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Majesty's Attorney and Solicitor-General) and the Government, with a view of effecting a satisfactory adjustment of the differences in the Royal Family. The adjourned debate, in consequence of these negociations, was not resumed until the 26th of June.
DIFFERENCES IN THE ROYAL FAMILY.
JUNE 22d, 1820.
MR. WILBERFORCE moved the following Resolution :
66 That this House has learned, with unfeigned and deep regret, that the late endeavours to frame an arrangement which might avert the necessity of a public inquiry into the information laid before the two Houses of Parliament, have not led to that amicable adjustment of the existing differences of the Royal Family, which was so anxiously desired by Parliament and the nation. ·
“ That this House is fully sensible of the objections which the Queen might justly feel to taking upon herself the relinquishment of any points in which she may have conceived her own dignity and honour to be involved ; yet, feeling the inestimable importance of an amicable and final adjustment of the present unhappy differences, this House cannot forbear declaring its opinion, that when such large advances have been made towards that object, Her Majesty, by yielding to the earnest solicitude of the House of Commons, and forbearing to press farther the adoption of those propositions on which any material difference of opinion yet remains, would by no means be understood to indicate any wish to shrink from inquiry, but would only be deemed to afford a renewed proof of the desire which Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to express, to submit her own wishes to the authority of Parliament; thereby'entitling herself to the grateful acknowledgments of the House of Commons and sparing this House the painful necessity of these dis cussions which, whatever might be their ultimate result, could not but be distressing to Her Majesty's feelings, disappointing to the hopes of Parliament, derogatory from the dignity of the Crown, and injurious to the best interests of the empire."
MR. S. WORTLEY seconded it.
LORD ARCHIBALD HAMILTON proposed an amendment ; “ 'That all the words be omitted after the word ' Queen? down to the word · sparing,'” in order to insert the words “ must feel at the relinquishment of any points in which her dignity and honour are involved ;” and is of opinion that the assertion of Her Majesty's name in the liturgy would be, under all the circumstances of the case, the most expedient and most effectual mode, &c.
SIR F. BURDETT seconded the amendment.
MR. CANNING* began by declaring that, however much provoked by the speech which had been just delivered, he should abstain, on the present occasion, from entering into the lists with the honourable baronet, more out of respect to the real subject matter of the debate, which he thought ought not to be mixed with topics of personal vituperation and party invective, than (as he hoped the House would do him the justice to acknowledge) from any habitual indisposition to accept a challenge in debate when charged with want of principle, or with inconsistency of practice. He felt it his duty to recall the attention of the House to the much more interesting considerations involved in the motion before them.
Liislit The object of that motion was, to endeavonr to avert'an
inquiry which, however loudly it appeared to be demanded by some of the parties interested in it, was as loudly deprecated by the great body of that House, and by the great body of the country. What might have been the conduct of His Majesty's Ministers in bringing forward the papers which contained the charges that were to be made the ground of inquiry—what had been the principle of their proceedingswhether they had been actuated by base motives-by personal hostility to the Queen herself, or by a wish to steal a vote from the House of Commons which might confirm them in royal favour and enable them to retain their places -all these were questions which the House were now informed they would have an opportunity, at no very distant period, of discussing. Come those questions when they might, His Majesty's Ministers, whether as a body or individually, would be fully prepared to meet them; and if, upon
present occasion, they postponed their own justification to the discussion of topics of greater importance, they did but make the same sort of sacrifice which was exacted from the other more illustrious parties in this case, when they were required to submit their private grievances and feelings to the pressing sense of public duty. He trusted, therefore, that he should easily obtain credit from the House when he declared that it was not from any want of readiness to meet the charges and insinuations which had been preferred ; nor from the nature of the topics that had been employed in preferring them; nor from the vehemence with which those topics had been argued ; nor from any exaggerated feeling of respect for the quarter whence they proceeded ; that he should decline at the present time entering into the justification of his colleagues and himself. Whatever might be the fate of that night's question, ample opportunities for such justification would occur; and whenever they did so, he should be quite ready to meet with arms,
he hoped, of as keen temper as any that had been or could be wielded against him, with denial, and defiance, with vindication and retort, the most boisterous accuser, or the loudest cheerer who had raised his voice on the present occasion. But he felt it to be now his duty-a duty paramount to all party or personal considerations—to endeavour to recall the attention of the House from the vague and useless excursion into which they had been led away, to the question immediately before the House; and to urge them to direct their whole and undivided attention to a proposition, on the result of which so many individuals concurred in considering the peace, happiness, and moral feeling of the people of this country to be mainly concerned.
He knew it would be said, “If that be the feeling which you acknowledge to be generally entertained with respect to the result of an inquiry, in God's name why is the inquiry called for?” His answer was, that His Majesty's Ministers were forced into it. He would tell the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Tierney) who had followed him in debate the other evening, and whom therefore he was not at liberty at the time to answer, what he meant by saying that His Majesty's Ministers were forced into the step which they had taken. “Who forced you?” was the question of the right honourable gentleman. He (Mr. C.) answered-Those weak and dangerous advisers who, in an ill-fated hour, had induced Her Majesty to return to this country. And why so? Was it because Her Majesty's person was odious to individuals, or the Government ? Was her arrival in England a crime? and was the measure adopted upon her arrival, adopted as a punishment ? No. But by coming over to England, the Queen had at once brought to issue a question, the discussion of which the Government would gladly have avoided. And what was that question ? Why, no other than this—What was the precise situation in the kingdom which Her Majesty was to occupy? Why, where was the difficulty ? The diffi culty lay in the charges now upon the table ; not in the production of them, but in their existence. In alluding to these charges, he meant to say no more than that they were chargés: he meant not to utter a single syllable from which any inference might be drawn as to his opinion of the validity or amount of those charges. But, such as they were, they were brought within the knowledge and under the
eye of His Majesty's Government. It was one thing to have exercised a discretion--and he would term it a sound discretion-in determining that so long as the question of Her Majesty's claim to be received into all the privileges of her high station was not brought practically to issue, none of the transactions, the rumours, the calumnies (if you please) which the honourable baronet had so lavishly recapitulated, and dwelt and commented upon with so disgusting a minuteness, should induce His Majesty's Government to originate the agitation of that question. Such had been the determination of Ministers, and upon that determination they had acted as long as they were enabled to do so. But, it should be recollected, that His Majesty's Government were not the only parties upon whom the agitation of this question depended. It was in the power of the illustrious personage herself to bring it to issue by demanding inquiry. She did so ; and after that His Majesty's Government had no choice. There could be no desire-desire! how could he let slip such a word, or how suppose it could be imagined by the most perverse and malignant of human imaginations, that there should be in the mind, he would not say of any honourable man, but of any being with the feelings of man, any desire but that inquiry should be avoided? If any choice had been left to His Majesty's Ministers, any chance of forbearance which they had not