24 DECEMBER 1831, Page 3

Eitin - itr anti Vrocrarino in parTiammt.

ADJOURNED DEBATE ON THE REFORM BILL. The House of Com, mons met on Saturday last at twelve o'clock, and continued in debate. till half an hour after midnight. The discussion was exceedingly dull and devoid of novelty. The speakers against the Bill were Sir R. H. Tercets, Mr. STUART WORTLLY, Colonel WOOD, Mr. SIBTHORP, Mr. CUST, Mr. B. WALL, Mr. CEESI;ET Peelle:se Mr. PRAED, Colonel LisosAv, Sir CHARLES WETHERELL, Sir ROLEUT PEEL, and Mr. HUNT ; for the Bill, Mr. Gopsw:, Sir If. Wteeoceetev, Mr. SLANEY,

account of the debate given in uec ed:tion on Sunday mureing, 3.1r. Crokees , • -

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the whole argunte!It t-US SO and the Stanley ) would feel hicusolf ita•xe usable if he ,n,itt,c; vca at

that late hour, and on that particuliw night. Did 1u not Fe-, knowing, did he shrink from stating, that 1640 was the year when Cincrles ,• !,i lied, by his OW11 Walit,, to depart froln ii igitions a :ad un:'utntitoci tind to truckle to the Commons of England ?—that Le ti en. for the fir, i time, after eleven years had passed by u :thou t a Po rthmieht tugetl 1.i tiled tngc•ther the Pariiament in questium—which was not the Lot ig Parliainent, and had nothing to do with the Triennial ? Did he not kni,w too, that after this, the longest suspension of Parliaments that ever had been ventured optic/ since We had a constitution, and not until the Kit g hail, in this manner, violated the fundamental laws of the realw—after attempting to itrea Episcopacy out s:eothtud—after having carried the ithuses of oppressive monopt dies to flu! most

alarming exec s ii 1 !,...iiance of Parliament, and repeate41 declarations (tithe Com-

mons, denottechee surh practices as illegal and 4,pereesive ; 1ev ing heavy stamp and other duties, enforcing ship-money Lent his subject 5, and in every way

szraining the prerogative, iN if he thought it became a prince of the House of Stuart to attempt that which had been done so often by a prince of the line of Tudor,—tliat, id Lit extortion would go no further—when lin bad reduced the finances of the eta:Lary to the lowest elk, awl ids exchequer to absolute beggaty, then, and not till then, (lid that tyrannical monarch, appalled at the sPirit of a.

people he could no further oppress, turn at last for Azecour to that Parliament which, whilst he could safely do it, and had the power, lie laul col, spurned, and trampled upon? When he called them together again, what dill he ?—he honoured them with some soft words—some flattering expressions, which they knew too well to trust to. When they talked of grievances end :theses which had gone on rapidly increasing cloning the long ioterval which had taken place—having at length met together to deliberate upen those grounds of com- plaint—he spoke to them of subsidies. A little longer did this system of extor- tion go on: corruption and abuses were openly encouraged—for what? All to carry on this Mt- accessful struggle against the liberties of the People of Euglaud. But again the 3lonarch was defeated ; again he had to bow ro that Parliament he had spurned, and along course of ari:itrary tyranev S7t,I1 afterwards ended—as

tyranny always will end sooner or later—in base, thnia, and tlespicable concession. But thes.Long Parliament—fur it was the Long lhirliitit.itt, not the lint short one,

as the honourable Gentleman supposed—passed the Triennial Act. And yet the honourable Gentleman had attempted to show the House how marvellously exact the parallel was in all its circumstances. He had said that the two cases so perfectly

cuinchled, that re,Illy they seemed to have been made purposely for each other, and ía

support of this assertion he read to the House ;el, extract front a celebrated author. iNlr. Stanley could not help thinking that the question would have been more appropriate if the right honourable Gentleman had read the passage immedi- ately preceding. " By this Bill," said Hume—uo great friend, it must be ad- mitted, to popular liberty—" some of the noblest and most valuable prerogatives of the Crown were retrenched ; but at the same time, nothing- could be more necessary titan such a statute fur compheing a regular plan of law and liberty. A great reluctance to assemble Parliaments must be expected in the King, where

these assemblies, as of late, establish it as a maxim to carry their scrutiny into

every part of Government. During long iaterteissions of Parliament, grievances and abuses, as was found by recent experience, would naturally creep in, and it would even become necessary for the King and Council to exert a great cliscre-

titulary authority, and by acts of State to supply, in every emergency, the legis- lative power, whose meeting was so uncertain and precarious. Charles, finding

that nothing less would satisfy his Parliament and People, at last gave his assent to this bill, which produced so great an innovation in the Constitution." Then the right honourable Gentleman went on to iufer, that Charles, having con- ceded these points, his concession was fatal. But the right honourable Gentle-

man very ingeniously read a passage which referred to another bill, dated twelve months afterwards, and would have the House to understand that this bill was

the cause of the events which afterwards ensued. Was this the exact parallel

to the present case ? Was this the bill which was forced upon the reluctant House of Lords to the invasion of their privileges? Why, what was the fact we returnreturn to them, told give an Mr. STANLEv was particudo'iy : historical of the pr..-

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not more so, than the parallel which he attempted to draw between the days of 1640 and the times at which we were now arrived—eventful periods both. The member for Cabe had truly said that the history of bygone times was Written for our learning ; and, to examine into the history of those times par- tially, was, like a little learning, a dangerous thing. What was the natural and necessary deduction to be drawn from the history of the years—not from 1640 to 1645, but from 1627 to,1640? If he wished for a parallel, let him look at the delay that occurred between 1627 and 1640, and then let him compare it with the delay which took place between 1819 and 1830. But to return, what was the deduction? That a concession of the Crown in time—a concession to reason and justice—to the advancing spirit of the age, and the altered condition of society, were the firmest supports of, and the best basis upon which the mo- narchy could rest ; and that the People would not tamely see a monarch endea- vouring to trample upon their liberties, and invade their rights, without at last compelling him to acknowledge the force of the iron hand of necessity which was upon him, and basely to truckle to the power that he would have crushed.

, Sir ROBERT PEET, was chiefly occupied with a defence of his conduct on the subject of the Test and Corporation Acts and Catholic Eman- cipation, in answer to the taunts of Mr. Macaulay in the debate of the 16th.

" He has insinuated," said Sir Robert, " that having opposed the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, I brought forward the Catholic question with the sole desire of continuing in office, and of appropriating to myself the honour due to others. I have long been silent under this charge, but I can be silent no longer. In the first place, I thought the time had hardly come when I ought to Place any conduct in the proper light, and I therefore left the charge unnoticed; but the time has now conic when my defence of my conduct on the Catholic question should be put beyond doubt. In the first place, I did not undertake to settle the question of the Test and Corporation Acts. As a Minister of the Crown I opposed that question; I was beaten—I was left in a minority on that question ; and, being so, I did not endeavour to defraud of any honour those who had previously advocated the settlement of the question ; for, opposed as I was to it, I privately believed, after the vote of the House of Commons, it was better that the question should be settled; and in that conviction I did what I could to facilitate an amicable adjustment. Then, says the right honourable Gentleman, why did you not resign when you found you could not carry your measure? The honourable member, with his usual discretion, wields a two-edged sword, which equally wounds friends and foes. Is it an imputation that Ministers do not resign when they cannot carry into effect a measure to which they are favourable ? If it is so, then why do not the pre- sent Ministers resign? I made no charge against them for not resigning, and I now say that it is not fair to infer improper conduct because Ministers do not at once resign when they are defeated in their attempt to carry a particular mea- sure. I will now state the whole truth as connected With the Catholic question ; and, having done so, I will appeal to every man, whether, in what I did, I was not fully justified. On the 9th July 1828, I was called on to form part of the Ministry. There bad been three changes of the government. The administra- tion of Lord Goderich had lasted eight months. There were three parties in the state: there were the Tories, the Whigs, and the friends of Mr. Canning. In the government of Lord Goderich, two of these parties had been united : why they did not retain office, I have yet to learn. I have never heard the cause ; but the fact was, that that Administration failed to meet the Parliament. In the month of January, the Duke of Wellington was called on to form an Ad- ministration, and the Duke and I were obliged to postpone the meeting of Par- liament for one week. We met the Parliament one month after the -Ministry, composed of two of the parties in the state, had quitted the government, and we were beaten on the question of the Test and Corporation Acts. Is there any gentleman who would have had us leave the King at such a moment on that question ? I now come to the heavier charge of the Catholic question. For several years in this House, I had taken a most active part in opposition to that question; I had so taken it from the great doubt I entertained, whether the removal of the Catholic disabilities would restore tranquillity to Ireland ; and I therefore maintained an uncompromising hostility, taking care, however, to avoid all asperity of manner. In 1828, I was again left in the minority on that question. These were, then, circumstances which showed me that it was more dangerous to continue the resistance I had offered than to yield. I have often said that my opinion on the subject is unchanged ; for I had doubts whether the people of Ire- land would be benefited by the Change, which would give strength to dissent, and power to the many. From time to time I found that the success of the Pro- testant party was balanced by the success of their opponents, and I thought it hope- less to maintain with effect a further resistance ; but, at the same time, I thought there could be nothing more unfortunate, than that I, who had been the most strenuous in opposition, should be the individual to undertake the settlement of that question. It was not for the sake of any personal sacrifices that I was called on to make—for I always expected that such sacrifices must be made—that I felt a repugnance to it, but that I felt I must necessarily lose the confidence of the party with whom I had so long acted ; and I did feel it unfortunate, that I, who had evinced the most decided opposition, should be the individual to introduce the very measure I had so long opposed. It happened that I was absent from London in the year 1828; and I wrote my opinion on the policy of settling the Catholic question to my noble friend. I stated—' I have thus expressed my opinion without reserve on the first great question of all, on the policy of seri- ously considering this long agitated question, with a view to an adjustment. I have proved, I trust, that it is no false delicacy with respect to past opinions, nor any fear of charges of inconsistency, that will prevent me from taking that part which the present danger and the new position of affairs seem to require. I am ready to do so if it is absolutely necessary. I think there is less of danger in.the settlement of the question than in leaving it, as it has been, an open question, by the effects of which the Government has been on many occasions paralyzed. I must, at the same time, say, that I think it would not conduce to the satisfac- tory settlement of the question, that the charge of it should be left in my hands. Personal considerations are entirely out of the question. I show this by avow- ing that, in case of necessity, I am ready to undertake the duty ; but I think I could support the measure more safely, if my support of it were given out of the Cabinet. Any authority which it may be thought I possess among the Protest- ant party would be increased by my retirement. I have too deeply been en- gaged in opposition to concessions, to make it advantageous that I should be the Individual to originate this measure.' I mention this, Sir, to show that circum- stances had compelled me to undertake the settlement of that question. I did afterwards undertake to introduce a measure for the settlement of that question ; but I remained till January 1829, in the belief that I should retire from office, and give my support to that measure in my private capacity alone. But it was made evident to me, that my retirement, together with the King's opinion on the Catholic question, would absolutely preclude the satisfactory settlement of it. I wrote a letter to my noble friend, expressing an earnest wish to avoid under- taking the painful office. That was on the 12th of January 1829; but blowing therffifficulties with which he was at that time surrounded, I said—, I speak 'without reserve. If my retirement should prove, in your opinion, after the com- munication you have made, an insurmountable obstacle to the course you intend to pursue, in that case you shall command any service I can render.' The me- morandum indorsed on that letter states, that the Archbish, of Canterbury, the Bishops of London and Durham, had that day had an audience of the Duke of Wellington, to declare that they should give their decided opposition to the proposed plan. That circumstance made it impossible for me to retire. I had advised the King to concede the measure. I could not shrink from taking part in introducing the measure I had advised him to adopt ; and no consideration on earth but that should have induced me to stand in that place and to propose it. But if I believed, as circumstances had compelled me to believe, that a settle- ment of the question was.necessary, and that my retirement was an insuperable obstacle to the settlement, I appeal to any man of honour, whether I should have been justified in retiring ? I had advised the King ; and could I, when he said, 'I have scruples; you ask me to make a sacrifice of them, yet you yourself refuse to make a similar personal sacrifice,'—could I, I say, when thus appealed to as a subject, refuse to undertake the task ? Under these circumstances, I did undertake it, and not for the purpose of robbing the original proposers of the honour."