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the sitting of Convocation. I will not an- | duration of the spring and summer Sesticipate that the Archbishop will depart sion; but it was notorious that Parliament from the usual course, or that the interven- was assembled at the present period of tion of the Crown will be in any respect the year, in order that the great commernecessary; but this I have no hesitation in cial principles of the country might be saying, that the Ministers of the Crown brought to a full, and, he hoped, a final have no intention to advise Her Majesty to and satisfactory settlement. At the opendepart from the ordinary course, or that ing of the Session, it was the duty of Gothey are prepared to sanction the revival of vernment to frame a Speech from the the active powers of Convocation, One Throne applying to the whole of the busiword as to the committee to which my ness which would be brought forward noble Friend has referred. Officially, I during its continuance; and certainly the know nothing of the committee. I know, House had had an intimation of a variety officcially, no more than this—that Convo- of measures which would be laid before it, cation is prorogued, and that it has ap- but it had no definite knowlege either of pointed a committee to investigate certain the nature of those measures or of the matters which had come before it. It is a precise time at which they would be question of law on which it is not fit that I brought forward. There was
no need should pronounce an opinion; but I confess that he should enumerate what those meaI don't understand myself how a body that sures were ; but, in his opinion, there is itself prorogued can give any official could be no objection to the noble Earl powers to any other body during its proro- opposite telling their Lordships what were gation. I would venture to give an opin- the measures, if any, which he intended ion on the point with great diffidence; but to introduce before Christmas. The real if I did, my opinion of the committee is, that fact was, that their Lordships were assemthe powers
of that committee are null and bled for deliberation on one great subject void, and that, on the other hand, there is only, and he thought that it was most wise no power on the part of the Crown, as they to avoid any discussion on free trade and have no official cognisance of the commit- protection on the first day of the Session, tee, to prevent a number of gentlemen for their minds were then overwhelmed with meeting together as a private body to con- sorrow, and were engaged in reflecting on sider what will be for the advantage of the the mournful duty which had devolved Church. That is a question of a legal na- upon them, and on the proceedings in preture, on which I don't think I ought to paration for the approaching funeral of the pronounce an opinion. It will be seen that Duke of Wellington. He understood that from the body of gentlemen meeting, no the noble Earl at that time had postponed official communication has been made to the all discussion on free trade and protection Crown; and, therefore, I do not see how till after the 26th, when his right hon. any interference can be made on the part of Colleague the Chancellor of the Exchequer the Crown to interrupt their sittings. was to make his statement of his fiscal
and financial policy in the other House of BUSINESS OF THE SESSION. Parliament. Since that time he had seen The MARQUESS of CLANRICARDE that Her Majesty's Government had ansaid, that in rising to make the inquiry of nounced its intention of proposing an abwhich he had given notice, he did not wish stract resolution, embodying their views on to urge on prematurely any debate, or to our commercial policy, previously to the ask any question which it might be incon- 26th instant; but he thought that the venient for the Government to answer; noble Earl would have no objection to but he thought it would be for the advan- state to their Lordships what he intended tage of public business, and for the pri- to propose to that House on this subject vate convenience of their Lordships, that before Christmas; for, as it was notorious the House should know the nature and that their Lordships were met for the purcharacter of the public business to be pro- pose of considering what was to be the posed before the recess, and of that to be great basis of our commercial policy, it proposed during the remainder of the Ses- must have been within the contemplation sion-in fact, generally, what course of of the noble Earl to take the sense of the public business the Government intended House upon it previously to the recess; to pursue. He thought that the meeting for it was not to be supposed that when of Parliament before Christmas did little Her Majesty said that “if we should be to lighten the business or to shorten the of opinion that recent legislation, in contributing, with other causes, to the gener-commercial and fiscal affairs of the country ally improved condition of the country, were to be managed.
Those principles and especially of the industrious classes, have been matter of controversy for many had, at the same time, inflicted unavoid- years, and all parties, whatever their opinable injury on certain important interests, ions may be, must agree in this, that it is we ought dispassionately to consider how most desirable that at the earliest possible far it might be practicable equitably to period they should be definitely and finally mitigate that injury.”-it was not, he settled. My Lords, on the great question said, to be supposed that that question involved in them, without disguising my would not at once be submitted to their opinions, I declared last year, for myself Lordships. The speech of the noble Earl and for those who did me the honour of was of the same nature as the Speech acting with me,I will not say whether the from the Throne, but it touched upon the declaration was wise or unwise, worthy or same subjects lightly. The question of unworthy of a British Minister-but I defree trade and protection rested on a great clared I should be guided by the sense and firm principle, and not on the discovery which the community at large might exof gold in one part of the world or an- press through its representatives, and that other, nor on the sudden impulse of emi. I should not bring forward any measure in gration in one year more than another-it accordance with my own views if I found was a question to be settled, he hoped that those views were not supported by a finally and satisfactorily, on a firm and large majority of the country, for I thought sound theory. He hoped that the noble that the question ought to be finally closed Earl would have no objection to state what at the earliest period; and therefore, my measures it was proposed to bring forward, Lords, though I resisted the applications and whether he intended to bring that for an immediate dissolution of Parliament, question under consideration before the and for its being summoned to meet again 26th instant ?
in July, I gave a solemn pledge that before The EARL of DERBY: My Lords, the the autumn was at an end Parliament question which has just been put to me by should have an opportunity of deciding on the noble Marquess is one of considerable the future fiscal and commercial policy of importance. I shall endeavour to make the country. My Lords, it was in the fulmy answer satisfactory; but, in answering filment of that pledge that Her Majesty the question as to the intentions of Her was advised to summon Parliament to meet Majesty's Government—which I have not early in November for the purpose of laythe slightest difficulty in answering -I ing before it the views which were entermust call your attention to the general cir- tained by Her advisers. A further pledge cumstances under which we are now met was also given by me in the course of last together. I will not call to your recollec- Session, that, in order to prevent any intion the circumstances under which Her terference with the ordinary business of Majesty's present Government accepted the Session, an opportunity should be given office, nor the species of understanding on to the country to decide on any measures which the business of the last Session of which Government might think it desirable Parliament was conducted — when we to introduce for the purpose of reversing or thought it right to refuse an immediate modifying that policy. My Lords, it is appeal to the country, which would have always unpleasant and mortifying to any interrupted the ordinary business of the public man to have to confess that his senSession, and when we further expressed timents on any subject of great importour opinion that at the earliest possible pe- ance are not in unison and accordance with riod an appeal ought to be made to the those of the great body of his fellow-subcountry at large. My Lords, reference to jects; but, mortifying as it may be, I have the country at large will and must un- no hesitation in now saying, that the result doubtedly and immediately decide whether of the late general election has been such Her Majesty's Government is or is not in as to convince me that, although a number the enjoyment of that amount of the con- of the constituencies and their representafidence of the country and Parliament tives are desirous of giving their support which will enable it to administer satisfac- to Her Majesty's present Ministers, a very torily the affairs of this great nation. There large number, some of whom might be dewas one important question on which un- sirous of giving their support to Her Madoubtedly reference to the country was jesty's present advisers on other subjects, made-namely, on what principles the are determined not to assent to any alterations in our present commercial system ; | same effect in the other House of Parliaand that, in consequence, any alteration in ment, that within the period of one fortthat system, so far from being called for night-namely, on Friday next-my right by a large majority, would, on the con- hon. Friend and Colleague the Chancellor trary, be negatived by a very large portion of the Exchequer would, in detail, lay be. of the community and their representatives fore Parliament those measures which he in Parliament. I therefore did not hesi- thought necessary to propose, in order to tate to advise Her Majesty, in the Speech carry out the policy which Her Majesty's from the Throne, to declare, in terms as Ministers had decided upon adopting. I explicit as I thought it proper and fitting was rather surprised, I confess, at the lanas a Minister to place in the mouth of the guage used by the noble Marquess oppoSovereign, not, indeed, any opinion as site. He said, that after making that deto the policy to be pursued, but only anclaration, the Government had thought it expression of fact, that the principle of desirable—I beg pardon--that the Governunrestricted competition was one which ment had, in the meantime, given notice of the wisdom of Parliament had decided their intention to move, previously to the should be adopted. If, my Lords, there 26th of November, a specific Resolution was any ambiguity in the tone of that affecting the principle in question. The Speech, I think it must have been re- noble Marquess will forgive me for saying moved by the declaration which I made in that that is neither a candid nor a correct the House myself on the night of the Ad- statement. Her Majesty's Government dress, and by the speech which the leader gave no such notice. They were perfectly of the House of Commons made elsewhere, satisfied to rest until the 26th, when facts, to the effect that, whatever we might think and not words, would give proof of the or desire, we were willing and ready to act sincerity of the course they intended to on the principle of unrestricted competition, pursue. However, my Lords, another which it had been decided should guide Gentleman in the other House, unconnectour fiscal and commercial policy, and that, ed with the Government and opposed to it, my Lords, as frankly and unreservedly as did think fit to anticipate that, which if we had ourselves been the authors of would have been much more satisfactorily it. I doubt much, whether language could discussed after the commercial policy of be framed pledging the Government more the Government was before the country, explicitly to any line of policy, or giving a by giving notice of an abstract Resolution, more satisfactory assurance to those Gen- which he proposed to submit to the contlemen who were apprehensive of our tam- sideration of the House of Commons; and pering with or altering the existing system. so far from the Government giving notice But, my Lords, we went further; for, al- | as the noble Marquess has assumed, the though we thought that those who differ fact was, that that hon. Gentleman was from us might have rested fully satisfied appealed to on behalf of the Government, with those expressions-and we know that not to withdraw any notice of Motion he many were satisfied—and agreed with us might think proper to give, but to postin postponing the declaration of our finan- pone the debate on his abstract proposition cial policy until the ordinary period of lay- until the House should be in possession in ing it before the country; yet with a full detail of the intentions and measures of sense of the disadvantages arising from the Chancellor of the Exchequer. So far, the imperfect calculations which must at- my Lords, with reference to an abstract tend measures brought forward in so short Resolution proceeding from the Governa space of time, we thought the more ment. Now, my Lords, as I have touched, honest and upright course was, not to con- I will say one word upon the Resolution fine ourselves to vague expressions, but to proposed by that hon. Member in the other lay before Parliament in full detail those House of Parliament. It was couchedmeasures of commercial and fiscal policy and, I presume, intentionally-in language which we were prepared to recommend to and terms which the framer of it must the adoption of Parliament, and by which have known it was impossible for the GoParliament would be able to judge at once vernment or their supporters to accept. It of the sincerity of our professions and the was not confined to expressions as to the wisdom and policy of our performance. On policy which was necessary to be pursued the
very first day of the Session I took the for the future, but contained reflections and liberty of informing your Lordships, and I opinions in which the Mover must have believe a formal notice was given to the known it was impossible for us to agree. For my own part, I must confess that, ing to overthrow the Government; and if after the declarations made by the Govern- that be so, then, considering that this ment on the first night of the Session, and Motion can do nothing towards affirmafter its announcement that it would pro- ing a principle further than we are ready ceed to an immediate promulgation of their and willing to affirm that principle ourmeasures, I think there was no necessity selves, where is the utility of it? And if for proposing any specific resolution on the it be not intended to overthrow, but only subject. But granting that there was such to weaken and discredit the Government, a necessity, I think that any Gentleman by forcing on them a Resolution in terms who has at heart the real interests of the which are offensive to them and their supcountry, and the affirmation of the princi- porters—if that be the only intention which ples he advocates, should so frame the Re- the movers have in view, my Lords, I have solution as to omit everything unnecessary, then great confidence in the House of and to affirm the principle which he sought Commons and the country, and I believe to support by the largest possible majority, that they will not sanction and support a if not the unanimous vote of the House of proceeding which, if that be the intention, Commons. That Resolution, however, as I must be purely factious, and, if successful, before stated, is uched in terms which the must involve very ious difficulties in its honour and credit of the Government render- train. Thus much, my Lords, in regard ed it impossible for them and their suppor- to the course which we are about to purters to give an assent, So far as regards sue, and which we have announced the the affirmation of a principle, it goes no far- intention of pursuing, and the impediments ther than pledging Parliament, so far as that have been thrown in our way. My any Resolution can pledge Parliament, to Lords, I have already said that I concur the adoption of a principle for the future; with the noble Marquess opposite that we it goes no farther than that Amendment, meet together at this unusual period for which, for the purpose of recording the the purpose of discussing any alterations opinions, intentions, and principles of the which it may be intended to make in the Government, my right hon. Friend the existing commercial system, for the purpose Chancellor of the Exchequer has placed on of closing at once and for ever the controthe notice paper of the other House of versy on the subject of protection and free Parliament. Therefore, for the affirma- trade. My Lords, if it had been the intention of a principle, that Motion was and is tion of the Government to offer any proposiunnecessary. I know not, of course, what tion for the purpose of reversing or altering other views may be in contemplation by the system as established, due notice of those who instigated the Motion. If their such a proposition would have, at a very intentions be to overthrow the present early period, been given to this and the Government before the period at which other House of Parliament; but, on the they shall have an opportunity of develop contrary, both here and there the most ing and explaining their policy, I only distinct intimations have been given that hope, if that be the case, that the hon. we had no intention of proposing measures Gentleman who moves the Resolution, and founded in such a spirit, and that our the heads of those various sections into commercial and financial policy would be which the Opposition in the House of based on a different system. It, thereCommons is divided, have well considered fore, does not occur to me, nor is it dethe full amount of responsibility which they sirable, that your Lordships should be intake upon themselves—that they have vited to pronounce a distinct and positive considered, not how they may combine opinion on that which is not threatened by the largest amount of force for over- any one of us—unless, indeed, a controthrowing the Government, but, having re- versy be raised on the part of those who gard to the interests of the country, they dissent from the course which the Governwill also consider, the Government being ment has thought it necessary to pursue, overthrown, whether they possess among or are desircus of submitting to Parliathem the materials, and that uniformity ment the propriety of deviating from that and unity of action and intention which course. The noble Marquess has said, are necessary to form another, and to pre- and with truth, that in opening this Sesserve the country from the inconveniences sion of Parliament the Government ought of a Ministerial interregnum. It may be to advert to those various measures which, that they have no intention to take upon in the course of the Session, they feel it themselves such responsibility, or of seek their duty to submit to both Houses of Parliament. But, my Lords, we have | House, was by way of amendment; but done somewhat more. We thought it ad- even supposing that he had not, was it not visable to summon together the present monstrous to suppose that he intended to Session for the purpose more especially of deceive any one as to the mode in which dealing with that commercial and financial the resolution appeared on the Votes of the question; and although we are prepared in other House of Parliament? It was not the other House of Parliament, in which | true, accurately speaking, that the Minissuch questions must arise, to deal with ters were at all driven by the resolution prothat commercial and financial question—posed to embody their views in another rethat policy by which we intend to stand or solution, and moving it as an amendment; fall—before the Christmas recess, and to for it was perfectly competent for them to take the opinion and judgment of that have accepted the resolution proposed, to House on that policy, and on thoso mea- have negatived it, or to have avoided a desures which we may submit to it; though cision by moving the previous question. we have thought it expedient in this House The Government had, however, decided on to avail ourselves of the unexpected time taking a different course, and (whether given for renewing our inquiries into that wisely or unwisely he did not say) upon preliminary legislation which must take embodying their views in a counter resoluplace on the subject of the East Indian tion; and he was, therefore accurate in territory at a very early period; though saying that, since he had given notice of my noble and learned Friend the Lord his question, Government had placed before Chancellor, in a speech full of the most the House of Commons a resolution emlucid and clear argument, has submitted bodying their views upon the commercial to the House an outline of those great policy of the country. measures of legal reform which he desires The EARL of DĚRBY remarked that, to have an opportunity of submitting to without wishing to prevent the noble MarParliament; though (the principles of legal quess from making any observations which reform dealt with by the introduction of he might wish to lay before the House, he Bills into the other House of Parliament, would suggest that, in order that he might not for the purpose of immediate discus- place himself in conformity with the rules sion, but for the deliberate consideration of the House, he should propose some of that House; and though my right hon. substantive Motion to the House upon Friend the Attorney General for Ireland which the discussion might be carried on. is possibly at this very moment engaged in The MARQUESS of CLANRICARDE laying before the other House of Parlia- said, that he would conclude by moving ment measures of the utmost importance that the Clerk should read that portion of in regard to the social condition of Ireland; Her Majesty's Speech relating to the it is not the desire or the intention of the commercial policy of the country. He did Government to introduce at this unusual not think that the noble Earl had a right period of the year, or to call for the de- to assume that this passage of the Speech cision of Parliament upon, any measures from the Throne, or the speech which he except those which are strictly necessary himself made on the first night of the Sesfor the purpose of giving entire fulfilment sion, was a sufficient record of the delito the understanding which prevailed, and berate opinion of that House on this great the pledges which were given; but, beyond question. But if the noble Earl thought that, it is not our intention to submit any so, then he (the Marquess of Clanricarde) important measures for the consideration must say that nothing could be more inof Parliament; nor do I think it is likely significant or unworthy of the occasion than that your Lordships' House will be called the noble Earl's treatment of this subject on upon by Her Majesty's Government to pro- the first night of the Session. This great nounce a decision on any important subject. question was founded on principles that had
The MARQUESS of CLANRICARDE not been discussed only since 1846 in Engconfessed he was not entirely satisfied with land, but which had been discussed in Europe the answer of the noble Earl, which he for centuries, and also very much in America thought was not sufficiently explicit. He beg- of late years. Protection had been mainged, with all deference to the noble Earl, tained by many writers and statesmen of to repel the charge that he was actuated great eminence in other countries as well by any factious motives. He thought he as in this; but, on the other hand, those had said that the resolution of which the on that side of the House contended that Government had given notice, in the other free trade was the sound doctrine; that it