Abbildungen der Seite
[merged small][ocr errors]

tice ; that on this most angry of to carry on the business of the all questions they should suffer the nation. If any persons imagined population of the country to be that such a declaration was equicommitted in mutual hostility, and valent to a dec that he convulsed with mutual rancour thought that this question could aggravated by the uncertainty of not be carried without its being the event, producing on the one made what was technically called şide all the fury of disappointed a government question, all he hopes

, and on the other side ma- wished to have recollected was, lignity and hatred, from the ap- that it was not he who had proprehension that the measure may mulgated such an opinion. He be carried, and insolence from had always thought, and had reevery circumstance, public or pri- peatedly said, that this question vate , which tends to disappoint or would make its way


any gopostpone it ; one half of the king's vernment, which did not actually ministers encouraging them to seek, unite or openly set its countenance without enabling them to obtain; against it. He believed, that it the other half subdivided; some had been making its way, It bolding out an ambiguous hope, might, however, receive its deathothers announcing a never-ending blow from the secession which had despair

. I ask, is this a state, in been threatened that evening ; but, which the government of the if it did so fail, on the heads of country has a right to leave it? the seceders alone let the blame of Some master-piece of imperial its failure be thrown! With respect policy must be unfolded, some to the observations which had been deep and sacred principle of empire, made upon his own conduct, he something far removed from the asserted, that, both in and out of suspicion of unworthy compromise office, but more especially whilst out of principle for power, to reconcile of office, he had done every thing the feelings of the intelligent in his power to promote the success public

, or to uphold a rational con- of this great cause. fidence in the honesty or serious

Mr. G. Bennett expressed his apness of the government. The con- proval of the sentiments uttered, as séquences of such conduct are dis- well as of the line of conduct anastrous, not merely in the tumult nounced, by sir Francis Burdett; and discord which they are calcu- and called in question the sincerity lated to excite, but in their effect of Mr. Plunkett, no less than that of upon the character of the govern- Mr. Canning.

Other members of ment and the times.”

the opposition among whom was Mr. Mr. Canning denied that he had Tierney, though equally vehement ever said, that he considered the with the honourable baronet in success of the Catholic question as

their condemnation of ministers, hopeless

. What he had said was thought themselves bound, hopethis that he thought it hopeless, less as the cause was, to support in the present state

of the country, the claims of the Catholics by their and of this, and the other House votes. Mr. Peel then defended his of Parliament, to form an admi- conduct upon this subject. He nistration which should agree upon was followed by Mr. Brougham, this measure, and upon all other who, with more than usual ardour general measures, so as to be able of manner, poured out a strain of

warm eulogy of Mr. Peel, and Eldon, and his sentiments with rebitter invective against those mem- spect to the Catholic cause-if, at bers of the cabinet, who, pretend- that critical moment, he, who had ing zeal for the Catholic question, said on the last night that he abandoned it to its fate. "If, said would not truckle to a noble lord : he, the other ministers had taken (Folkestone), but who then hadex, example by the single-hearted, hibited a specimen, the most inplain, manly, and upright conduct credible specimen, of monstrous of the right hon. secretary for the truckling, for the purpose of obhome department, who had always taining office, that the whole hisbeen on the same side of the ques- tory of political tergiversation could | tion, never swerving from his opi- furnish nions, but standing uniformly up Mr. Secretary Canning-I rise and stating them; who had never to say, that that is false. taken office upon a secret under- The Speaker, after a perfect standing to abandon the question silence in the House during some in substance, while he continued seconds, said in a low tone, that to sustain it in words; whose he hoped the right hon. secretary mouth, heart, and conduct had would retract the expression he always been in unison upon the had used. An individual of his question—if such had been the high rank and station could not conduct followed by all the friends fail to be aware, that such an exof emancipation, he should not pression was a complete violation have found himself in a state of the orders and customs of the almost bordering on despair, with House. regard to the fate of the Catholic Mr. Canning said, he was sorry claims. Let the conduct of the to have used any word which was attorney-general for Ireland have a violation of the decorum of the been what it might ; let him have House ; but no consideration on deviated from his former profes- earth should induce him to retract sions or not; still, if the right the sentiment. hon. secretary for foreign affairs The Speaker asked the House, had come forward at that critical whether they would not support moment for the question, and for him in requiring Mr. Canning to his own character, when the point call back his words. was, whether he should go to Mr. Canning said, he was ready India, into honourable exile, or to acknowledge, that, so far as the take office in England, and not orders of the House were consubmit to his sentence of transpor- cerned, he was exceedingly sorry, tation, but be condemned to hard that any conduct or expression of labour in his own country doomed his should have attracted their disto the disquiet of a divided council pleasure. But, if he was to be -sitting with his enemies, and required to recall his declaration, pitied by his friends — with his by an admission that his impression hands chained and tied down on was erroneous as to the expressions all those lines of operation, which which had been applied to him, he his own sentiments and wishes could not in conscience do it. would have led him to adopt-at

The Chancellor of the Exchethat critical moment, when his quer requested Mr. Brougham to fate depended upon lord chancellor consider for a moment the lans

[ocr errors]


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

guage which he had used ; and he makea conditional retractation, so as would see, that it would not have to enable Mr. Brougham to disavow been borne by one gentleman from any purpose of personal offence. another. He would be doing Sir Robert stated, that he was nothing inconsistent with his ho- satisfied, that the expressions nour as a man, or as a member of which had fallen from his learned that House, if he would enable friend were addressed to the right his right hon. friend to retract the hon. gentleman in his official chalanguage he had used, by admit- racter, either as governor general of ting that the expression he had India, or as secretary of state for made use of was not intended to foreign affairs: and that the interconvey a personal insult.

ruption of the right hon. gentleman The Speaker secmed disposed to arose only from the firm conviction up

this suggestion, by call of the moment, that the expression ing on Mr. Brougham to explain was personal, and no otherwise inthe words which he had used: but tended. With this view of the Mr. Tierney and lord Archibald case, he thought the right hon. Hamilton checked him by insisting, gentleman might, consistently with that Mr. Canning was not in a his honour and feelings, say, that it condition to call for an explanation was under an impression that the of any ambiguous phrases that language was meant to be personal had been applied to him, till he that he had applied the epithet had retracted that expression which which had called forth the present was a direct violation of the orders discussion. of the House. Mr. Bankes then Mr. Canning declared that the moved, that both parties should suggestion was

which he be committed to the custody of the should not be unwilling to receive Sergeant at arms. During all this and to act upon : but he begged to time, Mr. Brougham remained be understood as acceding to it silent

, except that when Mr. under the assurance, that the Wynn requested him to state what learned gentleman denied the inwas really the intention of his tention to convey any personal language, Mr. Brougham refused imputation in the language he had to give one word of explanation. used. Personal he had considered

Mr. Canning had declared that that language; as it went to imhe would not retract his words : pute to him, that he had made unand it was impossible to call on becoming submissions to a high Mr. Brougham to be the first to individual in the administration of explain. In this situation of things, the country, for the sake of obtainthere seemed to be no other course ing office. Such an imputation he than that proposed by Mr. Bankes

. felt to have been cast, not on his It was one, however, which the official, but his private character. House was loath to adopt : the If that imputation should be denimanager of the House of Com- ed, he was ready to admit, that, in mons in the custody of the sergeant what he had stated subsequently, at arms would have been a novel he was mistaken: if, on the other spectacle. At last, sir Robert hand, the imputation should be

mode of avowed, he retracted nothing. smoothing down the difficulties, by The Speaker then stated, that proposing that Mr. Canning should his own opinion was, that no per


Wilson hit upon


sonal offence had been meant by time in his life, said, that he did Mr. Brougham, and he trusted the not wish the Catholic question to House would believe, that, if he be discussed again in Parliament. had thought the words were used At that moment it was known, that with any such intention, he would the right hon. gentleman was about have interfered. He hoped, there- either to become a minister, or to go fore, to have the sanction of the as governor-general of India : and learned gentleman for saying, that the

lord chancellor was the person of the impression he had received the highest authority and influence from his language was that which in the cabinet. He had talked of it was intended by him to convey.

the conduct of the right hon. genMr. Brougham, thus called up- tleman as it appeared to him from on by the Speaker, and the whole the change which had taken place House, declared, that he felt that in his conduct with respect to this it was an extremely difficult thing question ; and he had a right to to speak with the accuracy, which form an opinion of his motives had now become necessary, of the from the outward and visible form expressions he had used; and that of his actions, which seemed to he was incapable of telling the him to show a truckling to the House exactly what he had said : lord chancellor. He surely had but he perfectly remembered what a right to speak of his conduct as a was his meaning, He did not statesman, which he deplored, and know whether his expressions this he had done. He had not might have been used too warmly, done so for any party, and still less or if they might have had a per- for any personal purposes, but besonal application ; because he did cause its consequences were likely not profess that his mind was cap- to prove a death blow to that cause, able of making a very nice dis- in the support of which they had tinction in the selection of phrases, both been engaged. Whether this which should apply exclusively to explanation were full enough or the personal or to the political cha- not, the right hon. gentleman racter. He would, however, tell must decide for himself. He (Mr. the House what he meant to say. Brougham) could have wished to He had used the words“ political have given a fuller one ; but what tergiversation,” and described the the right hon. gentleman had addconduct of the right hon. gentle- ed to his last speech, in which he man, as something which stood almost repeated the disorderly exprominent in the history of parlia- pressions, had stopped him: his mentary tergiversation. The ex- mouth was closed, on his part, repression, he admitted, was strong; luctantly and unwillingly. but he entertained a strong feeling, Mr. Peel then put it to the and he had meant to express it House, whether it was not their with respect to the right hon. sincere conviction that a satisfacmember's public and political life. tory explanation had been given, As a private individual, he had and that the affair ought not to be never known aught of him, which further proceeded in. Mr. Bankes did not do him the highest honour. having expressed himself cumHe considered that the right hon. pletely satisfied and withdrawn his gentleman had, by his speech de- motion, Mr. Tierney mentioned, livered at Liverpool, for the first that all that remained to be done,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

was, for the parties to say that After this personal affair had they would think no more of the been settled, Mr. Brougham went matter. Mr. Canning immedi- on with his speech, exhorting the ately rose and said, that he should friends of the Catholics not to think no more of the matter; relax in their efforts, in spite of and Mr. Brougham repeated the the certainty of present failure. same expressions.

Several other members having 8o ended this approximation to spoken to a similar effect, the a personal quarrel, in which Mr. Speaker called on Mr. Plunkett to Canning did not sufficiently consi- proceed with his motion.

Sir der either his exalted and responsi- Francis Burdett, Mr. Bennett ble station or the dignity annexed Mr. Hume, Mr. Hobhouse, Lord to his high endowments of mind. Sefton, Sir R. Wilson, Mr. Mr. Brougham's language, though Creevey, and several other Oppoharsh, and, as far as we can judge, sition embers immediately left unfounded in fact, did not exceed the House. After a short interval, the bounds of political invective: Mr. Plunkett rose, and after dea and if met at all, it ought to have ploring the secession of so many been met either by cool denial or members, deprecating the despondby a grave statement of circum- ing language of Mr. Tierney, and stances

. The intemperate language defending his own conduct in acof irritation and passion was un- cepting office, he proceeded with worthy of Mr. Canning; and it was his motion, which he concluded by degradation to be goaded into the moving that the House go into a bravado of a bully. Mr. Canning's committee on the Catholic claims. words, in effect, said “ you shall A few remarks from Mr. Bankes, either fight me or retract.” It and Mr. Becher, constituted the may be doubted, whether a states- whole of the debate: after which, man, in legislative debate, ought it was first moved, “ That this ever to have recourse to this mi. House do now adjourn;" but this micry of the ultima ratio of kings : motion was with the leave of but if he does choose to tender such the House, withdrawn. It was an issue to his opponents—if he next moved, " That the debate be does condescend to say to them, “I adjourned till the following day.” will prove by fighting you, that I Upon this the House divided ; do not merit your sarcasms:"-he Ayes, 134. Noes, 292. It was ought, at least, to be consistent ; afterwards moved, “ That the deand he should make this communi- bate be adjourned till Monday cation privately, and not in the next.” This motion being negaface of an assembly, where the pur

tived without a division, it was pose must necessarily be defeated then moved, “ That the debate be by the mere promulgation of it. adjourned till this day six months," To tell a man in private life that whereupon a motion was made, what he says is false, has a mean- and the question put, " That this ing and a result: to tell him the House do now adjourn." The same thing in Parliament, is mere House divided : Ayes, 313. Noes, passion and fury, and, at the most, 111.- The question was not again is only a formal invitation to the brought forward during the sesHouse to commit him, who uses sion. such expressions, to the custody of Lord Nugent brought in a menthe sergeant at arins

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »