Order read, for resuming adjourned Debate on Amendment proposed to Question [7th June],
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, to convey to Her Majesty the Thanks
of this House for Her Majesty's Most Gracious Speech from the Throne: "To, &c. [see p. 104].
And which Amendment was, at the end of the Question, to add the words—
But we beg humbly to submit to Her Majesty, that it is essential for seeming satisfactory results to our deliberations, and for facilitating the discharge of Her Majesty's high functions, that Her Majesty's Government should possess the confidence of this House and of the Country and we deem it our duty respectfully to represent to Her Majesty that such confidence is not reposed in the present Advisers of Her Majesty.
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. MILNER GIBSON
Sir, I was inclined to abstain from asking the permission of the House to make any observations on the Motion which is now in your hands, but the allusions that have been made to myself by speakers during this debate, and the desire which, on the whole, I have to state my grounds for the course which I shall feel it my duty to take, have induced me to alter my former intention of not addressing the House. I am one of those who are seldom mixed up in what are called party conflicts, although I quite agree with the statement attributed I believe to the Earl of Derby, that great party divisions are inseparable from a free government, and I feel undoubtedly that there are great occasions when no Member taking any interest in political affairs can be silent, but when all are under the absolute necessity of declaring themselves for one side or the other. It would have been more agreeable for me, I must confess, if we had been called on to discuss some legislative measure, and argue on its merits; it would have been more agreeable to me if I had been called upon to discuss some practical act of the executive Government; but as the question actually before us is the rival claims of two great political parties in this country to political power, I shall not shrink from delivering my opinion on that most important question. I do not propose to imitate the tone of the right hon. and learned Member (Mr. Whiteside) who last addressed us in the debate. I should be incapable, even if I were so disposed, to give utterance to such fervid declamation; but I must say that he was rather unfair to this side of the House, when on the one hand he taunted us with what he was pleased to call our unhappy divisions and dissensions, and in the next moment accused us of a disposition to become again united. I think it is rather hard to please him, and that he ought to 299 be satisfied with the censure which he casts on our divisions; and if there be a tendency—as I believe there is—towards a better understanding, he should rather have made it a matter of congratulation than an additional cause for censure. The difficulty of our situation at this moment is not of our own seeking, on the contrary, I am of opinion, Sir, that the Motion which is now in your hands has been forced on the House. It has been forced on us by the course which was taken by the Executive Government during the last Parliament in dissolving that Parliament on a pure question of political confidence in the present advisers of the Crown. I therefore do not feel as if I were an attacking party, but merely in the position of one taking up a challenge which had been thrown down and which cannot be avoided. Indeed, the first intimation that I had that there would be an Amendment on the Address was from a circular which I saw mentioned in the public papers as being issued by Her Majesty's Ministers, and in which they stated their conviction that from the course they had taken, an Amendment on the Address was an inevitable result, and that there would be a discussion on that issue on the first meeting of the new Parliament. Now, I am not going to travel over the ground which was taken up by the hon. Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Seymour Fitz-Gerald), who made quotations from speeches of mine delivered during the last Session of Parliament; but as the subject has been alluded to, I shall say this, that I have been on various occasions opposed to the foreign policy of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, that I have expressed my opinion on that foreign policy frequently, and in reference to those subjects on which I then expressed my opinion, I have not changed it, but adhere exactly to the views which I took at the time that I expressed them. I was once invited by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sheffield to pass a very strongly worded eulogy on the policy of the noble Lord with reference to Greece, but I declined, and voted with hon. Gentlemen opposite in condemnation of the noble Lord's policy. I seconded the Motion of my hon. Friend the then Member for the West Riding in reference to China, and I do not regret the course which I then took. I believed at the time I was acting in accordance with sound policy, and my opinion has been fully justified by subsequent events. With regard to the Conspiracy 300 Bill, I was actuatad by two feelings, one to get rid of the Bill, and the other, to express an opinion on the circumstances under which it had been introduced. The views which I then entertained were acceptable to the House, and the fall of the Ministry was an inevitable accident on carrying that Motion; but the sole object of hon. Members—at least the main portion of them—in voting for it was to get rid of the Bill, and to save the country from what they believed to be a humiliation. Well, but even supposing there be something in these allusions to former opinions, I want to know what relation they have to the subject before the House. Whether any hon. Member was right or wrong in his views respecting the foreign policy of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, will not enable him to come to a decision as to whether he should vote for confidence or want of confidence in a great political party at the present time; for, recollect, we cannot separate political men from their leaders. We may admire political men, and believe that they would do good if they could; but we must look to the political party, which has its agencies throughout the length and breadth of the land, and pass an opinion whether, as a whole, their rule is the best for the interest and happiness of the country. We are told by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the dissolution was a necessity, because he could not carry his measures. "True, our measures," said the right hon. Gentleman, "were not successful, and this was not surprising, when they were brought forward in a Parliament of which only one-third were our supporters. I do not think any measures, however carefully matured, however happily adapted to the circumstances they were intended to meet, could have been successful in a Parliament so constituted. We knew that our measures could not be carried, and that was a just reason for appealing to the country." But Parliament then dissolved contained a larger Liberal element than it does at present. The object of the dissolution was then to increase the Conservative element, and how could the passage of Liberal measures be helped by making the Parliament more Conservative than before? I considered that the object of those who advised the dissolution—I don't blame them for it—was, as it were, to crush the existence of the Liberal party, inasfar as it was in their power to do so. Well, such being the object of the dissolution, how can we believe that, 301 as Liberals, we should be justified before the country and our constituents in voting political confidence in a Government which had thus acted? I have heard one or two hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House say, they think Liberal measures would be best promoted by maintaining for some time longer the present Government in power. They believe conscientiously that such would be the effect of maintaining a Conservative Government in power, and no doubt they have satisfied their consciences as to the course they take, but I cannot understand by what course of reasoning they bring themselves to that conclusion. There is the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Lindsay). I have heard a rumour that he is about to vote confidence, political confidence in Her Majesty's present Government and their followers. Now, I am one of those who were first to congratulate the hon. Member for Sunderland on his return to Parliament. I congratulated him on having defeated Mr. Hudson; I congratulated him because I thought he would be a very useful Member of this House, from his great experience in mercantile affairs, and in matters connected with the shipping interest. I also congratulated him because I believed him to have a sincere desire to promote the cause of Reform and peace. While my hon. Friend's election was going on, I read the accounts of it with some interest, and one, a paragraph in the Times, I shall take leave to read to the House:—Mr. Lindsay addressed an immense meeting in Sunderland on Monday night. The Tories have been somewhat lavish in their expenditure, and it was broadly stated at the meeting that Mr. Hudson was being supplied from the Carlton Club.I think that having congratulated my hon. Friend on his return I have a right to be surprised that having defeated Mr. Hudson, he is about to vote just as Mr. Hudson would have done had he been elected. My hon. Friend will hardly think it quite fair that those who supported him with such enthusiasm, on questions in which he may be sure they take the deepest interest, should now see him give a vote at variance with the principles on behalf of which so great a battle had been fought and won. I am not going to charge the Government or any party in this House with being peculiarly prone to corruption—I am afraid that the charge would not apply particularly to any section, and I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) that all par- 302 ties have occasionally forgotten themselves at election time. But there is one point which I think is remarkable in the present election, and to which I think all friends of freedom should direct their attention—I mean the direct use of the power of the Executive for the purpose of procuring by inducement or intimidation the return of certain Members to Parliament. The right hon. Member for Carlisle alluded to several cases of that sort, but there was one which it seemed to me he passed by, but to which my attention has been called more than once by statements appearing in the newspapers, and by communications addressed to myself. The case I allude to is that of Berwick, the hon. Member for which borough is in the House, and he will set me right if I am wrong. I make no assertion, but I ask explanations respecting statements which ought to be contradicted or explained. The ease of the Berwick election is a remarkable one, and there was a great feeling respecting it; but the right hon. Member for Carlisle put it aside on the ground that there was a Committee of inquiry into the Berwick election, when the whole subject would be investigated. That would be a complete excuse for passing this particular case if the matter in hand was to be examined by the Committee; but on reference to the Petition it would be found that the matter cannot be inquired into, because it is not amongst the allegations of the Petition. But it is on public grounds that I allude to the question. Recollect that there may be good reasons why no persons in Berwick would think it worth while to inquire into the use of Government influence, because Government might be going to do something for the town, and therefore all parties in the town might be unwilling to interfere. There has been for some time a desire to re-establish in Berwick the barracks which had fallen into disuse. Applications had been repeatedly made to Lord Panmure and the authorities to re-establish those barracks and to place troops in them, and those applications had been uniformly refused on professional grounds into which I need not enter. I have doubts whether even the Earl of Derby's Government did not refuse, but there were particular parties who were desirous of making political capital out of the statement that they had succeeded with the Government, and had succeeded in obtaining this advantage for the town. In a newspaper published I find this statement, which I think 303 requires explanation. I hope the hon. Member for Berwick will be able to contradict it. Mind, this publication came out three days before the nomination, and being a subject of remarkable interest to the people of Berwick was eagerly read.We learn with great satisfaction that the long struggle to vindicate the claims of the town as a military station has been brought to a successful issue. We derive this satisfactory information from a private letter which we had the privilege of reading, addressed from the highest authority to a gentleman who takes a deep interest in the question, and whose connection with Berwick will be of great advantage, should they assume the character we anticipate. We have reason to believe that the military authorities, fortified by the report of their surveyors, are about to make arrangements for the repair of the barracks, in order that they may be soon re-occupied by Her Majesty's troops.Now, Sir, since the election was over there has been a rumour that the work was not going to be done, but the circulation of what was called a private letter from a high authority must have had great influence on the voters. There have been many cases of such use of the Executive power brought under my notice and which I could mention. However, I will not detain the House by so doing, but as the right hon. Member for Carlisle did not dwell on this matter, and as the right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer passed it over, it appears to me to be one of those that should be explained, for if there is one thing of which Parliament should be especially jealous, it is the direct interference of the Executive Government of the day in procuring the return of particular candidates for boroughs. I think I should fail in my duty as an independent Member of Parliament did I not enter my protest against the influence of Government in elections, whether it be Conservative or Liberal. I hope that the Minister for War will tell us in the course of this debate whether it is his intention to place a supplementary Estimate on the Votes for the establishment of the barracks at Berwick. [General PEEL: It is not.] Then will the hon. Member for Berwick say whether this is true or not? It appears in this paper, ["Order!"]—it appears here that a letter was received in Berwick and publicly circulated or made known—for I find it noticed in the public papers—stating that such a promise of barracks had been made three days before the nomination. ["No, no!"] If I am wrong, the hon. Gentleman will have the opportunity of setting me right. It is quite obvious that I cannot 304 be in a position of making any assertion of my own knowledge relative to this matter; but I do say that when a respectable paper, the hon. Gentleman's own paper, The Berwick Warder—when the editor of that paper states that he has himself had an opportunity of seeing a letter from the highest authority in this country promising that such barracks shall be given to the people of Berwick, it is important, for the justification of the Executive Government, that that charge of the Berwick editor should be contradicted or explained. An hon. Friend of mine seems to suspect that independent Members, situated as I am, might, in reference to this Motion, be drawn into some purely party division which they might not be able altogether to defend. I will endeavour to defend, so far as appears to my judgment reasonable, the course which I shall take in voting for this Amendment. When the Earl of Derby first came into power, in 1852, he stated that one of the missions of his Government was "to stem the tide of democracy." Subsequently, the Government of the Earl of Derby announced an intention of entertaining the question of Parliamentary Reform, and they went the length of submitting a Bill to the House which the House pronounced to be not a measure calculated to promote a freer and broader representation of the people, but rather to be of a retrograde character. Amongst others, I was of that opinion, and it appeared to me but natural, seeing that it was the professed creed of the great Conservative party to do all they could to arrest and stay the popular desire for Reform, that if they did bring in a Reform Bill, it would be, to use the words of the right hon. Gentleman, of so "mitigated and moderate a character," that it would confer no power upon those classes that it was the wish of the Reformers to enfranchise and to give political power to. Therefore I thought the Bill of the Government was consistent, to a great extent, with the professed creed of the general Conservative party. But it was introduced no doubt with different professions by the leader of this House, and even now the right hon. Gentleman assures us that if we, the Reformers, will only trust him once more, and will allow the question of Reform to remain in. his hands without suspicion, he will try again and really introduce a liberal, a comprehensive, and a conclusive measure of Reform. I must say that I believe I have a very fair share of credulity. I am ready to 305 believe as easily and as much as most men, but I am rather afraid that any expectations would be disappointed were I to suppose that the party opposite, whose views must necessarily influence the right hon. Gentleman, would allow him, even if he desired to do so, to bring in and to pass a liberal, a comprehensive, and a conclusive measure of Reform. I have the honour of being a constituent of the Attorney General's, and I find that that hon. and learned Gentleman told the electors of East Suffolk at the last election, something very different to what the Chancellor of the Exchequer would lead us to expect. The hon. and learned Gentleman in some degree reiterated the statements of the Earl of Derby—that a Conservative Government was necessary for the purpose of arresting the progress of democracy, which democracy is now represented by an alleged combination between the noble lord the Member for London and my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham. Now, what did the hon. and learned Gentleman say to the electors of East Suffolk, of whom I am one, with a view to influence me in my support? In his speech to the electors at Ipswich, on the 26th of April, he said that he felt convinced that notwithstanding the lapse of twenty-seven years since the passing of the Reform Bill a further Reform in the representation of the people was not really and truly called for, either by the public voice or the public opinion of the country. Well, then, if be it not be called for by the public voice or by the public opinion of the country, the right hon. Gentleman would not be justified in attempting to pass a liberal, a comprehensive, and conclusive measure of Reform, even if he were willing to do so. I do not think it reasonable to expect any real and satisfactory measure of Reform from that party whose professed creed for years had been hostile to Reform; and I cannot but demur to the idea that we on this side of the House are to be induced to take the formidable step of voting against the great body of our co-operators as a political party upon the vague assertion of the right hon. Gentleman that at some time or other he will be willing to undertake to introduce and to pass this liberal, comprehensive, and conclusive measure. To come to me as one who desires Reform, and ask me to vote confidence in you as Reformers, because you tell me that at some future time you will bring in a liberal measure of Reform, is trifling with the foundations of our Parliamentary system. The 306 fact is that the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends opposite can only deal with the question in the spirit we want it dealt with, by a deliberate betrayal of the promises they have made to the great bulk of the electors who supported them at the late election. Upon the ground, therefore, of Parliamentary Reform, I cannot vote confidence in Her Majesty's present Administration. How can I vote confidence in them on the question of religious equality and freedom of conscience? What did we witness in the last Parliament? My hon. and learned Friend brought forward a Motion for altering the Roman Catholic Oath in conformity with the religious convictions of the Roman Catholics of this country, and who was the violent opponent of that Motion? The Attorney General for Ireland. That right hon. and learned Gentleman led the van, and I say that, notwithstanding all that has been said about the Roman Catholics having a desire at this moment to support the Administration, that on reflection they will see that the liberty of religion to our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects is more likely to be effectually promoted by the Liberal party, who had uniformly and consistently advocated religious freedom, than by the right hon. Gentlemen opposite. And I would further recommend Irish Gentlemen, that if they believe that there is this sudden desire to do justice to the Roman Catholics come over Her Majesty's Ministers, to lose no time in going up with a deputation to the Attorney General for Ireland, and ascertaining from him whether he still retains the opinions he professed in the last Parliament, or is willing to make those alterations in the Oaths which their conciences require. For myself, I am very much afraid that when this division is over, the Roman Catholic Members will find but little encouragement from Her Majesty's Government—though I would not say so much if they had taken the opportunity of an earlier application; but although hopes might have been held out and expectations encouraged, I think it is impossible from the political connection over the length and breadth of the land which supports the present Administration—I think it is impossible for them to do full justice to the consciences of our Roman Catholic fellow subjects. They have always been the first to avail themselves of the no-popery cry. We know by experience in this House—for we have listened to the painful attacks which have from time to time been directed against the con- 307 victions of Roman Catholics, and which have been sympathized with by the great body of the Conservative party—what we have to expect from that party in the direction of religious liberty. These are Parliamentary grounds, as it appears to me, for voting for the Amendment. We must view these things in a Parliamentary and constitutional sense. We must get rid of mere; personal feeling on a great occasion like this; when the Crown has called upon the parties in this estate to declare their political predilections, their political obligations, and their political allegiance, personal feeling must be put aside; and every man ought, if he does justice to himself and to his political friends in the country, to record his vote in favour of that political party to which he is prepared to give his allegiance, and with whom his political convictions sympathize. Now, with regard to i another important question—the question of neutrality. I am not one of those who are disposed to charge the Government with a direct desire to support by patent acts either side in the war now going on in Italy; but I hold the opinion which is universally entertained, I believe, throughout Europe, that the Government of this country at this moment have at least Austrian sympathies. It may be said that there is not much in mere sympathy, but I am not quite sure, when Ministers of State rise in their places in parliament to express opinions bearing upon the alleged rights and feelings of any one of the belligerents, I am not quite sure whether sympathies so expressed can be promulgated without, to a certain extent, involving this country—I will not say hostilely—but by creating a feeling that it is more favourable to the one side than to the other. The Earl of Derby some time ago said in "another place" that the grievances of the Italian subjects of Austria were mere sentimental grievances, and the Earl of Malmesbury, in the other place, laid great stress on the treaties of Vienna, and stated that those treaties had been signed by the Sovereign, or the representatives of the Sovereign in former times, and that the Government of this country would therefore be bound to uphold and maintain them. That speech of the Earl of Malmesbury was followed by another speech of the Earl of Derby, in which he hinted that perhaps this war was not conducted or undertaken with a desire to ameliorate the condition of the Italian subjects of Austria, but that there were ambitious views behind. Is it the business 308 of the chief of the Executive of this country to be uttering opinions in Parliament which shall be offensive at least to one side that is engaged in this war? There may be nothing in what I say, but it does appear to me that there has been in this country something which rather brings into question the idea that there is that honest neutrality—that neutrality which will not make an enemy on either side—carried on, not only by the acts but by the counsel given to foreign nations by Her Majesty's Government, I hold that the French alliance—I do not say treaty alliances—but I hold that friendly relations and a good understanding with France are of all things most important to the happiness and welfare of this country. I therefore am one of those who regret to see a display at this time of alarm and suspicion without a single fact on which you can put your finger in justification of such alarm; and I do also deeply regret the custom that has prevailed of late of putting an unfavourable construction on everything that is undertaken in reference to those affairs by the French Government, rather than waiting for the current events and taking the Emperor of the French at his word until he deceives you, but not entering into adverse speculation, which cannot but make friendly relations with France impossible to observe. I think hon. Gentlemen on both sides must agree to this doctrine. I am not, to use the words of the late Sir Robert Peel, a person to put any romantic confidence in any foreign Power; but I am averse to the habit of incessantly finding out imaginary dangers by putting unfavourable constructions on the acts of the French Government without the slightest justification. For myself, I shall undoubtedly await for the production of the papers that have been promised before I undertake to pronounce any opinion as to whether the Government are honestly neutral in this war or not. But when we are promised papers from the Foreign Office, I have had sufficient experience to tell you that we ought not always to be guided in our conclusions by 6uch documents. An honourable friend of mine was invited to enter into some rather awkward negotiations in a borough a little before the last election, but he said, "If this should come out, what will people say?" The reply was—"Oh, never mind, I will write you a letter that you can show, which will make it all right." ["Name, name."] I am not making a charge against any one and 309 therefore I am not bound to mention the name. I am afraid that when reviewing our foreign diplomacy we must not, in forming an opinion of the views of the Government, be content to be guided altogether by the information that is to be obtained from diplomatic documents which Ministers of State may think fit to lay before a popular assembly like the House of Commons. I should of course be departing from what I believed to be the wish of the House if I were to travel over the ground that has been trodden over by the Government during these negotiations with France, Austria, and Sardinia, I will await the production of the papers, and although I am not without some slight alarm, yet, as we have the solemn assurance of the Government that they desire to be neutral in the war, I will let the matter rest there for the present, and I hope we shall be able to devote our attention to domestic legislation—the reform of our social system and the various improvements that are pressing on our consideration, and that we may not by some unfortunate intervention have the whole attention of the country directed once more to the most unfortunate thing that could happen—a continental war, in which we were ourselves engaged. The only question now before us is whether the present Government have obtained the result for which Parliament was dissolved. We are not called upon now to go back to the discussions that may have prevailed on both sides of the House, but are simply called upon to ascertain by a deliberate vote whether the result which the Earl of Derby desired to accomplish, and for which he dissolved Parliament, has been obtained—whether he has secured by the dissolution that majority of political partisans that will enable him to carry on the Government in a manner creditable to himself—that will give England dignity and power in her relations with foreign countries, and at the same time be satisfactory to the great body of the people of this land? I do not believe, as has been stated, that the division on the noble Lord's (Lord J. Russell's) Motion has had the effect of weakening the hands of the government and depriving them of the power of negotiating successfully to prevent the war that has broken out. It was well known on the Continent long before that division took place that the Government of this country, as had been repeatedly announced by the Earl of Derby himself, was in a great minority in this House. There- 310 fore it was absurd to suppose that the war between France, Sardinia, and Austria was precipitated by the division on the Motion of the noble Lord. But an hon. Friend of mine, the Member for Portsmouth, a gentleman of great authority on the other side, and who seconded the Address (Sir J. Elphinstone), what did he tell his constituents in his speech at the nomination? He said those who had voted for the noble Lord's Resolution were answerable for the present state of Europe, and he believed that had the Government been able to maintain a firm position in the eyes of the European powers we should not have seen the torch of war lighted on the Ticino. The hon. Gentleman must have but a very poor opinion of his constituency in point of intellect if he thought they would believe such statements as this. I do not make it a charge against the Government that they did not prevent the war. I always expected such negotiations would be ineffectual after the conference of Paris. When I recollect what took place there upon the proposal for settling the Italian question, and the remarks that fell from the lips of Count Walewski on the part of France, and Count Cavour on the part of Sardinia, I always felt that there was great danger of war breaking out upon this Italian question, for I believe that it was not possible that Austria would, without war, make the concessions demanded of her. Therefore I do not charge the Government with any feebleness or fault in not having by their negotiations prevented the war. And I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth should have made me and others who voted for the noble Lord's (Lord John Russell's) Motion answerable for the war as he did in the speech I have referred to. The war arose from, I may almost say, the necessities of the position from the unfortunate state in which the Italian subjects of Austria were left. It must have been obvious to every man for some time past that the system of government that was carried on by Austria in her Italian dominions could have but one of two ends—war or revolution. I will not stop to dwell upon the curious insinuations and inuendoes in which hon. Members on the other side have indulged about unworthy coalitions and "reconciled sections." I am now speaking my own opinions as a Member of Parliament. I have upon all occasions pursued an independent course; I may have committed errors of judgment; I speak not in any feeling of personal hos- 311 tility to the party opposite, or to the Government—I merely speak those sentiments which, I believe, I am bound to express as one who is anxious to promote the cause of the Reform party; and I believe that that cause will be best promoted by saying that we have no confidence in Her Majesty's present Administration: and that being my opinion, I shall, without reluctance, give my hearty support to the Amendment.
said, that as the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down made reference to him (Mr. Lindsay), and the course he was about to take on the present occasion, perhaps the House would allow him to state the reasons which induced him as an earnest and advanced Reformer—as earnest a Reformer as his right hon. Friend—to take the course which he felt it his duty to take. He had always voted in favour of Reform—he had always voted for progress and for liberty, both civil and religious, and holding those opinions he conscientiously believed that by the vote he was about to give he should best perform his duty to the Liberal constituency by which he had been returned. That was his conscientious belief, and he was sure hon. Gentlemen would respect his motive when he said that it was a high sense of duty as a Reformer that induced him to vote against the Amendment to the Address. His right hon. Friend read a paragraph from The, Times of a great meeting which he (Mr. Lindsay) addressed, in which his "triumphant return" to that House was referred to as a Reformer, and then asked what would his Liberal constituents think of the vote he was now about to give? Now, it so happened that in some correspondence he had written to a political friend abroad about the question of neutrality, and how it affected British ships—he referred to the state of political parties in this country, and in the paragraph in The Times some remarks that he had made in the course of that correspondence appeared. Some extracts from his letter to his friend abroad found their way to the press, had gone down to Sunderland, which he represented, and appeared in a newspaper there. He had those extracts in his box, and it might be interesting to the House if he read the views of the leading Liberal paper upon the subject of this Amendment, The editor of this paper said—The matter before the country now is not one of an abstract character.312 The editor of this paper was an advanced Liberal, as thoroughly earnest as his right hon. Friend, and he continued—It is plainly this, whether the present Ministry are to be removed from office without any defined accusation or any sufficient guarantee that their successors will introduce and maintain a policy more conducive to the interests of the country. Two questions claimed prominent attention—reform and peace. It is soon to be seen whether the Derby Administration have profited by their knowledge of a thorough determination on the part of the people to have a real and substantial measure of Reform, and if so, whether they will legislate for the nation rather than for party. They are certainly entitled to have the opportunity of showing whether such a change has taken place. A factious Amendment on the Address should not be countenanced by independent Liberals. As to the great question of peace, if Ministers prove by their acts that they are sincere in their declaration to maintain a strict neutrality, it would be most injudicious at this time to compel a change in the Administration. For these reasons we have no doubt that a large number of earnest and independent Liberals will act in accordance with the views represented by one of our own representatives, Mr. Lindsay, in the following communication.Then came the extract from the communication to which he had referred, and the words which he wrote, without having any idea that they would find their way to the press; but he was not at all ashamed of their having done so—This century has not produced a worse Government than that which we destroyed on the Conspiracy Bill, and I believe there are a few stern, honest, men in the House of Commons who have no interest but those of their country at heart, and who will resist to the utmost any attempt to reinstate the Whig party in power. If the present Government on the opening of Parliament say that they are prepared to advance with the growing intelligence of the people, and that they will introduce a Reform Bill which will disfranchise a number of the smaller boroughs, and grant to the others a considerable extension of the franchise, and that, further, they will take all the necessary steps to maintain an honest and an honourable neutrality, while prepared to defend the interests of England from attack, I think they need have no reason to dread any hostile conflict with the old Whig party, and all the force that party can bring to bear against them.These were the views expressed by a leading Liberal of the north of England; they were also his views. The hon. Member for Birmingham was not more earnest for Reform than he was. The right hon. Member sneered; he seemed to think it impossible to get a substantial and satisfactory Reform Bill passed by the present Government. But what party was it that passed all the great measures of progress 313 of which we were so proud? It was the Duke of Wellington's Government that passed Catholic Emancipation; it was the Government of Sir Robert Peel that repealed the Corn Laws, and it was the Earl of Derby's Government that admitted the Jews to Parliament. In the hands of the noble Lord the Member for the City (Lord J. Russell) the Jew Bill was tossed about like a shuttlecock, that House being for twenty-five years the one battledore, and the House of Lords the other. What reason had he to suppose that any Reform Bill brought in by the noble Lord would not undergo a somewhat similar process perhaps for twenty years to come? The present Government had in Her Majesty's Speech pledged themselves to a substantial measure of reform—to "a measure of reform which Her Majesty trusts will be satisfactory to the country." The Chancellor of the Exchequer pledged himself on the part of the Government that he would even this Session, should the House demand it, introduce a Reform Bill which would disfranchise many of the small boroughs, and give a considerable extension of the franchise. That, he believed, was all they wanted on that the Opposition side of the House just then. The hon. Member for Birmingham said, he did not know when the present Government would give them a Reform Bill, but if the Whigs came into office they would introduce one this year. But, did the Whigs really mean that a Reform Bill could be passed this year. Did they mean to say even that that House desired to see a Reform Bill pass this year? Did hon. Gentlemen desire to go back to their constituents instead of going to the grouse-shooting? They knew that if a Whig Government were in office to-morrow they would not even attempt to pass a Reform Bill this year; and therefore the House had reason to expect a Reform Bill as early from the present Government as from any that might succeed it. Besides, he knew that the present Government would he able to pass their Reform Bill through the other House—a thing which the Whigs could not do—and that was a great consideration with him. Before they destroyed the Government they ought to consider whether a better and stronger one was likely to succeed it. That was a great consideration with him, as an earnest Reformer and wishing to settle the question for the well-being of the people and the constitution also. The hon. Member for Birmingham, in his recent speech, referred to the opin- 314 ions held by a noble Lord, who in the event of a change of government might be sent for by Her Majesty, or who in any Government that might be formed would hold a distinguished place in the cabinet. His hon. Friend said, that "he was not about to defend the conduct of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), or to retract one sentence which he had ever uttered with regard to him. He (Mr. Lindsay) did not know whether his hon. Friend would be a Member of any Government which might be formed; be believed that he wished to retain the independent position he had hitherto occupied, but he believed the right hon. Gentleman who sat next his hon. Friend, and who held the same opinions, was likely to be honoured with a seat in the coalition Cabinet. Let hon. Gentlemen consider whether a cabinet so constituted was likely to he stronger than the present. He need not go back to all that his hon. Friend had said of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton at different times; he would only go back to last Session to show what were the views which his hon. Friend held with regard to the noble Lord, and as his views were exactly the same as those of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ashton, he would then simply ask, how could that right him. Gentleman and the noble Lord work well together in the same Cabinet? His hon. Friend said, that he expected that he should obtain more reform and was more likely to secure peace from the new Government than from that now in office, and yet only last Session he said, "When the noble Lord came into office he was paraded as a great Reformer." He was so paraded now—but, continued his hon. Friend, "when he left office, he left nothing but confusion abroad, and at home nothing had been done." Did his hon. Friend suppose that more would be done now than then? Did he suppose that one who had occupied the distinguished position of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, and had arrived at his age, was likely to change his views now? It was curious enough that his hon. Friend, in the same speech, also referred to the noble Lord the Member for the City of, London, who was likewise expected to hold a high position in the new Cabinet, should circumstances render it necessary to form one. "The noble Lord the Member for the City of London, too," said his hon. Friend, "had been Prime Minister, and the leader of the great Whig party, with which, somehow or other, those who were called Radicals 315 had dovetailed"—that was what they were doing now—"but the spoils of the warfare, if such an irreverent word could be permitted, had always fallen to the noble Lord and his immediate friends." What reason had his hon. Friend to suppose that those spoils would not fall to him again, as they had done before? On the subject of our foreign relations, it was necessary that he should remind his hon. Friend that the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton had not been so great a peacemaker as he supposed he was. At the meeting at Willis's Rooms the other day, his hon. Friend having expressed some doubts as to the noble Lord's foreign policy, he (Mr. Lindsay), to his utter amazement, heard the noble Lord say, that even with regard to the question of peace he agreed with his hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham. [Mr. BRIGHT: On this particular question of peace.] His hon. Friend now said that they agreed on this question of peace. If so, the noble Lord must very suddenly have changed his views. Looking back for many years, it would he found that if the noble Lord had not led us into war he had at least not kept us at peace. He (Mr. Lindsay) remembered a British fleet being sent, at the instance of the noble Lord, into the waters of Greece to settle a trumpery debt of £150. He remembered, too, the declaration of war against China, and when an English fleet poured shot and shell into the habitations of an innocent people in order to resent a fancied injury said to have been committed on a miserable lorcha. But what became of the honour of the British flag when the memorable despatch of Count Walewski was allowed to remain unanswered. Who took so conspicuous a part in resenting that insulting despatch as his (Mr. Lindsay's) right hon. Friend the Member for Ashton, who was probably to be a member of the new coalition Cabinet. Reference was made by the right hon. and learned Attorney General for Ireland in the debate of the previous night to the war in Italy in 1848, when the people of Lombardy might have been free, and when the noble Lord had it in his power to make them so. He (Mr. Lindsay) would like to have the question of the learned Attorney General answered, whether it was or was not the case that Austria agreed to evacuate Lombardy, and to grant the people their freedom, and that the noble Lord declined to sanction that arrangement? If that were so, the noble Lord was indirectly, if not directly, to 316 blame to a considerable extent for the fearful war now going on there. For the reasons he (Mr. Lindsay) had stated he considered it his duty, as a calm thinking man, and as an advocate of Reform and peace, to give his vote against the Amendment on which they were to divide that evening. But he should do so for another reason. The question before the House was the Address to Her Majesty in reply to her Speech from the Throne. Now, in the whole course of the debate not a word had been said against the policy propounded in Her Majesty's Speech, and they were asked to agree to an Amendment to that Speech, although they as Liberals entirely agreed with the principles laid down in it. Strict neutrality had been preserved by the Government, and they stated, moreover, that they had done all in their power to preserve peace, and papers had been offered to the House which would prove that they had done so. Not a single hon. Member on that (the Opposition) side ever affected to doubt that. Then as regarded rumours about sympathy with Austria, every effort had failed to show that there was anything but a rumour on that point; and was he to give his vote for destroying a Government not on facts proved, but on the ground of a mere rumour? He should ill represent the gentlemen who had returned him by a large and triumphant majority if he did so. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman) on the previous evening had made one or two of the most extraordinary statements he ever heard. He said, "Her Majesty informed them that in the differences which had arisen between continental powers her mediatorial efforts in the interests of peace had entirely failed." She told them that war was now raging in Italy, but that her determination was—and in this Her Majesty was loyally supported by all classes of her subjects—that England should remain strictly neutral. But she went on to inform them that she had felt it right in the present state of Europe to add to her naval forces, thereby disclosing an apprehension that circumstances beyond her control might unhappily arise to compel reluctant England to become a belligerent power. All this was well known, but the authoritative announcement was, perhaps, one of the most important which had been made by the Sovereign to Parliament in our day. We had borne a part in negotiations now concluded, and unless Providence averted the calamity we might be entangled in the war. War was 317 raging, and a spark from that conflagration might reach England, and were Her Majesty's Ministers to leave Her Majesty unprotected in circumstances which the right hon. Gentleman said might he quite beyond their control. While he (Mr. Lindsay) was a decided advocate of peace and economy, he was also an advocate, especially at the present time, when war was raging in Europe, for having the defences of the country placed on a sufficient footing not only to protect England, hut to vindicate her honour, which was of far more importance to her as a nation, and especially as a commercial nation than his right hon. Friend seemed to imagine. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud gave another reason why he should vote against the Government. He stated that if the Chancellor of the Exchequer had only appealed to the House against the bringing forward of this Motion, he should have been disposed to have voted against the Amendment. Well, the Chancellor of the Exchequer had no opportunity of doing so, for the Amendment was concocted, and arranged, and agreed upon by the leaders of the different sections of the Liberal party before the right hon. Gentleman was sworn in. The right hon. Gentleman, however, took the earliest opportunity immediately after the Amendment had been moved, to expound his policy in what he (Mr. Lindsay) would call a straightforward and honest speech. And although he did not expressly solicit the forbearance of the House, he said as much when he declared his hope that the House would give the Government a chance of carrying out the Liberal policy which he had propounded, The House, however, would not let him have a chance, for fear that he should bring in a similar Reform Bill to that of last Session. If he did, he (Mr. Lindsay) would vote against it, as he did last Session, for the reasons which the noble Lord the Member for London had embodied in his Resolution were to him unanswerable; but because the Government had erred with respect to that Bill, was that a reason for assuming that they were unable to bring in a Bill which might meet with approval? He confessed he could not see the cogency of the argument. It might as well be said that the noble Lord the Member for London was not fit to bring in a Reform Bill, because the Bill he introduced in 1854 was even more erroneous in principle than the Reform Bill introduced by the Government in the course of last Session. He believed 318 it was the hon. Member for Birmingham who on that occasion showed the House that the Bill of the noble Lord, in attempting to give members to minorities, was unconstitutional and unsound. But would the hon. Gentleman say that he would not trust the noble Lord to bring in another Bill on that account? For the same reason that he would have allowed the noble Lord to bring in another Bill he would allow the Government to do so, especially as they had by the dissolution learnt what were the wishes and feelings of the people with regard to the franchise which they did not know before, and there was every hope that they, like the Duke of Wellington with regard to Catholic Emancipation, and like Sir Robert Peel with regard to the Corn Laws, would have endeavoured to meet the wishes of the people with regard to a Reform Bill, as the time had arrived when all sides of the House felt that the question of reform must be settled without further delay. They would also possess this advantage, that they could pass their measure through the other House of Parliament with a rapidity which it would be impossible for the Whigs to ensure. Under these circumstances, and as no reasons had been stated for giving a vote of no confidence in Her Majesty's present Government, he should certainly feel it his duty to oppose the Amendment.
§ MR. S. HERBERT
Sir, I am afraid that those persons in this House who take offence at the reconstruction of sections will have found some little comfort in the speech we have just heard. We are not quite unanimous. There is something still to be gained from divisions among the Liberals in this House. I had hoped that I might get through this discussion without the necessity of taking a part in it. I am not fond of discussions upon the merits, not of measures, but of men. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will, I trust, admit that never in our most heated controversies has a single word escaped from me implying any want of respect for the party to which they belong. I have spoken of their great qualities—I have frequently acknowledged them, and if in this case I have a com-plaint to make it is not directed against the party, but those who lead the party. Now, Sir, before the dissolution the Government challenged the House to an issue on confidence. To this House the Government said, before the dissolution, "We stand upon our merits. We, a minority, seek to carry on the Government with such 319 concessions as we may to the Liberal majority." It was then "measures, not men;" but to the country the cry was reversed,—it was then not measures, but men. Now, the Government having made that challenge, can hardly complain of us for having taken up the gage that they threw down. It was natural that in the Queen's Speech the question should be again asked which was put by Her Majesty in proroguing the late Parliament. Her Majesty then prayed that Providence would so direct the people of this country that such a return might be made as would enable Her Majesty to carry on the affairs of the country by a majority. I apprehend that majority, of course, meant a majority that would support the existing Government. The proposal to us to discuss the question whether or not that majority has been obtained is one in itself not within the scope of debate. That must depend on actual numbers. What those numbers may be I cannot tell. I will not follow the example set on both sides of speaking with the greatest confidence of the success of the party to which one belongs. I have the greatest respect for the gentlemen who are vulgarly and technically called the "whips" on both sides, but I have not that share of credulity which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ashton (Mr. M. Gibson) possesses. I must say that I take the accounts of each side with the same degree of credence that I give to the bulletins of contending generals after a battle. Until the event has been shown by a division. I will not speculate upon what the result may be. But it is the duty of those who take part in this discussion to show on what grounds they justify asking this question of the House. I agree with the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire (the Marquess of Hartington), in the very able and promising speech which he delivered in opening this debate, that if the Government have a majority as the result of the dissolution they ought to have the full benefit of it, and that the country ought clearly to understand that they have it. What they want is strength. If they are to remain in, let them have more strength. We have a number on this side sufficient to prevent the Government, if they were so inclined, from embarking upon any very erroneous line of policy. If we, on the other hand, have the majority, it is incumbent upon us to show how we may best use it for the advantage of the country generally. 320 The dissolution was a declaration of war to the knife against the Liberal party. The Government were weary of the position they held in the last Parliament, and I do not wonder at it. They determined to sot up for themselves with a majority of their own. It was quite right to do so, if they thought that the result of the dissolution would be that they would obtain a majority. It was quite justifiable, if they felt confident that their measures had been good and had been thwarted by a factious opposition, to make an appeal to the country in order to see whether the excellence of their measures was so recognized that the country would determine that their measures should be carried, and would give them a large majority to insure their success. I do not know that either of those justifications can be pleaded for the dissolution. It may be that the Government thought they were going to obtain a large majority, but miscalculations were made, and they found themselves with perhaps thirty more friends in this House, and about ninety or 100 more enemies, than in the last Parliament. Had they the oilier reason, that they were satisfied of the excellence of their measures? The Chancellor of the Exchequer said they had no chance of carrying their measures, however good they were, because they were only one third of the House. Did the Earl of Derby feel that confidence in the excellence of those measures that he could stand or fall by them? The last great measure was the Reform Bill, and what did the Earl of Derby say in his last speech about it?—"that the course adopted by the House of Commons upon the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for London had this effect;"—and here I must say never were Resolutions framed by man which seemed to have such extraordinary effect as those of the noble Lord. We have been told that this Resolution lost the Government the confidence of foreign Governments, and yet we know that at their bidding the Austrian Government suspended a movement which it had threatened, and to which it was pledged. Well, what was the effect of the noble Lord's Resolution upon the question of Reform?That no single Member of that House who may be unconnected with office will be by his vote pledged to one single provision of that measure.That is the most extraordinary statement I ever read—the effect of a Resolution condemning a particular measure is to ab- 321 solve all those who have at any time approved any part of that measure from all responsibility for, or connection with, their previous opinions. It is not confined to gentlemen in office, for we find that they absolved their followers from the hopeless task of defending the measure upon the hustings. If, then, the Government had no confidence in their chance of obtaining a majority, no confidence in the goodness of their measures, what was the object of the dissolution? Just let me read a sentence upon that point, and I can't do better than quote the words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, upon a similar occasion, said,—What then is the real object? To waste a year … His scheme of conduct is so devoid of all political principle that, when forced to appeal to the people, his only claim to their confidence is his name. Such arts and resources may suit the despotic ruler of a continental state, exhausted by revolutions, but they do not become a British Minister, governing a country, proud, free, and progressive, animated by glorious traditions, and aspiring to future excellence.Well, what was there for this dissolution but a name. There was no vindication of past measures. The noble Lord's Resolution had relieved them from that. Well then was there any promise of future measures. There are some hon. Gentlemen tolerably confident of what will be done, and I must say I never knew a Minister make a statement of political views so void of everything objectionable, for he promised everything they wished to every party in the House. Let me read what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said the other night. "Our resistance to the noble Lord's Motion and our objection to lowering the borough franchise were," said the right hon. Gentleman, "mere matters of detail, not of principle," and then he went on to say,—The question of the borough franchise must be dealt with, and it must be dealt with with reference to the introduction of the working classes. We admit that that has been the opinion of Parliament, and that it has been the opinion of the country, as shown by the gentlemen who have been returned to this House. We cannot be blind to that result. We do not wish to be blind to it. We have no prejudice against the proposition.Why that proposition was the whole question that we had been debating. It was the very point at issue. Details indeed! Do we not recollect the speech made by the right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Colonies (Sir E. B. Lytton), whom I regret not to perceive now in his place; or 322 rather, at whose absence I rejoice, because he has not heard the principles which he so eloquently enforced tossed to the winds by the right hon. Gentleman? He said that a lowering of the borough franchise was to postpone education and knowledge to ignorance and brutality. We were assured that there was great virtue in a £10 house—that ignorance, dark and crass ignorance, was the normal state of all who lived in a house of less than £10 value—and that to admit such persons to the exercise of the franchise would be destructive to the constitution. But now we are told they have no prejudice against the proposition. They go on to say, "all we want is to minister to the public necessities," that is to the necessities of the Government representing the public; but they add cautiously, "provided the measures we introduce are deserving of public approbation." Those are certainly wider concessions than ever were heard before from any Ministers in this House. They say—"You wanted reform. We offered you reform compatible with our principles. You did not accept it. Now we will offer you reform that is not compatible with our principles." "We are general merchants." "We have samples of every article." "We have been reading about political economy, and we know where there is a demand there must be a supply." I confess when I am asked to give my confidence to the Government, I am at a loss to know what it is I am to confide to them. The hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Lindsay) is captivated by the promises of the Government. He says he is as ardent a reformer as the hon. Member for Birmingham, and goes as far as that hon. Gentleman; he knows where to go for the reform which he desires, and he says, "The Government have the House of Lords with them, who will pass any measures which they may support, and they will carry a Reform Bill that will satisfy me." Certainly the measures which the right hon. Gentleman did propose in the last Parliament, besides the Reform Bill, did not inspire me with such confidence. The India Bill we know was disposed of by a resolution of my noble Friend, which was not then considered to be factious or improper, and support was obtained from hon. Gentlemen usually sitting behind me who are now spoken of with great acrimony, but to whom at that time confidential despatches were shown, and whose support was not then deemed to be so destructive to 323 the character of those who received it as appears to be the opinion now. The Jew-Bill was quoted by the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Lindsay), but how was the emancipation of the Jews carried out? I remember in the debates which we had from year to year upon that subject there was one argument consistently put forth, that there was an exception in the case of the Jews which did not apply to other religious persuasions—that there was about them a kind of miraculous nationality which no residence could change. I maintained then, as I have always, that according to the principles of religions liberty in this House no clerk at that table ought to ask any gentleman who takes the oath what particular creed he professes. There might be a special difficulty about the Jews, but they have been admitted here in such a manner that the objection still remains, and is a standing cause of acrimony. The Government have not taken a broad and intelligible principle, but reversing the maxim of de minimis non curat lex, they have legislated in that spirit for the case of the Jews. They said that to admit the Jews would be a blow to Christianity in this House, and yet in the face of that statement, when they got into office, without any great political necessity they did the very thing which they said would be so destructive to Christianity. Can they wonder then that there are men in this House and out of it who begin to question the grounds upon which they have acted. But then they say if we failed with our Reform Bill it was not a question of principle, and others have failed too—the noble Lord the Member for London himself. No doubt the noble Lord introduced a Bill in 1854; hut, although he failed to pass it, it was not rejected. To this day the House has not passed any opinion upon that Bill. [Sir J. PAKINGTON: Our Bill was not rejected.] The noble Lord the Member for the City of London, when he led this House in the Government of the Earl of Aberdeen, brought in a Reform Bill. Was that Bill rejected? It was the universal feeling of the House that no question of Reform could be entertained when the war with Russia broke out. But the hon. Member for Sunderland says the principle of the noble Lord's Bill was that minorities should be represented, and that that principle was condemned. Why, that Bill was the foundation of a great portion of the late Bill of the Government. The 324 measure of the Government proposed a £10 franchise in counties, and I hope I am not doing injustice to the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. L. King) if I say that the Government may have copied this proposition from his Bill. He has a perfect right to that portion of the Bill. Indeed, the day after the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer, in a very masterly speech, explained the provisions of the Reform Bill—upon which day we heard with great sorrow that two of the most influential and respected members of the Government had seceded from it—so general was the idea that the Bill belonged to the hon. Member for East Surrey that the Court newsman spent the whole day opposite the hon. Gentleman's door, expecting him to be sent for to assist the Chancellor of the Exchequer in carrying the measure. The noble Lord's Bill proposed the lowering of the borough franchise. That subject was steadily avoided by the Government in their late Bill, because they thought it impossible on principle to lower the borough franchise, but they proposed what have been called "fancy franchises." Now, however, there seems a chance of their agreeing to a proposition very similar to that contained in the Bill of the noble Lord as the speech of the right hon. Gentleman has given us an indication that we are to expect no opposition to a safe and moderate lowering of the franchise. It must, however, be remembered that my noble Friend the Member for the City of London was a Reformer. I do not quarrel, however, with the Government for undertaking in the late Parliament to deal with the question of Reform. As the noble Member for Tiverton said, they took the horse with its engagements, and they knew what they were bound to do. They came to this House, consisting of a majority of Liberals, who, although they could not agree among themselves to form a Government, would, it was clear, agree among themselves as to the principles upon which any other Government should be conducted; and, although professedly anti-reformers, although they had displayed very great zeal and ability in opposing the proposition of the hon. Member for East Surrey, they thought it their duty to bring in a Bill on the same model which only excited our surprise. The reason I would give to the hon. Member for Sunderland (Mr. Lindsay) for preferring not to wait for the fulfilment of the promises of the Government—supposing they have an opportunity of fulfilling them 325 and for wishing to see the question of Reform in the hands of Reformers is this:—It is admitted that it is no easy matter to carry a Reform Bill, but I have stated in this House, and I believe it to be true, that we always find ourselves in difficulties when the two great parties in this Mouse do not confine themselves to that winch is their duty in right of their principles, but when one of them undertakes to do the business of the other. I have been blamed for saying that there was danger in a Conservative Reform Bill, because, in the nature of things, the Opposition would think themselves bound to go beyond it, and to outbid those by whom it was proposed. I justify myself in that statement by appealing to a passage in that remarkable letter addressed to the Earl of Derby by the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole) with reference to the Reform Bill of the late Government:—I cannot help saving that the measure which the Cabinet are prepared to recommend is one which we should all of us hare stoutly opposed if either Lord Palmerston or Lord John Russell had ventured to bring it forward.There is also another consideration which leads me to the opinion that a Reform Bill should be brought in by Reformers. A compromise to some extent is always made before these questions are settled. No Government passes a Bill upon subjects of this nature in the exact form in which it is laid before Parliament; but a Bill brought in by those who have previously been opposed to any great extrusion of Reform is passed under the protest of those who would go further, and who say they are not bound by any compromise, If, on the other hand, a Reform Hill is passed by the Liberal party, that party are bound by any compromise to which they have assented, and the other party are certain never to disturb it, because the measure already goes beyond their own wishes and opinions. In such a case, therefore, there is a promise of stability and permanence which I do not think we could anticipate with reference to a Bill passed by a Conservative Government with the reluctant assent, or, probably, with the dissent and under the protest, of the Opposition. I have referred to the manner in which the Jewish question was settled, and another measure was passed to which I offered no objection, but which, in my opinion, it was not within the scope of a Conservative party to pass. They did not bring it for- 326 ward, but they assented to it. I allude to the measure abolishing the property qualification of Members of Parliament. When that Bill was assented to, the Government were asked by one of their influential supporters which point of the Charter they were going to take up next, and a practical answer was given by the introduction of a Reform Bill providing for the establishment of a sort of electoral districts. I now come to another question—the mode of dealing with the claims to equality on the part of the Roman Catholics. I have no wish to complain in some respects, as regards the public interests, of the course the Government have taken. I have long entertained the opinion which I was glad to hear expressed last night by a Roman Catholic of high standing, the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. Serjeant Deasy), that if by their policy the Government have succeeded in breaking up that system under which religious and political differences in Ireland have been conterminous, they have effected great good. I would willingly see on the opposite benches numbers of Conservative Members returned by Roman Catholic constituencies. I think is it a great misfortune in Ireland that every Roman Catholic is considered as hound to belong to the Liberal party, and every Protestant as bound to belong to the Conservative party. The Government will, then, have done much good if, by a conciliatory demeanour towards Roman Catholics—by satisfying their claims—they have broken up this system, and enabled persons, without reference to their religious opinions, to fall into the ranks of either of the great political parties without dishonour. I think that a wise policy on the part of the Government; but, at the same time, I must ask—why has this been done now for the first time? We recollect the dissolution of 1852, and how, when we endeavoured to do justice upon some points to our Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen, a Protestant cry was raised against us. Maynooth was the popular question, and the hon. Member for Warwickshire (Mr. Spooner) was idolized throughout England under the excitement which the agitation produced. When I was in. office as Secretary for War I proposed to send, and I am happy to say I succeeded in sending, Roman Catholic chaplains to comfort the sick and wounded Roman Catholic soldiers in their suffering in the Crimea; but I had to encounter great opposition, which was backed by influential persons. I do not say that in 327 the present ease there has been any compact. I have heard strong expressions of indignation at the notion that treaties have been signed, or that written engagements have been entered into; hut these things are not done by treaties, but on a tacit understanding. There have been charges of conspiracy, but I apprehend, that conspirators do not go and sign documents in the face of Masters in Chancery. I conceive that if it is done sincerely and bonâ fide there is nothing dishonourable in the Conservative Government offering measures which will give relief to Roman Catholics, and holding towards them conciliatory language, provided that such a course is not adopted at the moment, and for the purposes of the moment. I may state to the House, while alluding to this subject, what took place with reference to Roman Catholic prison chaplains in 1854, when the noble Member for Tiverton was at the head of the Government:—In the House of Commons, June 12, 1854, in Committee of Supply on the Civil Service Estimates, on the sum of £371,933 being proposed for the maintenance of Government prisons, Mr. Spooner asked for an explanation of an item of £550—not a very large sum—under the head of special service provision for Roman Catholic priests, and was replied to by Viscount Palmerston, who remarked that he supposed the hon. Gentleman wished to know why Roman Catholic priests were allowed to attend prisoners. Mr. Spooner then moved that the vote be reduced by £550, expressing his surprise that a Minister of the Crown should ask them to pay for instruction in a religion which the Sovereign had declared, by her assent to the Thirty-nine Articles, "an idolatrous faith and a dangerous deceit." Mr. Adderley approved of the Amendment. Sir John Pakington spoke against the proposed vote. On a division there appeared—for Mr. Spooner's Amendment, 158; against it, 136. In the list of that majority are to be found the names of Mr. Disraeli, Sir John Pakington, Mr. Whiteside, Colonel Taylor, Mr. Whitmore, the whipper-in of the party, and Mr. John George, the Irish Solicitor General. I do not in the least object to the change of opinion that has occurred now, but I say to Roman Catholic Gentlemen, "Recollect what we were exposed to in advocating your claims when on hardly a hustings in England could any man avow that he believed it was the duty of an English Government to give the con- 328 solations of their own Church to the soldiers who were bleeding in our cause." I hope that this change will be permanent, and that, if ever another Government should succeed hon. Gentlemen opposite, and proceed in the same course of conciliation, they will not again attempt to take up their old principles, and that we shall not again have a Protestant cry raised or the country told that its religion is in danger from these Romanizing Ministers. I was surprised and yet gratified to hear the tone in which the Irish Attorney General spoke upon this subject. He boasted that the Roman Catholics of Ireland reposed such entire confidence in the Government that they had returned a great number of Members who professed Conservative opinions. I rejoiced greatly to hear the language held by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. His expressions of tolerance on religious subjects, as well as of affection and good-will towards his Roman Catholic fellow countrymen, fell like dew from heaven on a parched and thirsty land. "We have learnt," he said—for I use his own words—"we have learnt that toleration is compatible with Protestantism. We have learnt that we can—without giving up those sacred things, our own faith and belief—deal in a conciliatory and just spirit with our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects." How long has he learnt this? How many years, how many months, ay, how many weeks ago did this happy inspiration come upon him! I wish it had been earlier. Look hack at the history of even the last twenty-five years. If hon. Gentlemen had learnt that lesson sooner, how much misery, strife, hatred, and uncharitableness—how many feelings ending in crime and bloodshed, would have been spared to afflicted Ireland! I rejoice, however, that they have learnt it now. I trust it is well and thoroughly learnt—that there will be no falling hack from it. And I can assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that I shall have the greatest satisfaction and pleasure in finding that a man of his great influence, derived from his high official position and the talents which dignify it, has become heartily and truly of opinion that the way to govern Ireland is by a display' of the spirit of Christian toleration and good-will towards those who differ from us in religious convictions. I know it will be said, as, indeed, it has been said by the hon. Gentleman who spoke near me, that the Tories pass all the good measures— 329 that, for example, they repealed the Corn Laws; and it will be added by some, "You, too, changed your opinions." Well, I admit that; but let me draw attention for one moment to the circum- stances of that time. Sir Robert Peel was at the head of a very powerful majority. He had been—I may say we had been—in the course of long discussions, extending over some years, defeated in argument, and convinced that we were wrong. The moment we felt this, we felt also that we could not go on conducting the Government with the maintenance of a fiscal system that was unsound and untenable. But for this, having a great majority, we might have held office much longer. But Sir Robert Peel forfeited that majority in order to carry out what he felt to be necessary for the safety of the country, and necessary especially for the safety of the landed aristocracy. I ask is there in that change any strict analogy which changes made in order to meet the views of a large Liberal majority differing from you in opinion; Sir Robert Peel felt that, whatever might be his own convictions, he was not the man who ought to introduce a Bill for the upsetting of a system which he had long supported, and he at once resigned office. He felt that the noble Lord who sits behind me, (Lord John Russell) was the proper person to propose that measure. Difficulties arose with regard to the formation of that Cabinet to which I need not allude, nor am I cognizant of them. The task was afterwards forced back upon Sir Robert Peel, but he felt so strongly in the first instance that he was not the right man to undertake such a work that, although at the head of a large majority, he voluntarily quitted office to enable others more fitted than himself to accomplish it. Well, we were ostracized from public life for years. I never murmured at that sentence. I conceive that the comparison between us and the Hivites and the Hittites drawn by the hon. Member for Birmingham was perfectly just. I think such changes of opinion onght not to be treated lightly, that they warrant the infliction of a heavy penalty, and therefore that the House and the country were perfectly right in ostracizing those who called themselves Peelites. I say then to those hon. Gentleman opposite who are changing their opinions on these subjects ["Oh, oh! "]—why surely there is a change in your opinions since 1854 in regard to the treatment of the Roman Catholics. Surely 330 you have changed your opinions since the discussions upon Mr. Locke King's Bill. I give you credit for sincerity; but when I see changes made so rapidly, and at the same time see that in your party there are so many men conscientiously disapproving them, I am not confident that the promises you make will be carried out; and therefore, if I can get these measures safely passed by men who can pass them without the sacrifice of principle, and with much more effect for the public good, I have a strong preference for a Motion that will insure so great a benefit. The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland did me the honour to allude to me in a manner which has called me up on this occasion. He road several passages from a speech which I delivered upon foreign policy in the year 1848, and in which there were some remarks criticising the policy pursued in Sicily on an isolated occasion by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. Throughout this debate there has been a very general habit of conducting the defence of the Government in the following fashion;—we ask what the Government has done, and it is alleged, in words like those used by the hon. Member for Sunderland, that they have brought us confusion i abroad, while nothing has been done at home. The favourite answer to all this is, that in the year 1848 somebody said something about somebody else on some other question, which makes it impossible that they can ever act together in a Cabinet. Now, parties have been very much broken up in this House of late years. It is said there have sometimes been very sharp discussions between different Members on this side of the House, and that they are not always found acting in the same combinations. Well, everybody has not that felicitous, calm, and philosophic manner which the right hon. and learned Gentlemen so eminently possesses. Some are carried away at times by their feelings, and speak with violence, and even with acrimony. Of course the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speeches, if examined, would yield no particle of such deleterious ingredients. I envy him that very much; but, at the same time, other men are not all so happily gifted with a placid temperament that leads them to bestow the most mellifluous appellations upon their political opponents. In the course of what I must now call a somewhat lengthened Parliamentary life, I may in the heat of discussion have said some 331 things which in cooler moments I might have thought far stronger than were required. But, says the right hon. and learned Gentleman, "having blamed the policy of the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) in Sicily in 1848, how can you possibly serve in the same Cabinet with him?" Really I am much obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for thus offering me a seat in the Cabinet not yet in existence. But if he asks me how I am to do this, I answer that I have done it before for three years, and I have never done anything with greater satisfaction. And I must say that a more honourable, more truthful, and I need not add more agreeable, colleague than the noble Viscount it would be impossible to find. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is very keen about the treaties of Vienna. He is horrified at the notion of anybody speaking of Italian suffering. These are the opinions of the Irish Attorney General. But there was a Mr. White-side who wrote not a pamphlet but a book about Italy, which I will not say was a book which nobody would desire to read, for it was much praised by discerning people, but—
I did not say a word last night about the treaties of Vienna except that it was understood that those treaties were intended to exclude the French from Italy.
§ MR. SIDNEY HERBERT
I suppose the right hon. and learned Gentleman is in accordance with his colleagues? [No!] Then if he is not in accordance with them, of course there is no difficulty. If he is in accordance with them, then I want to know what would happen if Mr. Whiteside, the author of the book on Italy in the nineteenth century," should meet the Irish Attorney General, and attempt to serve in the same Administration with him. The hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Seymour FitzGerald) arguing in the same strain, attacked somebody for having said something about somebody else some years ago. And that is given as a conclusive reason why we ought to support the Earl of Derby. [Mr. S. FITZGERALD: I spoke of what had been said last year.] Well, that is nearer. But was not the Earl of Derby himself once juvenile and curly, with a great talent for invective and sarcasm? I have heard that noble Earl say things of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton more sharp and acrimonious than anything the right hon. and learned Gentleman has ever read in any Speech of mine. Does 332 the Earl of Derby, however, think it impossible he may at any time sit in the same Cabinet with the noble Lord? Why, since those words were uttered, has not the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) been entreated, to assist the Earl of Derby in forming a Government? All this is beneath contempt. You have a great question to decide,—is the Government fit, or not fit, to conduct public affairs, and there is nothing but raking up little bits from Hansard, showing that some one, at some other time, was opposed to some other statesman. Why, it is pitiable! But the right hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whiteside) goes further, and says, "I will not tell you what somebody else says, but what I say myself." He tells us what happened at Willis's Rooms; but it is very dangerous to criticise speeches you have not heard, and which were never reported. Well, what did that firebrand, the Member for Tiverton, say? Here is a man who has held high office, has been Prime Minister and Secretary for Foreign Affairs, saying he "believes that intimate relations with France are beneficial both to France and England, and a guarantee of the peace of Europe." When has the Foreign Office announced that our intimate relations with France have been broken off? The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the able speech he made when advocating the Conspiracy Bill, said that the alliance between France and England was the keystone of the peace of Europe. Then, is it not open to a statesman who has conducted affairs for so many years and with so much brilliancy as the noble Lord to express his belief that France is as much our ally as Austria, and his wish to preserve the alliance and a thorough good understanding with the former? Is there any departure from neutrality in that? Now, I wish to say a few words, in perfect frankness, on another point. It has been objected to us that we did not postpone this Amendment till the blue-books containing the recent correspondence of the Foreign Office were laid on the table. I believe the blue-hooks might have been presented on the first day of the Session. But I do not bring any charge against the Earl of Malmesbury of being the cause of war. I know many people think the war might have been averted; but it is very easy to judge things after the event, and very easy to pick out of blue-books the errors that may have been committed in the course of long negotia- 333 tions. I was therefore glad to hear that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when speaking of past negotiations under another Government could discover through a long series of negotiations no worse blot than that a sentence in some obscure note might be construed by two persons in two different ways. Blue-books are the most certain repositories of passages that can be used by an Opposition, and to which it is very difficult for a Government to reply. It is necessarily so; but I don't want any blue-books; my want of confidence in the Government is founded entirely on home transactions. And here I must say I believe the Earl of Malmesbury has done his best, and I think he has been treated with great injustice, especially by his friends. They asserted, most unfairly, that the peace of Europe depended on his remaining in office; whereas, if they had said he was an English gentleman of good abilities and patriotic intentions, doing his best in very difficult circumstances, of which he had had but little previous experience, we should all have heartily concurred with them, heartily wished him success, and shown every indulgence in examining the errors he might have committed. I must say he has been treated with injustice by his friends, and that by all he has been harshly dealt with. Having said thus much on this point, I will make one or two observations on the state of parties. We all hear very much of the unhappy divisions on this side of the House; divisions that are not so distinctly shown, I suppose, may be called happy ones. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, the great advocate of party Government, says he wishes to extend the area from which the choice of men for official life may be made, and reproaches the party leaders on this side of the House with being of a more exclusive character, He went so far as to make it a reproach to the noble Lord (Lord Hartington) who moved the Amendment, that he is a member of that "territorial aristocracy" of which he (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) has been so great an advocate. But recollect that in choosing men from the opposite party there is this great facility,—it is, compared with this side of the House, composed more entirely of one class, namely, that of landed proprietors; there are in its ranks distinguished lawyers and some representatives of commerce, but hardly any manufacturers. It has a far greater number of men of leisure, who can give their whole time to political affairs, than we have 334 on this side. On this side of the House, composed to a certain, though less degree of the same elements, we have many gentlemen at the head of enormous establishments; they would laugh at you if you proposed to them to give up their business to take office. Then, again, docs not this very fact produce an independence of thought and action on this side that does not exist on the other? There are differences on both sides; but on ours they have more scope. This adds to the difficulty of combination. But, at the same time, I should be sorry to see any Government commit anything like a dereliction of principle for the purpose of obtaining support. But he the causes what they may, it may be said that the result is that among their supporters the opposite party finds greater facilities for carrying on the Government. That is true if the numbers of the two parties are equal. Whether our numbers are equal will be tested by the division. I do not think we shall get from it what may be called a strung Government; many lament that; they say parties are broken up, and that is lamented also, without recognizing the causes. Though some political question may bring masses in the House together, yet the tendency on both sides is to break up the old lines of party. You will never get a strong Government in that sense; nor do I think we want a strong Government in the sense the country did formerly. Then society was weak, and a strong Government was necessary to repress and guide it; now society is strong and dominates the Government set over it. You may have a Government weak from its composition, or weak from want of support; I see no prospect of having a Government that will not be weak from want of support; but I think I see my way to having a Government strong by its composition. That is my justification of the vote I intend to give to-night. In what I have said I hope I have not given offence to any one; I feel great respect for many individuals who belong to the other party, and for some who are sitting on the Treasury Bench. [Laughter.] It is nothing to laugh at; I hope we have not come to the times when a warm friendship cannot he felt for a political opponent, when distinguished by character and attainments. As to the result of this contest, if we are beaten. I shall cheerfully acquiesce in the decision of the House, nay, shall rejoice to find that the Executive in whose hands the affairs of the country are placed have been strengthened by the 335 division. If, on the other hand, the Government shall be in a minority we shall have great difficulty in forming a Government on this side of the House. Our numbers are not large. We shall he exposed to the opposition of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and we all know how he carries on war. But I trust in that case that the patriotism and the good sense of the country would come to our aid. Whichever party is in power I trust that they may at any rate bring to a successful issue the two great questions that are now before the public—that they may conclude that domestic question which threatens to tear open the old wounds of society which years ago were healed by the first Reform Bill, and, that they will be able to restore peace to Europe, and restore it in a manner which shall show that we at any rate in free England have not forgotten that there is a people that is struggling for freedom.
§ MR. BENTINCK
said, the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had frankly and fairly admitted the justice of the sentence of ostracism which had been passed on the Peel party; and looking to the conduct of the Coalition Cabinet he (Mr. Bentinck) thought that sentence ought to be perpetual—and it was because one of the objects of this Amendment was to remove it that he should vote against it. They on that, (the Ministerial) side of the House, had been taunted by hon. Gentlemen on the other side with the silence during this debate of those who supported the measures of the Government—a silence which they said had been imposed upon them by the Government. He was not in the secrets of Her Majesty's Government, but he certainly was not aware that any effort had been made to restrain the oratorical powers of hon. Members on the Ministerial side of the House upon the first night of the debate, neither had he heard such a thing whispered in the lobby; and he would further say that had such an intimation been made to him he should have disregarded it. The fact of their having remained silent on the first night was to be explained—and he said it in no spirit of discourtesy to Gentlemen opposite—by the statement that they had heard nothing which called for a reply; and unless a person had come down with a speech ready cut and dried for the purpose, it was impossible to find anything in what had been said whereon to hang a speech on 336 that side of the House. The argument which had been put forward by Members of the Opposition in favour of the Amendment appeared to him for the most part to furnish the strongest possible reasons against it. The hon. and learned Member for Cork (Serjeant Deasy) had told the House that the Government had failed in all their measures, and asked what confidence they could have in such a Government. It was not his province to defend Her Majesty's Government—they were well able to take their own part. There had been acts by the present Government since they came into office which he deeply lamented, with which he entirely disagreed, and which were to him a source of the utmost political regret; but he considered that he should be taking a most unwise and most unjustifiable course if, because the conduct of Her Majesty's Government having been such on one or two occasions that he was unable to support or concur in it, he were at once to join in supporting the Amendment of the noble Lord. The House had to ask itself in case it assisted in removing Her Majesty's present advisers, who were to take their places, and what were the chances of a strong Government which would prove of practical benefit to the country. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Cork had said it was impossible that the Government could succeed on the present occasion otherwise than by the smallest possible majority; and so far as he could guess before the division actually took place, supposing the Government to have a majority, it would probably be a very small one; but on the other hand, he anticipated that if the adverse Motion were successful, it would equally be carried by an extremely small majority. If therefore they were to be told that the present Government was not fit to retain office because their probable majority would be of such a limited nature, what prospect had they of a strong Government being originated by the Opposition, who would come in perhaps by a majority of four or five? The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton said the question to be decided was whether the Administration of one of the greatest countries in the world was or was not deserving of the confidence of Parliament and the country. That was one of the gravest possible questions that could be entertained; but he repeated that there was another question which must also be answered by every one wishing to give a conscientious vote on 337 this point, namely—what was to be the Government that was to succeed that now in office in the event of the Motion of the noble Lord opposite proving successful? According to the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton the present Government, if allowed to continue in office, would be the means of embroiling the country in foreign war. That was a matter of speculation on which he felt unable to pronounce an opinion; but, judging by what had already taken place, it appeared to him that the foreign policy of the Government had been able, decided, manly, and straightforward—and, so far as he could see, there was nothing in it to excite apprehension for the future. On the other hand, he appealed to the House and to the country to say whether the advent to office of the noble Lord himself was likely to be regarded as a symbol of peace to Europe. The foreign policy of the Government had been discussed at a singular time and much criticism had been passed on Lord Malmesbury's conduct, the admission always being made by the speakers that they were not in possession of the means by which they were to judge of what his conduct had really been. He bad no further sources of information than were open to other hon. Gentlemen; but he felt bound to say that in his opinion the policy of the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office had been calm, dispassionate, and manly—and that if he had had difficulties to encounter, they had arisen not from any faults of his own, but from the proceedings of the country with regard to home legislation, and by want of proper attention to the defences of the country. Had those defences which the hon. Member for Ashton was anxious, he believed, to sweep away altogether, been in the condition in which they ought to have stood, the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office might fairly have taken a different tone than he had, under the circumstances, been able to assume; i and he believed it quite within the bounds of possibility that, had he been able to take such a tone at that time, the consequences of the negotiations with which he was entrusted might have been very different. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton said the present Government was weakened for the purposes of home legislation by the divisions existing among them. He should like to know, from the specimens they had had during the debate, what prospects of unanimity there were in the Government that was to follow. What 338 were the kind of discussions that were likely to take place between Members of the new Cabinet? If it were formed it would probably include the noble Lord and the right hon. Member for Ashton. Would they see them talking over the last occasion on which that right hon. Gentleman had distinguished himself by upsetting the Government of the noble Lord? If such reminiscences were productive of unanimity, it would certainly be most remarkable. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, speaking in that colloquial tone which he sometimes assumed, said of Ministers, that "Those were not the sort of men to be on the Treasury Benches." He should like to know, before displacing them, what sort of men were they to have in their stead. In the new Government which was to be formed they would probably have also the services of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London; but he could not bring himself to believe that these were likely to lead to the stability of the Administration, or to the benefit of the public service. The noble Lord was undoubtedly a most unfortunate statesman: he had been once for six years at the head of a Liberal Government, the fate of which was that it died a natural death from want of administrative energy. The noble Lord had at various times attempted to bring forward measures that had not met the approbation of the country or of that House; and yet the noble Lord now claimed to be the only man in the House who had a right to originate those measures. His great objection, however, to the noble Lord was, that he was more likely than any man to add to the discord and confusion which must necessarily characterize the new Government. There was hardly any great question which had engaged the attention of Parliament for the last thirty years with which he had not, in common parlance, played fast and loose. The noble Lord in early life was a zealous Reformer; then he became in favour of finality—"finality" was his motto so long as he remained in office; but when he took his scat on the Opposition Benches he became a strenuous advocate of reform. The noble Lord, therefore, was not likely to give stability to the incoming Government. Then there was another section of public men who, looking at their past career, would greatly benefit the country by remaining out of office. As regarded the right bon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle, he could only say 339 that he was unable to hail his advent to office as likely either to conduce to the harmony of the Government of which he was a Member, or to the maintenace of that state of things and the upholding of those principles which he (Mr. Bentinck) wished to see carried out. But he had yet to mention the most important personage of all—the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Blight), who, for many years past had been a most determined political opponent of his future colleagues. Of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton he had spoken in the strongest terms that Parliamentary courtesy would allow; and only the previous night he had awowed his determination neither to praise the noble Lord nor to retract anything that he had ever said. It was quite clear from the present state of parties that the Amendment could never be carried, nor a Liberal Administration expect to survive, without the cordial support of the hon. Member for Birmingham. He (Mr. Bentinck) did not mean to say that the hon. Member for Birmingham was to be a Member of the new Cabinet, but if they knew anything of that hon. Gentleman, they knew that he was not likely to give to the present Motion his support without a sufficient guarantee that the incoming Government would carry out a policy consistent with the views which he himself espoused. With these conflicting opinions—with these powerful elements of disagreement—how was it possible that the Liberal Administration could go on working with any hope of cordiality, or any likelihood of beneficial results? Neither the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton nor the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham had condescended to enlighten them as to the nature of their future policy—they had carefully abstained from staling how these difficulties were to be removed; but it was the duty of that House, before coming to a decision on the Amendment, to inquire not only what that policy was to be, but whether the principles of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, or the principles of the hon. Member for Birmingham, were to be in the ascendant. One very remarkable assertion had been made by the hon. Member for Birmingham. He said that if the present Government had drifted this country into war—if by their mismanagement they had permitted this country to become involved in its consequences—that might have been a fair ground for a vote of no confidence. Why, if the object of the 340 hon. Member had been to describe in the most accurate terms the precise conduct and exact proceeding, the whole history in fact of the Coalition Government, he could not have done it better! That was precisely what they did; and they not only allowed the country to drift into a war, but having well embarked in that war, their subsequent conduct was characterized by such gross mismanagement that thousands of men and millions of money were wasted and sacrificed to official incompetency. A hopeless want of administrative ability characterized the British Government of that day, best known as the Coalition Government; and to recall that Administration to office, with even less advantages than it then possessed was, in his opinion, to play a most dangerous game. He did not think there were five men in this country who would not tell them that it was the first duty of the Government to attend to the defences of the country. He admitted that the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton had always been, in theory at least if not in practice, one of the ablest supporters of the defences of the country; and although under his administration they had been allowed to dwindle away to a considerable extent, he had no doubt that he would now keep up our defences. But what was he to do with a Cabinet in which every element of strength must be derived from the presence of one, two, or three members who were the direct friends, supporters, and upholders of the opinions of the hon. Member for Birmingham. Did the noble Lord believe that they would recant all they had said, and sanction the large outlay required for the national defences? Before displacing the present Government the House ought to know how that important question on which the welfare of the country depended was to be dealt with by a new Cabinet. He believed that any Government which attempted to tamper or temporise with that question would be speedily ejected from office with the unanimous consent of the whole country. How did the hon. Member for Birmingham reconcile the maintenance of our commercial prosperity with the deterioration of our naval defences? Our commercial success was coeval with and dependent upon our maritime supremacy, and, the moment it became evident to foreign nations that we were unable to maintain that supremacy, that moment our commercial existence ceased and England sank into a third-rate Power. Yet, with this staring them in the 341 face, they were invited to restore to office a Government the leading Members of which were prepared to advocate the destruction of that force on which our position as a nation depended. He would appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite seriously to consider whether they would continue in office a Cabinet against which no distinct charge had been preferred, or if preferred certainly not proved, or whether they would bring into power a Government which must be composed of elements so discordant, so utterly inharmonious, that it would be impossible for them to work together except for the destruction of all the best interests of the country.
MR. DANBY SEYMOUR
said, that this was not the first time they had been told that if there were to be a change of Government the sun of England would set for ever; but this country had existed and prospered through Liberal Administrations before, and he had no doubt that it would do so again. Hon. Gentlemen opposite said that throughout this debate there had been nothing for them to answer. He asked them, then, to give a good reason why the majority should sit upon the Opposition Benches while the Treasury Benches were occupied by the minority? The only hope that the Government had was in the dissensions of the Opposition, which they had been doing everything in their power to foment; but if the Ministerialists could agree, why also should not the Opposition? If they did, they were a majority, and according to constitutional precedent they ought to sit upon the other side of the House. If England ever sunk to be a third-rate Power, it could only be by forgetting her own constitutional precedents, and allowing a Government in an avowed minority to conduct her affairs. Turning to the foreign policy of the Government, there was a general feeling out of doors that the leaning of the present Government was towards Austria, and that there was some colour for that supposition. Austria was connected with the Pope and with the extreme section of the Roman Catholic Church. Why was the hon. Member for Dundalk (Mr. Bowyer) so enthusiastic in praise of the Government but because he thought that they were in favour of Austria and of that mediæval policy which she wished to see carried out in Italy? Why was it that the late King of Naples was in favour of them last year? And how was it that they boasted last year that they could settle the affair of the Cagliria much sooner than the Govern- 342 ment that preceded them, because they were the friends of King Bomba? The Tory party of England had always been in favour of absolute government. Before they changed their name to Conservative they were opposed to every change which had occurred in the world for the last 100 years. On principle they had always sympathized with despotism throughout Europe. ["Oh!"] If he were wrong in saying so, it would be because this debate proved that they had no principles at all. Nothing could be more inconsistent than their conduct in office and out of office; the measures which they had passed since they had been in office were measures which they would have opposed in Opposition. Every triumph of which they boasted was a desertion of their principles, and instead of a credit was a disgrace to them. Did they mean to say that in passing the Jew Bill, or in offering to lower the borough franchise, they were consistent? At a time when their leader, Lord Derby, used his powerful eloquence to brand the Government of Lord Melbourne for an absence of principle, the noble Lord said they were "Ministers, but he could hardly call them a Government." The words which Lord Derby used in moving the vote of want of confidence in 1841 were applicable to the present Government now. He was happy to say that the dissensions of the Liberal party were healed. All had had to give up something, as all parties must who wished to remain parties and not small factions. The basis of party must be, as stated by the hon. Member for Birmingham, the average of opinion of all its members. Upon that basis the Liberal party were agreed, and their agreement would lead not only to their accession to power, but to their successful conduct of the Government afterwards. As to the war, he earnestly trusted that neutrality would be preserved. It was impossible for this country to sympathize with Austria, although the war was unjustifiable on the part of France and Sardinia. There was no doubt that Austria had checked the progress of both Germany and Italy. There was no doubt that the Concordat was a most retrograde step. Austria had bound herself hand and foot to the Pope so completely, that the whole education of the people was placed in the hands of the Jesuits. Not a classic could be read in an Austrian school without their previous permission; not a play could be represented at Vienna without the sanc- 343 tion of the Archbishop of that city. They knew the state of Italy had been the subject of long and frequent complaints on the part of all the great Powers of Europe, and Austria had for twenty-five years prevented the Pope yielding those reforms which were now about to be carried at the point of the bayonet. If Austria had been a liberal Power it was impossible to estimate the amount of good she might have effected in Eastern and Southern Europe. But, on the other hand, they could not sympathize with Sardinia, which, instead of trusting to the peaceable development of events, had done everything for years to get her present powerful ally to assist her in her ambitious projects. It would be a sad termination of the war if the Constitution of Sardinia, now suspended, should be extinguished, and an absolutism, with the democratic power of the people vested in one individual, as in France, substituted in its place. As they could not sympathize with either side, he hoped they would maintain neutrality. But in the present critical state of the south of Germany, they might hear any day of armies marching across the Rhine. They knew that there was a certain pact between Russia and France. If the Germans crossed the Rhine we could not sympathize with Germany; but if Germany were attacked by France and Russia, for any fanciful projects of dividing German territory, there would be a very strong feeling in England in favour of Germany as an oppressed Power. The contingency might happen: and, therefore, all parties must be desirous to have our naval and military establishments undiminished. There was also the contingency of England being invaded. They had always found the Emperor of the French observe good faith towards this country; but there was no doubt that monarch had broken pledges. Before the coup d'état he wrote assuring letters to the National Assembly, which he suppressed two days afterwards. He could not, therefore, complain if that circumstance was still remembered, and if suspicions, as to his real intentions, still lingered in many minds. We should be in a safer position if our population was armed than if we remained in our present unarmed condition, and hon. Members need not fear that a change of Government; would lead to the neglect of defensive preparations.
§ CAPTAIN VERNON
said, he should not have risen whilst so many hon. Members were anxious to address the House, except 344 for the fact that he had a little information to give to Gentlemen on the opposite side, and particularly to the right hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir James Graham), and the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Wilson), who, indeed, were not now present in their places, but who, he had no doubt would hear by other means what he had to communicate within the next twenty-four hours. The subject on which he was about to give information he should not have considered of great importance except for the fact that those Gentlemen to whom he had referred had dragged it into the debate by the hair of the head. It was the case of the Cunard line to which he referred. The hon. and right hon. Gentlemen had placed the matter before the House in an invidious position. The hon. Member for Devonport stated that the contract had been made contrary to all precedent, and insinuated that it was made for the purpose of jobbery. The right hon. Member for Carlisle, with that intrepidity of assertion for which he was, not without a certain amount of celebrity, went so far as to say that the money had been expended in huge gigantic bribery—a bribery of all the Members for the west of Ireland, In the course of his speech the hon. Member for Birmingham had alluded to a person sent to oppose his election, and had termed him a "wandering politician;" but the right hon. Member for Carlisle had not always sat for Carlisle, nor had the hon. Member for Devonport always sat for Devonport. It might be that they in the course of their political travels might present themselves at the western side of Ireland, in search of a constituency, and should they do so he had no hesitation in saying that they would speedily discover that they were "not the men for Galway." The hon. Member for Devonport had given them to understand that there was no precedent for that which he had denounced. Now, in 1851 Lord Jocelyn's Committee sat, and of that Committee the hon. Member for Devonport was one. The Committee was appointed so consider the mode of arranging the postal communication with India; and they came to a distinct understanding that there should be two lines of postal communication with India, and that those two lines should not be given to the same parties. One line was in the possession of the Peninsular and Oriental Company, and the other line was competed for by the Eastern Steam Navigation Company. In defiance of the recommendation of the 345 Committee, the second line of communication was given to the Peninsular and Oriental Company, and they then had a monopoly of the East Indian postal communication, except a small line held by the East India Company between Aden and Bombay. The Company afterwards gave up that line, and it was expected it would be put up to competition, and some parties had asked to be allowed to tender for it; they found however that it had already been given to the Peninsular and Oriental Company. He did not charge this as a job; but why should the hon. Gentleman charge the present Government with a job in the Cunard ease? He never recollected hearing that the hon. Member for Devonport was deficient in memory; the hon. Gentleman observed and recollected very well the acts of others; and therefore it was to be assumed that he knew and recollected his own acts. Now, what were the facts in reference to the line from Aden to Bombay? The Gentlemen who wanted to get this line from Aden to Bombay communicated with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and asked for an interview, and received the following reply:—
§ "Downing Street, Dec. 8, 1853.
§ "Sir,—The Chancellor of the Exchequer desires me to inform you, in reply to your letter dated the 11th of October, but which only arrived in Downing Street on the 5th instant, that no intimation has yet been conveyed to him on the part of the East India Company of their intention to abandon the line of steam communication between Aden and Bombay, and in this state of the question he would be much obliged if, previous to urging an interview with him, you would have the kindness to favour him with an outline of your views upon the subject in writing.
§ "I have the honour, &c,
§ "Thos. Holroyd, Esq." R. W. WILBRAHAM."
§ Mr. Holroyd accordingly wrote in answer:
"70, Cornhill, Dec. 14, 1854.
Sir,—When the former contracts for the carriage of the mails in the Eastern seas were about to expire, I had in deputation several times occasion to meet Sir Charles Wood, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, who invariably stated to us that the question for the contracts for the carriage of the mails rested entirely with him as 'Chancellor of the Exchequer,' and Sir Charles Wood exercised that authority by giving all the contracts for the carriage of the mails to the Peninsular and Oriental Company, much to the disappointment of the mercantile and Indian communities.
§ "When, therefore, it became known that the East India Company were about to abandon the line between Aden and Bombay the mercantile community felt that an opportunity was now offered for competition in the Eastern seas, and a moment favourable for carrying out the recorded 346 opinion of the commissioners on the contract packet service for the establishment of a line viâ Trieste. Feeling satisfied that the matter really rested with you, I took the liberty of soliciting an interview. The reply to my letter from your Secretary, Mr. Wilbraham, dated the 8th inst., states that no intimation had as yet been conveyed to you on the part of the East India Company, of their intention to abandon the line of steam communication between Aden and Bombay; and that, in that state of the question, you would be glad to have an outline of my views in writing previous to an interview.
§ "You will, therefore, I am sure, be equally surprised with myself to find that, without your knowledge, a contract has been virtually concluded with the Peninsular and Oriental Company for the carriage of the mails between Aden and Bombay of that portion of the line abandoned by the East India Company, thus giving the Peninsular and Oriental Company a complete monopoly of the Indian and China Seas. This information I had from Mr. Wilson, the Secretary to the Treasury this morning; and from what he told me it would appear to be useless in my troubling you with my views on the subject, since he stated the arrangement to have been concluded a fortnight ago, and therefore just one week before the date of your Secretary's letter to which I have alluded, and from which it is quite evident that this arrangement has been entered into quite unknown to you. I may be permitted to state shortly that a company has been formed in the City ready to give the public the benefit of an additional route viâ Trieste, at a speed very superior to that promised by the Peninsular and Oriental, namely, twenty-one days to Bombay, and the memorials in my possession from the City of London, of Liverpool and Manchester, and Halifax, of which I enclose copies, will show the feeling of the trade on the subject.
§ "I have, &c, "THOS. HOLROYD.
§ "Right Hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer."
How the hon. Member could after this say that there was no precedent for such a thing as the Cunard arrangement, seemed to him to be wonderful. The hon. Member for Devonport charged the Government with unduly influencing the elections. He pronounced to the House a Jeremiad respecting the manner in which he had been treated at Devonport, and he so depicted his griefs that he (Captain Vernon) expected to see "the big tears rolling down his innocent nose."
A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind:
had he done so he (Captain Vernon) could have mingled his tears in the same bottle; for he had in times gone by contested Chatham against the Government, and it might be readily imagined that the hon. Member and himself had been tarred with the same brush. In reference to elections, it was the easiest thing in the world to make charges in every possible direction. The right hon. Member for Carlisle had given them to understand that a large sum
of money had been paid by a nobleman on the Conservative side, with the view of that money being employed for political purposes. He said at first £20,000. then £10,000, then £5,000, and he did not know whether the right hon. Gentleman had not eventually "shadowed" it away altogether; but at all events the statement left behind it a sting. The right hon. Member said that there was an improper interference with the elections; but did he not know that that which was charged against one side of the House was also charged against the other? The hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. Serjeant Deasy) when speaking the other night in his excitement, "bonneted" the noble Lord the Member for London, and the right hon. Member for Carlisle was morally "bonneting" the noble Lord when he charged the noble Earl with subscribing money for the elections. Similar things to those said of the noble Earl had been said of Gentlemen closely connected with the noble Lord the Member for London. But he (Captain Vernon) did not believe that such things ever took place or ever could. The hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) gave them to understand that bribery extended among all sorts and conditions of men. He did not say whether he left out his own particular friends; but if Bribery were a goddess it would appear that she had served out a certain amount of poetical justice to the hon. Member, for at that very moment whilst he was speaking, petitions were lodged against two of the hon. Members, immediate relatives, for bribery. No doubt a more philanthropic man than the hon. Member for Birmingham did not exist, and no doubt the feeling extend- ed to his family; and doubtless when they contributed their specie it was from purely a philanthropic love of their species. One of the relatives of the hon. Member for Birmingham must be connected with the Humane Society, for he believed he had actually gone to the extent of paying £20 for a cat—a tolerably large sum for a four-legged mousetrap. They were all fresh from the hustings; and if ever there was a time when the constituencies of the kingdom compelled candidates to be explicit and give things their right names, and call a spade a spade, it was now; and doubtless the people of England expected that at that, their first deliberation, they would carry out the same straightforward policy. He wanted to know what they had been doing in their debate?
He had been sitting for nights "like Patience on a monument" not smiling—but listening, not to the great question before the House, but to matters about Austria, Germany, Sardinia, and France, and all parts of the habitable globe; but the great question before the House had been systematically blinked, except that now and then when some hon. Gentleman spoke in a high-spirited tone about "chivalry" and "throwing down the gauntlet" and other such language, which made him rejoice that he did not live in the good old Irish times when that sort of thing ended in pistols and "wigs on the Green." What was this Amendment, stripped of its disguise? Why nothing but a desperate determination on the part of certain Gentlemen, who had been cooling their heels in Opposition once more to warm their backs at the Treasury fire. That was to be the be-all and end-all of this Amendment, the letter and not the spirit of which they were called upon to delude themselves into the belief that they were taking into their serious consideration. They might deceive themselves, for there was no deception so easy as self-deception; but they could not deceive the people out of doors. They had too fresh in their recollection the unhappy Motion of the hon. Member for the City of Oxford, in which he suffered himself to be victimised by his friend, and sent forward like a scapegoat bleating into the wilderness in expiation of the sins of his party. They had too fresh in their recollection the factious Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London. They could not be deluded, but could see at once what must be the plain and distinct object of the Amendment. He believed that the thinking part of the community—the intelligence that guided the commerce and general business of the country—were sick and tired of seeing the great interest of the country jeopardized, and, if not sacrificed, at least postponed to the miserable question as to who were or who were not to hold office, and be the distributors of patronage. There was a feeling growing up throughout the land that England had a nobler destiny to fulfil than to be the mere pasture ground of a political clique. The interests of England and of her people would always be paramount when those names that had flourished in the leading columns of newspapers, and who fancied they were names for history, would be swept from the face of the earth. We have all met this feeling face
to face within this three months—it would one day make itself heard in a voice of thunder if its discontented mutterings were suffered to pass unheeded now. What was the plain and unmistakeable object of this Amendment? Why, the removal of Lord Derby from power. [Cheers.] He accepted those cheers, and he would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite why should Lord Derby be removed? Was it, he would ask, because Lord Derby bad neglected Reform, as did the Administrations of the two noble Lords, until it served their purpose to reproduce it as a political stalking-horse? Was it because he had mismanaged the foreign relations of the country, as did the noble Lord, who suffered himself to be cajoled, and flattered, and out-manœuvred at Vienna, drifting the country into a sanguinary and savage war, as did the Administration to which the noble Lord belonged? Was it because he bad plunged them into a sanguinary war with China, as did the noble Viscount, that cost the country much money, and him (Captain Vernon) his seat? Was it because he had submitted to national humiliation, as did the noble Viscount, and which, in his turn, cost him his seat? No, none of these circumstances and misdemeanours could be laid to the charge of Lord Derby. Then, what was his crime? Why, his crime was that he occupied the seat coveted by the noble Lords opposite, the filibustering cry of whose party was "war at any price." And who was to be their future leader? Who was toreign upon the Treasury been
Under which king, Benzonian?
Speak or die.
Was Tiverton to do suit and service to London, or was London to be dragged at the chariot wheels and through the mud of Tiverton? Who was to be Ego, and who was to be Rex meus? Or was the Premier of England in future to he depicted in the imperishable pages of Punch as the two Kings of Brentford, amicably smelling at the same nosegay? Or was a third element to be introduced in the shape of the hon. Member for Birmingham? And was the Premier of England in the good time coming to be as described by the celebrated Mrs. Malaprop, like Mr. Cerberus—three gentlemen at once? Poverty made people acquainted with strange bed-fellows; but was it an impossible vision that would vouchsafe to them the probability of seeing the noble Lord the Member for the City and the noble
Viscount the Member for Tiverton comfortably tucked up under the blanket of coalition, with the hon. Member for Birmingham ensconced as "bodkin" between them.
Could such things be,
And overcome us, like a summer cloud,
Without our special wonder?
What was the bond of union between this choice triumvirate? Was it peace? That was not the vocal ion of the noble Viscount. Was it war? That was against every feeling of the hon. Member for Birmingham. But here he must do the noble Lord the Member for the City of London the justice to say that he appeared to have a bias both ways, for whereas he formerly drifted this country into one of the bloodiest wars, that made England like Egypt when a cry went through the land, for in every house there lay one dead, he suddenly became peaceful and deserted his party on the Motion of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, who, to distinguish him from his hon. and learned colleague, might fairly be called the gallant Member for Sheffield. What, then, was the bond of union?—was it the ballot? Why they all knew that the ballot was a stink in the nostrils of the noble Viscount, though it was a sweet smelling favour to the hon. Member for i Birmingham. And here, again, the noble Lord the Member for the City of London might be said to have a bias both ways—for whereas formerly be eschewed the ballot latterly, under the pressure of a possible contest for the City of London, he had been induced to look at the momentous question with very modified feelings. What was the bond of union? Was it Reform? He believed that no power upon earth would induce the noble Viscount to go the whole length with the hon. Member for Birmingham; and no power on earth would induce the hon. Member for Birmingham to stop where the noble Viscount stopped. But here, again, he must do the noble Lord the Member for the City of London the justice to say that he bad a bias both ways; for whereas formerly the word "finality" was the prefix to his patronymic, now he was prepared to dance on wherever the I hon. Member for Birmingham was pleased to fiddle. He would call on hon. Gentlemen opposite who were Liberals at heart, and not merely of mouth—who were received throughout the length and breadth of the land as the champions of honest Liberalism—to destroy the proposed Amendment,
which might be the means of bringing into power men whom they
Have learned to know, and knowing to distrust.
He called on those hon. Gentlemen, who at the last election obtained their seats through the magic potency of the noble Viscount's name, and who deserting him in his utmost need, fled from him like quicksilver—he called on them to recollect why they did so—if they forgot he would not forget—and to resist the proposed Amendment that might bring his strong indignation back into power. He called on those hon. Members who once banded themselves together, and thrust out from them the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, to remember why they did so—for if they forgot it, he would not—and to resist this Amendment, that would bring back his strong indignation into power. He called upon them to recollect the terms in which the hon. Member for Birmingham gibbeted these remarkable proceedings—"Where did these conspirators meet—was it in a coal-hole or in a sewer! A fit receptacle for so dirty a transaction." He called on them to recur to the feelings with which they must have heard these words, and resist the Amendment, that might bring his (Mr. Bright's) scorn and indignation to power. He called on those on his side of the House, marshalled in the Conservative ranks, to recollect that this Amendment was not directed against the Conservative Ministry alone, hut against the Conservative party altogether, and not to listen to the flattering words of the right hon. Member for South Wilts, who said he did not find fault with the party, but with those that led the party. Could the right hon. Gentleman divide the head from the body? When the leaders were attacked, the party was attacked. When they were to be defended, they were to he defended by a party; and the party had now to defend them from the assault, not of a policy, but of a party—not by a fact, but by a faction. Let them then stand well together—let there be no doubt—no hair splitting—no "letting I dare not wait upon I would"—but let them rally together like one man, under the banner of union and consistency, and as one man stand or fall.
I rise, Sir, asking that indulgence which I have been informed is invariably granted the first time any Member seeks to address the House. I think that the hon. and gallant Member for Buckinghamshire has made a most un- 352 justifiable attack upon the relatives of the hon. Member for Birmingham. Is it because the hon. Member for Birmingham is not in his place that the hon. and gallant Member for Buckinghamshire seeks to apply, what he is pleased to call "the tar brush" to the relations of the hon. Member? Is he sure that the "tar brush" is not applicable to himself? It is true, Sir, that petitions have been presented against the return of the hon. Member for Huddersfield and myself, but at this time it would ill become me to make any further observations respecting what must form a subject of judicial investigation of the House. Now, Sir, with regard to the vote I am about reluctantly to give. I consider that those who move and support an Amendment on the Address take upon themselves a great responsibility. That responsibility is one which I am willing to share with the Liberal party. Recurring to the vote which placed the present Administration in power, though at that time I had not the honour of a seat in the House, I entirely concurred in the general feeling that Lord Derby's administration deserved a fair trial. I consider, Sir, that the Administration of Lord Derby has had a fair trial, but owing to some radical defect in the measures it has introduced to the House, it has lost much of the confidence of the country. He was himself sent to Parliament mainly on one question—the question of Parliamentary Reform—and on the ground of that question he must vote against the Government. He did not doubt the ability of the Gentlemen who composed the present Administration, but they had egregiously failed as practical statesmen. The way they had treated the 40s. freeholders and the working classes would not soon be forgotten by either. He could assure the gallant Captain that his (Mr. Leatham's) constituents did not employ him to buy cats at £20 a piece, but they had sent him there to state that they had no confidence in Her Majesty's present advisers to amend the representation of the people.
SIR GEORGE LEWIS
Sir, I think I shall represent the feelings of both sides of the House when I say that great gratitude is due to the hon. Gentleman (Captain Vernon) for the diversion which he offered us during the dull hours that usually elapse between seven and nine o'clock. I shall not think it my duty to follow him through the details which he gave us on the subject of the Cunard contract, or to expa- 353 tiate on the difficulties of steam navigation. Nor, again, shall I attempt emulate the excursions which he made through various imaginative fields, to imitate the dramatic allusions which he introduced, or try to rival those attempts which reminded one of the more successful endeavours on other boards of persons who are said plausû sui gaudere theatri. My object is of a more humble and more prosaic kind. It is to state my reasons for voting in support of the Amendment. I fully admit that an Amendment of this nature, involving an expression of want of confidence in the Executive Government of the country, is unusual and extraordinary, and that persons who have been habitually in opposition to the Government since its formation, and have constantly found themselves in divisions in the opposite lobby might hesitate to support a vote of that description. But it seems to me that any person who has been in the habit of opposing the existing Government ought not to hesitate upon this occasion to support the Amendment. That Amendment has not been proposed spontaneously; it has been forced upon the Opposition by the conduct of the Government. When my noble Friend (Lord John Russell) moved his Resolution upon the Reform Bill in the last Parliament, that Resolution, in my opinion, did not import a censure on the Ministry. It affirmed certain principles with respect to a Reform Bill on which this side of the House were unanimously agreed, and in which a large number of Gentlemen on the Ministerial side also concurred; and it would have been competent to the Government, if they had thought fit, to have accepted those principles, and to have modified their measure accordingly. But they did not take that course. They treated the Resolution, quite unnecessarily, as a vote of censure; they went to a division on the understanding that every one who supported it thereby implied his disapprobation of the general conduct of Her Majesty's advisers. The Motion, as we know, was supported by a large majority of the late Parliament. The Government did not acquiesce in the decision come to. They appealed to the country—but not on the merits of the Reform measure which they had introduced. They appealed to the country for a vote of confidence in their Administration, and the elections which took place in consequence of the dissolution, did not turn upon the question whe- 354 ther their Reform Bill should be revived in the present Parliament, but whether the country had confidence or not in Her Majesty's present advisers. I entirely assent to the remarks to which the House listened with so much attention yesterday from the hon. Member for Birmingham, in which he said, with truth and justice, that some questions of importance were decided at the elections. We know what efforts were made there and what accusations were thrown out of subscriptions entered into for contesting the elections. I do not re-peat those assertions; for no Election Committees have been appointed, and I have no evidence on which I can ground any such charge. I therefore merely refer to these statements as general rumours; but they prove that great exertions were made and great anxiety was entertained as to whether the elections would be determined in favour of a Conservative or of a Liberal candidate. Why was it that such exertions were made, that so much anxiety was felt if something was not expected from the new Parliament when it should assemble? I appeal to the general consciousness of the country, and to the knowledge of every Member in this House, whether they did not believe that the fate of the Administration depended on the result of the elections, and whether the declaration in Her Majesty's speech was not so understood? Lord Derby stated at the Mansion-house that he felt himself in the condition of an officer put upon his trial before a court martial, with his sword upon the table, and the elections were to decide whether that sword was to be returned to him with honour or not. Now I say that we are the court-martial, we are the tribunal to decide whether or no the sword should be restored to the Prime Minister of this country, and that if the Gentlemen sitting on this side of the House had not met the defiance thus distinctly thrown out to them, they would have been guilty of political cowardice; and it would have been stated with perfect truth, that they, understanding the position in which they had been placed, had declined to meet this challenge. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the first night of the Session, offered various arguments to the Opposition in favour of inaction. He told us that there was war in Europe; that the country was in a critical position, that the finances required adjustment, that the Estimates demanded consideration, and that all these were reasons why we should acquiesce in the Ad- 355 dress as originally proposed, and why the Amendment should be negatived. I assert with the utmost confidence that if on the first night of the Session Gentlemen on this side had risen with those arguments in their mouths, and if they had not moved any such vote as that which is now under the consideration of the House, they would have been told that they were merely putting forward pretexts to conceal their real motive—a fear to bring to a distinct issue the question which had been submitted to the country, and that their reluctance to accept the challenge of Ministers was owing to their consciousness that the country had decided against them. Under these circumstances I cannot but think the course which has been taken on the present occasion not only is a right course, but is the only course which the conduct of the Government left to gentlemen on this side of the House; and I can hardly persuade myself that any person who takes even a party view of this question can deny that a challenge fairly given has been fairly accepted, and that the issue before the House is one which was not only fully justified, but absolutely required to be tendered to Parliament. That being the case perhaps some persons may say that it is not necessary that a political party should be guided by the conduct of its opponents; that although this challenge was offered, yet it was offered merely for the purpose of entrapping us into acceptance, and that we were not bound by an issue which was prescribed by Ministers. I fully admit that if we were free agents in the matter, and it had been thought expedient to refuse the defiance which was thus offered, it would be competent to us, in the exercise of our discretion, to have done so; but when the general rumour and even the organs of Gentlemen opposite attributed to the elections a preponderating number in favour of the Liberal party, no such option was in fact left us, and a moral necessity existed for the course which has been adopted. It has been said by some Gentlemen who have spoken on the opposite side, that although the provocation might have proceeded from Ministers, nevertheless this is, on the part of the Opposition, a mere party move, and therefore entitled to condemnation. I fully admit that this Motion is a party move; and if any Gentleman, particularly any new Member, thinks that any advantage is to be derived from that admission, I make it without the smallest reservation. But I must be per- 356 mitted to remark that all great questions in this House have been decided by party moves. A Parliamentary system can only be conducted by the combined operation of parties. A party is a body of persons combined for a public object. So long as the object which sets them in motion is a public and not a private and sectional one, they are not only justified, but impelled by duty to the adoption of such a course as that which we are now pursuing. If we look back to former times we shall find that all great questions—the Reform Bill of 1832, Catholic Emancipation, and the Repeal of the Corn Laws—all those great changes by which our social condition has been improved—were dealt with in the way of party moves; and whatever amelioration is to be expected in our present state must, according to the constitution of the House of Commons, proceed from the same sources. Perhaps, in endeavouring to ascertain how far the conduct of the present Government justifies the course which I and others are about to take, we shall be told that the Conservative party have not adhered to their former opinions, but have adopted a new line of policy, and that therefore those arguments and those reasons which formerly would have induced a Liberal Opposition to take steps for removing them from the conduct of public affairs would now serve as arguments for retaining them in office. But does the history of the existing Administration support any such view of the case? It is true that the present Government, according to the metaphor of my noble Friend the Member for Tiverton, undertook the administration with the engagements of their predecessors. That undertaking was an entirely new one in the conduct of public affairs in this country. Hitherto it has been the recognized system that when an Opposition came into office they continued to act upon the principles which had governed them before acceding to power. But the present advisers of Her Majesty acted in a different manner. Upon coming into office they thought it necessary with respect to two important measures—the India Bill and Reform—to saddle themselves with the engagements of their predecessors, the present Opposition. In regard to the India Bill, up to the very day that preceded their accession to power, the present Government opposed the measure which had been proposed by their predecessors, dividing against it in great numbers. Upon 357 acceding to office they entirely renounced the opinions which they had formed and expressed upon the subject of that Bill, and they introduced a measure founded upon the principle of that which they had condemned—viz., the transfer of the power of the East India Company to the Crown. But their Bill was extravagant in its conception and execution; it scarcely outlived the day upon which it was proposed, and was speedily abandoned by its authors. Nevertheless, it was eminently characteristic, for it showed with what readiness they departed from their own principles and adopted those of their opponents. So with respect to the question of Reform. Having from the time they had been a party opposed systematically all reform in Parliament, they nevertheless adopted the obligation of their predecessors to propose a Reform Bill, and in the last Session we had their measure before us. There was one point which was adverted to by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the first night of the debate, as to which I will make one remark. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated that he could not admit that any party was to be permitted to have a monopoly of any question; and he said, in regard to the Reform Bill, that the Liberal party could not pretend to be exclusively entitled to propose a measure upon the subject of reform. I entirely accede to the doctrine of the right hon. Gentleman that there is no party in this House which is entitled to claim any such exclusive privilege; but the practice for which I contend is that that party which which has consistently advocated certain principles on the question of reform is the party which is most fit to introduce a measure on the subject, and which is most able to overcome the practical difficulties that necessarily arise in the settlement of such a great question. The right hon. Gentleman referred to some examples, and told us that in former times the Duke of Richmond and Mr. Pitt—both members, as I understood him to say, of the Tory party—proposed measures on the subject of reform; but let me remind him that the Duke of Richmond of that day was not only a Whig, hut, according to a well known phrase, was a "Whig and something more," and that when Mr. Pitt first proposed a Bill on the subject of reform, he likewise was a member of the same party. I contend that that party which has from the beginning connected itself with the question of reform is better qualified both as to its leaders and 358 its supporters to propose and carry through Parliament, successfully, a practical measure on that subject than any other. But it is said that, although Gentlemen opposite have since their accession to office changed their former opinions, and in making that change of opinion may have forfeited the confidence of the House, nevertheless their measures have been attended with practical success, and on that account they may claim the confidence of the country. But where are the questions on which the Government can appeal to Parliament on the ground of their practical success? Can they appeal to the argument of practical success on the subject of their foreign policy or of reform, or on any of the various Bills they have introduced to this House? Even with regard to the more limited question of finance the anticipations formed by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer have not been realized by the event. In the budget which he proposed last Session—which was certainly of a peculiar character, for it consisted for the most part in postponing certain engagements, and in allowing the Act in regard to£2,000,000 derived from income tax to expire, rather than to keep the Act in force for the purpose of paying off other engagements—the right hon. Gentleman made certain calculations with respect to the produce of the revenue for the last year; but if we examine these calculations in detail we shall find that all of them have been falsified. For example: the right hon. Gentleman anticipated from the addition to the duty on Irish spirits an increase of half a million sterling; but, so far from that calculation being realized, there had been a diminution upon the produce of Irish spirits of £90,000. Then, again, the right hon. Gentleman anticipated from the new duty on bankers' cheques £300,000, but it has produced only £200,000. I could pursue this subject into greater detail if it were necessary; but I shall simply add that for these and other reasons to which I will not advert, I shall have no hesitation in giving my vote in favour of the Amendment.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
Sir, I think the manner in which a Government has dealt with the defences of the country ought fairly to enter into consideration in deciding the question whether that Government is or is not entitled to the confidence of the country. And if there was ever a time when that consideration ought to enter into a decision of that kind it is 359 the present, bearing in mind the great armaments that are in progress, and the very unusual course which Her Majesty's Government has taken in this respect. Before, however, adverting to this part of the subject, there are one or two points have been mooted during this discussion to which I wish, in the first place, briefly to advert. At the outset I beg to say that I heartily concur with those of my friends on this side of the House who have signified their freedom from any objection to the course which hon. Gentlemen opposite have taken on this occasion. I was one of those who complained loudly, and I think justly, of the course taken by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, in reference to the Reform Bill in the late Parliament. I make no such complaint now. I think Gentlemen opposite have a perfect right to raise the question now under consideration, and I am the more disposed to make that concession after listening attentively to the debate which has taken place, and marking the absolute and complete failure of every attempt to bring in any serious charge against Her Majesty's Government. It is true the noble Viscount the Member for Tiverton did make an attempt to inculpate the Government in certain charges; but after indulging in a certain number of jokes and some amount of abuse, more suo ["Oh, oh!"]—when I say abuse, I mean good-humoured abuse, but I still find fault with the tone in which it was indulged. After a good deal of that kind of language, the noble Viscount found himself compelled to give up the attempt, and, taking up the only ground open to hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side, to state almost in plain language, "We have nothing to say against you, but we want your places." That, Sir, is indeed the real question at issue; I recognize the right of hon. Gentlemen opposite to raise that issue, and they have raised it fairly. It cannot be disguised, and they have been unable to throw any cloak over the obvious character of the vote. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down professed to enter into the reasons on which he would support the Amendment before the House; but I listened in vain for anything that could alter the character which that Amendment assumes to my mind, or for any reason for refusing confidence in the Government, or for passing anything like a vote of censure upon them. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Wilts avowed, in my opinion, more than any one else that he 360 felt the necessity of justifying such an Amendment as that before the House by reasons, and he proceeded to give what he no doubt thought were very sufficient reasons for refusing to place confidence in the Government. But in his case also I listened in vain for anything that, in my mind, could justify such a step as the Opposition are now taking. His speech appeared to consist of a reply to certain arguments used by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland (Mr. W. S. Lindsay), and that on which he dwelt most was one founded on the fact of the Government having consented to the admission of Jews to Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman proceeded to dwell upon what he called a reason for supporting this vote of want of confidence, which I own appeared to me to be of the most insufficient and inconsistent character. He referred to attempts on the part of the Government to conciliate and do justice to our Roman Catholic fellow subjects; but, assuming for a moment the truth and accuracy of all that he has said, and as far as I am concerned as one member of the Government I entirely accept it. I am unable to understand how he can twist this into a reason for supporting a vote of want of confidence. The right hon. Gentleman said, in the first place, that he thought we were right, and then he proceeded to make a charge against us, not that we were wrong now, but that our being right now was the greatest inconsistency, because this was the party who had always refused concession to the Roman Catholics, and in illustration of this view he referred to a vote of this House in 1854, on the question of the employment of Roman Catholic chaplains in gaols, and he argued from that fact, that whatever we might feel now in regard to our Roman Catholic fellow-subjects was gross inconconsistency on our part. ["Hear, hear."] I am glad to hear that cheer, because I am about to make a serious complaint of very great injustice done to myself personally, in being named by the right hon. Gentleman as having spoken on that occasion. [An hon. MEMBER: Voted.] I beg pardon; the right hon. Gentleman said that Sir John Pakington was one who spoke on that occasion. ["Voted."] I hope hon. Gentlemen will not interrupt me. In a matter in which I was personally concerned I am not likely to make this mistake. The right hon. Gentleman will contradict me if I am in error. The right hon. Gentleman named me as having "spoken" on that occasion, 361 and he went on to name my right hon. Friend near me, and several others as having "voted." I own I was astonished at what he said. I knew that the charge of refusing-toleration to my Roman Catholic fellow-subjects was foreign to every feeling of my whole life, and foreign to every word I had ever uttered in this House. I confess at this distance of time I could not remember what I might have said on that occasion, but every hon. Gentleman must have supposed that I had spoken in the sense of opposition to my Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. I have a right to expect that if the right hon. Gentleman refers to me on such a subject as this, he will not misrepresent me, or make me say that which is foreign to my nature, and foreign to every word I said. The right, hon. Gentleman and I have sat in this House together for many years. We have been on friendly terms. The time was when we sat upon the same benches, and I always regretted, without questioning his honour or his motives, that the course of public events should have destroyed our political relations. I think that the right hon. Gentleman might have recollected that so long ago as the Government of Sir Robert Peel, I was one of those sitting on this side of the House who did not hesitate to rise and advocate the policy which Sir Robert Peel pursued towards the Roman Catholics. The right hon. Gentleman might have recollected that at a more recent day, when the friends with whom I acted almost unanimously followed my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire into the lobby against the Grant to Maynooth, I stood almost alone. I could not concur in the policy of my hon. Friend. I spoke against his views, and almost alone I went into the opposite lobby. The right hon. Gentleman might have recollected the still more recent efforts we both made to extend public education upon a more liberal looting, on which I have never hesitated to avow my desire to extend education to all clauses of my fellow-subjects without reference to religious opinions. Having as a public man acted upon these principles for many years, I was surprised at what the right hon. Gentleman said of my vote in 1856. I had forgotton at this distance of time exactly what I said. I therefore went into the library and referred to the usual record of our proceedings. I found my speech. It is true that I voted—[Opposition cheers]. Hon. Gentlemen opposite must see the spirit of my speech, and if they can derive any satisfaction from 362 such a cheer they are perfectly welcome to it. I trust that the House will forgive me if I read a portion of this speech, hut no one likes to have his principles misrepresented. I said I desired that my vote might not be misunderstood, and I find myself reported as follows:—Now, he wished to make the admission—to make it broadly and in a manner impossible to be misunderstood—that he held it to be necessary to provide for the spiritual instruction of all inmates of gaols; and he had already asserted that principle in the Juvenile Reformatory Act for the County of Middlesex. The provisions of that Bill, however, rested upon a very different basis from the grant now proposed. In providing spiritual instruction for the inmates of gaols the noble Lord must proceed upon one of two principles,—either he must appoint chaplains of the established religion of the country, and say, every unhappy person who becomes an inmate of a gaol becomes subject to the general law of the country,' and be spiritually instructed by the chaplain; or else he must take the most tolerant course, saying, 'although these unhappy people have entered here, I will do violence to no man's conscience, but will allow him to be instructed according to his peculiar religious opinions.' He wished it, therefore, to be well understood that he objected not to the amount proposed, but to the shape in which it was proposed. Were the vote brought forward in the shape suggested he would have no objection whatever to it, provided the money was distributed fairly among all classes requiring aid." [3 Hansard, cxxxiii. 1414].I may have been mistaken in the vote I then gave—I may have come to an erroneous conclusion—but I hope I have convinced the House—and I am indebted to them for allowing me to read what I said—that I am not open to the imputation which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wilts has conveyed, that I had refused every concession to my Roman Catholic fellow subjects in the nature of providing spiritual instruction for them in gaols.
Sir, I now pass to the accusations against the Government, which are only two—one that we have failed in our legislation; and the other, that we have failed in our foreign policy. Anything more futile than the attempt to support these charges I never heard. It has been said that we failed in our Church-rate Bill. Now I submit to the House that if there is anything to be ashamed of in regard to that Bill it is rather in the manner in which it was opposed than in the way in which it was brought forward. But, however that may be, will any man gravely contend that a failure in regard to a Church-rate Bill in a former Parliament is a ground for a vote of want of confidence now? Why it is manifestly absurd. But there is another Bill which we brought for- 363 ward to which hon. Gentlemen have not referred. The noble Viscount did not mention it; and nobody else has mentioned it amongst our legislative failures; I allude to the Bill which was introduced by the Solicitor General for the transfer of land. That was a subject upon which our predecessors, either from want of courage or want of ability, have uniformly shrunk; but my learned Friend in the most able manner—in a manner which elicited praise from all sides of the House, and support from every quarter of the House—introduced that Bill, which he laid upon the table last Session. That has not been enumerated as amongst our legislative failures. I cannot proceed further without noticing the exaggerated references which have been made to our Reform Bill. The noble Viscount said that nobody out of the Cabinet, with one or two exceptions only, spoke in its favour. Now, I do not deny that there were provisions in that Bill to which great exception was taken both in this House and out of doors. But if the Bill was so objectional, why was it the noble Lord was obliged to resort to that irregular Resolution as the only mode in which he could hope to obtain a majority in this House? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wilts spoke of our Bill as having been rejected. I corrected him at the moment. It was not rejected. The noble Lord dared not raise the issue. It is notorious that, if the question of the second reading had been taken, the second reading would have been carried. Are there no Gentlemen of eminence on the other side of the House at this moment listening to me who in private conversation declared that Bill to be a wise and liberal measure? I mention no names. I do not mean to bring up personal charges, but there are those who understand what I mean ["Name," and cheers]. When I say that there were Members on the other side of the House who were prepared to vote for the second reading of that Bill, and to support us upon it, but who, when they found that a party move was to be made, and that the Bill was not to be considered on its merits, said, "The issue is changed; this is no longer a discussion on the Reform Bill; it is an attack upon the Government; and we must vote with our party." These are notorious facts, and I will no longer dwell upon them; but as they are notorious facts I protest against the exaggerated language which has been held about our Reform Bill, which did make great and liberal con- 364 cessions, and which you know would have passed a second reading had that been the only issue before us. Well, how does the question of reform now stand? What are your prospects under this Coalition, or whatever it may be termed, of which we have heard? Have hon. Members forgotten that the noble Lord the Member for London went out of his way within a day or two before the dissolution—perhaps he thought he might make a little political capital at the moment—but he went out of his way to give us a sketch of what his Reform Bill was to be. Have we forgotten, too, that the next day the noble Viscount the Member for Tiverton came down to the House, and in his turn went out of the way to declare that he could not approve of such provisions. This gives us a little insight of what the reform prospects of the new Administration are to be. I believe, too, that the noble Lord the Member for the City of London has said upon the hustings that he would not be bound by what he had said before. The last event that has occurred was the hon. and learned Member for Birmingham making a speech in this House last night, when he declared that he might be contented to accept a £10 franchise for counties, and a £5 or £6 franchise for boroughs;—very much the same sketch that the noble Lord the Member for London has given us, and against which the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton has protested. Now, these differences do not open to ardent Reformers a very clear prospect of what we are to have; but it does open to my mind a very clear prospect, in the event of a majority supporting this Amendment, of what the future Government of this country is likely to be. It opens to me the unpleasant and dangerous prospect of seeing a Whig-Radical Government, divided and distracted among themselves, with the hon. Member for Birmingham sitting on their flank, goading them on to democratic measures, and ready at any moment to trip them up if they do not do his bidding. And I think that the hon. Member for Birmingham has shown great wisdom in keeping out of this entanglement. I think he has consulted his own character and reputation in not sitting in the same Cabinet with the noble Viscount. I think that, after what has passed in this House it would not be for the character of the noble Viscount nor of the hon. Gentleman to sit in the same Cabinet together. I am glad, for the sake of both, to find that it is not 365 likely to happen. But I think the proposal before us, as I have sketched it, will be humiliating to the individuals concerned, and dangerous to the interests of the country. Sir, for what is it proposed to pass a vote of want of confidence in the Government? On what is it proposed to found it? Is it on our foreign policy? Now, what part of that foreign policy is it which justifies this vote of want of confidence? We heard a good deal before the dissolution of the case of the Charles et Georges. ["Hear!"] Gentlemen cheer; but I suppose that was not a case for a want of confidence, or otherwise we should have had a Motion on it before this time. Certainty there was no reluctance to attack Her Majesty's Ministers, if that was such a bad case. I am reminded that we had a Motion on the affair of the Charles et Georges, but it was a sham Motion; it was not an attack; it was not a Motion upon which you dared to take a division, because the merits of the case were against you. Is the attack on our foreign policy in respect of the case of the Cagliari, in consequence of which my noble Friend Lord Malmesbury succeeded in doing that which had foiled the late Government for months, and on which my noble Friend extricated the English engineers from the dungeons of Naples, and obtained compensation for the injuries they had endured? Are we to be attacked for that? No; you know that no Government ever had more reason to be prouder of its foreign policy than my noble Friend Lord Malmesbury had of the able and successful manner in which he managed that affair. And here, Sir, let me do justice to the spirit of fairness in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Wiltshire this evening alluded to Lord Malmesbury. My noble Friend has done his portion of the work of the present Government in a most able manner. He has been most unfairly and harshly treated. But while I have to complain of the language which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Wiltshire used in respect of myself I thank him for the fairness of his language in regard of my noble Friend Lord Malmesbury. Well, if you cannot attack our foreign policy on either of those grounds, nothing remains but the Italian question. Here I do complain—and I hope my right hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman) is in the House—I do for one complain of the gross and flagrant injustice of proceeding to condemn any Govern- 366 ment before you have seen their papers and heard their case. I am not surprised, and I do not complain of my right hon. Friend the Member for Stroud that he should vote against us on this occasion. I think from the course of his political life he is entitled to take that course; but I wish he had not urged such false and fallacious ground for that vote—I wish he had not come down here and said he would have acceded to the justice of our claim if we had claimed to have the evidence read before our case was adjuged. If that be his plea I claim his vote. We do complain of one of the most flagrant cases of political injustice of which I have ever heard; and it requires the lively audacity which distinguishes the noble Viscount the Member for Tiverton to ask the House to take the course which, in his speech on Tuesday night, he urged it to adopt. Who was the other hon. Member who urged that course? The hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. Serjeant Deasy), who ought to know that no verdict should be given until the evidence in the case has been heard. There is a golden rule in this country, and not less just within this House than outside of it—never to condemn any one unheard. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton has called upon the House to reverse that rule; but I hope the 120 new-Members will not think that any political differences would justify such a gross injustice as to condemn the foreign policy of the Government in respect of the Italian question before the House is in possession of the grounds upon which judgment in respect of that matter should be given. I cannot understand why the hon. Member for Birmingham is going to vote against us to-night. He is an advocate of neutrality and peace. It was justly remarked by an hon. Member this evening that no hon. Gentleman had in this debate touched on the language which we had advised Her Majesty to use in the Speech from the Throne. In that Royal Speech our policy in respect of the Italian question is peace and neutrality. The hon. Member for Birmingham says that his policy is peace and neutrality. On what ground, then, can he vote against us, alleging that our foreign policy is one of his reasons? I think I have a right to complain unless there has been a misrepresentation of what the hon. Gentleman said at that ball the other day [Great Laughter]—I beg pardon, I mean at that meeting which took place in Almack's room the other day. Unless the 367 hon. Member is misrepresented, he took occasion to say he would vote against the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton governing the country unless he expressed himself an advocate for peace. However, he finds that we are advocates for peace, and with flagrant inconsistency he is going to vote against us. I think the hon. Gentleman's views must have undergone some great and extraordinary change, for which I cannot account, if he is sanguine that the best mode of preserving the peace of Europe is to place the foreign policy of this country in the hands of the noble Viscount. Whatever may be the attributes of the noble Viscount that belief would not be in accordance with his (Viscount Palmerston's) reputation; and I should have thought that the hon. Member for Birmingham, of all men in the House, would have been the last to place confidence in his peaceful intentions.
Sir, there is another subject which, holding the position in the Government which I do, it is impossible I can allow this debate to close without alluding to—I mean the defences of this country. I think I am justified in repeating what I commenced by saying—namely, that if you are thinking of refusing your confidence to any Administration—when you are about to pass a vote of censure on a Government—surely one of the elements which in common sense and justice you are bound to consider is the manner in which they have dealt with this important matter. I feel impelled by a sense of duty to allude to it; but I have on this ground a reluctance to do so, that I shall have to allude to measures taken by myself. I beg, however, that the House will understand that I speak in no boastful spirit. If the defences of the country have been improved under my Administration of the affairs of the navy, I am indebted to the able professional men whose assistance I have had, and certainly to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of the Admiralty. How was it that the noble Viscount, in attacking our Government and by inference defending his own, made no reference to the state in which the late Government left the Royal Navy. I am not now intending to revive any controversies between those who have hitherto filled the office of First Lord and myself. I only wish to advert, in justice to my colleagues and myself, to facts which are incontrovertible. And this fact, I think, no man opposite can deny—that whatever may have been the cause—and no doubt various causes 368 contributed to this result—when my Lord Derby's Government succeeded to office the effective strength of the Royal Navy of this country was reduced to a point which it had never reached before, and which I hope to God it will never reach again. I have had occasion to say before to-night that fifteen months ago, when we came into office, we had only twenty-five effective line-of-battle ships. Of course I mean ships with engines and screw propellers. It is true that there were three more afloat taking in their engines. Therefore, if you like you can compute the entire number as twenty-eight line-of-battle ships. That was not a point to which the navy of England should have been reduced. It was a state of things which had never existed before, and which Her Majesty's Government, since the time it came into power until this hour, have devoted their best energies to redress. Is this a reason why you will not trust us? Is this the reason why we are to be condemned? What is the state of the navy now? At this moment we have now, as then, three line-of-battle ships taking in their engines. Without these, there are thirty-seven effective line-of-battle ships. Counting those three, as I was willing to count the three in the other case, we have forty effective line-of-battle ships, instead of twenty-eight as was the case fifteen months ago. I called on Parliament fifteen months ago to enable me to remedy the existing deficiencies. The House of Commons responded liberally to that appeal. The consequence is, that at the end of the present financial year you will have fifty effective line-of-battle ships afloat. I told you three months ago that we should launch fifteen ships in the course of the present financial year, including those undergoing conversion. We have added two more to that number, making seventeen, which will bring up the total number by the end of the financial year to fifty, or double what we found when taking office only fifteen months ago. I ask, again, is that a reason why we are to be condemned? If we are to be so condemned by triumphant faction here, do you think the country will respond to such a decision? But let me turn to another branch of the subject. If ever a Government exposed itself to attack, the present Government has done so. We have assumed with reference to this matter as grave a responsibility as any Government that ever held the reins of power in this country. Soon after Par- 369 liament was dissolved—[Cheers from the Opposition]—aye, I know what that cheer means, and I do not shrink from the issue which is raised—soon after Parliament was dissolved that war, which we had exerted every effort to prevent, and which up to the very last we entertained a sanguine hope that we could prevent, unhappily broke out. Her Majesty's Government had therefore to consider how they could best provide for the defence of this country, and we took a most unusual course. The hon. Member for Birmingham last night told his allies on the opposite benches that the policy of Liberal Cabinets had been "feeble and paltering;" but I must say that the policy of the present Government, at least with reference to the point to which I am now adverting, is free from that charge. The Government, on their own responsibility, adopted three most important measures. We advised the Crown to issue an Order in Council for the addition of 10,000 men—2,000 marines and 8,000 seamen—to our naval forces. Another measure we adopted was one adverted to last night by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle—I mean that of offering a bounty to sailors. Having decided on adding 10,000 men to our naval force, we decided on raising those additional men by bounty. And we added no less than 1,300 shipwrights to our dockyard establishments. I was asked the other night by an hon. and gallant Admiral opposite whether we had now as many shipwrights in our dockyards as we were able to provide with work. In answer to that inquiry, I beg to tell him that we have added to our dockyard establishments as many shipwrights as can be usefully and economically employed. I think the House will admit that in taking this course we have assumed a most unusual responsibility. Besides adding 10,000 men to our naval forces, and 1,300 shipwrights to our dockyard establishments, we have done what I believe no Government has ever done before, by offering a bounty at a time when this country was not at war; and I will tell the House frankly that that bounty is higher than has, I believe, been offered on any previous occasion. Well, I am prepared to vindicate every one of these measures. I say that this is no feeble and paltering policy; it is right or it is wrong. I say that such a policy raises this issue—either we acted wisely and prudently, consulting the best interests of the country, or we have exercised a more reckless abuse 370 of power, and have incurred a more unjustifiable and extravagant outlay of public money, than could ever be charged against any Government. In the one case we ought to be censured and condemned by this House; in the other event, we are entitled to the approval and thanks of the country. These alternatives cannot be questioned; and I ask, therefore, are we open to condemnation; or are we entitled to national gratitude? There can be no middle course with respect to so unusual a policy. Are we to be condemned, or are we to be thanked? If we are to be thanked, what is the meaning of the vague and muttered attacks which have been made upon our foreign policy and our domestic legislation? We have done right or wrong; I ask you to meet us fairly and openly, and I challenge the issue not only here, but out of doors. Charges have been made against us in connection, with our domestic legislation and our foreign policy; but why have you not grappled with us in a point where we are open to attack? No, you know that we were right. You know well that we have done our duty, and that in this respect we are not open to attack. Who has questioned our conduct? It is true the hon. Member for Birmingham says we have pursued a most unfortunate course; but no one has supported his opinion. He said further that our policy was dictated by hostility to France. Now, I disclaim that idea altogether. I deny that our policy was intended to mean, or does mean, anything like a menace to France. I agree with those hon. Gentlemen who, during this debate, have upheld the French alliance. That alliance has been productive of great benefit to both nations and to the world. Long do I hope that it may last, and I believe that the best means of securing its continuance is by showing that England is prepared for events. I believe the hon. Member for Birmingham would stand almost alone in his opinion that the present state of Europe does not justify the Government in placing this country in a position in which her neutrality may be effectual. The right hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham) last night used language upon this subject which I confess I cannot understand. I value his opinion, which carries authority upon such a question, but I should like to know what he really meant by his reference to our policy. He said, referring to the course pursued by the Government, that "public necessity may have justified these mea- 371 sures," and he added "I am not prepared to deny that they were necessary." I conceive that to he an admission on the part of the right hon. Baronet that our policy was justifiable. But he went on to condemn entirely the bounty we had offered, which he described as impolitic and imprudent. I must he allowed to say that these two opinions are irreconcilable with each other. If our policy was necessary the bounty was necessary; and I tell the right hon. Gentleman that without that bounty we could not have carried out out-policy. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but I am very happy to inform him that he fell into some very decided errors upon this subject last night. One of these errors was the opinion he expressed that the offer of a bounty might be fatal to the continuous-service system; and he went on to argue, "How can you suppose that any men will enter for continuous service if they know that at any moment a bounty may be offered, of which, if they are not bound by continuous service, they may take advantage?" I am happy to inform the right hon. Baronet that he never fell into a greater mistake. The continuous-service system—which the right hon. Gentleman, much to his honour, brought into existence—has been in operation ever since 1853. In the first year the average number of men who entered for continuous service was 1,150 per month; in 1855 the number fell to 800 per month; in 1856, to 600 per month; in 1857, to 400 per month; and in the last year, 1858, the average number was only 300 per month. The bounty was offered at the begining of May, and during the last month I am happy to inform the right hon. Gentleman that no less than 1,593 men have entered for continuous service; while, since the 1st of June up to the present time, 477 men have been received for that service. The right hon. Gentleman has, therefore, been entirely mistaken in his anticipations on this subject, and the bounty which he thought would put an end to continuous service has proved to act as a stimulus to that service. I may now tell the House what was the necessity for this bounty. The House will recollect that when I moved the Navy Estimates I proposed to raise 2,000 more seamen than we had in the service during the preceding year, and in the whole month of April the number of seamen was only increased by six, I do not mean that we only entered six men, but after striking a balance between the number of men who 372 left the service and those who entered it the balance in our favour was only six. Now, could we have gone on under such a system, with war raging in Europe, and with a pressing necessity for the increase of our naval defences? We resorted to the bounty, and instead of an addition of six men to the service in April, we had in the month of May an addition of 3,000 men, while up to the present time the bounty has given us rather more than 4,000 men.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
I am not sure that I can say off-hand what is the exact number, but the proportion of able seamen is as nearly as possible 20 per cent. The right hon. Gentleman fell into a slight error last night. The bounty for landsmen is not, as he said, £3, but only £2; and I am happy to be able also to state, that those who have entered as landsmen, and those men of the second-class ordinaries when once they are on board, are men of the best description, the latter being either fishermen or boatmen, accustomed to the sea, though not men-of-war's men. I am glad to say that I have the best report of the crews of the new ships, and several officers have told me that, though they are now undisciplined and young crews, yet that they present the finest materials, and will make the very best men-of-war's complements. The gallant Admiral asked me the other night what is now our force? I tell him that our force at this moment is twenty-four line-of-battle ships and twelve frigates in commission. That force is divided between the Mediterranean and the Channel. We are about to increase the Mediterranean portion, but that does not affect the general statement. The gallant Admiral also asked whether our force of men-of-war in commission exceeded that of the French. I look rather to the positive than to the comparative force of England at this moment. I do not want to enter into any comparison with France, which is not the only naval Power that we have to consider. But I will not refuse to answer the gallant Admiral's inquiry, and I tell him our force of men-of-war in commission is now considerably greater than that of the French. Though our present force is twenty-four line-of-battle ships and twelve frigates, we do not intend to limit ourselves to those numbers. Let me now ask the hon. and gallant Admiral one plain question. What course is he about to take to-night? Is he 373 going to take the line of a frank sailor or of a disingenuous partisan? He told us the other night with perfect truth—and I am convinced the people of this country will agree with him—that these party questions, whether A or B are to sit on these benches, are of little importance; and whether you shall fix your borough franchise at £10, £8, or £6, is nothing compared i with having the defences of England what' they ought to be. He knows what those defences were when we took office. He knows what they are now. And, Sir, if, there be one man alive to whom, from all his language, all his known opinions, from everything he has said and done in this House, I have a right to appeal with perfect confidence that in consistency and honesty be should support the Government who have done all this for the defence of the country, that man is the hon. and gallant Admiral.
I thank the House for the patience with which they have listened to the observations which I have felt it my duty to address to them. I hope and trust that the spirit in which they have been spoken will not be misrepresented or misunderstood. I have felt it right and duo to my colleagues to state the efforts we have made for the defences of the country. It may suit your purposes to banish these considerations and try to place this issue on another ground. But the common sense and common feeling of the country will be against you. At such a moment as this, when war is raging in Europe, when no living man can tell how soon the spark may reach this country, it is absurd to say, that in judging of the conduct of the Government you can altogether exclude this important subject from your consideration. Hon. Gentlemen opposite have tried to shun it, but it is my duty not to allow them to do so. Sir, I feel that I have only done my duty in asking the House of Commons to support a Government which has made these efforts. For myself I am indifferent to the result. You may decide this question as you like. If the majority is for the Amendment, I shall have the consolation of knowing that I shall hand over the Navy of England to my successors in a very different state from that in which I found it: and I shall have the further satisfaction of feeling that whatever party discipline and party efforts may lead you to do in this House, if the majority to-night support this Amendment, 374 the sentiment of the British public will be that that decision is unjust.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
Sir, I must say that the language which the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has applied to those who sit on this side of the House is, considering the circumstances in which he stands, a little extraordinary. The Ministers advised Her Majesty to dissolve Parliament, at a critical moment, and in the midst of most important business, to try this question,—whether Her Majesty's Ministers have or have not the confidence of Parliament and the country. The Parliament is accordingly dissolved, the elections take place, Gentlemen are returned here; and they immediately propose to put to the test the question which the Government themselves declared was the point at issue. It was not, as has been observed, the most favourable ground for them to occupy; but the challenge having been thrown down to them they are ready to affirm that they have not confidence in Her Majesty's Ministers: whereupon the right hon. Gentleman calls us a faction. Why, what did the right hon. Gentleman expect? Did he mean that the whole country should give but one answer to the question put to it? Did he mean to say that their wisdom was so self-evident that nothing but faction could induce men to demur to it? He seems to me, Sir, to have a very high estimate of his own and his colleagues superior merits. Still, I should think, blind and mistaken as we may be, it may be permitted to this House—it may be permitted to the Members of what the right hon. Gentleman calls a triumphant faction, to take a different view from that which he has formed of the merits of Her Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman talked of the charges which have been preferred against the Government. Now, I do not hold that it is necessary to make any charges whatever in order to establish the validity of this Amendment. I thought that point had been settled for ever in a few short words from Mr. Burke, when he said, "the House of Commons was not only a Court competent to criminate, but also a council of weight and wisdom to advise." If, therefore, this House be of opinion that in these critical times the destinies of the country are not fitly placed in the hands of Her Majesty's present Ministers, it is perfectly competent for us to declare that opinion. When Mr. Stuart Wortley in 1812 pro- 375 posed an Address for a strong and efficient Administration, the Ministry against whom that Address was moved had a weak in order to produce the measures and submit the policy which they recommended. But this was done under the consideration that the men then at the head of affaire, were not fit for the emergency with which they had to cope. So much, Sir, for the constitutional view of the propriety of this Motion. I confess I have been a little surprised at the language which has been held by one or more Members on this side of the House, who spoke of the present Ministers as if they had only within the last few days entered upon office. "Give them a fair trial," it is said: "Let us know what are their measures and their policy! "Why, Sir, we happen to know what their measures are. For more than a year we have seen, weighed, and considered the measures brought forward by Her Majesty's Ministers. But before I refer further to these measures, let me say a few words respecting the manner in which they acceded to power. I think I am justified in doing so, because, in reading the speeches of Gentlemen who appeared as candidates on the Ministerial side, a great portion of whom have been returned to this House, I always found that the Resolution which I had the honour to move and the satisfaction to carry in the late Parliament was called "a factious Resolution." As far as I can discriminate, I should say that any man, or body of men in this House, bringing forward a Motion they think calculated to promote the public benefit, and useful to the country, however mistaken they may be, though it may be a party Motion, it can hardly be called a factious one. On the other hand, I should say that those who oppose a measure of which they approve—who for the sake of party objects opposed a measure they are satisfied is a wise one—those men, indeed are much more deserving the epithet "factious." Now, what was the occasion on which the present Ministers came into office? A Bill has been proposed by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, then at the head of the Government, that had already been approved and suggested by the noble Earl now at the head of the Government. On the first day of the Session Lord Derby said such a measure was necessary; and when the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton brought it forward it was supported in a speech of great ability 376 by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, who said it was necessary to maintain our friendly relations with France. I remember that the right hon. Member for Portsmouth (Sir Francis Baring) told me he was convinced by the statements and arguments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Well, the measure thus introduced, and thus supported, on the ground of the necessity of maintaining friendly relations with France, that measure was made the occasion of defeating the Government; it was defeated on the measure of which the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his party had been such ardent supporters. Conduct more factious—conduct more treacherous on the part of those who succeeded to office—there could not be. Then the Chancellor of the Exchequer has told us very shortly, as if it was a sufficient reason, that two-thirds of the late Parliament being opposed to the Government, it was no wonder their measures did not succeed. You would suppose from this, that nothing but prejudice and party violence caused the rejection of the Government measures. But was it so? First, there was their India Bill; on that their course was exceedingly simple and plain. They agreed to wave their own opinion and to adopt the Resolutions passed by the House; and they brought in a Bill founded upon them. Was that Bill opposed by the House? No; but their own original Bill was so strange, so imperfect, so new in its provisions that not only every man in the House, but every man in the streets laughed at and ridiculed it. By one of its provisions some of the members of the Council of India were to be chosen by the £10 householders of certain large boroughs. I heard it remarked at the time that it would have been a great deal better and more just to propose that the admirals of the fleet should be chosen by the £10 householders of the naval ports; they might possibly choose good officers; but that the electors of such towns as Manchester and Belfast should elect members of the Council of India was such a strange imagination that none but the present Ministry could be capable of it. Another provision fixed the appointment of certain members, and limited it so that sometimes only a distinguished military officer of the Madras Presidency could be nominated when an able civilian was required, or when an eminent lawyer from Madras was at hand, a military officer of Bombay must be 377 taken. The Bill would have compelled the perpetual appointment of inferior men, when men of capacity were available. I state this because the right hon. Gentlemen have assumed that party motives only caused the rejection of their measure. I will now say a few words with respect to their Reform Bill. It was equally fanciful and inefficient in its provisions. As I have studied the question of reform for a great number of years, and I consider that there may be three kinds of Parliamentary Reform, I trust I may be allowed to express my thoughts upon that subject. I consider that there may be three kinds of Reform measures introduced. There may be one measure of reform that diminishes the popular power; there may be another measure so complicated in its provisions as to become somewhat like those ingenious problems they give to boys at school, in which, if you add so many, subtract so many more, and multiply by another number, you find the number produced is exactly the one originally stated. So, by giving the franchise to a great number of people, and taking it away from a great many others, what you arrive at is no change at all. And there may be a practical measure of reform, that will add to the popular power, and increase the strength of the House of Commons by the addition of those votes given to it. Now, the Reform Bill the Government introduced had much of the first character, something of the second, and nothing at all of the third. It was a measure that, had it been passed in the shape in which it was proposed, would, by the time it had been ten or twenty years in operation, have much diminished the popular power as represented in this House Take the great contest that lately occurred in the West Riding of Yorkshire; it had all the character of a great, popular, English contest; but, instead of that, under the Reform Bill of the Government the West Riding would have had six Members, so arranged that four would have been sure to be on the Conservative side. Then, taking away the freehold votes, the Bill would have cancelled, would have destroyed, a great part of the Liberal element in the county; of the voters that would have been added, many would have been dependent, and never voting on the Liberal side. ["Hear, hear!"] Yes! I say boldly the Liberal side; they never would have voted for any increase of the civil and religious liberty of the country. If any person calculated the future working of the Government Re- 378 form Bill, he could not doubt that in the course of ten years, instead of one Old Sarum, we should have had twenty or thirty. That is an argument which was used during the debate on the Bill; and even the Solicitor General, ingenious as he is, did not attempt to answer it; he only said it was a matter that might be considered in Committee; but my belief is, if that Bill had once got into Committee, it would have passed in the shape in which it was proposed, and would have gone far to repeal the Reform Act of 1832, and diminish the power of the people to send representatives to the House of Commons. That was the measure which we are now blamed for having defeated by the Resolution I moved; and next to the satisfaction I feel in having taken a large share in carving through the Reform Bill of 1832 is that I experience in having defeated a measure which, with much that was plausible in appearance, was evidently intended by its framers to repeal the wholesome provisions of the former Act. I now come to that step of the Government which I consider most perilous, and which the right hon. Gentlemen on the Ministerial bench ought to consider exposes them to great responsibility—I mean the dissolution. Her Majesty's Ministers chose to dissolve Parliament when war was impending over Europe, when they must have known it was a question of weeks, and might have been a question of days. For my part, I think there could be but one excuse for that dissolution, and that was the grave objections Her Majesty's Ministers stated they felt to any lowering of the franchise. The noble Lord the Secretary of State for India (Lord Stanley) declared it would destroy the influence of the middle classes. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Colonies (Sir E. B. Lytton), in a speech of great force and eloquence said, "it would place capital and industry at the command of impatient poverty and uninstructed numbers," and that this would be a great calamity if it took place. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated the case in somewhat different terms; but I think much to the same effect. He said, that if the franchise were lowered, you would then have a House of Commons which would be ready to sanction every extravagant expenditure, but never would consent to taxes in order to furnish the means for that expenditure—a House of Commons that would enter recklessly and rashly into war, and yet after- 379 wards be prepared to agree to an ignominious peace. Now, these are grave considerations, and I can imagine a Ministry which entertained such apprehensions saying, "This danger is so great, this change in the constitution would be so perilous, as it would put the whole of the property of this country into the hands of uninstructed numbers, and incur the risk of wars recklessly entered into and ignominiously concluded, that we will put it at once to the country whether they would approve of a Bill with provisions so dangerous as these." That might have been a reason for dissolving the Parliament and asking the opinion of the people; but, to my infinite surprise, I, who had supposed that they might have an excuse to give, find that now that Parliament has been again assembled, after they have used every means in order to get a majority of their own party returned to this House, Her Majesty's Government stating that they have no objection to this very change. Then, I say, there was no excuse for the dissolution. They were satisfied even with a Resolution of an hon. Gentleman who has not been again returned to this House, Mr. Stuart Wortley, which was to the same effect as mine, but in terms more civil to the Ministry. If they were satisfied that they could adopt the substance of that Resolution, that it was not necessary to transfer freeholders from the counties to the boroughs, and that it was possible for them to make a great reduction in the borough franchise, I say it was their bounden duty—their duty to the Sovereign, to Parliament, and to the country—to accept such a settlement of the question, and not to dissolve Parliament and incur the dangers which they did incur. Many of those changers, no doubt, they have escaped. While these Powers were going to war, some demand might have been made upon this country which they could not in honour advise the Queen to accept. It might then have been necessary to send a Message to Parliament for that purpose. No Parliament was sitting. That danger they incurred. They also incurred that great responsibility which the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Admiralty has just stated. They thought they were compelled to add considerably to the naval force, and to offer a bounty by Royal Proclamation without the advice of Parliament. I feel myself that that measure was perfectly right. But the right hon. Gentleman takes great credit for having assumed that responsibi- 380 lity without the advice of Parliament. That might have been very well if the necessity had arisen when Parliament had been prorogued in the month of September, and there had been the difficulty of bringing Members together before a certain time; but when we consider that the absence of Parliament was their own act; that the necessity was of their own creating, the merit of having added to the naval force is counterbalanced, and more than counterbalanced by the guilt of having dissolved Parliament under circumstances like these. ["No, no!"] Some hon. Gentlemen seem not to comprehend the argument. I have stated that if they could not agree to support the Resolution that I proposed it was then competent to them to put the question to the country and to have their decision upon it; but they being prepared to make an alteration in that respect, and their only object in the dissolution being to strengthen their own party and not to have a good Reform Bill, their conduct is entirely inexcusable. I come next to the consideration of their management of foreign affairs. The right hon. Gentleman claims great credit for the Government for the mode in which they settled the Cagliari question. I remember perfectly well what occurred in this case. An hon. Member of this House asked a question with regard to what was intended to be done in that matter. The Chancellor of the Exchequer answered that the question had been concluded by the preceding Government, and, while he expressed no very great feeling for the English engineers, he expressed his great satisfaction that no uncivil word had been used with respect to the conduct of the late King of Naples. And there it would have remained, but my noble Friend the Member for Tiverton said the question had not been concluded, and thereupon the right hon. Gentleman was persuaded to take some further measure on the subject. Acting upon the suggestion of this House, the Government—nodoubt promptly enough and ably enough—took the necessary measures and obtained the release of those engineers. But that shows, among other instances, the very great danger of leaving the management of our foreign relations in the hands of these Ministers during the recess; because if that question had not been asked in the House of Commons these engineers would have had to remain in a dungeon. That was evident from the answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer himself. During the recess 381 arose the question with respect to the Charles et Georges. The right hon. Gentleman is very triumphant upon our not having moved a vote of censure upon their proceedings in that matter. I must say I think we showed great forbearance in that case, because language more unbecoming a British Minister than that used by Lord Malmesbury upon that subject was never heard. There was no question whether the demand was just or unjust, hut the advice given by Lord Malmesbury to Portugal was,—Submit to this, or you may have worse—meaning, of course, you may may have Lisbon occupied, your fleet destroyed, and your country invaded; therefore submit to anything that may be asked. It was not a question upon which we could advise Portugal to go to war—that was quite clear—but the advice we had to offer might have been of a more manly character—it might have been more becoming to this country to give, and to Portugal to accept. I arrive now at a most important and serious question—namely, the cause of the outbreak of war in Italy. I think it would be very unfair to Her Majesty's Ministers if we were to presume that they are open to any blame with respect to the manner in which they have conducted their negotiations for the preservation of peace, and, for my own part, I am quite willing to assume that they have made sincere and unceasing efforts—whether they made a mistake or not I will not say—for the preservation of peace. I have also, I must say, some belief that it could not have been possible for any Government to preserve peace between Austria and Sardinia. Perhaps the House will allow me to go somewhat into that question; but before I do so I cannot but take notice of a reference made by the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland with respect to some events that took place in 1848. Now, the Attorney General for Ireland seemed to me rather to avoid the case of Government—to be rather unwilling that this House should fix its attention upon the merits and demerits of the Government. He therefore travelled over every conceivable topic not connected with the question under discussion—over everything that happened years ago, for the purpose apparently of diverting attention from the question whether or not the Government are now entitled to the confidence of this House,—just as birds endeavour to divert attention from the nest in which are their young. The right hon. 382 Gentleman, though I don't see what it had to do with the matter before the House—attacked the conduct of my noble Friend, and that of the Government over which I had the honour to preside, with respect to the offer made by Austria in 1848 to give up Lombardy. No doubt that offer was made. But the right hon. Gentleman seems to have forgotten or omitted one part of that transaction. At that time not only was Milan and the larger part of Lombardy freed from the Austrian troops, but Venice was in the hands of its own inhabitants, who had shaken off the Austrian yoke. They had declared their independence, and were ready to maintain it. The proposal to the Government of Great Britain was that we should interfere not only to dispose of Lombardy, but to replace an Austrian Archduke with authority in Venice. But how could a British Government, having no immediate concern in these transactions, not being a party to the war—how could they have interfered to destroy the independence of Venice, or to sanction in any way the subjugation of Venice, in order to increase the territories of the King of Sardinia in another part of Italy? For my own part, it has always appeared to me that one of the foulest transactions in modern European history was that assumption of Venice by Austria under the Treaty of Campo Formio. It is not a singular opinion, for I find that M. de Montalembert, I think in the pamphlet for which he was prosecuted, says that whatever reproaches you may cast on the diplomacy of England, she has nothing so bad to reproach herself with as the handing over of Venice to Austria by the treaty of 1797. By that treaty three millions and a half of people, who had been independent and in alliance with Austria, with whom they had contracted numerous treaties, with whom they had combined for various purposes, were transferred, without any will of their own, to the Austrian Government. I say that this transaction was only second in infamy to the partition of Poland. The proposal to us was that Venice, having freed herself by her own exertions, the British Government should use its influence to replace her under the Austrian rule; and this is the proposal which the right hon. Gentleman is so angry with us for rejecting. The present condition of Italy seems to me to be this:—On the one side we have the treaties of 1815, which gave Lombardy and Venice to Austria; but Austria was not 383 entitled by that treaty to any other part of Italy. Has she confined herself to the rule of those territories? Far from it. In the same year 1815, she made a treaty with the King of Naples to the effect that he should not introduce into his kingdom any changes or any form of Government different from the form of Government which was established in the Italian possessions of Austria. At a later time she occupied the Roman States and Tuscany also; and, according to a letter addressed to me by a very eminent Italian, it appears from the archives of Turin that Austria was so determined not to allow any improvement in the Government of Italy, that the Austrian Minister being asked what he would do if the King of Naples should of his own accord grant a constitution to his subjects, his answer was, "Then we should make war on the King of Naples." What happened in Tuscany in 1849? The people of Tuscany had been led by those wild demagogues who are followers of Mazzini to proclaim a republic; but, afterwards, they restored of their own choice the authority of the Grand Duke; and having appointed a provisional Government, they sent a delegation to the Grand Duke to say that they were ready to receive him back, but expected him to govern according to the constitution which he himself had granted. He answered by different letters, copies of which I have, and by Proclamation, that he would return to Florence; that he thanked those who had restored his power, and that he meant to govern according to the constitution; and that a constitutional monarchy was what he intended to establish in the Grand Duchy. It was already the law there. No doubt, the Grand Duke, who is a mild Sovereign, would of his own nature have governed according to the constitution; but at this time a division of Austrian troops marched into Tuscany, his promise was violated, and from that time until the flight of the Grand Duke the other day, there has been no question of restoring the constitution. These things account for the anger and the resentment of the Italians at Austrian interference, It is not merely, as the hon. Gentleman who moved the Address appeared to think, that Austria holds her possessions just as Her Majesty holds her different colonies; it has been her attempt from 1815 to the present day to govern the whole of Italy, to make the Italian Sovereigns her viceroys, and to make the laws of Italy con- 384 form to the law of the armies of Austria. That is the case of Italy on the one hand. Let us see, now, what is the case of Sardinia, on the other side. At a late period Sardinia established her own free constitution. Had she not been tempted to do otherwise, she might have been satisfied with enforcing her own laws and enjoying her own free assemblies, her own free press, and her liberty of conscience, which is unexampled in other parts of Italy. She has not been satisfied with that. The temptation was a natural one; but certain it is that for the last seven or eight years the persons who came from other parts of Italy to present addresses to the King and his Ministers on behalf of the liberty and independence of Italy—who subscribed to the cannon of Alessandria, hoping that one day or other they would be the defences of the independence of Italy—were listened to and received with favour; and so there has grown in every State of Italy—in the Roman States, in Naples, and in Tuscany—a party attached to Sardinia, and looking to Sardinia as the liberator of Italy. The temptation might be very great, the enterprise might be very glorious, but it was quite impossible for Austria to consider these things as otherwise than provocations and attempts to destroy her power in Italy. According to my mind, the pretensions on both sides were unfounded, but much more detestable on the side of Austria, because her attempt was to destroy all liberty and to extinguish all expression of thought in Italy, while the object of Sardinia, though, perhaps, mixed up with some motives of ambition, was the liberty and independence of Italy. She went, however, beyond her international duties. She had no right to do what she did; above all, she had no right to raise forces in her own kingdom from volunteers, or perhaps from the conscripts and recruits, belonging to other States. At a moment most fortunate for Sardinia she obtained the support of France; and from the moment she obtained that support—I cannot tell in what form, but I know pretty well the date—her conduct became less regulated by her international duties, she proclaimed more openly her sympathy with the sorrows of Italy; and from that time I think it became evident that, sooner or later, relying on the support of France, she would engage in an armed contest for the independence of Italy. During the last Session of Parliament neither I nor my noble 385 Friend the Member for Tiverton did or said anything to increase the chances of war; on the contrary, we said everything that could be favourable to the maintenance of peace. I certainly doubt myself whether any ability on the part of Her Majesty's Government would have availed to preserve the peace of Europe. It was obvious that the moment would come, sooner or later, when these two great Powers would be opposed in arms to each other. But I come now to consider what is to be our policy for the future, and on this subject there is a general agreement, in words at least. Everybody is for neutrality; everybody is for maintaining peace; but I own that I have no confidence that the present Government will be able to maintain it. In the first place a deliberate speech was made in the House of Lords by the Earl of Derby, on a most solemn occasion, when he was to declare the policy of the Government, and I find that he said—If war breaks out, whatever may be the consequences, our neutrality, as long as it may last, must be to a certain extent an armed neutrality, enabling us to take our part on that side, whatever it may be, which the honour, the interests, and the dignity of the country may indicate as best deserving our support.Well, but if Lord Derby intended peace, why was he to take any part at all? There was war between France and Spain in 1823; Mr. Canning declared neutrality, and that neutrality was preserved to the end. There was war in 1848; the Government of the day declared neutrality, and that neutrality was preserved to the end. Why, then, should we suppose—because that seems to be the supposition—that when we are fully armed, we shall inquire which side it is which the honour, the interests, and the dignity of the country call upon us to support? I know that a few days afterwards Lord Derby denied that that was the meaning of what he said; but no man expresses himself more clearly, or with more precision, than Lord Derby; and if he used the words, what other meaning can be put upon them? And why, I ask, should we take either side; why should we take any part in the contest? What I think would be right would be that we should be sufficiently armed for our own defence; and so that if the two sides, or indeed one of them, asked us to interpose either our mediation or our good offices we might be enabled to state what were the terms which appeared to us fitted to the 386 circumstances of the times, and likely to lead to a lasting peace. I can well imagine, if the Government were in full possession of the confidence of this House and of the country, and if they were worthy of that support, that such advice would be listened to, and that the two parties, weary of bloodshed, would be glad to accept terms from an impartial mediator. But I do not expect that such terms will accepted from the present Government. I declare at once that my belief is that they are not disposed—and indeed I might take it from the words of the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs—to maintain that intimate alliance with France on which our influence with France must depend. I understood certainly, and so did my right hon. Friend near me (Mr. Sidney Herbert), the hon. Gentleman to find fault with my noble Friend for his declaration that intimate alliance with France was the true policy of this country. My noble Friend did not say that we should not be on the most friendly terms with Austria, and I am sure he meant no such thing. We ought to be upon the most friendly terms with Austria; but, depend upon it, you will have no weight in the councils of France unless your advice can be said to consult the honour and dignity of France as well as the honour and dignity of Austria. These are questions which are not only unpleasant, but which it is almost impossible to debate fully in this House. There are some Gentlemen, I know, who think that Lord Derby is the perfection of wisdom, and that Lord Malmesbury is a very near approach to it. I, for my own part, have not that opinion. I consider, from all I hear, that the alliance with France is very much weakened, and that we have not that weight in Europe which the Government of this country ought to have. And therefore, with a view to give us our proper weight—in order that our neutrality may be respected and our voice listened to in the councils of Europe—I am ready to vote want of confidence in the present Administration. Then, Sir, with regard to the question of reform, knowing what the late measure of the Government was, I am not disposed to wait till February next in order to see them introduce some other measure, changed indeed in appearance, but which will, no doubt, have some of those counterbalancing weights intended to take from the people on the one side what it proposed to give upon the other. What I should like to see is a fair 387 and sound measure introduced, if I do not say in the present Session, I should still say in the present year; and I see no reason why a Reform Bill should not be passed in the course of this year. My belief is that it would be for the public welfare to have that measure for the amendment of the representation disposed of singly and separately; and then, in the usual Session of Parliament, those important questions of supply and taxation and the like might be considered in the ordinary course. An hon. Gentleman asked me for the details of my Reform Bill. He did not ask the right hon. Gentleman, who never was a Reformer till this year, what were the details of his Bill; but he asked me, who have been a Reformer for more years than I like to mention, to "condescend to particulars," as the Scotch have it. I can only say that the outline which I gave in the last Parliament seemed to me to be a fair outline of a measure of reform, but what the precise nature of the franchise may be, and the exact extent of the representation, of course, until the present Government disappear from the scene, it is not for me to say. What I maintain is, that as soon as such a measure can be framed, and as soon as the important questions with regard to the navy and finance are disposed of, an early opportunity ought to be taken for discussing that subject. But I cannot leave the question of the merit of the Ministry without answering the appeal which was made by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Admiralty. I am quite willing to admit—and I think it is a bright spot in the conduct of the Administration—that the energy with which he has increased and strengthened the navy is worthy of the utmost praise. I wish that he had not mingled his performance with either so much laudation of himself or so much reproach to his predecessors. The case was urgent, the occasion required it, and I think that the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman has conducted his Department does give him a claim to the gratitude of his country; and no political difference with the right hon. Gentleman would prevent my making that admission. With regard to the allusion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to my noble Friend who proposed the Amendment, I must say that I think his attack was both gratuitous and unfounded. The right hon. Gentleman said that my noble Friend represents a confederation of great families, and that therefore his Amend- 388 ment ought not to be entertained. No doubt if the argument had been used in 1759, it would have had its due application; but I cannot conceive that any one should now undertake the formation of a Ministry who would not admit into it men of talents and fitness, from whatever part of the House or of the country they might come. There is in this country a large body of men, divided, no doubt, on many points, but who have nevertheless been instrumental in all the great changes that have taken place. Among those is the Whig party, who are naturally the objects of my predilection. There are also the followers of Sir Robert Peel; and there is a party, also, of gentlemen of advanced opinions, who have acted along with us in the great question of Catholic Emancipation, in all matters pertaining to religious liberty, in obtaining free trade, and the repeal of the corn laws. I find all these parties acting together, and by a majority carrying those measures; while it is equally certain that the present Government are the representatives of a party which has opposed all those measures, and which in 1831 did their utmost to oppose a reform in Parliament. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, among other allusions to that which was not immediately in question, mentioned a phrase of mine, borrowed from Mr. Fox, as I stated at the time, "a miserable monopolizing minority." The repetition of that phrase recalls to me the time when the Protestants of Ireland were properly designated by that name. I remember perfectly well when they stated that it was impossible to allow a Catholic to enter into a corporation without danger to the constitution, and when the giving a silk gown to an eminent Catholic barrister was an advance in liberality which they looked upon with alarm. Those days have happily passed by, and I am glad to find the right hon. Gentleman now uses more liberal language. I quite agree with my right hon. Friend who spoke to-night (Mr. Sidney Herbert), that so far from wishing that the Roman Catholics should support none but those of the party with which I am connected, I shall be glad to see them give their votes to Conservative gentlemen who are respected in their neighbour hood, and entitled to their confidence. I think these things tend to break up those lines of separation—those lines of ill-will—by which persons of different religious opinions in Ireland were formerly 389 separated. There was a phrase of mine which, being misreported, gave offence to Roman Catholics. It was said that in a speech of mine in the City with regard to these affairs in Italy, I had said that the Austrians had maintained in Italy an oppressive Government and "a benighted religion." Those were not my words. What I said was, that they had maintained oppressive Government and benighted rule. I was thinking of means used to prevent any advance of knowledge or communication of instruction, and to prevent any liberty in Italy. I was not at all considering religion. Indeed, I could not well have been speaking of religion, because the religion of Piedmont and Austria is the same. For the reasons which I have stated, I think that the House of Commons will be fully justified in coming to a vote of want of confidence. The Ministry have for a year introduced measures which not only have not met the approbation of Parliament, but which by the consent of the great majority of the country were not deserving the approbation of Parliament. Their weight in the Councils of foreign Powers is not such as gives to this country the influence which it ought to have. It is supposed—and I believe justly supposed—to be partial in the contest which is now going on. I may, perhaps, be allowed to say a word more, which I should not have said without what I think sufficient provocation. It is upon the question whether or not the person at the head of the Government is the person who deserves, or is fit, to preside over the Councils of this great country at a time of peculiar difficulty. I am told that the noble Earl (the Earl of Derby) for thirty-two minutes entertained another Assembly with an account of my political career. He published it afterwards in a pamphlet as a sort of election address. I have read neither the speech nor the pamphlet, but I observed that no sooner was the present Parliament assembled than new jibes and jests were directed against me. I will not occupy the House two minutes in stating what I think on the qualifications of the noble Lord. He is a great orator; he speaks a most perspicuous language; hut that perspicuous language conceals poverty of thought. He is very quick in forming an opinion, and exceedingly rapid in coming to a wrong decision. His character is marked by levity of mind and instability of principle. It is my opinion, therefore, that a man who in difficult times assumes the direction of affairs ought 390 not to have those qualities belonging to him. I cannot understand a man who at one time declares that a lowering of the borough franchise; will be destructive, and at another time, very soon afterwards, is ready to lower it; a man who at one time declares the admission of the Jews is against his conscience, and at another is quite ready to admit them; a man who dissolved Parliament in 1852, and while some said protection starved the people and others that free trade would ruin the whole farming interest, was content to say, "Be it protection or be it free trade, let the electors of this country decide. If they decide in favour of protection, I will argue in favour of protection. If they decide in favour of free trade, I will be as stout a free trader as the best of them. Only let me be Minister, and I am indifferent to principles." In such a man I place no confidence, and I shall be glad to see him removed from the head of affairs.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
Mr. Speaker, as I intend, Sir, to oppose the Amendment, I hope the House will allow me a very few minutes to state the reasons on which I ground my decision. The House, Sir, has been treated during many nights of this debate with Gentlemen's descriptions of one another, and the conclusion to which I have come, Sir, is that neither party deserves a good character. But I have to determine on this occasion what I think the best to be done for my country. [Cries of "Oh!"] Does anybody on this side of the House say "No?" I say, Sir, I am called upon to give an opinion, and I have to decide what I think is best for my country. Now, I want to know, if you turn out the present administration, whom you will let in; and then I have to inquire whether those who are to come in will be better than those you have turned out. That is a very plain issue, and upon that I am called on to decide. Now, Sir, the first question I ask myself is, what are the circumstances under which I am called on to make this decision—what is the condition of England at the present time, when I am called on to decide between the two contending parties?—and it is not simply what is the condition of England, but what is the condition of the world that I have to consider. Why, Sir, at this time one great part of Europe is suffering all the honors of war. Two of the greatest nations of Europe are pitted against one another on the small plain of Northern Italy, and in this state 391 of things I have to ask myself whether I; think it wise to deprive England of her present Government, in order to establish such a one as must succeed it. This is a perilous question, to the consideration of which I come absolutely trembling. [Laughter.] I hear a laugh. I do not very much admire that man's state of mind who can come to the consideration of a question like this without some emotion. The emotion which I have is one of fear, for I fear for my country. Upon our decision to-night may rest great consequences. ["Hear, hear!"] If I be wrong—if the House be wrong, what evils may follow, and we know how important an opinion is when on one vote great results may turn. Therefore I am not ashamed to say that I look on this matter with fear and trembling, and I assert that the occasion justifies it. It may excite the visible faculties of the Gentlemen who have not those faculties under the control of their reason, but I think that a just, honourable, rational man, would say I am quite justified in being trembling and afraid. Well, Sir, I have much to ask myself. If the present Government is turned out, who is to come in? We know that this side of the House has determined to support the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton and the noble Lord the Member for London. I, Sir, who have had the happiness of sitting for a long time by the side of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, have been, therefore, very much in the way of learning his political opinions. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Does anybody suppose that I have not learnt his political opinions? I am sure the noble Lord will not object to that statement. I am not going to allude to private conversations; but sitting, as I have sat with a very careful watch upon the proceedings of the noble Lord, I cannot but have felt that he does not hold opinions in common with the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. I am told that in every Government there must be a compromise of opinion. ["Hear, hear!"] Oh, yes, "hear, hear,"—a compromise of opinion, I said, but not a compromise of principle. Now, Sir, the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton has never shown himself to be a thorough-going Reformer, but I have always supposed that the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, although he does not go as far as I do, is a good Reformer. The two great questions upon which we must judge the merits of those two noble Lords upon this occa- 392 sion are, first, Reform, and next, the foreign policy of the country. Now, Sir, the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) has spoken out of one who was formerly his colleague, and I will speak out about the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton. I say that, before the country, I am justified in asserting that that noble Lord is no Reformer; and what I have to ask myself is, have I a right to expect from the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston) the reforms which I can obtain from the party now in power? The right hon. Gentleman opposite, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has told us that he is now prepared to bring in a substantial Reform Bill, and I am told on this side of the House (the Opposition) that that is a conversion. Now, Sir, have I not lived to see many conversions? Have I not lived to see the noble Lord here (Lord John Russell) and the noble Lord there (Viscount Palmerston) converts to free trade? But I am told that we cannot expect any good from Gentlemen opposite. Now, in his youth the noble Lord and the party to which he belonged, fought the great question of Catholic Emancipation, but by whom was that measure passed? By the party opposite. ["Oh, oh!"] I do not praise that party for so long withstanding the just claims of the Catholics. I think meanly of their ability for not having come,, to a right conclusion before; but they did come to a right conclusion, and they carried Catholic Emancipation, which had been advocated by the noble Lord, but which he could not carry. After Catholic Emancipation was obtained, the noble Lord and his Friends proposed the Reform of Parliament. They were opposed by the party opposite; but how was that measure carried? By the uprising of the whole people of this country, and by a quiet civil revolution. And I say again that if reform be left in the hands of the two noble Lords, I am quite sure that they will quarrel, and if they do not, the House of Lords will oppose them. Now, Sir, Gentlemen opposite will, I am sure, bring in quite as good a Bill as was ever concocted by the noble Lord (Lord John Russell). I feel quite certain of that, because adversity is a great teacher. Gentlemen opposite have been returned to this House upon an understanding very different from that associated with the old Tory party. There is no longer an old Tory party. They are a Reform party, spite of themselves, and if they obtain a majority to-night, we shall have a good Reform Bill propounded by the right 393 hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which will easily be carried through the House of Lords. Therefore, I say that the House will receive from the party opposite quite as good a Reform Bill as it will get from the two noble Lords, and that it will be certain to be carried through the House of Lords. But I am told, Sir, that they are to have additional support. It is to be a triumvirate. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) is to lend his aid to this composition Cabinet. If that hon. Gentleman were in this House what he is out of it, if he spoke as boldly here as he does upon the platform at Birmingham, I should have much greater faith in his efficiency and on the effect which he would produce upon the Cabinet; but at Birmingham he roars like any lion, and when he comes here he is a sucking clove. Therefore, I say, Sir, that the addition of the hon. Gentleman to this composition Cabinet will not be of any great advantage to the people of England. It is said, however, that whatever advantage we may desire from the Cabinet opposite in the way of reforms they will be unable to keep the peace in Europe. But pray into whose hands are we about to give power? The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) is, I suppose, the person who will have the office upon this occasion. That noble Lord has not been very successful in his endeavours to keep peace. I want to know why he went to war with China. ["Question!"] I have no doubt it is a very disagreeable question. I want to know why we went to war with Persia? That question has never yet been answered. More than all, Sir, I want to know why the noble Viscount truckled to the Emperor of the French, and dragged England in the dirt? The noble Lord was ejected from office on account of that truckling, and what has happened within the year to whitewash him? It was not merely this House, it was the universal voice of the country which condemned and ejected him; and when I raised my voice against the insolence of France, the noble Lord turned his insolence on me. But what was the re result? Why, by that very Parliament which had been called together under the delusion of the name of Palmerston—by that very Parliament he was within a year hurled from power, and the people of England backed up the Parliament. This, Sir, is the man who has kept the world in combustion ever since he has been in power 394 —this is the man to whom we are going to confide the keeping of the peace of Europe. Now, Sir, I want to know whom the noble Lord is about to bring with him. Are we to have the benefit of the great abilities of the late President of the Board of Control (Mr. Vernon Smith)? Are we also to have the benefit of the great intelligence of the right hon. Gentleman who governed our Colonies (Mr. Labouchere)? and are we, more than all, to have the advantage of the splendid abilities of him who nearly ruined the Navy of England? But, Sir, there is balm in Gilead. I am told that this is to be a composition Cabinet, and possibly the three right hon. Gentlemen whom I have named will be kept out of it. If so, does only one believe that the Cabinet will be in power for a quarter of a year? Will not the divisions thus created be far more dangerous to the continuance of the Administration than anything which can happen to the present one? I do not mean to flatter Gentlemen opposite. I do not think very well of them; but of this I am sure, that we can compel them to give us much more than we can ever obtain from the noble Viscount. You (addressing the Members upon the front Opposition bench) will go into office, but you will not be there a week without bickering and confusion, and in the midst of all your trouble and confusion England will be forgotten. Sir, I have seen that happen before. Poor England [Laughter.] Gentlemen laugh, but under the rule of that bench I have seen her reduced to such a condition that all patriotic hearts trembled for the result. Their policy tended to ruin the people of England, and when they were turned out of office men slept more quietly in their beds. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] This statement is, I have no doubt, somewhat unpleasant to those who sit on this side of the House; but, Sir, my duty calls upon me to decide, and in the present trying state of things I have to ask myself what decision it is at which my duty calls upon me to arrive. [Laughter.] There seems to be a very curious tendency to risibility on this side of the House. [Laughter.] Laughter, however, often marks emptiness of head, and I can only assure hon. Gentlemen that I look upon the question under discussion as a most serious one. I cannot, therefore, deal with it as a laughing matter, for I have to consider what is best for the welfare of my country. [A laugh.] That statement may again excite the cachinnation of hon. Gentlemen on this side 395 of the House, still the question remains, what is it that my duty compels me to do? It compels me, Sir, to take this course—namely, to support the Government, not because I deem them that which I should wish an Administration to be, but because I think they are better than any Government by which they can be replaced. I have had considerable experience now for twenty-six years of the Parliamentary government of this country. When the Reform Bill of 1832 was passed it was stated that we were about to get out of the old track of being ruled by the great families of this country. Such has not hitherto been the case, so far as this side of the House is concerned. But I must say for hon. Gentlemen opposite that they have cast about to find ability, and in the attainment of that object they have not asked how a man was horn or to whom he was related. From 1832, however, up to the present hour there has been upon this side of the House a constant and careful exclusion from office of everything that is termed plebeian. The real Government of this country has been confided to a certain small number of hands, all drawn from a certain small number of families. I may be told that this state of things has come to an end. When that is the case I shall rejoice, and when I see it I shall believe it. Well, Sir, I have no faith in sudden conversions of this description. The same feeling of exclusion which has hitherto narrowed down the Government of the Whig party to the smallest possible amount of brains still, I believe, continues to exist, and, as I am of opinion that the real welfare of my country requires enlarged principles of government, and a widely extended cast of the net to secure intelligence wherever it may be found, I intend to oppose the Amendment which has been moved by the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire.
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
Sir, at the close of the third night of this debate it becomes my duty to endeavour to examine—with that conciseness which the importance of the subject renders possible, and which the hour of the night reminds me is expedient—the charges against the Government which this Amendment is intended to include, and the arguments by which those charges have been supported. The noble Lord (the Marquess of Hartington) who proposed the Amendment—and who whatever may be its issue, will have the satisfaction of knowing that there has 396 been no speaker on this side of the House who has failed to bear testimony to the candour and ability with which, in a case of no mean importance and no ordinary difficulty, he has discharged the task in trusted to him—the noble Lord entered into an enumeration of charges which in his opinion disentitled the Government of Her Majesty to the confidence of the House of Commons. That enumeration was, with more or less consistency, followed up by the leaders of the party to which the noble Lord belongs. I must, however, except from this catalogue the noble Lord the Member for London (Lord J. Russell), who to-night broached a theory in this House which has, at all events, the merit of novelty. He has told us that upon the discussion of a Motion of want of confidence you need not go into any reasons at all. That is a maxim which, he says, he has gathered from the writings of Burke, and which he contends is unquestionable as a constitutional view of the privileges of the House of Commons. Now, Sir, I must, in the first place, beg leave to ask what, if that be so, was the meaning of the cry which was raised on Tuesday last, when my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer invited the House to proceed without delay to a division on this question? Why was it that we were then told by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Viscount Palmerston) that the subject ought to be fully discussed? I shall in the next place, if the House will allow me, take the liberty of reading a few lines from a statement which was made by a public man on the occasion of a Vote of want of confidence having been proposed on the assembling of a new Parliament. The statesman to whom I allude said he did not find fault with the Motion, but he added—When I say this, I say it is with them as with all depositaries of power in this country, there should be reasons given for such a proceeding. As a Sovereign is not justified in appointing a Minister from mere caprice, so neither is the House of Commons justified by a mere conscious ness of power in setting aside appointments which have been made by the legitimate exercise of the prerogative of the Crown.These observations were made when the Ministry of Lord Melbourne was met on the assembling of a new Parliament by a Motion of a want of confidence, and the statesman who made them was the noble Lord who sits there (Lord J. Russell), and who to-night has instructed us in constitutional learning out of the writings of Burke.
397 Now, reserving for a few moments the enumeration of the charges to which I have adverted, let me briefly examine the grounds on which the followers of the two noble Lords opposite give their support to the Amendment before the House. And first let me allude to the speech of the hon. and gallant Admiral the Member for Southwark (Sir Charles Napier) who spoke early in the debate. He gave us to understand that he will vote for the Amendment, but exercising that discretion which in a commander is the better part of velour, he declined altogether to argue the question; and, leaving it to be dealt with by those for whom it possessed some interest, he proceeded to make some observations with respect to naval affairs, to compliment my right hon. Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty, and to tender him advice, the value of which I have no doubt will be duly appreciated. We have next the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Wilson), who told us some scraps of news which he had picked up during a visit to Paris, the rest of his speech being a prelibation of one which he, no doubt, intends to make upon the forthcoming budget, his main charge against the Government being the largeness of the receipts from the sale of old stores. Next comes the hon. Member for the Wick Burghs (Mr. Laing), whom we are glad to see again in this House. He said he should be glad to vote with the Government, but that he thought he could not, as a matter of personal honour, act in opposition to the party with which he sat, and to which he nominally belonged. He adds, that if he is obliged to find a reason for his vote, he will found it on the foreign policy of the Government, his reason being this; that if we drift into war we shall not be found fighting on the side of France, a position which I therefore understand the hon. Member is desirous—and under a new Government hopes—to occupy. Then my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cork (Mr. Serjeant Deasy). He takes the Irish view of the question, and, if he will allow me to say so, he takes an Irish view of it in every sense of the word. The Government, he asserts, are unpopular in Ireland, and he therefore intends to vote against them. But what is the proof which the hon. and learned Member adduces of this unpopularity? It is simply the fact that at the late elections in Ireland where there is an extended suffrage in the counties and in the boroughs, they 398 have had the good sense, for the first time since the passing of the Reform Bill, to return a majority of Conservative members to Parliament. That however is a fact which to most winds would hardly prove the unpopularity of the Government. It is the one, however, which is satisfactory to the hon. and learned Member, and he therefore intends to vote for the Amendment. I now come to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Stroud (Mr. Horsman), and the reason which he has assigned for the vote which he is about to give is even of a still more singular character than that which I have just mentioned. He says he does not desire to pass a Vote of want of confidence in the Government, but that the point to be considered is whether they have efficiently conducted the negotiations which have preceded the breaking out of war, the papers with respect to which have not as yet been laid upon the table of the House. "Now," argues the right hon. Gentleman, "if the Government had, instead of meeting the Amendment on the broad ground of want of confidence, come down to the House of Commons and said, 'our foreign policy remains to be considered; the materials for pronouncing a judgment upon it are not yet before you; we, therefore, implore you to postpone this discussion for a fortnight until you have had an opportunity of acquiring the necessary information on the subject before arriving at a decision with respect to it. If they had taken that course," says the right hon. Gentleman, "I should have voted with them, but now that they have thought proper to take the more straight forward course which they have adopted I cannot give them my support." I now come more directly to the charges made against the Government by the noble Lords the Members for Tiverton and the City of London. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton goes to the fountain head. He says, "I begin at the beginning, and my first ground of attack rests in the circumstances under which you came into power." "You voted," he said, "for the first reading of the Conspiracy Bill, and then you voted against the second reading;" and the noble Lord says he never alluded to this circumstance before, but feels compelled to do so now. The noble Lord had no doubt good reasons for, and has derived no small advantages from not having referred to this subject before, and one of these is that had he mentioned 399 it in the late Parliament he would have found there was very little sympathy with him in such a discussion. Another advantage to the noble Lord in now bringing the subject forward is, that he has persuaded himself into a temporary for get fullness as to the facts of his case. But I have to ask the noble Lords opposite, before they charge this side of the House: with inconsistency on that question, to settle a little business with the right hon. Gentleman who sits beside them, I mean the right hon. Member for South Wilts (Mr. Sidney Herbert). That right hon. Gentleman voted for the first reading of the Conspiracy Bill, and then voted against the second reading. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton says he can have no confidence in any one who could do that. Now, if the noble Lord presses the right hon. Gentleman perhaps he may get from him satisfactory reasons for the course he took. But I mention it because I think these side attacks on his co-patrons of Almack's are hardly in accord with that knowledge of the world which the noble Lord is known to possess, and do not augur very favourably for the future concord of that assembly.
Now, as regards the course taken by the Conservative party on that occasion, I must remind the noble Lord of the circumstances as they occurred. The Conservative party, speaking through my right hon. Friend, who was the leader of the party, when they voted for the first reading of the Conspiracy Bill, expressly stated that they disapproved of the conduct of the Government in not answering the despatch of the French Minister, and that when the time came for the second reading the Ministers of the Crown would be called on to justify their proceedings with regard to the Bill, and the fact that the despatch had not been answered. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] I am afraid there are not only Members in this House who are not aware of this transaction, but that there are new Members in the House who are hardly aware of the gravity and decorum with which discussions are conducted in a deliberative assembly. It was expressly stated that the time would come on the second reading of the Bill when the Minister would have to justify to the House the necessity for the Bill and the fact that the despatch of the French Minister had not received an answer. The Government of the day were warned of the course that would 400 be taken. Well, Sir, the second reading came, and the noble Lord at the head of the Government said the despatch was not only not answered, but could not be answered. In these circumstances the Conservative party had no alternative but to vote for the Amendment proposed on the second reading of the Bill. I will, however, tell the noble Lord that it was not the Conservative party who turned out the Government on that occasion. The Conservative party had not the power to do so; but the noble Lord was overthrown because he had forfeited the confidence of his own party—one of the largest and most influential parties that has sat in modern times in the House of Commons—and I believe that the verdict his party gave was perfectly in accordance with the opinion of the country. The noble Lord might well have drawn a veil over that transaction, but instead of doing so he has again justified the course which he took, and has thus shown to his new party that he has learnt nothing, and repented of nothing during the time he has been sitting on those (the Opposition) benches. The noble Lord then told us that he had exercised the greatest forbearance towards the Government during the last Session. I have no doubt the noble Lord has persuaded himself into that belief, but we consider that we are indebted to him for no forbearance whatever. We all remember the Motion made against the Government before they were long in office,—a Motion supported by the noble Lord in this House, and proposed by a near connection of the noble Lord in "another place." It is true that the Motion never came to a division, but that did not arise from the forbearance of the noble Lord. But let me advert to another instance of the noble Lord's forbearance. When the noble Lord was in office, the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Locke King) proposed his Bill for the reduction of the county franchise, and the noble Lord opposed it and voted against it. The Bill was renewed when the present Government were in power. Every word of the Bill was the same, though the title was altered; and the noble Lord, on the ground that the figures in the Bill were printed in italics, said he would support the second reading, and by doing so defeated the Government. But,—not to enumerate more details—if the noble Lord chooses to go over Division Lists since the present Government came 401 into office, he will find that there have been really one hundred and forty Divisions taken against the Government, and that they certainly did not originate with the Conservative side of the House.
The next charge of the noble Lord against Her Majesty's Ministers related to the Government of India Bill. The noble Lord says, that when in opposition we voted against the India Bill for transferring the government of that empire to the Crown, and that when in office we brought in a Bill to effect that object. Now, the Conservative party opposed the India Bill when it was brought in by the Government of the noble Lord, not on the ground that it was improper to transfer the Government of India to the Crown, but on the ground that a time while the rebellion was raging was not a proper time to hazard an experiment of that kind. The House, however, affirmed the introduction of the Bill by a majority of 145. Lord Derby soon after acceded to office, and on the first occasion of his appearing in his place in Parliament he stated that, as the House of Commons had decided by so large a majority against the East India Company, the authority of that Company was weakened if not destroyed, and that it was impossible to delay legislation on the subject any longer. But, then, says the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), it was, after all, my Bill that was carried, and any credit you have is credit derived from my handy work. Now, Sir, I must demur to that view of the case. I dare say, that in any number of Bills relating to the Government of India there would be formal clauses, the wording of which would be similar if not identical; but the House will recollect that the great points in controversy were the Council—who were to be the councillors, what was to be their number, what their tenure of office, what should be their pay, their powers, and their duties. These were points with regard to which the Bill of the present Government differed from that of the noble Lord, and on nearly all of them the noble Lord voted against the Government and in the minority. So much for the legislation as to India. The right hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham) addressed himself to the subject of the administration of the affairs of India, and found fault with the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) the Secretary for India, for asking for a loan of £7,000,000, which amount did not turn out to be sufficient. Now, it will be recollected, that 402 when my noble Friend the Secretary for India applied for that loan, he mentioned that the annual financial statement had not arrived from India, and that it was impossible for him to say, whether the loan he then asked for would be sufficient to meet the exigencies of the case. But the right hon. Baronet likewise spoke of the subject of the re-organization of the Indian army being thrown down to a Commission, and said the servants of the Queen differed as to the right course to be taken on that important question. Now, I contend that it was a wise thing on the part of the Indian Government, who could not be supposed to be cognizant of all that it was desirable to know on a military question, more especially all that it was desirable to know as to the organization of the Queen's Army at home, to send the matter before a Commission, in order to obtain their advice, and I am now able to state that there is no difference of opinion among the servants of the Crown, and that my noble Friend is prepared to submit to the House a measure for the re-organization of the Indian army. But in the case of a Motion of want of confidence, questions like these must be decided very much by comparison, and I will ask the House to compare the administration of the affairs of India now with what it was under the Government of India that preceded the present. We challenge hon. Gentlemen opposite to say, whether they are willing to compare the state of Indian affairs now with that which existed under the preceding Government of India?
The next charge of the noble Lord is, that we brought in a Reform Bill. I admit that, if these matters are to be judged of by comparison, the noble Lord is free from any such charge. But then he says, "Your Bill was not approved of; no person thought for a moment of agreeing to its provisions." Now, Sir, I will mention one person who did approve of the measure, and that was the noble Lord himself. He gave to the Bill a very considerable degree of approbation. There were, he said, "fancy franchises" which he thought very good. It proposed to extend the county franchise, and he praised it for so doing, though he thought, perhaps, that we went too far. With regard to the transfer of seats, he added, some persons talked very largely, but he thought the, Bill pursued a very safe course. As to the borough franchise, he said he had been of opinion for a long time that a £10 franchise would be the- 403 best; but now he thought this amount might be reduced, though he did not venture to declare what reduction he would make. The only subject upon which the noble Lord found real fault with the Bill was as to the borough freeholders—a question which every one know would most easily and properly have been dealt with in Committee. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sidney Herbert) has expressed the greatest surprise that it should be possible for the Government now to admit a lowering of the borough franchise, and says it was always stonily maintained that this could not be done. I deny that the Government ever maintained anything of the kind. ["Oh!"] I hear a Gentleman express a doubt upon that subject, some one probably who was not present at the discussions which occupied the last Parliament. Now I, who can recall those discussions with considerable distinctness, remember that I myself said, because I was authorized to say it, that that subject, like every other point in the Bill, was one which might he treated in Committee, and properly ought to be treated there, and I compared it with the course taken by the noble Lord (Viscount Palmerston), who only justified his vote for the Bill of the hon. Member (Mr. Locke King), on the ground that he could alter the amount, the italics, in Committee. But do not take what I said. What did the First Minister of the Crown state in his place elsewhere upon the same subject? He said before the dissolution, that if the question had been between a £10 and an £8 suffrage in boroughs, the matter would not have been difficult of arrangement. These were the views of the noble Lord (Lord Palmerston) upon this Bill. But now I will tell him what we objected to in his treatment of the Government. We complained that, going to the extent he did in favour of the Bill which we introduced—a Bill in which the noble Lord could find so few faults, and those so easily remediable in Committee—he should yet combine with those who found fault with it in an entirely different matter, and to a much greater extent than himself—should combine with those from whom he so greatly differed and should place the Government in a minority, not on the second reading of the Bill, but upon an abstract Resolution. We were willing to submit to the country whether that was a wise, patriotic, and statesmanlike course; and if the verdict of the country were to be taken upon that question I should 404 not have the slightest doubt about the answer. Then the noble Lord—and this is his last charge respecting domestic affairs—says, "Your dissolution of Parliament was unwise and reckless." Well, I rejoice in this moderation of tone as compared with what the noble Lord said before the dissolution. Then he declared that it was impossible; it could not be done; the supplies would be stopped; Parliament would not allow a dissolution. But at present it is only "unwise and reckless." Now, I will ask the noble Lord again whether, after the new alliance he has formed, it is wise to make what are really indirect attacks upon those who are acting with him. Let us examine the opinion of the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) who now agrees with the noble Lord in voting for this Amendment. He has given us his opinion on the subject of the dissolution:—It is impossible," he said, "to come to any other conclusion than that the Government have taken the course which, acting upon the well known rules of what is understood to be the constitutional or Parliamentary practice of the country, they are bound to take. I entirely approve of the course which the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues have taken. It is, I think, a wise course in the emergency with which they have to deal.Well, then, is the hon. Member for Birmingham going to vote against the Government upon the noble Lord's charges, including that of the dissolution? But I need not go beyond the words of the noble Viscount himself. He has declared that, the state of parties in the last Parliament was unsatisfactory, that its continuance was undesirable, and that an Amendment has been proposed which may possibly remedy the existing evil. Well, Sir, I now ask how all those advantages could be gained except by the dissolution. These, I think, exhaust the charges against the Government upon their domestic policy. I don't know whether I am right in calling them charges. Statements of that kind, made in support of a Vote of want of confidence were surely never called charges before. From the Government measures which have failed I might, however, appeal to those which have passed, or which were pending and are ready to be resumed; to the conduct of the Government with regard to the national defences; I might point to the efficiency of the army, and more especially of the ordnance, to the energy with which every part of the Administration has been carried on; and I think I may say with 405 confidence that on these subjects, at all events, the Government has the confidence of the country. I now come to that which no doubt is of the greatest importance—our foreign policy. A great part of the observations on this subject have naturally turned upon the present state of affairs in Italy. But before touching upon that highly important subject I must turn aside to deal with charges made against the Government in another place by the light hon. Baronet the Member for Carlisle (Sir J. Graham). Don't let any hon. Member suppose that I am going to reopen at this stage of the debate any of the personal charges which the right hon. Baronet brought forward on the hustings at Car lisle. I think, however, as we pass on. it may be desirable, as merchants say, to "take stock" of these statements. First, we had the charge relating to the Secretary at War and the billeting of soldiers. That statement we know has been—although after a somewhat peculiar fashion—apologized for, and is not to be mentioned again. Next there is the statement respecting the Admiralty and my right hon. Friend the First Lord (Sir J. Pakington). That also has been apologized for and retracted, and I therefore say nothing about it. Then, thirdly, we have the rumour of election subscriptions, as to which I may say no one ever supposed that the right hon. Baronet was doing more than repeating a statement which he had heard or read in the reports of the day. We have next the statement about the packet service at Gal way, which met with a contradiction on the first night of the debate. Fifthly comes the statement as to what is called the Roman Catholic alliance, which the right hon. Baronet fortified by reading a letter said in the newspapers to be from a Roman Catholic bishop in the north of England, but as to which I saw within a week afterwards that the letter was declared by the bishop himself to be a forgery. Number six charge related to the barrack at Berwick, which has also been put out of the question. All these charges were the rubbish gathered out of the kennel of calumny which runs through every town during the time of an election. But I am now going to refer to a statement affecting the national honour, and which I think transcends all the others which I have enumerated. The right hon. Baronet was First Lord of the Admiralty not many years ago. He was accustomed, I apprehend, to consider the course taken by our cruisers abroad, and 406 the rights which they exercise with regard to ships of foreign nations. Well, when he was commenting at Carlisle, on the foreign policy of the Government he affected to doubt whether the honour of the country was safe in the hands of the noble Lord the present Foreign Secretary, and this was the instance he gave to the unsuspecting people of Carlisle:—With reference to the slave trade a question arose between the United States of America and England. The slave trade cannot be put down upon the high seas unless the flag supposed under suspicious circumstances to be carrying slaves is visited by the British cruisers. That right of visit has from the very commencement of our efforts to put down the slave trade been exercised upon the high seas; and what did this champion of the honour of England do? Why, in a single personal communication with the Minister of the United States, he remonstrating against this accustomed right of visit, it was renounced and abandoned by Lord Malmesbury; and this champion of the honour of England did on that occasion renounce a right, a maritime right, on the part of England which every Foreign Minister for the last thirty years has not hesitated to uphold. Now, so much for this champion of the honour of England in the person of Lord Malmesbury '.Every hon. Member must admit the gravity of the charge, and two reflections occur to me upon it. The first is that if this were an accurate charge deprivation of office would not be the proper punishment of the Minister who was open to it. The second observation is, that if any other person besides the Foreign Secretary deserved punishment, it would be a statesman of experience and of weight in the House who knew all this, who sat in the last Parliament, and who never informed the House of Commons of the injury which had been done to the honour of the country. Now, observe, this was not a rumour, but a matter depending upon statements made in the other House. A knowledge of everything that had been done had been communicated to Parliament in consequence of inquiries. Yet, Sir, what was the case? So far from Lord Malmesbury giving up the right of British cruisers to visit ships under suspicious circumstances, that is the very right which he has contended for, and which the Government of the United States has conceded. The facts may be briefly stated. There was great irritation on the part of the United States as to the proceedings of some of our cruisers off the Island of Cuba. A correspondence passed between the two Governments. Mr. Secretary Cass, the American Foreign Minister, after some- 407 preliminary correspondence, stated that under suspicious circumstances, neither he nor the country which he represented would quarrel with such of our cruisers as might exercise the right of visit. Lord Malmesbury thereupon consulted the proper legal authorities; he found that was the right which we claimed and desired to exercise; he closed with Mr. Secretary Cass upon: his own statement, and without any further ill feeling or controversy the question was arranged upon that basis. Now, Sir, all this was told to the other House. The right hon. Baronet was for many years a colleague of Lord Aberdeen, than whom no Minister has ever taken a warmer interest in this question. What did Lord Aberdeen say? He said, "I have seen the letter of General Cass; I think it reasonable and proper; it gives up what I have always 'contended for." But he added, "the only hung I object to is that there should be any idea allowed to go abroad that the right; of search generally"—that is to say, the right of search not under suspicious circumstances—"has been given up; it is impossible it can have been given up, because I abandoned It myself twenty years ago, and it has not been claimed since." I do not, of course, suppose that the right hon. Baronet invented the story which he told to his constituents; but what I com plain of is, that a statesman of eminence and weight should, upon a subject involving the honour of England and affecting; the general character of a Minister of the Crown, have carelessly made so grave a statement without taking the trouble to procure correct information. I think this exhausts the chapter of anecdotes at Carlisle. I will not dwell any longer upon them. The fact remains—and it is the only fact which does remain—that not one of those anecdotes can bear examination, and I can only congratulate the worthy electors of Carlisle upon the statements upon which they have returned their distinguished Member to Parliament.
I come now to the subject more immediately before the House—the foreign policy of the Government, especially in relation to the war now raging in Italy. The noble Lord who moved the Amendment candidly stated that, not having seen the papers which the Government are about to produce, he was not in a position to discuss the question of our foreign policy. In that he has not been followed by some of those who act along with him. The noble Lord the Member for Tiverton (Vis- 408 count Palmerston) and the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Wilson) have said that they have information enough without waiting for papers to express their opinion upon the foreign policy of the Government. I think we have in their observations two remarkable instances of the inconvenience of discussing this question in the absence of those papers. The hon. Member for Devonport makes a grave charge against my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He says that on the 25th of February last the Chancellor of the Exchequer stated to this House that the Government had reason to believe that the Roman States would shortly be evacuated by the French and Austrian troops, and that with the consent of the Papal authorities, and that under these circumstances Lord Cowley had proceeded on a mission to Vienna. The hon. Member tells us he has been in Paris, that he does not think there was any foundation for that statement, and that he has reason to know that at the Tuileries and at the Foreign Office in Vienna it had created great surprise. I have of course no means of knowing from whom in Paris the hon. Member derives his political information; but if the hon. Member, being in Paris, had referred to those sources of information to which one might have thought he could have had recourse—if he had looked at The Moniteur, the Government paper, he would have found that on the 27th of February, by authority, there was inserted in The Moniteur a statement almost in words the same as that made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in regard to the evacuation of the Roman States. I say he would have found that statement inserted by authority in The Moniteur, and in addition to that I am able to inform him that the statement was made in this House in consequence of a direct communication from the French Ambassador in London. I think, therefore, the hon. Member will agree with me in thinking that upon that subject there could not have been much surprise felt at the Tuileries. Then, with respect to the Foreign Office at Vienna, when the hon. Member reads the papers which will be laid upon the table, he will find that for some days before the date I have given, the authorities at the Austrian Foreign Office had received a communication from the Papal Government, and that they had stated to our Minister that this was one of the subjects on which they were prepared to communicate with the Lord Cowley. There could not, therefore, have 409 been any great surprise on the part of the Foreign Office at Vienna. So much, then, for the assertions of the hon. Member for Devonport. The statement of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, however, is much more serious. The noble Lord told us that in the course of the negotiations, up to the last moment—The belief of the Government was, that if they could only frighten France from hostilities by holding it out to Europe that in the event of war breaking out they would be found acting on the side of Austria, peace would be preserved, and war would be avoided. I think," he added, "a threat to either side, that any contingency of war was to involve England as an active party in the contest was wrong and imprudent, the more especially when it was launched at a proud, warlike, and independent nation, who must have understood what was meant, and would doubtless have resented it."—[See Hansard, cliv. 179–80.]I have no doubt the noble Lord believed all this; but I can assure the House that there is not a shadow of foundation for that statement. Nothing whatever passed during the negotiations which could in the remotest degree bear the construction of a threat to France, that in the event of war breaking out we should be found acting on the side of Austria. Now the noble Lord is a statesman of eminence, and one whose words are read and weighed over the whole Continent. A statement of this kind, therefore, ought not to have been made unless there was an accurate foundation for it within the knowledge of the noble Lord. Such a statement, even though it be corrected in this House, must do mischief when it goes abroad, and is read abroad; because, next to the threat of war, any proud, sensitive, warlike nation would most dislike to have it said in an assembly of this kind that it had been threatened with war. Such are the consequences of the course which has been taken by the noble Lord and the hon. Member in opposition to the Mover of the Amendment in discussing the subject of these negotiations, when they have not the material for discussion. Now, I ask you upon what ground is it that you propose to censure the Government with regard to its foreign policy on the Italian question? It mast be either, first, because war has broken out; or it must he, secondly, because the negotiations have not been conducted with energy and with earnestness; or it must be, thirdly, because since the war has broken out the Government has acted in some manner likely to prejudice or endanger the neutral position of this 410 country. Is it on the first ground—that the war has broken out? The noble Lord the Member for London has disposed of that question, for he has very fairly admitted that he did not think anybody could have prevented this war breaking out. Is it on the second ground—that the negotiations have not been conducted with energy and earnestness? How are you to judge of that without having negotiations before you? Just observe; you have had the gracious Speech from the Throne; you have agreed, I may say, to the Address so far as it goes, and you are about to thank Her Majesty for the intimation that the papers relating to the negotiations in question, and showing how great has been her desire to preserve the peace of Europe, will be laid before you; and then, by way of Amendment, you censure the Government for the conduct of those negotiations before you have had the information on which you might be expected to found that censure. Well, Sir, is it on the third ground, is it because anything has been done since the war to complicate or compromise the neutral position of this country with foreign Powers? Sir, the course taken by the Government is clear and distinct. It does not rest upon verbal statements. The Government have issued a Proclamation not merely for this country but for foreign Powers. It is couched in clear and distinct terms, and affirms the perfect and complete neutrality of this country. The foreign powers who are concerned in the war, comprehend and have accepted that declaration. Now, Sir, is there any reason to doubt the sincerity of that Proclamation? The noble Lord the Member for the City of London says there is. He says that my noble Friend the Earl of Derby made a speech in "another place," and the noble Lord read that speech and commented upon it. I will notice the noble Lord's comments on the Speech, but I will not notice his comments on the character of the Earl of Derby. The noble Lord is an eminent biographer, and he has shown that he is no mean proficient in sketching character. But there is one ingredient necessary to every successful sketch of character, and that is, that the biographer should be impartial, and that he should be placed in circumstances that ensure his impartiality. Now, Sir, I do not think it is the time for the noble Lord to sketch the character of a statesman when he wishes to dislodge that statesman and assume his 411 place. The noble Lord knew that the construction he put upon the Earl of Derby's speech had been denied by the Earl of Derby, and that the true construction had been assigned by the Earl of Derby. I think, therefore, it would only have been fair if the noble Lord had read the construction which the author of the words himself put upon them. The Earl of Derby, in his speech at the Mansion House said:—That noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) supposes me to have said that I thought it the duty of England to maintain a posture of armed neutrality, in order that we might take the part of whichever of the belligerents we believed was in the right, and he adds that from the manifest partiality we have shown for Austria, there can be no doubt on which side we are prepared shortly to draw the sword. Now I take the liberty to say here, thus emphatically and publicly, that nothing could have been further from our view. What I did say was this,—That we intended to maintain a strict neutrality; but that when a million or more of men were in arms, when war was not only imminent, but in actual existence, and that moreover in Italy and on the shores of the Mediterranean, it was incumbent on and actually necessary for us, looking to the great interests we have involved there, looking to our great possessions, and the military position we occupy in that quarter, that we should be in such a state as to defend those possessions and preserve the British flag and British arms from the possibility of insult amid any of the contingencies that might arise. And I said this, not that we should maintain that armed neutrality for the purpose of joining this or the other of the parties with whoso quarrels there is nothing in our national interests or national honour that calls for our interference.I say that this was a clear and distinct declaration of neutrality, and neutrality not in the sense assigned by the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton, who talked of the neutrality of this country as long as the war was confined to Italy, but an absolute neutrality for every contingency that we can either see or speculate upon. The hon. Member for Birmingham has a different objection, and now I come to his ground for voting for the Amendment of the noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire (the Marquess of Hartington). The hon. Member says,—"It is all very well to declare a neutrality, but look what you are doing. You are strengthening your army, increasing your militia, enrolling volunteer rifle corps, and adding greatly to your navy and seamen."—The effect, he says, is to make the French look suspiciously upon you and to peril our alliance. I do nut think it can be said that because we do not expect Austria to attack us we must therefore really expect France 412 to attack us; but I am glad we have got this charge; it is worthy the consideration of this House, and for this reason:—According to the hon. Member the French alliance ought to be drawn closer, and that which perils the alliance is the increase of our armaments and the strengthening of our fleet. What is the consequence? The alliance with France, according to the hon. Member's theory, can only be drawn closer by the relinquishment and reduction of our armaments. It is a strong term—the disarmament of England—but using it to denote the comparative defenceless state of our shores, which existed only two years ago under a Ministry which I need not name, I say that the observations of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham convince me that, as his support is admitted to be necessary to the new Government, the condition of that support must be the disarmament of England. But now you talk of neutrality to the Government, let me ask a question. What is the neutrality of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton? Here I must begin by correcting, I am sure an unintentional, but still serious misrepresentation which has been made by the right hon. Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. Sidney Herbert), and the noble Lord the Member for London. They said, adverting to the speech of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Seymour FitzGerald) that something fell from him that had the appearance of depreciating or speaking lightly of the French alliance. Now, that is not correct—there is not the Shadow of ground for such a statement. What fell from my hon. Friend was that, speaking of the meeting at Willis's Rooms—of which we have heard so much—he said that no man valued more than he did the French alliance, but he added that he found the noble Viscount at that meeting, while he professed to declare in favour of neutrality, added that above all things the interest of this country was to preserve the alliance with France. The observation of my hon. Friend—and a well-founded one, I venture to think—was, why did not the noble Lord say it was the interest of this country to preserve the alliance with both countries—Austria as well as France—and thus exhibit a real neutrality? What can foreign nations think of saying in one breath we desire neutrality, and in the next breath, that above all things necessary for this country is the alliance 413 with France? I will not, however, stop at Willis's Rooms; for the noble Viscount at Tiverton, if rightly reported, speaking of the position of Austria in the north of Italy, where her position, be it good or bad, is guaranteed by the public law of Europe, said that, if Austria by the end of the year was driven out of the north of Italy, and Italy left entirely to the Italians, every one in this country would rejoice. Now, Sir, I want to know how a declaration of that kind consists with, and how continental nations can take it to be consistent with, perfect neutrality. Suppose, for instance, Lord Derby had said that if Austria succeeded in driving the Sardinians out of Lombardy, and in securing her reign more firmly over Lombardy and Venice, it would be a matter of rejoicing, what would have been said then of the neutrality of Government? There is a statesman who of all others should be competent to form an idea of the effect of language of this kind on Italy; he is not connected with us upon this side of the House, he has been for many years a colleague of the noble Lord opposite, and he is an experienced diplomatist in the affairs of Italy—I mean, of course, the Marquess of Normanby. What has he said within the last day or two? His opinion of that declaration at Tiverton is that the man who made it is a dangerous man to be a Minister of England. But the neutrality of the noble Lord the Member for Tiverton is well known. He was neutral in 1848, when he was Foreign Minister. He then acted consistently with his notion of neutrality. I will not go into a review of those occurrences, but will only say that any one who reads the blue-books relating to them must come to the conclusion that if in 1848 there had been any nation upon the Continent sufficiently powerful and disengaged to enter upon a war against us, the course which the noble Lord took would have furnished ample reasons and justification for a war. I know this was made the subject of debate in this House, and that the noble Lord defended himself, stating that all he did was in the interests of peace and freedom, and was not intended to promote war. I firmly believe that is his opinion, but that is just the danger. It is just because that is the sincere conviction of the noble Lord, that in the proceedings which he took in 1848, when he was neutral, he was only promoting freedom in a harmless and peaceful way, and because I believe these are his firm and ingrained sentiments, that 414 I look upon him as a most dangerous Minister. I believe, that if the noble Lord were now to do one-tenth of what he did in 1848, we should have this country involved in war before twelve months were over.
The right hon. Member for South Wiltshire (Mr. Sidney Herbert) in his speech to-night—the courteous tone of which I gladly recognize, and the interest of which I need scarcely say was felt by every one on both sides of the House—gave us some details with regard to the circumstances under which persons can change their opinions; and he also showed what one sometimes sees even in the case of the most clear sighted and impartial men—how they can overlook the applicability to themselves of the rule which they prescribe for others. In that speech, after having plentifully—I do not say too plentifully—supplied us with quotations from the speeches of almost every one on this side of the House who has spoken in times past, or in times present, on the subjects under discussion—after supplying us even with division lists for the purpose of testing the nets and opinions of hon. Members—the right hon. Gentleman turned round and censured my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and of my right hon. Friend the Attorney General for Ireland, because they had done exactly what the right hon. Gentleman himself had done throughout the whole of his speech,—because they had read the opinions of statesmen, Members of this House, with regard to the foreign policy of the noble Lord, the Member for Tiverton. Now, Sir, I desire to refer to the opinions of statesmen with regard to the policy of that noble Lord merely for the purpose of showing that upon a subject exactly similar to that which we are now discussing those Statesmen, now acting with the noble Lord, expressed their dissent from the views entertained by the noble Lord upon foreign policy. Why do I think it desirable that the House should hear this circumstance in mind? A good many speakers on the other side have stated that their great desire is to see a strong Government formed, and that, therefore, they support the Amendment. The right hon. Member for South Wiltshire has told us that a Government must be either strong within, or strong from its support without; and I wish the House to consider whether, with regard to the composition of a Government, there can be any weakness to compare with that arising from the dis- 415 sension of its own Members? It has been shown to you, and therefore I need not undertake the task, with regard to those who are now said to be the leaders of this movement originating on the other side, and who must be looked to in a greater or less degree as the components of any Government that may be formed, that they differ from the noble Member for Tiverton upon this great, this all-important question of foreign policy. I want to know, then, what prospect of unanimity there is likely to be in a Cabinet so constructed. The right hon. Member for Carlisle (Sir James Graham), the right hon. Member for South Wilts, the hon. Member for Birmingham (Mr. Bright) and the right hon. Member for Ashton (Mr. Milner Gibson) have all disapproved in the strongest terms of that policy which we have no reason to believe the noble Member for Tiverton has surrendered, or intends to surrender, and which therefore he will be bound to carry out the moment he is restored to power.
The right hon. Member for Radnor (Sir George Lewis) endeavoured to justify the Amendment, and the hon. Member for Devonport (Mr. Wilson) seemed to be under the apprehension that I should be disposed to give it a hard name. Sir, I have no such intention. The noble Marquess who proposed the Amendment stated most frankly and fairly that he admitted it to be a party Motion. I will go further, and I will say that I believe it to be perfectly legitimate as a party Motion, and that it would not have been made if it had not been deemed necessary as a party Motion. We are fallen upon anxious and upon critical times. I see among statesmen opposite who support this Amendment many who have borne the weight and responsibility of office, and he among them must indeed be a bold man who, at a crisis like the present, would desire for the mere sake of office to resume that weight and that responsibility. But the favourable construction which I put upon the objects of this Amendment I demand in return for the Government against which it is directed. The hon. Member for Birmingham has spoken of the pleasure or the pain with which an interchange of parties from one side of this House to the other is usually attended. Sir, if personal ease and satisfaction alone were concerned, those who sit on these benches might well hail with pleasure the change of power which is sought to be effected by this Amendment. But there is in this country—and 416 I do not claim it as a monopoly for any one set of public men—a higher and a stronger feeling than the mere desire for personal ease and gratification—and that feeling is a sense of public duty, and a desire for the public welfare. Sir, we believe that we have, under circumstances of great difficulty and disadvantage, conducted, and that we are able to conduct, the internal affairs of this country not without ability, and not without success. We believe that the course we are pursuing, and intend to pursue, with regard to our foreign relations is that which under Providence can alone preserve to England the inestimable blessing of peace, which can render her unassailable and unlikely to be assailed by any act of foreign aggression, and which can enable her to labour, in her opportunity, to secure to other States the same blessings which we value for ourselves. We believe that this policy, so essential to the honour and the prosperity of this country, would be marred and thwarted by a transfer of power at this moment into the hands of the noble Viscount. And it is because we believe this that we cheerfully and readily join issue with the Amendment which has been proposed, and await, with confidence and contentment on this great appeal, the verdict of the House of Commons.
§ Question put,
§ The House divided: Ayes 323; Noes 310: Majority 13.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acton, Sir J. D.||Bethell, Sir R.|
|Adair, H. E.||Biddulph, Col.|
|Adam, W. P.||Biggs, J.|
|Adeane, H. J.||Black, A.|
|Agar-Ellis, hn. L. G. F.||Bonham-Carter, J.|
|Agnew, Sir A.||Bouverie, rt. hon. E. P.|
|Alcock, T.||Bouverie, hon. P. P.|
|Andover, Visct.||Brand, hon. H.|
|Angerstein, W.||Bright, J.|
|Anson, hon. C.||Bristow, A. R.|
|Antrobus, E.||Brocklehurst, J.|
|Arnott, J.||Brown, J.|
|Ashley, Lord||Browne, Lord J. T.|
|Atherton, W.||Bruce, Lord E.|
|Ayrton, A. S.||Bruce, H. A.|
|Bagwell, J.||Buchanan, W.|
|Baines, E.||Buckley, Gen.|
|Baring, H. B.||Bulkeley, Sir R.|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.||Buller, J. W.|
|Baring, T. G.||Burke, Sir T. J.|
|Bass, M. T.||Bury, Visct.|
|Baxter, W. E.||Butler, C. S.|
|Bazley, T.||Butt, I.|
|Beale, S.||Buxton, C.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Byng, hon. G.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Caird, J.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Calthorpe, hon. F. H. W. G.|
|Berkeley, hon. H. F.|
|Berkeley, Col. F. W. F.||Campbell, hon. W. F.|
|Cardwell, rt. hon. E.||Glyn, G. G.|
|Castlerosse, Visct.||Gower, hon. F. L.|
|Cavendish, hon. W.||Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Greene, J.|
|Cholmeley, Sir M. J.||Greenwood, J.|
|Clay, J.||Gregson, S.|
|Clifford, C. C.||Grenfell, C. P.|
|Clifford, Col.||Greville, C. F.|
|Clinton, Lord R.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Clive, G.||Grey, R. W.|
|Cogan, W. H. F.||Grosvenor, Earl|
|Coke, hon. Col.||Gurdon, B.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Gurney, S.|
|Collier, R. P.||Hadfield, G.|
|Coningham, W.||Hall, rt. hon. Sir B.|
|Cowper, rt. hon. W. F.||Hanbury, R.|
|Craufurd, E. H. J.||Handley, J.|
|Crawford, R. W.||Hankey, T.|
|Crossley, F.||Hanmer, Sir J.|
|Dalglish R.||Harcourt, G. G.|
|Dashwood, Sir G. H.||Hardcastle, J. A.|
|Davey, R.||Hartington, Marq.|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||Headlam, T. E.|
|Davie, Col, F.||Heneage, G. F.|
|Deasy, R.||Herbert, rt. hon. H. A.|
|Denison, hon. W.||Herbert, rt hon. S.|
|Denman, hon. G.||Hodgkinson, G.|
|Dillwyn, L. L.||Hodgson, K. D.|
|Divett, E.||Holland, E.|
|Dodson, J. G.||Horsman, rt. hon. E.|
|Douglas, Sir C.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Duff, M. E. G.||Howard, Lord E.|
|Duff, Major L. D. G.||Hutt, W.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Ingham, R.|
|Dunbar, Sir W.||Ingram, H.|
|Duncan, Visct.||Jackson, W.|
|Duncombe, T.||James, E. J.|
|Dundas, F.||Jervoise, Sir J. C.|
|Dunkellin, Lord||Keating, Sir H. S.|
|Dunlop, A. M.||Kershaw, J.|
|Dunne, M.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Ellice, rt. hon. E.||Kinglake, A. W.|
|Ellice, E.||Kinglake, J. A.|
|Ennis, J.||Kingscote, Col.|
|Esmonde, J.||Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Euston, Earl of||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Evans, Sir De L.||Laing, S.|
|Evans, T. W.||Langston, J. H.|
|Ewart, W.||Langton, W. H. G.|
|Ewart, J. C.||Lanigan, J.|
|Ewing, H. E. C.||Lawson, W.|
|Fenwick, H.||Leatham, E. A.|
|Ferguson, Col.||Leatham, W. H.|
|Finlay, A. S.||Lee, W.|
|FitzGerald, rt. hon. J.D.||Levinge, Sir R.|
|FitzRoy, rt. hon. H.||Lewis, rt. hon. Sir G. C.|
|Fitzwilliam, hon. C. W. W.||Locke, John|
|Foley, J. H.||Lowe, rt. hon. R.|
|Foley, H. W.||Lysley, W. J.|
|Foljambe, F. J. S.||M'Cann, J.|
|Forster, C.||Mackie, J.|
|Foster, W. O.||Mackinnon, Wm. Alex. (Lymington)|
|Fortescue, hon. F. D.|
|Fortescue, C. S.||Mackinnon, Wm. Alex. (Rye)|
|Fox, W. J.|
|Freesland, H. W.||M'Mahon, P.|
|French, Col.||Marsh, M. H.|
|Gavin, Major||Marshall, W.|
|Gibson, rt. hon. T. M.||Martin, P. W.|
|Gifford, Earl of||Martin, J.|
|Gilpin, C.||Massey, W. N.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Matheson, A.|
|Matheson, Sir J.||Schneider, H. W.|
|Mellor, J.||Scholefield, W.|
|Merry, J.||Scott, Sir W.|
|Mitchell, T. A.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Mildmay, H. F.||Scully, V.|
|Mills, T.||Seymour, H. D.|
|Milnes, R. M.||Seymour, W. D.|
|Moncreiff, J.||Shafto, R. D.|
|Monk, C. J.||Shelley, Sir J. V.|
|Monsell, rt. hon. W.||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Monson, hon. W. J.||Slaney, R. A.|
|Morris, D.||Smith, J. B.|
|Mostyn, hn. T. E. M. L.||Smith, M. T.|
|Napier, Sir C.||Smith, rt. hn. R. V.|
|Noble, J. W.||Smith, A.|
|Norris, J. T.||Somerville, rt. hon. Sir W. M.|
|O'Brien, P.||Stafford, Marquess of|
|O'Connell, Capt. D.||Staniland, M.|
|O'Donoghoe, The||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|O'Ferrall, rt. hn. R. M.||Stansfield, J.|
|Ogilvy, Sir J.||Steel, J.|
|Onslow, G.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Owen, Sir J.||Sykes, Col. W. H.|
|Packe, G. H.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Paget, C.||Thornhill, W. P.|
|Paget, Lord A.||Tite, W.|
|Paget, Lord C.||Tollemache, hon. F. J|
|Palmerston, Visct.||Tomline, G.|
|Paxton Sir J.||Traill, G.|
|Pease, H.||Trelawny, Sir J. S.|
|Pechell, Sir G. B.||Turner, J. A.|
|Peel, Sir R.||Tynte, Col. K.|
|Peel, rt. hon. F.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Perry, Sir T. E.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Peto, Sir S. M.||Villiers, rt. hon. C. P|
|Pigott, F.||Vivian, H. H.|
|Pilkington, J.||Waldron, L.|
|Pinney, Col.||Walter, J.|
|Ponsonby, hon. A.||Walters, R.|
|Portman, hon. W. H. B.||Warre, J. A.|
|Price, W. P.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Pryse, E. L.||Wemyss, J. H. E.|
|Pritchard, J.||Western, S.|
|Proby, Lord||Westhead, J. P. B.|
|Puller, C. W. G.||Whalley, G. H.|
|Ramsden, Sir J. W.||Whitbread, S.|
|Raynham, Visct.||White, Col.|
|Ricardo, O.||White, Col. L.|
|Rich, H.||Wickham, H. W.|
|Ridley, G.||Willcox, B. M'G.|
|Robartes, T. J. A.||Williams, W.|
|Robertson, D.||Wilson, J.|
|Rothschild, Baron L. de||Winnington, Sir T. E|
|Rothschild, Baron M. de||Wise, J. A.|
|Roupell, W.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Woods, H.|
|Russell, H.||Worsley, Lord|
|Russell, A.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Russell, F. W.||Wyvill, M.|
|St. Aubyn, J.|
|Salomons, Mr. Ald.||TELLERS.|
|Salt, T.||Hayter, Sir W.|
|Schenley, E. W. H.||Knatchbull-Hugessen.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Adderley, rt. hon. C. B.||Baillie, H. J.|
|Annesley, hon. Capt. H.||Ball, E.|
|Arbuthnott, hon. Gen.||Baring, A. H.|
|Archdall, Capt. M.||Baring, T.|
|Astell, J. H.||Barrow, W. H.|
|Bailey, C.||Bathurst, A. A.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Emlyn, Visct.|
|Bective, Earl of||Estcourt, rt. hn. T. H. S.|
|Beecroft, G. S.||Farquhar, Sir M.|
|Bentinck, G. W. P.||Farrer, J.|
|Beresford, rt. hon. W.||Fellowes, E.|
|Bernard, hon. Col.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Bernard, T. T.||Filmer, Sir E.|
|Blackburn, P.||FitzGerald, W. R. S.|
|Blake, J.||Forde, Col.|
|Bond, J. W. M'G.||Forester, rt. hon. Col.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Forster, Sir G.|
|Botfield, B.||Franklyn, G. W.|
|Bovill, W.||Gallwey, Sir W. P.|
|Bowyer, G.||Galway, Visct.|
|Boyd, J.||Gard, R. S.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Garnett, W. J.|
|Bridges, Sir B. W.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Brooks, R.||George, J.|
|Bruce, Major C.||Gilpin, Col.|
|Bruen, H.||Gladstone, Capt.|
|Bunbury, Capt. W. B. M'C.||Gladstone, rt. hon. W.|
|Goddard, A. L.|
|Burghley, Lord||Goff, Capt.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Gordon, C. W.|
|Cairns, Sir H. M'C.||Gore, J. R. O.|
|Carnac, Sir J. R.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Cartwright, Col.||Graham, Lord W.|
|Cave, S.||Greaves, E.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Greenall, G.|
|Cecil, Lord R.||Gregory, W. H.|
|Churchill, Lord A. S.||Gray, Capt.|
|Close, M. C.||Grey de Wilton, Visct.|
|Cobbett, J. M.||Griffith, C. D.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Grogan, Sir E.|
|Cochrane, A. D. R.W.B.||Gurney, J. H.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Haddo, Lord|
|Cole, hon. Col.||Haliburton, T. C.|
|Cole, hon. J. L.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Collins, T.||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Conolly, T.||Hamilton, Major|
|Cooper, C. W.||Hanbury, hon. Capt.|
|Copeland, Mr. Ald.||Hardy, G.|
|Corbally, M. E.||Hartopp, E. B.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. L.||Hassard, M.|
|Crook, J.||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Cross, R. A.||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Cubitt, Mr. Ald.||Hennessy, J. P.|
|Curzon, Visct.||Henniker, Lord|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Herbert, Col. P.|
|Damer, S. D.||Heygate, Sir F. W.|
|Davison, R.||Hill, Lord E.|
|Dawson, R. P.||Hill, hon. R. C.|
|Deedes, W.||Hoare, J.|
|Dickson, Col.||Holdford, R. S.|
|Disraeli, rt. hon. B.||Holmesdale, Visct.|
|Drax, J. S. W. S. E. D.||Hood, Sir A. A.|
|Drummond, H.||Hope, G. W.|
|Du Cane, C.||Hopwood, J. T.|
|Duncombe, hon. A.||Hornby, W. H.|
|Duncombe, hon. W. E.||Horsfall, T. B.|
|Dunne, Col.||Hotham, Lord|
|Du Pre, C. G.||Howes, E.|
|Dutton, hon. R. H.||Hubbard, J. G.|
|Earle, R. A.||Humberston, P. S.|
|East, Sir J. B.||Hume, W. W. F.|
|Edwards, Major||Hunt, G. W.|
|Egerton, Sir P. G.||Ingestre, Visct.|
|Egerton, hn. A. F.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Egerton, E. C.||Jervis, Capt.|
|Egerton, W.||Johnstone, hon. H. B.|
|Elcho, Lord||Johnstone, J. J. H.|
|Elmley, Visct.||Jolliffe, H. H.|
|Elphinstone, Sir J, D.||Jones, D.|
|Kekewich, S. T.||Parker, Major W.|
|Kelly, Sir F.||Patten, Col. W.|
|Kendall, N.||Paull, H.|
|Kennard, R. W.||Peacocke, G. M. W.|
|Ker, D. S.||Peel, rt. hon. Gen.|
|Kerrison, Sir E. C.||Pennant, hon. Col.|
|King, J. K.||Pevensey, Visct.|
|Knatchbull, W. F.||Philipps, J. H.|
|Knight, F. W.||Potts, G.|
|Knightley, R.||Powell, W. T. R.|
|Knox, Col.||Powys, L. P.|
|Knox, hon. Major S.||Pugh, D., Carmarthen|
|Lacon, Sir E.||Pugh, D., Montgomery|
|Leeke, Sir H.||Quinn, P.|
|Lefroy, A.||Redmond, J. E.|
|Legh, Major C.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Legh, W. J.||Richardson, J.|
|Lennox, Lord H. G.||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Leslie, C. P.||Roebuck, J. A.|
|Lever, J. O.||Rogers, J. J.|
|Liddell, hon. H. G.||Rolt, J.|
|Lindsay, W. S.||Salt, T.|
|Lindsay, hon. Col.||Sclater-Booth, G.|
|Lockhart, A. E.||Selwyn, C. J.|
|Long, R. P.||Seymer, H. K.|
|Long, W.||Sheridan, H. B.|
|Longfield, R.||Shirley, E. P.|
|Lopes, Sir M.||Sibthorp, Major|
|Lovaine, Lord||Smith, Sir F.|
|Lowther, hon. Col.||Smith, M.|
|Lowther, Capt.||Smith, A.|
|Lyall, G.||Smyth, Col.|
|Lygon, hon. F.||Smollett, P. B.|
|Lytton, rt. hon. Sir G. E. L. B.||Somerset. Col.|
|Macaulay, K.||Stanhope, J. B.|
|MacEvoy, E.||Stanley, Lord|
|Maguire, J. F.||Stephenson, R.|
|Mainwaring, T.||Stirling, W.|
|Malins, R.||Steuart, A.|
|Manners, rt. hn. Lord J.||Stewart, Sir M. R, S.|
|March, Earl of||Stuart, Major W.|
|Maxwell, hon. Col.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Michell, Dr. W.||Sturt, N.|
|Miles, Sir W.||Stracey, Sir H.|
|Miller, T. J.||Sullivan, M.|
|Mills, A.||Talbot, hon. W. C.|
|Mitford, W. T.||Taylor, H.|
|Montague, Lord R.||Tempest, Lord A. V.|
|Montgomery, Sir G.||Thynne, Lord E.|
|Moody, C. A.||Thynne, Lord H.|
|Mordaunt, Sir C.||Tollemache, J.|
|Morgan, O.||Torrens, R.|
|Morgan, Major||Trefusis, hon. C. H. R.|
|Mowbray, rt. hon. J. R.||Trollops, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Mundy, W.||Upton, hon. Gen.|
|Mure, rt. hon. D.||Valletort, Visct.|
|Murray, W.||Vance, J.|
|Naas, Lord||Vandeleur, Col.|
|Newark, Visct.||Vansittart, W.|
|Newdegate, C. N.||Verner, Sir W.|
|Newport, Visct.||Vernon, L. V.|
|Nicol, W.||Walcott, Admiral|
|Noel, hon. G. J.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|North, Col.||Walsh, Sir J.|
|Northcote, Sir S. H.||Watlington, J. W. P.|
|Overend, W.||Way, A. E.|
|Packe, C. W.||Welby, W. E.|
|Pakenham, Col.||Whiteside, rt. hon. J.|
|Pakington, rt, hn. Sir J.||Whitmore, H.|
|Palk, L.||Williams, Col.|
|Palmer, R. W.||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|Papillon, P. O.||Woodd, B. T.|
|Wyndham, Gen.||Wynne, W.. W. E.|
|Wyndham, hon. H.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Wynne, Sir W. W.||TELLERS.|
|Wynne, C. G.||Jolliffe, Sir W.|
|Wynne, rt. hn. J. A.||Taylor, Col.|
§ Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
To draw up an Address to be presented to Her Majesty upon the said Resolution:—Marquess of HARTINGTON, Mr. HANBURY, Viscount PALMERSTON, Lord JOHN RUSSELL, Mr. SIDNEY HERBERT, Mr. MILNER GIBSON, Sir GEORGE GREY, Sir FRANCIS BARINO, Sir ANDREW AGNEW Viscount CASTLEROSSE, Mr. BYNG, and Mr. MONCREIFF, or any five of them:—To withdraw immediately.
§ Queen's Speech referred.
§ House adjourned at half-after Two o'clock.