With the noble viscount (lord Sidmouth) he must observe, that of those men his expectations were not equal to his wishes, that they might save the country at the Present Momentous Crisis.
a subject at all times important, but perhaps never so important as at the Present Momentous Crisis.
If the people of Ireland see their situation with a mind truly great—if, as formerly, 1207 their strength of mind be but proportionate to the extent of their calamity—if with a dignified compassion they pity and forgive the pitiable virulence of party animosity—if they forget every thing but themselves and what they have been, and what they have done; in 1779, when they got a trade, and in the memorable 1782, when they got a constitution—if Ireland but remembers this, and looks to the Present Momentous Crisis with the eye of a gallant general, and a high-minded nation, then will she best refute the calumnies of ignorance; she will not turn aside from the cause of Great Britain, of Europe, and the globe, to listen to the moody mutterings of any shabby mutineer—the night-boy, or the white-boy, or any other ragged rebel.
Was it to sit silent at the Present Momentous Crisis, 28 when the eyes of the country and of Europe were directed to them?
At the Present Momentous Crisis, it was surely of the utmost consequence to the security of the empire to unite all his Majesty's subjects heartily and cordially in the defence of the country.
let us shew to the world at large, let us prove by our actions, let us convince Europe, more particularly appalled at This Momentous Crisis, that there does still exist a free country, an independent nation, in whose bosom, wisdom, justice, and generosity, still love to dwell, and fondly build their nests; that from that country, a light can, and will, go forth, to dispel and expose the dismal, the pestilential, and atrocious effects of tyranny, oppression, and atheism; and that those benefits, which elsewhere have been allowed by the all-wise, all-merciful, and all-powerful Director of human events to appear as originating in accident, and have been managed with the most refined Machiavelism, owe their rise and progress in this blessed island to a more pure, a more dignified, a more noble cause; to real unfeigned Christian charity, founded on the blessed Word of our Saviour, who came to save, not to destroy man.
The moment it was known that such effects were taking place; the moment it was known that the desired action was commencing on the one side, ought we not to have pushed every effort on the other side, ought we not to have strained all the resources of the country, he would say to their very utmost: and, if we were honest in our exertions in behalf of the cause, ought we not to have seized This Momentous Crisis as it occurred, to strike one grand and decisive blow?
His lordship then concluded by moving, 26 "That an humble Address be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, to assure his Royal Highness, that we fully participate in the deep regret which his Royal Highness has expressed at the continuance of his Majesty's lamented indisposition: "To congratulate his Royal Highness, on the great and splendid success with which it has pleased Divine Providence, to bless his Majesty's arms, and those of his allies, in the course of the present campaign, which has been productive of the most important consequences to Europe: "That we rejoice to find that in Spain the glorious and decisive victory obtained near Vittoria has been followed by the advance of the allied forces to the Pyrenees, by the repulse of the enemy in every attempt to regain the ground which he had been compelled to abandon, by the reduction of the fortress of St. Sebastian, and finally by the establishment of the allied army on the frontier of France: "That, in this series of brilliant operations, we have not failed to observe, with the highest satisfaction, the consummate skill and ability of the great commander, field marshal the marquess of Wellington; and the steadiness and unconquerable spirit which have been equally displayed by the troops of the three nations united under his command: "That we rejoice to learn that the termination of the armistice in the north of Europe, and the declaration of war by the emperor of Austria against France, have been most happily accompanied by a system of cordial union and concert amongst, the allied powers, and that the effects of this union have even surpassed those expectations which it was calculated to excite: "That, by the signal victories obtained over the French in Silesia, at Culm, and at Denevitz, the efforts of the enemy to penetrate into the heart of the Austrian and Prussian territories were completely frustrated: "That these successes have been followed by a course of operations, conceived with so much judgment, and executed with such consummate prudence, vigour, and ability, as to have led, in their result, not only to the discomfiture of all those projects which the Ruler of France had so presumptuously announced on the renewal of the contest, but to the capture and destruction of the greater part of the army under his immediate command: 27 "That, whilst we are convinced the annals of Europe afford no example of victories more splendid and decisive than those which have been recently achieved in Saxony, whilst the perseverance and gallantry displayed by the allied forces of every description engaged in this conflict have exalted to the highest pitch of glory their military character, we gratefully render the full tribute of our applause to those sovereigns and princes who, in the sacred cause of national independence, have so eminently distinguished themselves, as the leaders of the armies of their respective nations: "To return his Royal Highness our humble thanks for his gracious intention of directing copies of the several conventions which his Royal Highness has concluded with the northern powers to be laid before us as soon as the ratifications of them shall have been duly exchanged; and to assure his Royal Highness that he may rely on our disposition to afford his Royal Highness the necessary assistance in support of a system of alliance which, originating chiefly in the magnanimous and disinterested views of the emperor of Russia, and followed up as it has been with corresponding energy by the other allied powers, has produced a change the most auspicious in the affairs of the continent: "That we learn, with the utmost satisfaction, that his Royal Highness has concluded a treaty of alliance and concert with the emperor of Austria; that the powerful league already formed has received an important addition of force by the declaration of Bavaria against France; and that the ancient connection with the Austrian government has been so happily renewed; and to assure his Royal Highness, that, while we duly appreciate all the value of the accession of that; great power to the common cause, we shall proceed without delay to consider of the means of enabling his Royal Highness to support his imperial majesty in the vigorous prosecution of the contest: "That we cannot but lament the continuance of the War between this country and the United States of America, but that we fully share the satisfaction expressed by his Royal Highness that the measures adopted for the conquest of Canada have been frustrated by the valour of his Majesty's troops, and by the zeal and loyalty of his American subjects: "That it must be matter of deep regret 28 to find that, whilst Great Britain, in conjunction with her allies, is exerting her utmost strength against the common enemy of independent nations, we have to contend against a country whose real interests in the issue of this great contest must be the same as our own: "That we are concerned to learn that his Royal Highness has not hitherto seen any disposition on the part of the United States of which he could avail himself, consistently with a due attention to the interests of his Majesty's subjects, to put an end to a war, in which; undoubtedly this country was not the aggressor: "That we receive with great satisfaction his Royal Highness's gracious assurance that he is at all times ready to enter into discussion with that government for a conciliatory adjustment of the differences between the two countries, upon principles of perfect reciprocity not inconsistent with the established maxims of public law and with the maritime rights of the British empire: "To return our humble thanks to his Royal Highness for having directed the estimates for the service of the ensuing year to be laid before us: "To assure his Royal Highness, that, while we regret the necessity of a large expenditure, we are fully sensible of, the necessity of great military exertions, and shall readily furnish such supplies as the public service, in This Momentous Crisis, may require: "That we must, at the present moment, receive with peculiar satisfaction the assurance of the flourishing state of our commerce: and we are grateful to the bounty of Divine Providence for the abundant harvest of the present year, which must afford material relief to his Majesty's people, and produce a considerable augmentation in many branches of the revenue: "That we rejoice to learn that a decided conviction now happily prevails throughout a large portion of Europe, that the war in which the allied, powers are engaged against the Ruler of France is a war of necessity, and that his views of universal dominion can only be defeated by combined and determined resistance, and that the public spirit and national enthusiasm which have successively accomplished the deliverance of the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, and of the Russian empire, now equally animate the German people; and we entertain the fullest confidence, 29 that the same perseverance on their part will ultimately lead to the same glorious result: "That, while we most deeply deplore the continuance of this extended warfare, and of all those miseries which the insatiable ambition of the1 Ruler of France has so long inflicted upon Europe, we receive with peculiar satisfaction the proof of the wisdom and moderation which animate the councils of his Royal Highness and the allies, afforded by the declaration of his Royal Highness, that no disposition to require from France sacrifices of any description inconsistent with her honour or just pretensions as a nation, will ever be an obstacle to peace, and that the restoration of that great blessing, upon principles of justice and equality, has never ceased to be the anxious wish of his Royal Highness; but that we are fully sensible that it can only be obtained by a continuance of those efforts which have already delivered so large a part of Europe from the power of the enemy: "To beseech his Royal Highness to believe that, whilst we look back with Satisfaction and pride on the firmness and perseverance of this: country, to which these advantages may in a great degree be ascribed, we are fully prepared for such new exertions as the nature of the contest may demand, by the happy effect of which we entertain the confident hope that his Royal Highness will be enabled to bring this long and arduous struggle to a conclusion which will be consistent with the independence of all the nations engaged in it, and with the general security of Europe".
What the steps were which would be taken by all parties in This Momentous Crisis, he knew not; but he should vote for the Address, because he thought the country ought to be put in a defensive state, and because that Address left the House quite unpledged as to its future conduct.
What is the full and sufficient declaration of the sense of the House on this most Momentous Crisis, which is contained in this monitory expostulation to the throne?
But he thought the House was proceeding to legislate without having made sufficient inquiry into the causes of the present disastrous situation of the country; and he was sure there was no instance on record where the legislature, at an equally Momentous Crisis, had acted with equal precipitation.
Urged, therefore, my Lords, by considerations of public duty to attempt that to which I am not equal, the government of the country at This Momentous Crisis, my only trust is in the support of this House and of the public, and above all, in the gracious kindness and confidence of his Majesty, which alone can safely carry me through the difficulties with which I am surrounded.
It was important that such opinions as those expressed by his hon. friend should no pass unnoticed and uncontradicted, especially at This Momentous Crisis.
but he felt, that upon the present occasion he had to encounter peculiar difficulties, for never, in his belief, was Parliament assembled at a more Momentous Crisis, nor was it ever called upon to discuss topics of higher importance than those adverted to in the Address from the Throne.
for I might well shrink from the temerity of adducing observations that had not already suggested themselves to the discernment and adoption of abilities and judgment infinitely superior to mine, Besides, at This Momentous Crisis, when the expectation of the nation is again brightening into hope, but is still tinged with some slight shade of fearful uncertainty, I feel that every moment that is consumed in unnecessary debate tends but to prolong the miseries of that suspense which now paralyses the best energies of the country.
Lord William Lennox said, at This Momentous Crisis, when the people looked with confidence only to the House of Commons to support their rights and liberties, he felt it to be the imperative duty of every individual, fearlessly and firmly to avow his sentiments.
And at This Momentous Crisis, when America, Russia, the Colonies, when 3,000,000 Chartists—at all events, a very numerous body, regarded it with distrust, it was next to madness to exasperate a people grateful for the smallest kindness.
It was said, that gentlemen residing in Ireland failed in performing their duty at This Momentous Crisis; but sufficient allowance was not made for the difficulties which they had to contend with.
And when the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government told them the difficulties of his financial position—and in the extraordinary difficulties of This Momentous Crisis he could heartily and deeply sympathize with the noble Lord in the position which he held—fully and completely was he willing to express his hearty concurrence in the wishes for his complete success; but as sure as the noble Lord was now the chief adviser of the Crown, let him be so sure that he was crippling the energies of this country, by bringing the authority of his great name to this most amazing and pernicious policy.
The noble Lord's second answer, though as kind and considerate as the first, was perhaps, not quite as encouraging; for though they understood it to mean that the noble Lord felt and sympathised with them on account of the Momentous Crisis at which the colony had arrived, yet at the same time he thought it right to wait for further despatches, to see if there was any chance of the war being concluded before he gave a definite answer as to the time they might expect this representative constitution would be given to them.
I have thought it more becoming and more convenient, honoured as I am by the confidence of a large number of Members of your Lordships' House, that I should take the earliest opportunity of declaring, on the part of the great Conservative body of this country, the view which they take, and the course which they are prepared to pursue, at This Momentous Crisis.
I shall never forget the words which escaped the lips of the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield (Mr. Roebuck), when he warned the House of the difficulties into which the country would be plunged, either by a change in the administration of affairs, or by a dissolution of Parliament at This Momentous Crisis.
It is of the highest importance to the public interests that this question should be immediately decided; and I hope by my rising at this moment, at once to meet the charges made by the noble Lord and his Friends, that the House will he enabled to divide on it to-night, and thus settle at This Momentous Crisis which party indeed possesses the confidence of Parliament.
My Lords, I am sure there is no one in this country who is not proud of the attitude adopted by Great Britain during the whole of This Momentous Crisis; and if the vindication of the national honour in the firmest, the most temperate, and the most successful manner is any 13 title to our esteem, I am equally certain that there is no one in this House, no matter on which side he may be sitting, who will not be willing to congratulate the noble Earl, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, on the memorable auspices under which he has assumed his well - merited honours, and taken his seat in your Lordships' House.
The present was a most Momentous Crisis.
In a Momentous Crisis, when to his astonishment the conduct of the Government met with almost universal approbation, the Opposition asked the House to refuse a Vote which the Government thought necessary to maintain England in the Conference, and then they sheltered themselves under the known fact that they would be defeated; because they knew they dared not, if there was the smallest possibility of their Amendment succeeding, expose to the country the absence of interest in their own country which such a vote would necessarily involve.
Their Lordships would remember that there was great anxiety as to the manner in which the agricultural labourers would exercise the vote, in the event of a Momentous Crisis arising.
I will venture to trouble the House with a few words from the speech made in 1859 by Mr. Disraeli, then Chancellor of the Exchequer and spokesman of the Government of that day, on a Motion similar to that which I am now asking the House to accept, and which was then introduced by the present Duke of Devonshire— "It is of the highest importance," Mr. Disraeli said, "to the public interests that this question should be immediately decided, and I hope the House will be enabled to divide on it to-night" —that was the first night of the debate— "and thus settle at This Momentous Crisis which Party indeed possesses the confidence of Parliament.
We may be at the opening of a very Momentous Crisis, and a very great disaster, and anyone who speaks on this subject in this House must do so with the highest sense of responsibility for the possible effect of his words.