« AnteriorContinua »
sequence of his Majesty's indisposi' commend the prudence and firmness tion. The Chancellor read the King's with which you
your speech, of which the following is the tion to the means of counteracting only important paragraph:
them. If any doubt had remained as « We are commanded to inform to the nature of those principles by you, that in taking leave of the pre- which the peace and happiness of the sent Parliament his Majesty cannot nation were so seriously menaced, or refrain from conveying to you his of the excesses to which they were warmest assurances of the sense which likely to lead, the flagrant and sanhis Majesty entertains of the impor- guinary conspiracy which has lately tant services which you have render- been detected must open the eyes of ed the country. Deeply as his Majes. the most incredulous, and must vin. ty lamented that designs and prac- dicate to the whole world the justice tices such as those which you have and expediency of those measures to been recently called upon to repress which you judged it necessary to reshould have existed in this free and sort, in defence of the laws and conhappy country, he cannot sufficiently stitution of the kingdom.”
Meeting of Parliament.—The Speaker.-The Addresses.-Droits of Admi
ralty.- Settlement of the Civil List.-The Estimates.-The Budgei.-Scots Baron of Exchequer.
The month of March and part of not be denied that, composed as this April were occupied by the elections, House was of gentlemen selected from which were carried on throughout the the various component parts of society kingdom with eager activity, though in the united kingdom, many were to without that excess of violence which be found in it, whose talents, acquirehad marked some scenes in the for- ments, and general merits, would afmer election. The result produced a ford a fair prospect of a successful Parliament not differing materially in discharge of the arduous duties of its general character from the one Speaker. Here, however, it was forwhich preceded. A small addition of tunately not necessary to hazard any Dambers was supposed to have been speculation, however promising : past gained by the party opposed to mi- services, and tried and demonstrable nisters.
abilities - abilities not confined to the The new Parliament held its first mere discharge of what might be termsitting on the 21st April. The bu- ed the dry duties of the office—had siness on this day was contined to commanded not merely the approbataking the oaths, and in the House tion, but the admiration, of every memof Commons to the re-election of a ber who had witnessed their employSpeaker. This last proceeding gave ment. Mr Holme Sumner added : occasion to very warm testimonies in When it was recollected that the edufavour of the ability, integrity, and cation of that right hon. gentleman strict regard to the constitutional pri- had been directed to the laws of his vileges of Parliament with which the country, and to the principles of its functions of that high office had inestimable constitution, that alone been performed by the individual formed a high claim to the suffrages (Sir C. M. Sutton) who now held it. of the House ; but after it had been -Sir W. Scott observed : It could seen in how short a time after he had
been first elevated to the situation of time, upon the same individual. It Speaker, three years ago, he had ap- was a matter of most sincere congrapeared to have deeply studied the tulation to the House and to the laws and rules, and investigated the country, that it had again the inestiprinciples by which the proceedings mable benefit of having the chair fillof the House were regulated; after ed by one who had shewn himself, in the readiness he had displayed in the all the more important, as well as in discharge of every point of duty, it the less material parts of the functions would have been supposed, by those of his situation, eminently gifted for unacquainted with his previous his- their discharge; who had upon every tory, that he had made the subject occasion proved that he was indeed the diligent occupation of his life. the depository of the truest dignity
Lord Castlereagh then said : From of the House, by wearing the honours the manner in which the proposition conferred upon him both with firmof his right honourable friend had ness and meekness. been received, it was obvious that the These first preliminaries being adHouse was anxious to bestow on the justed, the formal opening of Parliaindividual now appointed to preside ment took place on the 27th April. over its discussions the highest mark The King, in his speech on that ocof its approbation and confidence: casion, besides the regular topics, noand there could be no such mark in ticed the acts of violence which had, this free country more distinguished in some districts, been caused by than that of being rendered the first the machinations of the disaffected. commoner of the empire. The office He expressed his satisfaction at the of Speaker included many important promptitude with which these atduties connected with the jarring in- tempts had been suppressed by the vi. terests of this mighty empire, while gilance of the magistrates; and extolParliament was devoting its attention led the wisdom and firmness manifested to promote its welfare and prosperity. by the late Parliament, with the happy It was no small satisfaction to have effects which they had produced ; and - now placed in the chair an individual deploring the distress which still unby general consent so capable of ful- happily prevailed among the labourfilling the arduous task imposed upon ing classes, he pointed out the duty him-so competent to guidethe House of guarding against those practices in its deliberations—to preside over which could only tend to aggravate those discussions in which the best it, and defer the period of relief. He interests of the state were engaged, trusted that an awakened sense of the with manly fortitude, and to enforce dangers incurred would recall the · with firmness and wisdom those rules greater part of those who had been ·and forms so essential to the privile- unhappily seduced, and revive in their ges of Parliament, and to the mainten- hearts the spirit of loyalty and of atance of the real liberties of thesubject. tachment to the constitution.
Mr Brougham, from the opposite The important and delicate subside of the House, echoed the same ject of the settlement of the civil list sentiments. He took the liberty to was alluded to in the following terms: congratulate first the Speaker, but “ The first object to which your atmost of all the House itself, and, not tention will be directed is the provi. less than the House, the whole Com- sion to be made for the support of the mons of England, upon the free choice Civil Government, and of the honour which had now fallen, for the third and dignity of the Crown.
“ I leave entirely at your disposal to remedies incapable of affording my interest in the hereditary reve them any relief. There was another nues; and I cannot deny myself the circumstance which distinguished the gratification of declaring, that so far present from all former periods, and from desiring any arrangement which which could not be overlooked in any might lead to the imposition of new view of the state of the country—be burdens upon my people, or even meant the great diffusion of education. might diminish, on my account, the This was regarded as one of the greatamount of the reductions incident to est advantages of the present age; my accession to the throne, I can have but, in making this admission, it must Do wish, under circumstances like the at the same time be allowed, that it present, that any addition whatever afforded an opportunity for the disshould be made to the settlement semination of dangerous doctrines ; adopted by Parliament in the year and when men in a state of the 1816."
greatest distress were daily told that The address was seconded by Lord all their sufferings were owing to the Granville and Lord Howard of Ef- Government, and that its overthrow fingham in the Lords, and by Sir E. would relieve them, they must be Knatchbull and Mr Wilmot in the sanguine indeed who could suppose Commons. These speakers generally that the constant inculcation of such began with a warm panegyric on his doctrines made no impression. late Majesty, whence they proceeded Sir E. Knatchbull represented to to point out the good omens which the House, that, if it was their intenmight be drawn of his successor from tion to support the constitution, they the determination expressed to imi- must support it by checking the printate the example of such a father, and ciples of disaffection which had been also from the handsome sacrifice of so industriously diffused. The conhis own pecuniary rights and interests stitution of this country was a system which his speech had announced. After which imposed on the people no rethis, the distresses of the country, and straints but such as were necessary the disturbances to which they had to the well-being of the community. given rise, formed the most prominent But if the character of the country feature. Lord Granville observed: At was in danger of being changed, and the end of the last century, when the if a system of immorality and disafdemand for labour far exceeded the fection was undermining the fabric of supply, the labourer not only obtain- the constitution, it became the duty ed higher wages than formerly, but, of Parliament to interpose, and apcomparatively speaking, had it in his ply a check to the growing evil. În power to enjoy luxuries. It was not alluding to the present disturbances, then surprising that the labourer he meant not to lead at present to should severely feel the difference any discussion on the subject; but which the change of circumstances he thought that no man, whatever had produced in his situation. It was might be his principles, would deny therefore matter of compassion rather that it was the duty of that House than of anger, that men so situated, to compel obedience to the laws. In and necessarily ignorant with regard his apprehension, nothing beyond to great questions of policy, should this point was desirable. be disposed to attribute their suffer- neither necessary nor desirable to ings tu causes quite foreign to the impose any severe restraints on the real ones, and should wish to resort people, but merely to enforce those
salutary laws which were already in abstained from the mention of any existence.
topics that were likely to divide the Mr Wilmot was convinced that the House. Therefore, as the speech House would give the present state and the address were such as to meet of the country its most anxious at- with his general approbation, he tention; but he should be merely should have great satisfaction in sayaiding the prevailing delusions, if he ing “ Content.” He objected, inexpressed any opinion but that the deed, to some parts of the speeches distresses could only be removed by made by the movers of the address, the slow but certain process of time, particularly the insinuation which which would invigorate the great appeared to be made by Lord Gransources of wealth, for a moment in ville, that the diffusion of education some degree exhausted. Notwith- among all ranks of the community standing unfavourable appearances, could be dangerous to any, or that a there was every reason to anticipate, system of education like that followthat at no distant period the real and ed generally in this country could be practical blessings of peace would be pernicious, or could create mischief. enjoyed by the whole people: the The Marquis of Lansdowne folprosperity and happiness of the com- lowed in the same tone. Whether munity at large depended upon its he considered the nature of the tosobriety and industry, and he trusted pics introduced into the speech from that a conviction of this truth would the throne-whether he considered soon supersede the false and injurious that this was the first time that his notions at present prevailing among Majesty had addressed their Lorda great body of the manufacturing ships in this House-or whether he classes.
adverted to the various important The address was received by the and painful circumstances connected opposition members in a
with the situation of the country, uncommonly favourable. Earl Gros- and recent events-he saw abundant vener said, on such an occasion as reason for wishing as great unanimity the present, at the commencement as possible to prevail on the present of a new reign-when his Majesty occasion. He therefore solemnly had been in the House for the first declared, that he felt the greatest satime since his accession—when he tisfaction in being able to concur in had addressed to their lordships the speech and the address, and in his first speech-it was desirable to not being compelled, from duty or avoid the introduction or the dis- policy, to make the least opposition cussion of any subjects which might to it. It was with peculiar pleasure lead to a difference of opinion. It that he saw a disposition to set a was in every respect to be wished, noble example from the throne, of that the first address to the throne that economy which he had recomfrom the first Parliament of his Ma- mended—an example which he hoped jesty's reign should be adopted una- would be followed as zealously, as nimously, and, to be unanimous, it sincerely, and as extensively as poswas desirable that no discussion sible by the King's ministers in all the should be provoked on subjects like- other branches of the public expenly to create disunion. Entertaining diture. The magistrates of the counthis wish, he must give ministers try had on late occasions discharged praise for the manner in which they their duty manfully, firmly, and
ably; had worded the speech. They had and, he might add, still more the ju