Page images
PDF
EPUB

they may deem proper for the purpose of It would, in fact, be to open the ports of rescinding the same.

France to importations from the Baltic, Lord Calthorpe presented a second Peti- from the United States of America, and tion, precisely to the same effect from Bir- | various other places; it would be to transfer mingham.

the entire advantages of a traffic to the The Duke of Norfolk took occasion to enemy, which might otherwise direct itself observe, that the Petition just presented to this country. had received the signatures of more than

an The Earl of Lauderdale insisted that the 14,000 individuals, and urged the propriety petitioners in such a question were the of their lordships paying the most serious preferable authority. attention to a subject of such vital impor- The Duke of Montrose deprecated all tance, and respecting which the sense of premature discussion of a subject not be. such a large portion of their fellow subjects fore the House. He contended that the was so decidedly expressed.

opinions of noble lords on his side of the Earl Filzwilliam then adverted to the House were intitled to as much attention notice he had given of a motion respecting and respect as those so loudly urged by the Orders in Council, with reference to the noble earl. The line of argument and the numerous Petitions which crowded the tone beld by noble lords opposite, tended table of the House, setting forth the dis- to deceive, instead of informing the manutresses of the manufacturers in consequence facturers upon the subject. They repre. of the operation of these Orders, and moved sented that the effect of the British Orders to discharge the order for summoning their in Council was to benefit the trade and lordships on that motion on Tuesday the navigation of the enemy, and to divert next, and to renew it for Thursday the the tide of commerce from the ports of 30ih instant.

this island. His conception of those meaThe Earl of Lauderdale observed, that sures was very different. He regarded the various applications to parliament them as making part of a wise and just upon this important subject, strongly ex- system of retaliation against the unprin- . pressed the opinions and the feelings of cipled and aggressive conduct of France, the great body of those most interested in providing that where ibe neutral had not and affected by the measures in question. ihe wisdom or spirit to defend its right, What they alleged against those ruinous the enemy should not reap the advantage measures was strictly founded in fact, and of commerce, nor that the valuable prothis he would be the more enabled to ducts of the West Indies should be carprove, were the documents which he should ried into his ports. The number of move for on Friday ordered to be pro- speeches which were made, nor the claduced. The petitioners took a right view mour which was raised against these mea. of the subject, and he agreed with them, sures, did not alter the nature of those as he was sure that no measures could more Orders, or tend in the least to shew their effectually aid the enemy than the means want of wisdom or justice. afforded by those Orders in Council. They would tend eventually to the crea. RENEWAL OF

THE EAST INDIA COMtion of a marine for the enemy, and would, PANY'S CHARTER.] Earl Grey, adverting instead of diminishing, tend to increase to the numerous Petitions that lay on their the supplies for those armies with which lordships' table, against the East India he subjugated the continent. He conjured monopoly, wished to know from the their lordships to attend to the subject, noble President of the Board of Controul, when it should, ere long, come under their when the subject of the renewal of the consideration, as involving points not only charter was to be brought forward. The vitally affecting the commercial and session was far advanced; the measure trading interests, but even the national was one of the greatest importance; and existence of the country itself.

it was necessary that time should be given Earl Bathurst strongly contended that a for that ample deliberation, which the very mistaken and erroneous sense of the magnitude of the question called for. nature and effect of the Orders in Council The Earl of Buckinghamshire could not was entertained by those whose opinions state exactly when the subject would be were expressed in the language they had brought before parliament; but whether just heard read. He would put it to their it could be brought forward this session or lordships what would be the inevitable not, their lordships might be assured of effect of a repeal of the Orders in Council ? this, that full time would be given for the

е

was

consideration of the question in all its brought forward here till it had passed bearings. He had no objection, however, the other House. Such a declaration he to state, that it was the intention of go-thought a most extraordinary one; for vernment that the matter should originate even if the measure were to originate in in the other House ; but there was no de- the other House, still there were means, sire, on the part of the Prince Regent's before it had gone through all its forms, ministers, to precipitate the measure, or to bring the subject before their lordships; prevent is being maturely considered in and this was the plan which those who both Houses.

loved the constitution of their country, and Earl Grey had expressed his wish to thought their lordships' House an integral know when the subject would be brought part of it, would, in all probability, have before their lordships; whether it was

followed: but ministers, it appeared, probable that it would be submitted to thought that their lordships had only to them at a period when there was a fair sit, with their hands folded, till the most. chance of its being considered and dis- important measures were brought before cussed in a manner suited to its impor- them, at a time when they could not give tance: but now the noble earl over the them due consideration ; and then, if some way appeared to be uncertain whether it of their lordships solicited farther time, would come beforethem at all that session; they would be told, that the public interest, and stated, that, at all events, it was in and not their opinions, were to be attended tended that the measure should not ori. to. Was this a way to treat that House ? ginate there. He saw no reason against For five years they had been treating on it; but at any rate it ought to be laid be the subject with their parliament in Leafore them at a period when it might re. denhall-street ; and yet it was not to ceive the fullest deliberation. Could this be brought before their lordships, till it be expected ? Considering the time that a so late, that they could not conBill of this nature must take in passing veniently, he might say, could not possithrough the other House, it was morally bly, give it the consideration which its impossible that it should that session come magnitude required. It was of the utmost before their lordships at a time when there importance to the constitution of the counwas usually the fullest attendance. He try, that their lordships should not suffer hoped their lordships would interfere, and their House to be treated with this gross not suffer their dignity and consequence indignity. in the state to be thus trifled with.

The Earl of Liverpool would never hear The Earl of Buckinghamshire had given the present ministers charged with treating no decided opinion that the subject ought their lordships' House with indignity, not to originate in their lordships' House. without rising to repel the accusation. He He had only stated that under the circum. maintained that in the conduct of the pubstances, it appeared most advisable to the lic business, every attention had been government that the matter should ori- paid to the consequence of that House. ginate in the other House.

What was there in the explanation of his Lord Grenville declared, that from what noble friend to call for this accusation ? he had seen of the conduct of the present Had not his noble friend declared, that ministers, it was his firm belief that they ample time would be given for the consiacted upon a fixed intention to annihilate deration of this important subject? And the consequence of that House. (Some with regard to the particular period at cries of No, no.) He repeated that such which this business might come before was his firm belief-a belief founded upon them, he had to observe, that no season their uniform plan of delaying to bring the was improper for deliberation upon a most important political measures before great public measure. If, indeed, there their lordships, till it was notoriously im. had been any faulty delay on the part of possible to give them their due considera- ministers, under all the circumstances of tion in that House. The declaration of the case, that might be a ground for a his noble friend at the head of the East distinct charge against them: but any India Department, was in exact conformity season of the year was a fit one for the disto this system.

After the public atten-cussion of a great political question. It tion had been so long fixed upon this sub- would be for their lordships to decide, ject, when their table was loaded with Pe when the question came before them, titions respecting it, his noble friend had whether they should proceed upon it or declared, that the matter was not to be adjourn the discussion to a future period ;

a

505] Petitions respecting the Claims of the Roman Catholics. APRIL 21, 1812. [500 and it ought to be remembered, that the whether that House had been, at any time, Company's Charter wanted iwo years of improperly passed by, whether the error its expiration. Where was the indignity was on the one side of the House or the to their lordships, in saying that it was other, was not now the question for their the intention of ministers that the measure lordships to decide. The real question should originate in the other House ? That which at this moment best deserved their might be purely a matter of convenience ; attention was, whether they ought not to and no indignity was intended to either have an opportunity of deciding upon the House of Parliament. It ought to be re- prominent principles of the intended India membered, also, ihat when the subject of system, as a preliminary to the discussion the Charter, now about to expire, was under of the more detailed plan. He was aware, consideration, the noble lord who spoke that these observations were irregular; last was in administration; and yet the but he would state one principle now. He measure had then originated in the other believed, that the general basis of the preHouse, and had come before their lord- sent system was the right one; but at the ships at a late period of the session. The same time, many vital improvements magnitude of the subject was deeply felt might be erected on that basis, even with by the Prince Regent's servants; and they a view to give complete effect to the prinhad thought it their duty to consider fully ciple : but it was not right in the governtbe various interests which it involved, ment to refrain from taking the sense of before they laid the matter before parlia- both Houses as the preliminary step. ment. They had thought it incumbent Such, he was satisfied, would be the opion them to lay the measure before parlia- nion of every person who was at all aware ment in as perfect a shape as possible; of the importance of the subject. He reand it was, and had always been, their in- gretted that this course had not been tention that parliament should have ample adopted, and heard the declaration of the time to give it all the consideration which noble lord at the head of the India departits importance deserved.

ment with astonishment. For how could Marquis Wellesley denied, in the most they possibly think of proceeding with a pointed terms, that there was any inten- measure of this magnitude without in the first tion on the part of ministers, while he was instance, applying to parliament for a geneconnected with them, to offer any indig- ral concurrence in its prominent features ? nity to their lordships' House, or to treat its authorily lightly; but at the same time PETITIONS RESPECTING THE CLAIMS OF he deeply regretted, that a question of the Roman Catholics.) The Duke of this importance; for it was one of the Gloucester.—My lords, I hold in my hand a most important questions, not only with a Petition, which as Chancellor of the Uniview to trade; but in a constitutional, mi-versity of Cambridge, I feel it incumbent litary, and political point of view, that on me to present to your lordships; but ever came under their lordships' review having uniformly absented myself whenit involved all that was dearest and most ever the Roman Catholic question has been vital to the constitution of this country, to under discussion, and abstained from give its liberties, and to its government,-it in- ing any opinion on that subject, I request volved the consideration of all they owed it may be understood, that though my to that vast empire which they had so long name appears at the head of this Petition, administered, and which, as he should be in consequence of the high office I have able to prove when the matter came regu- the honour of filling in the University, larly under discussion, they had, all things from which I have but a few hours since considered, administered so well; he received this Petition, (an office I feel the deeply regretted, he repeated, that a ques. greatest pride in possessing) yet I do not tion of this vast importance had not, before mean to pledge myself to any opinion eithis late period of the session, been brought ther for or against the important question, regularly under the deliberation of both upon which your lordships are this night Houses, in the shape of Resolutions, by going to deliberate. Nothing would have which the opinion of parliament might be induced me to come down on the present taken on the prominent features and prin- occasion, bnt for the very high respect I ciples of the system, before the more entertain for that very learned body formal measure was submitted for deliber- whose Petition I hold in my hand; and I ation. Whether the measure ought to propose leaving the House as soon as I originate in that or the other House, --- have heard it read.

[ocr errors]

The Petition being read and ordered to are of the most respectable description for lie on the table,

their abilities and learning, and would not The Earl of Hardwicke said; My lords, have brought before your lordships any

, from the relation I have the honour to bear Petition that was not expressive of their to the University of Cambridge, it is im. genuine and sincere opinions upon this or possible that I should not feel some anx. any other subject. I am, therefore, sincerely iety to trouble your lordships with a few concerned to find myself obliged to differ words in consequence of the Petition which from them so entirely upon this occasion; bas been just read. None can be more but I cannot, in deference to any indiviready than I am to admit the weight that duals, or any body, however respectable, is due to every thing that proceeds from abandon opinions which are the result of that learned body ; at the same time, my much consideration and long experience; Jords, with all the respect that I bear to opinions so far as relates to the penal laws, the University collectively, and with all the entertained from a very early period of respect and regard that I feel for many of life, confirmed by observation and reflecthe individuals, who probably are parties tion since, and which lead me to the more to this Petition, I trust I may be permitted decided conviction of the wisdom and to remark, that the weight which is given policy of supporting the motion that to any act, from whatever quarter it pro- will be the subject of our deliberation toceeds, must necessarily bear some pro- night. portion to the degree of deliberation and The Marquis of Lansdowne.—My lords, discussion which it has undergone. Now, as far as my information goes, the statemy lords, I am sorry to be under the ne- ment of my noble friend, notwithstanding cessity of observing that this Petition, the length of time in which the subject though relating to a question of great im had occupied the public attention, though portance to the state, is not the result of nearly two months notice have been given ihat consideration to which the subject is in both Houses of the intention to press this certainly intitled. On the contrary, it is a question upon the consideration of parliafact which cannot be denied, that the in- ment this session; yet it was not till Satention of proposing any Petition at all, turday last that it was surmised in the was not known in the University on the University that such a Petition as this evening before the day (viz. yesterday) was in contemplation; and it was not till on which it was proposed in the senate; Sunday, a day usually devoted to other and if a right reverend prelate were now concerns, that the promoters of the Petiin his place, he would confirm what I tion formally promulgated their purposes. now stale to your lordships, that though | The subject was discussed on Monday presiding over the largest college in the morning, before those who were necesUniversity, he was not apprised till the sarily absent on various duties, could atevening of the day before yesterday, that tend in their places, to give their concurany such measure was in contemplation.rence or intimate their dissent. I know And, yet, my lords, with all this secrecy, that several persons, if they had had the majority in favour of the Petition was timely notice of the intention to submit very inconsiderable. In the Black-hood this proposition to the University, would House, which consists of masters of arts, have attended to give their negative to it. above five years standing, the members (Hear, hear.) I have authority to state, were, for the Petition 24, against it 19; that if the reverend and learned prelate, and in the White-hood House, for a Peti- | who held the highest situation in the Unition 34, against it 20. It must here be versity, next to the illustrious person observed, that the circumstances of the whom it has the honour to have at its head, doctors having the privilege of voting in had not been accidentally absent when the the White-hood House, if they think pro- Petition was proposed, he would have per to do so, accounts for the majority given it his opposition. Such are the being greater than in the Black-hood circumstances under which this Petition House. Under these circumstances, my has been carried ; and I request your lords, I certainly cannot consider this Pe- lordships to bear in mind the statement of tition as conveying the sense of the Uni- my noble friend, that only fifty-eight per. versity at large; but at all events, it will sons out of the houses that voted, had receive its due weight from your lord supported the proposition, belonging to a ships; and I am bound to say, that many body of seven or eight bundred. of the individuals from whom it proceeds, The Duke of Norfolk. I think that the

1

circumstances warrant an inference, that I lodged from its strong holds, defeated and if the subject had been deliberately consi. rebuked. dered, the decision would have been dif- There is, however, one preliminary obferent.

jection that of bringing this subject forThe Earl of Moira presented a Petition ward, at a time peculiarly unseasonable, from the Roman Catholics of the county against which I must guard myself at the of Galway, same as the general Petition. outset. I must not be told, that I am now

The Marquis of Downshire presented a renewing a discussion, on which your Petition of the same kind, from the Ro- lordships have decided twice during the map Catholics of the county of Down.

present session,

It is certainly true, that Earl Conyngham presented the Petition during that period, two questions have alof the Catholics of the county of Clare. ready engaged the attention of the House,

Lord Erskine presented a Petition from a in both of which the just claims of the number of Christians to the same effect as Irish Catholics formed a strong and proseveral other Petitions already received, minent feature. Indeed, I know not how all in support of the concessions required I could select any question, of vital imby the Catholics. Ordered to lie on the portance to that country, which must not table.

embrace the necessity of conciliating

them, so irresistibly must their present The EARL OF DONOUGHmore's Motion condition force itself into view, as the FOR A COMMITTEE On the Civil Disabl- master grievance, whenever the alarming LITIES OF THE Roman Catholics.] The state of Ireland, at such a crisis as the preEarl of Donoughinore moved the order of sent, becomes the object of consideration. the day, for a Committee to take into con- But in both cases, the claims of the Cathosideration the Claims of the Catholic body, lics made but a part of the subject, which for the removal of the disabilities under thus engaged the attention of your lordwhich they labour. The Order having ships. In both, it was complicated with been read,

other considerations of a weighty nature; The Earl of Donoughmore rose and said: with the administration of justice in Ire

land, and the conduct of the Irish governMy lords ; The Petitions on the part of ment in the one case, and with the remy Catholic countrymen, which your moval of the ministers in the other. On lordships have heard read, are sufficiently the first occasion, it was the operation of explicit in stating the objects of the peti- the Convention Act, which was the immetioners, four millions of your fellow-sub-diate subject of complaint. In the other jects, the Irish nation. What are the the general misconduct and impolicy of grievances of which they complain?- his majesty's ministers, on all the leading That they are excluded from the enjoy- and most important measures of their ada ment of those constitutional privileges, ministration. which they claim as the birth-right, and On the motion of the noble earl (Fitzthe inheritance of every member of the william) at the commencement of the sesa British Union. What is the remedy for sion, many of your lordships might not which they make their firm, but respect- have been prepared to have voted a cenful appeal to the justice of this House ? - sure on the Irish government, however The removal of unjust restrictions—the anxiously they might have wished, that reviral of suspended right.

the Catholic grievances had not been inThis is not a new question, brought terrupted, in their progress to parliament forward for discussion, now, for the and to the throne. On the motion of the first time. Your lordships have already noble baron, (lord Boringdon) your lordheard the weighty arguments, by which ships might have been still less ready, to the affirmative side of it stands supported, go the whole length of passing sentence of repeatedly put, with all the appropriate execution, against the whole administraforce, which talent and zeal will always tion. Some noble lords might have been give to a good cause, to every objection, desirous to have given a long day, in order which the apprehensions of his own mind to have afforded to a noble viscount, (Side have ever suggested to the well intention mouth) and a noble earl (earl of Buckingo ed alarmist, the strong powers of truth hamshire) who have lately joined the adand reason applied, again and again, with ministration, an opportunity of taking irresistible effect; and bigotry itself dis- their part on the solemn occasion. Others,

« PreviousContinue »