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were utterly unfounded. Those amount substantially to a pledge, I consulted-all, with the excep- that he will support one of those tion of my brother the Duke of measures, namely, the immediate Bedford, persons who had belonged and total repeal of the Corn Laws. to her Majesty's Privy Council, “ Sir Robert Peel humbly exand had been in the Cabinet dur- presses to your Majesty his regret ing either the present or the former that he does not feel it to be conreign-entirely concurred with me sistent with his duty to enter upon in the sentiments expressed in my the consideration of this important letter. Her Majesty next day question in Parliament fettered by desired I would attend her at à previous engagement of the naWindsor Castle ; and, when I then ture of that required from him.” explained the difficulty which I Lord John Russell thought that felt, she put into my hands a letter Sir Robert Peel had misapprehendfrom the right honourable Baronet, ed his meaning. He did not want an which, if he has no objection, I absolute pledge from him. “What will read.”
I wished from the right honourSir Robert Peel._.I have no able gentleman was, that he should objection."
not feel himself precluded from Lord John Russell then read taking the measure into considerathe following letter from Sir Ro- tion when brought into Parliament. bert Peel to the Queen :
The letter I have just read, though “ Whitehall, Dec. 17, 1845. it proceeds on a misunderstanding “ Sir Robe Peel presents his of my letter, seems to amount subhumble duty to your Majesty, and stantially to this, that the right takes the earliest opportunity of honourable gentleman was quite acknowledging the receipt of your ready to consider, and did not reMajesty's letter of yesterday, which gard himself as precluded from reached him at a late hour last supporting, such a measure, if night.
brought before Parliament by Her “ Sir Robert Peel feels assured Majesty's Ministers. On considerthat your Majesty will permit him ing that letter, those with whom I humbly to refer to the communica- consulted, as well as myself, were tions he has addressed to your of opinion, that though the task Majesty since his tender of re one subject to great risk, signation, as an evidence of his though it was full of danger and earnest desire to co-operate in a hazard, yet, placed as we were, we private capacity in the adjustment should run that peril, and assure of the question of the Corn Laws. Her Majesty that we would under
“ In the letter of Lord John take the task.” He was fully Russell to your Majesty, he ex
aware of the heavy responsibility presses his concurrence in the rea which attached to him in his atsoning of Sir Robert Peel, which tempt to form a Government; but shows the inexpediency of pledging he wished to see the Corn-law Sir Robert Peel to the outline of a question settled without a violent series of measures connected with struggle between opposing interthe settlement of that question. ests. He knew that many men of
“ Lord John Russell requires, liberal politics, as well as men who at the same time, that Sir Robert cared nothing about politics, were Peel should give assurances, which disposed to support Sir Robert
Peel if he brought forward a mea vernment. But when I took into
portion of those who followed Sir sider that task as hopeless, which Robert Peel, to surmount.
has been from the beginning ha“Lord John Russell has had zardous. solely in view the settlement of the “ Lord John Russell is deeply question of the Corn Laws, by which sensible of the embarrassment the country is so much agitated. caused by the present state of
“ Those who have served your public affairs. He will be ready, Majesty and your royal prede- therefore, to do all in his power, as cessor in cabinet offices, during the a member of Parliament, to promote Administrations of Lord Grey and the settlement of that question Lord Melbourne, who are now in which, in present circumstances, is political connexion with Lord John the source of so much danger, Russell, were consulted by him. especially to the welfare and peace They agreed on the principles by of Ireland. which they would be guided in " Lord John Russell would have framing a measure for the repeal formed his Ministry on the basis of of the Corn Laws. Thus one great a complete free trade in corn, to be difficulty was surmounted. But, as established at once without gradathe party which acts with Lord tion or delay. He would have acJohn Russell is in a minority in companied that proposal with meaboth Houses of Parliament, it was sures of relief to a considerable necessary to ascertain how far they extent to the occupiers of land were likely to obtain the support from the burdens to which they are of Sir Robert Peel.
subjected. But he will be little “ Your Majesty is acquainted disposed to insist, as a member of with all that has passed on this Parliament, on what may seem to subject. Lord John Russell is your Majesty's advisers an impracquite ready to admit, that Sir Ro- ticable course. The country rebert Peel has been willing from quires, above all things, an early the commencement to the end to and peaceable settlement of a quesdiminish the difficulties in the course tion which, if not soon settled, may, of a new Government prepared to in an adverse state of affairs, cause attempt the settlement of the Corn a fearful convulsion. Laws. But Sir Robert Peel could “I owe,” proceeded Lord John not, of course, rely on the support Russell, “a debt of the deepest gratiof his political friends, should the tude to Her Majesty, for the gracious proposed measure be in their eyes manner in which she intrusted me dangerous and unwise.
with the task of forming an Admi“ In this uncertainty of ob- nistration, and for the facilities taining a majority in the House of which she was always ready to Commons, it was absolutely neces afford with the view of lessening sary that all those who were pro- the difficulties of the task I had minent in the political party to undertaken. Her Majesty has imwhich Lord John Russell is at- posed upon me a burden of obligatached should give their zealous tion which I cannot sufficiently acaid, and act in concert in the new knowledge. I would say, in reAdministration.
ference to the right honourable “ Lord John Russell has, in one gentleman's offer of assistance, that instance, been unable to obtain this it was entirely spontaneous; and as concert; and he must now con- to his subsequent communications,
there was nothing that tended to hearty assent to measures calcumake
my task more difficult.” He lated to benefit the country, withwas exceedingly sorry at not having out reference to the proposer of been able to overcome the objec- them. Lord John Russell's speech tions of Lord Grey : it was due to was received with much cheering. him to state that his objections Mr. Disraeli expressed his intenwere not of a personal nature, but tion of adhering to the principles originated in his sense of public of protection which had sent him duty.
into that House, and which would Ås to the Corn Laws, Lord John have compelled him to resign his Russell expressed his surprise at seat if he had conscientiously relinseeing it alleged at protection meet- quished them. He did not envy ings, that the danger of scarcity Sir Robert Peel his feelings in the had been exaggerated, and that apologetic address which he had therefore the protecting laws should that night delivered to those who remain untouched. Did those who
were once his party in that House. used such language never carry The opinions which Sir Robert their thoughts forward? Was there Peel had that night expressed any one who had watched events might as well have been expressed that would say the law of 1842 was when he held a position in that sufficient of itself to provide for House scarcely less influential than the food of the people in 1846 ? his present, namely, when he was The House had just heard what the leader of the Conservative Opthe author of that law had stated position. What could the House as the result of his observation and think of a statesman who, having experience.
served four Sovereigns, was at last As regarded Ireland, Lord John compelled, by the observations remarked, that he entertained the which he had made in the last three hope, had he succeeded in removing or four years, to change his opinions the restrictive duties on corn and on a subject which must have been various manufactures, of being able repeatedly brought under his conto propose a comprehensive scheme
sideration, in every point of view, which would have laid the founda- in the manifold debates of nearly tion of future peace in that country. twenty years ? Such a statesman Allusion had been made in the might be conscientious, but he was Queen's Speech to the necessity of at any rate unfortunate, and ought measures to meet the murderous not to address his former friends outrages which prevailed, and he in the tone of menace. He knew of should be ready to support mea no parallel to Sir Robert Peel's consures calculated to suppress such duct save that of a late Captain of the crimes. He was sorry to say, how Pasha of Constantinople, who, havever, that he did not think that ing received the command of a fleet any thing had been done by the from the Sultan to attack Mehemet present Government to establish Ali, steered that fleet at once into that peace, or procure for England the enemy's port. The Admiral that affection, which were so much was called a traitor ; but he deto be desired.
fended himself from the charge on He concluded by stating that, the ground that he was an enemy whether in office or out of office, to war, that he hated a prolonged he should be ready to give his contest, and that he had terminated
it by betraying the cause of his nistry had obtained office, by demaster, Mr. Disraeli denounced claring that he was not the Mithe speech of Sir Robert Peel that nister who ought to abrogate the evening as a glorious example of Corn Laws. He hoped that, whategotistical rhetoric, and censured ever might be the opinion of the him in the severest terms for the House as to free trade, 'it would manner in which he had turned resist, to the utmost, the free poround upon his former party. It litics of such statesmen as Sir was not the favour of his Sove- Robert Peel. reign which had placed Sir Robert Mr. Miles said, that no amendPeel in office, but the sacred cause ment had been moved on the Adof protection, by which a Parlia. dress, because on an early ocment had been dissolved, and a casion next week an opportunity nation taken in. Sir Robert Peel would be given to the House of a great statesman, who was always expressing a decision on the exmarching after the events of his traordinary change of principle age! He was just as much a avowed that night by Sir R. Peel. great statesman as he who got up What had become of those membehind a carriage was a great whip. bers of his Cabinet who had first Both were the disciples of progress, objected to his plan? Were they and both were anxious for a good determined to sacrifice every thing place. Who was he that dared to to their idol ? If so, he hoped they tell the House that an ancient mo would sacrifice their seats, and narchy, and a proud aristocracy, make an appeal at once to their were useless lumber, and that he constituents. He gave notice on was the only man who could re behalf of himself and several other concile their action to that of a re members that the strongest constiformed House of Commons, whose tutional opposition would be given reformation he had resisted to the to his plan, and that every impediutmost? When Sir Robert Peel ment would be made use of to presaid that his Conservative policy vent its passing into law. had put down agitation, notwith After a few words to the same standing his (Mr. Disraeli's) know- effect from Colonel Sibthorp, the ledge of the extent to which Parlia- Address was agreed to without a mentary assurance could sometimes dissentient voice. go, he was perfectly thunderstruck. In the House of Lords on a When he said that, too, in the pre- subsequent day, January the 26th, sence of Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright, the Duke of Wellington, on being he had achieved one of the first asked by the Duke of Richmond great attributes of an orator, for whether he had received Her Mahe had made an impression on the jesty's permission to state the reaHouse. He wondered how Sir Ro sons which had induced the Gobert could assert that his proposed vernment to resign, and again to legislation had no reference to the accept office, replied in the folagitation on the Corn Laws; and lowing brief but characteristic be concluded a bitter invective against Sir Robert Peel, who, he “My lords : When the accounts said, had been deserted by Lord were received from Ireland and Stanley because he had deserted different parts of Great Britain all the principles on which the Mi- during last autumn of the state