« ForrigeFortsett »
HISTORY OF EUROPE,
Domestie Affairs. Meeting of Parliament. Prince Regent's Speech on Open
ing the Session. State of the King's Health. King's Household Establishment. Debates in Parliament on some Points connected with the Civil List. Droits of Admiralty. Leeward Island Duties. Provision to the Princesses.
The session of parliament was opened brilliant enterprise of General Hill in by commission on the 7th of January ; Spanish-Estremadura, were mentioned and a speech was pronounced, which, with high satisfaction. The consumas is usual on such occasions, alluded mate talents of Lord Wellington-the briefly to the state of public affairs, persevering bravery of the Spaniards—. and to the leading features of the po- the extension of the Guerilla system of licy of administration. His royal high- warfare, and the hopes of ultimate sucness the Prince Regent lamented the cess which so many favourable circumcontinued indisposition of his majesty; stances inspired, were expatiated upon, and had ordered copies of the last re- as affording strong inducements to con. ports of the queen's council, respect- tinue the aid which Great Britain had ing the king's health, to be laid be, hitherto afforded to the brave and opfore parliament. Suitable provisions pressed nations of the peninsula. The were recommended for the support of great abilities of Lord Minto, the
gothe royal dignity, for the care of the vernor-general of India, in planning royal person, and for affording all due the expeditions against the isles of facility to the resumption of the royal France and Bourbon-the talents and authority, in the event of the king's bravery of Sir Samuel Auchmuty and restoration to health. The successful the officers and troops under his come defence of the kingdom of Portugal- mand, by whom the views of the gothe bravery and discipline of the Bri- vernor-general were so well seconded tish and Portuguese troops--and the and the entire destruction of the ene
VOL. V. PART I.
my's colonial power, were next allu. distresses they themselves had occaded to ; and parliament was reminded sioned, still held the same flattering and of the propriety of turning its atten- fallacious language. He would
protion towards the improvement of that test against a continuance of those meamighty empire which Great Britain sures which had brought such calamihad established in the East. With re- ties on the country ; calamities so real ference to the subsisting relations be. and so momentous, that they must soon twixt Great Britain and America, it press themselves with irresistible force was stated, that, although the affair of on their lordships attention, whether the Chesapeake had been finally ad- or not they were willing to give them justed, the other discussions had not the consideration they deserved. Peoyet been brought to a close ; but an ple might choose to close their eyes, assurance was given, that no measure but the force of truth must dispel the of conciliation should be left untried, wilful blindness; they might choose to which might be found consistent with shut their ears, but the voice of a suf. the rights and dignity of the empire. fering nation must sooner or later be The finances of Ireland were repre, heard. The noble lord said he still resented as in a flourishing state ; and tained his objections to every part of the Prince Regent expressed his confi. the system he had so often condemn. dence, that, when the estimates for the ed; he still deprecated that wanton year should be laid before parliament, waste of money, and of all the public á liberal disposition would be shewn to resources, when it was more necessary sustain the country in the great con- than ever to husband them with the test in which it was engaged, most provident care. He still objected
The address was moved in the House to those commercial measures, which of Lords by the Earl of Shaftesbury ; were pompously announced as the most the debate which succeeded was by formidable weapon against the enemy, no means interesting, except for the and which had recoiled on our own zeal displayed by Lords Grenville and commerce and manufactures. He still Grey, to have their sweeping con- retained his objections to a system of demnation of the measures of govern- finance, which had forced a debased ment put upon record. These noble coin on the people, and had spread lords, although professing a sincere bankruptcy and ruin throughout the desire for unanimity on this occasion, land.” were anxious to warn the country Nor was Lord Grey less severe in against reposing any confidence in the his reproaches. “He should feel unadministration,
happy," he said, “ if he departed from Lord Grenville, “considering the that house, without declaring that he critical circumstances of the times, and retained all the opinions he had before the present alarming state of the coun. held on subjects of great magnitude ; try, would have been happy if the ad. opinions confirmed by experience and dress proposed to the House had been the evidence of facts; opinions which so worded as to procure unanimity, on he should be ready to maintain and dethe present day, at least ; yet, he did fend on future opportunities of discussnot feel surprised that such had noting them. Whether the noble Secre. been the case, when he reflected, that tary of State (Lord Liverpool) chose the framers of the speech were the very to allude to the affairs of America on men, who, by their obstinate blindness, which he had shewn much caution and had brought the country to the brink silence, and ventured to call our transof ruin, and whó, in the midst of the actions in that quarter a proof of the assertion, that the system of the go- firmly convinced that the system the vernment had contributed to the se. noble baron had so much condemned, curity, prosperity, and honour of the was the only one that had saved, or country; or whether he intended to could have saved, this country: to the refer to the system of our measures in continuance of that system only, Eu. the peninsula, he pledged himself that rope could look for deliverance, and he should be ready to meet him, and England for permanent safety ; in to contend, that whatever might be short, by the merits of that system his said to have been done, had not been lordship and his colleagues were dedone to the promotion of the safety termined to stand or fall.” The adand honour of the country; and that dress was carried without a division. the general system adopted had been, In the House of Commons the ordiin fact, the source of almost all our nary course of proceeding was deranpresent and impending calamities." - ged by a singular interference on the Such were the terms in which the part of Sir Francis Burdett. It is cus. whole policy of government was ar- tomary that the Speaker, on his reraigned, not at a season when it was turn from the House of Lords, should still untried, and might, therefore, with read to the Commons the speech from some plausibility, have been represent. the throne : the address is then moved ed as matter of uncertain and danger- and seconded, when a general debate ous experiment, but in the beginning ensues. Such is the usual course; but of the year 1812, when the measures Sir Francis Burdett thought proper of administration had already secured to anticipate the member who should so many practical advantages--when have moved the customary address, they had saved Portugal-kept alive and to make a long speech, and move the flame of patriotism in Spain, and a long address of his own, which, withopened up the fairest prospects for cut touching on any of the topics al. Europe. As the censure pronoun- luded to in the speech from the throne, ced by the leaders of opposition had exhibited a good summary of his own been
vague and declamatory, the an- political eccentricities. On this reswer made by the Earl of Liverpool markable occasion the honourable bawas of a general nature. “ The pre- ronet began, by paying a compliment sent,” his lordship was convinced, to his royal highness the Prince Re“ was not a fit day to dwell on any gent, and by assuring the house that details ; but the noble baron (Gren- the prince was not of a temper to be ville) had entered a general protest pleased by flattery; but that he would against the whole of the system pur- consider those members as his best sued by the present ministers, and on friends who pointed out the real griethat ground, he was ready to meet him vances under which his people labourthe more willingly, as that system and ed. It was of the utmost importance those measures so condemned, had at so great a crisis, that the prince stood the test of experience. Many should be addressed in a spirit of canopportunities would undoubtedly oc- dour and truth ; and no member of pareur of canvassing the merits of their liament could do his duty to his constidifferent opinions ; but, as the noble tuents, to his country, or to the Prince baron had been heard in support of his, Regent himself, if he failed to represent it would not be, perhaps, too much to his royal highness the general sentito. presume, that the same indulgencements of the people. This solemn bemight be allowed to him. He was ginning seemed to promise something at once novel and important; but the were making regular and rapid strides honourable baronet instantly descend- towards the subjugation of the penined to his ordinary strain of reproach sula ; that all these evils originated in and accusation. He admitted, indeed, the departure of this country from the that the exertions of the Spaniards wiser system of former days; that the against the common enemy, had been policy of England had anciently been distinguished by bravery and persen directed to the preservation of liberty verance; and he confessed also, that throughout the world, but had of the British army had sustained its late been degraded by a feeble and ancient reputation. “ But where is base attempt to support the decrethe freedom,” said he, “ to which the pid tyrannies of the continent; and superior prowess of Englishmen has that the progress of France was upbeen ascribed in the better days of our on the whole more favourable to the history?" He maintained, that for liberty of nations, than the success the last eighteen years, the distresses of her rival. The honourable ba. of the country had been increasing; ronet proceeded to make an attack that he might even go farther back, upon the House of Commons, which and declare, that, since the commence- he described as consisting of “ the ment of the present reign-since the supposed representatives of the people beginning of the American war, every of England;" but the admonition of year had brought an increase of ca. the Speaker quickly brought him to lamity; and he concluded of course, a recollection of the decency which he “ that there was something in our had outraged. He complained of the system radically wrong ;" that the restrictions which had been imposed effects of the American war were still upon the Prince Regent, by which disfelt in the war in which Great Bri- trust was indicated of his royal hightain was engaged; that the present con- ness, and professed to look forward test was begun on the very principles with triumph to the expiration of these of that unhappy war ; that a detesta- restrictions, as the era when an enlar. tion of French liberty first produced the ged and liberal system of policy would rupture, and that, on the same princi- restore the ancient glory of the coun. ples, the war was still continued ; that try. Various systems of government, no one could say what England was he said, had been approved of at differnow contending for ; that liberty had ent periods of society; but an oligar. no share in the contest ; since what. chy, and, in particular, "an oligarchy ever might be done by England for the of rotten burgh-mongers,” has found rights of the sovereign of Spain (who no advocates out of England. The conhad resigned his whole pretensions in. sequences of this system, according to to the hands of Buonaparte) nothing his view of matters, was, that abroad had been done for the Spanish people, we had been uniformly unsuccessful ; that even if the cause of Spain had that the despotisms which we had enbeen honourably undertaken by the deavoured to support had fallen prosBritish government, it had now become trate before our enemy, and that at perfectly hopeless; that the victories home the country had been overwhelmwon by our arms were altogether bar- ed with the most signal calamities; ren; that although there had been many that a system of taxation had been brilliant achievements, such as that un- created which ruined many and opder General Hill, by which the French pressed all; that the lower orders had had suffered severely, still the invaders been reduced to a state of pauperism ;
that fiscal tyranny had now been car- When these gentlemen had finish-
time when England stood in a com