomes odious to a country, the subordinate officers of a government will not execute it with the alacrity and zeal that they did before, and it becomes useless.' But the right honourable baronet forgets that the value of this treaty does not depend upon the alacrity, the zeal, and ability of French subordinate officers at all, but upon our own officers; and whatever may have been the disposition of any foreign country to assist you in the suppression of the slave trade, I do fear that nothing ef fectual has been done towards its accomplishment by the naval force of any country except that of Great Britain. In this case you have no interests of your own to serve in maintaining the treaty-none, except that you regard it as the necessary means of putting down the slave trade. Your cause is none other than that of humanity and generosity: you have a right,therefore, to stand on the treaty; and I say, if the Government had known its duty, that it would have done so, and would have said to France,
Lord Palmerston had taken the course he had done on the Tahiti question. For his own part, deeply interested as his feelings were against the slave trade, he would not say or do anything to disturb the arrangement which had been made, and accepted as satisfactory. He warned his right honourable friend the member for Tamworth, that he must not expect to pacify Ireland by the measure which he had just propounded -or by any measure of a similar character.
Lord Sandon was not prepared to join with the last speaker in his objection to the increased grant to the College of Maynooth.
Lord Howick said, that nobody had been more anxious than himself to suppress the slave trade; but what had been the result of
all the efforts made for that purpose by this country?-Many valuable lives of our officers and seamen had been sacrificed; and we had not only failed in our object, but had even aggravated the horrors of the slave trade. We had no right to exercise the police of the sea unless it were clear that, in so doing, we were promoting the interests of humanity. He was aware that such sentiments would not find favour with the House and the Government; but he was of opinion that if we abandoned our right of search, other nations would be compelled by a joint feeling of honour and humanity to prohibit the exercise of the slave trade by their subjects. The Address was then put from the chair, and carried unanimously.
Finance and Commercial Policy-Sir Robert Peel brings forward his Budget on the 15th of February-His luminous and comprehensive Speech on that occasion-Details of the Plan-Retention of the Income Tax and Reduction of Import Duties-Reception of the Scheme by the House of Commons-Observations of Lord John Russell, and other Members-Debate in the House of Commons on Financial Policy on the 17th, commenced by Lord J. RussellSpeeches of Mr. Roebuck, Sir George Grey, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. C. Wood, Colonel Conolly, Mr. G. Bankes, Mr. Warburton, Mr. R. Palmer, Mr. Gibson, Mr. P. Miles, Mr. Vernon Smith, Sir R. Peel, Viscount Howick, Sir John Tyrell, the Marquis of Granby, and other Members-The Amendment moved by Mr. Roebuck for modifying the Income Tax is rejected by 263 to 55-Further Debates in Committee on the Income Tax-On the 5th of March Mr. B. Osborne moves that the Bill be committed on that day Six Months -Mr. F. T. Baring enters into a Critical Analysis of the Ministerial Budget-He is answered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer-The Amendment is negatived after a Discussion, by 96 to 23-Mr. Curteis moves to continue the Tax for Two Years instead of Three-Motion rejected-The Bill passes through Committee-On the 10th of March Mr. C. Buller moves a Resolution in favour of modifying the Operation of the Income Tax-His Speech-He is answered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer-Speeches of Lord Howick, Sir Ř. Peel, and other Members-The Resolution is negatived by a Majority of 128On the third reading of the Bill several Amendments are moved without success, by Mr. R. Spooner and Sir R. H. Inglis-Bill passed— In the House of Lords it is discussed on the Motion for the third Reading, which is moved by the Earl of Ripon-Speeches of Lord Ashburton, the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Stanley, Lord Monteagle, the Duke of Richmond, Lord Brougham, and the Earl of Radnor The Bill is passed-Customs Duties' Bill-Debate in the House of Commons on the Sugar Duties—Mr. M. Gibson moves a Resolution in Committee for equalizing the Duties on Foreign and Colonial Sugars-Mr. Ewart seconds the Amendment, which is supported by Mr. Ricardo, Mr. Villiers, Lord Howick, Mr. Cobden, and Mr. Bright; and opposed by Sir G. Clerk, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Cardwell, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer-The Amendment is rejected by 217 to 84-Various Amendments are proposed in Committee-The Bill is passed-Mr. F. T. Baring opposes the Auction Duties Abolition Bill-Speeches of Lord John Russell and Sir R.