Page images
PDF
EPUB

scl the Crown, and to mingle in the affairs of the country. He had expressed a distrust in the political integrity of men who had much to gain, and nothing to lose. This was a language to which he had not been unaccustomed. It was a language which was founded in no constitutional maxim, and which he had ever reprobated as unfriendly to that spirit of equality, and to that importance which every individual claimed, and was entitled to in this country. Did not the noble Lord know, or was he so much blinded by the affluence of his fortune, or the distinction of his situation, as not to perceive, that it was not the men of the greatest estate who either possessed the greatest virtue, or were entitled to the greatest share of repute in the kingdom. He stood up for men of small property. He knew them td be as honest as men of affluence, and as subservient to the interests of the country. Was it not the collected property of such persons that constituted the greatness of the nation, abridged the power of the rich, and rescued them from the tyranny of affluent oppressors? Was there any ground, therefore, for the noble Lord's affected degradation, or affected distrust of such characters? Such observations might be adapted to flatter the pride, or to give false consequence to the character of men of fortune; but they were surely founded in no rational principles, and were the arguments, not of a man of fense, but of a man of estate. Look at different countries, trace the sources of their affluence, and it will be found that these originate not in the separate and detached fortunes of scattered individuals, but in the united and collected riches of less opulent subjects.

The noble Lord had asked the House if they were prepared for the reception into office of a dictator, who had framed and patronised the India bill? Did the noble Lord recollect to whom he made that appeal? It was to a House that had given it its sanction. For his own part, he should always rejoice in the flattering reception it had given to that bill. Its principles he had defended. They had met with the approbation of the House; a circumstance as honourable to him, as the rejection of another bill, framed on a different ground, was disrespectful to its author. To assert, therefore, that any demerit was imputable to him on this account, was insulting the sentiments, and arraigning the decisions of the House. It was an assertion grounded in prejudice, unsupported by argument, and unfounded in common sense.

He himself was no dictator, nor did the party to which he had attached himself, and of whose coincidence of sentiment

Vol. XIII. E with with that of his own he was proud to boast, assume the air or the character of dictators. He had never renounced his allegiance to that House. He had never stood forth, in opposition to its decisions, the avowed and unconstitutional advocate of Royal prerogative. He had never called himself the Minister of the Crown. He had always acted agreeable to the decisions of the House, and the interest of his constituents. If such was the conduct of a dictators if such were the sentiments of a dictator, he was bold to acknowledge them, and to avow that he gloried in them.

Much had been said of the subordinate appointments of that Administration with which he had the honour and the happiness to be connected. He was convinced that merit had, on this point, ever been the rule of decision. He therefore challenged and dared enquiry on this ground, and would even hazard his reputation on the decision of this question.

The noble Lord had affected a disrespect for the late resolutions of the House, respecting the present Administration. These he had treated in a manner not altogether becoming the character of a member of the House. These resolutions, however, he thought himself bound to believe well founded, till such time as they were rescinded, or as they appeared to him to rest on false grounds. The noble Lord had expressed a hope, that they would soon be rescinded. He wished to meet the noble Lord on this ground. He hoped he would make a motion for this purpose at a subsequent meeting, not far distant and early in the day, as he was not on every occasion disposed to honour the House with his presence to the conclusion of a long diet, nor to give the decision the sanction of his concurrence and vote.

He wished.therefore to rescue himself, his friends, and the House from the false imputations of the noble Lord. His character, nor his principles he had never laboured to conceal; with respect to them he challenged enquiry—He was conscious of his own integrity, and consirmed in the consciousness of the rectitude of his own conduct by the repeated resolutions of the House. He had never assumed the character of a dictator. He had never appeared as the mean candidate of popular approbation. He had never stood forth the unconstitutional champion of prerogative. He had never attempted to destroy the equality and importance of indie viduals by trying them by their property; nor had he ever asserted, that the great and opulent were the only persons that merited the attention. of the Sovereign, or resioect from the 1 legislative legislative or executive Administration of the country. These were charges from which he was exempt, and which he hoped would never be laid at his door.

The motion of adjournment was then put, and agreed to. Adjourned to Monday.

February 2.

Mr. Grojvcnor rose as soon as the ordinary business of the Mr. Grotday was concluded. His rising was attended by a dead venorsilence in the House, as the motion- which he was about to make had been formed by the country gentlemen who held the different meetings at the St. Alban's tavern, for the purpose of effecting an union of the different parties that then divided the attention and confidence of Parliament. He said, that as nothing could tend more effectually to destroy the country than intestine divisions, so nothing could tend more effectually to retrieve the credit of the nation, and render her respectable in the eyes of Europe, and formidable to her enemies, than an union of all the able and great men in the kingdom, and a coalition on a broad basis, of all the contending parties, which at that moment divided the House. To effect such an union, had been the object of many respectable country gentlemen, who, wishing to avert the dangers that might well be apprehended from the divisions which had of late prevailed, had met several times, in order to devise means to bring about so desirable an end. Several of them had separately recommended union in the House; but the recommendation of individuals had hitherto been without effect. It was the wish, therefore, of the gentlemen to whom he had alluded, that a resolution should be offered to the House, which, if it mould be adopted, would of course have that weight, which did not attend a recommendation, from any number of individuals, in their separate and private capacities. A motion" to that effect had been drawn up, which he shewed to many gentlemen; and he was happy to fay there was not one who saw it, who did not declare it gave him perfect satisfaction, and hoped that it would now meet with th« concurrence of the whole House. He con* eluded by moving, "That it is the opinion of this House, that the present arduous and critical situation of public affairs requires the exertion of a firm, efficient, extended, united Administration, entitled to the confidence of the people, and such as may have a tendency to put an end to the unfortunate divisions and distractions of this country."

E % Tb«

The Hon. The Honourable James Luttrell seconded the motion. He J, Luttrell. had declined for some years attending party questions founded on private ambition; but was happy to join with independent men, whose object was the public good. The Parliament met in vain to raise the public credit of the nation, or give laws to the East Indies, unless a strong, extended and united Administration can be formed: he wished, therefore, to fee the ablest men in the nation joined upon public principles. How could a Government regulate the affairs of India, when by the time one system of regulation arrived in that distant part of the empire, the very reverse might be supposed on its passage out; for the Administrations must become a succession of contradictions, if the violent opponents were to change sides every six months. Both parties he conceived too strong for either to govern the kingdom ; and public credit must link every day more and more, till Government was strong enough to carry on with vigour the business of the na? tion. Europe was, in his opinion, still pursuing a system of maritime power, to humble the consequence of Great Britain, and sinally deprive her of all her foreign dependencies :* but we must have peace at home, before our Government would have leisure to look abroad. He recommended to have always an equal force in the East Indies with foreign powers during the peace, lest the Dutch should return the compliment we paid them at St. Eustatia, or France imitate that mode of commencing a war with us.

He observed, that the honour of Parliament, and the honour of the nation being inseparable, no etiquette ought to stand in the way of union; and he conceived, that if the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was intended to have that office in the new Administration, as had been rumoured, he did not fee it necessary to move him from his office by resignation, because he could not be appointed by more constitutional hands than the Sovereign, whose clear prerogative it wa$ to appoint his Ministers. That in our present disputes and quarrels, he really thought we must appear to all the world a nation of geese, rather than a nation of foxes. Sir George Sir George Cornwall desired to caution the House against fo.nvuli, considering the speech of the honourable gentleman who seconded the motion, as containing the sentiments of the meeting where the motion had been sirst proposed and thought expedient to be made in the House. That meeting had not argued in the manner in which the honourable gentleman had delivered himself. The honourable gentleman, Sir George observed, had declared himself to be a fair, independent and

impartial impartial mam He did not doubt in the least, that he was the character he declared he was; but he could not help saying, he wished his speech had been as fair and impartial as the honourable gentleman had professed himself.

The Hon, James Luttrell rose again, and said, he certainly The Hon. had not spoken the sentiments of the respectable meeting al- J. Luttrell. luded to, nor affected to have spoken those sentiments. It might be very proper tor the chairman of that meeting to have declared what the sentiments of that meeting were, but jt would have not only been improper, but highly indecent for him, a private individual, to have taken such a liberty.

Sir Edward Ajlley paid a handsome compliment to Mr. SirEdwari Luttrell, who, he said, had shewed himself no less able in AstleJrthat House than he had proved himself at sea. He then observed to the House, that having been prevented by the badness of the weather, from attending his duty sooner since the holidays, he had not given a vote for any of those resolutions, which had been since so much the subject of public conversation: when he read them, he felt unspeakable concern, because he saw that in the great struggle of contending parties, the public service must ,necessarily suffer. He had often given his opinion of the coalition, which had carried those resolutions through the House; and he had often exposed himself to be well trimmed and cut up, as the phrase is, for having ventured to condemn it: and, indeed, it would in general be imprudent, in so poor a speaker as he was, to provoke the wit and satire of the able speakers over against him ; but when there was a question of his country's good, he would disregard what they could say to him, and he would freely deliver his opinion., He was sorry he had not been able to attend the meeting of that description of gentlemen, to which he belonged, the country gentlemen; but if he had, he certainly would not concur with them in the resolution now under the consideration of the House. The country had already sufferedgreatly by the coalition; the very name of which actually stunk in the nation; and therefore he would not vote for another coalition, which should bring back again into power those very men whom, he had been so happy to see driven from it. Consistent, therefore, with his former principles, with his opposition to the American war, with his opposition to those, who carried it on, and supported it, and with his abhorrence of the idea of giving them any countenance, he wou]d not bind himself to countenance any proposition, which would tend to bring again into power those very persons whom he had so long opposed.

« PreviousContinue »