The 1859 Hansard Trawl - It's back. Featuring reduced taxation bringing benefits, general contentment prevailing and a jaw dropper of a typo.
Well, why not, I thought.
So, some extracts from the 'Address in Answer to Her Majesty's Speech' that comparison and contrast might be made to our current dark and terrible times:
"In the first paragraph of the gracious Speech, Her Majesty congratulates us upon the general contentment which prevails throughout the country. This is an announcement which would be a most gratifying one at any time, but is more especially so at the present moment, if we contrast it with the circumstances under which we assembled at the commencement of the last Session. The House was then called together, in consequence of a sudden panic, which spreading widely throughout the Continent, extended to this country, threatening to give a serious check to all commercial enterprise, and did in fact cause the most widespread alarm and embarrassment".
But now, Sir, after the interval of little more than a year, we find ourselves in at least as good a position as before those financial difficulties arose; the trade of the country has rapidly recovered, and the distress among the operative classes which appeared to be an inevitable consequence of the pressure, has so far disappeared that labour of all kinds is finding ready employment. The diminution in crime and pauperism, of which we are informed, is also most gratifying, because these are evils which it is impossible for legislation to eradicate, or even effectually to remedy, and I think that we may trace in their gradual decrease the happy effects of those strenuous efforts which are being made for the furtherance of education, of that kindly sympathy which is growing up and increasing between the different classes of the community, however widely they may be separated by social position, and of that generous and discriminating benevolence which cases of distress never fail to elicit: these causes, Sir, among others, are at work to empty our crowded gaols and workhouses, which are now too constantly replenished by the united effects of ignorance and destitution.
As above, with bells on.
The amicable state of our foreign relations has been farther secured by a Treaty of Commerce with Russia, so lately a formidable enemy—but from henceforward, we may trust, a valuable ally...a treaty has been concluded with China, which, besides the advantages it secures in the protection of life and property of foreigners travelling in the country, and the toleration it provides for the Christian religion and its professors, will give an effectual stimulus to trade, and open a wide field of enterprise. In addition to this we have succeeded by another treaty, and by the assistance of the same skilful negotiator, in establishing friendly relations with the empire of Japan...The House will cordially share in the satisfaction which Her Majesty expresses at the abolition by the Emperor of the French of the system of negro emigration from the cast coast of Africa, and the country will fully appreciate the magnanimity and the honourable feeling which have actuated our great Ally in the step which he has taken".
Alistair Darling, take note:
"The promised re-mission of a portion of the income-tax, amounting to more than £7,500,000 on the year, has been realized. The effect of this remitted taxation has been to stimulate the consumption of the country, and thereby to increase the revenue; so that, on the whole, I think we must conclude that, if there was boldness displayed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it was a happy boldness,—boldness not resulting from rash daring, but founded on accurate calculations,—such a boldness as in war shows the hero, and in politics the statesman".
An early discovery of the Laffer Curve, maybe?
Blair, Brown et al, take note:
It is hardly complimentary to the constitution of this House that it should require to be patched and tinkered every quarter of a century. But, while their measure will be conceived in no peddling spirit neither, on the other hand, will it display a genius for revolution. We may be sure that it will not ignore Royalty, or eliminate an estate of the Realm. It will not speak evil of dignities, or pander to mobs. It will not set up class legislation, and subject all other classes of the community to the domination of the lowest.
Class War? No thanks...
Lord John Russell: "In the old days of the Whig Club there was a toast which used frequently to be given and responded to,—"The Cause of Civil and Religious Liberty all over the World."
I'll drink to that.
"But if that Government is to make an invasion upon another country, with the view of improving the form of government in that country, then we certainly should have a right to ask whether the freedom and independence of that country will be promoted by such a proceeding.. Therefore, Sir, for all these reasons I should deprecate, as an infraction of the peace of Europe, as one of the very worst examples that could be set, and as tending to shake men's confidence in all treaties in which the present stability of Europe is founded, any such war as is now spoken of".
And I'm not saying a mumbling word.
Try saying this these days:
I am convinced that the people of Central Italy—a people who for five centuries have been glorious in literature, a people who have been an enlightened nation during those five centuries, and who are, therefore, far superior in mental resources than the peasants in the Danubian Principalities—if the foreign forces were withdrawn, if provision were made, as provision could easily be made by the Catholic Powers of Europe (with which arrangement the Protestant Powers have nothing to do) for the furnishing of any contingent forces to secure the personal security of the Pope in Rome—I am convinced that such a people would soon settle such laws for their own government as would produce contentment and prosperity".
Perhaps the greatest 'sic' of all time
"I co not believe the admission of those persons who are fitted to exercise the franchise will tend to injure any of the institutions of the country. I believe the mass of the country in general are of the opinion of our forefathers before us—of the opinion of Burke, Fox, and Pitt—that the institutions of this country have given the people as great a share of liberty and happiness as was ever enjoyed under any institutions which bunion (sic, and how. Presumably it is meant to be human) wisdom has devised. That, no doubt, was the opinion of Mr. Burke, Mr. Fox, and Mr. Pitt, and they were no fools. I believe such to be the opinion of the country in general, and I wish to see those benefits extended".