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in the House of Commons—Questions were immediately put by Lord Wellesley and Mr Canning as to the opinions of the ministers respecting the catholic question and the war in the peninsula. Lord Liverpool answered, that the opinions of the cabinet on these subjects remained unaltered; that the ministers were not aware of any means by which they could extend the

scale of warlike operations, but that it.

was the wish of the government to make the greatest efforts in the cause of Spain which the resources of the country would permit. He added, that the members of the cabinet were, with a few exceptions, to remain ; that the distribution of offices should be left open for future arrangement, and be regulated for the honour of all parties; and that no principle of exclusion was intended, although it had not been thought fit to make any direct proposal to the members of opposition.—Lord Wellesley took an opportunity in the course of these communications of expressing an earnest desire to be relieved from the task of leading, as it is called, in the House of Lords; and he declared, that although no engagement subsisted betwixt him and Mr Canning, he would not, under the present circumstances, accept of office, unless a fair proposal were made to that gentleman.—The result of this first effort, and of the mutual expla. nations which ensued, was, that Lord Wellesley and Mr Canning both positively declined to form part of the administration, assigning as their reason, the avowed sentiments of ministers on the catholic question. Lord Wellesley added, that the considerations which had induced him to resign in the month of February last, had acquired additional force since that time, and would present an insuperable obstacle to his acceptance of any situation in the ministry. He complained, that while Mr Perceval lived his opi

nions had not been allowed sufficient weight in the cabinet; that his sentiments had always been in favour of more extended operations in the peninsula; and that although Lord Liverpool had alluded to recent circumstances which might render it practicable to comply so far with his views, he saw no reason to believe that they would be well executed by the ministers. He expressed a firm conviction, also, that no administration adequate to the crisis could be formed without admitting some of those persons commonly designated as the opposition, whose accession to power would alone satisfy the wishes of the country. That it appeared to him from the recent deliberations of parliament; that such an union was still practicable ; that a cabinet might be formed “on an intermediary principle respecting the Roman catholic claims,” equally secured against the dangers of instant and unqualified concession and those of inconsiderate peremptory exclusion; and that the entire resources of the empire might be applied to the great objects of the war, with the general consent, on a full understanding of the real exigencies of the crisis; while concordand. union at home would secure ultimate and permanent success abroad. > Lord Liverpool having been dissatisfied with the interpretation, which had been put upon his sentiments as to the catholic question in Lord Wellesley's answer, addressed to him an . explanatory letter, in which he solemnly protested against the inference, that it was or ever had been his opinion, that under no circumstances it would be possible to make any alteration on the laws respecting the Roman catholics. He added, that he had expressly declared his sentiments to this effect in parliament. But the state of the opinions and feelings of the Roman catholics at this time, rendered it, in his judgment, dangerous to take any

steps; and, in such circumstances, he had thought it right to resist any parliamentary proceeding on the subject, which could produce nothing but o: among the protestants on the one hand, and delusive hopes among the catholics on the other. This explanation, however, produced no effect on the Marquis Wellesley, who still maintained, that his interpretation of Lord Liverpool’s sentiments had been correct, since no indication had been given as to the time or circumstances in which any alteration of the system of policy pursued towards the catholics could be expected, while the very consideration of the question was denied to parliament, and not permitted to any other authority. He considered the sentiments of the ministers on the catholic question to be perfectly pure and honest; but while he gave them credit for sincerity, he lamented the erroneous foundation and dangerous tendency of their opinions. He concluded, by declaring that his objections to the system pursued in the peninsula at the time of his resignation applied to the whole of our permanent arrangements, both in Portugal and Spain, which, in his opinion, should have been corrected and extended, not only with a view to the advantageous use of such means as were then possessed in that quarter, but even of such extraneous aids as events in other quarters might place at the disposal of government. The discussion here terminated ; and the Marquis Wellesley and Mr Canning persisted in their refusal to support the administration. The progress of this negociation soon became known to the public; and as a strong desire was felt to see the administration settled on a proper basis, a motion was brought forward in the House of Commons by Mr Stuart Wortley, that an address should be

presented to his royal highness the

Prince Regent, praying that he would be pleased to take such measures as might enable him, in the circumstances of the country, to form a strong and efficient government. The grounds upon which this interference of parliament with the royal prerogative was justified, were the following:—That an administration was about to be formed which no disinterested man thought adequate to the exigencies of the times ; that it was better at once to resist the formation of such a ministry, than to look on while the arrangements were going forward, and afterwards to commence a systematic opposition to it; that a distinct intimation of public opinion might at once lead to the formation of a government in which the country could place confidence; that the motion did not pledge parliament to the support of all the measures of any government how efficient soever, but that, at this crisis of affairs, an efficient government, possessing the full confidence of the people, was absolutely required; that the government, as it stood, did not possess that confidence; and that all had not been yet done to form an efficient administration; That the of. fers already made to the Marquis Wellesley and Mr Canning had been perfectly inadmissible; that it was idle to attempt to form a strong administration, unless something were proposed to conciliate the catholics; and that the abandonment of that great question ought never to have been proposed as a preliminary condition; That it was an object of the highest importance, in the state of public affairs, to have a government formed on a liberal basis, calculated to comprehend the talents and influence of the country, and to promote its security and honour; That the motion before the House involved no unconstitutional interference with the prerogative of the crown; that it is not only the pre*

vince and right, but the absolute and bounden duty of the House of Commons to interfere when it discovers that measures are about to be adopted, or an administration about to be formed, which has no chance of meeting the wishes or enjoying the confidence of the people; that the ministers themselves entertained a due sense of their own incapacity, since they had attempted to enlist under their banners, men whose talents they thought might sustain the tottering fabric of their administration ; but the proposal had been honourably declined, not from personal motives, but on public grounds; That the ministers, in making their late attempt to acquire an accession of strength, had desired nothing more than a pretence for their own continuance in power, since they foresaw the odium which they must have encountered had they presumed to remain in office without some endeavour to strengthen themselves by the most efficient aid; That there could be no reason for waiting till experience had decided on the incapacity of the administration; that the crisis demanded a government which could do something by authority—an administration of some name and credit to give it strength in the public opinion ; That even those who approved of the present system ought to consider, whether the present men were capable of supporting it; yet what must be the nature of that system, to which there was so general a repugnance, that all the arts and blandishments of the court could not secure for it any support but that of the present ministers? That, with reference to the catholic claims, an administration was required which could talk in a firm tone to the Irish people, conceding what could be safely yielded, and resisting all unreasonable demands ; and, finally, that the House was called en by the motion to decide, whether

it should ever advise the crown on such an occasion, or whether it would surrender one of its most important privileges, and agree to support an ad. ministration formed on a principle of mere favouritism. The motion was resisted on various grounds.—It is unconstitutional, said its opponents, to interfere with the prerogative of the crown in forming an administration; and there is no in. stance on record of the House having thus interfered; That it would be time enough to propose censure when an administration had been formed and found inefficient; but it was altoge: ther unbecoming and arrogant to os. fer previous advice; That although it be the unquestionable duty of the House of Commons to watch over and controul the crown, no constitutional principle is better understood, than that the sovereign has the absolute right of nominating his minister, That although some persons of great talents had declined to accept of of: under government, their refusal could be no reproach to the existing admi. nistration; that it must at all time, be of importance to unite as go a share of the talents and influence" the country as possible in the go" ment ; but ii. a fair and honourable attempt had, in this instano been made with that view, yet the attempt had failed, because minio were not disposed to concede o: for which they had already reco. the sanction of parliament and of the country; That administrations Po. turely denounced as weak and ineffici. ent, had, on many occasions, conduck ed the affairs of the country with at tivity and vigour, while others, wo great promise of talents, energy, . weight, had disappointed every expe tation which had beenformed of tho; That the history of all countries, . the opinions of the wisest men, . in establishing this salutary.”

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principles of the constitution on all

occasions, than to violate them for the sake of a temporary advantage. It is more manly and spirited, said the supporters of the motion, to bring the question forward, while the arrangement are depending, than to wait till they are concluded, and then commence hostilities; but to this an answer might be made in the words of Junius to Sir William Draper—“That this was an instance of spirit; and if it had been an instance of any thing but spirit, he would have been inclined to follow the example ;” That the question, whether the House should have a controul on the appointment of the ministers of the crown had been decided thirty years ago; and it had been wisely held, that it is only when parliament has had experience of the measures of ministers, that it is entitled to address the throne, and express a decided opinion. Such were the oldfashioned principles of the constitution under which the country had long flourished; and by these principles it would be expedient still to abide. Such were the arguments of a general nature which were urged on this occasion. In the course of the debate, Mr Ryder made some allusions to the details of the late negociation, which drew from Mr Canning an oration, replete with his usual eloquence and ability. Mr Ryder observed, that “if the House agreed to the motion at this moment, they would violate one of the first and most undoubted prerogatives of the crown. He had expected that his honourable friend (Mr S. Wortley) would have been prepared to thew some precedent; but the fact he really believed was, that there was no instance inour history where the House interfered to prevent theformation of an administration. His honourable friend Predicted, from what he knew of the Present government, that the admini

stration, which was not yet nominated, would be one not entitled to the confidence of the country.—The only similar instance alluded to was the case of Mr Pitt, and on that occasion his great political rival had made an apology for bringing forward a motion not of advice with respect to the for. mation of a ministry, but to prevent the dissolution of parliament, in the interval previous to the re-appointment of Mr Pitt, thus acknowledging the unconstitutionality of an interference with the appointment of ministers. The period he alluded to was one of unprecedented heat and irritation, when the House shewed a disposition to

o lengths in opposition to ministers, which he believed many of them had since been disposed to allow were unjustifiable; yet neither Mr Fox nor any of the great men of that day ventured to avow such motives as those declared by his honourable friend on the present occasion.—What was the case then 2 The reasons for interference then were much stronger than those which could now be alleged. The crown had dismissed a ministry which had great majorities on its side; and the crown did so, in order to appoint another ministry which had not the confidence of the House.—He would be glad to know who were the persons that were to compose the ministry about to be formed 2 Were they not those who, for the last four years, had been receiving the approbation of parliament and of his honourable friend ? Was not the noble lord at the head of the administration (the Earl of Liverpool) the same person who had been so long successfully conducting that part of the affairs of the country, which on so many occasions had experienced the approbation of the House and of the public This was enough to shew that the grounds of proceeding in the one case and the other were totally different.—And yet it was under these, circumstances conceived against all precedent and principle, that the House should go up to the throne for the purpose of advising the king as to the choice of his servants.-He here found it necessary to allude to some facts which were pretty generally known ; and in doing so, he could not be suspected of any private motive, for, without going into the circumstances connected with that event, he had to state, that he was no longer a member of the administration. The manner in which certain propositions had been made, had been animadverted on that night, but he did not think that his right honourable friend (Mr Canning) would say, that those offers were not made in perfect sincerity, and in the wish and hope that they would be accepted. As far as related to the motion of which his right honourable friend had

given notice—(Mr Canning’s notice

relative to the catholic question for the 28th of this month)—he apprehended that if he had accepted office, the necessity for bringing forward that motion would have been superseded, because it would then have been in his i. to direct the attention of his colleagues to the subject in a more effica. ciousmanner. But he understood there were othergrounds for the refusal of his right honourable friend, among which was the treating the catholic claims as a government question. Whether his right honourable friend would have persisted in this new view of the subject he knew not ; if he did, it would indeed have proved a bar to his right honourable friend’s admission into the present ministry. He knew that it excited extreme concern on the part of government to find, that his right honourable friend could not be brought to strengthen their administration. With respect to the opinions held on the principal topics at issue, he had papers which fully explained them,

but which, at this moment, he did not feel himself authorised to produce, and he asked his right honourable friend whether he had not seen such a statement: To recur to the subject of the motion, he could see no ground for supposing any inability in the noble

lord at the head of the government;

for that noble lord was the man, who, ten or eleven years ago, had been characterised by Mr Pitt as the individual most fit to succeed to the first office in the government, from his talents, integrity, and extensive acquirements, with the sole exception of Mr Fox, As to the motion now before the House, he could not conceive how his honourable friend could reconcile it with the votes which he had been accustomed to give. He felt little disposed to enter into any political contention, or to say any thing. that could give offence, but he could not help referring the House to the principles that had governed, and to the

practice that had been pursued for four

years by the last administration, and to the majorities by which its measures had been supported, and asking whether it could be imagined, that mem. bers would be acting a part agreeable to their constituents, by adopting the motion proposed for the purpose of destroying a government, which had hitherto received the highest approba. tion throughout the country Had he no other objections to the motion, this alone would be sufficient to determine his vote; he could not believe it pos. sible, that it could now be carried by a majority of the House, unless they

were prepared to say, that all those

measures which had been hitherto approved, as essential to the glory and

security of the empire, were in reality

detrimental to its best and truest in

terests.” . . Mr Canning now rose and said,—“It

was my wish and my intention to have

avoided troubling the House in the

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