As this was, perhaps, the last time that he might have occasion to address the house, during the present session, he felt it his duty to intreat their lordships to consider as nothing what had taken place; to meet the question with new feelings and ideas; to reflect that we were in the very Crisis of Our Fate, upon the point, perhaps, of being assailed by the roost formidable enemy that had ever menaced the existence of the government of any country.
If, as his majesty confidently trusts, you dis- 6 play in this Crisis of the Fate of the country the?
It has been announced, in the Speech delivered by the Lords Commissioners at the opening of the present session of parliament, that this is the Crisis of the Fate of the country; and I believe the assertion to be true.
If then their lordships had not abandoned the whole system of that policy upon which this country has hitherto acted towards Portugal, if they were not prepared to desert both Spain and Portugal in this Crisis of Their Fate, what could now induce them to depart from the principle, even of encouraging Portugal to make exertions for her own defence?
543 There never was a period in the history of this country when the union of political and military knowledge were so necessary, or might be so advantageously exerted in the councils of the nation, as at the present hour, "this important hour," perhaps "the very Crisis of Our Fate".
I conjure your lordships to meditate day and night upon the measures which ought to be adopted in this great Crisis of Our Fate, to alleviate the distress with which the coun- 417 try is now afflicted, to allay the discontent which at present pervades it, to avert the dreadful consequences which may ensue, to preserve the public peace, to restore, as far as is yet possible, our former prosperity and happiness; and in the language of the prayer which is daily read before us, "to unite and knit together the hearts of all orders of men within the realm".
In this great Crisis of Our Fate, a dereliction of your duty would not be forgotten or forgiven by the people.
Supported, then, by the whole of Europe, if, at the Crisis of the Fate of Poland, England had declared herself, and a French army had moved, Russia would not have ventured to continue the contest; and he was convinced, that, if she had ventured to continue it, she would have been defeated.
To crown the whole, when the Crisis of the Fate of the independence of Turkey had arrived, there was no British Ambassador at Constantinople.
By taking this course, too, let me remind hon. Gentlemen, that we shall be doing what is most likely to lead to the real and permanent welfare of the negroes themselves; what is best calculated, under the blessing of Providence, to convert into free, into prosperous, into enlightened, and religious communities, those colonies which have, heretofore, resounded with the clank of chains, and with the cries of the oppressed, which must now, at all events, soon be relieved from the last traces of slavery, but which, by any precipitation, or imprudence of ours in this Crisis of Their Fate, may still be made to escape from the horrors of their past condition, only to fall into the lighter, but still deplorable, evils, of hopeless confusion and 208 barbarism.
This was, as it were, the Crisis of the Fate of that measure, the burthen of which was felt, whilst the expected benefit was not yet experienced.
It is impossible for me not to feel that we are in a great Crisis of the Fate of this country.
This was the Crisis of the Fate of Ireland.
At last, in 1855, the Crisis of the Fate of these mariners arrived, and a cruel revelation was made, the particulars of which he should shortly detail:—Their Lordships were aware that, commencing with the year 1848, several expeditions, both by land and sea, were, with laudable zeal, sent out by the Admiralty, and even by our brothers on the other side of the Atlantic, to endeavour to ascertain the fate of Franklin and his companions.
In the Crisis of the Fate of India, when it seemed probable that the greatest blow that could be struck at the prestige of England would fall on it, our supremacy in India was maintained by the gallantry of a very small force in that country; and he thought that Government could not be too liberal in rewarding the services of those who aided by their zeal and self-sacrifice in the suppression of the mutiny.
We now stood at the very Crisis of Our Fate.
It may be that in the most terrible Crisis of the Fate of the Empire Ireland is expected to be indifferent and unaffected, contributing not one single penny in order to secure the safety of the State or the Realm of which she is supposed to form a part.
The one and only object which any of us now has in view in this matter is so to deal with it, on the one hand, as to inflict no unfair hardship on any section of opinion, and on the other, so to deal with it that we may not raise domestic controversies in the midst of a great war and so that we concentrate in this Crisis of Our Fate on our single task, For that reason I beg to move that the Order be discharged and the Bill withdrawn.
Although I do not object to a Division being taken on this matter if hon. Members think it worth while, I hope that there will not be a prolonged discussion, and I myself think it would be a very bad thing indeed if now, in the very Crisis of Our Fate, the very measures which at the beginning of the War we thought were necessary for the proper prosecution of this War were to be set aside.
Mr. CECIL HARMSWORTH: I feel quite sure that the vast majority of Members of this House, and the public at large outside, will respond with the utmost cordiality to the appeal of my right hon. Friend, and if in the course of events—I trust it may not be the case—he may find it necessary to come to this House, and to go to his friends outside the House and ask to be released from certain undertakings, I have no doubt that at this Crisis in the Fate of our country he will find that relief which he is entitled to seek.
shows the very deplorable attitude of mind taken up by a great many Nationalist Members at this fearful Crisis in Our Fate, and I am very glad that I have had the opportunity to be called directly after his speech, because I am the only Unionist here who is of Irish descent and a Roman Catholic as well, and, being a man of Irish race, I feel that I can say something in reply to what the hon. Member has said He has alluded to the services of Ireland in this War the magnificent services of the 10th, the 16th, and the Ulster divisions.
At a Crisis in Our Fate, when the integrity of the Empire means more to civilisation than it has ever done in our past history, the position won by the occupants of the Throne in the minds of the people of the Empire is a matter of Imperial moment.
] This is the Bill with which the Government, at this Crisis of Our Fate, think it right to occupy the time of the House of Commons.
And now the gratitude of a cowardly Government is to stop those supplies which they need in the Crisis of Their Fate.
I would rather make it plain to the wage-earners of this country and to all others who can lend a portion of their income to the State, that, so far from having lost faith in their willingness to help the country at this Crisis in Our Fate, we are confident that the response will be greater than ever.