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melancholy subject with which the Queen's Speech commenced, and spoke of the Prince in terms of affectionate regret, as one who, though occupying a position in its very nature incompatible with all personal pre-eminence, alike denied the achievement of warlike renown and political distinction, had succeeded in winning for himself an amount of consideration and confidence seldom attained by the most distinguished of mankind. Lord Dufferin then entered upon the consideration of the American question, and commended the promptitude of Government in taking up and maintaining a position of the strictest neutrality. Unfortunately, however, the Northern States had taken a most mistaken view of our sentiments, and bocause we refused to look upon a Uth en matse of the South as a transient disaffection, wo were accused of supporting slavery, an institution which is, and always will be, regarded with abhorrence by the English people. To our commerce, the injury done by the disruption was, of course, great; but we nevertheless were determined to wait patiently for whatever solution Providence might decree. The news of the seizure of tho Southern Commissioners had come upon us like a thunderbolt, and for a long time the chance of war or peace trembled in the balance. The people of England, after calmly discussing the right or wrong of the case, came to the unbiassed conclusion that right was on their *ttle, and tho approval of the ;rc nation went with her Ma's Government in their dc1 for reparation. At length
Mr. Seward's answer arrived, and prepared as we were for war, certain as success would have been, great as were the advantages of breaking the blockade, ever}- man rejoiced that war had been avoided. As to Mr. Seward's despatch, it was not for him to look a gift horse in tho mouth. Our demand for the surrender of the Commissioners had been complied with, and that was enough.
The Earl of Shelburne, in seconding the Address, after paying his tribute to the memory of the illustrious dead, reverted to the American question, of which he hoped for a speedy solution, which would tend to the re-estnblishment of the United States as a great, powerful, and freo nation. lie could not conclude without adverting to the courso pursued during the recent negotiations by the Emperor of tho French, who had given this country great moral support by the straightforward expression of his opinion.
The Earl of Derby then spoke. His Lordship, in adverting to the main topic of the Address, expressed his conviction that deep and earnest as was the national sense of the loss we had sustained, the country was as yet unable to do full justice to the Prince's memory. Comparatively few persons had enjoyed the advantages of a personal acquaintance, but only such were able to estimate at their proper value the powers and cultivation of his mind, and the unremitting personal attention ho bestowed on all that tended to promote the happiness, domestic comfort, and mental and moral welfare of every class of her Majesty's subjects. Lord Derby then expressed his cordial approval of the policy of neutrality adopted by the Government towards the conflicting Powers in America. That policy had been strictly adhered to. If there had been any deviation whatever from it, it had been in favour of the Northern States, who, by virtue of the South being recognized by us as belligerents, had acquired rights which, unless belligerents, they could not have claimed. We had tolerated a blockade, the efficiency of which was very doubtful, and which could have been removed at once by the intervention of this country. This blockade, however, could not have occurred more opportunely than at the present time, when the foreign market was so thoroughly glutted with our cotton manufactures, that a cessation of work to a great extent would have probably been necessary without it. Great credit was due, however, to the working classes of the manufacturing districts for the patience and moderation they had displayed under the trying circumstances inwhich they were placed by the adoption of '• short time." While thus approving of the policy of Government up to the present, he thought the time was near at hand when they would have to consider the expediency of recognizing the so far successful revolt of the Seceded States. At all events, he hoped Government would lose no time in satisfying the country on one most important point—the efficiency or non-efficiency of the blockade. One great result of recent events was, that the delusion into which people fell, who imagined that Canada was eager for annexation to the United States, was dismissed for ever.
He considered the conduct of this country, our North American provinces, and the Emperor of the French, with reference to tho Trent affair, to have been equally creditable; but he regretted that he could not say as much with regard to that of the Federal Government in general, and of Mr. Seward in particular. Instead -of a frank, manly, and immediate reparation, Mr. Seward, although convinced, long ere the close of the negotiations, of the injustice of the seizure, had still subjected the Commissioners to the rigours of imprisonment, and finally only surrendered them on a demand backed by force. Briefly adverting to the remaining topics of the Speech, Lord Derby expressed his approval of the intervention in Mexico, although he should be glad of an assurance from the Government that no operations of a more extended character were contemplated by our two allies. With regard to Morocco, he admitted that the Convention, though peculiar in character, had been justified by the circumstances of the case. He hoped, however, to hear that Spain had no intention of any permanent occupation of the Moorish coast. In conclusion, he briefly referred to the Revised Code, many of the provisions of which he hoped would be withdrawn.
Earl Granville thanked Lord Derby for his candid and patriotic speech. The Revised Code, he stated, would be gone into very shortly, when he proposed to make a statement on the subject. The consideration of the Mexican question, he thought, had better be deferred, in order to give their Lordships time to read the papers on the subject which had been laid before them. After acknowledging the friendship, both towards this country and America, of the course pursued by the Emperor of the French in the affair of the Trent, Lord Granville expressed his unfeigned satisfaction at the preservation of peace. Whatever might happen hereafter, neutrality was the one course in which the Government would be supported by both Parliament and people as long as affaire remained in their present position. In conclusion, Lord Granville added his testimony to the memory of the lamented Prince Consort; and, after a few words from Lord Lyttelton, on the subject of tho Revised Code, Earl Russell addressed their lordships. He commenced by attributing to the impartiality displayed by the Lite Prince Consort in viewing political affairs, tho happy absence of bitterness between the great political parties which had prevailed for the last twenty years, and expressed his firm belief that the country still reaped the benefit of the good counsel given by the Prince during those years. He hoped that the question of the blockade would not be gone into until the production of further papers. All he would then say was. that the blockade had been regularly enforced, but he thought that as the capability of the Northern States to accomplish the task they had undertaken would soon be put to tho proof, it would be far better that they should be convinced of the inutility of their efforts, and recognize the South through failure of their own strength, than in consequence of foreign intervention.
Lord Kingsdown wound up the debate with a few observations on the tone of Mr. Seward's despatch, which left the impression on his mind that the question had been anything but satisfactorily settled. Not a single word of apology could be found in the despatch of Mr. Seward; on the contrary, Mr. Seward distinctly declared that the capture of Messrs. Slidell and Mason was thoroughly justified by law and practice; and he added that, whether justified or not, whether right or wrong, if it had been for the interest of the American Government to detain the prisoners, they would have kept them in defiance of England.
In the House of Commpus the Address was moved by Mr. Portman, who, in calling attention to the principal topics of the Speech, noticed some of the leading features of tho late Prince Consort's character, and the sympathy manifested by all classes of the people in the irreparable loss sustained by Her Majesty. He commended in warm terms the prompt and vigorous measures adopted by our Government in the affair of the Trent, and the readiness evinced by the Emperor of the French to concur in their views on the subject of the outrage. With reference to the joint expedition to Mexico, he expressed his conviction that it had no other end in view than the redress of tlagrant acts of injustice and spoliation, and grievances long endured. After touching lightly upon other portions of the Speech, he concluded by moving an Address which echoed the several paragraphs, departing from the u^ual course by adding a paragraph of condolence with Her Majesty in her late bereavement.
Mr. Western Wood, the newlyelected member for the City of London, seconded the motion, passing in review the leading topics of the Royal Speech, particularly the affair of the Trent, the adjustment of which he referred to with great satisfaction, and the intervention in Mexico.
Mr. Disraeli said he thought the Speech delivered by the Lords Commissioners, as regarded both our domestic and our foreign relations, must be satisfactory to the House. He took the earliest opportunity of expressing his acknowledgment of the wisdom and prudence of the policy of the Government towards the States of America,— the policy of neutrality,—which he believed had been sincerely adopted and sincerely practised. In dealing with the Government of the United States we ought, iu his opinion, to extend to its acts, in existing circumstances, a generous and liberal construction. On the other hand, the Government of the United States should not take a perverse view of the conduct of this country. He thought the House had a right to expect the fullest information respecting the blockade of the Southern ports of America, and he pressed upon the House and the country that the expedition to Mexico was a subject which required the most anxious consideration. Adverting to the Morocco loan, he was of opinion that it would have been better for the Government to give a formal guarantee than to connect the country with this transaction in a way that might involve the Government in difficulty. In
conclusion, he pronounced a warm panegyric upon the character of the late Prince Consort, a man superior to his age, who, he observed, was not only eminent for the fulfilment of his duties, but of the highest duties, and under the most difficult circumstances.
Lord Palmerston said he rejoiced, and the country would rejoice, that the Address would be unanimously adopted by the House. With regard to the affair of the Trent, the measures taken by the Government were those which prudence prescribed; they were equal to the occasion, and not greater than it required. In the conflict going on in America Her Majesty's Government had observed, as Mr. Disraeli had admitted, a position of strict neutrality, and from that position it was not their intention to depart. The Convention would show that in the expedition to America, England was no party to any project of interference in the internal affairs of the country, but that it was confined to the object of obtaining redress for injuries sustained. What was desired was, the establishment in Mexico of some form of government that would do justice to foreigners and'give protection to commerce. He differed from Mr. Disraeli in regard to the Morocco loan, and advised the House to wait until it saw the Convention with the Sultan. He concurred in the sentiments he had expressed on the character of the late Prince Consort—a character, he said, which combined the most eminent qualities in a degree seldom equalled.
Mr. Maguire objected to the words "sound and satisfactory" in tho Address, as inapplicable to the existing state of Ireland. He descanted on the severe distress now prevailing in the western parts of that country, and said the policy of the Irish Government seemed be to ignore that distress. He did not ask alms from England, but he thought the Government might do much good by coining forward with aid to the languishing railway projects in Ireland, in accordance with the policy advocated by the late Lord George Bentinck.
Sir R. Peel, without questioning Mr. Maguire*s honesty of purpose, said he was in possession of facts which completely refuted the statement he had made. He admitted the existence of partial distress, owing to the failure of fuel and of the potato crop; but the landed proprietors had relieved its pressure, and he was sorry to say that attempts had been made to set the people against their landlords, and to raise a cry of famine, though the people had not taken up the cry. He rejoiced that the industrious population of Ireland would have learned a salutary lesson, and a spirit of self-reliance, which would tend to eradicate that undue dependence upon extraneous aid which only demoralized them.
A warm discussion on the subject of Irish distress, in which Mr. 8eully also took part, terminated the debate, and the Address was unanimously agreed to.
Her Majesty's answer to the Address was in these terms:—
"I return you my most sincere thanks for vour dutiful and affectionate Address, especially for the manner in which you have assured me of your feelings on the
irreparable loss sustained by myself and the country, in the afflicting dispensation of Providence which bows me to the earth."
A few days after the commencement of the Session, an attempt was made by Mr. White, M.P. for Brighton, to induce the House of Commons to adopt an alteration in its procedure, by setting apart one night in each week for the consideration of the Estimates, and not allowing any motions, on going into Committee of Supply, to interfere with that business. Mr. White said his great object was to introduce some approximation to certainty in the order of public business. He pointed out, by adducing many instances, how perpetually the proceedings upon the Estimates had been interrupted and postponed by the interposition of motions upon an infinite variety of subjects. In the Session of 1H60 there had been no less than 157 motions on going into Committee of Supply. The effect was, that the discussion of the financial acts of the Government was 1 tampered and made ineffectual.
Mr. W. Ewart seconded the motion.
Sir George Grey approved generally of the objects of the resolution, but was not satisfied with its form. He suggested an amended regulation, which, if it met with the approval of the House, he would propose for adoption at a future opportunity.
Mr. Paul opposed the resolution as an interference with the privileges of private members. Mr. Williams gave it his support.
Mr. Walpole opposed the resolution. The only gain would be increased regularity in tho