Page images

Of his duty ought to Oppose the most rigid reserve and secrecy; but he must nevertheless still insist that the motion before their Lordships might be complied with without any indiscretion or danger.

The Duke of Norfolk said, he had not questioned the prerogative of the Crown to remove ministers at pleasure; nor did he mean to enttr into the merits or demerit-; of the persons whom the Noble Karl had thought it neccff.iry to remove ia Ireland. He contended that a large supply had been obtained from the people of Ireland by deception, and the object of his motion was to ascertain with whom the deception lay.

The Earl os LauJertlak began a speech full of matter on a great variety of political topics singularly combined, with expreiiing his surprise at the opposition to an inquiry which the character of his Noble Friend (EarlFitzwilliam), the character of Administration, and the public interest, equally demanded. The Public had an interest in the characters of such men as his Noble Friend, which they would not suffer to be muttered away. When he heard the predecessor of his Noble Friend in Ireland (the Earl of Westmorland) bespattering him with accusations, he thought the inquiry could not be refused. That Noble Lord had afforded a tolerable sample of the necessity for State secrecy on this occasion, because, however much his , Majesty's ministers were to be commended for their delicate | reserve and sullen silence, the N^ble Earl had not felt himself much bound by the lame restraint, as he certainly had not been quite so secret with respect to Irilh affairs, as the Secretary of State. He told their Lordships that a bargain had been made for Lord Fitzgibbon, and that Mr. Pitt told him that no bargain had been made for Mr. Beresford, or any of the rest. Here then was high authority that that part of the accusation against his Noble Friend of removing persons whom he had agreed not to remove, was unfounded, unless their Lordships, from their knowledge of Mr. Pitt, should be of opinion that what he said ought to go for nothing. The Noble Lord (Westmorland) had denied the corruption of the government of Ireland, and at the same moment claimed the merit of giving away a reversion of 2,3001. in pursuance of that very system which he said did not exist. It was whimsical to fee the race for praise on the score of corruption that one Lord Lieutenant seemed anxious to run against another, and that fort of contest was not only novel to their Lordships, but gave a pretty tolerable insight into the practice of the government of Ireland.


. The Noble Lord was equally inconsistent, when he argued, that the dismissal of Mr. Beresibrd, Mr. Toler, Mr. Wolfe, Mr. Hamilton, and Mr. Cooke, from office in Ireland, was a disgrace, for which there could be no adequate compensation, but that the removal of the Lord Lieutenant afforded no reasonable ground of complaint. He ought to be a little more careful not so publicly to blow hot and cold with the same breath. But at any rate, if the second os these Gentlemen had an independent fortune, it was of no great injury to him to lose his place. Those who knew the character of Earl Fitzwilliam, the integrity and candour of his life, and the proofs he had given of the sincerity of his junction with Administration, his Lordship said, could entertain no doubt of his earnest wish to co-operate by every means consistent with his iionour, in support os that system which his opinion of the interest of his country had induced him to adopt, and which he had lamented as an erroneous opinion at the time that it took place, because he deemed it an unfortunate opinion for the country. The Noble Lord (Westmorland) asked, if any man would say that Mr. Pitt was capable of abandoning those by whom he had been supported? He was the man who would fay so. Was there now in the Cbinet an independent man, of those by whom Mr. Pitt had been originally supported? Had he not abandoned and got rid of them one aster another, on different pretexts, till he had found coadjutors of his own rearing, or entirely to his own liking? Had they not all heard that certain Boards were considered by ministers as excellent seminaries for statesmen? and was not the young politician, who had boldly soared from Indostan to Europe, and recommended a sudden march to Paris, immediately previous to the disastrous turn of the war, placed at one of those Boards? though to what object of political life that aspiring politician was to apply his talents, seemed to be a matter of some doubt, as he had lately changed his studies, and from an arduous attention to the map of India, and to the British interests in that quarter of the globe, he was of a sudden become a great military officer. Thus armed at all points tarn marti quam tuercurie, he would come out of the hot-bed of his various reading, equally qualified for the Cabinet or the field. But if Mr. Pitt had never abandoned kis friends and connexions, where were they to look for the Noble Marquis *, formerly at the head of the Council Board? Where for another Noble Marquis f, formerly in the Cabinet? Where for the Noble Duke J with *

* Marquis of Stafford, f Marquis of Lant' J Duke of Leeds.

A a 2 the the blue ribband, who with such independence and dignity held the seals no longer than he could hold them with ho* nour? Where for the other Noble Duke • in the blue ribband, so long at the head of the Ordnance? And lastly, where was the Noble and Learned Lord f who had for so many years fat upon the woolsack, and on whose manry spirit and stern integrity the country reposed such entire confidence?

Had Mr. Fitt shewn himself more steady to principles thaw he had been to persons? One of his earliest principles had been to reprobate coalitions, and yet they had lately seen him courting them with the utmost eagerness, though he appeared ready to shift his principles in this respect again, as he had already disgraced one of those he lately coalesced with. In a speech upon that subject, he alked, " if it could be supposed that he would change his principles as easily as he could change his gloves?" And yet any Lady must have had an allowance for pin-money, beyond the power of the richest contractor to grant, who could, without exhausting it, have stood the expence of changing her gloves, if she had changed them half as often as Mr. Pitt had changed his principles. It was not long since he claimed a great deal of merit from getting rid of Minorca, because it was a disadvantage to the country to have a port in the Mediterranean, and now the value of Corsica is appreciated beyond all bounds, because a port in the Mediterranean is inestimable. His Lordsliip instanced more of these changes, from which he inferred, that if Mr. Pitt was for the Catholic emancipation when Earl Fitzwilliam went to Ireland, it was natural to expect that he would change his opinion, because to be true to any one political principle would be utterly inconsistent with the uniform tenor of his conduct. As their Lordships were denied proofs, they must, from the characters of the two men, presume that the departure from previous agreement lay with Mr. Pitt, not with Earl Fitzwilliam.

He adverted to Lord Carlisle's Letter to Earl Fitzwilliam, written, he said, in a spirit of friendsliip, which he did not well understand. He would be slow to suspeit a friend of misconduct; but if he were satisfied his friend had acted wrong, he would frankly tell him so. The style of the letter of the Noble Farl, on the contrary, was that of disclaiming the intention of imputing blame, but perspicuously conveying it in almost every sentence, and gently insinuating that which he did not chuse to say directly—

• DMke of.Richmond. f Lord Tluirlow. t


Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hints a fault and hesitates dislike.

The Noble Lord (Carlisle) wondered that his Noble Friend should think that his recal implied any charge against his conduct, and yet the Noble Lord himself had considered recal from the same situation by a ministry to which he was hostile (the Marquis of Rockrngham's), although he had actually sent over a letter of resignation previous to receiving the letters of recal, an injury unprecedented, and declared that he would not communicate upon the affairs of Ireland with that ministry; and another Noble Lord in his eye (Lord Auckland) had also written a letter to a Noble Marquis (Marquis of Lanfdown) complaining of the treatment the Noble Earl and himself had experienced. Lord Lauderdale said, he would not intrude on their Lordships by reading the whole of this letter, a copy of which he had taken and then held in his hand, but would barely state a passage or two, which he did accordingly. The Noble Earl's conduct reminded him of an anecdote of the late Mr. Lee, who being pressed by a friend to go to the opera to fee a celebrated French dancer (Monsieur Vestris), and being asked his opinion, unwilling to displease, returned for answer, u that all the performers had done very well." So since the ministry had humoured the Noble Earl, who was tired with bearing about the insignia of that offensive motto, Nemo me hnputie laceffit, and allowed him to throw it aside for the gentler sentiment of On y soit qui mal y fensey since they had changed the Noble Lord's ribband from green to blue, whatever political ballet they might get up, they might be sure of the Noble lord's approbation of all the per* formers, and that he would not risk displeasing any, by saying that one perfomed better than another.

With regard to the impropriety and offence that the independent Legislature of Ireland might take at an English House of Parliament discussing the subject of the Catholic Bill; he reminded their Lordships, that they were not called upon to discuss that question ; but to inquire who had been the author of the imposition respecting it, practised upon Ireland, and surely they were competent to do that without offence to Ireland. He compared the corruptions of the Government in Ireland, with the corruptions of the Government here, which, as the Noble Earl (Lord Westmorland) had truly but strangely said, were equally bad with those practised in Ireland, and desired their Lordships to look to the Deresfords at home.

The Marquis Toivnfiend said, it was highly improper to select the name of a respectable family, and apply it in so

odious odious a manner. If any charge was brought against Mr. Beresford, he desired nothing more earnestly than an opportunity of meeting it.

The Earl of Lauderdale said, he meant not to arraign individuals, but the system, which he proceeded to do in very pointed teras; and after a variety of very strong argument, much of it personal, passed a warm and animated eulogium on Earl Fitzwilliam's administration in Ireland, and the characters of those by whom it had been supported, particularly os Mr. Grattan. With regard to the Noble Earl, he said, he had among others thought he did injury to the public cause by connecting himself with ministers last year; he would, nevertheless, do him the justice to fay, he believed he acted in that particular on the purest motives; and in .regard to the recent attempt of ministers and their agents to calumniate and disgrace him, every feature of his character gave the lie to any insinuation respecting him, that was not consistent with the strictest integrity and the nicest honour. His Lordfliip at length concluded a very long and able speech, with observing, that whether the motion were successful or not, the result must be, that the conduct of the Noble Earl, by whom ministers had dealt so unhandsomely! would stand unsullied in the eyes of the Public, supported by the unanimous testimony of the Irifli nation.

The Earl os Carlisle said, he did not at that late hour mean to detain their Lordships by going into a discussion of a subject, upon which, he thought, too much had been said already; but he felt it necessary to say a word or two respecting tlic Noble Earl's remarks. As the Noble Earl had prepared him,self to run a muck at the first characters in this and the neighbouring kingdom, as well as those whom he thought proper to represent as men of no character, he was not surprised at his condescending to run at so insignificant an individual as himself. And the appearance which the Noble Lord thought proper to make, was of a piece with the coarseness of his attack, having that emblem in his hand, which was the peculiar accompaniment of a convict in the cart, in his way to Tyburn *. lie owned he was no match for the Noble Lord at his own weapons; he did not come down to the House with his pockets staffed with pamphlets, with Mr. Woodfall's Reports in one hand, and his own common-place book in the other. The purpose, however, for which he rose was, to vindicate

* Lord Lnuderdale, during the latter part of his speech, hekl an fiance in his hand, with which he repeattdly moiltened his> mouth.


« PreviousContinue »