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him or in any man ; and that he, like all stance, the great constitutional principle, others, must lay down his laurels and his that the king can do no wrong; but he greatness at the door of the office of the could not see how it followed from that secretary of state, and enter there, as a proposition, that the House ought to visit servant of the public, to give an account so severe a punishment upon Tord Chatof what he had done, in the accustomed, ham as had been proposed, on account of well-known, constitutional, and official the errors which had been imputed to him. channel; thereby securing all the respon- He did not stand up to vindicate lord sibilities of advice, and securing the great Chatham ; he thought that he had in some attributes of the sovereign against any in- degree been wanting in discretion; but fringement ; avoiding the evils of a dou- he also thought that that noble person's ble government, and conveying to the re- errors had been greatly exaggerated and sponsible servants of the crown all the misrepresented. In what did his error facts, on which their advice may be re- consist ? Was it in drawing up the Narraquired.
tive; in presenting it, or in the request of Sir, I ask no more of the earl of Chat- secrecy The secrecy appeared to have ham than I should have demanded of the comprehended the chief part of the ofduke of Marlborough.-At all times, fence; and yet what was that secrecy? against all persons I should have con. Was there in the nature of the transaction tended for the doctrines which I have thus any thing of that dark intrigue, or insiduous endeavoured to unfold and inculcate - underhand attempt to slander the party doctrines, which I again assert, embrace he could not openly condemn? Nothing the sound principles of the constitution, of it. He had presented his Narrative, not drawn from theory but from practice; accompanying it with a request of secrecy? from the most obvious and most certain but was that secrecy to be permanent: sources ; from lord Coke, sir William No, but temporary. He wished the House Blackstone, and the various authorities to to look at the whole of the features of the which they refer—from the digest of lord transaction, and to judge from that view chief baron Comyns (an invaluable abridg- of it of the quo animo with which it was ment of constitutional as well as common done. The main ingredient in his allaw; pointing out from undoubted au- ledged criminally was the secrecy; but if thorities, the readiest way to sound know his motive had been to attack the naval ledge on all subjects of ihis description;) service, to wound it as it were behind its from the examination of the history of the back, why did he suffer so long a lapse of country, in its early periods, when the time to intervene as that between the 15th principles were clear, though the form was of Oct, and the 15th of Jan.? Mouives of not yet perfect ; decluced from thence to that kind were generally immediate in the present time, through all the eventful their operation; but in this instance the periods of our history, confirmed at the person supposed to be influenced by such Revolution, and haniled down to the pre- feelings let them lie dorinant for three sent period unimpaired until the present months. This was an inconsistency not melancholy and unfortunate instance. easily to be reconciled with the opinion, On the most conscientious conviction, that lord Chatham was influenced by such therefore, that I have delivered the true motives. But an innoceni motive had sug. doctrine of the constitution, I feel myself gested itself; his laudable anxiety to bound to vote in terms of the second reso- stand well with his Sovereign. Which, lution : " That the earl of Chatham, by then, of the two motives would the House private communication to his Majesty, ac- in common charity abide by? As to the companied by a desire of secrecy, did un- request of secrecy, he again reminded the constitutionally abuse the privilege of ac- House that it was only temporary secrecy cess to his Sovereign, and thereby afford that was required; and he would ask, an example most pernicious in its ten- what one object that kind of temporary dency to his Majesty's service, and to the secrecy could answer? Could he hope general service of the state.”
either to deceive his Sovereign or his counThe Solicitor General said, that while try long by such an artifice; and might he admitted most of the premises laid he not, on the other hand, have wished down by his hon. and learned friend, he merely that it should be kept secret until could not equally concur with him in the that of the commander of the naval serconclusions he had drawn from those pre- vice had been also presented? But his mises. There was no dispuling, for in- lordship had of his own free motion, mado that secret paper public, and that act had objectionable, and the hon. gent. on the been severely censured, as obtrusive upon floor had allowed that his conduct was not the Heuse, by a noble lord opposite. The right; but none of them seemed to be able step of secrecy had been equally animad- to give a name to the kind of error or de, verted upon, so that lord 'Chatham was ficiency of which they imagined lord blamed at one time for making public, Chatham to have been guilty. He, howand at another for making secret, the same ever, would tell them why lord Chatham's paper. He thought the noble lord treated conduct was erroneous, objectionable and harshly, in the interpretation of his mo- wrong; it was because it was unconstitution tives, and judged of with unbending rigour; al. This was the sole term by which
his conhc, for his part, would, were he upon his duct could be properly described. The genoath, give the same vote, which he in- tlemen who spoke against the resolution tended upon that night to give. He de- could indeed find no other word applicable clared in the solemnest manner, that he to the conduct of lord Chatham,and yet they did, from the bottom of his heart, acquit were afraid to acknowledge that it was unlord Chatham of the bad motives that had constitutional. But the hon. gent. on the been imputed to him by some gentlemen floor (Mr. Bankes) asked, where was the in this transaction. He remarked, that a positive statute that constituted this an gentleman bad advised Charles 2d, to form unconstitutional act? No one, however, the secret cabal; and that this gentleman's had contended that there was any posiname happened to be Temple; and the tive statute on the subject. If there had noble lord opposite, perhaps,wished by his been any such statute in existence the zeal on this occasion, to make some atone- proper definition of lord Chathan's conment for that transaction. But, the fact duct would have been that it was illegal, that Mr. Pilt, a minister, not chosen upon and that House would then have carried any system of favouritism, bad continued the matter before the House of Lords by in office for 18 years together, was a proof impeachment. But an act might be unthat the secret influence which had been constitutional, and yet not contrary to a po. so much complained of, did not exist. He sitive statute, nor strictly illegal. An act concluded by observing, that though he was unconstitutional when contrary to the did not allogether approve of the conduct known principles and spirit of the constiof lord Chatham in this instance, he could tution, although there was no express stanot vote for resolutions which almost ne- tute applicable to the case : and of this cessarily carried with them consequences description was the conduct of lord Chathighly penal.
ham.' Lord Chatham had the right lo apa Mr. Ponsonby observed, that the hon. proach his Majesty as a peer, as a privy and learned gent. opposite had talked a counsellor, and as a cabinet minister. Of great deal about secret influence, and it that there could be no doubt. But he had appeared as if he thought that if lord no right to make use of his privilege of Chathani was acquitted of having recourse approach to his Majesty to present a Narto this secret influence, he was acquitted rative of his conduct as the commander of of every thing. But the question before an expedition, with a request of secrecy. the House realiy was, whether the act It was not the making use of his privilege described in the resolution, admitted to to approach his Sovereign, but the abuse have been committed by lord Chatham, of that privilege in the manner described was or was not unconstitutional; and whe- that was unconstitutional. He would not ther it was or was not an act calculated to dwell upon the point of secret influence, do mischief to the public service? The because he did not think it had much to hon. and learned gent. however, had said, do with the present question. But it that he did not stand up to defend lord should be borne in mind, that there were Chatham, nor to contend that his lordship two parts of the conduct of lord Chatham had acted with perfect propriety; but he to which the epithet of unconstitutional wished the hon. and learned gent. had told properly applied; Ist, in presenting his the House in what respect lord Chatham, Narrative in the manner of a private paper, in his opinion, had acted wrong. The instead of a public document; and 2nd, in Chancellor of the Exchequer too the other his having requested that the fact of his night said, that he did not rise to defend having done so should be kept a profound lord Chatham, and admitted that he had secret, not only from parliament and the
Another hon. gent. ad. public, but even from his own colleagues. mitted that his conduct was erroneous and -But, in order to render this proceeding
unconstitutional, the hon. gent. on the public service, and so, if alive, would floor said, that the advice must be followed he now have condemned his conduct in op by some deed; and that with any ad- the present instance.—The hon. and vice given by lord Chathamn, or any other learned gent. who spoke last, had stated, in an official capacity, no matter how per- however, that a person clothed with nicious (and he was surprized to hear the no official character had yet taken upon hon gent, say so,) the House had no- him to advise King Charles the second thing to do.) He never heard any doc- to form the Cabal, and that this person's trine avowed of a more abominable and name was Temple. He recommended mischievous tendency. Suppose a man to the hon. and learned gent. lo look were to make use of his privilege of ac- again into the history of that period, and cess to the King, to represent the House he would find that sir William Temof Commons as a factions and unmanage- ple had not only not advised the formaable body of men, observing at the same tion of the Cabal, but had on the contrary time that his Majesty bad at his disposal advised his Majesty against it. He had an army faithful and devoted to his ser- undoubtedly advised the King to form the vice, and advising his Majesty, therefore, committee of privy council, which had to employ this army to disperse the Com overturned the cabal. This much he mons, as Cromwell did, according to the thought proper to say on this point for the doctrine of the hon. gent. the House of sake of those, who had been accustoned Commons had no remedy against a pro- to regard the memory of sir William ceeding of this sort. They could do no- Temple with respect, on account of the thing üll the mischief was actually done. many valuable qualities and eminent virThe hon. gent, said that there were nume- tues which he possessed. But the House rous editions of the book of the constitu- was desired to excuse the conduct of lord tion. If there were, he protested that the Chatham, though erroneous and objecedition of the hon. gent. himself was the tionable, because his lordship had not worst he had ever heard of: and he ear- acted with a malignant intention. What nestly recommended to those who wished then, he would ask, were the motives of to study the contitution to look for it in lord Chatham ? He did not mean, howsome other edition. · But the hon. and ever, to rest much on that, because the learned gent, over the way (Mr. Stephen) question respected lord Chatham's acts, admitted, that the conduct of lord Chat- rather than his motives. But still what ham was erroneous and objectionable, were his motives? Was it bis object to would he then, with that impression, con- injure himself, and to persuade his Matend, that the House ought to pass it over, jesty that he had ill conducted the Expediand do nothing ? The learned and hon. tion? Or was it to shew that he bad congent. had said, too, that the name of the ducted it well and properly? The House great lord Chatham had been introduced, could hardly doubt that the latter was the and his constitutional views held out in real object, and the Narrative delivered order to render the conduct of the son more to his Majesty in furtherance of that obconspicuously objectionable ; and yet the ject, necessarily implied that the admiral hon. gent. himself had conjured the House had failed in his duty. Did lord to be lenient to the son for the sake of the Chatham, then, who must have been father and brother. The impropriety in sensible of this, do right in not delithe one view was, he apprehended, at vering that Narrative to the first lord least as great as in the other. He did not of the admiralty, his colleague in office, approve of the system of politics upon that the naval commander might be apwhich Mr. Pitt had often acted ; but prized of what was urged against him? however he might have differed with Mr. But against this argument in favour of the Pitt, he would in justice declare, that he purity of lord Chatham's motives, he would believed in a case of this kind Mr. Pitt set the words of lord Chatham himself. would have been the first to condenin In his examination of the 22d of Februeven his brother, Gentlemen would re- ary. would be found the following question collect, that when lord Chatham was first and answer : “ Was there any other narlord of the admiralty, Mr. Pitt, being then rative, paper, or memorial, or memoranminister, had not hesitated to advise the dum of any sort delivered to his Majesty King to remove him, because he did not on this subject by your lordship :- I have do the duties of it in the manner which already stated that this paper was preMr. Pitt thought best calculated for the pared on the 15th of October ; I am very ready to state, if it is wished, the reason nature of the offence which he had com. why I did not deliver it theu: the reason miuted, and which demanded the censure of I did not deliver it was, that I did not the House : and on this part of the subthink it was right for me to state, in fact ject he would borrow something from the what would constitute my defence in case able and eloquent speech of his hon. and of any inquiry, whether civil or military ; learned friend near him (Mr. Adam.) that was the reason I did not deliver it. There were two grand priuciples which I did deliver it on the 14th of February as formed the foundation of the constitution; my report of my proceedings.”-He did the coinplete irresponsibility of the sonot then think it right to deliver his Nar- vereign, and the complete responsibility rative to his Majesty when it was drawn of the ininisters. These were the princi. up, as it would constitute bis defence in ples which rendered the British constitucase of inquiry, civil, or military, and only tion the most perfect system of free godelivered it on the 14th of February, as vernment. This was the true secret of the the report of his proceedings, of course, administration of the government of Great with a view to the inquiry actually going Britain. Nothing could be more directly on; and this he stated after he had in opposed to these principles than the confacı delivered it on the 15th of January, Juct of lord Chatham in the clandestine with the request that it might be kept delivery ofthis Narrative. The hon. gent. secret.--As to the motive of the noble lord, on the floor said, that he could not find many would, perhaps, and not without any where a list of the courtesies that some reason, be satisfied with the very might be properly conferred upon a cabicircumstance that secrecy was desired; net minister by his Majesty. But the for why should lord Chatham have desired hon. gent. miglit find in the spirit and that this delivery of the Narrative should practice of the constitution, the line bebe kept secret, except he was conscious yond which no cabinet minister ought to that he was doing something wrong? But pass in giving advice to his sovereign. A the House was not left to make this in cabinet minister, privy counsellor, peer, ference, for it appeared from lord Chat- or any other person, might very properly ham's evidence that he did not think it be allowed to approach his Majesty if he right to deliver to liis Majesty in this way pleased, and advise him 10 dismiss his what would constitute his defence in case ministers; but he ought not to do this or of inquiry, civil or military. There ap- give any advice on a public subject under peared to be something extraordinary in the seal of secrecy; nor refuse to make the memory of lord Chatham, beyond himself responsible for his advice. Did what was to be found in the memory of lord Chatham communicate his proceedany other man; for it appeared that having to his colleagues? No. Did he deliing presented a Narrative of his proceed- ver his Narrative through the medium of ings to his Majesty on the 15th of Janu- the secretary of state or the commander ary, he requested to have it back again in chief? No. All was done secretly. on the 10th of February, in order to ex- When he delivered it in the second time, punge a certain passage, and had deli- he was desired to give it to the secretary vered it again on the 14th of February of state. Why was not this done at first with the passage expunged; and when Because, it was specially requested that asked on the 27th of February what that the transaction should be kept a profound passage was, he could not remember it! secret. That House had often, before the So that from the 15th of January to the revolution, censured particular individuals 10th of February he recollected a passage for conduct of this kind. But, it was to which he wished to expunge; and yet in the constitution, as established at the rethe interval belween the 14th and 27th of volution, that we owed the character of February, his lordship had forgot this pas- the people of this country. It was owing sage which had been before so strongly to that constitution that there was less impressed on his memory. This was as caballing, less secret influence, than in extraordinary as the very extraordinary any other European country; that even defence which was now set up in his lord- in political hostility there was more openship's behalf!
ness and candour; that this character was He contended therefore, that the pro- not confined to ministers and public men, ceeding of lord Chatham was most uncon- but spread over the whole mass of the postilutional; and that there was no other pulation. In the whole of the nation there word which could precisely express the was more openness and probity, and less secret intrigue and duplicity than in any should have ever come before the House; other European nation, and this we owed because, as had been eloquently expressed to the constitution. How happened it by the right hon. gent. who spoke last, it tbat, in other nations, there were so many was destructive of that bright responsibisecret cabals, and combinations of men lity in ministers, which formed one of the smiling in your face, while stabbing one finest features of the British constitution. behind ? It was owing to their want of the He regretted it, because it must be disad. advantages of our inestimable constitution, vantageous to the noble lord in the investi. the tendency of which was to render gation yet to take place, as to his colevery thing in the shape of a public trans- leagues and himself.—The first resolution action fair and open, and which (till late- detailed fairly and candidly the transacly at least) had in a great measure that tions as they took place; the second redesirable effect. But what would be the solution characterised the noble lord's consequence of such a proceeding as this conduct, on which he should have a few was to be passed over without notice? In- words to say; but there was a third point stead if that candid and open frankness of such consequence, that the House could which distinguished the higher as well as not look over it, and which weighed very the lower classes of the community, we much on his mind. He should, therefore, would sink to that degraded character expect to be informed, before he voted for which had been the ruin of so many na- it, how far this second resolution was intions of Europe; and now he must call tended to be followed up? If it was inupon the House to preserve that constitu- tended that the House should adopt any tion inviolate, from which they derived so such violent and rigorous measures, in con• many blessings, and not act like the silly sequence of the noble lord's conduct, as stupid Indian who threw away a pearl an address for the removal of the noble richer than all his tribe.
lord from his Majesty's councils, and to Mr. Canning said, he had not approached disqualify him from ever being restored the House on this occasion without hav- to them, then most certainly he would not ing searched his own mind for an excuse vote for it. On the other hand, said he, from voting on the present question, but shall this transaction be followed by a reafter all that had been shewn to the House, solution of parliament, to take no notice he found it was impossible, and equally of it? Such a proceeding he should al, so, that he could give even the vote he most as much deprecate as the other, intended to do, without, at the same tine, The previous question, in such a matter, offering his reasons for so doing. He was what the House ought not by any should put out of view many of the topics means to countenance. It was highly which had been brought forward in the important to lord Chatham that it should discussion of this question. He must beg not take place, because it would deprive leave io acquit the noble lord of any of him of the means of shewing what degree those motives of malignity which had of blame only was attachable to him. In. been so lavishly attributed to him. He stead of endeavouring to check this by a could not think, that any man, gifted with prerious question, it would be better to such abilities, and enjoying the splendour have made an amendment of a medium of such a name, would be guided or influ- nature. The first resolution would have enced by such base and unworthy incite- been better, in his opinion, if it had not ments. Highly, however, as he thought been mixed with the evidence: he should of his name and talents, he could not con- have liked it better without it, but still he sent that the House should make him a did not think the form of it unfair. He splendid anomaly to the character and certainly was not prepared to go the length practice of the constitution. He knew of the second resolution. In objecting to the vote he should give would be but it
, he was not, however, prepared to supcoolly received by the hon. gent. who port the doctrine of his hon. friend (Mr. brought forward the motion, because it Bankes) that the transaction was not unturned on so narrow a principle, when constitutional
. With respect to the concompared with the aim and object of the stitution generally, he should be content hon. gent. himself. The hon. gent., how- with that, which was to be found in the ever, might rest assured, that he could not praise bestowed on it in good times, and receive it with more indifference than he the censure in bad one's; but he could (Mr. C.) gave it with reluctance. He not vote without knowing to what length was sorry this business of the Narrative they meant to follow the vote up; for