« ForrigeFortsett »
taken, and determined as he was that lusion had been made in the letter of the interests of the country should not his royal highness.
his royal highness. Some of their rebe sacrificed to any system of favour. tainers did not hesitate to censure, in itism, he immediately signified his very strong terms, this overweening pleasure to Mr Perceval, that he might spirit of aristocracy; to insinuate that, consider himself as the prime mini. although the noble lords might have a ster.
common object, they could have no Great surprise and dissatisfaction common principle or system of opiwere expressed by many members of nions ; and even to declare that their opposition on account of the rapid scrupulous and over-refined notions of manner in which the letter of the honour should not have been allowed Prince Regent was answered, and the to stand in the way of the more subproposal which it contained rejected stantial objects, to which their dependby Lords Grey and Grenville. It was ants had for so many years said, that as his royal highness had with avidity. These reproaches served graciously expressed the satisfaction for a time to amuse the public; and he would feel if some of those persons, they proved that, how erroneous sowith whom the habits of his early life ever some of the political opinions of had been formed, would strengthen the leaders of opposition may be, the his hands, and constitute a part of eminent men who avow them, are, in his government, some communication highmindedness and integrity, as far should have been made to the party removed, as in rank and talent, above before any reply was returned ; that the persons by whom they are surLord Grey was not entitled to treat rounded. with haughty indifference those who It was much disputed about this had more particularly been attached time, whether the letter of the Prince to the late Mr Fox ; that by neglect. Regent ought to be considered as the ing to communicate with them, he had production of his royal highness, or of treated them as if they were in a state his minister. As a general maxim, it of utter dependence, having no will or is unquestionable, that the monarch voice of their own, but bound to fol- of this country can do nothing with low with blind confidence wherever he out a responsible adviser ; yet the mea. should lead them ; that the letter of sure adopted by his royal highness the Prince Regent could not be con. must be considered as an exception to sidered merely as a proposal to Lords the general rule, since it was one on Grey and Grenville, because it alluded which a minister could not, with proto individuals among whom Lord Grey priety, offer any.
advice. The same could scarcely be included, and Lord persons who wished to consider the Grenville not at all; yet these noble letter as the production of the minislords had acted as if they conceived ter, had not long before proclaimed to themselves to combine all the rank, ta- the country that the prince would lent, and influence of the party ; that, soon be called upon to act in a manalthough they might have rejected the mer which would prove his independproposal, so far as they were themselves ence of his father's advisers ; and yet concerned, they had no right to com- they would now have had it believed, mit their friends, and that they ought that in the only step which his royal merely to have expressed their readi- highness could have taken without the ness (before making any definitive an- 'advice of his ministers, he had been inswer) to have communicated with the fluenced and controlled by them. This other persons to whom an evident al- insinuation proceeded from a desire of
VOL. V. PART I.
charging Mr Perceval with insincerity trious officer had planned and carried
ment have indulged a hope of accom• spring of his own feelings, bears the plishing that coalition which had been most unequivocal marks of liberal and so anxiously desired.-A motion, how, patriotic sentiment on the part of ever, was, in a few days after the ex. his royal highness; while there was in piration of the restrictions, made by the whole course of the proceedings Lord Borringdon in the House of nothing but the greatest candour and Lords, for an address to the Prince integrity manifested on the part of him Regent, to represent to his royal highwhom his royal highness had chosen ness, that the administration to which as his chief adviser.
he might be pleased to commit the Some changes of no great import- management of affairs, should be so ance in the ministerial arrangements composed as to unite, as far as possitook place about this period. The ble, the confidence and good-will of seals of the foreign department, which all classes of the people; that in the had been resigned by the Marquis present state of Ireland, it was impos. Wellesley, were put into the hands of sible that such general confidence the Earl of Liverpool until a success- could be enjoyed by any administra, or to the marquis should be appoint. tion which opposed the claims of the ed. It would have been a subject of Roman catholics; and that his royal deep regret had the Earl of Liverpool highness should endeavour to form a received the foreign seals otherwise cabinet, which, by consulting the afthan in trust ; since, notwithstanding fections of all classes of the commuthe high opinion entertained of his lord- nity, might effectually call forth the ship’s general talents, his removal from
resources of the empire.-The noble the war department must have been lord who made this motion, professed very injurious to the public service. much respect for the ministers ; he de The war in the peninsula had been clared that he had not been influenced successfully conducted by the Earl of by the feelings of party in bringing Wellington ; and the country was pre- forward the motion, and that the moa pared to offer no small tribute of praise tion itself was not intended to effect ą to the minister with whom that illus. change in the administration. To eves
ry other member of the House, how war with a power whose dominions ever, the motion seemed to be directed were more extensive than those of to this precise purpose, and it was so Charlemagne, but also with every poexplained even by Earl Grey himself, tentate of Europe except those of the who avowed his understanding of it in peninsula, this was an appalling state the course of the debate.
of things ; but the most appalling cirThe motion was supported upon the cumstance was, that while almost the following grounds. It was admitted whole population of the continent of on all hands, that the conduct of the Europe was united against these isPrince Regent, at the commencement lands, whose numbers were so small in of the restricted regency, had evinced proportion, and notwithstanding the the most amiable sentiments, and the general complexion of the times, one most delicate notions of duty, towards fourth of our population was excluded his royal father. But a new æra had from the pale of the constitution-exarrived, when, from an utter despair cluded by various laws founded on of his majesty's restoration to healthy causes and principles which had long the prince could no longer be influen. ceased to operate,-laws which had ced by such considerations, and could relation only to the peculiar circumnot be precluded from pursuing the stances of the age in which they were course which might appear best adapt enacted, and the continuance of which, ed to secure the interests of the coun. till this day, was a scandal to the na. try.-- What then was the situation of tion, and a serious deduction from the the country? for on this the motion political power of the country. Such was founded. In some respects it was was the general outline of our situain the highest degree flattering and tion. Our resources, however, if proprosperous ; the colonial power of the perly managed, and called into action, enemy
had been anihilated all over the were fully adequate to overcome all globe ; the British navy had been eve. the difficulties by which we were sur. ry where triumphant ; Portugal had rounded : with an united people, and been wrested from the military occu a government, meriting and receiving pation of the French ; in the tenth their confidence, the empire was peryear
of the war, and the fourth of its fectly competent to avert every danravages in the peninsula, not only had ger which threatened it; the energies Portugal been defended, but the Bri- and resources of this island were equal, tish army had, on every occasion, co. not only to its own necessities, but to vered itself with glory in the terri. continue the assistance at present imtories of Spain.-This, however, was parted to its allies and even, if it but one side of the picture; and on were found expedient, to extend it turning to the other, it was impos. still farther. But, without such an sible not to be filled with gloom and union among the people, without such despondency, “ Commercial distress a confidence in the government, no all over the country,our manufac- results beneficial to the empire could turers reduced almost to a state of be expected. It was under those cir. starvation,---new laws, giving unpre- cumstances, that, according to an aucedented encouragement and effect thentic, though not official document, to our paper currency. In the inte. it appeared that his royal highness the rior of the country there appeared a Prince Regent had expressed his wish spirit of disorder and contempt of the that a government should be formed law bordering on insurrection. At a on an extended and liberal basis. A netime when England was not only at gociation was accordingly set en foet, ,
in order to carry this desirable object sense,) even the prince himself was into effect. That negociation had un. not exempted from his share in these fortunately failed, and the wishes of alarming transactions.
They had the Prince Regent, and the expecta- heard, for instance, of the highest ho. tions of the country, had been disap: nours, of the most distinguished situ. pointed. It was from the period of ations, being offered to various indivi. the failure of this negociation that duals, and refused upon the ground, the commencement of those alarming that acceptance would be contrary to symptoms, which threatened the inte. the honour of those persons, who found grity of the empire, was to be dated. it impossible for them to do any thing What were those portentous features to assist, or give countenance to the of the present time which foreboded system upon which the government so much calamity ? • I wish to God was conducted. It was rumoured, Maynooth college had never exist. that all the bent, aim, and force of the ed !' had been, in another place, the government, was inflexible hostility to language of a confidential servant of the liberal principles which alone could
What was this but evin. ensure conciliation and union. This, cing a decided hostility to the religion however, was only rumour; but what and political rights of a great portion was certainly true, was, that on the of the population of these dominions ? 13th of February, the Prince Regent, What was it but the proof of a malus in a manner that did honour to the animus with regard to them, swaying high situation which he held, and with the councils of the crown? What must a sincerity and good faith well becobe the consequence of such a system ming his character, expressed his if continued ? But were these the only wishes, that at the present critical mo. symptoms that evinced the deteriora- ment no measure should be adopted tion which had taken place in our do- which could excite the smallest suspimestic circumstances ? Were their cio that he intended to abandon his lordships aware of the state of the allies, or cease to give them the same press ? Did they not know that it was liberal assistance as formerly. Yet, formed into two distinct and opposite subsequent to this declaration, it was parties ? and were not they to read on well known that his royal highness the one side, of an overweening, over had been obliged to accept the resig. bearing, proud, ambitious aristocracy, nation of a noble marquis, who had in that strove to domineer over the throne some measure identified himself with itself; and, on the other, the most vi. the cause of our allies. rulent and scurrilous attacks, even « Such was the general view of the dpon the Prince Regent in person? situation of the country since the exWere they aware of the effect which piration of the restrictions upon the these things must have upon the coun- regent. Our domestic policy of ex. try at large ; and could they be indif. clusion appeared to have assumed a ferent to the effect, under the present more decided shape, and the bright circumstances of the nation and the prospects which appeared to be open- world, of such a mischievous applica. ing to us had given way to a deeper tion of that great engine of public gloom. From the difficulties with opinion, the press? These were not which the nation had to struggle, and all the symptoms that seemed to cha- the very inadequate composition of racterise this eventful period. The the present government to meet these Prince Regent himself (speaking of difficulties, it followed, as a neceshis royal highness in a constitutional sary consequence, that some change in
the frame of that government should, duct to be pursued with regard to if possible, be effected. Was such a America,--the bullion question,-the change really hopeless ? On the 13th war in the peninsula and the treatof February a wish had been express- ment of the catholics. Could it be ed by his royal' highness to form an fairly supposed that it was the intenadministration on a broad and liberal tion of the noble lords, if they should basis. That wish had unfortunately come into office, to concede the whole not been gratified. But the wish which matter in controversy with America ? existed then no doubt still continued; Could it be fairly supposed that they and the object of the motion was, if were prepared to sacrifice the maripossible, to give effect to the declared time rights of the country, and lay our desire of his royal highness. The at. naval grandeur at the feet of America ? tention of the House was then drawn The next question was that of the bul. to those parts of the letter of the noble lion. What was the nature of the diflords, which had been particularly ference here? It might be said, that the dwelt upon, and which had been mis- noble lords would immediately open the apprehended. The noble lords, having bank, and compel cash payments. It assigned the reasons of their refusal, was no doubt probable that they would say, “It is on this ground alone that we make the situation of the currency a must express, without reserve, the im. matter of serious consideration, and that possibility of our uniting with the pre- they would act upon the system of resent government. Now, what had been storing the cash payments to the coununderstood by this expression of the try, when a favourable opportunity ocnoble lords ? Why, that they insisted on curred for doing so. But was it to be forming the government themselves supposed that they would force, such that they would hear of no persons a measure forward before its time, but of their own selection, and of their that they would urge it without preown principles; and that they would paration-without regard to circumnot sit in the cabinet with those who stances—without any precaution that were the confidential advisers of the might render it secure? As to the Prince Regent. This was the inter- peninsula, the noble lords were bold. prétation which had been given of that ly charged with a resolution to withpart of their answer. Yet in saying draw our assistance from the Spanish they would not consent to unite with cause. They might certainly disapthe present government,—that they prove of the circumstances of the war ; could not assist an administration but it was not to be conceived that whose proceedings they disapproved, they would abandon it without due it did not follow that they would not examination. Of course, their con. act with them, provided, of course, duct in this point would be strongly they were not placed in such situations influenced by the larger information as would prevent them from carrying on the circumstances, objects, and into effect those measures which they means of the contest, which office thought most conducive to the gene- might give them, and to which they ral interest. In the next paragraph, the could not now have access. It was noble lords observe, « Into the detail not to be supposed that they would of those differences we are unwilling proceed in this direction without com. to enter ; they embrace almost all the municating with the distinguished perleading features of the present policy son who was now at the head of the of the empire. The principles of British forces in the peninsula, a man policy here alluded to were, the con- who deserved every attention and every