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tents in the West Indies. An expedition, of which the event was still doubtful, had been sent into the heart of Asia. Yet, among many causes of anxiety, the discerning eye of the right honorable Baronet easily discerned the quarter where the great and immediate danger lay. He told the House that his difficulty would be Ireland. Now, Sir, that which would be the difficulty of his administration is the strength of the present administration. Her Majesty's Ministers enjoy the confidence of Ireland; and I believe that what ought to be done for that country will excite less discontent here if done by them than if done by him. He, I am afraid, great as his abilities are, and good as I willingly admit his intentions to be, would find it easy to lose the confidence of his partisans, but hard indeed to win the confidence of the Irish people.
It is indeed principally on account of Ireland that I feel solicitous about the issue of the present debate. I well know how little chance he who speaks on that theme has of obtaining a fair hearing. Would to God that I were addressing an audience which would judge this great controversy as it is judged by foreign nations, and as it will be judged by future ages. The passions which inflame us, the sophisms which delude us, will not last for ever. The paroxysms of faction have their appointed season. Even the madness of fanaticism is but for a day. The time is coming when our conflicts will be to others what the conflicts of our forefathers are to us; when the preachers who now disturb the State, and the politicians who now make a stalking horse of the Church will be no more than Sacheverel and Harley. Then will be told, in language very different from that which now calls forth applause from the mob of Exeter Hall, the true story of these troubled years.
There was, it will then be said, a part of the kingdom of Queen Victoria which presented a lamentable contrast to the rest; not from want of natural fruitfulness, for there was no richer soil in Europe; not from want of facilities for trade, for the coasts of this unhappy region were indented by bays and estuaries capable of holding all the navies of the world : not because the people were too dull to improve these advantages or too pusillanimous to defend them; for in natural quickness of wit and gallantry of spirit they ranked high among the nations. But all the bounty of nature had been made unavailing by the crimes and errors of man. In the twelfth century that fair island was a conquered province.
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The nineteenth century found it a conquered province still. During that long interval many great changes had taken place which had conduced to the general welfare of the empire: but those changes had only aggravated the misery of Ireland. The Reformation came, bringing to England and Scotland divine truth and intellectual liberty. To Ireland it brought only fresh calamities. Two new war cries, Protestant and Catholic, animated the old feud between the Englishry and the Irishry. The Revolution came, bringing to England and Scotland civil and spiritual freedom, to Ireland subjugation, degradation, persecution. The Union came: but, though it joined legislatures, it left hearts as widely disjoined as ever. Catholic Emancipation came: but it came too late ; it came as a concession made to fear, and, having excited unreasonable hopes, was naturally followed by unreasonable disappointment. Then came violent irritation, and numerous errors on both sides. Agitation produced coercion, and coercion produced fresh agitation. Difficulties and dangers went on increasing, till a government arose which, all other means having failed, determined to employ the only means that had not yet been fairly tried, justice and mercy. The State, long the stepmother of the many, and the mother only of the few, became for the first time the common parent of all the great family. The body of the people began to look on their rulers as friends. Battalion after battalion, squadron after squadron, was withdrawn from districts which, as it had till then been thought, could be governed by the sword alone. Yet the security of property and the authority of law became every day more complete. Symptoms of amendment, symptoms such as cannot be either concealed or counterfeited, began to appear; and those who once despaired of the destinies of Ireland began to entertain a confident hope that she would at length take among European nations that high place to which her natural resources and the intelligence of her children entitle her to aspire.
In words such as these, I am confident, will the next generation speak of the events of our time. Relying on the sure justice of history and of posterity, I care not, as far as I am personally concerned, whether we stand or fall. That issue it is for the House to decide. Whether the result will be victory or defeat, I know not. But I know that there are defeats not less glorious than any victory; and yet I have shared in some glorious victories. Those were proud and happy days ;-some who sit on the benches opposite can well remember, and must,
I think, regret them ;—those were proud and happy days when, amidst the applauses and blessings of millions, my noble friend led us on in the great struggle for the Reform Bill; when hundreds waited round our doors till sunrise to hear how we had sped; when the great cities of the north poured forth their population on the highways to meet the mails which brought from the capital the tidings whether the battle of the people had been lost or won. Such days my noble friend cannot hope to see again. Two such triumphs would be too much for one life. But perhaps there still awaits him a less pleasing, a less exhilarating, but a not less honorable task, the task of contending against superior numbers, and through years of discomfiture, for those civil and religious liberties which are inseparably associated with the name of his illustrious house. At his side will not be wanting men who against all odds, and through all turns of fortune, in evil days and amidst evil tongues, will defend to the last, with unabated spirit, the noble principles of Milton and of Locke. We may be driven from office. We may be doomed to a life of opposition. We may be made marks for the rancour of sects which, hating each other with a deadly hatred, yet hate toleration still more. We may be exposed to the rage of Laud on one side, and of Praise-God-Barebones on the other. But justice will be done at last: and a portion of the praise which we bestow on the old champions and inartyrs of freedom will not be refused by future generations to the men who have in our days endeavoured to bind together in real union races too long estranged, and to efface, by the mild influence of a parental government, the fearful traces which have been left by the misrule of ages.
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS ON THE 7TH OF April, 1840.
On the seventh of April, 1840, Sir James Graham moved the fol- lowing resolution :
“That it appears to this House, on consideration of the papers relating to China presented to this House by command of Her Majesty, that the interruption in our commercial and friendly intercourse with that country, and the hostilities which have since taken place, are mainly to be attributed to the want of foresight and precaution on the part of Her Majesty's present advisers, in respect to our relations with China, and especially to their neglect to furnish the Superintendent at Canton with powers and instructions calculated to provide against the growing evils connected with the contraband trade in opium, and adapted to the novel and difficult situation in which the Superintendent was placed.”
As soon as the question had been put from the Chair, the following Speech was made.
The motion was rejected, after a debate of three nights, by 271 votes to 261.
If the right honorable Baronet, in rising to make an attack on the Government, was forced to own that he was unnerved and overpowered by his sense of the importance of the question with which he had to deal, one who rises to repel that attack may, without any shame, confess that he feels similar emotions. And yet I must say that the anxiety, the natural and becoming anxiety, with which Her Majesty's Ministers have awaited the judgment of the House on these papers, was not a little allayed by the terms of the right honorable Baronet's motion, and has been still more allayed by his speech. It was impossible for us to doubt either his inclination or his ability to detect and to expose any fault which we might have committed ; and we may well congratulate ourselves on finding that, after the closest examination into a long series of transactions, so extensive, so complicated, and, in some respects, so disastrous, so keen an assailant could produce only so futile an accusation.
In the first place, Sir, the resolution which the right honorable Baronet has moved relates entirely to events which took place before the rupture with the Chinese government. That rupture took place in March, 1839. The right honorable Baronet therefore does not propose to pass any censure on any step which has been taken by the Government within the last thirteen months; and it will, I think, be generally admitted, that when he abstains from censuring the proceedings of the Government, it is because the most unfriendly scrutiny can find nothing in those proceedings to censure. We by no means deny that he has a perfect right to propose a vote expressing disapprobation of what was done in 1837 or 1838. At the same time, we cannot but be gratified by learning that he approves of our present policy, and of the measures which we have taken, since the rupture, for the vindication of the national honor and for the protection of the national interests.
It is also to be observed that the right honorable Baronet has not ventured, either in his motion or in his speech, to charge Her Majesty's Ministers with any unwise or unjust act, with any act tending to lower the character of England, or to give cause of offence to China. The only sins which he imputes to them are sins of omission. His complaint is merely that they did not foresee the course which events would take at Canton, and that consequently they did not send sufficient instructions to the British resident who was stationed there. Now it is evident that such an accusation is of all accusations that which requires the fullest and most distinct proof; for it is of all accusations that which it is easiest to make and hardest to refute. A man charged with a culpable act which he has not committed has comparatively little difficulty in proving his innocence. But when the charge is merely this, that he has not, in a long and intricate series of transactions, done all that it would have been wise to do, how is he to vindicate himself? And the case which we are considering has this peculiarity, that the envoy to whom the Ministers are said to have left too large a discre