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"The Minister might ask Parliament for power to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and to place all Ireland under military law. To ask for less would be ridiculous; because the Act against unlawful assemblies had failed, and, on account of its helplessness, was suffered to expire. Now, would Parliament grant such extensive powers to any Government merely that the Government might be enabled to debar his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects a little longer from enjoying equal political privileges with Protestants? The issue was very doubtful—perhaps it was not doubtful at all. Parliament would never grant such powers. But, assuming that the powers were given, what must follow?—a general insurrection, to be put down after much bloodshed and suffering, and then a return to that state of sullen discontent which would render Ireland, ten times more than she had ever been, a millstone round the neck of Great Britain, and by-and-by, when military law ceased, and the same measure of personal liberty was granted to Irishmen which the natives of England and Scotland enjoyed, a renewal of agitation, only in a more hostile spirit, and the necessity of either reverting again and again to measures of coercion, or of yielding at last what, upon every principle of humanity and common sense, ought not to have been thus far withheld. But the Minister, if the existing Parliament refused to give him the powers which he asked, might dissolve, and go to the country with a strong Protestant cry; and this cry might serve his purpose in England and Scotland. Doubtless; but what would occur in Ireland?—the return of Roman Catholic members in the proportion of four to one over Protestants, and the virtual disfranchisement thereby of four-fifths of the Irish people. Would Ireland submit quietly to any law carried against herself in a House of Commons so constituted? Was it not much more probable that a dissolution would only lead to the same results which had been shown to be inevitable in the event of the existing Parliament acquiescing in the Ministers' views? And was there not, at all events, a chance that the electors, even, of England and Scotland, might refuse to abet a policy so pregnant with danger to themselves and to the commonwealth? But why move at all? Mr. O'Connell had been elected by the priests and rabble of Clare to represent them in Parliament. Let him retain this empty honour; or, better still, let him be summoned by a call of the House to the bar, and, on his refusal to take the oaths, issue a new writ, and go to a new election. In the first place, Mr. O'Connell could not be forced to attend to a call of the House, such call being obligatory only on members chosen at a general election; and in the next, if he did attend, what then? As soon as the new writ was issued, he would take the field again as a candidate, and again be elected; and so the game would continue to be played, till a dissolution occurred, when all those consequences of which we have elsewhere spoken would inevitably come to pass."At the very moment that these negotiations on the part of Britain were going on, Buonaparte, who had been appointed to the command of the army of Italy, was achieving there victory after victory. Genoa had shut her ports against our ships, Naples had concluded peace with France, Spain had been induced to proclaim war against us, and Hoche had sailed for Ireland with twenty-five thousand troops. On the 19th of December Lord Malmesbury received a message to quit Paris within forty-eight hours, with the additional assurance, that whenever Great Britain was prepared to accept the terms of France, an ordinary courier would answer the same purpose as well as[451] a lord. The blame of continuing the war thus lay entirely with the French.

[511]

"Mourir pour la patrie,"I have for several years endeavoured to obtain a compromise on this subject. The result of resistance to qualified concession must be the same in the present instance as in those I have mentioned. It is no longer worth while to contend for a fixed duty. In 1841 the Free Trade party would have agreed to a duty of 8s. a quarter on wheat, and after a lapse of years this duty might have been further reduced, and ultimately abolished. But the imposition of any duty, at present, without a provision for its extinction within a short period, would but prolong a contest already sufficiently fruitful of animosity and discontent. The struggle to make bread scarce and dear, when it is clear that part, at least, of the additional price goes to increase rent, is a struggle deeply injurious to an aristocracy which (this quarrel once removed) is strong in property, strong in the construction of our Legislature, strong in opinion, strong in ancient associations and the memory of immortal services."

Charles H. Coote, created Lord Castlecoote, with a regiment, patronage in Queen's County, and £7,500 in cash.

Prior to the Revolution the sums voted for the Civil List were granted without any specification as to whether they should be applied to the maintenance of the army, the navy, the civil government, or the household. The king got a lump sum for carrying on the government, defending the country, and supporting the royal dignity; and was allowed to apportion it according to his own discretion—the plan most agreeable to an arbitrary monarch. After the Revolution the expenses of the army and navy were separately voted, and the charges for civil government have been gradually removed from the Civil List. At the accession of William IV. these charges were reduced to the amount required for the expenses of the Royal Household, by the removal of the salaries of the judges, the ambassadors, and the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, together with a number of Civil List pensions. This fact should be borne in mind in connection with the sums on the Civil List of former Sovereigns. For example: William III., Anne, and George I. had £700,000 a year; George II. and George III., £800,000; George IV., £850,000; William IV., £500,000; Queen Victoria received £385,000. The application was thus limited: Privy Purse, £60,000; household salaries and retired allowances, £131,260; household expenses, £172,500; royal bounty, alms, and special services, £13,200; leaving an unappropriated balance of upwards of £8,000 to be employed in supplementing any of the other charges, or in any way her Majesty thought proper. The Pension List was limited to £1,200 per annum, and the incomes from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, estimated at £50,000 a year, were secured to the Crown. Economists grumbled about the magnitude of these allowances, and Lord Melbourne was accused of being over-indulgent to the youthful Sovereign; but her immense popularity silenced all murmurers, and the nation felt happy to give her any amount of money she required.The examination of the witnesses for the defence continued till the 24th of October, and then powerful speeches were delivered by the Attorney-General, Sir Robert Gifford, and by the Solicitor-General, Mr. Copley. The speech of the former was considered so effective, that William Cobbett threw off one hundred thousand copies of an answer to it. Sir Archibald Alison, the Tory historian, admits that it was not the evidence for the prosecution that told against the queen, "for it was of so suspicious a kind that little reliance could be placed on it, but what was elicited on cross-examination from the English officers on board the vessel which conveyed her Majesty to the Levant—men of integrity and honour, of whose testimony there was not a shadow of suspicion. Without asserting that any of them proved actual guilt against her Majesty, it cannot be disputed that they established against her an amount of levity of manner and laxity of habits, which rendered her unfit to be at the head of English society, and amply justified the measures taken to exclude her from it."

In the House of Commons, on the 21st of July, Mr. Bernal Osborne raised a discussion on the affairs of Hungary, and was followed by Mr. Roebuck, Colonel Thompson, and Lord Claud Hamilton: the latter denounced the conduct of Kossuth as "infamous." This debate is memorable chiefly on account of Lord Palmerston's great speech on the causes of the revolutions of 1848. In reply to the eulogiums upon the Austrian Government, the noble lord stated that Austria, in the opinion of a great part of the Continent, had been identified with obstruction to progress, resistance to improvement, political and social; and it was in that capacity she won the affections of the Tories. He regarded the conduct of such men as an example of "antiquated imbecility." He firmly believed that in the war between Austria and Hungary there were enlisted on the side of Hungary the hearts and souls of the whole people of that country. He took the question then being fought for on the plains of Hungary to be this, whether that country should maintain its separate nationality as a distinct kingdom with a constitution of its own, or be incorporated in the empire as an Austrian province. If Hungary succeeded, Austria would cease to be a first-rate European power. If Hungary were entirely crushed, Austria in that battle would have crushed her own right arm. Every field that was laid waste was an Austrian resource destroyed. Every Hungarian that perished upon the field was an Austrian soldier deducted from the defensive forces of the empire. "It is quite true," continued the noble lord, "that it may be said, 'Your opinions are but opinions; and you express them against our opinions, who have at our command large armies to back them—what are opinions against armies?' Sir, my answer is, opinions are stronger than armies. I say, then, that it is our duty not to remain passive spectators of events that in their immediate consequences affect other countries, but in their remote and certain consequences are sure to come back with disastrous effect upon ourselves; that so far as the courtesies of international intercourse will permit us to do so, it is our duty—especially when our opinion is asked, as it has been on many occasions on which we have been blamed for giving it—to state our opinions, founded on the experience of this country—an experience that might be, and ought to have been, an example to less fortunate countries. We are not entitled to interpose in any manner that will commit this country to embark in those hostilities. All we can justly do is to take advantage of any opportunities that may present themselves, in which the counsels of friendship and peace may be offered to the contending parties.... Sir, to suppose that any Government of England can wish to excite revolutionary movements in any part of the world—to suppose that England can have any other wish or desire than to confirm and maintain peace between nations, and tranquillity and harmony between Governments and subjects—shows really a degree of ignorance and folly which I never supposed any public man could have been guilty of—which may do very well for a newspaper article, but which it astonishes me to find is made the subject of a speech in Parliament." The noble lord sat down amidst much cheering. Lord Dudley Stuart said that he looked upon the speech which had been delivered by Mr. Osborne, followed up as it had been by Mr. Roebuck and Lord Palmerston, as one of the most important events of the Session.On assembling his remnant of an army in Brelowa, Buonaparte beheld a state of general disorganisation prevailing. Perishing with cold and hunger, every man was only mindful of himself. In a short time the whole village was pulled down to make camp-fires of the timber, for the weather was fiercely cold. He could scarcely prevent them from stripping off the roof under which he had taken shelter. He set out on his march for Wilna on the 29th of November. The army hurried along without order or discipline, their only care being to outstrip the Russians, who were, like famished wolves, at their heels; the Cossacks continually cutting down numbers of their benumbed and ragged comrades, who went along more like spectres than actual men. The thermometer was at twenty degrees below zero.[See larger version]

It is impossible to conceive the extent of suffering and desolation inflicted upon society, almost every family being involved, more or less, in the general calamity. Flourishing firms were bankrupt, opulent merchants impoverished, the masses of working people suddenly thrown out of employment, and reduced to destitution; and all from causes with which the majority had nothing to do—causes that could have been prevented by a proper monetary system. If Bank of England notes had been a legal tender, to all intents and purposes supplying the place of gold as currency; if these notes had been supplied to the country banks in any quantities they required, ample security being taken to have assets equal to their respective issues, then the currency would have had an elastic, self-adjusting power, expanding or contracting according to the requirements of commerce. Inordinate speculation would not have been stimulated by a reckless system of credit, and business would have been conducted in a moderate and judicious manner, instead of rushing on at a high pressure that rendered a crash inevitable. The Government, after anxious and repeated deliberations, supplied a remedy on this principle. They determined to issue one-pound and two-pound notes of the Bank of England, for country circulation, to any amount required. In the meantime the Mint was set to work with all its resources in the coining of sovereigns[244], which, for the course of a week, were thrown off at the rate of 150,000 a day. The notes could not be manufactured fast enough to meet the enormous demand for carrying on the business of the country. In this dilemma the Bank was relieved by a most fortunate discovery—a box containing £700,000, in one- and two-pound notes that had been retired, but which were at once put into circulation. The people having thus got notes with Government security, the panic subsided, and the demand for gold gradually ceased. The restoration of confidence was aided by resolutions passed at a meeting of bankers and merchants in the City of London, declaring that the unprecedented embarrassments and difficulties under which the circulation of the country laboured were mainly to be ascribed to a general panic, for which there were no reasonable grounds; that they had the fullest confidence in the means and substance of the banking establishments of the capital and the country; that returning confidence would remove all the symptoms of distress caused by the alarms of the timid, so fatal to those who were forced to sacrifice their property to meet unexpected demands. The new measures so promptly adopted and so vigorously carried into effect, raised the circulation of the Bank of England notes in three weeks from £17,477,290 to £25,611,800. Thus the regular and healthful action of the monetary system was restored by an adequate circulation of paper money, on Government security, without specie to sustain it. There were at the time of the crash 770 country bankers; 63 stopped payment, 23 of them having subsequently resumed business, and paid twenty shillings in the pound; and even those that were not able to resume, paid an average of seventeen shillings and sixpence in the pound. It was estimated that the total loss to the country by this panic was one hundred million pounds.William Stanhope was rewarded for his accomplishment of this treaty with the title of Lord Harrington, and was soon after made Secretary of State. But whilst the English were delighted by the completion of the treaty, the Emperor was enraged by it, and his mortification was doubled by the fact that, when he sought to raise four hundred thousand pounds by a loan in London to supply the want of his Spanish subsidies, the Ministry brought in and rapidly passed a Bill prohibiting loans to foreign Powers, except by a licence from the king under the Privy Seal. The Opposition raised a loud outcry, calling it "a Bill of Terrors," an "eternal yoke on our fellow-subjects," and a "magnificent boon to the Dutch." But Walpole very justly answered, "Shall British merchants be permitted to lend their money against the British nation? Shall they arm an enemy with strength and assist him with supplies?"Mr. Charles Ormsby, counsel to commissioners, value 5,000

The population of Great Britain had thus rapidly increased, and the condition of the people had improved, notwithstanding heavy taxation, and the burden of an enormous National Debt, incurred by one of the most protracted and expensive wars on record, which strained the national energies to the uttermost. How vast, then, must have been the national resources by which all demands were met, leaving the State stronger and wealthier than ever! The extent of these resources is shown in some measure by the amount of our exports. The total declared value of all British and Irish produce and manufactures exported in 1831 was £37,164,372; in 1841 the value of exports had increased to £51,634,623, being at the rate of 38?9 per cent. Another example of the greatly increased commerce of the country is afforded by the returns of shipping. In 1831 the number of ships, British and foreign, engaged in the colonial and foreign trades was 20,573, of which the total tonnage amounted to 3,241,927. In 1841 the number of ships had increased to 28,052, and the tonnage to 4,652,376, giving an increase of 43 per cent. In the former year the tonnage employed in our coasting trade amounted to 9,419,681; in the latter it had increased to 11,417,991, showing an increase of 20 per cent. But other indications of national wealth were referred to by the Census Commissioners of 1841. During the same period the accumulations in savings-banks were very large, and went on increasing. In 1831 there were nearly 500,000 depositors, whose deposits amounted to about £14,000,000. In 1841 it was found that both the depositors and the amount deposited had very nearly doubled. From the[418] proceeds of the property tax, which in 1815 was about £52,000,000, and in 1842 over £82,000,000, an estimate has been formed, in the absence of returns, for the years 1831 and 1841, which sets down the increase of real property during that period as not less than from 20 to 25 per cent. In 1815 the annual profits of trades in England and Wales were assessed at £35,000,000 in round numbers, and in 1841 they had increased to £50,000,000. During the decennial period, 1831-41, legacy duty had been paid upon a capital of about £423,000,000, or more than one-half the aggregate amount upon which the duty had been paid in the thirty-four preceding years. The stamp duties, also, upon probates of wills and letters of administration in the United Kingdom amounted to upwards of £1,000,000, having increased in ten years at the rate of 10 per cent.Such was the state of public feeling that preceded the dissolution of Parliament. This event was the signal for the wildest exultation and triumph among the people. There was a general illumination in London, sanctioned by the Lord Mayor. In Edinburgh and other cities where the civic authorities did not order it, the Reform Clubs took upon themselves to guide the people in their public rejoicings. In many places the populace broke the windows of those who refused to illuminate; and in some cases those who did comply had their windows smashed, if suspected of Tory principles. In Scotland the mobs are said to have been peculiarly violent. Sir Archibald Alison states that the windows of his brother, Professor Alison, whose life had been devoted to the relief of the poor, though illuminated, "were utterly smashed in five minutes, as were those of above a thousand others of the most respectable citizens." The Lord Provost of Edinburgh was seized by the mob on the day of the election, who tried to throw him over the North Bridge, a height of ninety feet—a crime for which the ringleaders were afterwards convicted and punished by the judiciary court. The military were called out, but withdrawn at the request of Lord Advocate Jeffrey. At Ayr, he says, "the Conservative voters had to take refuge in the Town Hall, from which they were escorted by a body of brave Whigs, who, much to their honour, had them conveyed to a steamboat." "No person anywhere in Scotland could give his vote for the Conservative candidate." At Lanark a dreadful riot occurred, and the Conservative candidate was seriously wounded in the church where the election was going forward. At Dumbarton the Tory candidate, Lord William Graham, only escaped death by being concealed in a garret, where he lay hidden the whole day. At Jedburgh a band of ruffians hooted the dying Sir Walter Scott. "I care for you no more," said he, "than for the hissing of geese." Sir Walter, in his diary, says:—"The mob were exceedingly vociferous and brutal, as they usually are now-a-days. The population gathered in formidable numbers—a thousand from Hawick—sad blackguards. I left the burgh in the midst of abuse and gentle hints[335] of 'burke Sir Walter!'" In London the windows in the houses of the leading Anti-Reformers were all broken. The Duke of Wellington was not spared in this raid against the opponents of popular rights. The windows of Apsley House were smashed with volleys of stones. It happened, unfortunately, that the duchess lay dead within at the time. She had expired just as the booming of the guns in St. James's Park announced the approach of the king to dissolve Parliament. The crowd knew nothing of this. The Duke, however, was determined that he would not suffer an outrage like this another time. He had iron shutters put up, so as to guard every window which was liable to be assailed, either from Piccadilly or Hyde Park; and to the day of his death they remained.The fear of the Russians being removed, the king was impatient to get the Treaty with France ratified both by England and Holland. As there was some delay on the part of Holland, Stanhope proposed to comply with the king's desire, that the Treaty should be signed, without further waiting for the Dutch, but with the agreement on both sides that they should be admitted to sign as soon as they were ready. Dubois was to proceed to the Hague, and there sign the Treaty in form with our plenipotentiaries at that place, Lord Cadogan and Horace Walpole. But these ministers had repeatedly assured the States that England would never sign without them, and Horace Walpole now refused to consent to any such breach of faith. He declared he would rather starve, die, do anything than thus wound his honour and conscience; that he should regard it as declaring himself villain under his own hand. He said he would rather lay his patent of reversion in the West Indies, or even his life, at his Majesty's feet, than be guilty of such an action, and he begged leave to be allowed to return home. Townshend, for a moment, gave in to the proposition for not waiting for the Dutch, but immediately recalled that opinion; and he drew the powers of the plenipotentiaries for signing so loosely, that Dubois declined signing upon them. As we have said, the ratification did not take place till January, 1717, and after great causes of difference had arisen between Townshend and Stanhope. So greatly did Stanhope resent the difference of opinion in Townshend, that he offered his resignation to the king, who refused to accept it, being himself by this time much out of humour with both Townshend and Robert Walpole, the Paymaster of the Forces.

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THE CLARE CONTEST: FATHER MURPHY LEADING HIS TENANTS TO THE POLL. (See p. 273.)

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