« ElőzőTovább »
"Our attention has been no less anxiously directed to the condition of the destitute poor of Scotland, and, assisted by the information which your Majesty has directed to be laid before us, we have made such amendments in the law as will provide for the more effectual relief of the poor and for a better system of parochial management under the control of a general board of supervision.
"We have endeavoured, by facilitating the drainage of lands and the enclosure of commons, to encourage agricultural improve ment and the beneficial employment of labour in the rural districts. And we advert with peculiar satisfaction to the measures which have been adopted for the further security and extension of the trade and commerce of the country.
"The laws passed in a former session for regulating the banking establishments of England have been applied with certain requisite modifications to Scotland and Ireland. The operations of trade have been simplified and rendered more secure by the abolition of the duties on many articles of import, and by the consolidation of the Customs' laws.
"The duties on sugar have been so far modified and reduced as materially to affect its price and increase its consumption; and the important staple manufacture of glass has been relieved altogether from fiscal charge and the inconvenience and expense of Excise regulations.
"To meet the deficiency in the revenue, caused by these alterations of the tariff, we have deemed it indispensably necessary to continue for a further period the
tax upon income; and we have been thereby enabled, in accordance with your Majesty's suggestion, to add to the efficiency of the naval service, and to afford adequate protection to our com
"It has been my duty thus briefly to lay before your Majesty some of the most prominent measures of the session. We believe them to be well calculated, under the blessing of Providence, to increase the prosperity of the country, and to promote the welfare and happiness of all classes of your Majesty's subjects: and, if we have felt ourselves reluctantly compelled to renew a tax usually resorted to under the pressure of an expensive war, we have at least the satisfaction of reflecting that we have reimposed it for no purpose of aggrandisement or of conquest; but that we might be enabled, without endangering public credit, to relax those restrictions which press upon our domestic industry, to extend our commercial relations, and to share the blessings of peace with all the nations of the world."
This address having been delivered, and some Bills having received the Royal Assent,
The Lord Chancellor, as soon as these forms were disposed of, knelt and presented Her Majesty with a copy of the Royal Speech, which Her Majesty read as follows:
you have applied yourselves to the consideration of many subjects deeply affecting the public welfare.
"I have given my cordial assent to the Bills which you presented to me for remitting the duties on many articles of import, and for removing restrictions on the free application of capital and skill to certain branches of our manufactures.
"The reduction of taxation will necessarily cause an immediate loss of revenue; but I trust that its effect in stimulating commercial enterprise, and enlarging the means of consumption, will ultimately provide an ample compensation for any temporary sacrifice.
"I have witnessed with peculiar satisfaction the unremitting attention which you have bestowed on the measures recommended by me to your consideration at the commencement of the session for improving and extending the means of Academical Education in Ireland.
"You may rely upon my determination to carry those measures into execution in a manner best calculated to inspire confidence in the institutions which have received your sanction, and to give effect to your earnest desire to promote the welfare of that part of my dominions.
"From all Foreign Powers I continue to receive assurances of their friendly disposition towards this country.
The Convention which I have recently concluded with the King of the French for the more effectual suppression of the Slave Trade will, I trust, by establishing a cordial and active co-operation between the two Powers, afford a
My Lords and Gentlemen,"On your return to your several counties duties will devolve upon you scarcely less important than those from the performance of which I now relieve you.
"I feel assured that you will promote and confirm, by your influence and example, that spirit of loyalty and contentment which you will find generally prevalent throughout the country.
In the discharge of all the functions intrusted to you for the public welfare you may confidently rely on my cordial support; and I implore the blessing of Divine Providence on our united efforts to encourage the industry and increase the comforts of my people, and to inculcate those religious and moral principles which are the surest foundation of our security and happiness."
The Lord Chancellor then in Her Majesty's name declared the Parliament prorogued until the 24th October. Thus ended the long and busy session of 1845, the more prominent features of which, after the full and detailed account which has been given of the various debates, it would be needless to dilate upon. The results will best speak for themselves. One or two general remarks only seem to be suggested by a review of its proceedings. The removal of the old landmarks
of party warfare and the fusion or subdivision of the ancient Whig and Tory sections into fresh combinations, representing new shapes and modifications of opinion, afford unequivocal evidence of that transitional state which marks the political system of the country at the present day. At the same time the continually in creasing weight and influence of the commercial element, both in our social state and in the operations of Government, may be observed moulding with sure but gradual effect all our institutions, and gaining the ascendant over those territorial and aristocratic influences, which have been for so many ages the dominating principles in our mixed constitution. To some, these changes, viewed in connexion with the liberalizing and equalizing tendencies which belong to them, are the objects of unmingled regret and apprehension; by others they are welcomed as the pledges of better times, and the sources of an increased measure of social hap
piness and moral advancement. The more thoughtful observer, perhaps, without yielding either to the vain regrets or too sanguine hopes of either party, will regard them as the ordained and necessary development of those laws which Providence has prescribed for the government of society, and remembering that "time is the great innovator," and that it is a vain effort to stem the irresistible tide of human affairs, will endeavour to assimilate and to modify those changes which the progress of events is hurrying onward, by tempering them with the spirit of our long-tried institutions, and imbuing them with those national characteristics and moral principles which, far more than the mere outward forms and framework of a Government, contain the essence of true conservatism, and maintain unbroken, through all the changes of time and circumstances, the greatness and happiness of nations.
FRANCE.-Weakness of the Soult-Guizot Ministry in the French Chambers-Election of President and Vice-Presidents in the Chamber of Deputies-Illness and Resignation of M. Villemain, Minister for Public Instruction-Satisfactory Statement of the Minister of Finance -General Discussion on the Address, in the Chamber of Peers— Speeches of Count Molé and M. Guizot-Discussion on the first Paragraph of the Address-Speeches of Count de Montalembert and M. Martin du Nord-Debate on second Paragraph-Speeches of the Prince de la Moscowa, M. Guizot, and the Duc de Broglie-Address carried and presented to the King-Answer of Louis PhilippeGeneral Debate on the Address commenced in the Chamber of Depu ties-The Address-Speeches of M. de Tocqueville, M. Peyramont, M. Thiers, M. Guizot, and M. Dupin-Close of the general Discussion on the Address.
T the commencement of the new Session of the French Chambers which was opened by the King on the 26th of December last year, as detailed in our preceding volume, the stability of the Soult-Guizot administration appeared to be much endangered, and at one time was on the eve of resignation, owing to want of support in the Chambers. This event would have been not only a national misfortune by arresting that career of peaceful prosperity in which France has rapidly advanced under the guidance of M. Guizot, but also a source of disquietude and alarm to the rest of Europe. No Ministry which has existed in France since the Revolution of July, has effected anything to be compared with the results which have flowed from the policy of M.
Guizot and his colleagues. They have, by their firmness, prevented the dire calamity of war, and developed the resources of France in an extraordinary degree. We believe that that country was at no time in so flourishing a statewith regard to her finance, her commerce, and her manufactures, as during the past year. And of this important truth the great body of the nation seems to be conscious; for notwithstanding the unfavourable symptoms of weakness in the Ministry at the commencement of the Session, it gradually acquired strength and created confidence, so that its present position appears to promise to France (during the life of Louis Philippe at all events) that greatest of all political blessings, the steady continuance in power
of a strong and able Government with enlightened views and steady consistency of principles.
The first business of the Chamber of Deputies was to elect a President for the Session. At the first ballot the numbers were: -for M. Sauzet (the Ministerial candidate), 164; for M. Dupin, 95 for M. Odillon Barrot, 65. As none of these candidates had an absolute majority, a second ballot was taken, when the result appeared as follows:-for M. Sauzet, 177; M. Dupin, 129; M. Odillon Barrot, 15: and M. Sauzet was accordingly declared to be duly elected.
The Chamber then proceeded
to elect the four Vice-Presidents. The Ministerial candidates were, M. Bignon, M. Debelleyme, M. Lepelletier d'Aulnay, and M. De Salvandy: the following were elected M. De Salvandy, M. M. Bignon, and M. Dufaure, an Opposition candidate. None of the other candidates having obtained the required majority, a second ballot took place, with no better result; and the election of the fourth Vice-President was deferred to another day, when M. Debelleyme was elected, by a majority of only four over his opponent M. Billault; the numbers being respectively 172 and 168.
At this juncture, a melancholy event happened in the sudden insanity of M. Villemain, Minister for Public Instruction, who had for some time been in a desponding state of mind, the cause of which was said to be severe domestic distress. Soon afterwards, on the 9th of January, Marshal Soult, President of the Council, ascended the tribune in the Chamber of Deputies, and stated that he had been ordered by the King
to apply to the Chambers for a pension of 15,000f. in favour of M. Villemain, who had been compelled by his health to resign the exalted station of Minister of Public Instruction, with which he had been invested by the confidence of the King. Although M. Villemain had occupied for many years important offices in the State, he possessed no fortune, and consequently left his family totally unprovided for. This consideration, and the eminent services he had rendered the country, which the Marshal recapitulated, in order to justify the demand, had, he said, induced the King's Government to apply to the Chamber for a provision on his behalf.
After the delay of a few weeks, M. De Salvandy, one of the VicePresidents of the Chamber of Deputies was appointed to the office vacated by M. Villemain.
On the 30th of December, 1844, when the Minister of Finance introduced his budget, he congratulated the Chamber on the increased prosperity of the country. Alluding to the recentlycontracted loan, he said that it had been effected at a higher rate than was expected, partly on account of that increased prosperity, partly on account of the mode in which it had been managed. The loan was rendered necessary by the necessity of augmented grants to several public departments, particularly those of Public Works, Post Office, War, and above all the Navy. The receipts in the several public departments for 1846 were estimated at 1,306,027,832f.; the expenditure, 1,302,508,386f.; showing a surplus of 3,519,446f.
On the 13th of January, the general discussion on the Address