efforts to be reëlected, and of the pride know, within a month of bringing on which the University really took in such the ineasure, whether or not they could a son, he was defeated by Sir Robert rely on the Royal assent. Nay, on the Harry Inglis, the impersonation of 4th of March, ihe day preceding that on Church and State, and anti-Catholic which it was brought into the Commons, bigotry:

he said that “the Duke of Wellington, Mr. Peel's own explanation of his mo Lord Lyndhurst and himself, retired from tives in bringing forward the measure of Windsor Castle out of office,” and the Catholic relief, and of his change of views royal authority was only given at the last seems at once manly and satisfactory. In moment. a speech, which occupied four hours in In the following year, 1830, George IV. the delivery, on 5th March, he said died. The accession of a new sovereign

“I have for years attempted to maintain led to the dissolution of Parliament, but the exclusion of the Roman Catholics from before this occurred, the Duke of WellingParliament and the high offices of State. ton, in order as he hoped at once to reI do not think it was an unnatural or press any expectation of a change in the unreasonable struggle. I resign it, be- national representation, or in the suffrage, cause of the conviction that it can no declared that as long as he remained minlonger be advantageously maintained, from ister, he would resist any such change. believing that there are not adequate ma This declaration, which seemed uncalled terials or sufficient instruments for its for by any existing circumstances, was effectual and permanent continuance.

I yield, therefore, to a MORAL NECESSITY

received with great dissatisfaction by the which I cannot control.

In 1828,

nation; and when the new Parliament asthe House agreed to a resolution favorable sembled, the ministry found themselves in to a principle of adjusting this question. a most awkward position. While the I thereupon determined to retire from elections for this Parliament were in prooffice. 1 intimated my fixed intention, in gress, the revolution of three days occurred this respect, to the Duke of Wellington; but in France, which resulted in the change of I felt it my duty to accompany it with the a dynasty and the establishment in that declaration-not only that I would not in kingdom of a constitutional monarchy. a private capacity any longer obstruct a

The ferinent thus given to men's minds, settlement which appeared to me ulti- and the rankling still fresh from the antimately inevitable, but that I would advise reform declaration of the Duke, occaand promote it. I was appealed to to remain in office, and was told my retirement sioned the return of an anti-ministerial must prevent the adoption of the course majority to the new Parliament. Soon which I was disposed to recommend. I after its meeting, on a vote of confidence, resolved, therefore, and without doubt or ministers were left in a minority of twentyhesitation, not to abandon my post, but to nine, and of course retired. take all the personal consequences of Lord Grey became the Premier, and originating and enforcing as a minister, Lord John Russell the Leader in the the very measure which I had heretofore House of Commons. One of his first opposed. I was called upon to make those sacrifices of private feeling, which are in national representation. Mr. Peel, now

measures, was a bill for a reform in the separable from apparent inconsistency of conduct-from the abandonment of pre

on the opposition benches, strenuously conceived opinions-from the alienation of resisted this bill, which, notwithstanding those with whom I had heretofore coöper. the popular excitement under which the ated. I have done so, and have proved House was chosen, was only carried to that it is painful in the extreme to yield to

a second reading by a majority of one such considerations, even from the most vote. Being subsequently left in a miurgent sense of public duty.”

nority, the ministry dissolved Parliament, It was not till long after, that the world and went to the people on the question knew with what difficulty the King- of Reform. George IV-was brought to consent to

The House then elected was largely in this measure of his ministers. In Janu- favor of Lord John's bill-and slowly, ary, 1840, in vindicating himself from but surely, it was carried through the some imputation of a desire to repeal that Commons. In the Lords it met with great act, Sir Robert Peel stated that after such resistance as to make it clear that, the Duke and himself had made up their without the creation of new peers favor. minds to the necessity of the measure, able to the measure, it could not be carthey had the utmost difficulty with the ried. Lord Grey advised the King (Wil. King ; so much so, that they did not liam IV.) to this course, but he absolutely

refused—and in consequence Ministers the King by his Majesty's own knowresigned.

ledge of his character, by the advice of The Duke of Wellington and Mr. Peel the most illustrious and most generous of were again appealed to to take charge of the servants of the public, and by such the government; but after a full survey unhesitating and universal approbation of the ground, and especially of the com- of the people, that the natural excitement plexion of the House of Commons, large- of a great public crisis, and the national ly committed to Reform, the veteran impatience of the English character, advised his Sovereign to resume his for- were for once satisfied to wait, through mer ministers. They were accordingly an unprecedented period of suspense, for reinstated, with an understanding that, the final resolve of the absent Statesif the Reform bill were permitted to pass man.” the House of Lords, no new Peers should Sir Robert Peel was at this juncture be created. The bill did accordingly with his family in Italy, as little anticipass, and received the royal assent on pating the call about to be made upon the 7th June, 1832. The Parliament, him by the country and his Sovereign, as less than one year old, was again dis- any other private gentleman then on his solved, and a new one chosen under the travels. A King's messenger, who had Reform law.

traveled with unequaled dispatch, found The appetite seemed to grow by that it him in the studios of artists, deep in the fed on. Catholic Emancipation and the admiration and selection of pictures. He Reform Bill, in acknowledging and cor- told him that the heart of the British peorecting some abuses, only seemed to ren- ple was, as it were, impatiently counting der other grievances more intolerable. In its pulsations until it should be ascer. Ireland, particularly, the public mind and tained whether he, the son of a cotton the public fpeace were much disturbed. spinner, would vouchsafe to take that The new Parliament was largely imbued helm, which the high nobility of the land with the popular impulse. Lord Grey-a cabinet in which were originally desired to resort to the old system of co- thirteen peers or sons of peers, one baroercion-of pains and penalties ; but he net, and only one commoner—had been found difficulty with his colleagues, and found unequal to govern. Sir Robert still greater with the House of Commons, instantly returned home, receiving from in carrying through some of the more the Duke of Wellington, on whose earnstringent clauses of his Coercion bill, and est recommendation he had been sent in consequence resigned. He was suc. for, and who exercised during the interim ceeded as Premier by Lord Melbourne, ALL the powers of the government, the who was of the same party—and the per- responsible trust. Although, on a sursonnel only and not the policy of the ad- vey of the ground, Sir Robert saw the ministration underwent à change. After unparalleled difficulties of the position, a short lull the storm was renewed, and he felt obliged, by the confidence which Lord Melbourne's ministry suddenly fell. both King and people had manifested in

The dissolution of that ministry in him, to take the government. But owing 1834 was one of those strange and ca- to the peculiar character of the House of pricious occurrences, to which the admin- Commons, the first chosen under the Reistration of affairs in England is subject. form Bill, and in which the ministry he It was at the time wholly unexpected, succeeded had still a large majority, bis occurring, as it did, in the recess of Par- first step was to dissolve Parliament liament, and when no immediate or ob- and order a new election—this making vious cause for such an event was fore- the fourth Parliament elected in four seen. It fell, as afterwards it appeared, years ! from its own weakness—the turning It was upon this occasion that he is. point being the death of Earl Spencer, sued that address to his own constituents which raised Lord Althorpe from the at Tamworth, which of itself denotes Commons to the Peers, and rendered a new era in the constitutional history of necessary the selection of a new Leader England, and was a consequence, necesin the Commons. “The King,” says a sary perhaps, of the changes effected by contemporaneous writer, “ called to his the Reform Bill. As was well said at the councils the ablest, by unanimous con- time, never before “did a prime minissent the far ablest, of that assembly, in ter think it necessary to announce to the which the chief business of the country people, not only his acceptance of office, must be done-a man recommended to but the principles and even the details of VOL. III.-NO III.



the measures he meant to pursue-and to in public estimation by adopting every solicit, not from the Parliament but from popular impression of the day, by promis. the people, that they would so far ing the instant redress of anything which maintain the prerogative of the king as anybody may call an abuse, by abandonto give the ministers of his choice, not ing altogether the great aid of government, indeed an implicit confidence, but a fair —the respect for ancient rights, and the

more powerful than either Law or Reason trial.'” In former times such a proceed- deference to prescriptive authority—if this ing would have been thought derogatory, be the spirit of the Reform Bill, I will not and impugned as unconstitutional, but the undertake to adopt it: but if that spirit Reform Bill had made the Crown inore merely implies a careful review of instidependent in the choice of its ministers tutions, civil and ecclesiastical, undertaken on the preferences of the respective con in a friendly temper, combining with the stituencies.

firm maintenance of established rights, the In the course of this address Sir Rob. correction of proved abuses, and the reert Peel, to use a phrase much in vogue for myself and colleagues, undertake to act

dress of real grievances—in that case I can, among our public men, " defined his

in such a spirit and with such intentions." position” very manfully. He denied that he had ever been “the defender of These and like indications satisfied abuses or the enemy of judicious reform. the nation that Sir Robert meant to place I appeal,” said he, “ with confidence, his administration on the basis laid by in denial of any such charge, to the one of the wisest of statesmen, “a disactive part I took in the great question of position to preserve, and an ability to the Currency—in the consolidation and improve,” yet, notwithstanding this genamendment of the criminal law-in the eral approbation and confidence, owing revisal of the whole system of trial by to the preponderance of the democratic jury-to the opinions I have ever pro- element, a majority adverse to the minfessed and acted upon with regard to ister was returned to the House of Com. other branches of the jurisprudence of mons, and on the preliminary question of the country. I appeal to this as proof the session, the choice of a Speaker, he that I have not been disposed to acqui- was defeated by a vote of 316 to 309. esce in acknowledged evils, either from Such a division, on such a question, the mere superstitious reverence for would, in all previous times, have led to ancient usages, or from the dread of the immediate resignation of the cabinet. labor or responsibility in the application But Sir Robert had taken the post, with of a remedy.”

the knowledge that he was beset by difIn direct reference to his future course ficulties, and he was too much of a man as minister, and in allusion to expec- to give way to the first, great as it was. tations or intimations that he would be He resolved to put himself upon his found in opposition to the spirit in which try, and at least to give them the opporthe Reform Bill had been carried, he thus tunity of judging him by his measures. explicitly explained his views:

This manly effort failed him, and, after

an unfavorable division on the Irish Tithe “ The Reform Bill, it is said, constitutes Bill, defended by a speech, (on 20 April,) a new era, aud it is the duty of a minister which the Quarterly Review of the day to declare explicitly-first, whether he will maintain the Bill itself, and secondly, pronounced " magnificent,” and spoke of whether he will act upon the spirit in

legacy worthy of the greatest which it was conceived. With respect to

statesman that has appeared in the House the Reform Bill itself, I will repeat now

of Commons since the death of Mr. the declaration which I made when I Pitt,” Sir Robert relinquished the seals entered the House of Commons, as a mem

of office, after an ineffectual struggle of ber of the Reformed Parliament-that I three months. consider the Reform Bill as a final and ir The Reform Ministry again (April, revocable settlement of a great constitution. 1835) resumed the government, with al question, a settlement which no friend Lord Melbourne as its head, and Lord to the peace and welfare of his country John Russel, as before, the leader in the would attempt to disturb either by direct or by insidious means. Then, as to the spirit withdrawn from public life, Lord Stanley

House of Commons. Lord Grey had of the Reform Bill, and the willingness to adopt and enforce it, as a rule of govern- and Sir James Graham had abandoned ment. If, by adopting the spirit of the their old associates, and Lord Brougham, Reform Biil it be meant, that we are to who had been passed over by his col. live in a perpetual vortex of agitation, that leagues, on their restoration to office, public men can only support themselves became an antagonist. All this visibly


as a

weakened the Melbourne ministry. Dur. nineteenth century, the two foremost ing the session, a very hostile spirit was men of England were prevented from revived between the Lords and Commons, taking charge of its government, because the immediate cause being the English of a disagreement about the nominations Municipal Corporation’s Bill, to which of certain ladies of the bed-chamber!* the Lords persisted in making amend Lord Melbourne was immediately rements, which the Commons rejected, instated, and he sought to ingratiate himand the dispute had proceeded to such a self with the public by the great change length, that hints were thrown out by in the Post Office Law, which so largely the Commons that the “supplies” would and beneficially reduced the charge on be withheld. So unpleasant was the as- postage. But the Tory party—gathering pect of affairs, that Sir Robert Peel, who confidence fromthe conviction, that much had left town towards the close of the as the Reform Bill had extended suffrage session, returned, as he stated,' for the and altered representation, it still left to purpose of lending his assistance in re- the landed aristocracy great means of inconciling the differences between the two fluence and strength; and, moreover, from Houses. Mutual concessions were at the secession of eminent persons from last made, and thus a measure, essen- the opposite ranks-made, in the session tially auxiliary to reform of Parliament, of 1840, a more determined assault on was carried. During 1836 and 7, acting the Melbourne ministry than it had yet as an independent member of Parliament, encountered. On a motion of confidence, Sir Robert gave his support to whatever after a debate of four pights, the minisof good he found in the measures of the ters triumphed by only 21 votes! In administration, and specially to the fur- this debate, Sir Robert took a prominent ther improvements in the civil and crimi- part, examining, with vigor and knownal law, proposed by Lord John Russell. ledge, the whole course of the Whig In the middle of the year 1837, the King government since 1830, taunting them died, and was immediately succeeded by with the loss from their side, in that time the present Sovereign, Queen Victoria, of almost every man of known ability, with whom, personally, Lord Melbourne rank and position in the country, “with was a great favorite. His administration one splendid exception," alluding to Lord was strengthened by this event, for it John Russell, and enumerating Lord was forced upon King William, against Grey, Lord Stanley, Sir James Graham, his will, by the House of Commons, the Duke of Richmond, Lord Ripon, Lord whereas it was retained of choice by the Brougham, and last of all, Lord Howick; Queen.

and showing, that having received the Its seeming strength, however, was Government in a condition of growing soon shaken by events beyond its con- prosperity, they had reduced it to a control. The commercial revulsion of 1837, dition of “decayed public credit, the too well remembered in our own country, public securities at a discount, and the was fearfully felt in England. The Ca- country convulsed with political disnadian insurrection, the war with China, order.” On another motion of Sir James and the difficulties in India, required in- Graham, censuring ministers for the war creased expenditures at the very moment in China, Sir Robert again spoke with when commercial distress was diminish- great energy and effect, and the division ing the resources of the country. The showed a majority of only 10! for minministry lingered on, however, till May, isters. 1839, when, on a question of suspending The session of 1841 was the last of the constitution of the Island of Jamaica, the Whig ministry. The distresses of because of the refusal of the legislature the country continued, its revenues of that colony to assent to certain requi- were decreasing, and a hot agitation sitions of the Home Government, they arose on the subject of the Corn Laws and were left in a minority of five. They Commercial Rrform. As a last expediimmediately resigned, and the two inevi- ent, Lord John Russell announced the table men were again sent for, the Duke purpose of the ministry to modify the and Sir Robert; but the Queen was not Corn Laws, and to substitute a permafound submissive to the views of Sir nent fixed duty for the sliding scale. Robert, especially as to appointments It was too late ; Sir Robert Peel moved a in the Royal Household; and, in this vote of confidence, which, after an ex

It was upon this occasion that the Duke of Wellington, in reply to a question of how it came about that he and Peel could not manage the Queen, is said to have replied,

Oh! I have no small-talk and Peel has no manners."


citing debate of four nights, was carried scorn, if these were his base, brutal and by a majority of one!-312 to 311. bloody Whigs? The passion evaporated, After sustaining another defeat on the but the voice trembled with emotion a Administration of Justice Bill, the Queen, long time afterwards, as he proceeded to by the advice of her minister, prorogued state the principles which would actuale Parliament on 220 June, with a view to him should he be called to power." its immediate dissolution. This measure the division came, and in a House of proved fatal to the Whigs. A most 629 members, there appeared a majority warmly-contested election ensued, and, of 91 against ministers. in its progress, it was soon perceptible Sir Robert was again installed in office, that the CONSERVATIVES were to carry but declining to explain himself as to his the day. Lord John Russell, after a luture policy, and asking time for matursevere struggle, was elected one of the ng it, Parliament after passing the nerepresentatives of the City of London. essary bills was prorogued on the 7th On addressing his new constituents, he cOctober. It met again on the 3d Februadmitted that his party had been defeated ary, the Queen attending in person to in the elections, and defeated on the issue deliver the speech, accompanied by the of free trade. He expressed, neverthe- King of Prussia, who happened to be in Jess, his conviction that this issue would England,

and a brilliant cortège. On the be reversed, and that the principles of 9th, Sir Robert made his long-expected free trade would eventually triumph. motion on the Corn Laws, rejecting Lord

Sir Robert Peel, too, addressed his John Russell's motion of a fixed duty, constituents at Tamworth ; but in a far and reasserting the superiority of the different strain from his address of 1834, sliding scale, and, in spite of all opposiwhen, as Prime Minister, he appealed tion, which was violent, his bill became through them to the country to give the a law. King's Ministers a fair trial. He was His next and bolder measures were now simply an opposition member of the new Tariff Act and the Income Tax. Parliament, though with the near cer- The country was in great difficulties. tainty of being again called into power; There had been a constant and growing and, in this category, he “ kept dark.” deficiency in the revenue for several “ The Doctor,” said he, with a some years, and new taxes on articles of conwhat grave humor, had not yet been sumption or trade were not to be thought called in to prescribe for the patient, and of. Commerce, therefore, was to be rehe could not, therefore, propose reme vived by the removal of duties, and a tax dies.”

on property was to supply, not only the The new Parliament met in August, existing deficiency in the revenue, but the 1841, and a thorough free trade speech farther diminution to be occasioned by from the throne was delivered by com the duties to be abolished. mission. In both Houses the contest The speech in which Sir Robert eximmediately began, and decided plained these measures is among the against ministers. The great struggle best he has delivered; but the length to was in the House, in which, as yet, Sir which this article is running prevents our Robert had taken no part. But towards making any extracts. The appeal which the close of the last night, the fifth of the he made to the men of property of the debate, O'Connell having made a speech country to submit cheerfully to the proabusing thc Tories and praising the posed tax-equal to about three per cent. Whigs, those same Whigs whom on a on incomes-was very striking and very former occasion he had stigmatized as effective. “ There are,” said he “indi.

bloody, base and brutal :" the moment cations among all the upper classes of he sat down Sir Robert sprang to his society of increased comfort and enjoyfeet,“ animated seemingly,” says a con ment-of increased prosperity and wealth temporary writer, "by some unusual emo- —and yet concurrently with these indition; he used a phraseology bolder than cations there exists a mighty evil which his wont; uttered his words with a des- has been growing up for the last seven perate passion, altogether uncharacteris- years.

You will not permit tic of his style of speaking. He repelled this evil to gain such gigantic growth as O'Connell's vituperation as proceeding ultimately to place it far beyond your from an imagination fertile in cal- power to control. If you do, you must umny,' and looking directly across the expect the severe but just judgment of a House, and bending forward, asked the reflecting and retrospective posterity. Irish agitator, in a tone of almost savage Your conduct will be contrasted with

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »