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FOR THE YEAR
HISTORY OF EUROPE.
Speech from the Throne-Speeches of the Duke of Wellington and Earl Grey on the Address-Discussion on the Address in the House of Commons-Amendment moved by Mr. Hume and Mr. O'ConnellDiscussion astoan imputation on some Irish Member, uttered in a Speech made at Hull-Charge against Mr. Sheil-Lord Althorp and Mr. Sheil committed to the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms-Their discharge-Committee appointed to investigate the matter-Result of the Investigation-Charges made by Mr. O'Connell against Baron Smith -Select Committee appointed to inquire into them-The vote for the Appointment of the Committee rescinded-Debate on Mr. O'Connell's Motion for a Committee to investigate the propriety of Repealing the Union Address to the King, declaratory of the determination of the House to maintain the Union-Address concurred in by the PeersThe King's Answer.
N the 4th of February his Majesty opened the Session of Parliament with the following Speech:
"My Lords and Gentlemen, "In calling you again together for the discharge of your high duties, I rely with entire confidence on your zeal and diligence, VOL. LXXVI.
on your sincere devotion to the public interest, and on your firmness in supporting on its ancient foundations, and in the just distribution of its powers, the established constitution of the state.
"These qualities eminently distinguished your labours during the last session, in which more numer. [B]
ous and more important questions were brought under the consideration of Parliament than during any former period of similar duration.
"Of the measures which have in consequence received the sanction of the Legislature, one of the most difficult and important was the Bill for the Abolition of Slavery. The manner in which that beneficent measure has been received throughout the British colonies, and the progress already made in carrying it into execution by the legislature of the island of Jamaica, afford just grounds for anticipating the happiest results. "Many other important subjects will still call for your attentive consideration.
"The Reports which I will order to be laid before you, from the Commissions appointed to inquire into the state of the municipal corporations, into the administration and effect of the Poor Laws, and into ecclesiastical revenues and patronage in England and Wales, cannot fail to afford you much useful information, by which you will be enabled to judge of the nature and extent of any existing defects and abuses, and in what manner the necessary corrections may, in due season, be safely and beneficially applied.
"It has been the constant aim of my policy to secure to my people the uninterrupted enjoyment of the blessings of peace. In this I have been much assisted by the good understanding which has been so happily established between my government and that of France; and the assurances which I receive of the friendly disposition of the other powers of the continent give me confidence in the continued success of my endeavours.
"I have, however, to regret, that a final settlement between Holland and Belgium has not yet been effected, and that the civil war in Portugal still continues.
"You may be assured that I shall be careful and anxious to avail myself of any opportunities which may afford me the means of assisting the establishment of a state of security and peace in countries, the interests of which are so intimately connected with those of my dominions.
Upon the death of the late king of Spain I did not hesitate to recognise the succession of his infant daughter; and I shall watch with the greatest solicitude the progress of events which may affect a government, the peaceable settlement of which is of the first importance to this country, as well as to the general tranquillity of Europe.
"The peace of Turkey, since the settlement that was made with Mehemet Ali, has not been interrupted; and will not, I trust, be threatened with any new danger.
"It will be my object to prevent any change in the relations of that empire with other Powers which might affect its future stability and independence.
"Gentlemen of the House of Commons,
"I have directed the estimates for the ensuing year to be laid before you. They have been framed with the view to the strictest economy and to such reductions as may not be injurious to the public service.
"I am confident that I may rely on your enlightened patriotism, and on the cheerful acquiescence of my people for supplying the means which may be required
to uphold the honour of my crown and the interest of my dominions. "The accounts which will be laid before you of the state of the revenue, as compared with the expenditure, will be found most satisfactory.
"My Lords and Gentlemen, "I have to lament the continuance of distress amongst the proprietors and occupiers of land; though, in other respects, the state of the country, both as regards its internal tranquillity and its commerce and manufactures, affords the most encouraging prospects of progressive improvement.
The acts passed in the last session for carrying into effect various salutary and remedial measures in Ireland, are now in operation; and further improvements may be expected to result from the commissions which have been issued for other important objects of inquiry.
"I recommend to you the early consideration of such a final adjustment of the tithes in that part of the United Kingdom, as may extinguish all just causes of complaint, without injury to the rights and property of any class of my subjects, or to any institutions in Church or State.
"The public tranquillity has been generally preserved, and the state of all the provinces of Ireland presents, upon the whole, a much more favourable appearance than at any period during the last year.
"But I have seen, with feelings of deep regret and just indignation, the continuance of attempts to excite the people of that country to demand a Repeal of the Legislative Union.
"This bond of our national strength and safety, I have already declared my fixed and unalterable
resolution, under the blessing of Divine Providence, to maintain inviolate by all the means in my power.
"In support of this determination I cannot doubt the zealous and effectual co-operation of my parliament and my people.
"To the practices which have been used to produce disaffection to the state, and mutual distrust and animosity between the people of the two countries, is chiefly to be attributed the spirit of insubordination which, though for the present in a great degree controlled by the power of the law, has been but too perceptible in many instances.
"To none more than to the deluded instruments of the agitation thus perniciously excited is the continuance of such a spirit productive of the most ruinous consequences; and the united and vigorous exertions of the loyal and well-affected in aid of the government are imperiously required to put an end to a system of excitement and violence which, while it continues, is destructive of the peace of society, and, if successful, must inevitably prove fatal to the power and safety of the United Kingdom."
In the house of Lords the duke of Sutherland moved, and lord Howard of Effingham seconded, an address which was a mere echo of the meagre phraseology of the speech, and was voted without a division, though not without some animated discussion between the duke of Wellington on the one side, and earl Grey on the other.
The duke of Wellington said, that it was impossible for any man to judge from the speech whether it was the intention of the govern
ment to bring forward, as a government, any one measure on any one of the topics adverted to in that speech. In respect of the topic first adverted to in the speeches of the noble lords-he meant that which related to the measure regarding the West-India colonies-no man would rejoice more than he in the success of the measure for the abolition of slavery. But he feared, that the noble lords who had moved and seconded the address were premature in stating, that the measure had been successful. The law passed in this country had effected, with regard to the negro population of the colonies, a change from a state of slavery to a state in which slavery did not exist. What Jamaica had done was, to adopt that law, but not to pass any measure by which that law was carried into execution. Jamaica had made no law to provide for the new state of society there, but had thrown the responsibility of making it on his majesty's ministers. As to our foreign relations, he assured the house, that there was no man whose voice was more sincerely favourable to the continuance of peace than his; it was essential to the interests of this country to remain at peace, and to ensure peace to other nations, both externally and internally. On these points, however, the government had not furnished any information. Holland and Belgium stood in the same situation now as they did two years ago; and if ministers acted on the same plan which they had adopted for the last two years and a-half, those countries would, ten years hence, be as far off from a settlement of their disputes as at present. In Portugal, the war was notoriously carried
on by the subjects and with the capital of this country. Yet the king of Spain was told, “In this contest you must be neutral; and if you are not, we will interfere and support don Pedro." Under the protection of our fleets in the Douro and the Tagus this boasted neutrality had been shamefully violated. The ministers ought, at a very early period, to have acknowledged the government then existing in Portugal. It was a government de facto, and as such ought to have been acknowledged. The monarch then reigning in Portugal performed his part of the treaties existing with this country, and we ought to have performed ours; but we did not. In Spain, Ferdinand thought proper to make an alteration in the succession to the crown, and don Carlos was expelled. Don Carlos was required to proceed to Italy. He refused, but he went to Portugal to seek assistance there. So that, in fact, the civil war in Spain grew out of the civil war in Portugal, which was fomented by us. He had formerly ventured to advise the government to issue a proclamation to recall his Majesty's subjects from the service of both parties as a means of preventing the evils which now existed; but his advice was disregarded. In the East, too, a most unfortunate line of policy had been adopted. He knew, that on a former occasion, when Mehemet Ali, Pacha of Egypt, was desired by this government not to carry into execution certain measures which he wished to effect, and when he was positively told that he must not proceed, he at once desisted. If this country wished to prevent him from carrying on war in any part of the Levant, we needed only to have a fleet there,
and our directions would be as readily obeyed by him now as formerly. If in 1832, or 1833, our ministers had plainly told Mehemet Ali that he was not to carry on hostile operations in Syria and Asia Minor, they would have put an end to the war without the presence of a Russian fleet and army at Constantinople. But instead of thus taking a commanding position, our fleets were in the Douro and the Tagus, protecting civil war, and in the channel, blockading the fleets of the Dutch. The consequence was, that our old allies, Holland, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey, were placed under the protection of other powers.
After some remarks on the legality of the proceedings of the commissioners of municipal corporations, and objecting to the plan proposed by them of founding municipal constituencies, almost solely on the 107. franchise, his grace proceeded to state, that the sentiments expressed in the speeches which, during the recess, had been made by the friends and supporters of his majesty's government on the subject of tithes, at various meetings throughout the country, were such as were calculated to excite in the highest degree jealousy and suspicion; and he felt himself fully warranted in saying, that never had there been a question brought before their lordships, in which it was so necessary for them to be cautious in regard to the principles and proceedings of his majesty's government, as upon this question of church property. Two bills brought in by a most reverend prelate in a former session of Parliament-the one to regulate pluralities, and the other for the com
position of tithes,-had received the support of his majesty's ministers in that house: both were highly desirable measures for the purpose of conciliating the public mind; and yet, notwithstanding the omnipotent sway which the present government possessed and exercised over the other house of Parliament, it was not, somehow or other, able to get these bills passed through the house of Commons. There was another sub_ ject with regard to which the intentions of his majesty's government had not been stated in the speech from the Throne - the Irish coercion bill. The greatest benefit had been derived by Ireland from that necessary and most salutary measure; and he therefore thought, that when his majesty's government came down to Parliament, and stated as they did in a paragraph of the speech from the Throne, that "the public tranquillity had been generally preserved, and that the state of all the provinces of Ireland presented upon the whole a much more favourable appearance than at any period during the last year," at the same time they should have informed Parliament, whether it was their intention to propose the renewal of that law, to which such desirable consequences were mainly attributable, and which, as their lordships were aware, would, if not renewed, expire at the end of the present session of Parliament. Their lordships knew only that ministers complained of the agitation which had been practised in Ireland on the subject of the Union. Now, he would repeat, that ministers should have told them whether it was their intention to propose the renewal of that measure, to which was owing