GEORGE WASHINGTON. (After the Portrait by Smart.)
On this basis Mr. Vansittart, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on the 9th of June, produced his Budget. Including the interest on the Debt, the whole annual expenditure amounted to seventy-six million, seventy-four thousand pounds—an ominous peace expenditure. Instead, therefore, of the supplies, aided by the draft from the Sinking Fund, leaving a surplus of two million pounds, a fresh loan of twelve million pounds—besides the three million pounds of new taxes on malt, tobacco, coffee, cocoa, tea, British spirits, pepper, and foreign wool was needed. By the hocus-pocus of Exchequer accounts this was made to look like a reduction of the Debt instead of an increase of it; but the country saw with dismay that three years after the peace the incubus of past war was still adding to its burden. Mr. Tierney, on the 18th, moved for a committee to inquire into the state of the nation, but this was negatived by three hundred and fifty-seven votes against one hundred and seventy-eight; and a motion of Sir Henry Parnell on the 1st of July for extensive retrenchments was got rid of in the same manner.Meanwhile, Lafayette and Bailly, summoned by this strange news, had hurried to the H?tel de Ville, where they found the National Guard and the French Guard drawn up, and demanding to be led to Versailles. The French Guard declared that the nation had been insulted by the Flanders regiment—the national cockade trampled on; and that they would go and bring the king to Paris, and then all should be well. Bailly and Lafayette attempted to reason with them; but they, and thousands upon thousands of armed rabble again collected there, only cried, "Bread! bread! Lead us to Versailles!" There was nothing for it but to comply; and at length Lafayette declared that he would conduct them there. He mounted his white horse, and this second army, about three o'clock in the afternoon, marched in the track of the amazons who had already reached Versailles.
In fact the Ministry remained deplorably weak, despite the numerous changes in the Cabinet. The Marquis of Normanby, who had been a failure at the Home Office, changed places with Lord John Russell, who went to the Colonial Office. Mr. Francis Baring was made Chancellor of the Exchequer in the place of the most incompetent financier of modern times, Mr. Spring-Rice, who was raised to the peerage by the title of Baron Monteagle, and soon afterwards appointed Comptroller of the Exchequer, with a salary of ￡2,000 a year; Sir John Newport having retired from that post on a pension. The Earl of Clarendon became Lord Privy Seal, and Mr. Macaulay Secretary at War, with a seat in the Cabinet in the room of Viscount Howick, who had quitted the Administration because he had disapproved of the political import of the changes, taken altogether, and they were unalterably fixed without seeking his concurrence. Mr. Charles Wood, the brother-in-law of Lord Howick, also resigned shortly afterwards, and Sir Charles Grey was refused promotion.The coronation was a magnificent ceremonial, and during the proceedings in the Abbey, Westminster Hall was being prepared for the banquet. There were three tables on each side, each table having covers for fifty-six persons, and each person having before him a silver plate. The other plate was entirely of gold. The dishes served up were all cold, consisting of fowls, tongues, pies, and a profusion of sweetmeats, with conserves and fruit of every kind. At twenty minutes to four o'clock the gates were thrown open to admit the procession on its return. Seen from the opposite end of the hall, the effect was magnificent as the procession passed under the triumphal arch. On the entrance of the king he was received with loud and continued acclamations. His Majesty being seated at the banquet, the first course came with a grand procession, which the king seemed to regard with great satisfaction. The Duke of Wellington, as Lord High Constable, the Marquis of Anglesey, as Lord High Steward, and the Deputy Earl Marshal, Lord Howard of Effingham, mounted on horses, and attended by their pages and grooms, advanced to the foot of the platform; the horsemen stopped while the clerks of the kitchen advanced to the royal table, and took the dishes from the gentlemen pensioners. Then the whole procession moved back, the horsemen backing their chargers with the greatest precision, amidst loud applause. The first course having been removed, a flourish of trumpets was heard at the bottom of the hall, the great gates were instantly thrown wide open, and the champion, Mr. Dymoke, made his appearance under the Gothic archway, mounted on his piebald charger, accompanied on the right by the Duke of Wellington, and on the left by Lord Howard of Effingham, and attended by trumpeters and an esquire. The usual challenges were given. Some other ceremonies having been gone through, the king's health was proposed by one of the peers, and drunk with acclamation. The National Anthem was then sung, after which the king rose and said, "The king thanks his peers for drinking his health and does them the honour of drinking their health and that of his good people." Shortly afterwards his Majesty quitted the hall and returned to his palace in his private carriage, attended by his usual body-guard.
The next day the debate was resumed. It appeared that the Prince had been hooted at, and a stone, or other missile, flung through the window of the carriage. The Ministerial party endeavoured to raise the occurrence into an attempt on the Prince's life; the Opposition hinted at the expression of public disgust with the tone which Government was assuming towards the distresses of the people, called zealously for stringent reductions of expense, and moved an amendment to that very effect. But the Government had yet much to learn on this head; and Lord Sidmouth announced that the Prince Regent in three days would send down a message on the disaffection of the people. It would have been wise to have added to this measure a recommendation of serious inquiry into the causes of this disaffection, for disaffection towards a Government never exists without a cause; but the Government had carried on matters so easily whilst they had nothing to do but to vote large sums of money for foreign war that they had grown callous, and had been so much in co-operation with arbitrary monarchs that they had acquired too much of the same spirit; and they now set about to put down the people of England as they, by means of the people of England, had put down Buonaparte. It was their plan to create alarm, and under the influence of that alarm to pass severe measures for the crippling of the Constitution and the suppression of all complaints of political evil.[See larger version]
In spite of Lord Melbourne's declaration that he would regard the success of the motion as a pure vote of censure, it was carried by a majority of five. In consequence of this result, Lord John Russell announced his intention, next day, of taking the opinion of the House of Commons on the recent government of Ireland, in the first week after the Easter recess. Accordingly, on the 15th of April, he moved—"That it is the opinion of this House that it is expedient to persevere in those principles which have guided the Executive Government of late years, and which have tended to the effectual administration of the laws, and the general improvement of that part of the United Kingdom." The debate emphasised the discontent of the Radicals. Mr. Leader was particularly severe on the Government. "In what position is the Government?" he asked. "Why, the right hon. member for Tamworth governs England, the hon. and learned member for Dublin governs Ireland—the Whigs govern nothing but Downing Street. Sir Robert Peel is content with power without place or patronage, and the Whigs are contented with place and patronage without power. Let any honourable man say which is the more honourable position." On a division, the numbers were—for Sir Robert Peel's amendment, 296; against it, 318. Majority for the Ministry, 22.
He waited on Sir Spencer Compton with the royal command. This gentleman was confounded at the proposal to draw up the declaration to the Privy Council, and begged Walpole to do it for him. Walpole instantly recovered his spirits. He saw that such a man could never be his rival, and he advised his colleagues, if they went out of office, not to engage in any violent opposition, as they would soon be wanted again. He knew, too, that he had the queen in his favour, who was too clear-headed not to see that Walpole was alone the man for the time. To complete his favour with her he offered to procure her a jointure from Parliament of one hundred thousand pounds a year, whilst the impolitic Compton had proposed only sixty thousand pounds. The queen did not oppose the king's attempt to change the Ministry, but she impressed him with the danger of disturbing an already powerful and prosperous Cabinet, and she made him aware of the fact that Compton had been compelled to get Walpole to draw up the Declaration. Besides the liberal jointure which he promised she added that he intended to add one hundred thousand pounds to the Civil List. Horace Walpole, arriving from Paris, threw his whole weight into the scale, representing difficulties which must beset foreign negotiations in new hands. These combined circumstances told strongly on George; but the finish was put to Compton's government by his feeling overwhelmed by his own incompetence, and resigning the charge. The king had, therefore, nothing for it but to reappoint the old Ministry again. Some slight modifications took place. Lord Berkeley, who had joined the opposition of Carteret and Roxburgh, was replaced by Lord Torrington, and Compton received the title of Lord Wilmington, the Order of the Garter, and the Presidency of the Council. The coronation took place on the 11th of October, 1727.
An effort was made to decide the long-agitated question of the emancipation of the Jews in the Session of 1849. On the 19th of February Lord John Russell moved that the House of Commons should go into committee for the purpose of considering the oaths taken by members of Parliament, excepting the Roman Catholic oath, settled in 1829. The oath of allegiance, he said, became a mockery when Cardinal York died, there being no descendants of James II. in existence; he therefore proposed to abolish it. The oath of abjuration, which was aimed against Papal aggression, had now no practical effect but to exclude the Jews from Parliament, which it did by the words "on the true faith of a Christian," which were never meant to exclude Jews, but only to give greater solemnity to the oath. He proposed, therefore, to omit these words when the oath was tendered to a Jew, and this he thought would complete the measure of religious liberty. The House resolved by a large majority—214 to 111—to go into committee on the subject. He then moved a resolution that it was expedient to alter the Parliamentary oaths so as "to make provision in respect of the said oaths for the relief of her Majesty's subjects professing the Jewish religion." A Bill founded on this resolution was brought in by Lord John Russell. The second reading was carried by a majority of 278 to 185. The third reading, after an important debate, was carried by a majority of 66. In the House of Lords the second reading was moved on the 26th of July, by the Earl of Carlisle, in an able speech, in which he observed that the Jews, though admitted to municipal privileges, were the only religious community debarred from political rights; but there was not, as far as he could see, a single valid objection upon which they could be refused. The Earl of Eglinton objected to their admission on religious grounds; so also did the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Exeter. The former argued that our national Christianity, to which we owed our greatness, would be grievously disparaged by the measure. The latter condemned it as a violation of the distinct contract between the Sovereign and the nation—that the Crown should maintain "to the utmost the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel." The Archbishop of Dublin (Whately), always the powerful champion of religious freedom, contended on the other hand that it was inconsistent with the principles and repugnant to the genius of Christianity that civil disqualifications and penalties should be imposed on those who did not conform to it. Their lordships must either retrace their steps, and exclude from office all who did not belong to the Established Church, or they must, in consistency, consent to the abrogation of this last restriction. The Bill was rejected by a majority of 25—the numbers being, for the second reading, 70; against it, 95.
Marriage is one of the fundamental principles of the social system. The law of marriage, therefore, ought to be plain and simple, intelligible to all, and guarded in every possible way against fraud and abuse. Yet the marriage laws of the United Kingdom were long in the most confused, unintelligible, and unsettled state, leading often to ruinous and almost endless litigation. A new Marriage Act was passed in the Session now under review, which, like many Acts of the kind, originated in personal interests affecting the aristocracy. It was said to have mainly arisen out of the marriage of the Marquis of Donegal with Miss May, who was the daughter of a gentleman celebrated for assisting persons of fashion with loans of money. The brother of the marquis sought to set this marriage aside, and to render the children illegitimate, in order that he might himself, should the marquis die without lawful issue, be heir to his title and estates. In law the marriage was invalid; but it was now protected by a retrospective clause in the new Act. By the Marriage Act of 1754 all marriages of minors certified without the assent of certain specified persons were declared null. A Bill was passed by the Commons giving validity to marriages which, according to the existing law, were null, and providing that the marriages of minors, celebrated without due notice, should not be void, but merely voidable, and liable to be annulled only during the minority of the parties, and at the suit of the parents or guardians.JOSEPH HUME.The Assembly had, on this memorable night of the 4th of August, decreed nothing less than—the abolition of all serfdom; the right of compounding for the seignorial dues, and the abolition of seignorial jurisdictions; the suppression of exclusive rights of hunting, shooting, keeping warrens, dovecotes, etc.; the abolition of tithes; the equality of taxes; the admission of all citizens to civil and military employments; the abolition of the sale of offices; the suppression of all the privileges of towns and provinces; the reformation of wardenships; and the suppression of pensions obtained without just claims. The Assembly then continued the work of the constitution.详情
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