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had been tolerated here for a hundred years, gentlemen must make use of stronger arguments than those they had adduced. Throughout the debate a personal appeal had been made to his right honourable friend, * and, because his right honourable friend was known to possess a strong sense of moral duty, ridicule was attempted to be cast on him, for maintaining a tax which he had not created, but which he found long formed and established when he came into office. The feelings of the man were assailed, in order to make him morbidly sensible of the difficulties which intervened in the performance of his duty as a minister. Those who knew him not might ridicule him for that which was, in truth, the ornament of his character—for that which
gave an assurance to the country of his honour and integrity—for that which might stand in the stead of qualities that he might not be supposed by some to possess in an eminent degree. He hoped, however, that no taunts addressed to him, as an individual, would lead him to forget that he had great public duties to perform, one of which was to provide for the exigencies of the state—and that he would feel that his conduct was not open to blame, because he adopted the inherited expedients of the greatest men in this country, who had filled the situation before him.
The House divided :
* The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Vansittart.
MR. TIERNEY'S MOTION ON THE STATE OF
MAY 18th, 1819.
MR. TIERNEY moved—66 That this House will resolve itself into a Committee of the whole House, to take into consideration the State of the Nation.”—The arguments adduced in Mr. Tierney's motion, are replied to seriatim in Mr. Canning's admirable speech on this occasion.
MR. CANNING rose and said :
The motion, Sir, of the right honourable gentleman, as fairly explained by himself, and as understood by almost every honourable gentleman who has taken part in this debate, is, to call upon the House to exercise one of its highest constitutional functions—to sit in judgment on the character, and pass a verdict on the conduct, of the Ministers of the Crown. Some attempts have, indeed, been made in the course of the discussion, to diminish the force of the right honourable gentleman's explanation, and to detract from his just admissions. But that diminution and that detraction cannot be allowed to weigh against the avowal of the honourable mover; who puts no other interpretation on his own object than this—that the decision of the House this night involves the fate of the existing Administration. Lest any mistake arise on this point-lest any honourable members should be unwittingly led to adopt a measure of which they do not mean to approve- I think it right to repeat, on my own part, and on the part of my colleagues, , what has been most candidly and distinctly declared by the right honourable gentleman, that the issue of the division this night, if affirmative of the proposition brought forward by the right honourable gentleman, will pronounce the dissolution of the Government which now possesses the confidence of the Crown. Do I mean on that account to impute any blame or any improper motive to the right honourable gentleman ? No such thing. The present proceeding is an acknowledged and constitutional mode of ascertaining the sense of Parliament on the conduct of the Administration of the country. If there is any unfairness to be complained of, it certainly is not in the nature of the motion, but in the time and in the circumstances under which it is brought forward.
An honourable gentleman, who spoke late in the debate, seems to think that he may support the motion without passing a sentence of condemnation and dismissal on His Majesty's Ministers. With this qualification I, Sir, do not presume to find fault: but I do think myself entitled to desire that all those who may think with the honourable gentleman will take an opportunity of distinctly expressing that opinion, lest, by their votes, if unexplained, the House and the country—who will unquestionably construe the motion accord ing to the general understanding of it, and according to the right honourable mover's own exposition of its intention and effect-should be deceived with respect to the object which those whose votes are thus qualified have in view. Another honourable gentleman fancies be sees a way of escaping from the difficulty, by distinguishing between his general approbation of His Majesty's Ministers, and the abhorrence which he feels for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in consequence of the London Docks not being so full as usual, and still more on account of the dastardly imbecility with which my right honourable friend has recoiled from a double duty upon tallow. Torn as his agitated bosom was by these conflicting sentiments—by a consciousness, on the one hand, of the obligations which he owed to Ministers for their general conduct, and his indignation, on the other, at these particular and reprehensible backslidings of the Finance Minister, the honourable gentleman declared that he saw no means of evading his embarrassment, but by voting with an honourable and learned gentleman (Mr. C. Wynn) for the previous question. Unhappily, however, even this mode of retreat is not left open to him; for that honourable and learned gentleman has not moved, nor does he intend to move, the previous question. He did, indeed, , mention such a question as moveable, and as not inapplicable to the motion before the House; but after propounding the matter gravely, and weighing it deliberately, he resolved to have nothing at all to do with the division, but to go home to bed. If, therefore, the honourable gentleman is determined to follow the honourable and learned gentleman's suggestion, he must follow him, not into the lobby, but to his chamber. Misery," as Trinculo says, “ acquaints a man with strange bedfellows;” and when the honourable gentleman shall be reclined on the same pillow with the mover of the imaginary motion which he is so anxious to support, they may condole with each other on the difficulties by which they fancy themselves surrounded, and eventually perhaps may make their minds, though somewhat too late, as to the vote to be given on a question on which, of all questions in the world, it seems most easy to come to a decisive opinion.
I have said that if I were disposed to complain of any thing in the right honourable gentleman's motion, it would be only of the time and the circumstances under which it is brought forward. But, in saying this, I beg to be understood as founding my objection not on the general situation of the country and of the world, but merely on