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of Ministers, if they had hastily adopted any plan on a matter so deeply interesting to the whole nation, and perplexed by so many contradictory theories and conflicting interests. The time may come when, after the whole of this great subject has been well and thoroughly examined by the persons most capable of examining it advantageously, by persons bringing local knowledge and practical experience in aid of general principles of theory and law-it may be the duty of the Executive Government to select that one out of the different suggestions propounded by the Committee, to which they will give their support, and which they will endeavour to persuade Parliament to pass into a law. But of all the subjects of legislation on which Government ought not hastily and prematurely to interfere, without ascertaining and if possible carrying with them the prevailing sentiment of the country-this of the poor-laws appears to me to be the one on which it would have been the most unadvisable to take a precipitate course.

But to turn from these specific charges to the general scope and object of the right honourable gentleman's motion. Suppose, for a moment, that it were carried, what is the amount of advantage, let me ask, that would arise from the change of Administration ? Suppose the right honourable gentleman and his friends in power; is there no question, like that of the Catholic Claims, or the

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Scotch Burghs, which might produce some dissension in their ranks? What do they think of parliamentary reform? What do they think of another Westminster election ? It is true that the honourable baronet,* one of the members for Westminster, is this night with them; but it is only on the understanding that they will support his darling measure of parliamentary reform. After some hesitation, and a sort of whispering negociation, carried on openly in the face of the House, it appears, that the right honourable gentleman has acceded to the honourable baronet's conditions, and that a coalition has been established between them. Suppose, then, the new coalition Ministry to be formed, who in point of talent-yes, who in point of talent, rank, and of consideration in the country, is better fitted to be a leading member of that Cabinet, than the honourable baronet ? Well then, every body knows that one of the first questions which the honourable baronet, when Minister, would bring forward, would be the great subject of Parliamentary Reform. What then would be the conduct of the Whig members of the Cabinet ? Either they would come forward in a body to support the plan of their honourable colleague, or they would flatly contradict their professions during a long series of years, and by refusing to support a reform in Parliament, create a division in their

* Sir Francis Burdett,

Administration on what I presume the right honourable gentleman will allow to be one of the most important, the most comprehensive, the most vital questions that ever “ agitated the country.

What would this be but the very same reproach which they so unmercifully cast on their unfortunate predecessors ? An honourable member has said, that if the Ministers are popular in the House, the Whigs are popular in the country. Really, Sir, I should have thought that popularity was the last topic that the Whigs would have suffered to be put forward as one of their pretensions to come into power. I do not presume to

that the Ministers are particularly popular, or that I am so, more than the rest of my colleagues; but I have myself gone through the ordeal of a popular election, without the accompaniment of mud and grenadiers. I was not subjected to such striking proofs of favouritism, as those idols of the people, the Whigs: my retreat was effected with more safety than that of the routed cavalcade, who, with laurels in their hats, and brickbats at their heels, bedaubed with ribbands and rubbish, were only rescued from their overwhelming popularity by a detachment of His Majesty's Horse Guards! Suppose, then, these mud-bespattered Whigs were to come into office instead of the present Ministry, where, after all, would be the advantage worth contending about? Is it the trifling difference been an unpo


pular and a pelted Administration? The right honourable gentleman has confessed that the present is a trial of strength ; and I trust that the division of this night will show which party, in the opinion of the House, is most likely to give stability to our internal quiet, and permanence to our external glory; and to diffuse a general satisfaction and general confidence throughout the country. With a view to deciding this question of preference aright, the right honourable gentleman has said, that it would be the duty of the committee to take a retrospective view of the transactions of past years. Yes! and in fulfilling that duty, the committee would have, on the one side of the retrospect, to count nations rescued, and thrones re-established; battles won with matchless courage, and triumphs unparalleled in their splendour and consequences. They would see this little island, after having saved the Continent, watch with a steady guardian care over the tranquillity which it had restored. They would have to enumerate, on the other side of the account, a series of persevering objections to every measure by which these glories and benefits have been obtained ; a succession of theories refuted by facts, and of prophecies falsified by experience: an uniform anticipation of disaster and defeat, contradicted by an uniform achievement of successes unequalled in our history. The proposed committee, if appointed, would have to choose between the two parties to which these attributes respectively belong. But what need of a committee to make the option? The whole subject is before the House; and the House may at once come to the decision. All that I ask for my friends and myself is-a decided course.

If Ministers are found wanting, let them be dismissed kindly (for promptitude in such a case is kindness), with a clear and striking majority. If the course which they have taken is approved, and if they are to be retained by the vote of this night in office, let them be retained with the assurance of receiving such a support as will enable them to conduct the affairs of the country with dignity and advantage. The House divided. Ayes

178 Noes ..


Majority against the Motion



JUNE 10th, 1819.

The ATTORNEY GENERAL having moved the order of the day for going into a committee on the Foreign Enlistment Bill.

On the motion that the Speaker leave the Chair,

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