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But this declaration did not issue without a violent debate in Congress, where the moderate party stated that the interests of the country were sacrificed to a mischievous war-spirit, and in the east and north of the States there was raised a loud cry for severance, as there had been in the south when Jefferson laid his embargo on American vessels. They complained that if, as was now alleged, the French Emperor had abrogated his Berlin and Milan Decrees in favour of America as early as the 2nd of March, 1811, why was this not communicated to England before the 20th of May, 1812? And when England had long ago declared that she would rescind her Orders in Council when such a notification could be made to her, accompanied by a repeal of the American non-Intercourse Act; and when she did immediately rescind her Orders in Council on this condition, why should there be all this haste to rush into war with Great Britain? They complained bitterly that though Buonaparte was professed to have abrogated his Decrees as early as November, 1810, he had gone on till just lately in seizing American ships, both in the ports of France and by his cruisers at sea. The State of Massachusetts addressed a strong remonstrance to the Federal Government, in which they represented the infamy of the descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers cooperating with the common enemy of civil liberty to bind other nations in chains, and this at the very moment that the European peoples were uniting for their violated liberties.

An armistice was now demanded by the Alliesit is said at the instance of Austria, who desired to act as mediatorand gladly assented to by Napoleon, who was desirous of completing his preparations for a more determined attack. The armistice was signed on the 4th of June at the village of Pleisswitz.On the 23rd of December the committee met again in Fishamble Street, and resolved to address the Prince Regent on the invasion of their right to petition, appointing a general committee to meet again in Dublin on the 28th of February, 1812. In January, and at the commencement of February, Earl Fitzwilliam introduced the consideration of the state of Ireland, and Lord Morpeth proposed the same subject to the Commons, but both motions were rejected.

CHAPTER XVII. THE REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued).[See larger version]

Thus the entente cordiale was broken, and the two Powers were left isolated in Europe, for the efforts of Louis Philippe to form an alliance with the Austrian Court were without success. In the circumstances Lord Palmerston's foreign policy during these eventful years was inevitably somewhat unsatisfactory. When Austria, in defiance of pledges, annexed the Republic of Cracow, he could only issue a solitary protest, which was completely disregarded. In Portugal affairs were once more in complete confusion, the Conservative party, headed by the Queen, being in arms against the so-called Liberals led by Das Antas. Palmerston left them to fight it out until foreign intervention appeared inevitable from Spain, if not from France; then he made an offer of help to the Queen Donna Maria, on condition that she would grant a general amnesty and appoint a neutral Administration. The terms were accepted by the Conservatives. The Liberal Junta submitted on hearing that its fleet had been captured by the British, and the civil war came to an end. Meanwhile, in Switzerland Lord Palmerston was upholding the cause of the Diet against the secessionist cantons known as the Sonderbund, by refusing to countenance the intervention of the Powers in Swiss affairs, which was advocated by Prince Metternich and also by Guizot. For a moment his position was dangerous, as Guizot declared that the opportunity had come for France to take vengeance upon England by forming another Quadruple Treaty, from which Great Britain should be excluded. But the prompt victory of the Diet's general, Dufour, over the forces of the Sonderbund saved the situation, and owing to Palmerston's representations the victorious party abstained from vindictive measures. Thus revolution was postponed in Europe for another year, and Palmerston attempted similar results in Italy, whither he sent Lord Minto, the First Lord of the Admiralty, on a special mission to support constitutional reforms in Sardinia and at Rome, where the new Pope, Pius IX. by title, was supposed to be the friend of progress. But the blind hostility[550] of Metternich prevailed. The reforms granted by his puppet princes were wholly insufficient in extent, and events in Italy were evidently hastening towards an upheaval, when the train of the European explosion was fired in France.Long quotations are then given from the several reports of the Assistant Commissioners, showing that the feelings of the suffering labourers in Ireland are also decidedly in favour of emigration. They do not desire workhouses, it is said, but they do desire a free passage to a colony where they may have the means of living by their own industry. The Commissioners then declare that, upon the best consideration they have been able to give to the whole subject, they think that a legal provision should be made and rates levied for the relief and support of curable as well as incurable lunatics, of idiots, epileptic persons, cripples, deaf and dumb, and blind poor, and all who labour under permanent bodily infirmities; such relief and support to be afforded within the walls of public institutions; also for the relief of the sick poor in hospitals and infirmaries, and convalescent establishments; or by external attendance, and a supply of food as well as medicine, where the persons to be relieved are not in a state to be removed from home; also for the purpose of emigration, for the support of penitentiariesto which vagrants may be sentand for the maintenance of deserted children; also towards the relief of aged and infirm persons, of orphans, of helpless widows, and young children, of the families of sick persons, and of casual destitution. This report was not signed by all the Commissioners. Three of them set forth their reasons, in thirteen propositions, for dissenting from the principle of the voluntary system, as recommended by the report.

"Buckingham Palace,This was not the only bitter pill that poor Lord Eldon was compelled to swallow. Without one word of intimation from the king or the Prime Minister, he learnt for the first time from the Courier that Mr. Huskisson had been introduced into the Cabinet. Mr. Huskisson was made President of the Board of Trade, and in his stead Mr. Arbuthnot became First Commissioner of the Land Revenues. Mr. Vansittart, who had proved a very inefficient Chancellor of the Exchequer,[231] was raised to the peerage by the title of Lord Bexley, and got the quiet office of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was succeeded in the more important office by a much abler financier, Mr. Robinson.In the following Session Sir Henry Houghton brought it forward again, on the 17th of February. On this occasion a great many Methodist congregations petitioned against the Bill; for the Methodists, though separating themselves from the Church, still insisted that they belonged to it, and held all its tenets, at least of that section of it which is Arminian. It again passed the Commons,[160] but was rejected by the Lords. Finding the Lords so determined against the measure, it was allowed to rest for six years, when circumstances appeared more favourable, and it was again brought forward, in 1779, by Sir Henry Houghton, and carried through both Houses, with the introduction of a clause to this effect, that all who desired to be relieved by the Act should make the affirmation"I, A. B., do solemnly declare that I am a Christian and a Protestant Dissenter, and that I take the Old and New Testaments, as they are generally received in Protestant countries, for the rule of my faith and practice."

In 1805 a great step in British painting was made by the establishment of the British Institution; and in 1813 this institution opened the National Gallery. The annual exhibitions soon became enriched by the consummate works of Hilton, Etty, Haydon, Briggs, Sir Thomas Lawrence (in elegant portraits), Phillips, Shee, Carpenter, Harlow, Wilkie, Mulready, Turner, Calcot, Collins, Landseer, Martin, Danby, Howard, Cooper, Leslie, and Hone. No age in England had produced so illustrious a constellation of painters, as varied in character as they were masterly in artistic power.

By these endeavours Walpole managed to array a considerable body of the Commons against it. It was introduced on the 8th of December, and Sir John Pakington, Sir Richard Steele, Smith, Methuen, and others joined him in attacking it. Steele made a very powerful speech against it, but the grand assault was that of Walpole. He put out all his strength, and delivered a harangue such as he had never achieved till that day. He did not spare the motives of the king, though handling them with much tact, and was unsparingly severe on the Scottish clauses, and on the notorious subserviency of the Scottish representative peers. He declared that the sixteen elective Scottish peers were already a dead weight on the country; and he asked what they would be when made twenty-five, and hereditary? He declared that such a Bill would make the lords masters of the king, and shut up the door of honour to the rest of the nation. Amongst the Romans, he said, the way to the Temple of Fame was through the Temple of Virtue; but if this Bill passed, such would never be the case in this country. There would be no arriving at honours but through the winding-sheet of an old, decrepit lord, or the tomb of an extinct noble family. Craggs, Lechmere, Aislabie, Hampton, and other Ministerial Whigs supported the Bill; but, in the words of Speaker Onslow, the declamation of Walpole had borne down everything before it, and the measure was defeated by a majority of two hundred and sixty-nine to one hundred and seventy-seven.ARRIVAL OF DR. BRYDON AT JELALABAD. (See p. 496.)

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On the 17th of March, a few nights after Mr. Cobden's motion, Mr. Miles brought forward a motion for relief to the agricultural interest in the reduction or remission of taxation. He complained that there had been an importation of wheat during the last thirty-two months seven or eight times greater in amount than in the thirty-six months immediately subsequent to the introduction of the Corn Law of 1828. The abundance of meat in Leadenhall, Smithfield, and Newgate Markets, through the importation of foreign cattle, was also made a subject of reproach against the Ministry, and he told the House, as the spokesman of the agricultural party, "that they had no confidence in the measures which the Government proposed." They thought that anything would be better than their present position. They saw that the tariff which was passed three years ago was now going to be revised again, and that the shield of protection which was thrown over some of the productions of their industry was about to be removed still farther from them. In such circumstances they could not refrain from asking themselves what there was to prevent the Corn Laws from going next? Mr. Disraeli then, in a strain of sarcasm which is stated to have elicited cheers and laughter from the House, assailed the consistency of the Premier, and the tone in which he rebuked the mutinous and rebellious members of his party. He believed, he said, Protection to be in the same condition now as Protestantism had been in 1828, and he, who honoured genius, would rather see the abolition of all Protection proposed by Mr. Cobden than by any right honourable gentleman or by any noble lord on either side of the House. It might be necessary, before such an abolition was accomplished, for the Premier to dissolve the Parliament for the benefit of the party which he had betrayed, and to appeal to the country, which universally mistrusted him. His solemn and deliberate conviction was that a Conservative Government was an organised hypocrisy.

The deaths of monarchs, however, were peculiarly fatal to this ambitious man; that of Queen Anne had precipitated him from power, and rescued his country from the ruin he prepared for it; that of George now came as opportunely to prevent the national calamity of his ministry. George set out for Hanover on the 3rd of June, accompanied, as usual, by Townshend and the Duchess of Kendal. Just before his departure the youthful Horace Walpole saw him for the first and last time. When the king was come down to supper, Lady Walsingham took Walpole into the Duchess's ante-room, where George and his favourite were alone. Walpole knelt and[57] kissed the king's hand. George appeared in his usual health.[See larger version]Despite these representations, however, the resolutions were confirmed by the same majority as before. Other debates succeeded on the second reading of the Bill, but the majority on these gradually sank from sixty to sixteen. As the storm grew instead of abated, the queen demanded of Lord Scarborough what he thought of it, and he replied, "The Bill must be relinquished. I will answer for my regiment against the Pretender, but not against the opposers of the Excise." "Then," said the queen, "we must drop it." Sir Robert summoned his majority, and requested their opinion, and they proposed to go on, observing that all taxes were obnoxious, and that it would not do to be daunted by a mob. But Walpole felt that he must yield. He declared that he was not disposed to enforce it at the point of the bayonet, and on the 11th of April, on the order of the day for the second reading, he moved that the measure should be postponed for two months. Thus the whole affair dropped. The usually triumphant Minister found himself defeated by popular opinion. The Opposition were hardly satisfied to allow this obnoxious Bill thus to slip quietly away; but out-of-doors there was rejoicing enough to satisfy them.

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