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of Wellington, on the 1st of July, 1814, on which day the Duke attended in the House of Commons, to return thanks to the House for the honour they had done him, in deputing a committee of the members to congratulate his Grace on his return to this country. Mr. Abbot's answer was one of the most brilliant of his efforts. Indeed, the whole proceeding was so exceedingly interesting, that we cannot refrain from transcribing the following account of it from the "Parliamentary Register:" —
"At about a quarter before five o'clock, the Speaker being dressed in his official robes, and the House being crowded with members, some of them in naval and military uniforms, and a great number in the Court dresses in which they had attended the Speaker to Carlton House, with their Address to the Prince Regent upon the definitive treaty of peace with France,
"Lord Castlereagh acquainted the House, that the Duke of Wellington having desired that he might have the honour to wait upon that House, his Grace was then in attendance.
"Upon this, it was unanimously resolved that the Duke of Wellington be admitted. A chair being set for his Grace, on the left hand of the bar, towards the middle of the House, he came in, making his obeisances, the whole House rising upon his entrance within the bar; and Mr. Speaker having informed him that there was a chair in which he might repose himself, the Duke sat down covered for some time, the Serjeant at Arms standing at his right hand, with the mace grounded: and the House resumed their seats: his Grace then rose, and, uncovered, spoke to the following effect: —
"'Mr. Speaker; — I was anxious to be permitted to attend this House, in order to return my thanks in person for the honour they have done me, in deputing a committee of members of this House to congratulate me on my return to this country; and this, after the House had animated my exertions by their applause on every occasion which appeared to merit their approbation; and after they had filled up the measure of their favours by conferring upon me, at the recommendation of the Prince Regent, the noblest gift that any subject had ever received.
"' I hope it will not be deemed presumptuous in me, to take this opportunity of expressing my admiration of the great efforts made by this House and the country, at a moment of unexampled pressure and difficulty, in order to support the great scale of operation by which the contest was brought to so fortunate a termination.
"' By the wise policy of Parliament, the Government were enabled to give the necessary support to the operations which were carried on under my direction: and I was encouraged, by the confidence reposed in me by his Majesty's ministers and by the Commander-in-chief, by the gracious favour of his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, and by the reliance which I had on the support of my gallant friends, the general officers of the army, and on the bravery of the officers and troops, to carry on the operations in such a manner as to acquire for me those marks of the approbation of this House, for which I have now the honour to make my humble acknowledgments.
"' Sir, it is impossible for me to express the gratitude which I feel; I can only assure the House, that I shall always be ready to serve his Majesty in any capacity in which my services can be deemed useful, with the same zeal for my country which has already acquired for me the approbation of this House.'
"Loud cheers followed this speech; at the conclusion of which,
"Mr. Speaker, who during the foregoing speech sat covered, stood up uncovered, and spoke to his Grace as follows: —
"' My Lord ; — Since last I had the honour of addressing you from this place, a series of eventful years has elapsed; but none without some mark and note of your rising glory.
"' The military triumphs which your valour has achieved upon the banks of the Douro and the Tagus, of the Ebro and the Garonne, have called forth the spontaneous shouts of admiring nations. Those triumphs it is needless on this day to recount: their names have been written by your conquering sword in the annals of Europe, and we shall hand them down with exultation to our children's children.
"' It is not, however, the grandeur of military success which has alone fixed our admiration, or commanded our applause; it has been that generous and lofty spirit which inspired your troops with unbounded confidence, and taught them to know that the day of battle was always a day of victory; that moral courage and enduring fortitude which, in perilous times, when gloom and doubt had beset ordinary minds, stood, nevertheless, unshaken; and that ascendancy of character, which, uniting the energies of jealous and rival nations, enabled you to wield at will the fates and fortunes of mighty empires.
"' For the repeated thanks and grants bestowed upon you by this House, in gratitude for your many and eminent services, you have thought fit to offer us this day your acknowledgments; but this nation well knows that it is still largely your debtor: it owes to you the proud satisfaction, that, amidst the constellation of great and illustrious warriors who have recently visited our country, we could present to them a leader of our own, to whom all, by common acclamation, conceded the pre-eminence; and when the will of Heaven, and the common destinies of our nature, shall have swept away the present generation, you will have left your great name and example as an imperishable monument, exciting others to like deeds of glory, and serving at once to adorn, defend, and perpetuate the existence of this country among the ruling nations of the earth.
"' It now remains only that we congratulate your Grace upon the high and important mission on which you are about to proceed; and we doubt not that the same splendid talents, so conspicuous in war, will maintain, with equal authority, firmness, and temper, our national honour and interests in peace.'"
"During the Speaker's address, the cheers were loud and frequent. His Grace then withdrew, making his obeisances in like manner as upon entering the House; and the whole House rising again, whilst his Grace was re-conducted by the Serjeant at Arms from his chair to the door of the House.
"Lord Castlercagh rose and said : — ' Sir, in commemoration of so proud and so grateful a day — a day on which we have had the happiness to witness within these wails the presence of a hero never excelled at any period of the world in the service of this or of any other country,—in commemoration of the eloquent manner in which that hero was addressed from the Chair, on an occasion which must ever be dear to Englishmen, and which will ever shed lustre on the annals of this House, — I move, Sir, that what has now been said by the Duke of Wellington, in returning thanks to the House, together with Mr. Speaker's answer thereto, and the proceeding upon the above occasion, be printed in the votes of this day.'
"The Speaker having put the question, the same was agreed to, nemine conlradicente.
"Thus ended the most dignified, and at the same time the most affecting proceeding, that we ever witnessed in Parliament."
For some years Lord Colchester's health had been gradually declining; at length it entirely gave way; and on the 8th of May, 1829, his Lordship died, at his house in Spring Gardens, in the seventy-second year of his age.
The only works of Lord Colchester, hitherto printed, are, "The Practice of the Chester Circuit," published in 1795, with a Preface, recommending those alterations in the Welch judicature which now appear likely to be carried into effect; and a pamphlet, containing six of his speeches on the Roman Catholic question, with Preliminary Observations on the state of that question as it stood hi November, 1828, when that pamphlet was published.
Lord Colchester married, Dec. 29. 1796, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Sir Philip Gibbes, Baronet; and has left two sons: Charles (born in 1768), a post-captain in the Royal Navy, now Lord Colchester; and Philip Henry (born after his father's return from Ireland in 1802), a young barrister of great promise.