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quent interruptions that had occurred, refused, and there appeared to be no opensince it was obviously the design of minis- ing left for the formation of an administra: ters, if possible, by a side wind, to dispose tion on a broad and liberal basis. As the of this question. God forbid that he should motion suggested was founded on an indeny the sound principle of the constitu- strument that could not be properly distion, that the crown could do no wrong ; cussed, and as the amendment suggested but if the letter were signed by the Re. was only intended to negative the propogent, some person or other was answerable sition, he should give the latter bis supfor its contents. Whatever exultation port, although there were parts of that might be shewn by ministers, at their ma- amendment to which he certainly objected. jorities in either House of Parliament, Lord Erskine said, that if the subject bethey knew that their existence depended fore the House were dispassionately con upon a breath-upon advisers not avowed. sidered, it was impossible that any diffiIt rested upon persons not officially known culty or breach of order could attend the to the House ; upon persons who, for discussion. Although ministers, upon a their own selfish objects, would poison the former day, had refused to acknowledge royal ear, and who, if allowed to remain, the authenticity of the Letter in question, would prove the destruction either of the the noble earl behind him bad acknow. Prince or of the country. If the Regent ledged having received it, and bad adbad been advised by such persons (as mitted the authenticity of the answer, as there was little doubt he had), he trusted printed in every newspaper of the day, that the warning now given would not be which he had sent to the Letter so reunavailing. The only construction heceived by him. It was, therefore, trifling could put upon the letter was, that the with the subject to deny the fact, and ab Prince Regent had been advised by some- surd in the extreme to connect the combody or other to continue under him the ment on it with any breach of rule and same ministers who had acted under his order. It must be taken by the House to royal father.
What did this imply be the Letter of the Prince's responsible Destruction to the hopes of the Catholics-advisers, and, in fact, it bore the intrinsic Destruction to the country: As to the mark of having proceeded from them. answer returned by his noble friends, it It was the acknowledgment of their weakbad been certainly misunderstood; for ness to stand alone, and the use of the nothing was more unfounded than to say, Prince's authority to strengthen them that they there expressed a determination whilst they stood on the vantage ground to form an administration of themselves of office. But giving the Letter the most and their particular friends exclusively. liberal interpretation, it was an invitation He could not help wishing, however, that to lords Grenville and Grey to unite with they had guarded themselves with more them in forming an administration. precision against a misrepresentation On the subject of order, he was sure he which had been generally circulated, viz. should not be interrupted by the noble that if they came into office, they would lord on the woolsack for saying how happy abandon the interests of our allies on the he should have been, and ever should be, peninsula.' Whatever doubt might have to manifest his attachment to the Prince, been originally entertained as to the pro- as the Lord Chancellor had frequently priety of engaging our armies in Spain with great feeling expressed his attachand Portugal, now we had gone so far, it ment to the King. Lord Erskine said, he was impossible that Great Britain could stood in a relation to the Prince which bei with honour recede. His lordship con- longed to few others in the House. He cluded by re-asserting his right to allude bad been in bis service for thirty years, to, and to quote from, the letter of the Re- and had received many marks of kindness gent, as published in the daily prints. and confidence from his Royal Highness,
Lord Mountjoy could contemplate the and as he considered steadiness in friendAddress of the noble lord in no other light, ship and attachment to be the source of than as an attempt to exclude the present all honour and usefulness, public and priservants of the Regent from the offices vate, he was anxious to explain why it they held so much to the advantage and was not in his power, consistently with the satisfaction of the country. In the letter attachment he must ever retain for the of the Regent, a sincere desire was ex. Prince, nor with his duty to his country, pressed to procure a union of all parties; to give the smallest support to the present but the gracious offer was peremptorily administration,
The Letter pointed to an union with | administration-France had become a githose now in office, whilst they differed in gantic monarchy aiming at universal do. all the points which vitally affected the minion, and no difference could exist any state. Now, notwithstanding all that had longer upon the principles which ought to been said and written against coalitions, govern propositions of peace, and accordno such union had ever taken place as had ingly no cabinet was ever more united on lately been rejected. The union between that and all other subjects. But if a cabiMr. Fox and lord North was of an entirely net were now to be formed by the prodifferent character. The grand political posed union, like plus and minus in equadifference between these statesmen, and tions, they would destroy one anothertheir supporters in Parliament, was on the one half determined upon a perpetual exsubject of America, before and during the clusion of the Catholics, the other half continuance of the fatal war of separation. convinced that to refuse their claims was Mr. Fox contended for a system of conci- to dissolve the empire. On the subject liation-Lord North for a system of coer- of America one half resolved to keep up cion. And surely it was a dreadful consi- the Orders in Council, the other half conderation, that Mr. Burke's immortal ora. vinced that, putting the objections of tions were made to empty benches; and America out of the question, their contigreat majorities of both Houses then voted nuance was ruinous to our commerce and propositions, which a man would now be manufactures. Who was right or wrong consigned to Bedlam for supporting. on these subjects was nothing, whilst ditWhilst such a difference prevailed, would ferences so irreconcilable and so vital in it have been possible to have formed a their consequences existed. union between lord North and Mr. Fox? The noble lord said, that, for his own -No: it never was even proposed until part, he had the most decided opinion on the administration was dissolved, and both these differences. He thought that it was not until the act of American the state was unsafe whilst so vast a porindependence, when every question con- tion of the empire as the Irish Catholics cerning our policy towards that country were discontented, and the church not safe was at an end, that the union took place. whilst disabilities on the score of religion Mr. Fox then thought that be owed it to increased the multitude, and affected the the country to use the only means which temper of those who dissented from the were then practicable to give effect and establishment. influence to his principles and opinions-- He always reprobated popery, but its but this union produced great jealousy and period was come, and even with regard to suspicion in the minds of many, and that the Catholic religion, the question was impression on the public mind ought to not, whether it was to be encouraged, but inspire the greatest caution in public men how we were to deal with four millions of on the subject of such unions, No united subjects professing it. The question, as government could become strong, however Mr. Burke well expressed it on a diffepure and upright the principle of union, if rent subject, was, not whether the thing suspected by the people. Without public deserved praise or blame? What, in the confidence, no government could serve the name of God, were we to do with it? country with advantage.
Could we man or victual our fleets with. The union with Mr. Fox and lord Gren. out Ireland ? Could we, in short, be a naville, which formed the late administra- I tion, if a separation were the consequence tion, was of the same character. It was, of our obstinate refusal to consider these utterly impracticable, and never thought Petitions ? Lord E. said he considered it of whilst the war waging with revolu. to be tyranny to keep up those distinctionary France was on foot. How could tions, when the cause of enacting them a cabinet have been formed if one half was at an end. The archbishop of Canhad been deprecating the war with terbury, on the debate upon the Petition France, and the other half inflaming the of the dissenters, had given more advancontest; if one half had been passing se- tage to the church than it had ever re. vere laws to repress sedition, whilst the ceived from any prelate since these laws other half were for repressing it by giving existed. After supporting, as became to the people full contentment, by the him, the establishment of the church, he blessings of our free constitution. All said, that the Bible was not the gift of God these ditferences were at an end before the to a nation for the exposition of a govern. union took place which formed the late ment, but the universal gift of God to his creatures for their consolation and happi- very reason, devoted as he had always ness, to be construed, by every individual, been to Mr. Fox, he never would vote according to the dictates of his under- against it, as he thought it removed the standing and conscience.—How then could only bar to a complete system of harmony disabilities be maintained because the Ca- between the two countries. With regard tholics construed the Bible, however erro- to America, the difference was not less neously, according to their consciences, vital-Our policy regarding her ought to and as their fathers for ages had con. be distantly prospective: We should look strued them? But it was said that penal- to her at the distance of fifty years, or ties had ceased, and that full rights were even of a century hence; the policy of inonly not conceded; but that was a palpa- dividuals from our frail condition was very ble fallacy. All subjects had equal rights, bounded; the laws would not even allow unless disabled by dangerous misconduct; us to contemplate beyond a generation, and therefore to refuse full rights to the but nations were immortal, and their goCatholics, was disabling them only for vernments should look far before them. enjoying this admitted gift of God to his He had always thought, that the only creatures, and was tyranny, when the danger which could possibly assail Engdanger which suggested the system was land was, in the extreme difficulty of keepat an end.
ing this mutable world in its present state, He was far from condemning the laws so as to leave this island at the top of the regarding the Catholics in their origin- wheel-Our whole policy therefore should Had he lived in former days, he must as a be directed to keep her so; whereas our Protestant have sanctioned them, if they ministers had taken a directly contrary were necessary for the security, perhaps course. They had rapidly changed, and for the very existence of a Protestant es- were still changing the face of the earth, tablishment, and they might have been and bringing up rival nations in hot-beds, 50; but we had long since decided, that ages before their periods of maturity, to penal laws in restraint of the Catholic re- weigh in the scale of manufactures and ligion were no longer necessary, since we arts against us.-Surely, instead of quarhad repealed all of them. But still, un relling with America as we had formerly doubtedly, another great question re fatally done for two-pence upon tea, inmained after full toleration had been stead of a paper system of odious and imgranted; viz. Whether Catholics should be practicable monopoly, we ought to encouexcluded from the establishment ? Reli- rage by all possible means the prosperity gious toleration was one thing, and civil of the United States; we ought to rejoice establishment another; and there might to see her rapid population keeping our be very honest differences amongst the looms constantly at work, not only to clothe most enlightened men on such a subject. her encreasing numbers, but through the But this question also we had already de- most obvious communications springing cided, by consenting to their being esta- out of a connection so natural, to spread blished. They were already by consent our manufactures over the whole new of parliament members of the civil state-world. Had our ministers looked besides They could be grand, and petty jurors; to the interruption of our commerce even they could be corporators and magis- with our own settlements in the event of trates ; they could be barristers and attor- war with the United States? He had been nies, and officers in the army and navy, stationed in the American seas, and knew and even the elective franchise was con- the difficulty of our only path to Europe ceded; they being excluded only from in heavy laden ships, if North America was some of the highest offices civil and mili- a hostile coast. But nevertheless, the most tary, and from seats in parliament; By positive declamation had been lately anthese concessions we had unquestionably nounced by government, of persevering in given judgment against the objections now a system which he (lord E.) had over urged. The boundary between toleration and over again reprobated; particularly and establishment had been completely when he submitted to their lordships resobroken down and obliterated ; establish. | lutions against the Orders in Council, asuot ment was an entire thing; and there was only inconsistent with sound policy, but as no longer any principle of exclusion re- manifestly contrary to public law; and maining. Before the Union be admitted one might as well therefore invite a fish to that there was a solid objection against come out of the channel and to roost with their sitting in parliament, but for that rooks upon an elm tree, as to ask him to (VOL. XXII.)
support such a system and its authors. Because it was reported that in another He meant no personal disrespect to the House, a certain member of the adminisnoble lords opposite, or 10 their other tration wished that the college of Maycolleagues, as his own conduct had always nooth had never existed. Could any thing been the result of his opinions, he was be more futile than this statement? The ready to give them equal credit for since next ground was the notice which had rity ; but good intention was nothing, been given by a right hon. friend of his when the interests of our country were in another place, of a call of the House, fatally misunderstood. The noble lord when the Catholic petition was to be presaid, he deeply lamented the present in sented to the House of Commons.-Was auspicious state of things; bat as there was this unprecedented or extraordinary no unmixed good in human affairs, so nei. Was it not important that a question of ther was there evil unmixed with good, such acknowledged magnitude should be and great advantage might spring out of considered in as full a House as possible? the present conjuncture. It would furnish And as to the discourses of this or that an unanswerable, and be hoped a final re- clergyman on the subject of Popery, on futation, of one of the falsest and most which the noble lord laid so much stress, dangerous opinions which could be propa- as indicating a wish to raise an outcry on gated amongst the lower orders of the the subject, there was surely nothing people, viz. that these superiors were all novel in that; as ever since the reformaalike-all equally corrupt--all looking tion, the clergy had been in the constant only to office by the sacrifice of all prin- practice of discussing such topics. Then ciple.-Upon the present occasion not one came the state of the press. Was that a public man had abandoned his pledges to reason that the noble lords should adopt the country, by departing from opinions such an Address as the present? When delivered in parliament, and the public was there a period in this country that therefore ought to be convinced, that what abuses of the press did not exist? He was too frequently and invidiously stigma. never recollected a period when much tised as party, might be better described as abuse was not conveyed through the mean honourable and useful union of men of dium of the press against those in high great talents, and great fortunes, and in- stations. Was it because the press was fluence, esteeming one another in private audacious enough to bid defiance to all life, and publicly pledged to their country decency that the Prince Regent should be and each other by similar principles of called upon to change his ministers? If it government.—He was persuaded that a was true that a part of the press was so aufirm phalanx of such men who had ac: dacious, he was afraid there was but one quired public estimation, and who could way of putting a stop to it, and that was only hope to preserve it by attending to to bring in the party to power with which the interests of the people, was one of the that press was connected, and then no greatest securities of the British constitu- doubt it would be silenced. Such a strong tion.
measure as that proposed, had never been The Earl of Harrowby had really hoped resorted to but on extraordinary emergenthat the noble mover would have with cies. When such a measure was had redrawn his address immediately upon course to in 1783, and in 1784, the occahearing the speech of the noble and sions seemed to call for it: but in the learned lord who had just sat down; since present instance, the secession of one the House were now told, that to form a member of the administration was the broad and united administration was quite only plausible reason given for its adopimpossible at present. Had they not tion. As to the arguments adduced in heard from the noble and learned lord, support of the Address by the noble and that there was no way of forming an admi- learned lord (Erskine), he would not at. nistration which could include the present tempt to follow him through them; but opposition, except by sweeping away the he would ask that noble and learned lord present administration, and that it was as if he was a friend to the Catholic claims impossible for him to coalesce with the when he was in the cabinet? It was now existing ministry, as for a fish to come out counted tyranny to resist the Catholic of the channel and live on dry land ? claims. If any noble member thought so, Upon what did the noble lord ground his he was certainly right in always agitating motion ?-He stated the situation of the that question. But if it was tyranny not country to be now hopeless and why? to do away the disabilities under which
Catholics laboured, every other system of danger in concession. It was on this disability was also tyranny; and it was ground that his resistance to an extension quite tyrannical to require a member of the of privileges and power to the Catholics House of Commons to be obliged to submit rested ; and, indeed, he was ready to conto the law of qualification. He defied the fess, that whoever resisted it on any other noble lords to say, that the administration grounds, must be an object of detestation. did not possess the confidence of the The noble lord who introduced the motion country. If it was indeed so notoriously took great pains to persuade the House criminal, and so completely unfit for cars that it arose solely from his own individual rying on the affairs of the country with impulse; who doubted that? The noble success, as was so decidedly asserted by lord might have given himself very
little the noble lords opposite, then it would be trouble on that point; it was of much right to address the Prince Regent for its more importance to consider what was his dismissal; but as the contrary was evi- proposition. He wished it might be read, dently the fact, there was no possible pre- that the contrast between its complimen. text for the motion.
tary professions, and the wish by which it Lord Erskine in explanation said, that concluded, might be fully apparent to the he considered a real change of opinions as House. It began by using the most flatno accusation, but he had not changed his tering language towards the Prince Reopinions he would have approved of all gent. He was told in the beginning of it that had been proposed by the late cabi- of his wisdom and prudence, and all his net, and much more than from circum- other good qualities and qualifications, stances they could venture to propose, had and then it quarrelled with the only, act he not thought that from the prejudices of which the Prince Regent had done since the King it would dissolve the administra. the cessation of the restrictions. The tion. (Hear, hear, hear, from the other side noble lord proposed, certainly, a most of the House !) Lord E. said he was glad desirable object; that was the formation to be so cheered, he had laid the trap for of an administration calculated to conciit, as it marked most strikingly how gene- liate all his Majesty's subjects. Who disral a sensation it was, indiscriminately to agreed with the noble lord on that point ? impute to public menthe love of office and But he also stated that such an object was station as the ruling principle of their con- impossible of attainment from the known duct, which furnished a sound, but thank principles of the present administration. God, at present an unnecessary caution He wished for a broad-bottomed adminisagainst being too eager in forming admi-tration, which, by the bye, was in general nistrations, and placed the conduct of his the most mischievous of all administrations. two noble friends in the very light in (A laugh.) He would assure the noble which he wished it to be viewed.
lords who seemed to feel this allusion, that The Lord Chancellor, in allusion to what he did not mean to speak ill-naturedly of had just fallen from his noble and learned them. Some how or other they had been friend, begged leave to remind him, that for a long time out of humour with him ; in the year or two subsequent to 1807, the he was sorry for it, for he really wished same obstacle continued to exist; and them every happiness, and if he knew of yet be voted in those years for emancipa. any means whereby he could promote tion. He did not mean to say, that his their comfort, he would be always ready noble and learned friend had acted wrong to use them. But to return; the noble in so voting, if he, from conviction, had lord proposed a broad-bottomed a more changed his mind. If he himself could be extended administration : what did this satisfied that the opinions he now beld mean, after he had stated that the members were weak and foolish opinions, he should of the present administration were, from act as his noble and learned friend did ; principle, so obnoxious to the formation but then he must be convinced, before he of any such administration? How would could change his opinions, that the system the noble lord extend the administration, of conduct adopted in this country since if he himself and all his colleagues were the Revolution, and the principles on to be excluded? As to the opinion in which the Revolution was founded, were which the present administration was held erroneous. If Catholic emancipation could by the public, he believed that the people be proved to him to be for the general of this good-natured country were weak benefit of the state, then it should have his and foolish enough to sanction it by their vole; but at present he saw nothing but confidence, Good-natured people were