Imatges de pÓgina

alone was likely to move discussion, cumstances, besides a disputed sucshould be kept in reserve ; and that cession, might render the sitting of their immediate reply should be only Parliament on such an occasion as to that part which treated of the de- the demise of the Crown highly promise of the late, and the accession of per ; but for this purpose it was sufthe present sovereign. Upon this ficient that the principle should resubject was proposed an address of main in force, and that Parliament combined condolence, congratulation, should immediately assemble. Acand respectful homage. This was cordingly, it was only the assembling entirely acquiesced in by all parts of of Parliament that was imperative; of the House, Mr Tierney only mur- it did not follow that they were to muring a little at the expression, continue to sit and transact business.

experience of the past," as seeming How far they were to proceed in the to imply approbation of measures consideration of public affairs was lately pursued. The same unanimity left to the discretion of the Crown, attended an address of condolence on whose prerogative it was to dissolve the death of the late Duke of Kent. Parliament whenever such a proEven in this first debate, however, ceeding should appear proper.

He the opposition members gave notes could, however, see no reason, pubof warlike preparation against the lic or parliamentary, why the course intimated proposition, paving the now proposed should not be followway for an immediate dissolution of ed. When their lordships considerParliament. Mr Tierney eagerly en- ed the circumstances arising from the deavoured to draw from Lord Cas- loss his present Majesty had sustaintlereagh a statement of the precise ed, the nature of the business which nature of the measures to be sub- would have to come before Parliamitted ; but his lordship contented ment, and particularly the considerahimself with saying, “ they would tion of the civil list, he would leave be only such as were indispensable, them to judge, whether, with referand which the House might easily ence to all they knew respecting the understand ;” which last proposition details of public business at this peMr T. strenuously denied.

riod of the session, the important On the following day, Lords Lic subjects to which he had alluded verpool and Castlereaghlaid fully were likely to meet the attention open the views which had induced which was due to them; and whether them to advise the proposed dis- that event, which would only postsolution. The former observed :- pone the bringing them forward for According to the common law, Par- a few months, was not one which liament expired immediately on the would place Parliament in a situation demise of the Crown. He was aware to consider them with greater delithat a specific act had been intro- beration. duced to regulate the dissolution ; Lord Castlereagh, in the House of but as far as he could trace the prin- Commons, more particularly obserciple on which that act had been ved: Thealternative to which, in his adopted, it appeared to be a desire to opinion, his Majesty's government avoid any inconvenience which might was reduced, was this either that arise from a disputed succession. the existing Parliament should go While, however, he stated his opi- through the entire business of the nion as to the origin of the act, he session, and prolong its deliberations was sensible that many other cir- as long as might be requisite for that


purpose, or that a new Parliament ed the dissolving of Parliament, which should be called with as little delay was the King's sole and unquestionas possible. On adverting, then, to able prerogative, to become a subject the two branches of this alternative, of discussion in the Houses themthe House must be aware that

selves. measure begun and not completed, The Marquis of Lansdowne would before a dissolution, was upon a far venture to say, that in the whole less advantageous footing than if it history of the country there was not had not been at all introduced. It an instance to be found of a monarch was desirable also for the public in- proposing to Parliament the proterest, welfare, and tranquillity, that priety of its own dissolution. That the country should not be exposed was a proceeding which, according for an extended period to the agita- to the constitution, could not be tions incident upon a general elec- made a subject of discussion. But tion. The only question would then what necessity had the noble Earl be—what were the measures of such made out for the course of proceedpressing necessity as to fall under ing he proposed ? He had intimated the immediate cognizance of Parlia- yesterday that he separated the conment? He knew that it had been sideration of the different parts of usual in practice to vote a great por. the message, as this subject would tion of the civil establishment of the be more properly explained by itself. Crown in the first instance; but as This explanation might be made in this would comprehend a variety of some quarter or another, but it had details, involving much consideration not yet been given there. The nobefore they were brought under the ble earl had indeed adverted to a review of Parliament, as well as public necessity arising from the much discussion perhaps afterwards, difficulty of transacting business, as his Majesty's ministers had felt that, the ground of his proposition, but he without an extension of time beyond had by no means explained that nethe limit he had referred to, it was cessity. If he alluded to certain pubnot probable that this could be ar- lic services which were to be proranged by the present Parliament. vided for, and to provision to be They were anxious that the great made for the dignity of the crown, interests of the Crown and of the for his part he could see no reason country should be deliberated upon why these subjects should not be with calm minds and in a full attend. taken into consideration by the preance. Each of these desirable ob- sent Parliament. The civil list, bejects had now become hopeless, and ing a subject connected with the upon a view of all these circum- dignity of the Crown, was one which, stances his Majesty's ministers had he admitted, required deliberation, deemed it their duty to advise the but its consideration had hitherto Crown to reserve for a new Parlia. been submitted to the Parliament ment the consideration of the public which assembled on the demise of business of the year.

the Crown. He readily admitted The opposite party, without abso. that he knew of nothing in the act lutely attempting to thwart the pro. to prevent the Crown from dissolving posed measure, insisted that it was at Parliament on the very day of its asleast highly irregular. Ministers, it sembling, but then that was to be done was urged, were compromising the on the constitutional responsibility rights of the crown, when they suffere of ministers; and since the passing of the act, all ministers had chosen to the government of the country was exercise that responsibility in a dif. in future to be carried on, or of the ferent

way from that which the no. policy by which it would be directed. ble earl now avowed. According to He was not apprized of any power the statement, which he had in his by which the existing civil list could hand, of what occurred on the ac- be applied to the purpose of a new cession of Queen Anne, of George I., reign. It appeared to him very George II., and George III., in ge- strange that Parliament should be neral only a few days had passed, dissolved before any provision was and in no instance had many weeks made on so important a subject. He elapsed, before Parliament proceeded was satisfied that there was some to the consideration. Parliament reason for all this beyond what had assembled on the 8th of March, on been assigned, and that no minister the accession of Queen Anne, and on would adopt such a proceeding for the 9th proceeded to the considera- his mere amusement. The noble lord tion of the civil list. The accession talked of the inconvenience which of George I. took place on the 1st of would be produced by keeping the August, and Parliament took the country in its present state with restate of the civil list into consi- ference to an approaching general deration on the 5th. George II. election, and appeared to think the ascended the throne on June 11, beginning of May an excellent time -1727, and on July 11th the consider- for entering upon public business. ation of the civil list took place. In He had always been taught to believe the case of his late Majesty, who the exact contrary, and his experience succeeded to the throne on the 25th confirmed this belief. At such a of October, 1760, the civil list was period of the year it was vain to brought before Parliament on the expect a full attendance, and public 5th of November. Thus all' prece- business would become a dead letter. dents were against the noble earl, But the noble lord had even found and he had assigned no sufficient out that it was convenient to have reason for departing from the estab- an election at the same time that the lished course.

assizes were holding; and was it In the Commons, Mr Tierney ob. possible then to doubt that he must served :- In all former cases of ex- have some reasons, of which the altation to the throne, it had been House at present knew nothing ? judged proper to bring down a very He was aware, however, that all op. different kind of message from the position was useless, and that it was Sovereign, and to make some com- impossible to secure attention. The munication to Parliament indicative heads of honourable members were of his Majesty's feelings and inten- now all in the country, and filled tions, and of the general policy to be with cockades, music, and returning adopted under a new reign. What, officers. He was contending, howhowever, was the amount of the ever, for a constitutional principle, communication which the House had that the Crown ought to have no reactually received ? They were dryly venue independent of Parliament. told, that it was deemed convenient Lord Castleréagh vehemently deto postpone all public business, and nied the allegation of ministers hathat they therefore were to be turned ving any intention or motive beyond about their business. No view was what they had openly avowed. Mr afforded of the principle upon which Brougham, however, after declaring his acquiescence in any mea- their meeting at this moment intersure which increased the frequency fere with the country gentlemen's of elections, roundly asserted :-No Christmas ? No such thing. It was man could doubt what the real rea- a singular fact, that they had asson was, not for dissolving Parlia- sembled at the very time which ment, but for postponing the consi- ministers themselves designated for deration of the civil list. There was the transaction of public business. not a gentleman in the House who Here they were met, according to would not laugh at him, if he doubt- law, with a much longer period beed that the short account of the mat- fore them than the transaction of the ter, instead of going over the prolix public business, in its regular course, statement of the noble lord, was required. He was very far from merely this that it was deemed disputing the power and prerogatives more convenient not to broach that of the Crown, if it even dissolved question in the present Parliament, one Parliament this week, and anbut to discuss it in the new; because other the week following. At the it was a more handy thing for mini

same time, he entirely agreed with sters to propose it in the Parliament his learned friend, that ministers about to be formed, rather than to were as much responsible for the submit it to, and have it considered advice they gave to the Crown on in that Parliament which was on this, as for that which they offered on its death-bed, and could not, at the any other subject. utmost, exist longer than a few Notwithstanding the warmth of months.

these debates, no attempt was made Mr Macdonald, on the other hand, to divide either House against the insisted, that such an uninterrupted motion, which went to present an series of precedents ought not to be address to his Majesty, approving of passed over without some special the intention expressed in his mesreason" assigned. Why was it that sage to call a new Parliament, and now, for the first time, it was not engaging to make such arrangements formally notified to Parliament that as might be necessary for carrying the civil list had expired? Could it on the public business till the session be supposed, in this instance, that should commence. the House would not most cordially Ministers now proceeded, without assent to any arrangement with the delay, to bring forward the arrangeCrown ?-that they would not at ments which they judged necessary once agree to make such a provision for the above purpose. Several votes as would be honourable for the peo- of money were therefore proposed, ple to grant, and worthy of the of which the most important was Crown to receive ? There could be

one of £200,000 for the discharge of but one other reason for not bringing pensions, annuities, and other paythe subject forward. It was not ments, which would have been connected with economy; but was chargeable on the consolidated fund this—that probably there might be and civil list, if the demise of his something in the views and inten. Jate Majesty had not taken place. tions of ministers that would not This gave occasion to introduce a stand the test when a general election subject already felt to be of extreme was approaching. Had the Parlia- delicacy, though no one yet foresaw ment met at an uncommon or incon- theportentous issues to which it would venient period of the year ? Did lead. Mr Hume had already broached the question, and observed with deri- embarrassment in consequence of the sion, that ministers, amid their os- event which had occurred. tentatious professions of attachment Mr Tierney regretted that the to the House of Brunswick, had subject had been introduced, but never made the slightest allusion to conceived it necessarily arose from that illustrous person who now held the omission of the Queen's name in the name and dignity of Queen. It the church service. He would not was not his intention to find fault grant to a person labouring under a with the exercise of any power be- heavy cloud of suspicion any portion longing to his Majesty for regulating of public money until that suspicion the forms of the Church in the per- was removed. He could not suppress formance of divine service, although his conviction that somebody had it was certain that very considerable been scandalously ill used-either difference of opinion was entertained the King had been betrayed, or the upon that point, and that the late Queen had been insulted. He would order had occasioned much surprise. not consult any feelings, nor yield to He understood a proposition was to any supposed delicacy, which would be submitted in the committee for a impose silence upon him after what vote of credit to the amount of one had taken place. It was time to fourth of the civil list. This, how- speak out openly and honestly. He, ever, he apprehended would not suf- as well as many others, had certainfice to provide an adequate establish- ly heard rumours extremely injurious ment for the Queen, whose former to the Queen's character-rumours allowance, as Princess of Wales, had which, if true, he had no hesitation ceased at the moment of his late Ma- in saying, proved her unworthy to jesty's death. Was she then, the sit upon the British throne. But it Queen of this country, to be left was impossible for him to act upon wandering in beggary through fo- rumour, upon what might be mere reign lands, or would not Parliament idle calumny; this would be deemed rather make a provision for her sup- gross injustice in the case of the port in a manner suitable to her rank humblest individual. It was, howand station ? He submitted, there, ever, asserted, that a commission had fore, to his Majesty's ministers, whe- been sent out for the purpose of col. ther it would not be right to propose lecting evidence on this subject. a distinct allowance, and must con. Was that true ? and if so, did the tend that they were bound both in noble lord imagine, that, with such justice and honour to disclose to the evidence in his pocket, he was not House all their views upon this sub. bound to produce it to Parliament ject.

before he applied for a vote of moLord Castlereagh, while he de- ney to the person whom it affected ? clared his readiness to communicate If the rumours to which he alluded • any information which could be use- lad any foundation, it was the duty ful, conceived that he would best of Parliament to take some steps in consult the feelings of the House order to rescue his Majesty from the and of the public, by declining to go degradation of sharing his throne into any detail on this topic. He with such a partner. If they were only gave assurance, that the high false, there could be as little doubt person in question would experience that it was their duty to maintain no additional difficulty or personal her Majesty in all her rights and

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