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ment of the question :" that, in had determined to go over to the the existing state of excitation, Catholics, and, in secresy and “it was impossible to expect to silence, were arranging their plans prevail upon men to consider it to overwhelm every attempt at dispassionately ;" and that, if an resistance by the power of miultimate satisfactory arrangement nisterial influence. The consent of the question were wished for, of the king was the first thing to it would be desirable for a time, be obtained, and it was likewise “to bury it in oblivion.”* When the most difficult. His majesty's the duke of Wellington thus de- opinions against the justice and clared, on the 11th December, expediency of concession were that he saw no prospect of a settle- deeply rooted: the subject itself ment of the question, what man was one on the consideration of could imagine, that he had already which he did not willingly enter. resolved forthwith to force it to a What were the arguments emsettlement? When he thus repre- ployed for his majesty's conversion sented the excited state of public can be learned only from the argufeeling as opposing an insuperablements by which ministers subobstacle to the consideration of sequently attempted to justify in concession, who could believe that parliament their own change of he and his cabinet had already policy; but, while the operations determined to push concession, in of the minister upon the royal defiance of that very feeling, and mind were going on, no whisper amidst excitation thousand was allowed to go abroad regardtimes more violent? When he ing the measure that was in conexpressed his opinion, that the templation. There was skilful question ought to be “buried in management in this, if there was oblivion,” would it not have been not much fairness. Had the deemed an insult to the under- people, instead of being lulled standing, or to the honesty, of his into the confidence that those, grace to have said, that by these whom they had trusted bewords he meant the instant agita- fore, would be trust-worthy still, tion of the question in parliament, been made aware of the counsels and the agitation of it, too, as
which these very men were pouring a government measure? When into the royal ear, the public voice the year concluded with the recal would have been heard at the of the lord lieutenant, because he foot of the throne, strengthening had used language, and pursued a the deep-rooted convictions of the line of conduct, favourable to the monarch himself, and the relucthopes of the Catholics, what man ant consent, which was ultimately could dream that the next year was wrung from him, in all probability, to begin with granting all that the would never have been obtained. Catholics had ever demanded ?
When his consent was once obYet so it was; while the country tained, the public voice might be was thus reposing in secure con
allowed to raise itself without fidence that the leading members danger; for he then stood pledged of the government were still faith- to his ministers, if these ministers, ful to their trust, these very men by whatever means, could only had been granted, that it began to determination to act with instant be whispered abroad, in the end of vigour against their former friends. January, and only a few days So stood matters, when Parliabefore the meeting of parliament, ment met on the 5th of February, that his majesty's ministers in- and the session was opened by comtended to recommend to parliament mission, with the following Speech, some concessions to the Catholics. which was read by the lord chanThe surprise, which the announce
command a majority in parliament. * Vol lxx. p. [149.
It was not till after this consent
cellor :ment excited, was only equalled “ My Lords and Gentlemen, by the indignation and contempt “His Majesty commands us to roused by so sudden an abandon- inform you, that he continues to ment of principle. The Protest- receive from his Allies, and geneant party found that, up to the rally from all Princes and States, very moment of the assembling of the assurance of their unabated parliament, they had been allowed desire to cultivate the most friendto rest in the belief, that the ques- ly relations with his Majesty. tion would not be stirred, or that, “ Under the mediation of His if it should be stirred, the in- Majesty, the preliminaries of a fluence of the leading members of Treaty of Peace between his Imthe cabinet would still stand in perial Majesty the Emperor of its way; while, in truth, their Brazil, and the republic of the most tried friends had been plot- united provinces of Rio de la Plata, ting and planning how they might have been signed and ratified. most successfully secure a triumph “ His Majesty has concluded a to the enemy, and were conceal- convention with the king of Spain ing, at the same time, their in- for the final settlement of the tended defection, up to the instant claims of British and Spanish subwhen the contest was to begin. jects, preferred under the treaty It seems impossible to acquit the signed at Madrid, on the 12th of duke of Wellington and Mr. Peel March, 1823. of having acted, in this part of the “ His Majesty has directed a affair, with a disingenuousness copy of this convention to be laid which might be perfectly in its before you; and His Majesty replace in a miserable political in- lies upon your assistance to enable trigue, but which tainted their him to execute some of its provicharacter as public men in relation sions. to a question of such vast and vital “ His Majesty laments that his importance. They knew that they diplomatic relations with Portugal were trusted by the Protestant are still necessarily suspended. party as the champions who were Deeply interested in the prosto be ready armed, whenever the perity of the Portuguese Monarchy, Catholics should advance against His Majesty has entered into nethe constitution. If they had gociations with the head of the grown weary of the service, and House of Braganza, in the hope of were resolved to abandon it for terminating a state of affairs which the adverse side, there would is incompatible with the permanent have been more manliness and fair- tranquillity and welfare of Portugal. ness, though less craft, in an- “ His Majesty commands us to nouncing from the first their own assure you, that he has laboured change of sentiment, and their unremittingly to fulfil the stipulations of the treaty of the 6th of king of France to suspend the coJuly, 1827, and to effect, in con- operation of their forces with those cert with his Allies, the pacifica- of his Imperial Majesty, in consetion of Greece.
quence of this resumption of the “ The Morea has been liberated exercise of his belligerent rights, from the presence of the Egyptian the best understanding prevails and Turkish forces.
between the three Powers, in their “This important object has been endeavours to accomplish the reaccomplished by the successful ex- maining objects of the treaty of ertions of the naval forces of His London. Majesty and of his Allies, which “ Gentlemen of the House of led to a convention with the Pacha
Commons, of Egypt; and finally, by the skil- “ We are commanded by His ful disposition and exemplary con- Majesty to acquaint you, that the duct of the French army, acting estimates for the current year will by the commands of His Most forthwith be laid before you.
His Christian Majesty, on the behalf Majesty relies on your readiness of the Alliance.
to grant the necessary supplies, “The troops of His Most Christ- with a just regard to the exigencies ian Majesty having completed the of the public service, and to the task assigned to them by the Allies, economy which His Majesty is have commenced their return to anxious to enforce in every departFrance.
ment of the State. “ It is with great satisfaction “His Majesty has the satisfacthat His Majesty informs you, that tion to announce to you the contiduring the whole of these opera- nued improvement of the Revenue. tions, the most cordial union has “ The progressive increase in subsisted between the forces of the that branch of it which is derived three Powers by sea and land. from articles of internal consump
“ His Majesty deplores the con- tion is peculiarly gratifying to His tinuance of hostilities between the Majesty, as affording a decisive emperor of Russia and the Otto- indication of the stability of the man Porte.
national resources, and of the in“His Imperial Majesty, in the creased comfort and prosperity of prosecution of those hostilities, has his people. considered it necessary to resume “My Lords and Gentlemen, the exercise of his belligerent « The state of Ireland has been rights in the Mediterranean, and the object of His Majesty's contihas established a blockade of the nued solicitude. Dardanelles.
“His Majesty laments that in “From the operation of this that part of the United Kingdom blockade, those commercial enter- an Association should still exist, prises of his Majesty's subjects which is dangerous to the public have been exempted, which were peace, and inconsistent with the undertaken
upon the faith of His spirit of the Constitution; which Majesty's declaration to his parlia- keeps alive discord and ill-will ment respecting the neutrality of amongst His Majesty's subjects; the Mediterranean Sea.
and which must, if permitted to “Although it has become indis- continue, effectually obstruct every pensable for His Majesty and the effort permanently to improve the
condition of Ireland,
“ His Majesty confidently relies the successful issue of your delion the wisdom and on the support berations.” of his parliament; and His Ma- The Address, echoing as usual jesty feels assured that you will the royal speech, was moved in the commit to him such powers as may Lords by the marquis of Salisbury, enable His Majesty to maintain his and seconded by the earl of Wichjust authority
low; in the Commons it was moved “ His Majesty recommends that, by lord Clive, and seconded by viswhen this essential object shall count Corry. No division took have been accomplished, you should place in either House; all the other take into your deliberate consider- topics adverted to in the speech ation the whole condition of Ire- were swallowed up in the recomland, and that you should review mendation to prepare for the rethe laws which impose civil disc moval of the Catholic disabilities; abilities on His Majesty's Roman and the opinions expressed on that Catholic subjects.
question will find a more fitting “You will consider whether the place in recording the debates removal of those disabilities can be during the progress of the bill eilected consistently with the full which was soon afterwards brought and permanent security of our in. The duke of Wellington exestablishments in church and state, pressed a wish, that no discussion with the maintenance of the re- should take place, until the whole formed religion established by law, measure, which his majesty's goand of the rights and privileges of vernment had in view, should be the bishops and of the clergy of fully introduced ; but he stated, in this realm, and of the churches reply to a question from the duke committed to their charge.
of Newcastle, that the measure for “ These are institutions which the adjustment of the Roman Camust ever be held sacred in this tholic claims would be brought Protestant kingdom, and which it forward in a substantive shape by is the duty and the determination his majesty's ministers, without of his Majesty to prescrve invio- going through a committee. The late.
measure, which it was their inten"His Majesty most earnestly re- tion to propose for the adoption of commends to you to enter upon
the parliament, would extend to the consideration of a subject of such removal generally of all civil disparamount importance, deeply ine abilities under which the Roman teresting to the best feelings of his Catholics laboured, with exceptions people, and involving the tran- solely resting on special grounds; quillity and concord of the United and it would be accompanied by Kingdom, with the temper and the other measures rendered necessary moderation which will best ensure by the removal of these disabilities.
Bill for the Suppression of the Catholic Association, Dissolution of
the Association--Mr. Peel resigns his Seat for the University of Oxford-His attempt to be re-elected--Defeated in his attempt-Ministerial proposition for the unconditional removal of Catholic Disabilities---Mr. Peel's Explanations and Defence of the Measure - Discussions in the House of Commons on the Proposition Majority in favour of the Proposition--Political conversions--- Introduction and first reading of the Bill for the Removal of Catholic Disabilities.
N the Royal Speech the sup- stating any particular circum
ciation was alluded to, as a measure of creating irritation. Whatever which ought to precede any con- feelings might be entertained on sideration of the civil claims of other points, he was sure the House the Catholics. And assuredly the would approve the recommendation very first thing to be done was, to in his majesty's speech that they vindicate the honour of the laws, should enable him to maintain his which that body had been so long authority, and would acquiesce in a allowed, or rather, by the supine- legislative enactment by which the ness of government, had been en- future meetings of the Catholic couraged, to insult. That it ought Association should be prevented. to be suppressed, had never been a Those who cherished most dearly doubtful question ; why it had not the hope of secing a conciliatory already been suppressed, was à arrangement of the Catholic claims question never answered. In pur- speedily carried into effect, must suance of the recommendation con- feel, he believed, that the existence tained in the king's speech, Mr. of that Association, during the disPeel, on the 10th of February, cussions which were about to take obtained leave to bring in a bill place, would in itself oppose an for putting an end to the existence almost insuperable barrier to the of the Association. He would not accomplishment of the object which enter, he said, into any investiga- they had at heart. The constant tion of the causes in which that discussion of the measures and inAssociation might be supposed to tentions of government in the have originated; he asked only for Association, would render it totally that admission which he had impossible for the legislature to already heard amply made on the arrive at any satisfactory adjustopposite side of the House, that it ment of the question. As to the was inconsistent with the exercise provisions of the law, by which the of the regular government to allow suppression might be effected, they the continued existence of the ought to be of such a nature as Catholic Association, and therefore could not be evaded, and as would he would be spared the pain of effectually prevent tricks and