« ForrigeFortsett »
Clerk at the Table, the Lord Chancellor read the following Speech: —
“My Lords and Gentlemen,
“We are commanded by Her Majesty to acquaint you that Her Majesty receives from all princes and states assurances of a friendly disposition towards this country, and of an earnest desire to cooperate with Her Majesty in the maintenance of general peace, “By the treaty which Her Majesty has concluded with the United States of America, and by the adjustment of those differences which, from their long continuance had endangered the preservation of peace, Her Majesty trusts that the amicable relations of the two countries have been confirmed. “The increased exertions which by the liberality of Parliament, Her Majesty was enabled to make for the termination of hostilities with China have been eminently successful. “The skill, valour, and discipline of the naval and military forces employed upon this service have been most conspicuous, and have led to the conclusion of peace upon the terms proposed by Her Majesty. “Her Majesty rejoices in the prospect, that, by the free access which will be opened to the principal mart of that populous and extensive empire, encouragement will be given to the commercial enterprise of her people. “As soon as the ratifications of the treaty shall have been exchanged it will be laid before you. “In concert with her allies, Her Majesty has succeeded in obtaining for the Christian population of Syria the establishment
of a system of administration which they were entitled to expect from the engagements of the Sultan and from the good faith of this country. “The differences for some time existing between the Turkish and Persian Government had recently led to acts of hostility: but, as each of these states has accepted the joint mediation of Great Britain and Russia, Her Majesty entertains a confident hope that their mutual relations will be speedily and amicably adjusted. “Her Majesty has concluded with the Emperor of Russia a treaty of commerce and navigation which will be laid before you. Her Majesty regards this treaty with great satisfaction, as the foundation for increased intercourse between Her Majesty's subjects and those of the Emperor. “Her Majesty is happy to inform you, that complete success has attended the recent military operations in Affghanistan. , “Her Majesty has the greatest satisfaction in recording her high sense of the ability with which these operations have been directed, and of the constancy and valour which have been manifested by the European and native forces. “The superiority of Her Majesty's arms has been established by decisive victories on the scenes of former disasters, and the complete liberation of Her Majesty's subjects who were held in captivity and for whom her Majesty felt the deepest interest, has been effected. “We are commanded by Her Majesty to inform you that it has not been deemed advisable to continue the occupation, by a military force, of the countries to the westward of the Indus.
“ Gentlemen of the House of
Commons, “Her Majesty has directed the Estimates for the ensuing year to be laid before you. “Such reductions have been made in the amount of the naval and military force as have been deemed compatible, under present circumstances, with the efficient performance of the public service throughout the extended empire of Her Majesty. “My Lords and Gentlemen, “Her Majesty regrets the diminished receipt from some of the ordinary sources of revenue. “Her Majesty fears that it must be in part attributed to the reduced consumption of many articles caused by that depression of the manufacturing industry of the country which has so long prevailed and which Her Majesty has so deeply lamented. “In considering, however, the present state of the revenue Her Majesty is assured that you will bear in mind, that it has been materially affected by the extensive reductions in the import duties, which received your sanction during the last session of Parliament, and that little progress has been hitherto made in the collection of ose taxes which were imposed foth he purpose of supplying the deficiency from that and other causes, “Her Majesty feels confident that the future produce of the revenue will be sufficient to meet every exigency of the public Service. “Her Majesty commands us to acquaint you, that Her Majesty derived the utmost gratification from the loyalty and affectionate attachment to Her Majesty which were manifested on the occasion of Her Majesty's visit to Scotland.
“Her Majesty regrets that in the course of last year the public peace in some of the manufacturing districts was seriously disturbed, and the lives and property of Her Majesty's subjects wereendangered by tumultuous assemblages and acts of open violence. “The ordinary law, promptly enforced, was sufficient for the effectual repression of these disorders. Her Majesty confidently relies upon its efficacy, and upon the zealous support of her loyal and peaceable subjects for the maintenance of tranquillity. “We are commanded by Her Majesty to acquaint you that measures connected with the improvement of the law, and with various questions of domestic policy, will be submitted for your consideration. “Her Majesty confidently relies on your zealous endeavours to promote the public welfare, and fervently prays that the favour of Divine Providence may direct and prosper your counsels, and make them conducive to the happiness and contentment of her people.” After the Speech had been read in the House of Lords, Earl Powis rose to move the Address in reply. His Lordship commenced by congratulating the House on the happy state of the country with respect to her Foreign relations, and on the prospect of peace which now extended throughout all portions of the globe connected with the British Empire. He did not think he ought to deal with that subject in a general way, but would call their Lordships' attention especially to those portions of the Speech which had been connected with it. He then adverted particularly to the highly satisfactory result of the Special Mission to the United States of America— to the early and complete success of Her Majesty's Arms in China, which he characterized as exceeding the expectations of the House and of the Country—to the vindication of the honour of the British flag in Afghanistan, and to the restoration to libertv of Her Majesty's subjects who had been detained there in captivity. After some short comments upon the passages of the Speech relating to the establishment of a government for the Christian population of Syria; and the treaty of commerce, and navigation, with the Emperor of Russia; he expressed a wish that it were also in his power to allude, with equal satisfaction, to the present state of the population at home. “Though nothing had hapned which should render their Lordships otherwise than grateful for the dispensations of Providence, he yet could not repress the intense anxiety which he felt from the conviction that our great national population had not partaken last year of the same enjoyment of the comforts or even necessaries of life which their Lordships would wish to see conferred upon them. He was afraid, however, that it was impossible that their Lordships could confer, or the great mass of the people derive, the benefit of any immediate and considerable improvement. For, although the alterations which had last year been passed by the other House of Parliament, and which were sanctioned by their Lordships, might account materially and very largely for the diminution of the revenue, it could not be concealed that those alterations would not explain so considerable and extensive a depreciation. It
was not his province to provoke a debate upon the causes which had produced this state of things. It was impossible that justice could be done to a cause of such high and universal interest to their Lordships and to the country upon a day not appropriated to the subject—upon an occasion not devoted to the discussion of topics of that description. One night was not sufficient for the consideration of interests which ought to be discussed at length, and should receive a full and complete hearing ; whilst no other subject should be allowed to interfere with it. He therefore thought that, in observing upon this part of Her Majesty's most gracious Speech, he was justified in encouraging their Lordships to rely upon the words of the concluding paragraph in connection with this subject, and trust that, although a material deficiency of the revenue existed, all the exigencies of the state would be fully met by the income which the Government might expect to derive from the future produce of the revenue.” After alluding warmly to the general joy and exultation which had been diffused throughout Scotland, on the occasion of Her Most Gracious Majesty's recent visit to that kingdom, his Lordship concluded by reading the Address which responded in the usual manner to Her Majesty's Speech. The Earl of Eglintoun seconded the Motion, and went briefly through the several portions of the Royal Speech in relation to Foreign Affairs. In adverting to the distress admitted to be existing throughout our home population, he acknowledged that he did not take the same gloomy view of things as had been expressed by the noble Lord who had preceded him. “ Their Lordships should remember that the measures which had last year been passed by that, and the other House, had not yet had time to work out the effects which it had been predicted they would produce, and he felt every reason to hope that the next time this subject should be mentioned upon such an occasion as the present, they would be enabled to congratulate the country upon things wearing a very different aspect, and he did earnestly trust that the changes in the laws relating to the revenue would be allowed a fair and impartial trial.” The Marquess of Lansdowne admitted the propriety and discretion of the Speech which Her Majesty's Ministers had advised, which had been framed, and calculated for the purpose of preventing the expression of any difference of opinion as to the terms of the Address; and he would endeavour to confine himself to mere observation and remark. He sarcastically approved of the discreet silence respecting the new Cornlaw. If we were to have a Cornlaw at all, it should interfere as little as possible with the ordinary operations of trade ; and never was there a period in which the convulsions of trade, as connected with that law, had been greater than at the present day. He regretted that the large concessions of the new treaty with America, had not procured the settlement of other important questions. He approved of the close of the Affghan war, but alluded to the rumour that the troops were to have been withdrawn without the recovery of the prisoners. (The Duke of Wellington here exclaimed, “Take care, take care.") He
condemned Lord Ellenborough's proclamations. He approved of the Chinese war in its intention, and results; but he professed himself puzzled with the allusion to the “liberality of Parliament” as furnishing the means for increased exertions to terminate the Chinese war; and he attributed the phrase to an intense desire to say something in favour of the Income-tax; he claimed the merit for Lord Auckland as the provider of the means and suggester of the plans. He exhorted Government and Parliament to direct their attention to improve the vast opportunity in the opening of China to our free intercourse; which he regarded in its ultimate results as an event of not less magnitude than the discovery of the Transatlantic Countries three centuries ago; a discovery the consequences of which those three centuries had but imperfectly developed. It would require all skill, and attention and assiduity upon the part of the governing powers, as well as of various individuals in this country, so to lay the foundation of our intercourse with that people, that it should continue to operate uninterruptedly and beneficially for the interests of the great mass of the people. Every precaution should be taken to prevent the commission of injustice, and every means used that would result in satisfaction both to the ruling powers and to the vast mass of persons in that country. It should be remembered that not only their interests should be regarded, but that their prejudices should be tolerated and respected, that it should be seen by them that we did not enter their country as conquerors, but as friends, as well as upon the foot
ing of a just equality. His Lordship concluded with a tribute to the forbearance of the working classes under the distress and privation, which had led to the disturbances in the manufacturing districts; and did not feel called upon to offer any opposition to the adoption of the Address. The Duke of Wellington had entertained hopes that the noble Marquess would have been induced, if he had thought proper to make any observations at all, to abstain from that description of observation which did not appear to him (the Duke of Wellington) to be necessary to any part of the discussion upon the present occasion. “But,” continued the noble Duke, “the noble Marquess has not only attacked the Speech for what it does not contain, he has attacked the Speech on the score of its veracity. We are told that Her Majesty has been advised to advert to the liberality of Parliament as having enabled Her Majesty's forces to bring the war in China to an early and successful termina. tion; and then, says the noble Marquess, no mention is made of the Income-tax, and we could not say that the Income-tax was an instance of the liberality of Parliament. But I beg you to recollect, my Lords, that the common course of Parliamentary proceeding, or, rather, the ordinary course, for it was not the course pursued during the Administration of the Noble Marquess—the ordinary course of proceeding in Parliament is, for Her Majesty's Government, when engaged in war, to come down, first with an estimate of the expences necessary for carrying on the war, and then with an estimate of the whole of the means for finding the money to pay those expences. It is perfectly true that
this course was totally abandoned by the noble Marquess and his colleagues when they were in office, for they attempted to carry on war with all the world with a peace establishment. (“Hear, hear, and laughter.”) The noble Marquess states, that if he had been one of those who conceived that we ought to have submitted to the conduct of the Emperor of China, and that we ought to turn Custom-house officers for the Emperor of China, not only could he not have recommended the Speech, but he could not have given his approbation to the Address. I beg the noble Marquess to recollect tha I was almost the only individual in this House who stated that the real ground of complaint against the Chinese Government was its conduct towards persons employed in the service of Her Majesty, and representing Her Majesty, upon the occasion when a motion upon the subject was made by my noble Friend near me. I was almost the only person in the House who defended Her Majesty's servants in China; and I say the war was a just and a proper war on the part of Her Majesty's Government. I go further, and I say, that if it had been otherwise, if it had been a war solely on the score of the robbery of the opium, finding that Her Majesty's Government was engaged in that war, and finding that the interest and honour of the country were involved in that war, I should have considered it my duty to make every effort to carry it on by the best means, and to come down to Parliament and to ask Parliament for the assistance necessary to defend Her Majesty's servants, and to bring the war to an early and a successful