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terms of the value which he set on Mr Pitt's friendship, he declared that he wanted no other eulogy on his tomb than that he had been Mr Pitt’s friend; but if this conduct of his to his departed friend was friendship, he would rather, for his part, have that noble and learned lord for his foe than his friend. Let noble lords put themselves in the situation of the catholics, and say, what would their feelings be, if they had been treated by the government in the same manner: The catholics had received many concessions, in their very nature such, that they could not stop with them—no philosopher or statesman could think of them but as temporary expedients. The greatest names had deemed ultimate concessions right. Mr Pitt, Mr Fox, Mr Burke, and Mr Windham, all of them friends to the established church, however much they might differ on other suba jects, concurred in this, that conciliation to the catholics was absolutely necessary. In 1795, when a noble lord | oão) had gone over to Ire# land with the power of conceding the : claims of the catholics, their expectations, thereby excited, were speedily § cut short by his sudden recal. He would not enter into a retrospect of * the scenes of blood and torture that ! ensued; scenes even more horrible than those which attended the French Revolution. After this period came the Union, another source of the excitation and disappointment of the hopes of this body. By whose means was that Union obtained 2 By the support of the catholics. By a too ready conidence the catholics of Ireland did then come forward and support that Union, which, without their assistance, could never have been carried. Their disappointment must now be *. ted by the feeling, that, if not foolishy duped, their wishes might already o have been granted. If the House, like * the catholics, had supported the Union,
under the hopes of attaining the cession of their rights through the calmer discussions of the .# parliament, what would they think of the government which imposed an everlasting bar against their approaches : They could not wonder if great disturbances were the consequence, and if from affectionate j they should come to look on this country with ill-will and hatred. In what respect was the situation of the catholics now hopeless? He did not wish to name the Prince Regent for the purpose of influencing the debate. He would not state what the feelings and opinions of his royal highness might be at the present moment, having only the opinion of his responsible advisers to look to ; but he could not help stating, that a very general hope was entertained by the catholics, that the Prince Regent was favourable to their claims, and that a new era would by the course of nature arrive when bigotry and oppression should no longer oppose them. That new era had now arrived; but instead of its being to the catholics a consummation of their hopes, they saw the whole power of the government embodied against them, under some cursed and baleful influence; and nothing remaining to them but a prospect of perpetual exclusion from the benefits of the constitution. If the House believed the Irish to be what they had ever been represented, a warm-hearted, a sanguine, a high-spirited people—if they believed them to have contributed largely to the military glory of this empire, the dangerous effects which such a disappointment might produce, would be formidable in the same proportion. We might anticipate dangers greater than any which this country had yet struggled with. . A noble lord (Harrowby) had asked, if it was not mockery and insult to address the prince to form a combined administration, after the correspondence which had been so much referred to ? But in this a noble and learned lord had corrected him, and justly defined that it was not for a broader administration, but for one avoiding the character of the present, and caleulated to ensure the affections of the people. It might be as narrow as the present, and as exclusive ; but as it would exclude only those dangerous principles which went to disunite and distract the country, it would be preferable to that now in being. Those who were friendly to the catholics would of course be more acceptable to that body. The noble and learned lord had boasted that the present administration possessed the affections of the people of England. Undoubtedly popularity was dear to him ; but he had never endeavoured to court popularity by a departure from any one principle of which he approved, whatever obloquy might be the consequence. He supposed the meaning of the noble and learned lord was, that the present administration was supported by the opinion of the majority of the people of England on the catholic question. Of that he was very much inclined to doubt. He was aware, however, that the person at the head of the government might again employ all kinds of arts to inflame the people with imaginary dangers, aided as he might probably be with all the ower of the church. But what would the consequence of his success 2 To aggravate the evil and increase the danger—to make the catholics perceive that it was no longer a set of men whom they had to consider as their enemies, but the people of England; and what could be the result but the separation of the two countries 3–Who would be able to repair the errors of an administration powerful in all the means by which empires were hurried on to ruin He
believed, however, that the people of
England were, as they had been at a former period, ready to support the
measure of catholic emancipation.—
That question would once have been carried with as little difficulty as any matter ever proposed to parliament, but now the cry was raised against it by those who, with equal guilt, had first instilled into the royal mind those scruples of which they afterwards took advantage; for all which a deep and heavy responsibility rested upon their heads.—The noble lord had enquired, if the present administration were displaced, where would they get another In the letter subscribed by his noble friend and himself, they had stated, that they could not join with men united together on the principle of catholic exclusion, and could not come into power without advising the crown to give relief to the catholics. But might they not unite with such as held similar opinions with them on this point?—When he signed the letter, he was most sincere in saying, he did not act on personal exclusive principles; for he might, perhaps, be permitted to say this of himself, that, however much he had mixed in political controversy, he was little subject to political resentments. When an union could be honourable and advantageous to the nation, he would ever i. ready to unile. But character was as much the strength of men as it was that of nations, and he could conceive nothing more dangerous than to shock the public opinion by an appearance of sa
crificing principle for the sake of at
taining office and emolument; for himself he disclaimed any such views, or any great desire for place at all. But did the noble lords opposite—they who were the advisers of the regent on this occasion—who were his ministers before, and had continued to be his ministers since; did they expect, that in consequence of the regent’s letter his noble friegé and himself
could have consented to coalesce with them?—Would they venture to deny, that they were consulted on the letter? If so, it would establish the point, that there was an influence behind the throne, the most dangerous that could exist. Nay, he would put the question in another form, and suppose he and his friends had been in power, and had sent such a letter to the noble lords opposite, would they have acceded to the offer He believed they would not. But were there no others with whom they (Lord Grey and his friends) could unite 2 or, if both parties were put out of the question, were there not others to form an administration without them : If the address could be carried, and the regent could find others of whom he might form a cabinet, holding the same opinions on the catholic question with himself (Lord Grey), they should have his warm support ; and on any points in which he might differ from them, his opposition should be reluctant and gen. He was too much exhausted to go through the remaining topics at any length. On the repeal of the civil disabilities of the catholics, therefore, he would only briefly state, that he was prepared to define what securities he deemed sufficient on this score to satisfy him. “Adverting to the questions at issue between this country, and America, he would embrace the occasion of saying, that if it was imputed to him that he was disposed to give up one single right, or to abandon any principle connected with the maintenance of our essential maritime interests, the imputation was most false and groundless. His feelings in support of those interests, would lead him
to go as far as any man, although he
should still deem it necessary to weigh the true value of those disputed interests, and to guard against making a sacrifice disproportionate to the ob
ject to be attained. If once persuaded that the national honour was at stake, or that those rights on which our national independence was founded, were attacked, he should feel no difficulty to act with all the directness, and vigour, and determination, which, under such circumstances, would be indispensable to our safety. But he could never lose sight of that principle which ought to lie at the basis of all national policy, namely, that, as it had been well expressed by Mr Burke, ‘ as we ought never to go to war for a profitable wrong, so we ought never to go to war for an unprofitable right.” If the prosecution .#. right were likely to lead to consequences more dangerous and destructive than those anticipated from its relinquishment, it was almost superfluous to say, such a right ought not to be insisted on. He well remembered, that during an opposition carried on with something more than parliamentary virulence and pertinacity, while he had the honour of holding an office in administration, he was often pressed in the other House to assume a different tone, and to act upon what was called a more decisive policy. A new system had since, in his opinion unhappily for this country, enabled the enemy to succeed in his incitements; to triumph in his policy, and to make us the instruments of his ambition. On the state of the circulation, interesting as it was, and decisive as his views were upon it, did it follow that he held it to be indispensable to recommend immediately the resumption of cash payments by the Bank 2. It was not to the omission of that particular measure that his principal objections were directed, but to a perseverance in a system not founded upon just principles, and which therefore the longer it continued be. came the more menacing and calamitous in its operation. is wish was to revert as much as possible to true principles, and keep the circulating medium within certain bounds. Supposing, then, the catholic §. decided, an impassable line of separation existed between him and the administration, in the proposition for making bank-notes a legal tender. With respect to the policy which the circumstances of the present crisis demanded as to the affairs of the peninsula, he certainly was not prepared to say that it was expedient to recall our troops immediately; but he certainly did not wish to proceed in that expensive mode of warfare, without having some military authority as to the probable result of it; and he wished, above all, to see the opinion of the illustrious commander of the forces in that country on the subject. No part of i. policy was more open to repeated discussion, or more calculated to engender a diversity of opinion, than the most pro}. mode of carrying on foreign war.
are. The first principle in the policy of all wars was to inflict the utmost possible injury on the enemy, at the expence of the least possible injury to ourselves. Such a question, therefore, as that which related to the continuance of the present contest in the peninsula, depended on a variety of considerations, arising out of recent events and the consequent and relative situations of ourselves and of the enemy. In determining on the expediency of any measure . this nature, he was to be guided by calculations formed on an extensive combination and comparison of circumstances. He thought, and thought most decidedly, that a reduction of our expenditure was called for by reflections of the most ur
ent and powerful kind; and he would eel it to be his duty, before he could agree to the continuance of any continental enterprises like those in which we were now engaged, to take a wide survey of our own resources, to measure their extent, and their applica
tion to the objects for the attainment or promotion of which they were proposed to be exerted. If the result of such an estimate were to establish any thing like a certainty of success in the schemes that were devised, all his hesitations and difficulties would be removed, and he should consider even the most extensive scale of foreign operations as recommended and supported by the principles of economy itself. He hoped too that he felt as warmly, and was as willing to acknowledge that feeling as any noble lord, the justice of that cause which we were maintaining in the pe. ninsula. No cause related in the annals of mankind ever rested more entirely on sentiments of the most honourable feeling, or was more connected, if circumstances were favourable, with principles of national advantage. The spectacle exhibited was the most interesting that could engage the sympathies or the attention of the world, and it was impossible not to wish to afford assistance to the noble struggle of a free people against the most unparalleled treachery, the most atrocious violence, that ever stained or degraded the ambition of despotic power. If he could but calculate on the probability of supporting such a cause to a triumphant issue, there could remain no doubt but that the separation from France of such a country as Spain, containing her extent of territory and amount of population, would be to augment in a great degree our own national security. . But those principles, on which the prosecution j that war could be defended, must be reduced to a mere speculative theory, unless supported by adequate exertions from the Spanish people and the Spanish government; without that necessary co-operation all our efforts must prove useless. With a view to those advantages, we had before contended in that very country against France, then much less powerful than at present. He did not mean to say, that from these considerations, we were to withdraw our armies from the peninsula; but he thought that, before we proceeded further on the present expensive system, the House should have the distinct opinion of the commander-inchief, as to the probable result of the operations, and enquire into the means of carrying on the contest by a more limited expenditure of our remaining resources. It would be his maxim to guard against endangering our own safety in the prosecution of remoter interests. These were his principles and his opinions; he had stated them distinctly, however assured at the same time, that he should to-morrow see them completely misrepresented.—He was desirous of adding a few words upon what had fallen from the noble lord who moved the amendment, respecting what he was pleased to call . complete success of our arms, during the last two years. For his own part, when he looked back to the events of that period, when he recollected the original objects of the war, and knew, as every other man knew, that the defence of Portugal must be impracticable after, Spain should be entirely subdued, he could coincide We had, unquestionably, achieved much ; and in the capture of Ciudad Rodrigo he concurred in the admiration justly due to the vigour, celerity, and military skill so eminently displayed by the at commander who conducted that important enterprise. But when he looked to another part of that kingdom, and saw Badajoz in possession of the enemy—when he turned his attention to the operations in Catalonia—when he saw that, within the last two years, Tortosa, Lerida, Tarragona, Saguntum, had yielded—that Valencia had fallen—that the province of Murcia was over-run—he was at a
in no such declaration.
loss to discover what new prospects of success had dawned upon the Spaniards. Those conquests opened to the enemy a free communication between all their divisions; and they would soon be enabled by that circumstance to bring the whole weight of their united forces against the British. He did think too that ministers had been culpably negligent, in not having exerted, in the quarter to which he had just adverted, the means actually in their power, by employing a considerable naval force, for the purpose of lending our allies more effectual succour. In Catalonia for instance, such a system, if properly conducted, would, in all probability, have enabled the warlike population of that province to expel their invaders. Where then were the symptoms of this boasted success 2 Lord Wellington, at the head of an army of 62,000 as effective men as were ever led into the field, had been compelled to remain on the defensive. With a force greater than that commanded by the Duke of Marlborough at the most splendid era of our military history, Lord Wellington had found himself limited to the pursuit of a defensive system. The country had been told, indeed, to look at the exertions of the Spanish Guerillas for a substitute to the assistance of regular troops, in which the nations .# the peninsula were so deficient. On this he founded no great hopes, yet he was not able, from want of sufficient documents, to state precisely the weight which their assistance might have in the scale. But, momentous as all those objections were, in his opinion, against the present system of government, they sunk into insignificancy, when compared with one point on which he had to make a few observations; a point in his estimation of paramount importance. He alluded to the existence of an unseen and secret influ
ence which lurked behind the throne.