Imatges de pÓgina

monarch. Still as this does not appear to have been made a sine qua non, provided the Liturgy had been granted, ministers, if the idea given above be just, had still themselves to blame, for the opening of an inquiry so unfortunate in its character and issue. The minutes of the conferences, of which the substance has now been given, being submitted to the two Houses, dispelled all those hopes of an amicable termination, which had at one time been rather sanguinely cherished. Nothing seemed now to remain but to open the papers, and proceed to the inquiry so much deprecated. Among the more respectable members of the House, however, there still prevailed an earnest wish, that this issue might by some means be avoided. Mr Wilberforce, who, by procuring the first delay, seemed established in a mediatorial character, determined to make a fresh effort to supply that which the conferences had failed in. On the 20th June, he announced a motion having this object in view, though attempts were vainly made to draw out of him its precise nature. Rumour, however, Rumour, however, soon announced, that the object was to propose an address of the House, requesting, that the Queen should acquiesce in the exclusion of her name from the Liturgy. Her Majesty, becoming acquainted with this report, transmitted a letter to Mr Wilberforce, expressing her dissent from such a proposition, and remonstrating against it as inconsistent with his religious views and principles. On the following evening, when a very crowded house had assembled, in expectance of Mr Wilberforce's motion, that gentleman arrived some what late, and stating that circumstances induced him to consider it as standing in need of some modifications, requested the delay of one day. Lord Castlereagh and Mr Brougham,

though they regretted much any farther delay, yet giving the gentleman credit for the motives which led him to propose it, were of opinion that it should be granted without hesitation. Mr Tierney protested against it, declaring if any farther adjournment were proposed, he would take the sense of the House upon it. Lord Archibald Hamilton, after in vain attempting to draw from Mr W. the precise tenor of his motion, announced one from himself, for laying before the House a copy of the original order in council, by which her Majesty's name was erased from the Liturgy.

On the 22d June, Mr Wilberforce brought forward his motion. He began with strongly stating the reluctance with which he had undertaken so painful and burdensome a duty. Nothing could have encouraged him to undertake it, except his sense of the kindness of the House, and of the extreme importance of the object. Let the House only remember, that if it did not come to some conclusion

if it did not adopt some measure for preventing this fatal inquiry-there could be no man, who thought as he did on the subject, who would not anticipate as the consequence, the great. est of all evils that could befall the country. He was most anxious to say nothing which could imply a failure of respect to those who wore the Crown of this country. If, in the warmth of debate, any such expressions should escape him, he hoped they would be ascribed rather to the very peculiar nature of the case, and of his situation, than to any intention of treating with irreverence those to whom the highest respect was due, and for whom he entertained it. On such an occasion, however anxiously he might wish to adhere to the Constitution and the forms of Parliament, it might be impossible to adhere altogether to that

such an agent might make those concessions, without being liable to the same objection from his principals, to which the concession of the other agents would be liable from their parties. It was only required, he thought, that the parties should go coolly and calmly to weigh all the circumstances of the case; and, above all, to consider well in what a situation they would place themselves, and all the country, if they should proceed in an opposite course, and this inquiry should be prosecuted to its termination. He was totally at a loss to conceive how it could be so prosecuted with any good hope, or to any good end. He had at first thought of proposing an address, recommending the mode of arbitration suggested by the Queen's law officers; but the difficulties of that measure, both constitutional and others, had finally appeared to him extreme and insuperable. He then thought of the course which he was now to propose, and which was that of an address to her Majesty. He had certainly received a message from her Majesty, earnestly exhorting him to reconsider the subject, and not holding out any hope of acquiescence. As he had not had any opportunity, however, of fully explaining to her Majesty his real objects, he still hoped that she might have been misled by erroneous information. The course that he had finally determined on was, that of moving the resolution he held in his hand; the object of which was, that her Majesty might be prevailed upon, under all the circumstances of the case, to waive those minor differences that appeared, in a great degree, to be already done away with. The only two material points of difference were now the recognition of her Majesty as Queen of England at foreign Courts, and the restoration of her Majesty's name to the liturgy. It appeared to him that the former, done

strict theoretic form of proceeding, which, indeed, it might be better to observe in all cases; and of the value of which, no person was more sensible than himself. He trusted that the House would proceed on the principle which the parties in the late conference had laid down for themselves that they would not consider themselves as different parties opposed; but that they would consider that the interests of all parties, not merely of those before the House-not merely of the King and the Queen-nor of one or of the other, but those of all persons in these kingdoms, were here in question. The honourable gentleman then adverted to his original motion for delay to its unanimous adoption by the House-and to the conferences which had taken place in consequence. These conferences-without meaning to express any opinion as to any one particular conference appeared not to have been in any degree of an angry or petulant character, but to have been conducted in some measure with a proper spirit, and without any wish to injure the feelings or the credit of either party. He would own that his hopes had been particularly raised even by the appointment of the persons who were named to carry on that delicate nego ciation; and he could not but feel almost a confident hope that the means would at length be found of averting so fatal an inquiry. Although the two parties could not agree, yet they had approached so near, that it might be possible for the House to prevail upon them to do away with minor points of difference. Agents for any two parties so circumstanced, were in this situation that the one of them could not be expected to concede to the other quite so far as an agent having in some measure the interest of both parties in view, and at the same time general and public interest also; for

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generally, would be liable to insuperable objections; and that his Majesty's ministers had made concessions which might be considered as having, in some degree, if not entirely, got rid of this difference. With respect to the Liturgy, he was far from undervaluing that difficulty, though it was a great relief to his mind, that, upon consideration, it did not strike him as affecting any religious view of the subject. No person thought more highly than he did, of the mention of her Majesty's name in the Liturgy. He did think there was something truly honourable in such a circumstance; and especially when it occurred in that admirable form of worship, and those unalterable forms of prayer, which so eminently distinguished the Protestant religion, as practised in this country; but yet more especially as it occurred in that beautiful form of supplication where all distinctions of men, in some degree, were forgotten, as if it were supposed that they all appeared before their Creator under that equal and common character -a just sense of which, was the best preparation for their general destiny. He held it an honour to be in any way connected with such a form of prayer. He believed it had been the ancient usage and common rule of the liturgy to pray for each of the royal personages, separately naming them: this, he admitted, had been the custom. But he did not think it could be contended that her Majesty was in fact omitted in the prayer; for if in the prayer the words used were," the King and all the Royal Family," her Majesty must be considered, he should apprehend, to be one of them, and consequently to be included. The Duke of York was the heir-presumptive to the Crown; but with that real and unaffected kindness, and that feeling of candour and simplicity which marked all the actions of that illustrious

individual, his royal highness, if he had been rightly informed, had wished and permitted that his name should be left out of the service. He meant nothing by these observations, except that it could not be contended that her Majesty was excluded from the prayers of the congregation. It appeared to him clear, that her Majesty's advisers had never treated this point as one to be insisted upon on religious principles; they had never brought it forward, indeed, till they came to the discussion of minor points. They admitted that some other concession might be an equivalent for it. All his desire was to avoid the horrors of that fatal green bag -(A laugh.)-The laughter of gentlemen around him only shewed, that when the mind had once imbibed a ludicrous association of images, it would still retain it, even in the most serious moments. For himself, if he had unknowingly and involuntarily joined in that laughter, he could only say, that though there might be a smile on his lips, there was a pang at his heart, while he contemplated the deplorable consequences which must ensue if the contents of that bag should ever be examined. But there was one part of these conferences which gave him consolation in the midst of his distress: there was something which cheered and consoled the dreary prospect that lay before him-a ray of comfort which illuminated that appalling darkness that had hitherto pervaded this melancholy subject. When he found mention made of the recognition of her Majesty's rights, and the vindication of her character, it directly struck himwhat recognition of her rights-what vindication of her character-could be more effectual or more honourable than that she should receive from the House of Commons, from the Parliament of this country, the assurances, that, if she would make a sacrifice of

her feelings, upon a point which had been made one of the grounds of the differences that had prevented accommodation, it should not be construed into any abandonment of her rights, any concession of her cause, any departure from the principle of her defence, but as a sacrifice made to the anxious desires of the country, and to the expressed wishes and authority of Parliament? He begged all honourable members to consider maturely what would be the consequences of the rejection of his motion-that there was no alternative but an inquiry. The deference already shewn by the Queen to the opinion of Parliament, did her the highest honour. True it was, that her Majesty was not a native of this country; but he was sure that there was enough English stuff in her composition to induce her to make some sacrifices of feeling-not of character for the sake of securing the good opinion of the vast majority of her subjects. Oh! what benefits might not result from an amicable adjustment! He should, indeed, reckon himself the most fortunate man that ever lived, to be the instrument of such an arrangement. Let gentlemen reflect, that there was only a choice of evils, and those of pressing the inquiry to its termination would be incalculable. On a former night, an honourable friend, (Mr Brougham) with the utmost degree of force and impressiveness, (perhaps greater than any other man possessed,) had adverted to the amount and extent of those evils; but the statement of them, eloquent as it was, was far below their reality. He was in fairness bound to state, that the courage, the magnanimity, her Majesty had displayed during these transactions, might well stand her in the stead of the points that she might abandon. If he drew out his arguments to a tedious length, he hoped gentlemen would excuse him by con

sidering that dreadful alternative that awaited the rejection of his motion. If it were dismissed, nothing remained but the prosecution of that dreadful inquiry. Let the House duly consider the unknown evils that must attend it-the recriminations by which it must be followed-and the long train of consequences affecting at once the dignity of the Crown, and the best interests of the empire. In this respect, the King, the Queen, and the Parliament, had but one common cause; and the course he recommended was that most calculated to avert the common calamity. Mr Wilberforce then moved the following resolutions:"Resolved, That this House has learned, with unfeigned and deep regret, that the late endeavours to frame an arrangement which might avert the necessity of a public inquiry into the information laid before the two Houses of Parliament, have not led to that amicable adjustment of the existing differences in the Royal Family, which was so anxiously desired by Parliament and the nation.


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"That this House, fully sensible of the objections which the Queen might justly feel to taking upon herself the relinquishment of any points in which she might have conceived her own dignity and honour to be involved, yet feeling the inestimable importance of an amicable and final adjustment of the present unhappy differences, cannot forbear declaring its opinion, that when such large advances have been made towards that object, her Majesty, by yielding to the earnest solicitude of the House of Commons, and forbearing to press further the adoption of those propositions on which any material difference of opinion yet remains, would by no means be understood to indicate any wish to shrink from inquiry, but would only be deemed to afford a renewed

proof of the desire which her Majesty has been graciously pleased to express to submit her own wishes to the authority of Parliament; thereby entitling herself to the grateful acknowledgments of the House of Commons, and sparing this House the painful necessity of those public discussions, which, whatever might be their ultimate result, could not but be distressing to her Majesty's feelings -disappointing to the hopes of Parliament-derogatory from the dignity of the Crown-and injurious to the best interests of the empire."

Mr Stuart Wortley seconded the motion.

Mr Brougham began with declaring, that he intended to argue this great question, not merely in his official capacity as Queen's law-officer, but also as one of the members of Parliament. In proof of this, he would at once assert his opinion, (candour and justice demanded it, without reference even to his exertions as a negociator,) that in this negociation no little had been already gained by her Majesty. In the first place, let it be observed, that it was now explicitly acknowledged, that the only basis on which her Majesty could be called upon to treat, was that high ground of her unimpeachable, undisputed, and unsuspected title of Queen of this realm. This point alone she had made a sine qua non, and she had obtained it before the conference was opened. It was also no trivial matter, that in leaving the kingdom, she was to be allowed all the pomp and circumstance belonging to the highest personages of the Royal Family. This was a case where little things became of great moment; and inasmuch as the omission of the ordinary forms of respect would be a degradation, the concession and observance of those forms was proportionally important in resto


ring her Majesty to the situation she had a right to occupy. In respect also to reception at foreign courts, though her Majesty's proposition was not conceded, yet something approaching to it was granted. Care was to be taken to secure to her, not only comfort and convenience, but attention and respect. Lastly, in case of success in the negociation, there was to be a joint address to the King and Queen, speaking of them together, and thanking them together, for the concessions they had made. Now, would any gentleman think this an unimportant acquisition, who recollected, that not four months ago, it was impossible to obtain from ministers even the mention of the word Queen? She was an illustrious female -a high personage-an exalted lady -a character of great distinction, implicated in the conversation, with he knew not how many idle circumlocutions and studied periphrases. Her Majesty was no longer an "illustrious female," or an "exalted personage" she was Queen, and was to be addressed as Queen by her Parliament, which was to carry to the foot of her throne the expressions of its gratitude and attachment. However determined ministers might be to persevere in inquiry, and to open the green bag, (for determined he understood they were, and, on her own account, it was far from the intention of the Queen to resist that determination,) yet, having gained thus much in favour of her rights and her innocence, and standing upon this rock and basis, he put it to the House whether it did not become the station the Queen had now acquired to stand still longer upon resistance, and to demand that some further step should be conceded? He was ready to concede to Mr Wilberforce, that the question of the liturgy had not been made a sine qua


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