Imatges de pÓgina

were emptied. The great mass of the population being thus loosened from all their regular habits, and withdrawn even from their means of subsistence, would not, it was hoped, remain long without being impelled into that extremity which it was their object to precipitate.

The Scottish administration, meanwhile, were providing, in a very active and judicious manner, against the threatened danger. They sought to assemble such a force as might not only deprive rebellion of every chance of success, but might even deter its votaries from the fatal attempt. In the course of a few days, the military force, including the yeomanry cavalry, from all the neighbouring counties, was concentrated at Glasgow. On the morning of Wednesday the 5th, which had been almost announced as the opening of the grand campaign, the streets of that city presented an imposing mass of nearly 5000 troops, of all arms, drawn up in regular array. Rebellion was appalled, and hid her face. In the extremities of the city only, some faint and convulsive efforts were made to effect her purpose. At six in the evening a drum was beat through Calton and Bridgeton; several banners were exhibited; and muskets fired at intervals, as signals. At the same time small parties entered sequestered houses, searching for arms, and, by violent threats, urging the inhabitants to take the field. These movements issued in the assemblage of two or three hundred men, partially armed with pikes and muskets. A party of cavalry, however, having rushed in and seized eleven of the most active, . the rest hastily skulked off, and appeared no more. In Tradestown, a bugle summoned sixty pikes; but on seeing the smallness of their force, and no prospect of co-operation, they instantly dispersed. The day, whose

sun had risen with so lowering an aspect, closed in tranquillity; and but for a partial and almost accidental sally, the soil of Scotland would have been unstained with a drop of civit blood.

Glasgow seems evidently to have been viewed by the malcontents as the destined theatre on which hostilities were to commence; and parties from the neighbourhood were even invited to flock to it, as their common rallying point. Yet, on the morning of the 5th, a small armed band issued forth from that city, with purposes which were never exactly defined, but, from the course followed, could not possibly be other than of the most desperate character. They proceeded to Kilsyth, where they had some refreshment, in paying for which they took a receipt, in terms which evidently proved their expectation of being officially reimbursed. They then proceeded along the bank of the canal, till they arrived at a large common called Bonnymuir, where they expected, it is supposed, to have been joined by a considerable force. On their way, they had met an orderly with dispatches, whom they at first detained, but on his pretending to favour their enterprize, allowed him to depart, after presenting him with a copy of their seditious placard. This man immediately hastened to Kilsyth, where he found Lieutenants Hodgson and Davidson, commanding small parties, one of the 10th hussars, and the other of the Stirlingshire yeomanry. These active young officers lost not a moment in setting out in chase of the enemies of public peace. After a rapid ride of nine miles, they reached Bonnymuir, where the radical guerilla had halted. That body, on seeing itself about to be confronted with this band of disciplined assailants, did not lose all courage. They drew up behind a

wall, which stretched across the common, and which they hoped would protect them against the approach of the cavalry. Lieutenant Hodgson, however, finding a breach at one end, dashed through it, followed by his troops, and instantly charged. A momentary somewhat brisk conflict ensued. A pike was violently thrust against Mr Hodgson, which pierced his hand, and mortally wounded the horse on which he rode. Several other pushes were made with some effect; but in a few moments, the insurgent array was entirely discomfited; and, throwing away their arms, they sought safety in every direction. Nineteen were secured, and carried to Stirling; the rest escaped.

Such was the beginning and end of this faint shew of civil war; for the disastrous bloodshed which took place at Greenock, in a manner so strange and unmeaning, had scarcely enough of political motive or character to belong to history; and we refer to the Chronicle for a full detail of it. Even this, in a country which for more than seventy years had been a stranger to intestine warfare, and knew it

only by dim and distant tradition, caused an extraordinary alarm and emotion. Yet it formed, in fact, one of those crises which, in the civil as in the natural body, expel the elements of disease, and prepare the frame for returning to a healthful state. The authors of the commotion, sensible how ridiculously inadequate were the means with which they had hoped to effect the overthrow of a great empire, threw up the cause in despair; while the misled multitude saw the full depth of the abyss from whose brink they had barely time to shrink back. This violent explosion was followed, almost instantaneously, by a universal tranquillity; the citizens resumed their pacific and industrious occupations, and earnestly besought readmission to those employments which they had so wantonly deserted; the yeomanry returned to their homes; and nothing remained, but to proceed according to the regular course of law, against those who had rendered themselves obnoxious to it during these violent proceedings.



Formal Meeting at Death of George III.-The King announces his intention to dissolve Parliament.-Debates on this subject.-Temporary Votes of Money. -Discussions respecting the Queen.-Proceedings relative to Corrupt Burghs. —Dissolution.

THE proceedings of Parliament during the present year are not of that varied character, nor susceptible of the same minute classification which has been followed in the history of the two preceding years. The dissolution consequent upon the demise of George III. caused a pretty long delay in its meeting for purposes of real business; while considerably before its usual period of separating, all its ordinary business was brought to an abrupt termination. A ground of debate occurred, which, like Aaron's rod, instantly swallowed up every other; and after which, the House with difficulty found patience to go through that ordinary routine which is necessary for the dispatch of public business.

The first meeting of Parliament this year was one of mere form. The constitution holds it indispensable that the great council of the nation shall meet on the day immediately following the death of the Sovereign, even though that day should chance, as it now did, to be a Sunday. Short

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meetings were accordingly held on that and the two following days, when such members as attended took the oaths to the new Sovereign. On the 2d February, as it would have been indecorous to have proceeded to any ordinary business, Parliament was prorogued till the 17th.

On the 17th, the House having met, a message was immediately presented from his Majesty. It began with alluding, in natural and proper terms, to the event which had just taken place. It then stated, that his Majesty being under the necessity of summoning a new Parliament within a limited period, had judged it most conducive to the public interest and convenience, to assemble one without delay. The Houses were therefore invited to concur in such arrangements as might enable the public service to be carried on during the interval.

In the proceedings to be held upon this address, ministers proposed, with the general approbation of the House, that the last point, which

alone was likely to move discussion, should be kept in reserve; and that their immediate reply should be only to that part which treated of the demise of the late, and the accession of the present sovereign. Upon this subject was proposed an address of combined condolence, congratulation, and respectful homage. This was entirely acquiesced in by all parts of of the House, Mr Tierney only murmuring a little at the expression, "experience of the past," as seeming to imply approbation of measures lately pursued. The same unanimity attended an address of condolence on the death of the late Duke of Kent. Even in this first debate, however, the opposition members gave notes of warlike preparation against the intimated proposition, paving the way for an immediate dissolution of Parliament. Mr Tierney eagerly endeavoured to draw from Lord Castlereagh a statement of the precise nature of the measures to be submitted; but his lordship contented himself with saying, "they would be only such as were indispensable, and which the House might easily understand;" which last proposition Mr T. strenuously denied.

On the following day, Lords Liverpool and Castlereagh laid fully open the views which had induced them to advise the proposed dissolution. The former observed:According to the common law, Farliament expired immediately on the demise of the Crown. He was aware that a specific act had been introduced to regulate the dissolution; but as far as he could trace the principle on which that act had been adopted, it appeared to be a desire to avoid any inconvenience which might arise from a disputed succession. While, however, he stated his opinion as to the origin of the act, he was sensible that many other cir

cumstances, besides a disputed succession, might render the sitting of Parliament on such an occasion as the demise of the Crown highly proper; but for this purpose it was sufficient that the principle should remain in force, and that Parliament should immediately assemble. Accordingly, it was only the assembling of Parliament that was imperative; it did not follow that they were to continue to sit and transact business. How far they were to proceed in the consideration of public affairs was left to the discretion of the Crown, whose prerogative it was to dissolve Parliament whenever such a proceeding should appear proper. He could, however, see no reason, public or parliamentary, why the course now proposed should not be followed. When their lordships considered the circumstances arising from the loss his present Majesty had sustained, the nature of the business which would have to come before Parliament, and particularly the consideration of the civil list, he would leave them to judge, whether, with reference to all they knew respecting the details of public business at this period of the session, the important subjects to which he had alluded were likely to meet the attention which was due to them; and whether that event, which would only postpone the bringing them forward for a few months, was not one which would place Parliament in a situation to consider them with greater deliberation.

Lord Castlereagh, in the House of Commons, more particularly observed:-The alternative to which, in his opinion, his Majesty's government was reduced, was this either that the existing Parliament should go through the entire business of the session, and prolong its deliberations as long as might be requisite for that

purpose, or that a new Parliament should be called with as little delay as possible. On adverting, then, to the two branches of this alternative, the House must be aware that a measure begun and not completed, before a dissolution, was upon a far less advantageous footing than if it had not been at all introduced. It was desirable also for the public interest, welfare, and tranquillity, that the country should not be exposed for an extended period to the agitations incident upon a general election. The only question would then be-what were the measures of such pressing necessity as to fall under the immediate cognizance of Parliament? He knew that it had been usual in practice to vote a great portion of the civil establishment of the Crown in the first instance; but as this would comprehend a variety of details, involving much consideration before they were brought under the review of Parliament, as well as much discussion perhaps afterwards, his Majesty's ministers had felt that, without an extension of time beyond the limit he had referred to, it was not probable that this could be arranged by the present Parliament. They were anxious that the great interests of the Crown and of the country should be deliberated upon with calm minds and in a full attendance. Each of these desirable objects had now become hopeless, and upon a view of all these circumstances his Majesty's ministers had deemed it their duty to advise the Crown to reserve for a new Parliament the consideration of the public business of the year.

The opposite party, without absolutely attempting to thwart the proposed measure, insisted that it was at least highly irregular. Ministers, it was urged, were compromising the rights of the crown, when they suffer

ed the dissolving of Parliament, which was the King's sole and unquestionable prerogative, to become a subject of discussion in the Houses themselves.

The Marquis of Lansdowne would venture to say, that in the whole history of the country there was not an instance to be found of a monarch proposing to Parliament the propriety of its own dissolution. That was a proceeding which, according to the constitution, could not be made a subject of discussion. But what necessity had the noble Earl made out for the course of proceeding he proposed? He had intimated yesterday that he separated the consideration of the different parts of the message, as this subject would be more properly explained by itself. This explanation might be made in some quarter or another, but it had not yet been given there. The noble earl had indeed adverted to a public necessity arising from the difficulty of transacting business, as the ground of his proposition, but he had by no means explained that necessity. If he alluded to certain public services which were to be provided for, and to provision to be made for the dignity of the crown, for his part he could see no reason why these subjects should not be taken into consideration by the present Parliament. The civil list, being a subject connected with the dignity of the Crown, was one which, he admitted, required deliberation, but its consideration had hitherto been submitted to the Parliament which assembled on the demise of the Crown. He readily admitted that he knew of nothing in the act to prevent the Crown from dissolving Parliament on the very day of its assembling, but then that was to be done on the constitutional responsibility of ministers; and since the passing of

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