Long for work did he seek,
It was the tremendous exertions of O'Connell and his followers that secured the triumph of the Liberal party in this memorable struggle. The first trial of strength was on the election of a Speaker. Parliament met on the 19th of February, 1835, and Lord Francis Egerton, one of the members for Lancashire, moved that Sir C. Manners Sutton, who for eighteen years had filled the chair with the unanimous approbation of all parties in the House, should be re-elected. Mr. Denison, one of the members for Surrey, proposed Mr. Abercromby, a gentleman of high position at the bar, and member for the city of Edinburgh. The division, it was felt on both sides, would be decisive as to the fate of the Government, by showing whether or not it was supported by a majority of the new Parliament which was the response given to the Prime Minister's appeal to the country. The house was the fullest on record, there being 626 members present. Mr. Abercromby was elected by a majority of ten, the numbers being 316 to 306. Sir Charles Sutton was supported by a majority of the English members—23, but his opponent had a majority of ten of the Scottish. Still, had the decision been in the hands of the British representatives, Government would have had a majority of 13; but of the Irish members only 41 voted for Sutton, while 61 voted for Abercromby. From this memorable division two things were evident to the Tories, in which the future of England for the next half century was to them distinctly foreshadowed; the first was, that the Ministry was entirely, on party questions, at the mercy of the Irish Catholic members; the second, that the county members of the whole empire were outvoted by the borough members in the proportion of 35 to 20, and that a large majority of the former had declared for the Conservative side.
Melbourne returned to town that evening, the bearer of a letter to the Duke. He communicated the state of affairs to Brougham under pledge of secrecy, but the Lord Chancellor promptly went to the Times and gave the editor a report of the circumstances, with the malicious addition—"The queen has done it all." The king, furious at the insult, came up to town, and dismissed his Ministers before their successors were appointed. Meanwhile, the Duke went to Brighton on Sunday, and advised the king to send for Sir Robert Peel, who was then in Italy. A messenger was immediately despatched, who in ten days arrived at Rome, and surprised Sir Robert Peel with the announcement of the king's wish that he should return to England forthwith. Next morning the right honourable baronet started for home, and arrived in London on the 9th of December. The Duke of Wellington details the circumstances of this Ministerial crisis in a letter to the Duke of Buckingham. According to his account, the death of the Earl Spencer, which removed Lord Althorp from the House of Commons, from the management of the Government business in that assembly, and from the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, occasioned the greatest difficulty and embarrassment. His personal influence and weight in the House of Commons were the main foundation of the strength of the late Government; and upon his removal it was necessary for the king and his Ministers to consider whether fresh arrangements should be made to enable his Majesty's late servants to conduct the affairs of the country, or whether it was advisable for his Majesty to adopt any other course. The arrangements in contemplation must have reference, not only to men, but to measures, to some of which the king felt the strongest objection. He had also strong objections to some of the members of the Cabinet. The Duke was therefore requested to form an Administration, but he earnestly recommended Sir Robert Peel as the fittest man for the office of Prime Minister. In the meanwhile he offered to hold the offices of First Lord of the Treasury and Home Secretary until Sir Robert Peel's return, Lord Lyndhurst holding the Great Seals temporarily, subject, with all the other arrangements, to Sir Robert Peel's approbation. On the 21st Lord Lyndhurst was gazetted as Lord Chancellor, holding in the interim his office of Chief Baron of the Exchequer, which Lord Brougham, dreading the prospect of idleness, offered to fill without salary, thus saving the country ￡12,000 a year, an offer which exposed him to censure from his own party, and which he afterwards withdrew.The Duke of Wellington wrote to the British Government to inform them of this event, and that the Allied sovereigns were this time resolved to make sure of the fugitive; that the Emperor of Austria had agreed to bring into the field three hundred thousand men; the Czar, two hundred and twenty-five thousand; Prussia, two hundred and thirty-six thousand; the other States of Germany, one hundred and fifty thousand; and that it was expected Holland would furnish fifty thousand. Thus nine hundred and sixty thousand men were promised, independently of Sweden and Great Britain; so that a million of men might be calculated upon to crush Buonaparte, provided that the latter Power were ready to furnish the necessary millions of money to put this mighty host in motion.The year 1743 opened with a mighty struggle on the subject of gin. In 1736, as we have seen, the awful increase of drunkenness, which was attributed to the cheapness of gin, induced a majority of the House of Commons to pass an Act levying twenty shillings a gallon duty upon the liquor, and charging every vendor of it fifty pounds per annum for a licence. Walpole at the time declared that such an attempt to place gin beyond the reach of the poor consumers would fail; that it would fail equally as a source of revenue, for it would lead to wholesale smuggling and every possible evasion of the law. The event had proved Walpole only too correct in his prognostications. So far from checking the use of gin, the Act had stimulated it enormously. The licences, so preposterously high, were wholly neglected; no duty was paid, yet the destructive liquid was sold at every street corner. Ministers now saw that, by attempting too much, every thing in this case had been lost. They were sacrificing the revenues only to sacrifice the well-being of the people. They determined, therefore, to reduce the licences from fifty pounds to one pound per annum, and at the same time to retain a moderate duty on the liquor. By this means the fatal compound would remain much at the same price, but the vendors would be induced to take out licences, and the revenues would be greatly improved, whilst the whole sale of the article would be more under the restraints of law and police. A Bill was framed on these principles, and passed rapidly through the Commons; but in the Lords it encountered a determined opposition. It was, however, carried entire, and, says Smollett, "we cannot help averring that it has not been attended with those dismal consequences which the Lords in the Opposition foretold."
Sir J. G. Blackwood, created Lord Dufferin.It was upon this very able report of Mr. Nicholls that the Irish Poor Law was based. After undergoing much consideration, it was finally adopted by the Government on the 13th of December, 1836, and on the following day he was directed to have a Bill prepared, embodying all his recommendations. This was accordingly done; and after being scrutinised, clause by clause, in a committee of the Cabinet specially appointed for the purpose, and receiving various emendations, the Bill was introduced on the 13th of February, 1837, by Lord John Russell, then Home Secretary, and Leader of the House of Commons. His speech on the occasion was able and comprehensive. "It appears," he said, "from the testimony both of theory and experience, that when a country is overrun by marauders and mendicants having no proper means of subsistence, but preying on the industry and relying on the charity of others, the introduction of a Poor Law serves several very important objects. In the first place, it acts as a measure of peace, enabling the country to prohibit vagrancy, which is so often connected with outrage, by offering a substitute to those who rely on vagrancy and outrage as a means of subsistence. When an individual or a family is unable to obtain subsistence, and is without the means of living from day to day, it would be unjust to say they shall not go about and endeavour to obtain from the charity of the affluent that which circumstances have denied to themselves. But when you can say to such persons, 'Here are the means of subsistence offered to you'—when you can say this on the one hand, you may, on the other hand, say, 'You are not entitled to beg, you shall no longer infest the country in a manner injurious to its peace, and liable to imposition and outrage.'" Another way, he observed, in which a Poor Law is beneficial is, that it is a great promoter of social concord, by showing a disposition in the State and in the community to attend to the welfare of all classes. It is of use also by interesting the landowners and persons of property in the welfare of their tenants and neighbours. A landowner who looks only to receiving the rent of his estate may be regardless of the numbers in his neighbourhood who are in a state of destitution, or who follow mendicancy and are ready to commit crime; but if he is compelled to furnish means for the subsistence of those persons so destitute, it then becomes his interest to see that those around him have the means of living, and are not in actual want. He considered that these objects, and several others collateral to them, were attained in England by the Act of Elizabeth. Almost the greatest benefit that could be conferred on a country was, he observed, a high standard of subsistence for the labouring classes; and such a benefit was secured for England chiefly by the Quest Act of Elizabeth. Lord John Russell then alluded to the abuses which subsequently arose, and to the correction of those abuses then in progress under the provisions of the Poor Law Amendment Act, and said that we ought to endeavour to obtain for Ireland all the good effects of the English system, and to guard against the evils which had arisen under it.
At the approach of the new French levies, Eugene Beauharnais retreated from Magdeburg, and joined them on the Saale. The Allies and Napoleon now lay face to face, the Allies cutting off his advance towards Leipsic and thence to Dresden. He resolved to make a determined attack upon them, and demoralise them by a blow which should make him master of Leipsic, Dresden, and Berlin at once, and give its impression to the whole campaign. In the skirmishes which took place previous to the general engagement at Weissenfels and Poserna on the 29th of April and the 1st of May, Buonaparte gained some advantages; but in the latter action his old commander of the Imperial Guard, Marshal Bessières, was killed. His death was deeply lamented, both by his men, who had served under him from the very commencement of Buonaparte's career, and by Buonaparte himself.
(From the Painting by Sir M. A. Shee, P.R.A.)
[See larger version]After contending with such difficulties—for the Committee was, in truth, combating with all the powers of the Crown—it was not likely that it would produce a very effective report. In fact, desirable as it was that a deep and searching inquiry should have been made, and the mysteries of that long reign of corruption thrown open, the fact that the Monarch and the Minister had gone hand in hand through the whole of it was, on the very surface, fatal to any hope of a successful issue, and what rendered this fatality greater was, that the Committee too obviously went into the question hotly to crush an old antagonist who had defeated and humiliated them for a long course of years, rather than to serve the nation. When, therefore, on the 30th of June, they presented their report, the feeling, on its perusal, was one of intense disappointment. It alleged that, during an election at Weymouth, a place had been promised to the Mayor if he would use his influence in obtaining the nomination of a retiring officer, and that a church living had been promised to the Mayor's brother-in-law for the same purpose; that some revenue officers, who refused to vote for the ministerial nominees, were dismissed; that a fraudulent contract had been given to Peter Burrell and John Bristow, two members of the House of Commons, for furnishing money in Jamaica for the payment of the troops, by which they had pocketed upwards of fourteen per cent. But what were these few trifling and isolated cases to that great system of corruption which the public were satisfied had spread through all Walpole's administration, and which abounded with far more wonderful instances than these? The very mention of them, and them alone, was a proclamation of defeat.
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The memorable 17th of August arrived, and the curtain was raised on a new act in the great drama, on which the whole nation gazed with the deepest interest, and with feverish anxiety. The queen left her residence in St. James's Square, and proceeded to the House of Lords in her new state carriage, which the people were with difficulty dissuaded from unyoking, that they might draw it themselves. As she passed Carlton House, the crowd gave three cheers, and also at the Treasury. The soldiers on guard at the former place, and at the House of Lords, presented arms when she arrived. The queen's carriage was preceded by Alderman Wood's, and followed by one of her Majesty's travelling carriages, in which were the Hon. Keppel Craven and Sir William Gell, her chamberlains. The way from Charing Cross to Westminster Abbey was crowded, and all the windows of the houses on each side were filled with people, particularly with ladies. Such was the enthusiasm of the people, that the barrier erected at St. Margaret's Church was insufficient to keep them back, and the dense mass forced their way through, and reached Palace Yard shortly after the queen. Sir T. Tyrwhitt, as Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, attended by the officers of the House, received the queen at the private entrance which had been prepared for her. She entered at the door near the throne, supported by Lord A. Hamilton, and attended by Lady A. Hamilton. She was dressed in white, but wore a black lace shawl. Her demeanour was in the highest degree dignified. On her entrance the peers all rose, and she was pleased to salute them in return.The Archduke John, whilst advancing victoriously into Italy, driving the viceroy, Eugene Beauharnais, before him, when he had reached almost to Venice was recalled by the news of the unfortunate battle of Eckmühl, and the orders of the Aulic Council. The Italians had received him with unconcealed joy; for, harsh as the rule of Austria in Italy had been, it was found to be easy in comparison with the yoke of Buonaparte. In common with other peoples, the Italians found that Buonaparte's domination, introduced with lofty pretences of restoring liberty and crushing all old tyrannies, was infinitely more intolerable than the worst of these old tyrannies. It was one enormous drain of military demand. The lifeblood of the nation was drawn as by some infernal and insatiable vampire, to be poured out in all the other lands of Europe for their oppression and curse. Trade vanished, agriculture declined under the baleful incubus; public robbery was added to private wrong; the works of art—the national pride—were stripped from their ancient places, without any regard to public or individual right, and there remained only an incessant pressure of taxation, enforced with insult, and often with violence.详情
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