Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

monarch. Still as this does not ap- though they regretted much any farpear to have been made a sine qua ther delay, yet giving the gentleman non, provided the Liturgy had been credit for the motives which led him granted, ministers, if the idea given to propose it, were of opinion that it above be just, had still themselves to should be granted without hesitation. blame, for the opening of an inquiry so Mr Tierney protested against it, deunfortunate in its character and issue. claring if any farther adjournment

The minutes of the conferences, of were proposed, he would take the which the substance has now been sense of the House upon it. Lord given, being submitted to the two Archibald Hamilton, after in vain atHouses, dispelled all those hopes of tempting to draw from Mr W. the an amicable termination, which had precise tenor of his motion, announat one time been rather sanguinely ced one from himself, for laying becherished. Nothing seemed now to fore the House a copy of the origiremain but to open

the papers, and nal order in council, by which her proceed to the inquiry so much de- Majesty's name was erased from the precated. Among the more respect- Liturgy. able members of the House, however, On the 22d June, Mr Wilberforce there still prevailed an earnest wish, brought forward his motion. He bethat this issue might by some means gan with strongly stating the relucbe avoided. Mr Wilberforce, who, by tance with which he had undertaken procuring the first delay, seemed es- so painful and burdensome a duty. tablished in a mediatorial character, Nothing could have encouraged him determined to make a fresh effort to to undertake it, except his sense of supply that which the conferences the kindness of the House, and of the had failed in. On the 20th June, extreme importance of the object. he announced a motion having this Let the House only remember, that object in view, though attempts were

if it did not come to some conclusion vainly made to draw out of him its -if it did not adopt some measure for precise nature. Rumour, however, preventing this fatal inquiry—there soon announced, that the object was could be no man, who thought as he to propose an address of the House, did on the subject, who would not anrequesting, that the Queen should ticipate as the consequence, the greatacquiesce in the exclusion of her est of all evils that could befall the name from the Liturgy. Her Majes- country. He was most anxious to say ty, becoming acquainted with this nothing which could imply a failure of report, transmitted a letter to Mr respect to those who wore the Crown Wilberforce, expressing her dissent of this country. If, in the warmth of from such a proposition, and remon- debate, any such expressions should strating against it as inconsistent with

escape him, he hoped they would be his religious views and principles. ascribed rather to the very peculiar On the following evening, when a nature of the case, and of his situavery crowded house had assembled, tion, than to any intention of treating in expectance of Mr Wilberforce's with irreverence those to whom the motion, that gentleman arrived some- highest respect was due, and for whom what late, and stating that circum- he entertained it. On such an occastances induced him to consider it as sion, however anxiously he might wish standing in need of some modifica- to adhere to the Constitution and the tions, requested the delay of one day. forms of Parliament, it might be imLord Castlereagh and Mr Brougham, possible to adhere altogether to that

strict theoretic form of proceeding, such an agent might make those conwhich, indeed, it might be better to cessions, without being liable to the observe in all cases ; and of the value same objection from his principals, to of which, no person was more sensi- which the concession of the other ble than himself. He trusted that the agents would be liable from their para House would proceed on the principle ties. It was only required, he thought, which the parties in the late confe- that the parties should go coolly and rence had laid down for themselves- calmly to weigh all the circumstances that they would not consider theme of the case; and, above all, to consider selves as different parties opposed ; well in what a situation they would but that they would consider that the place themselves, and all the country, interests of all parties, not merely of if they should proceed in an opposite those before the House-not merely of course, and this inquiry should be the King and the Queen—nor of one prosecuted to its termination. He was or of the other, but those of all per- totally at a loss to conceive how it sons in these kingdoms, were here in could be so prosecuted with any good question. The honourable gentleman hope, or to any good end. He had at then adverted to his original motion first thought of proposing an address, for delay-to its unanimous adoption recommending the mode of arbitraby the Houseand to the conferen- tion suggested by the Queen's law ofces which had taken place in conse- ficers; but the difficulties of that meaquence. These conferences-with- sure, both constitutional and others, out meaning to express any opinion had finally appeared to him extreme as to any one particular conference- and insuperable. He then thought appeared not to have been in any de- of the course which he was now to gree of an angry or petulant charac- propose, and which was that of an adter, but to have been conducted in dress to 'her Majesty. He had cersome measure with a proper spirit, tainly received a message from her and without any wish to injure the Majesty, earnestly exhorting him to feelings or the credit of either party. reconsider the subject, and not holdHe would own that his hopes had been ing out any hope of acquiescence. As particularly raised even by the ap- he had not had any opportunity, howpointment of the persons who were ever, of fully explaining to her Manamed to carry on that delicate nego- jesty his real objects, he still hoped ciation; and he could not but feel als that she might have been misled by most a confident hope that the means erroneous information. The course would at length be found of averting that he had finally determined on wras, so fatal an inquiry. Although the two that of moving the resolution he held parties could not agree, yet they had in his hand; the object of which was, approached so near, that it might be that her Majesty might be prevailed possible for the House to prevail up- upon, under all the circumstances of on them to do away with minor points the case, to waive those minor differ. of difference. Agents for any two par- ences that appeared, in a great deties so circumstanced, were in this si. gree, to be already done away with. tuation—that the one of them could The only two material points of difnot be expected to concede to the ference were now the recognition of other quite so far as an agent having her Majesty as Queen of England at in some measure the interest of both foreign Courts, and the restoration of parties in view, and at the same time her Majesty's name to the liturgy. It general and public interest also ; for appeared to him that the former, done generally, would be liable to insupe- individual, his royal highness, if he had rable objections; and that his Majes. been rightly informed, had wished and ty's ministers had made concessions permitted that his name should be left which might be considered as having, out of the service. He meant nothing in some degree, if not entirely, got by these observations, except that it rid of this difference. With respect could not be contended that her Mato the Liturgy, he was far from under- jesty was excluded from the prayvaluing that difficulty, though it was ers of the congregation. It appeared a great relief to bis mind, that, upon to him clear, that her Majesty's adviconsideration, it did not strike bim as sers had never treated this point as affecting any religious view of the sub- one to be insisted upon on religious ject. No person thought more high- principles ; they had never brought it ly than he did, of the mention of her forward, indeed, till they came to the Majesty's name in the Liturgy. He discussion of minor points. They addid think there was something truly

mitted that some other concession honourable in such a circumstance; might be an equivalent for it. All his and especially when it occurred in desire was to avoid the horrors of that that admirable form of worship, and fatal green bag !-(A laugh.)– The those unalterable forms of prayer,

of prayer, laughter of gentlemen around him onwhich so eminently distinguished the ly shewed, that when the mind had Protestant religion, as practised in once imbibed a ludicrous association this country; but yet more especial- of images, it would still retain it, even ly as it occurred in that beautiful form in the most serious moments. For of supplication where all distinctions himself, if he had unknowingly and of men, in some degree, were forgot- involuntarily joined in that laughter, ten, as if it were supposed that they he could only say, that though there all appeared before their Creator un- might be a smile on his lips, there was der that equal and common character pang at his heart, while he contem-a just sense of which, was the best plated the deplorable consequences preparation for their general destiny. which must ensue if the contents of He held it an honour to be in any way that bag should ever be examined. connected with such a form of pray- But there was one part of these coner. He believed it had been the an. ferences which gave him consolation cient usage and common rule of the in the midst of his distress : there was liturgy to pray for each of the royal something which cheered and consopersonages, separately naming them : led the dreary prospect that lay before this, he admitted, had been the cus- him—a ray of comfort which illumitom. But he did not think it could nated that appalling darkness that had be contended that her Majesty was in hitherto pervaded this melancholy fact omitted in the prayer; for if in subject. When he found mention the prayer the words used were, “the made of the recognition of her MajesKing and all the Royal Family,” herty's rights, and the vindication of her Majesty must be considered, he should character, it directly struck himapprehend, to be one of them, and what recognition of her rights—what consequently to be included. The vindication of her character-could Duke of York was the heir-presumptive be more effectual or more honourable to the Crown; but with that real and than that she should receive from the unaffected kindness, and that feeling House of Commons, from the Parliaof candour and simplicity which mark- ment of this country, the assurances, ed all the actions of that illustrious that, if she would make a sacrifice of her feelings, upon a point which had sidering that dreadful alternative that been made one of the grounds of the awaited the rejection of his motion. If differences that had prevented accom- it were dismissed, nothing remained modation, it should not be construed but the prosecution of that dreadful into any abandonment of her rights, inquiry. Let the House duly consiany concession of her cause, any de- der the unknown evils that must atparture from the principle of her de- tend it—the recriminations by which fence, but as a sacrifice made to the it must be followed—and the long anxious desires of the country, and to train of consequences affecting at once the expressed wishes and authority of the dignity of the Crown, and the best Parliament ? He begged all honour- interests of the empire. In this reable members to consider maturely spect, the King, the Queen, and the what would be the consequences of Parliament, had but one common the rejection of his motion--that there cause; and the course he recommendwas no alternative but an inquiry. The ed was that most calculated to avert deference already shewn by the Queen the common calamity. Mr Wilberto the opinion of Parliament, did her force then moved the following resothe highest honour. True it was, lutions :that her Majesty was not a native of “ Resolved,- That this House has this country ; but he was sure that learned, with unfeigned and deep rethere was enough English stuff in her gret, that the late endeavours to frame composition to induce her to make

an arrangement which might avert the some sacrifices of feeling—not of cha- necessity of a public inquiry into the racter—for the sake of securing the information laid beforethetwo Houses good opinion of the vast majority of of Parliament, have not led to that her subjects. Oh! what benefits amicable adjustment of the existing miglit not result from an amicable ad- differences in the Royal Family, which justment ! He should, indeed, reckon

was so anxiously desired by Parliahimself the most fortunate man that ment and the nation. ever lived, to be the instrument of such “ That this House, fully sensible of an arrangement. Let gentlemen re- the objections which the Queen might flect, that there was only a choice of justly feel to taking upon herself the evils, and those of pressing the inquiry relinquishment of any points in which to its termination would be incalcula- she might have conceived her own ble. On a former night, an honour- dignity and honour to be involved, yet able friend, (Mr Brougham) with the feeling the inestimable importance utmost degree of force and impressive- of an amicable and final adjustness, (perhaps greater than any other ment of the present unhappy differman possessed,) had adverted to the ences, cannot forbear declaring its amount and extent of those evils ; but opinion, that when such large advanthe statement of them, eloquent as it ces have been made towards that obwas, was far below their reality. He ject, her Majesty, by yielding to the was in fairness bound to state, that earnest solicitude of the House of the courage, the magnanimity, her Commons, and forbearing to press furMajesty had displayed during these ther the adoption of those propositions transactions, might well stand her in on which any material difference of the stead of the points that she might opinion yet remains, would by no abandon. If he drew out his argu- means be understood to indicate any ments to a tedious length, he hoped wish to shrink from inquiry, but would gentlemen would excuse him by con- only be deemed to afford a renewed

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

proof of the desire which her Majesty ring her Majesty to the situation she has been graciously pleased to ex had a right to occupy. In respect also press to submit her own wishes to the to reception at foreign courts, though authority of Parliament; thereby en- her Majesty's proposition was not titling herself to the grateful acknow- conceded, yet something approaching ledgments of the House of Com- to it was granted. Care was to be mons, and sparing this House the taken to secure to her, not only compainful necessity of those public dis- fort and convenience, but attention cussions, which, whatever might be and respect. Lastly, in case of suctheir ultimate result, could not but be cess in the negociation, there was to distressing to her Majesty's feelings be a joint address to the King and -disappointing to the hopes of Par- Queen, speaking of them together, liament-derogatory from the dignity and thanking them together, for the of the Crown—and injurious to the concessions they had made. Now, best interests of the empire.”

would any gentleman think this an Mr Stuart Wortley seconded the unimportant acquisition, who recolmotion.

lected, that not four months ago, it Mr Brougham began with decla- was impossible to obtain from miniring, that he intended to argue this sters even the mention of the word great question, not merely in his of- Queen? She was an illustrious female ficial capacity as Queen's law-officer, high personageman exalted lady but also as one of the members of Para -a character of great distinction, liament. In proof of this, he would implicated in the conversation, with at once assert his opinion, (candour he knew not how many idle circumloand justice demanded it, without re- cutions and studied periphrases. Her ference even to his exertions as a ne- Majesty was no longer an “illustrious gociator,) that in this negociation no female,” or an "exalted personage” little had been already gained by her she was Queen, and was to be adMajesty. In the first place, let it be dressed as Queen by her Parliament, observed, that it was now explicitly which was to carry to the foot of her acknowledged, that the only basis on throne the expressions of its gratitude which her Majesty could be called and attachment. However determiupon to treat, was that high ground ned ministers might be to persevere of her unimpeachable, undisputed, in inquiry, and to open the green bag, and unsuspecied title of Queen of this (for determined he understood they realm. This point alone she had made were, and, on her own account, it was a sine qua non, and she had obtained far from the intention of the Queen it before the conference was opened. to resist that determination,) yet, haIt was also no trivial matter, that in ving gained thus much in favour of leaving the kingdom, she was to be al- her rights and her innocence, and lowed all the pomp and circumstance standing upon this rock and basis, he belonging to the highest personages put it to the House whether it did not of the Royal Family. This was a become the station the Queen had case where little things became of now acquired to stand still longer upgreat moment; and inasmuch as the on resistance, and to demand that omission of the ordinary forms of re- some further step should be concespect would be a degradation, the con- ded? He was ready to concede to Mr cession and observance of those forms Wilberforce, that the question of the was proportionally important in resto- liturgy had not been made a sine qua

VOL. XIII, PART I.

K

« AnteriorContinua »