Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

8 articles on this Page







LORD PAL MERSTONS SPEECH ON THE HUSTINGS. The news of the day is vested entirely upon elections, and as we find it impossible to record the sentiments of the many, we can only give the speech of Lord Palmer- ston at Tiverton as an exemplification of the Govern- ment tone. The noble lord was received with enthusiastic ap- aplause, and said: Ladies and gentlemen, gentlemen electors of Tiverton, I cannot omit the ladies, be- cause even as things are, we know the influence which they exert over the electors—(cheers and langhter)- not an unconstitutional influence—(renewed laughter) —not by intimidation—(hear)—but by winning ways- (cheers)—and, moreover, I am much disposed to agree with the American lady, who a few days ago addressed, I think, the electors of Westminster, and who con- tended for what she called the woman's question, that is to say, that whenever universal suffrage is established, the ladies would have as good a right to vote as the men (cheers and laughter). Well, ladies and gentlemen, I appear before you now not for the first time. I am not, therefore, about to give myself a character, because I know that you, who watch with attention and anxiety the conduct of public men, are just as able to make my character as I should be myself; and no doubt you would make it with more impartiality than the man whom it concerns. I have so long had the honour of being one of the representatives of Tiverton, that I confess I feel no anxiety as to the result of the poll to- morrow (cheers). You men of Devonshire are not re- proached with the character of fickleness; you are steady friends, and warm friends. When once you have sup- ported a man, and taken up a man, as you have done me the honour of supporting, and taking up, it is not your habit of character to turn your back on him capri- ciously and without reason. For the last six years I have had the honour of being a principal member of her Majesty's Government (cheers). When first the charge of the affairs of the country devolved upon us, we were told by many men whose opinions are entitled to respect—men of political experience and sound judg- men—" Get rid of that Parliament as soon as you can— ("Oh," and cheers)—it was called under the auspices of your opponents; do not trust it it will serve you some scurvy trick have a Parliament of your own, and then you will be able to carry on the business of the country." Well, we said, "No, we will take things as they are; we will trust men of honour until we find we are deceived; we will not get rid of this Parliament until it has shown by some adverse vote that we have no chance of obtaining its vote (cheers). Well, I must say that the Parliament, to its honour, treated our Government in the fairest and most handsome manner. I do not mean to say that we have not had some party struggles that forms part of the working of the British constitution. There must always, or ought to be, an Opposition as well as a Government; and it is the busi- ness and duty of the Opposition from time to time to try and get rid of the Government and they are only performing a public duty, and should not be reproached for taking advantage of what they think a fair oppor- tunity. Those opportunities were taken advantage of, but the attempt failed. We continue to hold the ma- jority in the House of Commons, and that majority, so far from diminishing, as years rolled on, was greater upon the last great battle than we obtained when we were seated in the possession of office (cheers). Well, gentlemen, then I say you are that part of the British nation represented fairly in the House of Commons, and can I persuade myself that you will feel less con- fidence than the House of Commons did-(" No," and cheers)—a House of Commons elected under adverse influences? You, gentlemen, acting as consistent Libe- rals, and having invariably for so many years honoured me with your confidence and support—(cheers)—I say, therefore, I am convinced I shall leave this town again as one of the representatives of Tiverton (" Yes," and cheers). And I can assure you that I desire no more honourable position as a member of the House of Com- mons than that of representing this Liberal borough (applause). I will not deny or conceal from you that I have had overtures made to me to stand for other places —(hear, hear)—places to which men in general attach great value, and for which they feel great respect; but I said, No, I have, as I believe, succeeded in securing for myself the friendship of the electors of Tiverton. I am proud of the friendship, and I will not be the man to leave friends who are not disposed to leave me (loud applause). Gentlemen, the course pursued by the Government of which I have the honour of being a member during the last six years is written in the sta- tute-books of the land-is written in the history of Europe —is written in the transactions of the world (cheers). We have, I flatter myself without the fear of contradic- tion, honourably and faithfully performed the duties which our Sovereign and the Parliament confided to our hands (hear, hear). There cannot be found, I am sure, in the history of a period of six years, during which the nation enjoyed more advantages at home and more re- spect and honour abroad than during the existence of the late Parliament (cheers). Industry has been re- lieved from many of those shackles which previously cramped its exertions. Wealth has been accumulated, and-with regard to some individuals who have been more successful than others in the pursuits of commerce and manufactures-to a degree which is almost fabulous. To one who did not know it to be true it might appear, indeed, to be an exaggeration of the fact. We are told of men who have amassed millions-a million and a half. More than that: men hardly known to the bulk of their countrymen, except as honest, industrious painstaking men, who have acquired an amount of wealth which in former times would not have been deemed possible (hear, hear). The public wealth has increased by the aggregation of individual riches; and every man who has made this large accumulation of wealth has been a benefactor to his ceuntry, not only by the employment which he has given to thousands under his care, but by the contributions which he makes to the revenue and the prosperity of the nation (cheers). The wealth of the country has increased so rapidly that my right hon. friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been enabled to stop that increase by a great remis- sion of taxation (laughter, and cheers). He has done his best (laughter) He has taken off tax after tax- income tax, sugar duties, tea duties, fire insurance; he has gone through all the catalogue of taxation, nibbling here, cutting down there—(laughter)—but, in spite of all his exertions, the country has been determined to produce a large revenue, and by tnat large revenue^ accompanied by great alleviations of burdens to eaclr individual, we have succeeded for the first time in making some Roteworthy impression upon the public debt, and in maintaining our necessary establishments —the army, navy, militia, and volunteers—in a state of perfect efficiency (loud cheers). And, gentlemen, that is no small matter—(hear, hear, and cheers)—because, depend upon it, that the money which is spent upon national defences in time of peace, provided always it is not carried to excess, is the best security against the occurrence of war (applause). A country that accumu- lates wealth, and does not maintain an efficient means of defence, is like a banker who would fill his chests with gold, and leave his doors unbolted and his windows un. barred (hear, hear). The noble lord having noticed the termination of the American war, said: The cotton famine was a great calamity to the country. It lasted several years, and its pressure was extreme.; but. on the other hand, noble was the conduct of that part of our manufacturing popu- lation which was thrown out cf employment by the ces- sation of the cotton supply (hear). It showed that they had rightly understood the 7position of things. They knew full well-they could set be ignorant of it—that. the pressure and diminution of supply were not owing to any act whatever of their rulers. They saw that it was the result of events over which the Government of their country could have no possible control (bear, hoar). Again, we have had in the sister island three successive bad years, land those who know Ireland, and who are aware how much the great bulk of the agricultural population depend upon the produce of their small bits of land must be well aware how great was the calamity of those three successive failures of the harvest. But, in spite of those local calamities, in spite of those partial draw- backs from the advancing prosperity of the country, I maintain that the wealth and welfare of the United Kingdom has progressed in a greater degree, and in a more rapid manner, during the past six years than in any like period of the history of the country. It has been thought by some that the Government of this country has been too much occupied with political matters, and has not sufficiently attended to and ex- tended the commercial intercourse of the country. Far is the truth from such an assertion. We have been assiduously engaged in Europe in extending, not only by our example and by cur precepts, but also by our treaties, those principles of free commercial inter- course which have so well succeeded in this country, and which we tell Continental nations would equally succeed with them. We have greatly enlarged the advantages of commercial intercourse between England and France and depend upon it, gentlemen, that one of the securities for friendly understanding between two great nations is the fact that each nation has a commercial interest in maintaining peace and friend- ship with the other (cheers) We were assisted in that by the late Mr. Cobden—(cheers)—and most honour- able and successful were his exertions in carrying locally into effect the instructions which he received from the Government. His conduct, indeed, was in all respects noble, for he declined those offers which it was my duty to make to him of rewards from the Crown- preferring that reward which a good conscience affords to a man who has well and faithfully served his country (loud applause). There was one remote part of the world, which men, in their ignorance, I should rather say their unacquaintance, have magnified into an un- approachable region with which it was vain to have any friendly or commercial intercourse-I mean China and Japan. With both China and Japan we are now upon friendly terms, and our commerce with both is rapidly and most prosperously increasing. I have here behind me an hon. friend of mine, Sir John Bowring, who had much to do in carrying out those great and advantageous ransactions, and to whom great merit must be attri- buted for having been the first almost to deal with the Japanese question. Well, then, I say the prosperous and successful exertions of industry, wealth, and agricul- ture, manufacturing or commercial, are the foundations of national wealth, of national welfare and happiness; and I say that a Government like ours, which has laboured incessantly and successfully in extending the commercial intercourse with foreign nations, deserves, as I think, the confidence and the support of its fellow- countrymen (applause). I trust, then, gentlemen, I shall find the electors of Tiverton in the same mood as the House of Commons was, lately dissolved, and that they will give a fair and honest support to me as repre- senting here the successful Government, and that I shall not be deceived in the expectations which are formed that I shall again carry from this town the honour which I have for so many years and so many Parliaments enjoyed of being one of the representatives of this town of Tiverton (cheers). I wish you, gentle- men, a good day and as it is said in the play, "We will meet again at Philippi "-Philippi being the hust- ings and the polling booth (loud and continued cheering).



[No title]