Lodovico Antonio Muratori.

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StATE of Parties— Effect of the dismissal of the Ministry on the state of
Parties and on Public Opinion— Coalition of tlie late Ministry with
the Radicals and Papists — Overtures made by Sir Robert Peel to Lord
Stanley and Sir James Graham, and declined — Dissolution Of Par-
liament — Principles of the different Parties — General Election — Popish
Intimidation in Ireland — Determination of the Opposition to oppose Mr.
Al)ercromby to the late Speaker — Ecclesiastical Commission. [I


Meeting of Parliament — Debate on the Election of ttie Speaker — Speeches
of Lord Francis Egerton— Mr. Dennison^Sir Charles Manners Sutton
—Mr. Abercromby — Lord Stanley — Lord John Russell — Sir Robert
Peel— Mr. Abercromby chosen by a majority often — Sir Charles Sutton
raised to the Peerage. . . » . [2i


Opening of the Session — King's Speech— Address in the ftouse of Lords,
carried without a division — Formation and Policy of the New Govern-
ment attacked by Lord Melbourne and Lord Brougham, and defended
by the Duke of Wellington and Lord Lyndhutst— -j)eclarations oF the
Earl of Ripon and Duke of Richmona — Amendment moved to the
Address in the House Of Commons — Nature and olyect of the Amend-
ment—Speeches of Lord Morpeth— Mr. Pembertoh— Sir R. Peel. [37


Continuation of the Debate on the Address — Speeches of Mr. Robinson
— Mr. Ward — Lord Stanley supports the Address — Speech of Lord
John Russell for the Amendment— Speeches of Mh Goulburn — Lord
Dudley Stuart, Mr. Sergeant Goulburn, and other Members— Lord
Howick supports the Amendment, but in the hope that, though it
should be carried. Ministers will not resign — Speech of Sir James
Graham for the Address, and Mr. O'Connell for the Amendment —
Amendment is carried by a majority of seven — Discussion on the bring-
ing up of the Report-^Speech of Mr. Teiinant— The King's answer. [72


Discussion in the Lords regarding the Slavery Abolition Act — Conduct
of the Ministry in its execution-^Questions put in the House of Com-
mons regarding the policy of Ministers, and rumours of an inten-
tion to dissolve Parliament — Answer of Sir Robert Peel — Mr. Hume
gives notice of a motion to limit the votes on the Estimates to six
months, which he subsequently reduces to three months— -He abandons
the motion— Motion by the Marquis of Chandos to repeal the Malt-
tax— Speech of Sir Robert Peel against it— The Opposition likewise
resist it, and it is lost by a large Majority — Discussion in the Commons

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regarding the appointment of the Marquis of Londonderry to be Am-
bassador at St. Petersburgh — Lord Stanley joins the Opposition in dis-
approving of the appointment^Lord Londonderry declines the situation
—Discussion thereon in the House of Lords. . . [103


Bill proposed by the Ministry to regulate the Marriages of Dissenters
— Approved l»y the Dissenters — Ministerial plan for the Commuta-
tion of Tithes in England— Committees on the Military Expenditure
of the Colonies, on Sinecures, and on Education, reappointed — Re-
port of Commission regarding the Church of England — Bill for im-
proving the Administration of Justice in Ecclesiastical causes — Sacri-
fice of Patronage by the Prelates — Bill for the better Maintenance of
Discipline in the Church of England-— Petition against the Alleged
Interference of Government Officers in the Chatham Election—Motion
to refer the Petition to a select Committee carried against Ministers —
Motion for an Address to the Crown to grant a Charter to the London
University, enabling that Institution to confer Degrees in Arts and
Law, carried against Ministers — ^I'he Ministers challenge a direct attack
l>y a Motion for a vote of Want of Confidence — declined. [[137

The Opposition determine to bring forward the question of the Appro-
priation of the Surplus Revenues of the Irish Church — Position of
the late Ministers in regard to this Question — Notices of Lord John
Russell regarding Reports from the Irish Church Commission — He
resolves to proceed witliout them — Ministerial Tithe Bill for Ireland
— Debate on the Resolutions proposed as the foundation of the Bill —
The first Resolution carriecf by Ministers — Resolution moved by
Lord John Russell to go into Committee in order to apply the Sur-
plus Revenues of the Irish Church to the Education of all Classes —
Speeches of Lord John Russell — Sir Edward Knatchbull— Mr. Ward
— Sir James Graham — Lord Howick — ^The Solicitor-General — Sir
J. C. Hobhouse— Mr. Praed— Mr. Littleton— Sir Henry Hardinge. [169


Continuation of the Debate on the Motion to go into Committee, in
order to appropriate the revenues of the Irish Church — Speeches of
Mr. Spring Rice for, and of Lord Stanley against, the Resolution —
Sir John Campbell— Mr. Powell Buxton— Mr. O'Connell— Sir Robert
Peel—Motion carried by a majority of thirty- three — Renewed De-
bate in the Committee on the Resolution to appropriate the Church
Revenues — Resolution carried by a Majority of twenty-five— Debate
on Lord John Russell's further Resolutionj^ that any Measure in-
troduced regarding Irish Tithes ought to !)e founded on tiie prin-
ciple of Appropriation — Resolution carried by a Majority of twenty-
seven— The Ministers resign— Speech of Sir Robert Peel. . [[199


State of public opinion regarding the late Ministry— Re-formation of
the Melbourne Ministry — Conversation in the House of Lords re-
garding their coalition with Mr. O'Connell — Lord John Russell
defeated in his re-election for Devonshire — The Ministerial candidates
ousted in Staffordshire and Inverness-shire — The new Ministry confine

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tlieir measures to Municipal Reform and the Irisli Ckurcli-^Lord
Chandos's Motion for an Address to the Crown on the subject of
Agricultural Distress — Motion for a Select Committee on the State
of the Currency— Commission of Inquiry into the State of Municipal
Corporations — ^Bill brought in by Ministers to Reform the Government
of Boroughs — Read a Second Time without Opposition — Committee on
the Bill— Division on giving the Crown the power of fixing the
Boundaries of the Boroughs — Debate on Amendments to preserve the
Patrimonial Rights and Parliamentary Franchise of the Freemen-
Sir R. Peel's proposed qualification for Members of Town-Councils
rejected — Lord Stanley's Amendment to renew one-third of the Town-
Councils only, every second year, rejected — Mr. Grote's Motion to
make it lawful to elect Town-Cfbuncils by Ballot, rejected — Discussions
regarding the Clauses making Town Clerks removable at pleasure, and
giving the Town-Councils the power of granting Licences — ^The Bill
passes the Commons. . . . . • [233

The Municipal Bill in the House of Lords — Petitions against the Re-
ports of the Municipal Commission — ^The House decides to hear the
Corporations by Counsel against the Bill — Counsel heard — ^The House
resolves to hear Evidence in support of the Petitions — ^Evidence
heard — ^The Bill in Committee — Clauses inserted preserving the rights
of Property and Parliamentary Franchise of the Freemen — ^Amend-
ment requiring a Qualification in the Town-councillors carried
— One-fourth of the Town-Council declared to be Councillors for
life — Other Amendments introduced in the Lords — Amendments of
the Lords considered in the Commons, and the principal alterations
agreed to— The Amendments of the Commons agreed to by the Lords
with some exceptions— The Commons pass the Bill as finally returned
from the Lords. ...... [265

Lord Morpeth introduces Bill for Regulating the Irish Church — Pro-
posed Mode of suppressing Benefices to create a Surplus — Read a
Second Time without Discussion — Sir R. Peel moves instruction to
the Committee to divide the Bill into two BiUs — Speech of Sir Robert
Peel — Adjourned Debate — Motion lost — The Bill passes the Commons
— The Lords agree to all the Clauses for the reduction and collection
of Tithe— Debate on Motion to strike out all the clauses for suppres-
sion of Benefices and appropriation of their Funds — Motion carried
— Ministers abandon the Bill — Bill to suspend Payment of the advances
made to the Irish Clergy — Commission of Inquiry into the Church of
Scotland— Dissatisfaction of the General Assembly. . [289

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tale of Farties^Effed of the dismissal of the Ministry on the state of

ParL and on PubUc Opinion^ CoalUion of the laU Mtnutr^ mth

the Badicals and Pamsts^Overtures made ^Jl .^''^l^.^^^

(0 Lord Sianky and Sir James Graham, and d^chned^iyissoluUm

of FarUament^Pnnciples of the differetit Parties^Gen^al Elec^

iian^Popish Intimidation in Ireland - DeUrminai.um of the Opposu

Z7o 4vose Mr. Ahercramby to the late Speaker^Ecclesiastwal

Comwwsion afpnnied.

AT tbe opening of the present
. year, tbe state of the politi-
cal world at home was one of
great interest and excitement.
The dismissal of Lord Melbourne's
ministry in November had occa-
sioned much surprise and vexation
to its members and their ad-
herents ; but it did not call forth
any burst of public diaapprolwition,
and it did not produce in tbe

to its stability or respectability.
By the secession, first of Lord
Stanley and his friends, and sub-
sequently of Earl Grey himself, it
had lost those of its members on
whose prudence, firmness, and
moderation, the country had been
most inclined to place any confi-
dence. The causes of their suc-
cessive retirements were by no
means fitted to conciliate respect

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••M objects of tbeii

<li8turbed composure and perfect
good humour ; and to its members
«nd their partistos this tran-
quiUity was much more alarming
and humiliating than the event
itself, because it betokened a re-
laxation of power in the springs
to whose action they trusted for
their speedy return to office.
They had expected that, at the
intelligence, the country would
be ^agitated to its centre; that
their expulsion from power would
be received as a declaration of war
against the Hberties and interests
4)f the nation ; that the events of
1831 would be renewed, and that
public conmotion and menace
would betfthem back in triumph
to their former seats. They left
■0 means untried to produce theee
eiects. The dismissal of the minis^
try itself was announced in a public
print;, by a cabinet miuister (as it
was said),as havingbeen exclusively
the work of the Queen, a statement
which was forthwith abaodoned as
« gross aad calumnious falsehood.
Then it was put forth as the
result of a deep Tory pJot and
complicated Tory intrigues; but
these assertions, too, were all
tbandoned. The multifarious
orgMs of the party, disapnointed
in not finding universal uismay,
preached up the necessity of in-
dulging and creating it, 'and in.
Bisted, day after day, on the
draadful fate which awaited the
country from the removal of the
only men who had either head to
conceive, or courage to undertake
the task of saving the public weal,
and putting in their place poli-
tidaas who would repeal the re-
form act, impose new taxes, restore
anduultiply unnecessary pensions.

thus exhibited was,

parts, a work of ficti

fused to be dismayed.

radicals, irritated by

esteemed the cold ;

treatment which the

ceived, did not raise s

ous outcries at the

their former associai

distress gratified their

while it as certainly ^

the ousted ministers

newal of the conncxioi

more favourable to tl

alliance must again be

The bargain accon

soon struck, and tl

formed ; and it thus 1

result of the change, th]

degree of influence ws

by the radical party, t]

as yet been able to mi

the question were cor

lying only between th

the late ministry, it n

decided in favour of t

for the latter, by thems<

muster no successful

The whigs, meaning I

pellation those of the V

who still adhered to thi

and conjectured polic]

Melbourne's administra

not possibly succeed in

office, except by gainin

divided support of tl

and Irish repealers, wh(

ite political nostrums fo

on the improvement o

stitution they had hi

sisted. That support

be obtained without al

the radicals an increa

ence in public affairs in

of the whigs beinc agai

to power : some thare c

must be abandoned 10


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nance their favourite measures,
but to which they could present,
at any moment, the alternative of
concession or resignation. Sir
Peter Laurie explained the whole
matter well on the hustings at the
Middlesex election. ** I asked a
very influential radical the other
day, why his party wanted the
whigs in again. He gave me the
same answer which my friend
Hume gave me to the same ques-
tion, namely, " because they are
the weakest. We can manage
them ; we can pull them along ;
but we cannot manage the tories."
The radicals could justify their de-
claration of war against the new
ministry both in policy, because
the old one would be better suited
to their purposes, and on principle,
because the new one would neither
propose shorter parliaments, nor a
more extensive franchise, nor vote
by ballot, nor a democratic consti-
tution for boroughs, nor the con-
fiscation of church property to se-
cular purposes, nor the cfestruc-
tion of the established church, nor
the abolition of the house of peers.
All these were broad and intelli-
gible grounds for their opposition.
But when the whigs opposed the
new ministry, they were excluded
from taking their stand on the
greater part of these grounds ; for,
though some of them had professed
a willingness to apply to the pur-
poses of education the surplus re-
venues of the Irish Church, if
such a surplus could be found,
and though they had named a
commission to inquire into the
abuses said to be connected with
the government of municipal cor-
porations, they were as hostile, in
words, at least, to all the other de-
mands of the radicals as if they
had been conservatives. V^'ith the
radicals, both the real and the os-

tensible reason for wishing to oust
the new ministry was the intelli-
gible and sensible desire of re-
moving an insuperable obstacle to
the progress of their own princi-
ples; with the whigs, who pro-
fessed to dread the progress of
these principles, and yet united
with the men who supported them
in order to remove that very ob-
stacle, the real reason for wishing
to oust the new ministry was, a
desire to take its place. The os-
tensible reason, again, which they
were compelled to put forward
was, not that the new ministry
would refuse short parliaments,
the extension of the suflPrage, vote
by ballot, the suppression of the
peers, and the plunder and degra-
dation of the church, — for all of
these things they, too, had refused;
but that it would oppose some-
thing which, not meaning any of
these things, was called by the
unmeaning name of '^ the spirit of*

Reform is a practical science,
and whether a man is, or is not,
prepared to act in the spirit of
reform must be judged of by prac-
tical measures. The address of
Sir Robert Peel to his constitu-
ents had declared (and they never
pretended to doubt his sincerity)
not only that the Reform Act
would remain untouched, but that
he would not be found any unwil-
ling labourer in removing real
abuses, though he would not
truckle either to democracy or
popery. The impression which
that document was calculated to
produce, was strengthened by the
knowledge of the fact, that Sir
Robert, immediately on his arrival,
had made overtures to Lord Stanley
and Sir James Graham, and by the
conviction that he would not have
made 9Mch proposals, unless his in-

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tended course of policy had beeh
one in which they could joiti him
without inconsistency. Along with
the Duke of Richmond and the
Earl of Ripon in the house of
peersj they had seceded from the
ministry, during the previous
session, even before the retire-
uient of Earl Grey himself, upon
the ground that it betrayed a wil-
litigness to adopt a policy too
hostile towards the Irish Church,
even while that policy still repu-
diated the idea of making any
hypothetical declaration as to the
manner in wh^ch an imaginary
surplus of ecclesiastic revenue
ought to be applied. Oil the
question of the Irish Church, their
opifiions were almost identical with
those of Sir Robert Peel. He
had acquiesced in all the leading
principles of their measures for the
settlement of tithes, and they had
^ joined him in opposing the altera-
tions introduced into that mea-
sure for the purpose of gratifying
the Catholic party. The new mi-
nister, so soon as he had accepted
office, communicated to Lord Stan-
ley and Sir James Graham the
principles on which his govern-
ment was to be conducted, and his
desire to obtain their assistance.
They declined the proposal, but
declared, at the same time, that his
administration would not encounter
from them any factious opposition.
Sir Robert Peel was right in
making the attempt : it both gave
an assurance that the principles of
a government to which Lord
Stanley was requested to accede
would not be principles hostile to
the removal of real abuses, for Lord
Stanley and his friends had been
leaders among the reformers ; and

a strong and stable got^ernment,
to share it with men whose station
and character gave them weight
in the country. Lord Stanley
at his nomination as a candidate
for the county of Lancaster, stated,
" that the offer was precisely such
as could be made by otie honour-
able man to another. I must
do Sir Robert Peel the justice thus
publicly to state, that the com-
munication and th^ offer, like
everything I h«ve seen of his pub-
Kc conduct, were frank, open, and
manly, and that I have no ground
for believing that he contemplated
any insincerity or evasion. But
stil^l it ap^ared to myself and my
friends that our public duties
tvould be best discharged by de-
clining the proposal. If we had
agreed to join the new govern-
ment for the purpose of strengthen-
ing it in those liberal measures
which I believe it must and will
carry into effect, to what calumny
and misconstruction would our
motives have been exposed ? Would
not the people have regarded us
as having formerly resigned merely
that we might rise upon the ruins
of the government which we had
quitted.? Would it not have
been said that our past conduct
had been mere matter of intrigue,
to enable us to resume office under
more promising auspices ?'* He de-
clared, however, that if he saw the
government willing to carry liberal
measures into effect, it would re-
ceive his support ; and he utterly
disclaimed the new doctrine that
all differences of public opinion
should merge in one great effort to
overthrow the existing ministry.
He would coalesce, he said, with
no men, or body of men, whose

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the goveraiDettl unless lie saw a
ftrir and legitimate prospect of the
formaticm of anotlier administra-
tion which would better carry hh
own principles into effect.

The late members, disappointed
at the tranquillity with whidi
the country had received the in-
teNtgence of their dismissal, could
place their trust only on the re-
assembling of purlSament. The
existing Hduse of Commons had
been elected under the first in-
toxication of the reform bill, when
the electors were in a state of
unnatural excitement^ and lavished
their maudlin embraces, li&e other
drunken persons, on all who had
assisted in administering that over-
powering draught. In that house
the supremacy of the fwraer mi-
nfeters was overwhelming and in-
expugnable : a majority, whi<^h
rendered all opposition hopeless^
toioved as his majesty's govern-
ment directed them, consenting
even to recal to-day what they

Online LibraryLodovico Antonio MuratoriThe annual register → online text (page 1 of 116)