Imatges de pÓgina

sequence of his Majesty's indisposi tion. The Chancellor read the King's speech, of which the following is the only important paragraph:

"We are commanded to inform you, that in taking leave of the present Parliament his Majesty cannot refrain from conveying to you his warmest assurances of the sense which his Majesty entertains of the important services which you have rendered the country. Deeply as his Majesty lamented that designs and practices such as those which you have been recently called upon to repress should have existed in this free and happy country, he cannot sufficiently

commend the prudence and firmness with which you directed your attention to the means of counteracting them. If any doubt had remained as to the nature of those principles by which the peace and happiness of the nation were so seriously menaced, or of the excesses to which they were likely to lead, the flagrant and sanguinary conspiracy which has lately been detected must open the eyes of the most incredulous, and must vindicate to the whole world the justice and expediency of those measures to which you judged it necessary to resort, in defence of the laws and constitution of the kingdom.”



Meeting of Parliament.-The Speaker.-The Addresses.-Droits of Admiralty.-Settlement of the Civil List.—The Estimates.-The Budget.-Scots Baron of Exchequer.

THE month of March and part of April were occupied by the elections, which were carried on throughout the kingdom with eager activity, though without that excess of violence which had marked some scenes in the former election. The result produced a Parliament not differing materially in its general character from the one which preceded. A small addition of numbers was supposed to have been gained by the party opposed to mi


The new Parliament held its first sitting on the 21st April. The business on this day was confined to taking the oaths, and in the House of Commons to the re-election of a Speaker. This last proceeding gave occasion to very warm testimonies in favour of the ability, integrity, and strict regard to the constitutional privileges of Parliament with which the functions of that high office had been performed by the individual (Sir C. M. Sutton) who now held it. -Sir W. Scott observed: It could

not be denied that, composed as this House was of gentlemen selected from the various component parts of society in the united kingdom, many were to be found in it, whose talents, acquirements, and general merits, would afford a fair prospect of a successful discharge of the arduous duties of Speaker. Here, however, it was fortunately not necessary to hazard any speculation, however promising: past services, and tried and demonstrable abilities-abilities not confined to the mere discharge of what might be termed the dry duties of the office-had commanded not merely the approbation, but the admiration, of every member who had witnessed their employment. Mr Holme Sumner added: When it was recollected that the education of that right hon. gentleman had been directed to the laws of his country, and to the principles of its inestimable constitution, that alone formed a high claim to the suffrages of the House; but after it had been seen in how short a time after he had

time, upon the same individual. It was a matter of most sincere congratulation to the House and to the country, that it had again the inestimable benefit of having the chair filled by one who had shewn himself, in all the more important, as well as in the less material parts of the functions of his situation, eminently gifted for their discharge; who had upon every occasion proved that he was indeed the depository of the truest dignity of the House, by wearing the honours conferred upon him both with firmness and meekness.

been first elevated to the situation of Speaker, three years ago, he had appeared to have deeply studied the laws and rules, and investigated the principles by which the proceedings of the House were regulated; after the readiness he had displayed in the discharge of every point of duty, it would have been supposed, by those unacquainted with his previous history, that he had made the subject the diligent occupation of his life.

Lord Castlereagh then said: From the manner in which the proposition of his right honourable friend had been received, it was obvious that the House was anxious to bestow on the individual now appointed to preside over its discussions the highest mark of its approbation and confidence: and there could be no such mark in this free country more distinguished than that of being rendered the first commoner of the empire. The office of Speaker included many important duties connected with the jarring interests of this mighty empire, while Parliament was devoting its attention to promote its welfare and prosperity. It was no small satisfaction to have now placed in the chair an individual by general consent so capable of fulfilling the arduous task imposed upon him-so competent to guide the House in its deliberations-to preside over those discussions in which the best interests of the state were engaged, - with manly fortitude, and to enforce with firmness and wisdom those rules and forms so essential to the privileges of Parliament, and to the maintenance of the real liberties of the subject.

Mr Brougham, from the opposite side of the House, echoed the same sentiments. He took the liberty to congratulate first the Speaker, but most of all the House itself, and, not less than the House, the whole Commons of England, upon the free choice which had now fallen, for the third

These first preliminaries being adjusted, the formal opening of Parliament took place on the 27th April. The King, in his speech on that occasion, besides the regular topics, noticed the acts of violence which had, in some districts, been caused by the machinations of the disaffected. He expressed his satisfaction at the promptitude with which these attempts had been suppressed by the vigilance of the magistrates; and extolled the wisdom and firmness manifested by the late Parliament, with the happy effects which they had produced; and deploring the distress which still unhappily prevailed among the labouring classes, he pointed out the duty of guarding against those practices which could only tend to aggravate it, and defer the period of relief. He trusted that an awakened sense of the dangers incurred would recall the greater part of those who had been unhappily seduced, and revive in their hearts the spirit of loyalty and of attachment to the constitution.

The important and delicate subject of the settlement of the civil list was alluded to in the following terms:

"The first object to which your attention will be directed is the provision to be made for the support of the Civil Government, and of the honour and dignity of the Crown.

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"I leave entirely at your disposal my interest in the hereditary reve nues; and I cannot deny myself the gratification of declaring, that so far from desiring any arrangement which might lead to the imposition of new burdens upon my people, or even might diminish, on my account, the amount of the reductions incident to my accession to the throne, I can have no wish, under circumstances like the present, that any addition whatever should be made to the settlement adopted by Parliament in the year 1816."

The address was seconded by Lord Granville and Lord Howard of Effingham in the Lords, and by Sir E. Knatchbull and Mr Wilmot in the Commons. These speakers generally began with a warm panegyric on his late Majesty, whence they proceeded to point out the good omens which might be drawn of his successor from the determination expressed to imitate the example of such a father, and also from the handsome sacrifice of his own pecuniary rights and interests which his speech had announced. After this, the distresses of the country, and the disturbances to which they had given rise, formed the most prominent feature. Lord Granville observed: At the end of the last century, when the demand for labour far exceeded the supply, the labourer not only obtained higher wages than formerly, but, comparatively speaking, had it in his power to enjoy luxuries. It was not then surprising that the labourer should severely feel the difference which the change of circumstances had produced in his situation. It was therefore matter of compassion rather than of anger, that men so situated, and necessarily ignorant with regard to great questions of policy, should be disposed to attribute their sufferings to causes quite foreign to the real ones, and should wish to resort

to remedies incapable of affording them any relief. There was another circumstance which distinguished the present from all former periods, and which could not be overlooked in any view of the state of the country-be meant the great diffusion of education. This was regarded as one of the greatest advantages of the present age; but, in making this admission, it must at the same time be allowed, that it afforded an opportunity for the dissemination of dangerous doctrines; and when men in a state of the greatest distress were daily told that all their sufferings were owing to the Government, and that its overthrow would relieve them, they must be sanguine indeed who could suppose that the constant inculcation of such doctrines made no impression.

Sir E. Knatchbull represented to the House, that, if it was their intention to support the constitution, they must support it by checking the principles of disaffection which had been so industriously diffused. The constitution of this country was a system which imposed on the people no restraints but such as were necessary to the well-being of the community. But if the character of the country was in danger of being changed, and if a system of immorality and disaf fection was undermining the fabric of the constitution, it became the duty of Parliament to interpose, and apply a check to the growing evil. În alluding to the present disturbances, he meant not to lead at present to any discussion on the subject; but he thought that no man, whatever might be his principles, would deny that it was the duty of that House to compel obedience to the laws. In his apprehension, nothing beyond this point was desirable. It was neither necessary nor desirable to impose any severe restraints on the people, but merely to enforce those

salutary laws which were already in existence.

Mr Wilmot was convinced that the House would give the present state of the country its most anxious attention; but he should be merely aiding the prevailing delusions, if he expressed any opinion but that the distresses could only be removed by the slow but certain process of time, which would invigorate the great sources of wealth, for a moment in some degree exhausted. Notwithstanding unfavourable appearances, there was every reason to anticipate, that at no distant period the real and practical blessings of peace would be enjoyed by the whole people: the prosperity and happiness of the community at large depended upon its sobriety and industry, and he trusted that a conviction of this truth would soon supersede the false and injurious notions at present prevailing among a great body of the manufacturing classes.

The address was received by the opposition members in a manner uncommonly favourable. Earl Grosvener said, on such an occasion as the present, at the commencement of a new reign-when his Majesty had been in the House for the first time since his accession-when he had addressed to their lordships his first speech-it was desirable to avoid the introduction or the discussion of any subjects which might lead to a difference of opinion. It was in every respect to be wished, that the first address to the throne from the first Parliament of his Majesty's reign should be adopted unanimously, and, to be unanimous, it was desirable that no discussion should be provoked on subjects likely to create disunion. Entertaining this wish, he must give ministers praise for the manner in which they had worded the speech. They had

abstained from the mention of any topics that were likely to divide the House. Therefore, as the speech and the address were such as to meet with his general approbation, he should have great satisfaction in saying "Content." He objected, indeed, to some parts of the speeches made by the movers of the address, particularly the insinuation which appeared to be made by Lord Granville, that the diffusion of education among all ranks of the community could be dangerous to any, or that a system of education like that followed generally in this country could be pernicious, or could create mischief.

The Marquis of Lansdowne followed in the same tone.-Whether he considered the nature of the topics introduced into the speech from the throne-whether he considered that this was the first time that his Majesty had addressed their Lordships in this House-or whether he adverted to the various important and painful circumstances connected with the situation of the country, and recent events-he saw abundant reason for wishing as great unanimity as possible to prevail on the present occasion. He therefore solemnly declared, that he felt the greatest satisfaction in being able to concur in the speech and the address, and in not being compelled, from duty or policy, to make the least opposition to it. It was with peculiar pleasure that he saw a disposition to set a noble example from the throne, of that economy which he had recommended-an example which he hoped would be followed as zealously, as sincerely, and as extensively as possible by the King's ministers in all the other branches of the public expenditure. The magistrates of the country had on late occasions discharged their duty manfully, firmly, and ably; and, he might add, still more the ju

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