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Praiser—who was at once the tgeneral and the great ...?'. physical Sourage was equalled only by the moral fortitude which he o ed * QPPosing those who, not being perfectly acquainted with the situation °f the peninsula, were desirous of withdrawing from the contest there. It was presumed, that, on their admission into the prince's cabinet, the British forces would be recalled; but was this a just presumption ? The last point was the state of Ireland. With respect to the disallowance of the claims of a large portion of his majesty's subjects, on this some difficulty arose. . It was less easy to define here the limit of the objects which the noble lords might have in contemplation. The difference between them and administration was more wide on this than
on the other points. The noble lords
observed in their letter, We are firmly persuaded of the necessity of a total change in the present system of that country, and of the immediate repeal of those civil disabilities under which so large a portion of his majesty's subjects still labour, on account of their religious opinions. To recommend to parliament this repeal, is the first advice which it would be our duty to offer to his royal highness.” In this part, more than any . the general interpretation seemed to be warranted by the construction of the words. The most suitable proceeding in bringing about this great measure of redemption would be, that the }. of consideration should come rom administration,--that the House should then sanction a resolution for taking the question into consideration at a future time; and, finally, that every thing relating to the arrangement and detail of the question, should be left to the executive government, by whom a specific plan should be laid before the legislature. By these means all the grace of originating the mea
sure would attach to the crown, to which, in truth, it ought to belong
Parliament would be pledged to no
thing but the mere consideration of the question, leaving the arrangement and detail where it should be left, with the executive government; and whatever was proposed by it, parliament, in the course of the next session, might reject or adopt. But still, in the letter of the noble lords, there certainly was nothing to give the idea that they would at once recommend the total abolition of catholic restraints, without delay or consideration. From their former declarations,—from every former means of expressing their sentiments, it might be not unjustly conceived that they would proceed in this momentous affair with all the necessary prudence; that they would suffer a certain period to elapse before the granting of full remission; and that they would grant nothing without providing for the security of the existing establishments. This was the fair construction of the policy which they were likely to adopt; and if this construction were justified by what they might hear in the course of the debate, was it not to be desired that all the strength the country was capable of affording, should be applied to the purposes of conducting it through the difficulties of its present situation 2 Was it not most desirable that this country, and what remained of independent Europe, should be gratified by seeing an administration combined of all the wisdom, experience, and authority that were to be found among us, formed to preserve domestic tranquillity, and to command the respect of foreign powers ?—The present motion was consistent with the principles of the constitution, and conformable to its practice in the best periods of our history, and therefore the House would suffer it to go to the Prince Regent.” Although the motion was manifest" 2
ly directed to accomplish a change of administration, the ministers abstained from all violence in the debate, and seemed in a great measure to leave the uestion upon its own merits, to the ispassionate consideration of parliament. They could not help remarking, however, “that besides being chargeable with much inconsistency, the motion had two separate objects, the one avowed, and the other concealed. It began by using the most flattering language towards the Prince Regent. It proposed certainly a most desirable object, the formation of an administration calculated to conciliate all his majesty’s subjects. Who disagreed with the motion on that point? But it was stated that such an object was impossible of attainment, from the known principles of the administration. The mover wished for a broad-bottomed administration, which was in general the most mischievous of all administrations. The motion proposed a more extended administration : What did this mean, after it had been stated that the present ministers were, from principle, so obnoxious to the formation of any such administration 2 As to the estimation in which the present administration was held by the public, the people of this good-natured country were weak and foolish enough to sanction it by their confidence. Let the cause be what it might, it so happened, that the confidence of the country was possessed by the administration; and that was certainly no very good reason for addressing the Prince Regent to change it. If the Prince Regent had any power at all inherent in himself, it was that of choosing his servants. What advisers should the sovereign be supposed constitutionally to have in the act of choosing an administration ? After an administration was chosen, then, indeed, there existed responsible advisers; but antecedently to that, no one
knew where to look for them. If the proposed address should be adopted, parliament would be, in fact, doing all it could to destroy responsibility. It would be trenching on one of the dearest prerogatives of the crown, it would be attempting nothing less than to appoint the ministry istself: And, besides, its conduct would be highly unconstitutional, because it brought forward not one act by which its dissatisfaction with the present administration was marked. It was said, indeed, that the administration was averse to the consideration of the catholic petition; but the basis of their opinion was the #. of the revolution of 1688. The chief principle of that revolution was civil freedom engrafted on religious freedom, on liberal and extensive toleration; but, at the same time, all connected with a view to the maintenance of the protestant national church, and the protestant succession. Every thing was then done consistently with these objects; and now we were asked to depart from the establishments which were then so wisely formed. We were asked also to depart from those establishments, without any counterpoise to the danger to be apprehended. Se: curities, indeed, were talked of, and were even paraded in publications; but when the nature of these securities was asked, who could explain it? Who could inform the House what they were 2 Nothing could give enlightened men more pleasure than to be convinced that no danger existed from concession to the catholics.—But when no person came forward with the securities, when the one already proposed was abandoned, what could be done but to make a stand with the establishments, as settled at the Revolution ? Let the catholics, then, bring forward their securities, and every person would be willing to enter into the question of their claims ; but until that event should come about, who could consent to a radical change in the constitution, or to adopt any measure which would put its existence to hazard? The wording of the address was on the principle of exclusion, while it pretended to lead to the formation of an administration on a broad and liberal basis.—That the proposed address could only be intended to dictate to the Prince Regent, who had already endeavoured to form an administration on a liberal and extended basis. With reference to several of the political grounds on which a difference of opinion subsisted betwixt the great parties—the conduct of the war in the peninsula—the orders in council—the state of the currency, &c., it might be asked whether the Lords Grey and Grenville would be so rash as to propose a radical change in all the measures adopted by government, or whether they would be inclined to follow the same plans, and only to change the administration ?— That in every thing the ministers had done, they had repeatedly obtained the sanction of parliament; yet the House was now called upon, without any good reason, to present an address which must have accomplished an entire change of administration, and a complete alteration of the system hitherto pursued. That it remained a question of great importance, whether parliament should hazard the introduction of catholicism to the government of the country, disposed, as persons of that sect were, to spurn at every fair and reasonable compromise; and looking thus at one most important branch of the motion, it was impossible to entertain it for a moment. It would have been an insult to carry up an address to the Prince Regent such as that which had been submitted to
Grey an exposition of his political creed, which, as it may be a matter of curiosity in this *: of political discussion, shall be here recorded. On this trying occasion, when there was yet a hope of his accession to power, Lord Grey was rather cautious and reserved in the declaration of his principles; yet enough was said to let any man of candour and understanding into these important secrets. “He did not deny that the motion appeared to him substantially intended to produce a change of administration. The noble lord by whom that motion was brought forward, could have had no other object when he made it. It could be understood in no other sense than an application to the Prince Regent to remove the present ministers from their situations for the reasons there stated, that such a measure could alone conciliate the different parts of this empire, at a period which more than any other required the full exercise of all the resources of the country. This, it has been said by the noble and learned lord who spoke last, (Lord Eldon) was a strong measure. That it was a strong measure he would not attempt to deny. But he confessed he had heard with much surprise that night, that this measure was unconstitutional ; and that to express the sentiments of the House, with respect to the present ministry, was to interfere with the prerogative ossessed by the crown of nominating its ministers. It was certainly no part of the duty of the House either to nominate the ministers of the crown, or to point out the method in which they ought to be nominated. But while he allowed this, he was of opinion, that if sufficient grounds could be shewn why a ministry were unfit to fill the situations which they held, there was nothing in parliamentary precedent to prevent the House from making an application to the crown for the remowal of those ministers, when it was thought they were unequal to the crisis. This he would contend was a subject within the cognizance of parliament; and to exercise their powers on such an occasion, was not only a legitimate but a laudable object; it was an endeavour to consolidate all the strength and resources of the empire. The question for the consideration of the House then was, whether the present administration, in its quality and principles, presented obstacles to the union of the strength and resources of all parts of the empire. It might safely be said of this administration, that it was formed on the express principle of resistance to the catholic claims. This was the principle by which the person who was at the head of that administration made his way to power. This was the principle which led him to make use of all the arts of detraction to attain that object. This principle he loudly proclaimed, from the moment at which he had been called from the bar to take a share in political life up to the present instant. It was his boast—it was put by him in the front of the battle—the eternal exclusion of his Roman catholic fellow-subjects from any share in the constitution. When he had stated, that such were the principles of that distinguished individual, he had no need to say more to shew that they were the principles of administration. He was the administration. Whither he led, the rest were obliged to follow. Was he to be told by the noble and learned lord on the woolsack, who had just stated resistance to the catholics to be a fundamental principle of the Revolution, that that noble and learned lord differed on this subject from the
person at the head of the administra
tion ? Did the secretary of state for the home department differ from him He could hardly think that the person who wished from his heart that Maynooth
to him the principles of that noble lord' :
were even very much as he himself described Europe to be, “In an unsatisfactory state.’ Agreeing to the principle of those who advocated the claims of the catholics, that noble lord could never see a convenient time for the application of that principle, so that he fully coincided in the practical part of the conduct of his co-adjutors. Perhaps it would be said, the noble earl opposite differed on this principle. But as the leading members of the cabinet maintained the necessity of exclusion, and the others blindly followed them in their practice, he was warranted in stating the present administration to be founded on a principle of resistance to the catholic claims.The noble and learned lord had said, he had never heard of any sermons lately preached on this subject. Where the noble lord had lived he knew not; but he knew that within these few weeks, persons invested with the sacred character of clergymen, forgetting all the principles of that religion which they professed, instead of preaching the doctrines of peace and unity, which it was their duty to preach, had thought proper to endeavour to inspire one part of the community with hostile feelings against their brethren; and of those persons who acted this most unbecoming part, Some Were or. to be seriously connected with those who composed the present administration. One of them, it appeared from the Gazette, was lately selected to be a chaplain to the Prince Regent.—Had he not a right, therefore, to call the exist
ng cabinet a cabinet of intolerance, preventing that union of common interests and affection, so necessary to the country in her present hour of peril 2 They had heard that night of broad and narrow administrations; and the noble and learned lord on the woolsack, had observed, that nothing was so mischievous as a broad-bottomed administration. With this character he was disposed to concur, if the noble lord meant such a broad and liberal basis as should comprehend persons of the most discordant opinions, who, for the sake of coalition, must either sacrifice their own sentiments, or carry dissensions into the cabinet. But the present administration was narrowed to complete unanimity; for if report spoke true of the other accessions to the administration, they would be found possessed of exactly the same character, and to be very suitable additions to an administration founded on a principle of resistance to the catholic claims. He saw two noble lords on the cross bench (Lords Sidmouth and o who were publicly designated as the future supporters of administration. He knew not whether any communication had yet been made to them from the ministry. Who were these noble lords 2 They were the only lords who, in the late debate on the catholic claims in that House, ventured to assert the
principle of eternal exclusion. One of Mr Pitt brought forward this of .
them came forward with the doctrine of the coronation oath, operating as an eternal exclusion against the catholics, and the other with perfect consistency had proposed measures which united every class of dissenters in one common cause. Now looking at an administration so formed, was it not, he would ask, an administration which must of necessity be obnoxious to a great part of his majesty’s subjects? The noble and learned lord had told them, that nothing would make him so happy as
to extend the benefits of the constitu. | tion to all classes of the people, in so . far as the same could be done without . . to the state; but, that the . fundamental principles of the Revol.
tion stood in the way of all further . concession. For his part he denied . this to be a fundamental principle of . the Revolution. He denied that it was . the principle of those great men by | whom the Revolution was accomplish. . ed., The disabilities against the ca. . tholics were not established for the purposeof guarding the nationalchurch . against those who professed another . system of religion, but for the purpose || of withstanding political tenets, by which the constitution was endanges. . ed., “The noble and learned lor!' . exclaimed Lord Grey, ‘ calls upon is . for securities. We ask him for his danger ?” The danger consisted noti admitting the catholics, but in excl. ding them from the constitution, Al ready they were possessed of grea: , riches and great political power, and constituted an important part of the strength of the state. By this exclu. sion they were forced and united into a separate interest. Take away thee; clusion, and, the motives for a separdo interest no longer existing, the hostik ty to the state would also necessary cease. But what securities were to be F. ? The noble and learnedlord
ad stated that Mr Pitt knew of none.
measure of concession to the catholic which he considered as necessary to . the safety of the state. Could he pro || pose such a measure, if he thought o would endanger the safety of the state; But the noble and learned lord had said, that Mr Pitt had no securities? propose. Then all the conduct of M, Pitt was nothing but a pretence; * he did not state the securities becaus" he was unwilling, but because he was |