He therefore felt himself justified in submitting the following motion to their lordships: "That this house, feeling the necessity of a firm and stable government in this most important Crisis of Public Affairs, is impressed with the deepest regret at the change which has lately taken place in his majesty's councils, and that this regret is greatly increased by the causes to which the change has been ascribed; it being the opinion of this house, that it is contrary to the first duties of the responsible ministers of the king to restrain themselves by any pledge, expressed or implied, from submitting to his majesty faithfully and truly, any advice, which in their judgement, the course of circumstances may render necessary for the honour of his majesty's crown, and the welfare of his dominions".
He concluded by moving, "That this house, considering a firm and efficient administration, as indispensably necessary, in the present important Crisis of Public Affairs, has seen, with the deepest regret, the late change in his majesty's councils".
it stated, "That the petitioners contemplate, with the greatest anxiety and apprehension, the alarming consequences with which they are threatened from certain Orders in Council, purporting to be issued 'for the protection of the Trade and Navigation of Great Britain,' but on which they are induced, after mature consideration, to believe that they must be productive of the most ruinous effects; and that the petitioners are duty sensible of the necessity of making every sacrifice of personal interests to promote the strength and resources of the country in the present extraordinary Crisis of Public Affairs; and, if the total change introduced into the whole commercial system of this country, and of the world, by the Orders Council, could be conducive to so desirable an object, the petitioners, great as their losses must be, would submit without a murmur; but, understanding that these orders are principally, if not wholly, recommended by an opinion that they will prove beneficial to the commercial interests of this, country, they feel it to be their duty humbly to represent their conviction that this: opinion is founded in.
As the Bill had gone on so far as the third reading, and as no alternative remained, but either to adopt it as it stood, or reject it altogether, he felt it his duty to support the tax, believing it the only one likely to be effective under the present Crisis of Public Affairs.
Under such circumstances, it was possible, and he hoped not improbable, that the right hon. Baronet and some of his friends might be induced, in the great Crisis of Public Affairs, to put their shoulders to the wheel and endeavour to drag the car of State to a place of security.
But so momentous are the circumstances under which the House is at present assembled, so awful is the Crisis of Public Affairs under which I feel myself called upon to address you, that I must confess the sense of the importance of the occasion supersedes all that private and personal feeling which has weighed so heavily on me at other times, and gives me a degree of encouragement which I never before felt, in my humble endeavour to perform the great and solemn duty which I have this night engaged to discharge.
It is a truly singular feature in the present Crisis of Public Affairs, that a large portion of the most distinguished persons in this kingdom are strongly opposed to that system and course of public measures, of which others equally honourable and good, feel themselves bound to be the warmest and the firmest supporters.
He should refer first to the transaction that had taken place last May, and he would say, that the very expressions used by the noble Lord, at the head of the Government in the other House, and the strong expressions of the noble Lord opposite, in announcing to the two Houses of Parliament and the public, that the loss of confidence by them in a great Crisis of Public Affairs had induced them to quit the conduct of those affairs, fully justified and supported the scope and even the terms of the present motion.
Because the Address adopted by the House, in failing to respond to the recommendations contained in her Majesty's gracious Speech from the Throne, is to be regarded as a deliberate condemnation of the policy of her Majesty's Ministers, and, as such, must tend to their speedy retirement from the ser vice of the State, and to the substitution of others as advisers of the Crown, whose known maxims of Government afford no ground of hope that any measure emanating from their councils can adequately meet the difficulties of the present Crisis of Public Affairs.
76 should it for a moment be considered or treated as a question of party; the matter is simply and assuredly this, that in a great Crisis of Public Affairs, it now behoves us carefully, and calmly, and kindly to consider the present moral and religious condition of the working classes.
If they think upon the whole, that Her Majesty's present advisers, in a great Crisis of Public Affairs, have acted in a manner unworthy of the confidence of the country—unworthy of the confidence of this House, and injurious to the best interests of the State—let them declare it by their vote, and give that vote in favour of the noble Lord.
I should be sorry if the discussion we have now entered upon, which is a discussion of primary importance in a great Crisis of Public Affairs, should degenerate into a question of mere detail.
Having reason to hope that time would be given until Friday to come to the discussion of, and a decision on, the question, in the interval he would avoid 739 everything that should even tend to the expression of an opinion on his part with regard to that which would be most wise, prudent, and politic in this important Crisis of Our Public Affairs.
Now, Sir, I am about to explain to the House the view which I venture to take in the present Crisis of Public Affairs.
It is not to minute questions of that kind that your attention is now drawn; but, in a great Crisis of Public Affairs, the question is fairly raised in a very able speech—What has been the conduct of the Government in the negotiations which have taken place, what is their intention, and what is their policy?
] I understood the hon. Member to say he was so liable to catarrh as to be unable to leave his ship for many days consecutively, and I leave it to the House to judge whether the tone and substance of what the hon. Member said did not leave 780 an impression that an unfit person had been appointed, at a Crisis of Public Affairs, to fill a most important situation.
The appeal of the right hon. Member for Greenwich was dignified and almost touching—that they should consider whether some means might not yet be found by which the House of Commons should not offer to the people of England and the nations of Europe the spectacle of indecent quarrels and dissensions at a Crisis of Public Affairs.