HC Deb 01 February 1849 vol 102 cc73-150

reported Her Majesty's Speech, and read it to the House (See LORDS).


said, that in moving an Address in answer to the gra- cious Speech, of which the right hon. Gentleman in the chair had just read a copy, delivered that morning by our Sovereign Lady the Queen, he felt he was unable to avail himself of the plea often set forth by Gentlemen entrusted with the honourable task he had now to fulfil, of having but recently become a Member of the House, in order to solicit its indulgence. But though he was unable to advance that personal claim, he trusted some indulgence would be extended to him, in consideration of the remarkable incidents upon which he intended to touch, that had marked the annals of the year just gone by—of the impending uncertainties that still hung over the face of the world—and the important nature of those questions of domestic policy that were about to be submitted to the wisdom of the Legislature. The paragraphs of Her Majesty's Speech to which, in the first instance, he requested the attention of the House, were those having reference to the foreign relations of the country. It must be a subject for sincere congratulation to all parties, considering the marvellous events which had crowded themselves with such rapid succession within the year which had just gone by, that the forbearance, the prudence, and the deep sense of responsibility—perhaps he might say the mutual apprehensions—of those who had the administration of the public affairs of Europe, with the few exceptions to which be should presently refer, had prompted them to avert the great calamity of an European conflagration—in addition to the disasters which intestine discord and civil convulsion had unhappily inflicted. There were two exceptions to which he was about to allude. Happily in each of those cases armistices had been concluded. He was not about to enter into an historical dissertation upon the causes of those events. He alluded, first, to the war of Germany against Denmark upon the Schleswig-Holstein question; and next to the invasion of Lombardy by Sardinia. He was not about either to censure or to defend the acts of those Powers, or even to characterise them in any way. His only motive in alluding to them was their connexion with the political relations of this country, and with the policy pursued by Her Majesty's Government upon the general affairs of Europe. In each of these cases, it bad been the object and aim of the Government to act upon a policy of peace—to endeavour to stay the contagion of war, and confine it within the narrowest area, as well as allay political heats and dissensions. In the case of Schleswig-Holstein, more especially, it had been their endeavour to reconcile, so far as they could be reconciled, conflicting opinions and pretensions. In each case, happily, Her Majesty's Government had been enabled, after a not long-continued state of warfare, to induce the parties to concur in a suspension of arms, and negotiate upon a basis, with a view to arrange a durable settlement, which might prevent at least an early disturbance of the peace of Europe. In the remaining case, there had been a suspension of arms of a different character. He alluded to the affairs of Sicily. A suspension of arms had been concluded between Naples and Sicily, and, as he had intimated, of a somewhat different character to the others he had referred to. In this instance, the British and French admirals, acting upon the influence of humane motives, and animated mainly by the sight of atrocities and barbarities, of which they had been spectators, interposed their offices for the conclusion of an armistice. An armistice was agreed to, and negotiations were still pending, in which conditions had been proposed, which he trusted would have the effect of conciliating the interests of the two kingdoms of Naples and Sicily. In other respects, Great Britain had happily remained a passive spectatress of the events passing around; and our position had enabled us, in the last extraordinary year, when men educated in widely different political schools, and, consequently, entertaining very different views, had been alternately raised to the highest offices of State, and driven from them, to afford hospitality and a peaceful asylum on our shores. It was also most satisfactory to be able to say, at least he expressed his own convictions upon it, that there never had been a period when there was he would not say less hostility felt towards this country by other nations, but greater good-will entertained towards England by the nations of Europe than at the present moment; that there never had been a period when there were fewer chances of quarrel, and less likelihood of embroilment with other Powers, than at this moment. It was also a matter for triumph and pride, that, in the midst of the fevers and contentions that had raged around us, the institutions of this country had stood the test of trial, whilst in every other country, from the confines of Russia to the Pyrenees, through the Italian peninsula, to the Straits of Messina, there was not a single country whose institutions had not undergone change. In many, their constitutions had been entirely altered. The capitals of some of them had been stained by civil contests. It was therefore a matter of triumph to us, that, during such a period of change, when revolution was almost everywhere abroad, the peace of this country could hardly be said to have been disturbed. The Chartist disturbances had only the effect of eliciting a spirit of loyalty, an expression of public feeling towards the Sovereign of the realm, an intelligent, but not a servile attachment to the constitution of the country; and if these disturbances spread alarm, the alarm arose rather from the strangeness of events abroad, than from any well-defined cause of serious danger. However he might be of opinion that some earlier anticipation of the necessities of the period, some earlier concessions to the popular demands, might have tended to avert a portion of those calamities which had occurred in other countries; still he could perceive indications that when the memory of past disasters should have faded away there would remain the advantages of popular government, popular institutions, and popular control. We ourselves had derived tangible and substantial benefit from the quiet we had enjoyed. We had derived the advantages of the restoration of commerce and the improvement of our finances. He need only call to mind the disasters that occurred previously to the meeting of Parliament last year, the financial gloom which then existed, and the large deficit in the revenue. We were emerging, slowly but certainly, from a crisis which found a parallel alone in the year 1825, if it were a parallel, in the failure of the hanks at that period; certainly we had striking indications of the extent of the evil that befel the mercantile community in the returns of the income-tax, which proved that a great destruction of capital must have taken place. Yet, at a period when the country was slowly recovering from that disaster, there supervened a revolution in Prance, followed by successive revolutions in Germany and Italy, and a war between Germany and Scandinavia, which materially affected the trade of the north of England with the northern parts of Germany. That we should have continued in full receipt of re- venue during the whole summer of 1848, under these circumstances, was, in his opinion, a most gratifying feature. In some parts of England, more especially in the southern counties, in 1848 we had the misfortune to have a very indifferent harvest. Trade, however, recovered, though slowly, notwithstanding. He was not unaware that great depression existed among the agriculturists. They had, he was aware, suffered much; but that suffering seemed to him to be incidental to the great change made in the corn laws; for it must have been expected that largo importations of corn would take place upon the abolition of those laws. Independently of that, circumstances had been peculiarly adverse. In France the harvest had been veryabundant, and prices necessarily low. This, to a certain degree, would account for distress among the agricultural interest; but with the revival of trade, of which there were indications, he could not but think that agricultural prosperity would revive also. Her Majesty, in Her most gracious Speech, recommended a revision of the navigation laws. The House would bear in mind that, from the great pressure of business last Session, it was impossible to find time to conclude their deliberations upon this question. He thought, however, that the paragraphs with regard to this subject, contained in Her Majesty's Speech, were such as could not provoke hostility. The question would be discussed hereafter; and it would be for Parliament to decide what modification should be adopted. After the divisions which took place last year, he could not doubt that the House would think it expedient to make an extensive alteration in those laws. He now approached a subject which presented a deplorable complication of evils. If he had occasion before to say that peace and order could hardly be said to have been seriously disturbed in this country, he feared he could not say the same with regard to Ireland. The lawless state of agitation which characterised that country, afforded too ready materials for the designs and schemes of men of weak intellect and morbid ambition. Happily the success of their efforts had not corresponded to their malicious intents. Still it could not be denied—the fact was incontrovertible—that disaffection to a considerable degree existed among the mass of the people. A very large force stationed in Ireland had fortunately restrained the disaffect-ed, and, together with that meritorious body of men, the police of Ireland, who had refused to be debauched from their duty, put down insurrection with but a slight effusion of blood. But that the same spirit of disaffection still prevailed, there was too much reason to fear. The suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in Ireland, which took place at the close of the last Session, exercised, he believed, a most beneficial influence in Ireland in the suppression of rebellion, the saving of the effusion of blood, and the restraining of insurrection. It was a question of confidence in the Lord Lieutenant; but every one knew that the temper with which he administered the great powers invested in him, and the wisdom with which he applied those powers, was above all praise. No one-had a higher value for the Habeas Corpus, Act than he possessed. This was the only country throughout Europe wherein such a law was in operation. He therefore attached the highest importance to it. But during a period of insurrection the Government was necessarily compelled to resort to extraordinary measures for the suppression of disaffection, and no better means of effecting this purpose presented themselves than was afforded by the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. A firm, vigorous, and efficacious administration of the law was of the first necessity. For above all things, it was most necessary that the law should be supreme, as without it every other effort would be inoperative. There had been great complaint in different quarters, of the mode in which the poor-law was administered in Ireland. He believed it was the intention of Government that there should be an inquiry into the poor-law. That that law operated differently in different parts was obvious; but he trusted that such arrangements would be entered into as would protect the active and patriotic landlords, and prevent them from being swamped by the surrounding mendicancy. Care, however, must be taken to provide for the support of those persons who, in certain pauperised districts, could not be supported by the property within them. There was one more subject to which he would allude, which had prominently occupied public attention. He alluded to the question of economy. This question had certainly struck deep into the public mind. In former years there had been a great necessity for augmenting the estimates of the public burdens; there had been a growing uneasiness at these increasing augmentations; but, happily, this year a considerable reduction was announced; and he believed nothing would conciliate the public more than a reduction of the national expenditure—a reduction consistent with the requirements of the public service, and the maintenance of that protective force on which the security of the country depended. He had now endeavoured briefly to deal with the questions referred to in the Address. In doing so, he trusted he had avoided any irritating topics, as he was desirous to preserve the unanimity which ever characterised debates of this nature. The Address, he was sure, had been framed in such a manner that its adoption would not compromise any hon. Gentleman who might take an adverse view as to the course which had been adopted by the Government; besides, hon. Gentlemen who differed with its sentiments, would have ample opportunities of enunciating their opinions, without, on the present occasion disturbing the unanimity which had so long prevailed in the discussion of Motions of this nature, and to which good rule, he trusted, no exception would be made on the present occasion. He would detain the House no longer than to express a hope that the last paragraph in Her Majesty's Speech would meet with unanimous approbation from all parts of the House, namely, that the destinies of this country must depend upon Almighty God. That they must depend upon his superintending mercy was evident; and he trusted that that protection which had so long been vouchsafed to their institutions would continue to be extended to them. The noble Lord concluded by reading the following Address:— MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, We Tour Majesty's most dutiful and loyal Subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to express to Your Majesty our humble Thanks for Your Majesty's gracious Speech from the Throne. We beg humbly to assure Your Majesty that we participate in the satisfaction which Your Majesty has been pleased to express, that both in the North and in the South of Europe the contending parties have consented to a suspension of Arms for the purpose of negotiating terms of Peace. We thank Your Majesty for informing us, that the hostilities carried on in the Island of Sicily were attended with circumstances so revolting that the British and French Admirals were impelled, by motives of humanity, to interpose and to stop the effusion of blood; and we rejoice to learn that Your Majesty has availed Yourself of the interval thus obtained to propose, in conjunction with Franco, to the King of Naples, an arrangement calculated to produce a permanent settlement of affairs in Sicily. We humbly thank Tour Majesty for the assurance of Your anxious endeavours, in offering Your good offices to the various contending Powers, to prevent the extension of the calamities of War, and to lay the foundation for lasting and honourable Peace; and we beg to acquaint Your Majesty that we derive much gratification from the expression of Your constant desire to maintain with all Foreign States the most friendly relations. We thank Your Majesty for informing us, that the Papers connected with these transactions will be laid before Parliament, by direction of Your Majesty, as soon as the interests of the public service will permit. We regret to learn that a Rebellion of a formidable character has broken out in the Punjaub, and that the Governor General of India has been compelled, for the preservation of the peace of the country, to assemble a considerable force, which is now engaged in military operations, and we cordially rejoice at the information which Your Majesty has imparted to us, that these unprovoked disturbances have not affected the peace of British India. We humbly assure Your Majesty, that the restrictions imposed upon Commerce by the Navigation Laws will engage our most earnest attention; and that it will be our duty to consider whether it be right to repeal or to modify their provisions if we shall find that these Laws are in whole or in part unnecessary for the maintenance of our Maritime Power, while they fetter Trade and Industry. We beg to express our Thanks to Your Majesty for having directed the Estimates for the Service of the year to be laid before this House, and for acquainting us that they will be framed with the most anxious attention to a wise economy. We rejoice to learn that Your Majesty has been enabled, on account of the present state of affairs, to make large reductions upon the Estimates of last year. We beg leave humbly to express the satisfaction which we participate with Your Majesty, that this portion of the United Kingdom has remained tranquil amidst the convulsions which have disturbed so many parts of Europe. Whilst rejoicing that the Insurrection in Ireland has not been renewed, we unite with Your Majesty in deploring the existence of a spirit of disaffection; and our serious consideration will be devoted to the intimation of Your Majesty, that Your Majesty is compelled, with regret, to ask for a continuance, for a limited time, of those powers which, in the last Session, were deemed by Parliament to be necessary for the preservation of the public tranquillity. We most sincerely share with Your Majesty the satisfaction which Tour Majesty feels at the revival of commerce from those shocks which, at the commencement of last Session, were to be deplored: and we learn with gratification that the condition of the manufacturing districts is likewise more encouraging than it has been for a considerable period, and that the state of the Revenue is one of progressive improvement. We fully participate with Your Majesty, in the great concern which Your Majesty has been pleased to express on account of the very severe distress in some parts of Ireland, which has been caused by another failure of the Potato Crop. We can assure Your Majesty, that our best attention will be devoted to the subject of the operation of the Laws for the Relief of the Poor in Ireland, and we beg to convey to Your Majesty the expression of our thanks for Your gracious intimation, that any measure by which those Laws may be beneficially amended, and the condition of the people may be improved, will receive Your Majesty's cordial assent. We humbly thank Your Majesty for the gracious manner with which Your Majesty has been pleased to advert to the loyal spirit of Your people, and to that attachment to the institutions of their country, which has animated them during a period of commercial difficulty, deficient production of food, and political revolution. We join with Your Majesty, in humbly looking to the protection of Almighty God, for favour in our continued progress; and we beg to convey to Your Majesty the assurance that we will faith-fully assist Your Majesty in upholding the fabric of the Constitution, founded, as it is, upon the principles of freedom and of justice.


said, that in rising to second the Motion of the noble Lord, he must assure the House, that if he began with entreating their indulgence to so inexperienced a speaker as himself, this was no mere matter of form, or idle compliance with established custom. It was impossible for him to find himself placed in a situation which led him almost necessarily to look back upon the events of the year just past, and to look around him on the events which were still passing on the continent of Europe, without feeling that the circumstances of the times were such as to lend no ordinary degree of significance to matters which on other occasions would be scarcely worthy of a passing mention. The very fact that they were now again assembled in the ordinary course of things to resume their ordinary deliberations, free alike from the control of an imposing military force, and from the intimidation of popular tumult, was in itself no trifling subject of congratulation. Again, Her Majesty had been pleased to advert, in terms that could not but be most grateful to all her loyal subjects, to the peace and tranquillity which had reigned in this country, notwithstanding all the agitation that prevailed elsewhere. On ordinary occasions, such an allusion would have been deemed unnecessary, because the tranquillity of the country would have been taken for granted. But what varied emotions of pride and gratitude was it not calculated to call forth upon the present occasion! He trusted that it was in no spirit of vain presumption that he ventured to assert, that for this great blessing of internal peace and tranquillity, their gratitude was due, not only to that Supreme Dispenser of all blessings, to whom their thanks should ever first be tendered—not only to that Government which had displayed, under trying circumstances, an energy and firmness without which no Government would ever long command the confidence of the British people, but still more to that people itself, whoso best qualities had never been more prominently displayed than during the trying events of the past year. That people had proclaimed, in a manner not to be mistaken, to all the world, what were the real fruits of a long period of free institutions, and long habits of self-government. He felt that he might be thought to be wandering from the subjects immediately before them if he thus referred to what took place nearly a year back, to that great manifestation of the will of the English people, when they crushed into insignificance a threatened exhibition of physical force by a display of power tenfold greater, and an array of numbers ten times more numerous. But he felt that it was to the noble attitude assumed on that occasion by the English people, that they were indebted for the perfect tranquillity which had prevailed since they were last assembled—a tranquillity so profound, that all the storms which had rolled over the continent of Europe had failed to awaken even the faintest echo from the British shores. He looked forward with confidence to the continuance of that tranquillity. It was not only on the existence of internal peace and tranquillity that they had to congratulate themselves; he rejoiced also in the preservation of peace abroad, and the maintenance of those friendly relations with foreign Powers which it ought to be the great object of our rulers to preserve unbroken. He could not but refer to a period of the past year when the revolution which had occurred in France, and had shaken the social fabric in that country to its very foundations, was followed with unexampled rapidity by similar revolutions in almost overy other Continental State. At that time, the most sanguine would scarcely have ventured to hope that when they should again assemble, they would be able to rejoice in an assurance such as that which they had just heard. Without entering on the numerous questions connected with our foreign policy, on which the noble Lord who preceded him had touched so ably, he would only add his humble testimony to that of the noble Lord, so far as a recent visit to France enabled him to judge, that in that country which, as it was our nearest neighbour, might be our most valuable friend or our only formidable foe—there existed at this time a greater security for the maintenance of peace than at any former period. He derived this assurance, not from the sentiments of this or that Minister—not from the disposition of any party who found itself at the head of affairs in that country to-day, and who might be driven from it to-morrow—but from the disposition of that numerous class of the French people whose sentiments had now for the first time been called into operation. He believed that the great number of small landed proprietors, who would naturally and necessarily be the first to feel the effects of war, in the form of increased conscription and increased taxation, were altogether opposed to any renewal of hostilities, and that it would be difficult to involve France in any hasty or inconsiderate war, in opposition to the wishes of a class which formed such a great majority of its population. But not only had the House to rejoice in the maintenance of tranquillity at home and peace abroad; they had also to congratulate themselves on the fact that trade was reviving and manufactures on the increase. This result was doubly grateful when he referred back to the present period of last year, which offered an unexampled crisis, such, indeed, as few nations could have survived, and which was followed just as they were beginning to revive from its effects, by convulsions on the Continent, which threatened for a time to destroy all credit, and annihilate all commerce. They had felt the effect of those convulsions, but now they were fast recovering, and this fact alone would show the firm foundation on which British commerce rested, and the strength and elasticity of our resources. He would take that opportunity of mentioning a few of the leading facts. In January and February, 1848, there was a fast growing increase in the export trade. The three succeeding months felt the effects of the events on the Continent. After the expiration of those three months the receding condition of the exports was stopped. In October last, the exports again exceeded those of October, 1847, and in December, the increase was not only continued, but was extended. In the month ending the 5th of November, the first in which there was any return to an increase (if he might be allowed such an expression), the increase was a little more than 30,000l. In the month ending the 5th of December, it had risen to 132,000l., whilst in that ending the 5th of January, it had reached 589,000l. This great increase of the exports of British manufactures had been accompanied by a decided revival in the manufacturing districts. It was gratifying also to reflect that concurrently with this increase in the exports, the amount of imports cleared for home consumption, and of such imports especially as entered most generally into the consumption of the poor man, which constituted his comforts, or even his luxuries—that in such imports as coffee, tea, sugar, and tobacco, there had been either a considerable increase, or at all events they had maintained their former position, notwithstanding the numerous causes which might have combined to depress them. That such a flourishing state of our foreign trade and internal consumption should be accompanied by an improvement in the revenue, was to be expected; and they had already heard from the noble Lord that such was in effect the case. He believed, indeed, that the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when he brought forward his financial statement at the commencement of last year, could little have looked forward to such an increase in the revenue as had marked the last quarter. This state of the finances would have been most satisfactory even if there had been no prospect that that increase of revenue would be accompanied by a reduction of expenditure; but he was sure he expressed the sentiment of every hon. Gentleman in that House, when he stated that there was no passage in Her Majesty's most gracious Speech which he had heard with greater satisfaction, than that in which Her Majesty announced her intention of making a great reduction in the expenditure of the country, and that the estimates of the current year would fall far short of the preceding one. He believed there had been for some time past a great and increasing feeling that the burdens of the country were excessive, that the taxation was too heavy, that some measures must be adopted to put a stop to the expenditure, and that the estimates of succeeding years should be reduced. He did not believe that the taxation had been really excessive, if compared with the resources of the British people. He believed, indeed, that it would be very difficult to put a limit to those resources; that it would be very difficult to say what amount of taxation the British people would not be able to bear—nay, what amount they would not willingly and cheerfully boar, if they believed it to be absolutely necessary to maintain the prosperity or uphold the credit of the country. But he believed that the feeling as to the amount of the expenditure being excessive, had arisen not so much from the actual amount, as because it was believed to be greater than was necessary. He thought it would be most unjust to reflect cither upon the present Government or that which preceded it upon this account, or to charge them with any disposition unnecessarily to aggravate the burdens of the nation, or with any wanton or lavish expenditure of the public money; but he believed that it was I in the nature of all Governments that every Minister in his own department should attend more especially to the efficiency of that department, and that Governments were apt to overlook an increasing expenditure because they believed it to be necessary to the efficiency of the public service. It fell within the province of that House to check a Minister in such a course, and recall to his recollection the necessity of moderating expenditure. He considered that that House was never more properly discharging its constitutional functions than when so employed; and he believed that there was no one more willing to admit than were Her Majesty's Ministers them-selves that the discussions which took place in the course of last Session, and the Committee which was then appointed upon the Navy Estimates—which he believed would be followed by similar investigation into other branches this Session—had been attended with very great advan- tage to the country. Upon this subject he would only, in addition, advert to a circular which had lately been issued by Her Majesty's Naval Department, and which, no doubt, every hon. Gentleman had seen, in order to show what had been the effect of those discussions, and how much might be accomplished when the subject was seriously met and considered. He had no means of knowing what would be the precise amount or nature of the retrenchments which the estimates, when presented to the House, would exhibit; but he trusted those estimates would be such as to show to the people that the Government were really disposed to carry out to the utmost that retrenchment which they had professed themselves ready to adopt, in so far as might be compatible with the real exigencies of the public service; and he believed that the people of England would be perfectly willing to admit the sufficiency of those retrenchments, if it were proved to their satisfaction that they could not be carried further without endangering the public credit or the national honour. One subject had been alluded to in Her Majesty's gracious Speech in so pointed a manner that he could not refrain from briefly touching upon it—he alluded to the Navigation Laws. Whatever diversity of opinion might be entertained upon the subject of the policy and operation of those laws—whatever divergence of opinion might be seen when they should come to the consideration of those laws, he trusted he was not mistaken in believing that the House would unanimously concur in expressing their willingness to take them again into their consideration, and to subject them to a searching examination. Without at all forestalling the discussion upon this subject, for which there would be many more fitting opportunities, he would mention one circumstance which weighed strongly with himself as an argument for reconsidering them. It was this: he thought that every one would admit, who had examined the legislation upon this subject, that that legislation during some past years had consisted almost entirely of a series of concessions of particular points affecting those laws; at the same time that they had upheld the system as a whole, they had agreed to concessions, which, if they were not opposed to the letter, were certainly contrary to the spirit, of the navigation Jaws; and he believed that whenever the legislation of a country presented this aspect, it afforded, if not a strong pre- sumption, at least a strong probability that there might be something radically and fundamentally wrong in the principle itself. He thought, at all events, that it afforded just grounds upon which a reasonable Legislature might resume the consideration of the subject in all its bearings, in order that it might be seen whether those concessions had been extorted in each case by the force of particular circumstances, or whether they had resulted from something inherently wrong in the broad basis of the system. He turned now to that subject upon which the noble Lord had already touched, and it was a subject so painful that it was with unwillingness he now alluded to it. But it was impossible to conceal the fact, that the condition of that sister country, which was so indissolubly linked with us that her prosperity must ever be a matter of rejoicing to this country, and that her adversity could never be looked upon with indifference, was very much to be regretted. He might look indeed with triumph at the success of our efforts in suppressing anarchy, and putting down open rebellion; but it was with pain and regret he had heard the announcement that the disaffection in that country still continued to be such as to call for a renewal of those extraordinary powers for which Her Majesty's Government were obliged to apply to Parliament in the course of the last Session. That those extraordinary powers would again be granted if it should be found that a necessity for them still existed, he could not doubt; and he believed that he placed no overweening confidence in the disposition of the present Parliament, or in the disposition of any Parliament that ever sat within these walls, when he stated that no effort would be wanting on their parts to uphold the Executive Government in the preservation of order and peace. At the same time he could not disguise from himself that there was the very onerous duty incumbent upon Her Majesty's Ministers of proving that that necessity did exist, and that reasons as cogent for the renewal of the power would be required as those which had induced them upon a former occasion, with an unanimity rarely seen, to arm the Government with extraordinary and unusual powers. There was one other subject, and only one, upon which he should presume further to trouble the House, and that one was fraught with so many difficulties that he scarcely knew how to allude to it—he meant the subject of the Irish Poor Law. It was impossible to disguise from themselves that in undertaking to introduce a poor-law into that country they were trying a very difficult experiment. The introduction of a poor-law into any country was always a delicate and difficult task; but under the circumstances which unhappily existed in Ireland when the poor-law was introduced, considering that that country was then recovering, and only just recovering, from the effects of a calamity almost unprecedented in the history of nations, it was impossible not to feel that the difficulties which beset the introduction of a law of that nature were so great and so various, that they could scarcely wonder that its working had not been so satisfactory as might have been desired. Such a result might perhaps be ascribed to errors or defects in the law itself; but he would not advert to them further than to express an earnest hope that in approaching that difficult problem, they should avoid encumbering it with any increased difficulties, by mixing up with it party questions, or political animosities. He trusted that they should all approach it with an humble hope and earnest desire satisfactorily to grapple with all its difficulties, and that they would avoid above all things increasing those difficulties by embarrassing the subject with matters which did not belong to it. He trusted that those Irish Members who bad now returned to that House with naturally strong sentiments upon this subject, would believe that English Members were actuated like themselves by the strongest desire to do justice to that unhappy country. He trusted that they would believe him when he asserted, what he knew to be a fact, that there were many Members of that House, personally unconnected with Ireland, as was he himself, who yet entertained, in common with himself, no other sentiments towards that unhappy country but those of deep regret for her past wrongs, and deep sympathy with her present condition; and he knew that many were prepared to join heart and hand with any party, no matter on which side of the House they sat, who could show them any practical means of repairing those wrongs and alleviating those sufferings. But he must entreat them to bear in mind that it was not possible for any body of men in one Session, or even in a few consecutive Sessions, to undo that which had been the work of years. He entreated them to remember that all the social evils of Ireland could not be remedied in an hour or a day; but that of necessity it must be a work of time to remedy all those evils, to eradicate all those prejudices, to allay all those animosities, which differences of race, differences of religion, and differences of social condition, had combined through a long period of time to create and to aggravate. He trusted most sincerely that they should all unite in the same earnest desire to bring to a happy conclusion that great work upon which they now proposed to enter. He believed that he had now touched upon all the questions alluded to in Her Majesty's most gracious Speech—touched upon them feebly he was aware, but still with a deep sense of their interest and importance, and it only remained for him to thank the House for the kind indulgence which they had granted him.


then read the Speech and the Address. On the question being put that the Address be agreed to,


rose together. The former Gentleman, however, gave way, when—


rose and said: I am sure, Sir, that Her Majesty, since Her accession, has never yet delivered a gracious Speech to Her Parliament in which She has felt it Her duty to allude to subjects of such great importance as in that Speech to which we have listened to-day; but I am bound to say, that both in that Speech, which Her Majesty has been advised to address to Her Parliament, and in that answer which has now been proposed for us to offer at the foot of the Throne, I do not find that a fair and candid statement is conveyed as to the condition of this country—not a candid statement either as regards the internal condition of this country or its external relations. At this moment, important and numerous as are the subjects for our consideration, doubtless the most exigent would seem to be the state of Ireland. The language which I find in the note that I have made of the Speech, does not convey to me the impression that Her Majesty's Ministers are of opinion that the state of Ireland requires any immediate remedy. The language is obscure; and if it can be satisfactorily explained, it will show the advantage of discussion in the present instance. I find it stated that "the operation of the laws for the relief of the poor in Ireland will properly be a subject of early inquiry;" "and any measures by which those laws may be beneficially amended, and the condition of the people may be improved, will receive my cordial assent." Now, I think it is of very great importance to know what Her Majesty's Ministers mean to convey by the phrase "early inquiry." Is it an inquiry, for example, by a Committee of the House of Commons? In that case the" inquiry," no doubt, might be early, but the conclusion most probably would be late. And why an inquiry by a Committee of the House of Commons? We have had sufficient experience, I think, of what inquiries by Committees of the House of Commons may accomplish upon subjects upon which an Administration, duly informed, ought to have initiated measures. I do not sec why, in the present instance, for example, the case of the poor-law in Ireland should be an exception to that experience. You have a Poor Law Commission in Ireland—you have a Government Board in Ireland; and I want to know from what sources can the Administration obtain more ample and satisfactory information than from such quarters? They ought to be in possession of the information; if they think there ought to be an alteration in the laws, they ought to be prepared to legislate upon that well-digested information. They have had sufficient time well to consider the authentic information that has reached them; and certainly, in the present state of Ireland, if the only measure that Her Majesty's Ministers are about to bring forward with respect to that country is the proposition of an inquiry into the operation of the poor-law by a Parliamentary Committee, I think that is a course neither satisfactory nor statesmanlike. I do not doubt for a moment—no one can—the urgency of the state of Ireland. Hon. Gentlemen who represent that country have much to answer for, in my opinion, to their constituents. They have to consider whether the state of Ireland is merely brought about by the present operation of the poor-laws—whether it may not have been in a great degree occasioned and aggravated by other measures which they supported, and by the non-adoption of other measures which they opposed—measures to which, by the by, they gave their private encouragement, and offered their public opposition. Therefore, when Gentlemen representing Ireland come forward and complain of the condition of Ireland, it is well that they should recollect how far they individually may be responsible for the present state of Ireland. I believe I see a Gentleman opposite who represents a county in Ireland. I road a speech of his at a county meeting the other day; I read the reasons he alleged for the present condition of Ireland; and one of the weightiest was the repeal of the corn law in the year of our Lord 1846. But when I referred to the list of those who voted for that repeal, I found in it the name of that worthy knight of the shire. I think it is well for us to consider whether these circumstances—Irish Members complaining so much who supported that repeal, and who opposed measures that were brought forward on this side of the House, privately encouraged at meetings holden by those very same Members—are to be forgotten at this moment. I confess it is a subject upon which I have little inclination or heart to dwell upon the present occasion. There was a policy once proposed in this House with respect to Ireland, which by the Irish Members was defeated, but which, if it had been pursued, would have produced a very different effect from what we now see in that country—a policy which subsequently was partially pursued, even by the Government who then opposed it. The proposer of that policy is no longer among us. At a time when everything that is occurring vindicates his prescience and demands his energy, we have no longer his sagacity to guide or his courage to sustain us. In the midst of the Parliamentary strife, that plume can soar no more round which we loved to rally. But he has left us the legacy of heroes—the memory of his great name, and the inspiration of his great example. Sir, there is one subject, I confess, with regard to Ireland, which I am glad to see Las been omitted from Her Majesty's Speech. I think I may congratulate the House, the country, and the Government, that they have not brought forward a measure with respect to Ireland, the only recommendation of which was the traditionary approbation of statesmen who existed half a century ago, and who, if they were not mistaken in the opinion that they then adopted, at least formed that opinion under circumstances very different to those under which we unhappily now live; a measure which it was rumoured was to be introduced the moment Parliament assembled, the rumour assuming at one time all the colour of authenticity. I think it is a matter of congratulation, with all the difficulties which we have to encounter, that we have not that measure introduced—a measure which, while it would violate principle, could not accomplish, as it appears to me, any of the objects of policy—which must, under all circumstances, be a great blow to the Church, from sanctioning a too prevalent misconception as to the tenure under which the ecclesiastical estates is holden—a measure which would not conciliate those whom it was projected to please, and which would at the same time have outraged the sentiments and convictions of the great majority of the population of the three kingdoms. I think that omission from Her Majesty's Speech is a significant subject for congratulation. It argues, I think, rather a want of resource in the statesmen of the present age, that their only expedient for the cure of Irish evils should be the revival of an antiquated project, which really is not suited to the spirit of the age in which we live, or to the present condition of these kingdoms. I trust we shall hear no more of that project. Of this I am certain, that it will never bear discussion in this House, and that no Parliament will pass it that fairly represents the opinion of the people of these realms. Sir, there are three paragraphs in Her Majesty's Speech which I must describe as congratulatory paragraphs; they refer to the state of commerce, to the state of manufactures, and to the state of the revenue. There can be but one feeling of satisfaction among Gentlemen on either side of the House, at hearing that there is an increase of employment in the manufacturing districts, especially among those Gentlemen who come from rural regions, because certainly they cannot assure the House that there is any increase of employment in that quarter. But I am bound to say that when I am called upon to express great satisfaction that commerce is reviving from those checks which during the last Session we had to deplore, I am required to assent to a statement which appears to me contrary to fact, and which, under the authority of Parliament, is calculated to convey to the people a very deceptive conclusion. Taking a general view of the commercial position of this country at the present moment, it appears to me that the country is greatly suffering. It cannot be denied that the exports have fallen off by millions; that that decay has been, though rapid, in a certain sense gradual, and that it has taken place under a new commer- cial system. That commercial system was introduced to our notice and adopted by our votes, on the observation of three years; and now we bring to the consideration of its results also the observation of a period of equal duration. I am willing to admit—more than willing to admit, I am anxious to enforce—the expediency of the most unimpassioned spirit in discussing now our commercial system. When these alterations were proposed, they were theoretical projects, and our apprehensions were equally theoretical; it is not at all surprising that under such circumstances there should have been in our discussion some heat and passion; but when we have results before us, when we have facts to deal with that are official, conclusions that cannot be contradicted, all that we have got to do is to exercise the common sense which I trust we all possess, and draw those deductions which no one can deny, if they are founded upon data the authenticity of which no one disputes. In my opinion the new commercial system, the results of which are referred to in the Speech, has had a trial, a fair trial, and has failed. ["Hear, hear! "and some murmurs.] I am aware of what may be urged on the other hand; I hear murmurs that are repeating the arguments which are daily produced; it will be said, "True it is, the new commercial system has been on trial for some three years, but it has had to encounter exceptional circumstances which no one could have anticipated." [" Hear, hear! "] "Hoar, hear! "Exactly; you agree to my statement of your, own case. "The new commercial system has had to encounter a famine of corn in Europe, a famine of cotton in America; it has had to encounter more than these two great disadvantages—it has had to encounter convulsion throughout the Continent; you cannot, therefore, be surprised that the system under such circumstances should have failed." Now let us look at the facts of the case. I am anxious to test the results of our commercial system in a manner most advantageous to the opinions of Gentlemen opposite; I will test the effect of your measures upon the markets which you have most lauded—your chosen markets, and with reference to their effect upon that branch of industry whose interest you most advocate, and which all must acknowledge to be the most important in the country, because all interests in the country in turn are obliged to bow to it. I will sec, for example, how your new commercial system has worked between England and the United States; and I will select your favourite instance of the cotton manufacture. I will not weary you now by referring in detail to elaborate statistics; I have them here. I will give you the conclusions at which I have arrived upon official statements to which you can appeal; and if you doubt those conclusions, in the course of the Session there will be plenty of opportunities of refuting them. In the year 1847 the importations from the United States into this country were the greatest in amount upon record; there was an importation of what in the American language is called" breadstuffs" to so great an amount that the extra profit of the Americans upon breadstuffs, as compared with the prices in 1848, amounted to 5,300,000l. sterling; so that besides the ample and sufficient profit the Americans would have obtained, under any circumstances, by the prices of 1848 for example, the excess of price in 1847, in consequence of the famine of corn in Europe, gave them an extra profit of 5,300,000l.; while, in consequence of the famine of cotton in the United States, although they sent a much less quantity than in the preceding years, the extra profits upon cotton, compared with the prices of 1846, amounted to 3,200,000l.; therefore the Americans received from us an extra profit that year of 8,500,000l. Surely, then, 1847, by the magnitude of its transactions, was a year extremely favourable to commercial interchange, and therefore your two great evils of corn famine in Europe and cotton famine in America combined together to test the principles of your new commercial system with every possible advantage. The natural question is, what did the Americans take from us in exchange under these circumstances? Now, we have the complete returns upon this point before us; and I find that they took of our cotton manufactures, in round numbers, 60,000,000 of yards extra. Instead of 25,000,000 which they took from us before the change of the law, they took in 1847, under the remarkable circumstances I have stated, 85,000,000 of yards; an amount, by the by, not equal to that which the old Levantine market takes at the present moment. One might pause to consider, whether taking 60,000,000 yards more of your manufactures is an equivalent exchange for the immense importations you received from, and the immense price you paid to, the United States. But it so happens that the returns before us prove that even these 60,000,000 of yards were not an exchange at all in reference to the operation of the new law, because it appears by the official returns of the United States, that their home manufactures were increasing at the rate of 30,000 bales per annum; but in the year 1847, in consequence of the high price of cotton, and the commercial circumstances that allowed her to import our manufactures much cheaper than she could manufacture them herself, her domestic manufactures only increased by the consumption of 5,000 bales. Now, 25,000 bales, the decreased amount of the American home consumption, would produce about 60,000,000 of yards, the increased amount of British exportation to the United States; and so, if you had not taken her breadstuffs, she would equally in that year have imported from you a much larger amount of your goods. This is proved from the circumstance, that in 1848, the consumption of cotton in her own manufactures increased 100,000 bales; and the amount of your manufactures imported into the United States has fallen off in that year more than 30,000,000 of yards. The two famines of corn and cotton, which you say have prevented your system from having a fair chance, combined, in fact, to give you a chance with the United States which probably you will never enjoy again. Now, with respect to the third alleged cause of failure. Have we not every day since Parliament was prorogued—in morning journal and in evening paper, and in weekly oracles—have we not, while all of us deplored the state of our manufactures, been told that with the convulsions on the Continent it was only what was to be expected—that, in the present state of the Continent, it was no wonder the manufactures of Manchester could not be disposed of? But from the official returns we now possess, it appears that to the continent of Europe you have exported more cotton goods than you did the year before; so that the third great cause which has been so widely circulated to account for your failure turns out to be a highly favourable though an exceptional cause, no doubt, to the development of your system. There are also other circumstances never referred to by Gentlemen opposite, also exceptional causes, but still highly favourable to the experiment of your now system, and on which you cannot count any longer. In the first place, this very famine of corn in Europe prevented that agricultural distress which we knew to be inevitable, and which we are now beginning to feel. You have thus hitherto been sustained by that home market which your policy was calculated to injure; and therefore that is a fourth exceptional circumstance on which you cannot again count. But there is another view of this question. Men who have deeply considered the subject of commercial interchange without any of our passions, men not connected with the parties of the State, men who wrote before this experiment was even thought of, have always taught us that if you attempt to fight hostile tariffs with free imports, independently of many evils that all are familiar with, such a policy would have a dangerous effect on the distribution of the precious metals—an effect dangerous to all countries, but more particularly to a country like England, with her fixed debt and great fixed payments. Well, what has happened? Why, that the very convulsion of Europe which you assign as one of the reasons of the failure of your commercial system, has saved you from that great evil; has saved you from the inevitable consequences of your rash legislation; it has brought the precious metals into this country, and that through the medium, not of commercial transactions, but of political circumstances. Thus, in fact, there are five important circumstances which have acted in favour of your system, and which have tended to diminish and soften those inevitable evils which have been experienced, while you have been running about the country telling us they were the causes of the failure of your system. The question then arises, why has your system failed? It has failed, because the countries whose productions you so humbly take without conditions, will not take your productions in exchange. I have shown you the operation of the system in the instance of the United States under the greatest stimulus that ever acted favourably to commercial intercourse between two countries, namely, with a corn famine in Europe, and a cotton famine in America. Receiving from you an extra profit of 8,500,000l. in 1848, you could only get 60,000,000 yards extra taken from you, and then the next year these imports to the United States fall down one half. Look at your position with the Brazils. Every one re- collects the glowing accounts of the late Vice-President of the Board of Trade with respect to the Brazilian trade—that trade for which you sacrificed your own colonies. There is an increase in the trade with the Brazils of 26,500,000 of yards in 1846 over 1845; and 18,500,000 yards in 1847 over 1845; and this increase has so completely glutted that market, that goods are selling at Rio and Bahia at cost price. It is stated in the Mercantile Journal, that— It is truly alarming to think what may be the result of a continuance of imports, not only in the face of a very limited inquiry, but at a period of the year when trade is almost always at a stand. Why cargo after cargo of goods he sent hither is an enigma we cannot solve. Some few vessels have yet to arrive; and, although trade may probably revive in the beginning of 1849, what will become of the goods received and to be received? This market cannot consume them. Stores, warehouses, and the custom-house, are full to repletion; and if imports continue upon the same scale as heretofore, and sales have to be forced, we may yet have to witness the phenomenon of all descriptions of piece goods being purchased here below the prime cost in the country of production. Such is the state of matters in these two markets; the importance of which you have so much vaunted, and to obtain which for your cotton goods you have undergone such vast sacrifices. I do not see that your position in Europe is better. Russia is still hermetically sealed, and Prussia is not yet shaken. I know that there are some who hold that it is a matter of no consequence how much we may export, who say that foreigners will not give us their productions for nothing, and that therefore we have no occasion to concern ourselves as to the means and modes of repayment. There is no doubt that foreigners will not give us their goods without some exchange for them; but the question which the people of this country are considering is, what are the terms of exchange most beneficial for us to adopt? That is the whole question. You may glut markets, as I have shown you have succeeded in doing; but the only effect of your system—of your attempting to struggle against these hostile tariffs by opening your ports, is, that you exchange more of your own labour every year and every month for a less quantity of foreign labour, that you render British labour or native industry less efficient, that you degrade British labour, necessarily diminish profits, and therefore must lower wages; while philosophical inquirers have shown that you will finally effect a change in the distribution of the precious metals that must be pernicious, and may be fatal, to this country. It is for these reasons that all practical men are impressed with the conviction that you should adopt reciprocity as the principle of your tariff—not merely from practical experience, but as an abstract truth. This was the principle of the commercial negotiations at Utrecht—which were followed by Mr. Pitt in his commercial negotiations at Paris—which formed the groundwork of the instructions to Mr. Eden, most ably pursued by that distinguished man—and which was wisely adopted and applied by the Cabinet of Lord Liverpool; but which was deserted, flagrantly and unwisely, in 1846. There is another reason why you can no longer delay the consideration of your commercial system. You can no longer delay considering the state of your colonies. This is an age of principles, and no longer of political expedients: you yourselves are the disciples of economy; and you have on every occasion enunciated the principle that the colonies of England are an integral part of this country. You ought, then, to act towards your colonies upon the principle you have adopted, but which you have never practised. But observe how the principle of reciprocity would enable you to reconstruct your commercial system in a manner beneficial to the mother country, and advantageous to the colonies. By extending the tariff of the metropolis to the colonies, you would either secure to them a legitimate advantage in the home market; or, on the other hand, their participation in an interchange of mutual benefit with foreign countries. Reciprocity, indeed, is the only principle on which a large and expansive system of commerce can be founded. Reciprocity is indeed a great principle. It is at once cosmopolitan and national. The system you are pursuing is one quite contrary: you go on fighting hostile tariffs with free imports, and the consequence is, that you are following a course most injurious to the commerce of the country. And every year, at the commencement of the Session, you come down not to congratulate the House and the country on the state of our commerce, but to explain why it suffers, why it is prostrate; and you seem yourselves happy on this occasion to be able to say, that it is recovering—from what? From unparalleled distress. I will not trouble the House on this occasion with details. There is no mystery about these statis- tics. They are drawn up from the offcial returns in the library upstairs, and have no advantage beyond being comprehensive and accurate. But there is one result which I wish fairly to put before the country. I wish to show the effect of our colonial trade on that very industry which is the great advocate in this country for sacrificing that colonial trade—I mean the industry of Lancashire. I shall be mistaken if hon. Gentlemen are not somewhat surprised at the result I shall place before them. I am going to take a general view of the exports of cotton goods for the space of the last sixteen years. The exports of calicoes plain and printed for the last sixteen years, namely, from 1831 to 1846, both to British and foreign possessions, are:—to all foreign parts, 5,913,506,603 yards; to British colonies, 3,269,754,578 yards; so that the colonies have taken 313,000,277 yards more than half the rest of the world. In the same period Canada has taken 261,291,482 yards, and the British West Indies 418,991,491 yards, while the United States have taken 514,889,624 yards, so that the American colonies have taken 165,000,000 more than the whole of the United States. In the same period the British West Indies have taken more than the foreign West Indies by the amount of 86,475,524 yards; while India and China, as compared with the Brazils, have exceeded the latter by 903,410,444 yards. Perhaps it may be said, that in taking so large a period as sixteen years, I may have obtained a deceptive average as to the latter and more important years of that term. Well, I have divided the sixteen years into two portions of eight years each, and I find that in the last eight years, compared with the first eight, there has been an increase to British possessions, compared with foreign parts, of 1,566,792,086 against 1,000,645,008, giving an increase to our own possessions of upwards of 516,000,000. In the same period, the proportionate increase to British colonies, compared with foreign Europe, is 738,000,000 of yards. In the same period, the increase to British North America, compared with the United States, has been 69,341,000 yards. The increase to the British colonies, compared with the whole of foreign America, is as follows:—increase to the colonies, 1,430,217,920 yards; foreign America, 310,212,971 yards; greater increase to the colonies, 1,120,000,949 yards. The decrease to the United States in the last eight years is 105,932,279 yards. In the total exports of cotton manufactures to all parts there has been in 1847–48 a decrease as compared with 1844–45 of 174,633,675 yards; the decrease in the British possessions has been 232,569,836 yards; the increase to foreign parts is 57,940,151 yards. As to sugar-growing countries, the total decrease to British sugar-growing colonies, since the Act of 1846, is 143,779,144 yards; while the increase to foreign sugar-growing countries is only 13,792,885 yards. These are instructive data, taken from our own official documents, and this is the result of your new commercial system. These documents are drawn up by your own officers, sometimes doctored by your own officers; and yet, in the face of these, you are calling upon the House of Commons to express an opinion that we are enjoying a wholesale and satisfactory revival of trade. I will not dwell on the revenue. It seems that the voice of the Government, so far as the Speech is concerned, is not exceedingly strong on that point; and when I recollect what has been the principal source of the increase of which we have heard, and that on the very day on which Parliament meets, that source has expired, I am not surprised at the low-ness of their tone; but I do not feel justified in congratulating the country upon it. I should have thought, rather, that the state of the revenue, and the state of the laws affecting the revenue, might have forced Ministers to well consider the principles on which the commercial code of the country should be established; that, in consequence of their old opinions, they would have held that reciprocity ought to be the acknowledged principle of our trade, and that it was the only principle that, wisely managed, could have reconstructed with any satisfaction our colonial system. I now approach a more interesting portion of Her Majesty's Speech than any of the others to which our attention has been called; but I have felt it my duty, in vindication of those opinions which, though outnumbered on them, we are still prepared to support, to place those views before the country—confident, and never more confident, that ultimately they will be adopted by that public opinion which is now rising to uphold the principle I have advocated. I will now endeavour to call attention to those more lively and stimulating subjects which formed the principal part of the address of the noble Lord (Lord H. Vane). I confess that when I listened to Her Majesty's most gracious Speech, and still more to the well-trained echo it called forth, I was surprised at the moral courage of Her Majesty's Ministers. It is the first time since I have had the honour of a seat in this House that the Sovereign has mot Parliament and not been able to congratulate the House of Commons that she has received from all Her Allies expressions of their continued amity. That most significant omission, however, got over, Her Majesty has been advised to feel "it satisfactory to be able to state that both in the north and in the south of Europe the contending parties have consented to a suspension of arms for the purpose of negotiating terms of peace." Now, that expression is to me very obscure, and rather diplomatic than Parliamentary. Who are the contending Powers? Are they Her Majesty's Allies? Where are they? I have heard indeed that in the north of Europe there was a suspension of arms. It turns out that this is the case with regard to a State to whose position I had the honour of calling the attention of the House in May last—the valiant and indomitable kingdom of Don-mark; and I believe that if the course I then recommended had been followed, there would have been not only a suspension of arms, but an established peace. But what suspension of arms has taken place in the south of Europe, is to me a mystery; and probably we shall be enlightened on the subject by some Member of the Government. Has there been a suspension of arms between Austria and Sardinia? Or is it a suspension of arms between his Holiness the Pope and the Prince of Canino. I should have thought at first that a suspension of arms might have taken place in the case of another Power in the south of Europe, had I not encountered some paragraphs conceived in a spirit of such impenetrable obscurity that I am really at a loss to annex any very definite idea to them. We are told that the "hostilities carried on in the island of Sicily were attended with circumstances so revolting, that the British and French admirals were impelled by motives of humanity to interpose, and to stop the further effusion of blood." Now, are we to understand that the further effusion of blood was stayed by the French and British admirals without any instructions from Her Majesty's Ministers? Or is the policy of England dictated by a French admiral? I can conceive nothing more preposterous—I should say nothing more improbable—did I not recollect a remarkable debate in another place at the end of the last Session, in which direct inquiries were made of Her Majesty's Ministers on this very point, and on the probable conduct of the British admiral. I remember the mysterious answer to the person who made that inquiry; but I could not have imagined that after that inquiry and reply the British and French admirals riding at anchor in those waters would, acting only on their own haphazard views of things, take proceedings of the gravest character between a Sovereign and his subjects. If this be the suspension of arms in the south of Europe on which we are now congratulated, and, in return, asked to congratulate the Crown, I, for one, must desire to be excused from such a course. Then follows the following illustrative paragraph:— I have availed myself of the interval thus obtained, to propose, in conjunction with France, to the King of Naples, an arrangement calculated to produce a permanent settlement of affairs in Sicily. The negotiation on these matters is still pending. Now, in the first place, I have no idea who the King of Naples is. I never heard of the King of Naples. Probably some Member of Her Majesty's Government will tell us who he is. These are days of great diplomatic confusion and rapid political change; and, for aught I know, some such Power may have arisen; but I do not think it is as yet recognised. Why, I should have as soon thought of hearing a speech from the Queen of London as to hear of such a Power as the King of Naples. It appears that the Two Sicilies is no longer to be mentioned, but we are to be treated with a perfectly new title, in order, I suppose, to prepare us for the change that is intended." Negotiation," we are told, "on these matters is still pending." What negotiation? Has His Majesty the King of the Two Sicilies agreed to any negotiation, or to any suspension of arms? Has he given in his adhesion to any mediation on the part of the British and French admirals? These are points requiring explanation; for to me it does not appear that anybody is negotiating except ourselves. Then we are told that— It is my constant desire to maintain with all foreign States the most friendly relations. But we are not told, as generally we are told, that all foreign States are also anxious to maintain the most friendly relations with us. It would be highly satis- factory to know if Her Majesty has any allies left: if the progress of diplomacy has at least left her with some well-wishers. I am not surprised that Her Majesty's Government have found it neessary to address Parliament in terms so vague and so obscure about the foreign relations of this country. Since we met this time last year, there has been a considerable change on the continent of Europe. The result has not been extremely satisfactory. Look at the state of France—look at the state of the whole centre of Europe, the fairest and most favoured, the most civilised countries. I find in France a republic without republicans, and in Germany an empire without an emperor; and this is progress! This is the brilliant achievement of universal suffrage—the high politic consummation of the sovereignty of the people! Yes! those are the constitutional models and the political exemplars that are to fashion the future of our free and famous England. It would be a scene of unrivalled absurdity were not the circumstances connected with it calculated to create terror. There wanted but one ingredient in the mess to make the incantation perfectly infernal. A republic without republicans, an empire without an emperor, required only mediations without an object to mediate about: and the saturnalia of diplomacy would mix with the orgies of politics! Well, you have got them at length. I had the honour last year to warn the House against mock mediations; and I think the result has proved that a Member of Parliament had a right to inquire the object of a mediation, the means by which it was to be carried into effect, and particularly the parties between whom the mediation was to take place. There is a mediation in the case of Denmark, commenced last May; but nothing is yet concluded. You were called upon by Denmark to fulfil an unequivocal engagement in a treaty; and if, at the moment, you had acted with justice and firmness, you would, probably, have terminated a disgraceful proceeding. An ancient and independent kingdom is attacked by an assembly sitting in a German town. I look upon the Assembly at Frankfort as a German romance; but a German romance, we all know, may be a very pernicious thing. Nothing could be more unjust, and more violent, than the conduct of the Frankfort Assembly. The French Government, equally bound with ourselves to guarantee the rights of Denmark, offered to co- operate with us in their vindication. Now, I should not have been surprised that our Government had felt it its duty to have refused acting with France at that moment. The French Government was a Provisional Government; and it had hitherto been a rule with us, and, I think, a wise rule, not to recognise a Provisional Government. But the Provisional Government of General Cavaignac commanded the admiration of Her Majesty's Government—and they recognised it; and immediately they recognised it, it immediately fell. I expressed my opinion of that Government in this House before it fell—I formed that opinion because I was convinced it had no root in the country. Her Majesty's Ministers, however, thought otherwise. Why the Provisional Government of Louis Blanc and Lamartine was not equally recognised, I never could understand; but whenever a government composed of the editors of the National, and the soldier they engaged to support them, was formed, it was recognised at once; and I believe it had an ambassador in this country for about a fortnight. Yet, during its brief existence, the Danish question might have been settled; which remains now, after an interval of nearly a year, in the same unsatisfactory state as heretofore. I hope Her Majesty's Ministers mean to tell us what is the point on which the Government is mediating, and who are the parties between whom the mediation is taking place. What is your next mediation? The most preposterous of all! You imagined that the empire of Austria was in a state of dissolution. From the first squabble between the monarch and some of his subjects, you immediately assumed that Austria was to be blotted out of the map of nations; and accordingly you interfered—that is to say, you mediated; the Emperor of Austria shrinking from your mediation. And what has occurred? That empire has shown, as all those acquainted with its resources were well assured it would show, on the present occasion, as in the most memorable periods of its history, so profound a sagacity, and has availed itself of its resources in a manner so distinguished, that it stands in the eyes of Europe in a much more exalted position than before the struggle. It has settled Bohemia, one of its rebel kingdoms; it has resumed its authority in its ancient capital in a manner which cannot be too much commended for its wisdom and its firmness; and it has also entirely, and in a manner which has shown how completely the great body of the people must be with it, asserted its sovereignty in Hungary—another portion of the Austrian empire, where, I suppose, the "contending parties" have consented to a suspension of arms. Before you had established this mock mediation, recollect, also, that Lombardy was entirely reconquered, and in a manner the most complete and brilliant, by the arms of Austria. Look to your third mediation—the instance of Naples. Why, at this very moment, we have not any evidence that there exist two parties to that mediation, or the slightest evidence that any authority has established such a mediation, except a couple of Admirals. The King of the Two Sicilies was placed in a position to a portion of his subjects similar to that in which our Sovereign was placed with regard to her rebel subjects in Ireland, and was prepared to vindicate his authority over that rebellious portion of his kingdom. It would, I think, have been most blamcable policy, if you had proposed to mediate between two parties standing in such a peculiar relation to each other, and had said to the King of Naples, "You shall not vindicate your authority." But you did not adopt that course; you allowed him to proceed; and he did vindicate his authority. One city alone stood out against him; and just as that city was upon the point of surrendering to its lawful sovereign, you advanced, and said to the King, "Here you must stop, we must now mediate." What, I ask, has been the consequence of these mediations? There have been two consequences, and both of a most injurious character. The first is, that in consequence of these mock mediations nothing has been settled. If Austria had been let alone, if the rights of the King of Denmark had been acknowledged, if the King of the Two Sicilies had been permitted to vindicate his authority, all would now have been tranquil; but all is now unsettled, or disturbed, because we pretend to be mediators. But suppose a war occurs—and by your present policy you are not fostering peace—how will you find yourselves circumstanced in consequence of these mediations? Why, you will not have a friend in any party in any country; but you will have offended all parties by one and the same mode. Take Naples—take the case of the Two Sicilies. You, by your language in Parliament, and by the hostile demonstrations of your fleet in the Bay of Naples, made the Sicilians assured that you were about to uphold their cause. Yet, standing aside, you permitted them to be beaten; therefore, for your deception, they mistrust you; while, on the other hand, because just at the moment when the King of Naples was about to become victorious over his rebel subjects, you interfered and deprived him of his victory, he also is alienated from you. In making these remarks, I am far from wishing to enforce a pedantic adherence to that passive policy which, in the barbarous dialect of the day, is called "non-intervention." On the contrary, I am persuaded that in the settlement of the great affairs of Europe, the presence of England is the best guarantee of peace. But it should be the presence of England in accordance with the law of nations, and with the stipulations of treaties. That we may be the champions of right, of law, and of justice, our interference must be in accordance with right, law, and justice. But what you are doing now is contrary to law, justice, and the stipulations of treaties; contrary, I believe, to the traditional policy of England. Last year, when you first began this eccentric course of policy, and when we first heard of our interference between the Emperor of Austria and the King of Sardinia, I ventured to ask what were the grounds of our interference? Were they political or sentimental? If political, I then said our course was simple, because we had only to look to our obligations under treaties. But if, on the contrary, Her Majesty's Government intended to adopt, with reference to our relations with other countries, the sentimental doctrine of nationality, then I contended they were entirely changing the policy of this country, and were consequently bound to come to Parliament and avow that they were about to change the whole foreign policy of England, in order that Parliament might discuss the wisdom of that change. Before I make a few observations on the interesting subject which is the topic of the day, I feel bound to those who, though not immediately my constituents, are persons whose interests I have often advocated in this House, to advert to one more mediation, and one of an unexampled character; I mean our interference in the waters of La Plata. I maybriefly remind the House of the circumstances of that extraordinary case. Six confidential agents have been employed by Her Majesty's Government in connexion with La Plata, and some of them Ministers of the highest class. All have failed; the last, I believe, if not actually expelled, has been treated almost with Personal indignity; a second-rate rebel colony of Spain imitating the mother country, and sending away our Minister. Is it possible to conceive that a negotiation has been going on for years in which important commercial interests are concerned, and that there should have been six missions fruitlessly undertaken, and yet that the House of Commons has never instituted any inquiry into the matter? I asked for the instructions sent to Lord Howden, but I was told it would be inconvenient to produce them, because another envoy was on his passage to succeed that noble Lord. But that other envoy has failed, and another since; therefore, I think, I may now venture to hope to have a copy of those instructions. Speaking of these Gentlemen, one is reminded of the mystic dynasties in Macbeth, "another and another still succeeds," though, to be sure, that is the only thing they don't do. I suspect there may be a reason why we don't hear so much of La Plata as we might have done. The Liverpool Reform Association, who have proved that diplomacy is a profession merely kept up to maintain the aristocracy, and that the wooden walls of Old England are only required to afford employment for younger sons might, one would have thought, have written a tract upon this subject; but, unhappily, it turns out that the merchants of Liverpool are the very persons who are responsible for all this interference. Faithful to their principles, the Liverpool Financial Reform Association—the advocates of retrenchment—are the very men to whom we are indebted for the expense of six missions, all of which have failed, to the great injury of our commercial interests in that part of the world. Great changes have occurred since I last had the honour of addressing this House. Empires have fallen; the Pope no longer reigns in Rome. Her Majesty's chief Secretary admits that she has no allies; but strange as these changes are, nothing is so marvellous as the fact upon which I have to congratulate Her Majesty's Ministers—and that is their conversion to the principles of financial reform. The age of miracles has not passed! But it would have been extremely satisfactory when that portion of the Speech which is addressed more particularly to the House of Commons was alluded to by the noble Lord (Lord Harry Vane), in which Her Majesty says, "I have directed the estimates for the service of the year to be laid before you; they will be framed with the most anxious attention to a wise economy:" it would, I say, have been satisfactory if some one of Her Majesty's Ministers had risen and explained the other portion of that part of the Speech which makes Her Majesty say, "The present aspect of affairs has enabled me to make large reductions on the estimates of last year. "Why, Sir, the estimates prepared last year were also made with every possible attention to a wise economy. But it is somewhat strange that we should be told that the present aspect of affairs has enabled us to make large reductions. When we are so told this, the question naturally arises—What aspect? What is the impelling cause? What is this fresh discovery in the aspect of affairs which enables us to make large reductions? Is it what I read of in the Speech itself—the spirit of disaffection in Ireland? Is that the pressing cause? Is it—what I also read of in the Speech—the rebellion of a formidable character in the Punjaub? A possible insurrection in Ireland, or an actual rebellion in India? Is that the aspect of affairs that impels this great reduction? Or is it the circumstance that at this moment 2,000,000 armed and disciplined men are moving over the face of Europe in hostile array? Is that the aspect of affairs which enables Her Majesty's Ministers to make large reductions in the estimates of last year? Why, Sir, when we me tlast year, the Sovereigns of the world were not only Her Majesty's allies, but even her guests. The foreign affairs of this country were at that period so tranquil that it was difficult for the noble Lord who presided over that department to furnish a single paragraph to the Royal Speech. There was, indeed, a short notice of a treaty on the slave trade with some South American Republic of which not six Gentlemen in the House had over before heard; but while that was the tranquil state of our foreign relations, our revenue was allowed, I believe, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to be not in a more prosperous condition than at present. No one pretends that trade was more brisk last year than at present. But, in the face of all these circumstances—with India, too, as we were then informed, settled for ever—Ministers came forward, not to propose reductions, but increased expenditure—not a relief from burdens, but a proposition for in- creased taxation. How am I to reconcile this conduct on these two occasions? Then we were to have an increase of the forces. The militia were to be called out. What has happened since in our external relations to make an opposite policy advisable? I cannot, in any change which has occurred in Europe, find what is "the present aspect of affairs" which has impelled Her Majesty's Ministers to become financial reformers. One of my objects in rising is if possible to extract that instructive information from them. That there should be a necessity for making retrenchments is not at all surprising to any Gentleman sitting on this (the Opposition) side of the House, for we have been tampering with the resources of the country for years past. But independently of these considerations, it is not from Gentlemen on these benches that any opposition would probably be encountered to any well-considered measure for retrenchment. Firstly, because I believe there is no instance of a well-considered measure of retrenchment which has not been carried into effect by the Tory party; and, secondly, because, faithful to the great traditions of their political connexion, the Tory party will never forget that it is they who were the original opponents of any extravagantly conceived military establishments of this country. But saying this, Sir, I am sure that no Gentleman on these benches will approach in a light spirit, or touch with a careless hand, the military system of this country as at present established. They will respect that English fleet which is a name more influential with foreign Cabinets, than all the resources of our diplomacy: they will not tamper with the English regiment, which has become a name as famous as the Roman legion. Yet large reductions are to be made in the estimates of last year; and it is the "present aspect" of affairs that justifies the measure. Sir, it cannot be that Her Majesty's Ministers are converts to the perpetual peace theory. Because, if that be the case, and they continue Ministers, I shall not be satisfied with large reductions. We must, to use the language of the day, demand that they carry out their principle to the utmost. There have been, indeed, budgets upon that principle widely circulated. They have produced great effect. "It is my business to discover whether they have inspired any portion of the paragraph in Her Majesty's Speech. The first of those budgets was that celebrated one which was received with acclamations, and proposed some little time ago. No sooner had that flagrant luminary overtopped the horizon, than in a more northern atmosphere a parhelion appeared, which exposed its modest disc in mitigated splendour, but which figured as an almost equal portent in the economical atmosphere. In respect to these two propositions—without reference to any opinions which I may hereafter express concerning them—I will say that I have little objection: I have no objection to the people being relieved from taxation to the amount of 5,000,000l. or 10,000,000l, whether by the hon. Members for the West Riding or Glasgow; all I wish to ascertain, is the source from which these sums are to accrue. Quibus divitias pollicentur ab illis drachmam petunt De divitiis deducant drachmam. So I say deduct your 10,000,000l. or your 5,000,000l from that inexhaustible treasury—that more than Californian gold—the 100,000,000l per annum, or 2,000,000l sterling per week, which was to be realised by the repeal of the corn laws. I take it for granted it is not possible that Her Majesty's Ministers are about arbitrarily to assume a particular period for the expenditure of this country, and not to regulate that expenditure by the necessities of the kingdom. This, I know, that whenever a Government in this country has advocated retrenchment, not from circumstances justified by our external or domestic position, but with reference to "the present aspect of affairs," the consequence which has always followed such rash and unadvised retrenchment has been an increased expenditure. There was, it is true, a considerable saving in the year 1835; but we had at that time a very weak Government, though composed of very able men, and I regret their fall; but I have always felt that the retrenchments effected in 1835 were too much the consequence of the Parliamentary position of the party then in power; and what followed? The moment they made those retrenchments—from causes not arising from the external condition of the country, but rather from a rash domestic cry—foreign Powers (this was in 1835–6) observing that this country was reducing its establishments without any reference to their policy, but to their Parliamentary position, immediately increased their force, and commenced a policy which we were ultimately obliged to check. And thus a very short time after the fall of the Government of 1835, there was a great increase of expenditure. So again, in 1830, we also, unfortunately, had a weak Government, though formed of able men, who made retrenchments merely to please the public; and what happened? No sooner had that Government—led by a man no less eminent and illustrious than the Duke of Wellington—adopted this course, than the system of foreign Powers immediately changed; and had it not been for the revolution of 1830, an alliance would have taken place between Russia and France to obtain those objects which our policy has always resisted. But I cannot believe that the Government will regulate the expenditure with an arbitrary reference to a particular year, and not by the exigency of the case. But if by the exigency of the case, what difference is there between the circum-stances of this year and the last? Here is a choice opportunity for every chief of an important department to advance tonight, and inform us of the favourable change of circumstances in India or in Ireland, on the Continent or in the Treasury, which renders retrenchment so much more practicable this year than during the last. The task would not be too easy. And when the noble Lord the Premier may sum up the case, it will tax the artifice of that rhetoric of which he is a master to explain their present situation satisfactorily to the country. What I contend is, that your Address to the Throne does not contain a candid exposition of the state of the country. I must ascertain, if possible, what the present aspect of affairs is. I must follow the strategy of a great master of rhetoric, and exhaust the possible causes. I must endeavour to ascertain if Her Majesty's Government are votaries of the oracles of Manchester. There have been of late several potent reasons enunciated why it is totally impossible that this or any other country can ever again go to war, and therefore, why the expenditure may be cut down at least 10,000,000l. But is this the opinion of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs? Is it the opinion of his Colleagues? It is said, for example, that the French nation certainly can never go to war again in consequence of the tenure of land in that country—the subdivision of land has produced seven millions of proprietors, who bear the burden of taxation, and who will no longer submit to its increase for warlike adventures. But when I remember that the same tenure of land existed in that country forty and fifty years ago—during the Consulate and the Empire—that the number of proprietors holding under that tenure was, in comparison with the population, equally great to what it is at present, and that with that tenure of land we had wars between the whole Continent and the French Empire, I doubt the validity of the reason thus assigned why France cannot go to war. But this is one of the Manchester oracles, and I want to know whether it is accepted as doctrine by Her Majesty's Government? Again, I would venture to inquire whether Her Majesty's Government are of opinion that the present state of Europe is a state not of war but of revolution, and that consequently no danger of hostilities is to be apprehended, since the tendencies of revolutions are adverse to warfare? I should like to know the noble Lord's opinion upon that. First, as an abstract proposition, I doubt it; I think the tendencies of revolutions are not friendly to peace civil or foreign. They render the fruits of industry uncertain; they disturb the markets of patient labour; they depreciate and endanger capital; they inflame the passions, and develop the military spirit. But let us look to facts. We had a revolution in this country in 1688—a complete revolution—the dynasty was changed, and certainly the new Sovereign did not reign in the hearts of his people. It took sixty years before the new system could be firmly established in this country; and yet immediately after that revolution we entered into a war which was certainly not the least glorious, and perhaps the longest or most comprehensive in which we ever embarked. But it may be said that this is an aristocratic country, and that that was an aristocratic war, incurred to promote the fortunes of the younger sons of the nobility. But France was not an aristocratic State. France had its revolution at the end of the last century—a revolution undertaken under the inspiration of the perpetual peace principle. I have read a speech delivered by Robespierre in the Convention that was worthy of the Free Trade Hall itself; and I have no doubt, had he lived in the present day, he would have been a member of the League. Well, did the revolution in France prevent the people of France from going to war? On the contrary, it made them conquer Europe. Constitutional Governments are now established in Europe, and peace is therefore certain, because constitutional Governments never go to war. Well, there is a third oracle which I am curious to ascertain, whether it have changed the policy of the Cabinet. The noble Secretary will, perhaps, inform us whether constitutional Governments are established in Europe. As far as I have been able to form any opinion of the tendency of the popular schemes that have prevailed during the past year, they are of invasion, of annexation, of violent and unjust courses against the neighbour that may be not as strong as themselves. The reason of this change in the policy of the Government, then, must be, that they hold that conquest is now out of the question, because no conquest that has taken place during the last century has not proved a source of weakness and embarrassment to the conqueror. But is this so? What do the promulgators of this dogma say to the conquest of Malta? Is that a source of weakness to England? Or of Gibraltar? What do you think of the conquest of Silesia by Prussia, which converted Prussia from a second-rate Power, not only to a first-rate, but to a Power whose possible height at this moment we are not capable of estimating? What of the acquisitions of Servia and of Trausylvania by Austria, which laid the foundation of her military colonies which have twice saved the empire? What think you also of the conquests of Russia? I speak not of her Asian conquests, any more than of our own during this period, nor of the conquest of Poland, though I believe it to be one of the great sources of her strength; but what is thought of her acquisitions in the south, the whole of Southern Russia, the Cherson, Taurida, Bessarabia—regions of immense wealth and unquestionable sources of vast power, and all conquered in the memory of our fathers? There is a fifth and final and overwhelming reason given by the illuminati of Manchester why war is no longer possible. A great discovery has been made by these Gentlemen. It seems that a new principle has entered into politics, which entirely changes the aspect of affairs, and all the motives and conclusions of human conduct—and that is the principle of race. It has been discovered that it is quite impossible for the Emperor of Austria to retain Lombardy, because Lombardy is peopled by a race different from the Germans—the Latin race, who will not endure to be governed by a foreign master. Is this principle adopted by the noble Secretary? It will facilitate his mediations. Have these Gentlemen ever read Dante? If not, they may perhaps rise from the perusal of the great Florentine with juster notions of Italian polities, than they seem at present to have imbibed. Why, this difference of race in Lombardy has existed for almost countless centuries. But this principle of race is unfortunately one of the reasons why I fear war may always exist; because race implies difference, difference implies superiority, and superiority leads to predominance. The Gentlemen who have set up this theory of race have, in fact, adopted a principle totally opposed to the very foundation of that system which they vaunted last year, because the principle of race is quite opposed to the principles of equality and fraternity, which are the very basis of all their economics. Sir, it is said that this country must be content with a less demonstration of brute force. I am not prepared to impugn that position; but perhaps I may not associate with the phrase "brute force," the same meaning as those who are apt to use it. An army, a highly disciplined army, impelled by the sense of a great duty, the maintenance of order, the defence of their country, the vindication of the national honour, or the consolidation of the national strength; a body of men thus organised and influenced, and led by some of the choicest spirits of our species, an Alexander or a Cæsar, a Turenne, or our own Wellesley, I say that in a body of men thus disciplined, animated, and guided, it appears to me that moral power is as necessary, as essential, an element as physical energy. But, if on the other hand, I find a man with a certain facility of speech, and in a position happily adapted to his purpose, using those means and qualities to inflame the passions of large bodies of his fellow countrymen and stir them up against the institutions of his country, that is what I hold to be a demonstration of brute force, which I believe this country would be very well content to do without; and which, if there be any sense and spirit left in the men of light and leading in this country, they will resolve to quell as an intolerable and ignominious tyranny. I have often observed that the hangers-on of the new system are fond of quoting the trite apothegm of the great Swedish Minister, who said, "With how little wisdom a nation may be governed." My observations for the last few years have led me to a conclusion, not exactly similar, but analogous with that thought. Were I blessed with offspring, like Oxenstiern, I would rather address the being for whose existence I was responsible in this way. I would say, "My son, you see with how much ignorance you can agitate a nation." Yes! but the Queen's Ministers are truckling to these men. That is the position of affairs. Her Majesty's Ministers have yielded to public opinion. Public opinion on the Continent has turned out to be the voice of secret societies; and public opinion in England is the clamour of organised clubs. Her Majesty's Ministers have yielded to public opinion as a tradesman does who has failed in an attempt at extortion—he yields to public opinion when he takes a less sum. So the financial affairs of this country are to be arranged, not upon principles of high policy or from any imperial considerations, but because there is an unholy pressure from an arrogant minority, and who are confident of success because they think that they have beaten two Prime Ministers. Opinion is stronger than truth, according to Sophocles; I prefer truth, particularly in Her Majesty's Government, and therefore I shall move an Amendment. I honestly believe that the Address we are called upon to vote does not give a candid and ingenuous opinion to the Throne, as to the present condition of the country. I have drawn up an Amendment couched in no partisan or inflammatory spirit, but which I do believe does give an honest and fair representation of the present aspect of affairs to the Throne. The hon. Member here read the words of his proposed Amendment, to the effect— We regret, however, to be compelled humbly to represent to Your Majesty, that neither Your Majesty's relations with Foreign powers, nor the state of the Revenue, nor the condition of the Commercial or Manufacturing Interests, are such as, in our opinion, to justify us in addressing Your Majesty in the language of congratulation; and that large portions of the Agricultural and Colonial Interests of the Empire are labouring under a state of progressive depression, calculated to excite serious apprehension and anxiety. That is the Amendment which I beg to propose. I have thought it my duty to notice the crude and pestilent speculations now afloat respecting financial reform, not only because I consider them to be very dangerous to the country, not only because, according to rumour, they have converted a Government, but because avowedly on the part of their promulgators they only tend to ulterior purposes. This I must say of the new revolution, that its proceedings are characterised by frank audacity. They have already menaced the Church; they have scarcely spared the Throne. They have denounced the constitutional estates of the realm as antiquated and cumbrous machinery, not adapted to the necessities of the present age. No doubt, for the expedition of business, a Financial Reform Association presents greater facilities than the House of Commons. Little fear there of those collisions of argument and intellect which we here experience; they have no discussions and no doubts; but I have little fear that this go-a-head system will supersede the sagacity and matured wisdom of an English Parliament; and so long as this House remains the chosen temple of free discussion, I have no apprehension, whatever party may be in power, that the people of England will be in favour of the new societies. I am perfectly aware of the difficulties which the Gentlemen on this side have to encounter in this struggle. If I were to listen to the traditionary, petty, and prudential reasons which regulate Parliamentary proceedings in ordinary times, I should probably be led to believe that in moving an Amendment to the Address I was acting an unwise part. But I believe the Amendment to be justified by facts; and it is to the country I address myself in doing, in this instance, what I conceive to be my duty. I say that I know the difficulties which we have to encounter—the dangers which are looming in the distance. The hon. Gentleman who is the chief originator of the movement, made a just observation when he frankly admitted that the best chance for the new revolution lay in the dislocation of parties in this House. I told you that when I ventured to address some observations to the House almost in the last hour of the last Session. I saw the difficulty which such a state of things would inevitably produce. But let us not despair—we have, notwithstanding all that has occurred, we have still the inspiration of a great cause. We stand here to uphold not only the Throne, but the empire; to vindicate the industrial privileges of the working classes, and the reconstruction of our colonial system; to uphold the Church, no longer assailed by the masked batteries of appropriation clauses, but by unvizored foes; we stand here to maintain freedom of election and the majesty of Parliament, against the Jacobin manœuvres of the Lancashire clubs. These are stakes not lightly to be lost. At any rate, I would sooner my tongue were palsied before I counselled the people of England to lower their tone. Yes, I would sooner quit this House for ever than say to the people of England that they overrated their position. I leave these delicate intimations to the fervent patriotism of the Gentlemen of the new school. For my part, I denounce their politics, and I defy their predictions; but I do so because I have faith in the people of England, their genius, and their destiny.

The Amendment having been read by Mr. SPEAKER,


rose and said, that he had an Amendment, to propose which, as it related to a paragraph preceding that upon which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) had just moved an Amendment, would require to be put first. The Amendment he intended to propose referred to the paragraph relating to Ireland—which he regarded as an insult to the people of that country. The hon. Gentleman who had just spoken had talked of mock mediations abroad; but he forgot to allude to the mock insurrections at home. The insurrection in Ireland—which was alluded to so gravely in Her Majesty's Speech—was a mere mock insurrection. There was no evidence laid before them against the persons who had been apprehended under the Act suspending the Habeas Corpus; and he objected to the proposed continuance of that suspension. With respect to that passage in the Speech relating to the Irish Poor 'Law, it could not be acceded to by any Irish Member who wished well to his country. There was no use in appointing a Committee to inquire into the law—it ought to be entirely altered. Those laws had been condemned by resolutions passed at county meetings summoned by the high sheriffs of those counties, as having signally failed in their operation. Where was the use of further Parliamentary inquiring respecting thorn? Action, not inquiry, was wanted. Already they had had numerous Committees and reports, but all ended in nothing. The Devon Commission had received abundance of evidence on the subject, but the Government had not proceeded on it. It was not therefore the means, but the will that was wanting to change the character of those laws and render them more efficient. This country, he admitted, stood in a proud position, but it was because under a free constitution she upheld and enjoyed popular institutions; but the constitution in Ireland was violated, and her institutions were neglected or inoperative. Surely the Government ought not to be so inert on the subject of that now vital question, the poor-law, as to wait until every landed proprietor in Ireland was ruined, or until half the population emigrated. Under the present system, the man who cleared his estate and gave no employment obtained the reward, while those landlords who did their duty suffered the penalty. The law which applied to England might not apply to Ireland, and the law which applied to the east of Ireland might not apply to the west. There were many important facts connected with its operation which a Committee would not inform them of. It might elicit details already known, but would not tell them of the ruin which the poor-laws had caused to several deserving landed proprietors. The poor-law, he maintained, was demoralising the people. There was not a virtuous woman or an honest man would enter the workhouses if they could help it, because they were destroying the character and conduct of those who entered there. In those unions where the gentry and guardians undertook to support their own poor, and sent the Government officer away, the people got employment and relief, by voluntary though severe taxation. The evil did not stop there, for the people were dying in the ditches at the rate of twenty, and thirty, and fifty a week, and buried without coffin or shroud; and this not merely in the west and south, but in other parts of Ireland. Their evil effects were even beginning to be felt in the north. Not only were the rents vanishing, but with the rents the best of the tenantry. They were going to America, not only in grief at being forced from their own country, but with the seeds of revenge in their bosoms, which had been already displayed in the hope, openly expressed by some of them, that their sons might return at a future day with rifles on their shoulders. It was the duty of the Government to allay that feeling and prevent the danger it might hereafter create, by a timely alteration of those laws which were the immediate cause of the evil. England was never so popular on the Continent as at this moment; but her conduct to Ireland would certainly not make her more so. Her suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act would neither make her more popular abroad, nor add strength or honour to her Throne at home. They might talk of insurrection; but where was it? Was there a single paper before the House to prove its existence? It was notorious that men cried aloud in the streets for insurrection, but could not succeed. The very day that cannons were loaded, gates barricadoed, and the Bank secured with sand bags, in expectation of an insurrection, the city of Dublin was never more tranquil, nor its inhabitants less disposed to revolt. The Government, unfortunately, followed the advice of men who knew nothing of the case or real condition of Ireland. Men were arrested, not because they were traitors to the Queen, but because they were hostile to the policy of the Government. Men in America now complained of that. They complained of not being treated as freemen, and demanded the restoration of Irish nationality, and because they did so they were followed by spies, and in self-defence obliged to fly their country. It was only to be compared to the scenes described in the Castlereagh correspondence, from which it appeared that in 1798 men were taken up upon the particular knowledge of the Lord Lieutenant through his agents. So in Ireland lately men were arrested under the Habeas Corpus Act, without a particle of evidence against them; for some were discharged, and some let out on bail. The Lord Lieutenant was forced to do what he was unwilling to do; and the errors committed were not those of his head or heart, but of bad Downing-street advisers. The landed proprietors of Ireland were being deprived of their properties, and now it appeared they must lose their reputation. He, for one, would never tolerate the charge that Irishmen were disaffected; and he hoped those Roman Catholic Members who had been termed the "baptised spaniels of the Treasury bench," would not submit to the imputation. The hon. Member who had just sat down said, he wished Englishmen not to lower their tone. He, too (Mr. Grattan), wished Irishmen not to lower their tone, but to demand their liberty. The Lord Lieutenant was now allowed to do as the autocrat of Russia, and to commit to prison, without a particle of evidence of guilt. They would be a miserable set of men indeed if they submitted to that. He would therefore move the omission of the thirteenth paragraph of the Speech, because liberty not license should prevail, and, above all, in a country that been so long wronged. The hon. Gentleman, recurring again to the poor-laws, pointed out the parts of it which particularly required change. He wished for smaller areas of taxation, but not town lands: he wished for the repeal of the quarter-acre clause; for the inhumanity of compelling a man to walk twenty miles for relief, or refusing it because he had a quarter of an acre of land, was most to be condemned. It was painful to be obliged to blame men who, he believed, had at heart the interests of their country; but the effect of these laws was such that he felt compelled to throw the blame on those who had the power to alter them. The want of classification of the paupers in workhouses was absolutely demoralising the women, and the food was such as to destroy the character for strength of the ablebodied men. Those who could were leaving the country without paying a shilling of rent; and to suck an extent was this taking place, that, between emigration and the poor-laws, Mayo, Kerry, and part of Cork, might shortly be struck out of the map of Ireland. In some parts of Ireland a few occupiers only were left, and they were made to pay the penalty for the absentee proprietors. What he complained of was, that the ministerial intentions as to the Irish Poor Law had not been clearly stated. Surely they did not mean to exterminate the people; and yet such was the effect of their measures, and such it must be, without an absentee tax. It was said all the people wanted was employment; but if the lands were cleared there would neither be employment nor persons to be employed. He denied that there was, or could be, or ought to be, amity between England and Ireland so long as the Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, and an army of spies and informers was let loose on the country. Still he doubted not that if the Queen visited Ireland, the loyalty and gallantry of the people would give Her a hearty welcome. They wanted not separation, but justice; they wanted resident proprietors, and not whole estates left destitute. If things were allowed to continue in their present state, they would not be able to enlist a thousand soldiers in the west of Ireland. Any man's loyalty would be destroyed by such treatment as that to which the Irish bad been subjected. He appealed to Ministers' sense of justice, and their humanity, to omit the paragraph he had alluded to. He contended that Mr. O'Brien, when in a state of excitement, had committed many imprudent, but not disloyal acts. When he found himself, liable to be arrested as a felon, he had fled; but there was no insurrection; he, could not prevent the people following and protecting him. The moment an officer said he had not a warrant against Mr. O'Brien, he was allowed to go on in the, performance of his duty. He wished to know why he (Mr. O'Brien) was prosecuted, when Mr. O'Connell was allowed to assemble 500,000 men on the, hill of Tara? He meant to move for a return of the expense incurred in sending over soldiers to put down that quasi rebellion: or he would advise the hon. Member for the West Riding to move it along with his financial resolutions. The publication of such a return would make the country laugh. If things went on the way they were progressing, the difficulty of one Minister would become the impossibility of another. Not a ray of hope had been held out to Ireland in the speeches of the Ministerial supporters. Though he stood there a free man, yet he felt that he spoke like the ancient Greek, placed, when captive, with a rope about his neck, to be drawn tight when he ended his discourse—so with him, the moment he returned to his country, he was liable to be thrown into prison as a suspected person. He entreated the Government not to sully their glory by oppressing Ireland, as they had done on former occasions. They might ask France or America if this country was safe in pursuing such a course; and let them beware of sowing the seeds of sedition in Ireland by expatriating her inhabitants, and thus raising the cry of separation. The Irish emigrants to America would all be advocates of separation. Let them recollect how the former Irish rebellion had commenced. By aid of the speeches of Lord Glare, and the efforts of Wolfe Tone, the French Directory had been induced to send their expedition to Ireland; and who could say that the same might not take place from America? Allusion had been made to the system of pensioning the Roman Catholic clergy. Let not the Government suppose that the clergy were to be gained by such means. He (Mr. Grattan) would oppose such a plan. Having bullied the Protestants and beggared the Catholics, they were about to buy the clergy. They might depend upon it they would never succeed. With these views, he should move the omission from the paragraph relating to Ireland of all the words after "insurrection in Ireland," and the substitution of the following words:— That the disturbances in Ireland have not been renewed, but a feeling of discontent, augmented by the distresses of the people, still exists, which it will be our duty to watch, and as speedily as possible to remedy.


said, he rose to second the Amendment of his hon. Friend. When Irish Members addressed themselves exclusively to Irish questions, they were often met with the taunting assurance that they were interested in the external as well as in the internal affairs of this great empire. But he had never received any consolation from such assurance; for he found that their representations as to their own country were without any weight or authority in that House. He would leave the foreign policy of Ministers to be settled between them and the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire; it was a pretty quarrel as it stood; he would only observe that the Government seemed to have adopted doctrines and principles in some part of their foreign policy which it would be well for them to inculcate in their policy towards Ireland. In dealing with the affairs of Sicily they had put forward the doctrine, in which he most entirely concurred, that a country, while continuing bound to a superior country by the golden link of the Crown, had the right to manage its own affairs by its own Parliament. Why had they not applied that principle to the case of Ireland, and why did they now make a pretext of the wretched, partial, and miserable outbreak of July last for obtaining powers to be directed, not against an insurrection, which they themselves confessed did not exist, but against legitimate and constitutional liberty in Ireland—against that principle which they had themselves asserted in the case of the Sicilians as against the Parliament of Naples? It would appear that they had put I forward., in other countries, principles in-consistent with their love of order and their support of constitutional authority in this country. The secret mission of Lord Minto was not yet forgotten. If the tree might be judged by its fruits, it yet remained to be proved that the sad occurrences in Rome, the assassinations, outrages, and violence that reigned there now, had not been encouraged by the coquetting which the secret envoy of Great Britain had had with the parties foremost in that insurrection. Lord Minto in Rome had encouraged the rioters there—those who had shown the first symptoms of setting the Pope's authority at nought. Lord Minto had entertained at his own table Sterbini and the men now connected with the hideous outrages of that unfortunate insurrection. It would be for Ministers to clear themselves, and prove that they were not responsible for those outrages, by the kind of authority and encouragement which the secret envoy of this country had given to those parties in Rome. And yet not one word was there in the Royal Speech to express the slightest sympathy for the Pope, who had been driven from his throne by a hand of assassins, the vilest and meanest of mankind; and this while the rest of Europe was nearly unanimous in reprobating the crime and the criminals, and proffering their aid to reseat him on that throne, and replace him again over that ungrateful people upon whom he had showered so many and such signal benefits. He had no fault to find with the tone and temper of the speeches of the Mover and Seconder of the Address; in fact, the noble Mover had made out a case against the Ministry whom he had risen to support. He had confessed that there was a most entire and perfect lull in Ireland; notwithstanding that, he advocated the continuance of those extraordinary powers which found their precedent under the most tyrannical governments of former times, because they happened to have confidence in the present Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. That was a most unconstitutional doctrine, to deprive a people of their rights because they had confidence in a single individual, and thus to place the liberties of a whole nation in the keeping of one man. A dictator was a monster unknown to the British constitution; and there was no pretext in the Royal Speech for thus outraging the feelings of the Irish people. He trusted, therefore, that Ministers would pay this much respect to the House, if not to the people of Ireland, of showing the grounds of the statement put forth that the spirit of disaffection still existed in that country, and that there was a necessity for renewing that unconstitutional measure, the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. To this measure, whenever it should be introduced, and to every stage of it he, for one, should offer his most determined and unabated opposition. He cared not though he should be termed factious; he should never consider that to be factious which he did in defence of his country when she was unjustly assailed. As to the poorlaw, it was a measure that ought never to have been forced upon Ireland. It tended entirely to destroy that feeling of independence and self-reliance which was essential to the regeneration of the country. Even in this country the law had totally failed, as had been confessed by the preamble of every succeeding measure on the subject. He complained that the Government had brought forward no proposal of relief. No modification of the poor-laws would afford that relief. He objected entirely to the imposition of a poor-law in Ireland; but if it was to be imposed, let it bear rather upon the absentee than upon the resident landlord. The Government preached much about the necessity of self-dependence and exertion in the people of Ireland; but they forgot that the only stimulus to those virtues—a feeling of security in the fruits of labour—was wanting in that country. So long as there was that absence of security, so long would the people be idle. The Government seemed alive to the fact, that a feeling of security must form the basis of all industrial operations in Ireland. By the introduction of the Landlord and Tenant Bills, Ireland might yet be saved; although, certainly, not by the introduction of any system of poor-laws; for all the modifications introduced into them had failed to arrest the influx of pauperism into this country. Since the Union, Ireland's fortunes had been gradually declining; but still peace and prosperity might be secured to her. He repudiated the idea of endowing the Catholic clergy. The Catholic clergy would not accept any endowment. They well knew that their effliciency depended upon that affectionate intercourse between them and their flocks, that feeling of mutual co-operation and aid, which had hitherto prevailed. The revenue of the Protestant Church, saving, of course, existing interests, ought to be applied to the support of the poor; and, moreover, he was satisfied that this would be ultimately the application of this property. Ireland was without manufactures, and for that reason her people were wholly dependent on the land for their means of subsistence. Hence arose the life-and-death competition for land, a struggle which compelled the landlord to let his land at a rack rent. They had asked to be made secure in the results of their toil, and they were refused. They were told that they were an idle race; whereas nothing could exceed the industry of the people of Ireland, provided they were allowed to gather what they planted. The Irish people were forced to emigrate from their native shores. England drove them to America, where they were welcomed, and where they became incorporated in that hostile force which was destined probably to be arrayed at some future day against her. Let the House arrest its progress. Forty-eight years had Ireland been subject to the Legislative Union, and every year had witnessed a further degree of degradation and misery. If she were left to her own resources, she might yet recover and enable the Government to disband those armies by which alone she was now subdued. Before he concluded he begged to thank the hon. Seconder of the Address for the kind words he had uttered towards his country: they were grateful to his bettor feelings. He entreated that hon. Member and others, who were as independent of party ties as he was, to give their assistance against the wanton infliction and injury the Government was about to offer to his unhappy country by the adoption of measures of coercion.

The Question and Amendment having been put from the chair,


requested the attention of the House for a few minutes whilst he touched upon three points in the Speech from the Throne relative to Ireland. The Speech declared, that in certain parts of that country great distress prevailed, in consequence of the failure of the potato crop. If he were to form any judgment of the intentions of the Government from that paragraph, he should premise that Ministers were about to come down to Parliament and to ask for some relief for the suffering people; and though he was one who preferred that Ireland should struggle through her difficulties by herself—yet knowing as he did the state of penury that existed throughout the poor-law unions there, and that even 20s. in the pound did not suffice for the relief of the distress, he would not refuse such assistance if it were offered. But the distress was not partial in Ireland—it existed throughout the length and breadth of the whole land. And as a proof of it, the circulation there had decreased from 6,000,000l. to 4,000,000l. The distress was also increased by the practice of hoarding, which was very prevalent. The next topic in the Speech to which he should advert, was that which referred to the operation of the poor-laws in Ireland. He differed on this subject from his hon. Friend the Member for Limerick. He did think an inquiry into the working of the poor-laws in Ireland was requisite; and it would be inconsistent in those who last year called for this inquiry, to say it was not now wanted. The very fact that a difference of opinion existed on the subject was ground sufficient for an inquiry; and he could vouch for this fact, for he was at a meeting of Members in Dublin on the subject, when there were five different opinions expressed on the subject of the poor-laws. The hon. Member for Limerick was opposed to all poor-laws in Ireland. He (Mr. Fagan) was for still continuing the system, for making it more efficient for the protection of the poor, and also for making all the landlords of Ireland bear their fair share of the burden. The third topie to which he had to allude, bore special reference to the Amendment before the House. If he had been asked what ought to be said in the Royal Speech about Ireland, he should have replied, that some congratulation ought to have been expressed on the tranquil state of the country, and a recommendation added, that the people should be immediately restored to the possession of all their civil rights. The nation had always been told that agitation was the bane of Ireland, and that as soon as it ceased, the people should have justice done them. Now, he assumed that agitation had ceased In Ireland, and in order to do them justice, the Ministers of the Crown, instead of coming down to Parliament to ask for a fresh Coercion Bill against them, ought to propose some soothing measures. When it was proposed to take away the Habeas Corpus Act—a statute of which the English people were so justly proud—the Government ought at least to show the reasons for so doing. He again asserted that Ireland was tranquil in those parts he was acquainted with—so much so, that the people were disgusted with political feeling and agitation. He was at the same time free to admit that the noble Lord at the head of the Irish Government had used the powers entrusted to him with great moderation, But he could never give that nobleman his confidence so long as he upheld the jury packing system in Ireland. Irish Members had often been told by the Government that the agitation which prevailed in Ireland had prevented the introduction of remedial measures: that agitation had now ceased, and the Government had an opportunity of introducing any remedial measures with which they might be prepared. If the Government would handle the social evils of Ireland in a bold and masterly spirit, he could promise them the hearty support and assistance of the people of that country.


The hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli), who spoke first in this debate after my noble Friend the Mover of the Address, and the Seconder, paid a tribute, which I think natural, to the noble Lord who long led that party with which he was connected, and whose loss he most justly deplored. Sir, I could not hear that tribute without remembering I, too, since the last Session of Parliament, have lost Friends with whom I was politically connected; and I must say that I think it is not only natural, but right, that such losses should not be passed over in silence in this House, because the loss of men of undoubted integrity, of high spirit, of great talent, and of indefatigable industry in the transaction of public business, are not private but national losses. Sir, in referring to the various topics which have been raised in this debate, I will state but briefly the remarks that I have to make with regard to Ireland, because there is no subject connected with that country which is not likely, in a short time, to form the subject of a separate discussion. With regard to the particular Amendment which the hon. Gentleman the Member for Meath has moved, relating to the powers of which the Government propose to ask the renewal, I will only call upon the House to defer its judgment until they hear the statement which my right hon. Friend shall make, founded upon the opinion, certainly, of the Lord Lieutenant; but that opinion, formed not only upon his own judgment and his own strict and sagacious observation of passing events, but likewise upon the testimony of those from whom he is accustomed to obtain information with regard to the state of the country. I will only say, further, that I hope this House will bear in mind, when they come to that discussion, how long a Government must pause, supposing no such power to exist, before it comes down to ask Parliament for such powers—what menaces, what agitation, what interruption of trade and commerce, what disturbance of the public peace, must occur; and that if the Suspension Act should expire, and agitation were again to begin, it would not be at the first moment of that agitation that Government could, with any hope of success, ask for a grant of such powers, but that they must wait until a course of events somewhat similar to that which took place before had again occurred in Ireland, to the great misfortune of that country. For these powers which we propose to ask are not powers against Ireland; on the contrary, they are powers for the protection of all the well-disposed—for the protection of the great majority of the country against those who would turn its present condition to purposes of disaffection and rebellion. Sir, with respect to another topic, I own I was somewhat surprised to hear from the hon. Gentlemen who moved and seconded this Amendment, that the Government ought to have come down and proposed at once its Bill for the amendment of the poor-law. I have been accustomed to hear continual reproaches that in our legislation for Ireland we do not consult those who represent that country, and who know the feelings, the wants, and the condition of that country; that we rely upon our own notions and English feelings, and do not listen to the opinions of those who are natives of Ireland, and so much better acquainted with the nature of the measures suited to that country. Now, that we propose that there should be a Committee in which we should be able to ascertain what Irish Members think of the operation of the poor-law, and to consult their experience before we bring a Bill into the House, we are told that we ought to have framed our Bill entirely upon our own notions; that we should not have listened to Irish Members, but acted independently of any such advice or information. It is obvious that if we had taken that course, we should have been liable to reproach, and I have no doubt we should have come under the censure of those who now blame us for taking the opposite course. We cannot say, either, that there is that unanimous opinion in Ireland as to the amendment of the poor-law that upon that opinion we could frame a Bill for the amendment of that law; because, according to the statement of the hon. Member for Cork, when a small portion of the representatives of Ireland met—I think only nine—as the hon. Gentleman says, there were among them five different opinions as to the amendment that ought to be made in the poor-law, so that if we had taken the opinion of one of those five, we should have had four to one of Irish opinions against the measure we should have proposed. With regard to what has been said as to other Irish measures, there were several Bills introduced last year, and which we mean again to submit to the consideration of the House; there is one with regard to that long-vexed question of landlord and tenant, which last year was before a Committee, and which we propose again to lay before the House; there is the question with regard to the franchise, with respect to which my right hon. Friend has a Bill already prepared; and there is the grand-jury system also; so that we are not liable, in fact, to the reproach of not having attended to any other subject with respect to Ireland but that of restraining the liberties of that country. I come now, Sir, to some of the questions raised by the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli), and I think it will be as well that I should enter into them now, taking this Address as a whole, as speak merely to the question of the Amendment which has been moved. Now let me say, with regard to the hon. Gentleman, that I think he displayed very great ingenuity in the objections that he made to the Address proposed; he cavilled at one phrase, carped at another term, found fault with the title that had been given to a foreign sovereign, and in that way with very great ability kept the House from the consideration of the questions that were really before it; and he proceeded upon that to move an Amendment, which as I shall presently show is of a most extraordinary character. But the hon. Gentleman thought fit first of all to state to us what was the present state of our commercial legislation and policy, and how much we had gone astray in respect to it. In support of this opinion, he made some statistical observations, which I confess were unintelligible to me; he told us, that when a very large import of food was introduced from America, the American growers and importers had 5,000,000l. of profit in the transaction; and what does he wish to infer from that? I should have thought, upon that question, that even all protectionists as well as all free-traders would acknowledge, that when there is a great deficiency of food in this country, whether you have sliding-scale, fixed duty, or no duty at all, it should be your object in that emergency to collect as much food as possible; and that if there is a good price in this country, while the price in the country of production is low, the temptation of that profit is a reason why your wants should be supplied, and that you should rejoice that those wants should be supplied by so large an importation. That American growers and merchants should gain 5,000,000l. of profit in that transaction, provided we had the benefit of the food for the consumers in this country, is not a subject of lamentation with me. I only think that it is the natural result of commerce, and one which we are not by any means to deplore, but to take as the effect of all commercial transactions. For my part I never can enter into that notion which the hon. Gentleman seems to entertain, that every gain of the foreigner is the loss—a robbery—of the British people; that every time there is a large profit made by some foreign producer or merchant, we should deplore it as a national plunder. Upon the contrary, if commerce is carried on in a healthy state, there ought to be gain on both sides. We gain by the merchandise we send to America; America gains by furnishing us with the articles we want; and there is gain, again, by all those who are concerned in carrying the goods from one country to the other. So far from thinking this a subject upon which we should pour our lamentations, I should be glad to see that commerce still farther extended. I believe that the laws we have passed in the course of the last few years, so far from tending to impoverish the country, will tend to enrich it. I do not think that we have any reason to complain if those commercial transactions become more extended; but I do believe, with respect to the importation of corn, for instance, which is the great necessary of life for the people, that the people of England will be great gainers by not having the recurrence of those times of very high prices to which they were formerly subjected. The hon. Gentleman says that the law of 1842 was changed after an experience of three years; but in my opinion the laws were changed after an experience of thirty years. The corn law was enacted by Parliament in 1815; it was changed and modified into various shapes, but at last statesmen of different parties, and the majority of this House, came to the opinion that in no shape whatever would it be expedient to continue this law, and that it would be far bettor that the trade in food should be made entirely free. I was an advocate, for one, of the modifications of that law—for a fixed duty; and I believe that if that fixed duty had been enacted many years ago, it would have acted most beneficially for the country, and, at last, have gradually given way to the complete free trade that we now have. But Parliament having not chosen to adopt that mode, having chosen to set corn entirely free, I hope that no one will attempt—above all, I hope that no one will be successful—in renewing any duty upon that indispensable article of subsistence. The hon. Gentleman having stated his opinion upon this subject, which, if it meant anything, meant, as I conceive, a restoration of protective duties, then proceeded to enter into the question of our foreign relations. Now, all that is stated in the Queen's Speech, with regard to the foreign relations of this country, has been put in that Speech by the advice given to Her Majesty according to what is strictly the fact with regard to the transactions that had taken place; and all that my noble Friend (Lord H. Vane) calls upon this House to do, is to thank Her Majesty for informing them of those various transactions. There is throughout the Address no word of congratulation or of approbation of the transactions or of the policy pursued; on the contrary, those questions are entirely reserved, because Her Majesty is pleased to say in Her Speech, that when the public service will permit, the papers relating to these various transactions will be laid before Parliament. Now, it has been usual for the House of Commons, which does not take upon itself generally the initiative in those matters, at all events to wait for such communications; to press for such papers if they should think it necessary, or, having waited till these papers are produced, to found, if any Member should think it necessary to found upon them, some charge or some resolution with respect to the opinion of the House; and such appears to me to be the reasonable course with regard to these transactions. With respect to the state of manufactures, with respect to the state of the colonies or of agriculture, the hon. Gentleman may fairly call upon this House to express an opinion; but these foreign negotiations, as we know, are generally matters of a somewhat complicated character, leading to the exchange of notes, and assuming different phases in the course of the transactions; and it is unexampled for a Member to come forward on the first night of a Session, without the information, and without even asking for it, and to call upon the House to vote that Her Majesty's relations with foreign Powers are not such as to justify us in addressing Her Majesty in the language of congratulation. No congratulation is proposed, no congratulation has been asked; and this is merely saying that the House of Commons thinks proper to form its opinion without a knowledge of the negotiations that have taken place, without any insight into the transactions, and to say at once that they do not form matter of congratulation, which means saying at once that they form matter of condemnation. But when I heard the hon. Gentleman make his observations upon our foreign relations, it convinced me the more that he was wrong in asking the House to come to any such conclusions, because his observations convinced me that he was totally misinformed with regard to them. He seemed to suppose, for instance, that with regard to the war carried on between the King of Sardinia and the Emperor of Austria, we had proposed to impose our mediation without ever having been requested by the Emperor of Austria to mediate. Another statement I know has been made, and is current with the public, that mediation was proposed to us by Austria, and was refused by this country. Neither of those statements is at all correct. The real fact is, that the Emperor of Austria was pleased to send an Austrian statesman, a very distinguished man—a gentleman whom I have often had occasion to meet, and always had great pleasure in intercourse with him—he sent that statesman to this country with a proposal to this country to mediate between him and the King of Sardinia. We accepted that mediation; but with regard to the proposed basis of it we suggested that an alteration should be made by the Emperor. That statesman considered that we had accepted the mediation, but he demurred to the terms of our basis, and insisted that the terms proposed by the Emperor were those which ought to be the terms, and he returned to his own country. At a subsequent period a mediation was proposed to the Emperor of Austria, and under these circumstances: the King of Sardinia being much pressed in the field, determined to ask for the assistance of France; a correspondence took place between this country and the French Government, and the French Government at our request consented to put aside the question of beginning hostilities against Austria in Italy, and conjointly with us to propose terms of mediation to the two Powers. The hon. Gentleman said, in another part of his speech, that he doubted whether this country ought to have acted with France—with the Governments which she has had since the Revolution of February. Sir, I feel no such doubts. I feel convinced that our acting in concert with France during the past year has been of great benefit to the peace of Europe. I feel convinced that if we had said at once "However moderate your propositions—however pacific the course that you propose to pursue, you have changed your monarchical Government into a republic, and therefore we will have nothing to say to your proposals,"—in the first place, such an answer would have excited a suspicion in France that, although we did not profess it, we meant to interfere with respect to her form of government; and I believe, in the next place, that being loft to take her own line without concert and without advice, she would have been driven by the violent party in that country into hostilities by which the whole peace of Europe would have been compromised. I therefore differ entirely from the hon. Gentleman in thinking that we ought not to have had any concert with France upon these matters. Whether France has been wise in changing her form of government to a republic—whether it is true, as the hon. Gentleman says, that there are no republicans in France—that is a question upon which I do not choose to enter; it is a question for the French people alone. But what I know is, that although at the commencement of that revolution there were terms used in a circular of M. Lamartine's which certainly appeared to menace the peace of Europe, and though there was, as I thought, a great deal too much unintelligible jargon about "nationality," yet, with respect to M. Lamartine, with respect to General Cavaignac, and with respect to the present Government, I can say that we have had to deal with persons directing the foreign affairs of France since the revolution, who have listened fairly and candidly to all the representations we had to make to them, and who have stated fairly and honestly to us what they believed to be the interest and the policy of France; and we have had no reason whatever to complain, but, on the contrary, reason to rejoice that we had to deal with men of high honour and of consistent and unwavering integrity. But I am not sure that I am at all convincing the hon. Gentleman when I say that our concert with Franco has tended to the preservation of the peace of Europe, because, as far as I collect from the tenor of his speech, his inclination seemed to be that our object ought to be war, and that the fault he found with us was that Ave had not let war take its course. That was his view more especially with respect to Holstein. He said, "Your mediation has put a stop to hostilities, and what would have gone on very well has been arrested by your mediation." Why, what would have gone on? The King of Denmark would have resisted the power of the Germans; the Germans would have insisted that they had rights with respect to Schleswig, which has been long a favourite opinion in Germany; and France and Prussia would have taken their view of the matter. Those views not being counteracted by any pacific mediation, war must have been the result; and the complaint the hon. Gentleman makes is, that we did interpose when both the King of Denmark and the King of Prussia, and the Central Power at Frankfort wished us to mediate, and that we did not allow that war to get up, and to take its course in Europe, as he showed very clearly it might otherwise have done. Then there was another question, naturally, so far as we are concerned, of more serious import, because we have more actively interfered; I mean with regard to Naples and Sicily. It will be recollected by those who heard the statements that were made last year, that Lord Minto, after a very considerable time was spent in conferences, was requested by the King of Naples to propose to the Sicilians terms upon which they might consent again to return to their allegiance; after a very considerable time spent in conferences. Lord Minto, at the request of the King of Naples, went to Sicily and conveyed those terms to the Sicilians. The terms were not accepted by them. Lord Minto was of opinion that they might have been in prudence accepted by them; but the ground upon which they declined to accept was one on which it was not very easy to shake their determination. They said that in ancient times Sicily was a free country; that in 1812 the constitution had been reformed, and under the auspices of the British generally and with every proof of British sympathy, and that it was part of the terms of the constitution then agreed upon, that the Parliament was to decide with respect to the whole internal administration and with regard to the number of troops to be kept up in Sicily; that no foreign troops of any kind, being other than Sicilians, except those admitted by treaty, should be allowed to come into Sicily. Moreover, there was an article in that constitution, that if the King of Sicily should ever reside in Naples he should name one of his sons, or one of his family at all events, to reign in Sicily, That constitution, after various changes, was put an end to the same year. In 1816 the British Government had declared, that though it gave no guarantee to the Sicilian constitution, it should take an interest in the welfare of Sicily, and consider it injurious to the British name if the welfare of Sicily should be less well provided for in future than it had been. The Sicilians insisted that that constitution should be in whole restored. When Lord Minto returned to Naples he found that the King would not consent to such terms; and there was an end of that negotiation. It was undertaken by a British Minister at the desire of the King of the Two Sicilies, as he would be called in a formal diplomatic instrument; the two parties could not agree, and the negotiation fell to the ground. Whatever might be the case as to the justification which the British Government might make for any further interference, their decision was not to interpose any further than to give any friendly advice to the Sicilians in cases in which they might ask it. Accordingly, when some time after an expedition was prepared at Naples for the purpose of conquering Sicily, no obstacle was interposed to the sailing of that expedition. It has been said that a large British fleet was assembled at Naples for the purpose of preventing that expedition from sailing: that is totally an error, Sir W. Parker having taken the British fleet there on account of other questions in respect of which he thought he was entitled to ask reparation. But when that expedition reached Messina, there took place at the close of the siege of Messina events which appeared so horrible and so inhuman in the eyes of the French Admiral, that he determined to interfere. I need not say now what those circumstances were. There were atrocities, as I think, on both sides; the destruction of houses, of villages, and of unoffending peasants on the one side, the bombardment against a town which had ceased to resist on the other. The tearing of the limbs of the Swiss soldiers in the service of the King of Naples, and parading those limbs with savage exultation about the streets! It appeared to the French Admiral that it was impossible such a warfare could continue without an utter desolation of Sicily, and such alienation from the Neapolitan Government on the part of the Sicilians that no final terms of agreement could arise; he therefore determined to take upon himself to put a stop to the further progress of the Neapolitan armament. After he had so determined he communicated with Sir W. Parker. Sir W. Parker had a most difficult duty to perform; but taking all the circumstances into consideration, our former friendly relations with the Sicilians, the accounts he had received from the captain of one of Her Majesty's ships then at Messina, the atrocities he heard of, and that the French Admiral was about to act, and it was important at that juncture that the two nations should act in concert, his determination was to give orders similar to those which had been given by the French Admiral. I stated last Session that no orders had been given to stop the Neapolitan expedition, but that the Government reserved to itself to act in future as circumstances might dictate, and that I had perfect confidence in the discretion and judgment of Sir W. Parker. I remember the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stamford expressing apparently, though not in words, a concurrence with that sentiment; and I have the same opinion still. He was not a man likely to be led away by passion; he had none of that revolutionary mania by which some persons might be misled in those circumstances: he was anxious for the honour of the British flag, and anxious for the cause of humanity; and he took that proceeding upon his own responsibility. The question, then, for the British Government was, whether they should entirely disavow Sir W. Parker, whether they should toll him that he had done wrong to interpose—or whether, on the other hand, an armistice having been established by the King of Naples, his general having de facto consented to an armistice—whether we should take advantage of existing circumstances to propose terms in which the Neapolitan Government and the Sicilian people could agree, and the Sicilian people again be induced to be the subjects of the King of Naples. The latter part was chosen, for which we are responsible. If it was right to allow the war to recommence, to separate the British fleet entirely from the course which was taken by the French Admiral, and to disavow Sir W. Parker, we have been wrong, and we have taken a course for which we deserve censure; but if, as I believe, it was the duty of the Government, with respect to two countries in which they took a great interest; with respect to the King of Naples, an ally of this country; with respect to the Sicilian people, with whom we had been long connected—to endeavour to frame terms upon which both parties should agree, then, I say, we are justified in the course that we have adopted. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire seems to say that there is no negotiation, so well is he informed upon all these subjects on which he proposes to address the Crown: that it is a negotiation confined to England and France. Now, he is entirely mistaken in that. There have been terms stated by the Sicilians, and an answer received from Naples with respect to them, stating some of those terms as reasonable in themselves, and such as the King would be ready to consent to, and objecting to others, and leaving the matter as one to be treated in further negotiation. That further negotiation still continues. If it should end in our establishing permanent peace there, I think we shall have performed a duty, both to the Sovereign of Naples and the people of Sicily, and shall have rendered a service likewise to the cause of peace in Europe. If we are unable to procure such a result, all that we can do at present is to require that due notice be given when the armistice is to cease and war to be renewed. But my belief is that, after what has taken place, even if that war were to be renewed, it would not be renewed in the same spirit in which it was begun. My opinion is, that there would be in the first place such terms offered by the King of Naples and such orders given, that it is probable that war would not be conducted in so destructive, so savage, and so desolating a manner. But with regard to all these matters, although we do not ask for congratulation or for approbation, yet I must say that I am glad to find that during a year of great peril to the peace of Europe, the services of England have been of use to stay the ravages of war and to mitigate hostilities. If the hon. Gentleman would have had but the patience to wait, he would have had the papers which will be, in no very long time, laid before Parliament, and it would then have been open to him to say that there was no reason to congratulate the country. But I believe that, standing secure ourselves, having no such convulsions as other nations have been exposed to, I believe it was befitting this country, when she was asked, and in other cases, to offer her good offices for the purpose of removing quarrels, of which very often the ground is not very considerable, but which if once loft to the arbitrament of war may tend to as long and as bloody contests as if the grounds of difference had been wider and more serious. With respect to the next question to which the hon. Gentleman referred, namely, the expense of our military establishments, I think he seemed naturally enough to be hardly better informed on it than he is as to the state of our foreign affairs, He seemed to suppose that we had yielded to representations which had appeared in a public letter addressed to the Financial Association of Liverpool by the hon. Member for the West Hiding. Now, Sir, my opinion is entirely contrary to that. I think whatever reductions or augmentations you might make, to take the year 1835, or any other fixed year for some time past, and to say yon will square your estimates and fix your establishments according to the expenditure of that year, would be, with great deference to the hon. Gentleman, an extremely irrational course for any Government to pursue. In the first place, it is obvious that your requirements might be very different. In the next place, any one who will look at the finance accounts, or the votes of the year, will see that there have been some 4,000,000l. or 5,000,000l added to our expenditure on grounds which have nothing to do with any increase to our armaments. Therefore, if you take off 10,000,000l, instead of having the same establishments you had in 1835, you would have smaller establishments than in that year. Then, if you take 1835 as the standard, you must be sure that the establishments were then fixed exactly according to the exigencies of the country; and that is a fact I am not so certain of. I need not touch upon that point, because I decline to debate the subject altogether; but it must be assumed by the hon. Gentleman, that in 1835 there was proposed the precise estimate which ought to have been made. In the next place, our position, and what we have to furnish, is very much altered and increased since 1835. In one colony we have acquired since 1835, there were last year 1,800 of the infantry of the line. So that if you were to take your rule from 1835 you would have certain garrisons diminished below that year, in order to supply others which have since been acquired. Persons engaged in manufactures, commerce, or farming never would adopt such a principle. Suppose a man should say, "I find that while my expenditure in factories is 30,000l. a year now, I never paid more in 1835 than 20,000l.;" yet he might find that he had two or three new factories since that time; or that he had conducted the business of two or three additional farms to what he did in 1835. Obviously, he would say, "That is the cause of my increased expenditure. This accounts at least for part of it. I cannot conduct five or six establishments at the same rate I could three or four." That would be the course I am sure any man would pursue in private life; and I cannot think it wise for a Government, or Parliament, to pursue a different course, and say we shall have no reference to the service to be performed and the garrisons to be maintained; because we find in one particular year a certain number of millions sufficient for the public service, therefore exactly the same sum must be sufficient for the present year. But while I disagree with the hon. Gentleman, and though I think there is a phrase in his letter which rather shows the wrong-test he would apply to this matter, for he says that 10,000,000l. is a good sum founded on the experience of former years for the purpose of agitation, he shows clearly that he has formed his estimate not upon what the public exigencies require, but what he thinks likely to raise the most popular cry. At the same time, when we had to consider the question of our establishments, I think it was obvious we could not persevere in the course we found ourselves bound to take last year. Last year there was a sudden and formidable convulsion in various parts of Europe, and no man could say what might be the issue of that convulsion. We did not think we should be justified, in those circumstances, in proposing to diminish our expenditure. We asked for the same number of men for the Navy and the Army we had asked at the commencement of the Session, although we had not the ways and means sufficient for that purpose. This House supported us in that course. They declared, by large majorities, that it was not expedient to reduce our military establishments. But when we had again to consider the question of estimates exceeding the amount of our revenue, it was our duty, I think, to come to one of two conclusions—either to reduce those estimates to bring them within the amount of revenue, or, on the other hand, to attempt to raise the revenue to the amount of our expenditure. It was not fitting to go on another year increasing the public debt of the country without the prospect of equalising the expenditure. Now, the first course was evidently the best, supposing it was justifiable and practicable. We had to consider, first, whether there were not many reforms that might be made, many retrenchments that might be effected, without impairing the number or efficiency of our military establishments. The report of the Committee which sat last year upon our naval and military expenditure—which was no proposition of mine—the House is indebted for its appointment to the hon. Member for Montrose—the report of that Committee stated, that with regard to the Navy at least there might be many useful reforms without impairing its efficiency. This was one source of economy. But that would not enable us to bring the revenue within the limits I have stated. We had therefore to consider whether our effective force could be reduced. Now, in considering that subject we had to remember that since we had been in office we had added 3,000 men to the number voted for the Navy, and 5,000 to the number voted for the artillery. In considering these subjects, then, we come to the conclusion, that in the present state of Europe, and having made these additions to our naval and military force, we might now safely make some reductions—reductions which would give us a considerable amount of saving, without, in our opinion, impairing our force below that which was necessary for the efficiency of the public service, and necessary for the defence of our various colonies. Whether we have done wisely in that respect, whether the reductions we propose to make come within the principles I have stated—whether we have carried them too far, or have not gone far enough, will be proper questions for this House to consider when the estimates come before them, and when my right hon. Friends charged with the respective departments shall state their views of the exigency of the public service, and of the amount of force required. But these reductions have been considered on the principle of what is wanted and what can be spared from the service for the present year, and they have not been taken with reference to any particular past year, or on the plan of squaring the expenditure with that year. Sir, when we say that the aspect of public affairs enables us to make these reductions, I should say that I consider, and I agree with the hon. Gentleman who has seconded the Address in thinking that France is the most valuable friend and the most formidable foe with whom we could have to deal. For many years past, and under different Governments, it has seemed to be the object of France to increase her military armaments, and more especially to increase the strength of her naval force—a navy not commensurate with her commerce—not required, be it observed, to protect the colonies or the trade of France, but obviously a navy to be used in case of war. Sir, my opinion was and is, and I so stated it last year, that if France is to have very great armaments at sea, and if we allow her to go on increasing her naval strength without any proportionate increase of our own, then that in the event of any trifling difference, which if the power of the two nations seemed equal would be easily adjusted, that difference might easily lead to war between the two countries, if the war party in Franco could point to England as a weaker Power, inferior in point of force. But, Sir, I am happy to find that the conduct of the Government of France is to curtail and restrict their naval and military strength, and not to continue the enlargement and increase of their armaments. This is one reason why we have considered it safe to recommend no greater estimates than we propose for the present year; and I trust that, in spite of the denunciations of the proposed Amendment, the various States of Europe, however they may settle their internal affairs, will, in the progress of negotiation and the process of time, come to the conclusion that war must be injurious to all the nations of Europe, and that there can be no sufficient cause why one State should be an aggressor against another. If such pacific sentiments should fortunately prevail, and if each Power should be left to make arrangements for its own internal constitution and good government, then I would say that the reductions of the present year may be followed in future years, and that while it would be exceedingly unwise and imprudent to make any sudden and great reductions at once, still that gradual reductions, made, in the language of the Speech from the Throne, with a "wise economy," may be a policy which we may be able to pursue, and which it will be the interest of every country in the world to follow also. Now, Sir, I do not contend that there is not cause of anxiety in the present state of Europe. I am far from thinking that the revolutions which took place last year have run their course, and that every nation in which they occurred can now be said to be in a state of solid security. I rejoice as much as any man that the ancient empire of Austria, our old ally, is recovering her splendour, and is showing her strength in such a conspicuous manner. Still I cannot forget that there are many questions not yet settled with regard to the internal institutions of Prussia—that the question of the formation of what the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Disraeli) has called an empire without an emperor, is still in debate—and that we cannot be sure what the ultimate result of these events will be. It is also true that there may have been during last year an excess of apprehension, caused by the great events that were taking place, and by the rising up of some wild theories pretending to found the happiness of the State and of mankind on visionary and unsound speculations, on which the happiness of no country or people can ever be founded. We have seen these opinions prevail in many countries to a considerable extent, and no one can say that events may not at an unforeseen moment take an unfortunate turn for the peace and tranquillity of Europe. But still the time that has elapsed since the breaking out of the revolution of February has made men consider both what is the value of real liberty, and what is the value of peace and order, as set against political theories, and how much may and ought to be sacrificed of what may be considered theoretical perfection, in order to obtain the advantage of that internal peace in which all reforms can alone be deliberately discussed, and gradually take their place in the settled institutions of the country. No one can deny that amid many misfortunes and mistakes the foundations of the great principles which we revere have been prepared, and that those principles are likely to be permanent among the nations of Europe. I trust that the event may ultimately be equal to the expectations of the most sanguine. But in the mean time I do appeal against this proposed Amendment, not by any carping at any particular terms, or going through a minute defence of every act of the Government, but appealing generally to what has been happening around us, and what is the present state of Europe, seeing that we have gone through a commercial convulsion, arising chiefly from a wild spirit of speculation. I ask is our commerce shaken to the dust, or is it true that it is again reviving, that it is assuming a healthful condition, and that it is taking its usual course, indicative of restored prosperity? We have gone through what, with every deference to the hon. Member for Meath, I must consider an insurrection in Ireland. That country has been restored to tranquillity—has it been by any sanguinary measures? Has it been by arraying one class against another? Has it been by fixing upon Ireland a permanent state of civil war, which would have been worse than a transitory insurrection? Sir, I reply that it has not; and a large share of the credit is due to my noble Friend the Viceroy of that country for his vigour and energy, and for those rarer qualities of judgment, temper, and forbearance. He has shown himself averse from the first to setting class against class, or inflicting sanguinary punishments upon the guilty. I say again that this country has been menaced by those who, like some in other countries, would for the sake of plunder have disturbed the whole order of society. Have they not been defeated in their machinations by the power of the law alone, and at the same time dealt with by as fair and as merciful a procedure as is consistent with the constitution of this country? Sir, during the past year Europe has been convulsed with revolution. Without going into the details of foreign commotion, I will ask whether this country has been involved in hostilities, or in danger of hostilities? Has not peace with Europe been preserved by this country; and with respect to other Powers, have we not shown a desire to take a course much more honourable to us than would have been a desire to mix in the fray, and excite other Powers to conflict and war? Sir, if I say these things with truth, and admitting, as I do, that with respect to the greater portion of them, the first honour, after Divine Providence, is to be given to the wisdom, the prudence, and energy of this mighty people; yet, if such has been the result, the Government which has been at the head of affairs during such a period at least deserve that they should not be condemned on the first night of the Session.


said, that in considering the subject before the House, he would confine himself exclusively to the state of Ireland. He certainly had heard with great pain the three paragraphs in the Speech from the Throne, in which reference had been made to Ireland; and that pain was heightened by the manner in which the question of Ireland had been alluded to by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) who had just sat down. The noble Lord, in arguing for the necessity of passing these Coercion Bills on the ground that without them the law in Ireland could not take its course, and that herein consisted the defence of the renewal of so invidious a measure, was for placing Ireland with regard to coercion in the same position as England had been placed with regard to the excise. That was introduced and sanctioned by Parliament as a temporary expedient, but resulted in a permanent Act, imposing a tax of 20,000,000l. per annum on the country. Foremost among the questions connected with Ireland should be placed the poor-law; and with regard to that law he might say that there was, in his opinion, a great deal of delusion prevailing in reference to it, not only in this country but in Ireland. Much stress was laid on the importance of adopting a more limited area of taxation in this country; but he could not perceive how such a plan could be adopted without at the same time greatly facilitating the system now so prevalent, of exterminating the people. He would take the case of two adjoining townlands, A and B. The townland A had a great number of paupers upon it, while the entire population on townland B had been exterminated some ten or fifteen years ago, and it had been since cultivated by labourers hired from town-land A. In this case, the effect of a townland rating would be, that the paupers on townland A would eat up the whole property, and, in the end, town-land B would have to support them. He was convinced that if they adopted such an alteration, the extermination in Ireland would be trebled, until the whole of the pauper population would be got rid of and transported beyond the seas. He was also satisfied that they could not carry out a stringent law of settlement in Ireland. Even in this country it would be impracticable, but in Ireland the effect would be to create endless litigation between the different boards of guardians; and he had no doubt but that at least 6d. in the pound would be added to every rate for legal expenses. As to the proposition of the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Poulett Scrope), he could not see what definition was intended to be assigned to the term "labour" in it; but of one thing he was sure, and that was, that the effect of such a measure, if carried out, would be to make every labourer a sort of white slave. It would also have the effect of counteracting the efforts that were now being made to improve the condition of the agricultural classes, as in place of every one idle workman at present, they would have five or six idle men, as soon as they became certain that if they were discharged from their employment the rates would be increased. What he wished to impress upon the House was, that they could not regenerate Ireland—that they could not make a poor country rich, or an idle country prosperous, by means of a poor-law. If they wanted to regenerate Ireland, they should develop her resources. He did not agree with those who thought that if the resources of the country were developed, there would be no surplus population in Ireland; and he was therefore an advocate for a proper system of colonisation. He would say, employ the people at home, if possible; but, if not, then let them emigrate. The hon. Member for Nottingham (Mr. Feargus O'Connor) and others, thought that by subdividing the land all the people could be employed. He believed the hon. Member for Nottingham was of opinion that a family could live on one acre of land; but even allowing eight acres to each family, in the first instance, were they prepared to subdivide that proportion again and again, according as the families increased? They should consider that Ireland was a purely agricultural country, and had suffered more than any other country by the free-trade measures that had been adopted. He had been long an advocate for free trade, and he did not now wish to say anything against the system; but this he would say, that if the injury to Ireland had been so much greater than the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth had anticipated, they had a right to more relief than they had as yet received. He believed, that before effecting any permanent good for Ireland, they should settle the question of tenure; and he could not but express his regret that in the small portion of the noble Lord's speech which he had devoted to Ireland, he had made no allusion to that vital question. They should also reduce taxation. The House was perhaps not aware that the grand-jury tax alone amounted to a million and a quarter; and he believed there never was a tax in any country so misapplied, or for which so little value was given in proportion to the money spent. He did not believe that there was a system on the face of the earth under which so much jobbing was perpetrated as the Irish grand-jury system. The House would scarcely believe the fact, that, if properly applied, the Irish grand-jury tax would be sufficient to maintain the whole poor of the country in ordinary times, when no famine prevailed. Another great grievance was the Irish Church establishment. The fisheries and the mineral resources of the country ought also to be developed; and whatever the conduct of Irish Members might have been formerly with regard to a measure alluded to by the hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, there could be no reason whatever, at the present period of distress for refusing to encourage railways in that country. He asked those who had enrolled themselves in Manchester, for what he might call the better observance of economy and retrenchment, to look at the state of Ireland, and say whether she was not now as ruinous to their pockets as she was disgraceful to their characters as men and as Christians? Let them treat Ireland with justice, and they would find that she would prove their strength in time of war, and their best customer in time of peace.


said, that after the speech of the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, it would be impossible for him to do otherwise than vote for the Amendment of the hon. Member for Meath. The declaration of the noble Lord that evening, that Government were not prepared to apply any remedy to the abuses of the present Irish Poor Law, did materially aggravate the distress of all classes in that country. The reason which the noble Lord had given for this inaction was, he thought, of no weight whatever. If he waited till the Irish Members were agreed among themselves, that was tantamount to saying that there should be no legislation at all upon the subject. But that appeared to him to be only an additional reason why Her Majesty's Government should have come forward with a distinct proposition of their own upon the subject.


said, he was anxious to express his feelings on the topics alluded to in Her Majesty's Speech; but at that hour of the night he thought it would be better to move the adjournment of the House. If a division was to take place, he would take that opportunity of stating his opinions, not so much on what was contained as on what was omitted in the Speech. He thought that at a time when the public were in expectation of the announcement of most important measures of relief, the Government should have been prepared to state how they were about to meet those expectations. On looking to the Speech, he could not find that any portion of the recommendations of the popular Members on that most important subject—the inequality and burdens of taxation—had been attended to. He proposed last year that the income-tax should only be continued for one year, in order that a revision of our taxation should be gone into; but he was then told that matters were not ripe for such a change, but that Her Majesty's Government would prepare some measure during the recess. And now, in the whole course of the noble Lord's address, there was not the slightest allusion to the subject. The noble Lord had indeed claimed credit for the reduction of the national establishments during the coming year, though he doubted if after all it would extend so far as his own proposal last year, to reduce the Army by 13,000 men. But had the noble Lord said one word as to the reduction of the burdens of the people. No hope was held out to the people that the subject should be taken into consideration at all. He complained of that as a great omission. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire (Mr. Disraeli) never spoke but to interest and instruct the House; but the greatest portion of his speech was devoted to the foreign policy of the country, into which he (Mr. Hume) did not feel disposed to follow him. He would rather put in a claim on the part of the people of England; for he thought while the attention of Her Majesty's Ministers was directed to the affairs of other States, they were neglecting the interests of the country at home. He asked the Government whether they intended to meet the wishes of the people, and have an investigation into the state of the taxation of the country? The noble Lord had taken great credit to the Government for their proposed reductions. But what did they amount to? He proposed to bring back the establishments for the coming year to what they had been during the year before last, but he had not said one word of reducing them so as to relieve the people from the great pressure of taxation. For his part, he did not think the House would be warranted any longer in passing estimates which exceeded the income of the country. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire had launched out at large into the question of reciprocity. He (Mr. Hume) was glad to hear protection was dead, and that there would be no foolish attempts to revive it, and that henceforth reciprocity was to be the rule. But he would have preferred hearing the hon. Member say whether he was prepared to maintain the present amount of taxation at a time when the effect of the corn laws had lowered prices, and caused a reduction in the profits of the farmer. He wished those who were called the farmer's friends would tell him what relief they proposed to give the farmer, or in what way he was to be protected now that he was exposed to competition from the whole world. If some measures were not taken in that direction, they would soon have agricultural discontent along with the discontent of the commercial classes. [Cheers from the Opposition.] Then, why did not those Gentlemen who cheered, stand up and ask for relief to the farmer, for it was vain for them to think of restoring artificial protection? The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire protested against any further concessions to the popular power of the country. He (Mr. Hume), with reference to that protest, wished to ask Her Majesty's Ministers whether they intended to take their stand upon the present state of popular representation, and to refuse all concession on the subject? If they did so, they would continue that agitation which had made the name of Chartist odious to the country. Yes, and very properly so; but let the House recollect that though the conduct of the Chartists had deserved odium, the principles for which they contended were entitled to the support of every one who regarded the principles of the constitution. Could the Government suppose that Englishmen, who had been accustomed to stand at the head of popular representation, would rest contented with its present state at home, when they saw it extended almost universally in France, Belgium, Germany, and nearly the whole of Italy. The next question of importance on which he wished the Government to State their views related to the management of their colonies. The proceedings which had taken place in some of our possessions lately had been disgraceful. He only wondered that the inhabitants had not been driven to desperation. Not one of the acts which had driven the Americans to rebellion, had been characterised by half the atrocity and tyranny of the arbitrary proceedings which had taken place in British Guiana, Ceylon, and the Mauritius. He considered that the noble Lord at the head of the colonies had forfeited every claim to support, and that Her Majesty's Government should at once remove him. It was impossible to maintain peace if they were to keep up such a system, and such a man. Would it be believed that in Ceylon the Government had hanged, quartered, and shot he did not know how many people? They had created a rebellion by the imposition of taxes, which every man who know anything of the colony foretold would lead to such results. If the Government wished to reduce taxation, and to lesson the number of troops abroad, they must give the colonics self-government, and allow them to manage their own affairs. On all these points he would wish to hear some statement from the Government before he voted the Address to Her Majesty.

MR. A. STAFFORD moved that the House do now adjourn.

The question having been put,


said, he did not oppose the adjournment, if the hon. Member wished for it; but he certainly had expected that before the House rose that night, the first Amendment would have been disposed of. He proposed, therefore, that the House should divide on the first Amendment then, and take the second tomorrow.


thought there should be ample opportunity given for discussing the Amendment.


supported the proposal of the noble Lord.


But perhaps the hon. Member for Meath docs not wish to divide.


Certainly, Sir, I will divide.


withdrew his Motion for the adjournment, and

The House divided: The numbers were for Mr. Grattan's Amendment 12; against it 200: Majority 188.

List of the AYES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Gladstone, rt. hon. E. W.
Adair, H. E. Glynn, G. C.
Adair, R. A. S. Gordon, Adm.
Adderley, C. B. Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.
Aglionby, H. A. Granby, Marq. of
Anson, hon. Col. Greene, T.
Anson, Visct. Grenfell, C. P.
Armstrong, Sir A. Grenfell, C. W.
Armstrong, R. B. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Arundel and Surrey, Earl of Grey, R. W.
Grosvenor, Earl
Bagot, hon. W. Gwyn, H.
Bankes, G. Hardcastle, J. A.
Baring, T. Harris, hon. Capt.
Barrington, Visct. Harris, R.
Bass, T. Hastie, A.
Bateson, T. Hastie, A.
Bellew, R. M. Hawes, B.
Bonnet, P. Hayter, W. G.
Bentinck, Lord H. Headlam, T. E.
Berkeley, hon. Capt. Herbert, rt. hon. S.
Berkeley, hon. H. F. Herries, rt. hon. J. C.
Berkeley, C. L. G. Hervey, Lord A.
Bernal, R. Hildyard, T. B. T.
Blackall, S. W. Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.
Blair, S. Hobhouse, T. B.
Bouverie, hon. E. P. Hodges, T. L.
Bowles, Adm. Hood, Sir A.
Boyle, hon. Col. Hornby, J.
Bramston, T. W. Horsman, E.
Bremridge, R. Howard, Lord E.
Brooke, Lord Howard, hon. C. W. G.
Brotherton, J. Hume, J.
Bunbury, E. H. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Campbell, hon. W. F. Jervis, Sir J.
Cardwell, E. Keppel, hon. G. T.
Cavendish, hon. C. C. Kershaw, J.
Cayley, E. S. Labouchere, rt. hon. H.
Charteris, hon. F. Langson, J. H.
Chichester, Lord J. L. Lascelles, hon. W. S.
Childers, J. W. Lennox, Lord H. G.
Christopher, R. A. Lewis, G. C.
Clay, J. Lincoln, Earl of
Clive, H. B. Littleton, hon. E. R.
Cocks, T. S. Locke, J.
Colebrooke, Sir T. E. Lushington, C.
Corry, rt. hon. H. L. Maitland, T.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Mandeville, Visct.
Craig, W. G. Mangles, R. D.
Crowder, R. B. Manners, Lord G.
Dawson, hon. T. V. March, Earl of
Disraeli, B. Martin, J.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Martin, C. W.
Duke, Sir J. Martin, S.
Dundas, Adm. Maule, rt. hon. F.
Dundas, Sir D. Milner, W. M. E.
Ebrington, Visct. Milnes, R. M.
Egerton, Sir P. Mitchell, T. A.
Ellis, J. Moffatt, G.
Elliot, hon. J. E. Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.
Evans, W. Mulgrave, Earl of
Ewart, W. Newdegate, C. N.
Fellowes, E. Newport, Visct.
FitzPatrick, rt. hon. J. Newry and Morne, Visct.
Floyer, J. Norreys, Lord
Forbes, W. Nugent, Lord
Fordyce, A. D. Ogle, S. C. H.
Forester, hon. G. G. W. Ossulston, Lord
Fox, W. J. Owen, Sir J.
Fuller, A. E. Paget, Lord A.
Gaskell, J. M. Paget, Lord C.
Pakington, Sir J. Stafford, A.
Palmer, R. Stanton, W. H.
Palmerston, Visct. Stuart, Lord D.
Parker, J. Stuart, J.
Pigott, F. Sturt, H. G.
Plowden, W. H. C. Talfourd, Serj.
Price, Sir R. Tennent, R. J.
Raphael, A. Thompson, Col.
Rawdon, Col. Thompson, Ald.
Reid, Col. Thompson, G.
Ricardo, O. Thornely, T.
Rice, E. R. Towneley, J.
Rich, H. Turner, G. J.
Richards, R. Tynte, Col. C. J. K.
Romilly, Sir J. Tyrell, Sir J. T.
Rumbold, C. E. Vane, Lord H.
Russell, Lord J. Villiers, Visct.
Russell, hon. E. S. Waddington, H. S.
Sandars, G. Ward, H. G.
Sandars, J. Watkins, Col. L.
Scrope, G. P. Willoughby, Sir H.
Seymour, Lord Wilson, J.
Sheil, rt. hon. R. L. Wilson, M.
Shelburne, Earl of Wodehouse, E.
Simeon, J. Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.
Smith, rt. hon. R. V. Wood, W. P.
Smith, J. A. Wyld, J.
Smythe, hon. G. Wyvill, M.
Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W. TELLERS.
Spearman, H. J. Tufnell, H.
Spooner, R. Hill, Lord M.
List of the NOES.
Anstey, T. C. O'Flaherty, A.
Devereux, J. T. Roche, E. B.
Fagan, W. Scholefield, W.
Greene, J. Sullivan, M.
Herbert, H. A.
Meagher, T. TELLERS.
Moore, G. H. Grattan, H.
Muntz, G. F. O'Connell, J.

The debate on Mr. Disraeli's Amendment adjourned.

House adjourned at half-past Twelve.

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