« AnteriorContinuar »
And this the
Such was the theory: the practical inferences chisement of Grampound is to be the beginning were not tardy in their arrival after the theory of a system of reform: while they know,
But not on In a few weeks the House of Peers was voted and I hope mean as well as I do, not the principle useless. We all know what became of the to reform (in the sense of change) but the repreCrown.
to preserve the Constitution. I would sentation Such, I say, were the radical doctrines of not delude the reformers, if I could; and it is Such the result 1648, and such the consequences to quite useless to attempt a delusion upon perof radical resorin. which they naturally led. If we sons quite as sagacious in their generation as are induced to admit the same premises now, any moderate reformers or anti-reformers of us who is it, I should be glad to know, that is to all. They know full well that the Whigs have guarantee us against similar conclusions ? | no more notion than I have of parting with the These, then, are the reasons why I look with close boroughs. Not they, indeed! A large,
jealousy at schemes of parliamentary and perhaps the larger, part of them are in their only consist reform. I look at them with still more hands. Why, in the assembly to which you send
time. jealousy, because, in one of the two me, gentlemen, some of those who sit on the classes of men who co-operate in support of that same side with.me represent, to be sure, less question, I never yet found any two individuals popular places than Liverpool—but on the bench who held the sanie doctrines : I never yet heard immediately over against me, I descry, among any intelligible theory of reform, except that of the most eminent of our rivals for power, scarce the Radical reformers. Theirs, indeed, it is easy any other sort of representatives than members enough to understand. But as for theirs, I cer- for close, or, if you will, for rotten boroughs. To tainly am not yet fully prepared. I, for my part, suppose, therefore, that our political opponents will not consent to take one step, without know- have any thoughts of getting rid of the close ing on what principle I am invited to take it, boroughs, would be a gross delusion; and, I have and (which is, perhaps, of more consequence) no doubt, they will be quite as fair and open without declaring on what principle, I will not with the reformers on this point as I am. consent that any step, however harmless, shall And why, gentlemen, is it that I am satisfied be taken.
with a system which, it is said, no man.
It endangers What more harmless than to disfranchise a can support who is not in love with the monarchy
of England. No cbange to be
corrupt borough in Cornwall, which corruption ? Is it that I, more than attempted with has exercised its franchise amiss, any other man, am afraid to face a popular elecprinciple on and brought shame on itsell, and on tion? To the last question you can give the
te the system of which it is a part ? answer. To the former I will answer for myNothing. I have no sort of objection to doing, self. I do verily believe, as I have already said, as Parliament has often done in such cases (sup- that a complete and perfect democratical repreposing always the case to be proved), to disfran- sentation, such as the reformers aim at, can not chising the borough, and rendering it incapable exist as part of a mixed government. It may of abusing its franchise in future. But though exist, and, for aught I know or care, may exist I have no objection to doing this, I will not do it beneficially as a whole. But I am not sent to on the principle of speculative improvement. I Parliament to inquire into the question whether do it on the principle of specific punishment for a democracy or a monarchy be the best. My an offense. And I will take good care that no lot is cast under the British monarchy. Under inference shall be drawn from my consent in this that I have lived—under that I have seen my specific case, as to any sweeping concurrence in country flourish—under that I have seen it enjoy a scheme of general alteration
as great a share of prosperity, of happiness, and
their crimex. ward the admission of their theory, by of centuries of experience, of centuries of strug-
nection, and whatever else, in the radical lanNow, sir, I think I deal fairly with the Radical guage of the day, is considered as intimidation reformers; more fairly than those who would or corruption. I believe that if a reform, to the suffer it to be supposed by them that the disfran- extent of that demanded by the Radical reform
which it is made.
taken as it is for the House
ers, were granted, you would, before an annual | It is true, that if they found their way there, tber election came round, find that there were new might endeavor to bring us to a sense of our connections grown up which you must again de misdeeds, and to urge us to redeem our chanestroy, new influence acquired which you must ter by some self-condemning ordinance; but dispossess of its authority; and that in these would not the authority of their names, as oor fruitless attempts at unattainable purity, you associates, have more than counterbalanced the were working against the natural current of hu- force of their eloquence as our reformers? man nature.
But, gentlemen, I am for the whole Constito. I believe, therefore, that, contrive how you tion. The liberty of the subject as much dewill, some such human motives of action will pends on the maintenance of the constitutional find room to operate in the election of members prerogatives of the Crown on the acknowledg. of Parliament. I think that this must and ought ment of the legitimate power of the other House to be so, unless you mean to exclude from the of Parliament, as it does in upholding that suconcerns of the nation all inert wealth, all inact. preme power (for such is the power of the parse ive talent, the retired, the aged, and the infirm, in one sense of the word, though not in the sense all who can not face popular assemblies or en- of the resolution of 1648) which resides in be gage in busy life; in short, unless you have democratical branch of the Constitution. Wbat. found some expedient for disarming property of ever beyond its just proportion was gained by influence, without (what I hope we are not yet one part, would be gained at the expense of the ripe for) the abolition of property itself.
whole; and the balance is now, perhaps, as pear. I would have by choice--if the choice were ly poised as human wisdom can adjust it. I fear Varied modes
yet to be made-I would have in the to touch that balance, the disturbance of which of election best House of Commons great variety of must bring confusion on the nation.
uso interests, and I would have them find Gentlemen, I trust there are few, very few, their way there by a great variety of rights of reasonable and enlightened men ready such a sett election; satisfied that uniformity of election to lend themselves to projects of con- slit to would produce any thing but a just representa- fusion. But I confess I very much ità tion of various interests. As to the close bor- wish that all who are not ready to do so would oughs, I know that through them have found consider the ill effect of any countenance given their way into the House of Commons men whose publicly or by apparent implication, to bose talents have been an honor to their kind, and whom in their hearts and judgments they dewhose names are interwoven with the brightest spise. I remember that most excellent and able periods in the history of their country. I can man, Mr. Wilberforce, once saying in the House not think that system altogether vicious which of Commons that he never believed an opposi. has produced such fruits. Nor can I think that tion really to wish mischief to the country; that there should be but one road into that assembly, they only wished just so much mischief as might or that no man should be presumed fit for the drive their opponents out, and place themselves deliberations of a Senate, who has not had the in their room.” Now, gentlemen, I can not help nerves previously to face the storms of the hust-thinking that there are some persons tampering ings.
with the question of reform something in the I need not say, gentlemen, that I am one of same spirit. They do not go so far as the rethe last men to disparage the utility and dignity formers ; they even state irreconcilable differen. of popular elections. I have good cause to speak ces of opinion; but to a certain extent they agree, of them in far different language. But, among and even co-operate with them. They co-oper. numberless other considerations which endear ate with them in inflaming the public feeling pot to me the favors which I have received at your only against the government, but against the supe hands, I confess it is one that, as your represent. port given by Parliament to that government, in ative, I am enabled to speak my genuine senti- the hope, no doubt, of attracting to themselves ments on this (as I think it) vital question of the popularity which is lost to their opponents, parliamentary reform, without the imputation of and thus being enabled to correct and retrieve shrinking from popular canvass, or of seeking the errors of a displaced administration. Vain shelter for myself in that species of representa and hopeless task to raise such a spirit and then tion which, as an element in the composition of to govern it! They may stimulate the steeds Parliament, I never shall cease to defend i nto sury, till the chariot is hurried to the brink
In truth, gentlemen, though the question of of a precipice; but do they flatter themselves tha: The most vio reform is made the pretext of those they can then leap in, and, hurling the incompe. lent reformers are willing to persons who have vexed the country tent driver from his seat, check the reins just in Bit for bomughs for some months, I verily believe time to turn from the precipice and avoid the fall? that there are very few even of them who either I fear they would attempt it in vain. The im. give credit to their own exaggerations, or care pulse once given may be too impetnous to be conmuch about the improvements which they rec- trolled; and intending only to change the guid. ommend. Why, do we not see that the most vio-ance of the machine, they may hurry it and then. lent of the reformers of the day are aiming at seats selves to irretrievable destruction. in that assembly, which, according to their own May every man who has a stake in the countheories, they should have left to wallow in its try, whether from situation, from character, from own pollution, discountenanced and unredeemed ? wealth, from his family, and from the hopes of
his children-may every man who has a sense is but that line of demarkation. On which side of the blessings for which he is indebted to the of that line we, gentlemen, shall range ourselves, form of government under which he lives, see our choice has long ago been made. In acting that the time is come at which his decision must upon that our common choice, with my best efbe taken, and, when once taken, steadfastly acted forts and exertions, I shall at once faithfully rep. upon_lor or against the institutions of the Brit- resent your sentiments, and satisfy my own judgish monarchy! The time is come at which there ment and conscience.
INTRODUCTION. MR. CANNING having visited Plymouth and inspected the Dock-yards in 1823, the freedom of the town was presented him through the Mayor and other public officers. He returned thanks in the following speech, which was much admired at the time not only for the political views which it expressed, but es. pecially for his beautiful allusion to the ships in ordinary as an emblem of England while reposing in the quietude of peace.
SPEECH, &c. MR. MAYOR AND GENTLEMEN, -I accept with Gentlemen, the end which I confess I have al. thanksulness, and with greater satisfaction than I ways had in view, and which ap. The views of a
British politician can express, this flattering testimony of your pears to me the legitimate object of should be cun." good opinion and good will. I must add that the pursuit to a British statesman, I can fued to the inter value of the gift itself has been greatly enhanced describe in one word. The lan- Britain. by the manner in which your worthy and honor guage of modern philosophy is wisely and dif. able Recorder has developed the motives which fusely benevolent; it professes the perfection of suggested it, and the sentiments which it is in- our species, and the amelioration of the lot of all tended to convey
mankind. Gentlemen, I hope that my heart beats Gentlemen, your recorder has said very truly, as high for the general interest of humanity-I The life of ev. that whoever in this free and enlight- hope that I have as friendly a disposition toward er; public man ened state, aims at political eminence, other nations of the earth, as any one who vaunts scrutiny. and discharges political duties, must his philanthropy most highly; but I am content. expect to have his conduct scrutinized, and ev. ed to confess that, in the conduct of political afery action of his public life sified with no ordi- fairs, the grand object of my contemplation is the nary jealousy, and with no sparing criticism ; and interest of England. such may have been my lot as much as that of | Not, gentlemen, that the interest of England other public men. But, gentlemen, unmerited is an interest which stands isolated and
This involves obloquy seldom fails of an adequate, though alone. The situation which she holds no prin iple of perhaps tardy, compensation. I must think my| forbids an exclusive selfishness; her se sell, as my honorable friend has said, eminently prosperity must contribute to the prosperity of fortunate, is such compensation as he describes other nations, and her stability to the safety of the has fallen to me at an earlier period than to many world. But intimately connected as we are with others; if I dare flatter myself (as his partiality the system of Europe, it does not follow that we has flattered me), that the sentiments that you are are, iherefore, called upon to mix ourselves on kind enough to entertain for me, are in unison every occasion, with a restless and meddling act. with those of the country; is, in addition to the ivity, in the concerns of the nations which surjustice done me by my friends, I may, as he has round us. It is upon a just balance of conflicting assured me, rely upon a candid construction, even duties, and of rival, but sometimes incompatible from political opponents.
| advantages, that a government must judge when But, gentlemen, the secret of such a result to put forth its strength, and when to husband it
does not lie deep. It consists only in for occasions yet to come Succees depends on very simple an honest and undeviating pursuit Our ultimate object must be the peace of the principles of what one conscientiously believes world. That object may sometimes the peace of to be one's public duty-a pursuit which, stead. | be best attained by prompt exertions rent ultimate ily continued, will, however detached and sepa. —sometimes by abstinence from in- object. rate parts of a man's conduct may be viewed terposition in contests which we can not prevent. under the influence of partialities or prejudices, It is upon these principles that, as has been most obtain for it, when considered as a whole, the truly observed by my worthy friend, it did not approbation of all honest and honorable minds. I appear to the government of this country to be Any man may occasionally be mistaken as to the necessary that Great Britain should mingle in the means most conducive to the end which he has in recent contest between France and Spain. view; but if the end be just and praiseworthy, Your worthy recorder has accurately classed it is by that he will be ultimately judged, either the persons who would have driven us into that by his contemporaries or by posterity.
contest. There were undoubtedly among them
those who desired to plunge this country into the now reposing on their shadows in perfect sila dilliculties of war, partly from the hope that those -how soon, upon any call of patriotism. er difficulties would overwhelm the administration; I necessity, it would assume the likeness of an eo but it would be most unjust not to admit that mated thing, instinct with life and monia-ha there were others who were actuated by nobler soon it would ruffle, as it were, its swelling preprinciples and more generous feelings, who would age-how quickly it would put forth all its death have rushed forward at once from the sense of and its bravery, collect its scattered elements a indignation at aggression, and who deemed that strength, and awaken its dormani thunder. Si no act of injustice could be perpetrated from one as is one of these magnificent marking a end of the universe to the other, but that the springing from inaction into a display of sword of Great Britain should leap from its scab-might-such is England herself, while, aperte bard to avenge it. But as it is the province of ly passive and motionless, she silently comiteres law to control the excess even of laudable pas- the power to be put forth on an adequate eccesul sions and propensities in individuals, so it is the But God forbid that that occasion should ans duty of government to restrain within due bounds After a war sustained for near a quarter oa rethe ebullition of national sentiment, and to regu- tury-sometimes single-handed, and with all Es late the course and direction of impulses which it rope arranged at times against her, or at have can not blame. Is there any one among the latter | England needs a period of tranquillity, and maar class of persons described by my honorable friend enjoy it without fear of misconstruction. L2 (for to the former I have nothing to say) who con may we be enabled, gentlemen, to improve iba tinues to doubt whether the government did wise- blessings of our present situation, to cultivate * ly in declining to obey the precipitate enthusiasm arts of peace, to give to commerce, not mi. which prevailed at the commencement of the ling, greater extension, and new spheres of contest in Spain ? Is there any body who does ployment, and to confirm the prosperity w not now think that it was the office of govern- generally diffused throughout this islant ment to examine more closely all the various the blessing of peace, gentlemen, I trust bearings of so complicated a question, to consider this borough, with which I have now the me whether they were called upon to assist a united and happiness of being associated, will rezepte nation, or to plunge themselves into the internal an ample share. I trust the time is not far feuds by which that nation was divided-to aid tant, when that noble structure of wbick as ! in repelling a foreign invader, or to take part in learn from your Recorder, the box with an a civil war? Is there any man that does not now you have honored me, through his hands from see what would have been the extent of burdens a part, that gigantic barrier against the fur i that would have been cast upon this country ? the waves that roll into your harbor, will price Is there any one who does not acknowledve that. la commercial marine not less considerable under such circumstances the enterprise would kind than the warlike marine of which your part have been one to be characterized only by a term has been long so distinguished an asylum, en borrowed from that part of the Spanish literature the town of Plymouth will participate in the ec. with which we are most familiar-Quixotic ; anmercial prosperity as largely as it has bitbeste enterprise romantic in its origin, and thankless done in the naval glories of England. in the end ?
But while we thus control even our feelings It will interest the reader to compare this post But perce by our duty, let it not be said that we sage with one conceived in the same spirit by the should be cultivate peace either because we fear,
poet Campbell, on the launching of a ship of the ist sought by being ready or because we are unprepared for war;
“Those who have ever witnessed the spectacle
of the launching of a ship of the line will perhaps on the contrary, if eight months ago the
forgive me for adding this to the exainples of the government did not hesitate to proclaim that the sublime objects of artificial life. Of that spectacle country was prepared for war, if war should be I can never forget the impression, and of having wit unfortunately necessary, every month of peace nessed it reflected from the faces of ten thousad that has since passed has but made us so much spectators. They seem yet before me-I sympathize the more capable of exertion. The resources with their deep and silent expectation, and with created by peace are means of war. In cher- their final burst of enthusiasm. It was not a valu ishing those resources, we but accumulate those
joy, but an affecting national solemnity. When the
vast bulwark sprang from ber cradle, the calm water means. Our present repose is no more a proof
on wbich she swung majestically round, gave the im of inability to act, than the state of inertness and
agination a contrast of the stormy element on which inactivity in which I have seen thosc mighty masses
she was soon to ride. All the days of battle, and that float in the waters above your town, is a proof the nights of danger which she had to encounterthat they are devoid of strength, and incapable of all the ends of the earth which she had to visit-end being fitted out for action. You well know, gen. all that she had to do and to suffer for ber country, tlemen, how soon one of those stupendous masses, rose in awful presentiment before the mind; and
when the heart gave her a benediction, it was like 1 See this subject explained in the introduction to one pronounced on a living being."-Essay on E: Mr. Brougham's speech respecting it, page 904. lglish Poetry.
OF MR. CANNING ON AFFORDING AID TO PORTUGAL WHEN INVADED FROM SPAIN, DELIVERED
IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, DECEMBER 12, 1826.
INTRODUCTION. ENGLAND had been for nearly two centuries the ally and protector of Portugal, and was bound to defend 29; her when attacked.
In 1826, a body of absolutists, headed by the Queen Dowager and the Marquess of Chaves, attempted to destroy the existing Portuguese government, which had been founded on the basis of constitutional liberty. This government had been acknowledged by England, France, Austria, and Russia. It was, however, obnoxious to Ferdinand, king of Spain; and Portugal was invaded from the Spanish territory by large bodies of Portuguese absolutists, who had been there organized with the connivance, if not the direct aid, of the Spanish government.
The Portuguese government now demanded the assistance of England. Five thousand troops were, therefore, instantly ordered to Lisbon, and Mr. Canning came forward in this speech to explain the reasons of his prompt intervention. “This," says his biographer, “is the master piece of his eloquence. In proPriety and priety and force of diction-in excellence of appropriate and well-methodized arrangement-in elevation of style and sentiment; and in all the vigorous qualities of genuine manly eloquence-boldness-judgment -firmness, it fully sustains its title to the high eulogy given it by Mr. Brougham at the close of the debate."
SPEECH, &c. Mr. SPEAKER.-In proposing to the House of ed. These causes are, adherence to the national Design of the Commons to acknowledge, by an hum- faith, and regard for the national honor. speaker. ble and dutiful address, his Majesty's Sir, if I did not consider both these causes as most gracious message, and to reply to it in terms involved in the proposition which I. which will be, in effect, an echo of the sentiments have this day to make to you, I should faith and honor and a fulfillment of the anticipations of that mes. not address the House, as I now do, proposed meassage, I feel that, however confident I may be in in the full and entire confidence that ar the justice, and however clear as to the policy the gracious communication of his Majesty will of the measures therein announced, it becomes be met by the House with the concurrence of me, as a British minister, recommending to Par- which his Majesty has declared his expectation. liament any step which may approximate this In order to bring the matter which I have to country even to the hazard of a war, while I ex- submit to you, under the cognizance of Pare fire. plain the grounds of that proposal, to accompany the House, in the shortest and clearest Treaty oblimy explanation with expressions of regret. manner, I beg leave to state it, in the Portugal.
I can assure the House, that there is not with first instance, divested of any collateral considerHigh sense en. in its walls any set of men more deep- ations. It is a case of law and of fact : of na. performed of the ly convinced than his Majesty's min- tional law on the one hand, and of notorious fact peace. isters—nor any individual more inti- on the other ; such as it must be, in my opinion, mately persuaded than he who has now the hon. as impossible for Parliament, as it was for the or of addressing you—of the vital importance of government, to regard in any but one light; or the continuance of peace to this country and to to come to any but one conclusion upon it. the world. So strongly am I impressed with this / Among the alliances by which, at different opinion—and for reasons of which I will put the periods of our history, this country has
Early origin House more fully in possession before I sit down been connected with the other nations of those obli-that I declare there is no question of doubtful of Europe, none is so ancient in origin, kar or controverted policy-no opportunity of present and so precise in obligation—none has continued national advantage-no precaution against re. so long, and been observed so faithfully-of none mote difficulty—which I would not gladly com is the memory so intimately interwoven with the promise, pass over, or adjourn, rather than call most brilliant records of our triumphs, as that by on Parliament to sanction, at this moment, any which Great Britain is connected with Portugal. measure which had a tendency to involve the It dates back to distant centuries; it has survived country in war. But, at the same time, sir, I an endless variety of fortunes. Anterior in exfeel that which has been felt, in the best times istence to the accession of the house of Braganza of English history, by the best statesmen of this to the throne of Portugal-it derived, however, country, and by the Parliaments by whom those | fresh vigor from that event; and never, from that statesmen were supported—I feel that there are epoch to the present hour, has the independent two causes, and but two causes, which can not monarchy of Portugal ceased to be nurtured by be either compromised, passed over, or adjourn- / the friendship of Great Britain. This alliance