专人专企、圈层维系、线上线下 创客联盟团的孵化经

On the 6th of November the second reading of the Bill was carried by a majority of twenty-eight, the numbers being one hundred and twenty-three to ninety-five, which the Government considered equivalent to a finding of guilty. It appears from these numbers that a large proportion of their lordships abstained from voting. The Bishops had an insuperable objection to the divorce clause; but in committee it was sustained by a majority of one hundred and twenty-nine to sixty-two, the Opposition having nearly all voted for the clause, with a view of defeating the Bill in its last stage. Consequently, for the third reading, on the 10th of November, the majority was only nine, the numbers being one hundred and eight to ninety-nine. Upon this announcement Lord Liverpool rose and said, that upon so slender a majority he could not think of pressing the measure further, and so he begged leave to withdraw the Bill. The truth is, he had no option. It had not the slightest chance of passing through the Lower House, where ignominious defeat awaited the Government.

From the Painting by Andrew C. Gow, R.A.

On the 6th of March, Sir William Molesworth, with a view to bringing the whole colonial administration of the empire before the House of Commons, moved that an Address be presented to her Majesty, expressing the opinion of the House that in the present critical state of many of her foreign possessions "the Colonial Minister should be a person in whose diligence, activity, and firmness the House and the public may be able to place reliance;" and declaring that "her Majesty's present Secretary of State for the Colonies does not enjoy the confidence of the House or the country." The honourable baronet made a speech of two hours' duration, which was a dissertation on colonial policy, containing a survey of the whole of her Majesty's dominions in both hemispheres. He disclaimed all party considerations in bringing forward his motion, or any intention to make an invidious attack on Lord Glenelg. But as the colonies were so numerous, so diversified in races, religions, languages, institutions, interests, and as they were unrepresented in the Imperial Parliament, it was absolutely necessary that the colonial administration should be vigilant, prompt, sagacious, energetic, and firm. Lord Glenelg was wanting in these qualities, and the colonies were all suffering more or less from the errors and deficiencies of this ill-fated Minister, "who had, in the words of Lord Aberdeen, reduced doing nothing to a system." Lord Glenelg was defended by Lord Palmerston, who regarded the attack upon him as an assault upon the Cabinet, which would not allow one of its members to be made a scapegoat. The House divided, when the numbers wereayes, 287; noes, 316; majority for Ministers, 29. Nevertheless the Ministry were greatly damaged by the debate, which emphasised the growing Radical revolt. In the following year Lord Glenelg, having declined to exchange his office for the Auditorship of the Exchequer, resigned.

Parliament was opened by commission on the 5th of February, 1829. The state of Ireland was the chief topic of the Royal Speech. The existence of the Catholic Association was referred to as inimical to the public peace; and its suppression was recommended, as a necessary preliminary to the consideration of the disabilities affecting the Roman Catholics. This part of the Speech excited much interest, as preluding the great contest of the Session. On the 4th Mr. Peel had written to the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, resigning his seat for the University, which he had won from Canning on the strength of his anti-Catholic principles. He need not have resigned, but he acted the more honourable part. Having offered himself for re-election, he was opposed by Sir Robert Inglis, who, after a contest which lasted three days, during which 1,364 votes were polled, was elected by a majority of 146. As one of the most numerous convocations ever held in Oxford had, in the previous year, by a majority of three to one, voted against concession to the Roman Catholics, it was a matter of surprise that the Home Secretary was not defeated by a larger majority. He secured a seat with some difficulty at Westbury. On the 10th, Mr. Peel, while still member for Oxford, introduced the first of the three measures intended for the pacification of Irelanda Bill for the suppression of the Catholic Association. As it was known to be an essential condition of granting Emancipation, there was little opposition to it either in Parliament or in Ireland. By it the Lord-Lieutenant was empowered to disperse the meetings of any association he thought dangerous to the public peace. The Bill quickly passed both Houses, and in a few days received the Royal Assent. Anticipating the action of the executive, the Association, on the 12th of February, dissolved itself, with the unanimous concurrence of the bishops, Mr. Sheil stating at the meeting that he was authorised to throw twenty-two mitres into the scale. CAPTURE OF MURAT. (See p. 117.)

"The Minister might ask Parliament for power to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and to place all Ireland under military law. To ask for less would be ridiculous; because the Act against unlawful assemblies had failed, and, on account of its helplessness, was suffered to expire. Now, would Parliament grant such extensive powers to any Government merely that the Government might be enabled to debar his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects a little longer from enjoying equal political privileges with Protestants? The issue was very doubtfulperhaps it was not doubtful at all. Parliament would never grant such powers. But, assuming that the powers were given, what must follow?a general insurrection, to be put down after much bloodshed and suffering, and then a return to that state of sullen discontent which would render Ireland, ten times more than she had ever been, a millstone round the neck of Great Britain, and by-and-by, when military law ceased, and the same measure of personal liberty was granted to Irishmen which the natives of England and Scotland enjoyed, a renewal of agitation, only in a more hostile spirit, and the necessity of either reverting again and again to measures of coercion, or of yielding at last what, upon every principle of humanity and common sense, ought not to have been thus far withheld. But the Minister, if the existing Parliament refused to give him the powers which he asked, might dissolve, and go to the country with a strong Protestant cry; and this cry might serve his purpose in England and Scotland. Doubtless; but what would occur in Ireland?the return of Roman Catholic members in the proportion of four to one over Protestants, and the virtual disfranchisement thereby of four-fifths of the Irish people. Would Ireland submit quietly to any law carried against herself in a House of Commons so constituted? Was it not much more probable that a dissolution would only lead to the same results which had been shown to be inevitable in the event of the existing Parliament acquiescing in the Ministers' views? And was there not, at all events, a chance that the electors, even, of England and Scotland, might refuse to abet a policy so pregnant with danger to themselves and to the commonwealth? But why move at all? Mr. O'Connell had been elected by the priests and rabble of Clare to represent them in Parliament. Let him retain this empty honour; or, better still, let him be summoned by a call of the House to the bar, and, on his refusal to take the oaths, issue a new writ, and go to a new election. In the first place, Mr. O'Connell could not be forced to attend to a call of the House, such call being obligatory only on members chosen at a general election; and in the next, if he did attend, what then? As soon as the new writ was issued, he would take the field again as a candidate, and again be elected; and so the game would continue to be played, till a dissolution occurred, when all those consequences of which we have elsewhere spoken would inevitably come to pass."