Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

of national dignity to scorn, utilitarians of politics, must, in this prohi. bition, find a cause, not only to regret the past, but to look with solici. tude to the future. The proceedings adopted with reference to Morocco cannot, in a commercial view, be regarded with indifference. They have commenced, like the expedition to Algiers. A squadron has proceeded to the Coast, which is only divided by the distance which a cannon shot could almost traverse from Gibraltar, with 12,000 men. The French army has invaded Morocco, and France demands not only the expulsion of the valiant Abdel-Kader, the hero of the desert, but an îndemnity and a guarantee. Morocco may soon fall under the protection of France; and if it does, the results to your commerce are obvious. Mr. Macgregor, in his recent and very admirable work on the commerce of this country, has given the statistics of our trade with Morocco. We almost monopolize the market of a country inhabited by 8,000,000 of people. Are we not entitled, under these circumstances, to ask of Lord Aberdeen what course he has followed, and to call on the minister to lay on the table of the house any engagement entered into by France in reference to the state with which we are allied, and which it is so much our interest to save from the domination of a power of whose acquisitive tendencies some evidence has been affo To Morocco the French protective system will be beyond all doubt extended, whenever Morocco is annexed to Algiers. In this state of things it is not unnatural that we should inquire, first, what explanations have been given and demanded, and in the next place what force her Majesty's government have had the precaution to assemble in the Mediterranean? With regard to the first, as Lord Aberdeen appears not to have obtained any very satisfactory engagement in reference to Algiers, we ought to have proof afforded us that some stronger security for Morocco lias been given; and with respect to the second, the gorernment are bound to show that for any emergency which may arise, they are not unprepared. What should be the amount of our paval force ? It is my good fortune to be able to refer to two very high authorities, the Duke of Wellington, and the right honourable baronet, with regard to the inexpcdiency of leaving England destitute of that force on which not only her strengib, but her existence, depends. In August, 1838, the Duke of Wellington declared that “ his great object in speaking at all was to impress upon their lordships and upon the government, and upon the country, ine absolute necessity of having a strong naval force in all parts of the world.” What was our naval force in 1838, which the duke considered insufficient ? Ships of the line, 18 ; frigates, 29 ; sloops, 39 ; brigs, 39; teamers, 22. In 1839, on the 11th of March, the right honourable yentleman, the First Lord of the Treasury, made a most remarkable speech on the navy estimates, in which he complained that our government had not sent a squadron to the Coast of Mexico when St. Juno de Ulloa wiis attacked by the French. He reproached the government with having omitted to assemble a great naval force at the points where events of signal magnitude were likely to arise. He insisted that the Whis government had permitted the naval power of England to decline, and laid it down as a rule that we should have a large flect ready for imiediate employment, and for the protection of our own shores, as well as

for the exhibition of our power in remoter seas. Let us see what nava. force the right honourable gentleman thinks sufficient, when he is in office, and when events are casting shadows before them by which the Mediterranean is darkened. Here is a tabular statement of our Foree in 1841 and 1941:

Ships in Commission on 1st July, 1841, und 1st July, 1844.
1st July, 1841.

1st July, 1841.
Ships of the Line
26 Ships of the Line

9 Frigates 36 Frigates

32 Sloops.... 40 Sloops......

31 Brigs 39 Brigs

24 Armed Steamers

22 Armed Steamers Foreign Mail Steamers......... 14 Foreign Mail Packets

+ Foreign Mail Brigs 22 Foreign Mail Brigs

6 Let us now look to the distribution of the force in reference to the Mediterranean in both those years :

32

Distribution of Force.
Mediterranean, 1841.

Mediterranean, 1844.
Ships of the Line

17 Ships of the Line Frigates.

7 Frigates Sloops.

4 Sloops....... Brigs

3 Brigs Armed Steamers

9 Armed Steamers Mail Packets

4 Mail Packets..

1 4 3 0 6

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

One ship of the line in the Mediterranean! And for this utter neglect of British interest—for this most discreditable helplessness to ithich we are reduced in that sea, where the fate of empires has been so often, and will be again, determined, what is the excuse? I read the statement of the First Lord of the Admiralty with astonishment, that our naval force was employed on the coast of Ireland, and could not be spared for the Mediterranean. Is not this a most lamentable adipission ? A man who was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and who is First Lord of the Admiralty, over whom the Orange flag was unfurled in one country, and to whom the honour of the union-jack is confided in the other, openly in the face of the parliament, of the country, and of the world, announces that the honour of England is to be perilled, in order that Ireland should be kept down. Do not imagine that I condemn you for having a large force in Ireland ; you have made it indispensable by your misrule, and a further augmentation of that forco will be, whenever you shall be at war, required—that I complain of. What I most profoundly lament is, the policy by which you have exposed the country to the most fearful peril; when you could, by means sa obvious and so easy, convert Ireland, now a source of weakness, into a monument of your strength ; *and in the affections of a loyal and devotod people, by common justice, raise up a bulwark of your empire infinitely better than any which Richmond Penitentiaries can afford. But let me not permit myself to depart from Algiers to Ireland, although the First Lord of the Admiralty has associated them together; let me revert to and resume the topics which will appear to be more immediately connected with the motion with which I mean to conclude I Gave traced the circumstances under which the French possessions in Africa were acquired; I have shown how completely our government gere baffled when the expedition first landed in Algiers; I have shown the effects upon our commerce of the extension to Algiers of the prine ciples of French colonisation ; I have adverted to the aggressive pro. ceedings adopted with regard to Morocco, and to the miserable impuiskance to which our navy has been reduced; and as I began I conclude. stated at the outset of what I said, or meant to say, that I should studiously take care not to say anything at which Frenchmen the most sensitive could reasonably complain. I hope that I have kept my promise ; I was anxious to do so. I look upon the French as a most noble people. I regard the present Prime Minister of France as a man of surpassing abilities, and among men of high intellectual stature, as standing pre-eminent. The King of the French is one of the most remarkable men whom his country, fertile in greatness, has produced. de has proved that the uses of adversity are sweet, and with a diadem apon his head, has preserved that jewel which adversity is said to bear -a precious one—and finer than the brightest brilliant that glitters in nis crown. But, however we may be disposed to admire the people of France, and the minister and the King of the French, we must bear in mind, that between France and England there exists, and there has always existed a feeling of competition, which should induce us to look for the proof of cordial friendship to something more substantial than mere professions of amity, however prodigally bestowed. My noble friend, the late Secretary for Foreign Affairs, was said to have alienated France ; at all events, he did not lower England. But in what regard have his successors in office succeeded in obtaining from France anything beyond those phrases of diplomatic endearment which we should be taught by what is passing to appreciate at their real value. What kave you got from France since you have come into office? A commercial treaty has not been signed—no single advantage for the trade of England has been secured. Your predominance in Spain is gone; the Escurial is but an appurtenance to the Tuileries ; and upon the coast of Africa, whence Spain is commanded, before the armies and the armaments of France the influence of England has vanished. Talk as you will of the friendly feelings of France, and of the better understanding that prevails between the two countries than existed before you came into office, that you have gained a single point, either political or commercial, I think you will find it difficult to establish. Sir, I beg leave to move

“ For copies of the ordinance of the 16th of December, imposing increased duties on our shipping and manufactures and a return of tho amount of our naval force in the Mediterranean on the 1st of July, 1844."

ADJOURNMENT.

OPEECH IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS ON THE 9TH AUGUST ON THE MOTION

THAT THE HOUSE SHOULD ADJOURN TO THE 5TH OF SEPTEMBER.

INSTEAD of the customary prorogation by the Queen, the adjournment of the house is proposed by the first minister of the crowsi, in order that the opinions of the judges in the case of Mr. O'Connell may be delivered before the next session, and to prevent the hazard of a great injustice being done. It is felt by everybody that it would be monstrous that Mr. O'Connell should be kept in gaol for six months, anu that he should afterwards be discharged upon the ground that he ought not to have been originally imprisoned. The case is conceived to be one of so much importance and so much difficulty, that a deviation from parliamentary usage is proposed by the Prime Minister, and on the 5th of September parliament is to assemble again. If the decision shall be in favour of Mr. O'Connell—if the judges shall think that the jury was improperly composed, and that the challenge to the array should have been allowed, Mr. O'Connell will be discharged. For this proceeding the government do not claim any credit, for by an opposite course the general censure of the country would be incurred. But surely the government have, by the step which they are now adopting, made the most important practical admission. They have, by an irresistible implication, acknowledged that the detention of Mr. O'Connell pending the question whether he ought to have been imprisoned at all, ought to be deeply lamented by themselves. Mr. O'Connell was imprisoned on the 30th of May. If he is discharged on the 30th of August, because the sentence was illegal—that will be the feeling of both countries how great will be the astonishment of the one, low vehement the indig. nation of the other? It ought, then, to be matter of the most solemn deliberation with the government, whether instead of waiting to ascertain whether the lawyers shall have succeeded in picking the lock of the Richmond Penitentiary, it would not be far wiser to throw open the doors of the prison-house at once, and to give back his freedom to the man whom under circumstances so peculiar you have deprived of his liberty. These are facts admitted upon all sides, facts beyond dispute, almost any one of which ought to have induced the government to terminate the period of Mr. O'Connell's imprisonment. The suppression of the lists in the Recorder's Court—the refusal of the crown to join issue on the averment of fraud—the solemn opinion of one of the judges at a trial at bar that the panel was illegally and wrongfully concocted

the exclusion of every Catholic from the jury, by which the leader of a great Catholic people was tried and convicted—these are circumstances which ought to induce the government to give up a verdict thus illegitimately obtained, and to which it is the consummation of impolicy that you should so pertinaciously adhere. You have yourselves, unconscious of what you were doing, furnished in a very recent proceeding, one of the strongest arguments against your verdict which it would be possible to

suggest. You hare admitted, that it would be most unjust that a come mission for the administration of charitable bequests should be exciusively Protestants, and that you have provided that out of the ten individuals to be selected as a committee, five at least shall be Catholics. What an inference is afforded by this special provision in your recent bill, which you represent as an act of common justice to the people of Ireland ? If the charitable bequests of Ireland are not any longer to be administered by a Protestant board, is it not an outrage to common sense and common justice, that the great leader of a Catholic people should have been tried by a jury from which every one of his co-relie gionists was excluded by the crown, and was, in fact, composed of men who had rendered themselves conspicuous by the vehemence of their political and religious feelings? No other fact to condemn your ver

lict in the opinion of all impassioned men, no other fact is wanting to justify my noble friend the member for London in his deliberate decla ration that Mr. O'Connell bad not been fairly tried. The House of Commons has not ratified that declaration, but the present Prime Minister ought to look to something besides the House of Commons, and that for his own sake, for the sake of his fame hereafter, he ought at once to assent to the liberation of a man tried under his own Jury Act, under an act introduced by himself, and which has been converted into an instrumentality so utterly abhorrent from the purposes for which it was devised. The right honourable gentleman is one of those by whom fame is estimated at its proper value, and who can appreciate renown. You pass every day by the statue of George Canning-every day you look at Westminster Abbey—to the judgment of posterity you cannot be insensible. Of what will be hereafter said in reference to the great events which are passing, that you can be reckless, no man shall persuade me to believe. Does it not then occur to you that of your conduct in reference to your great Irish antagonist history will not approve? The time will come when your merits will not be determined by the numbers which issue from tł:e old lobby or from the new, but by another and more impartial reckoning; and when that time shall have arrived, and when it shall be told iliat Daniel O'Connell at almost the outset of your political career rushed against you into the lists of political encounter, that after nearly twenty years of a fearful struggle he extorted the freedom of his country from your reluctant consciousness that it could no longer be withheld ; that, finding you unwilling to complete your achievement and to carry out the lofty principle on which it was founded, he continued in antagonism to your party, and demanded that the institutions of Ireland should be remodelled and adapted to the great change which had been accomplished ; that, after a long exclusion from office, you came back to power, and that instead of availing yourself of the opportunity which was afforded you of winning the hearts of millions of Irishmen, you preferred the support of a faction to the sustainment of a people; chat you selected the men to whom Ireland was most antipathetic as the objects of your favour; and that when goaded by many wrongs anā exasperated by affronts, your old political foe demanded the restoration

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »