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BRITISH AND FOREIGN
H IS T O R Y

For the Year 1821.

CHAPTER I.

Meeting of Parliament.—King's Speech.-Petitions relative to the Queen.—Queen's message.—Further proceedings with regard to her Majesty.—Debate on the Question of restoring the Queen's name to the Liturgy.—Motion respecting the British Museum.—Debates in both Houses on the Subjects of Naples and the Holy Alliance.—Act for

regulating Trials for Treason.

OUSE of lords, Jan. 23.—
This being the day fixed

by proclamation for the meeting of parliament, his majesty, attended by the principal officers of state and the household, came down to the house about two o'clock, and opened the session. Sir T. Tyrwhit, the gentleman usher of the black rod, was directed to summon the commons, and on their appearance at the bar, his majesty delivered the following speech:—

“My lords and gentlemen,

“I have the satisfaction of acquainting you that I continue to receive from foreign powers the strongest assurances of their friendly disposition towards this country.

“It will be a matter of deep regret to me, if the occurrences which have lately taken place in

Italy should eventually lead to any interruption of tranquillity in that quarter; but it will, in such case, be my great object to secure to my people the continuance of peace. “Gentlemen of the house of commons, “The measures by which, in the last session of parliament, you made provision for the expenses of my civil government, and for the honour and dignity of the crown, demand my warmest acknowledgments. “I have directed that the estimates for the current year shall be laid before you; and it is a satisfaction to me to have been enabled to make some reduction in our military establishments. “You will observe from the accounts of the public revenue, that, notwithstanding the receipts in Ireland have proved materially deficient, in consequence of the unfortunate circumstances which have affected the commercial credit of that part of the united kingdom, and although our foreign trade, during the early part of this time, was in a state of depression, the total revenue has, nevertheless, exceeded that of the preceding year. “A considerable part of this increase must be ascribed to the new taxes; but in some of those branches which are the surest indications of internal wealth, the augmentation has fully realized any expectation which could have been reasonably formed of it. “The separate provision which was made for the queen, as princess of Wales, in the year 1814, terminated with the demise of his late majesty. “I have, in the mean time, directed advances, as authorized by law; and it will, under present circumstances, be for you to consider what new arrangements should be made on this subject. “My lords and gentlemen, “I have great pleasure in being able to acquaint you, that a considerable improvement has taken place within the last half-year in several of the most important branches of our commerce and manufactures; and that, in many of the manufacturing districts, the distresses which prevailed at the commencement of the last

session of parliament have greatly

abated. “It will be my most anxious desire to concur in every measure which may be considered as calculated to advance our internal prosperity: “I well know that, notwith

standing the agitations produced by temporary circumstances, and amidst the distress which still presses upon a large portion of my subjects, the firmest reliance may be placed on that affectionate and loyal attachment to my person and government, of which I have recently received so many testimonies from all parts of my kingdom; and which, whilst it is most grateful to the strongest feelings of my heart, I shall ever consider as the best and surest safeguard of my throne. “In the discharge of the important duties imposed upon you, you will, I am confident, be sensible of the indispensable necessity of promoting and maintaining, to the utmost of your power, a due obedience to the laws, and of instilling into all classes of m subjects a respect for lawful authority, and for those established institutions under which the country has been enabled to overcome so many difficulties, and to which, under providence, may be ascribed our happiness and renown as a nation.” The commons having left the bar, his majesty withdrew, and their lordships adjourned till five o'clock; when His majesty's speech being read from the woolsack. The earl of Belmore moved, and lord Prudhoe seconded the address. It was agreed to unanimously. In the house of commons, the address was moved by Mr. Bankcs jun. and seconded by Mr. Brown. It was agreed to as usual. House of Commons, Jan. 24.— Several members presented petitions, soliciting inquiry upon what was termed the late conspiracy against against the queen; and also for the restoration of her name to the liturgy. House of lords, Jan. 25.-Several presented petitions relative to the queen, of a similar nature to those which had been sent to the commons. House of Commons, Jan. 26.The speaker stated that the house had been up with the address to his majesty, and that his majesty had been pleased to receive the address most graciously, and to return the answer which he would now read to the house. (Here the speaker read his majesty's answer.) Long debates took place on a motion by lord Archibald Hamilton, for the rescinding of the order in council for omitting her majesty's name in the liturgy; which was negatived. Jan. 31.-The proceedings in the house of commons possessed uncommon life and interest. At the moment when lord Castlereagh was proposing a committee to consider of an adequate provision for the queen, the following message was conveyed by Mr. Brougham:— “Caroline R.—The queen, having learned that the house of commons has appointed this day for taking into consideration the part of the king's most gracious speech which relates to her, deems it necessary to declare, that she is duly sensible of his majesty's condescension in recommending an arrangement respecting her to the attention of parliament. She is aware that this recommendation must be understood as referring to a provision for the support of her estate and dignity; and from what has lately passed, she is

apprehensive that such a provision may be unaccompanied by the possession of her rights and privileges in the ample measure wherein former queens consort, her royal predecessors, have been wont in times past to enjoy them. “It is far from the queen's inclination needlessly to throw obstacles in the way of a settlement which she desires in common with the whole country, and which she feels persuaded the best interests of all parties equally require; and being most anxious to avoid eve thing that might create irritation, she cautiously abstains from any observation upon the unexampled predicament in which she is placed, but she feels it due to the house and to herself respectfully to declare, that she perseveres in the resolution of declining any arrangement while her name continues to be excluded from the liturgy. “Brandenburgh-house, Jan. 31. 1821.” A motion for adjournment was negatived, and upon the house going into a committee of supply, a motion by lord Castlereagh for granting to her majesty a sum not exceeding 50,000l. a-year, for her life, was agreed to, and subsequently confirmed. Feb. 5 & 6.-Prolix and stormy debates occupied the house, upon a motion by the marquis of Tavistock, criminating ministers for their conduct relative to the late proceedings against the queen, which was finally negatived by a majority of 146. Feb. 12.—Lord John Russell moved the order of the day for the house resolving itself into a committee upon the Grampound disfranchisement bill; for the committal

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present motion to the attention of the house (for he could assure the house that it personally was very inconvenient to him in consequence of the state of his health) was, to put an end to the disturbance and distraction which prevailed in the country upon this subject; disturbance and distraction which, in his opinion, could not be appeased until the cause was removed. He had heard it stated by gentlemen on the other (the ministerial) side, and certainly the statement excited no inconsiderable degree of surprise, that the public took no great interest in this question. He was astonished to hear such assertions; for if gentlemen would only open their eyes, they must

rceive the intense interest with which the public considered the subject, and the intensity of feeling to which it had given rise throughout the whole country. The house were aware that her majesty had received several hundred addresses, signed by several hundreds of thousands of persons, all of whom sympathised with her sufferings, and poured forth earnest prayers for the restoration of her rights. He only mentioned this circumstance as a proof of the universal feeling of the people on the question now before the

house. With respect to the petitions which had been presented, it should also be considered that there were, on this occasion, petitions not only from those places from which the house was accustomed to receive them on other occasions, but also from places which never before had taken any part in political affairs. When he saw this, he was astonished how any gentleman on the other side could deny that the people took more interest in the question respecting her majesty than they had done on any former occasion. He had heard it said that the noble lord(Castlereagh) had stated that he could not continue to hold office if the house should agree to the insertion of her majesty's name. Now, assuming, as he thought he might fairly do, that the tranquillity of the country would be further endangered by the refusal of this motion, he begged to ask the noble lord whether he was prepared to say that the country was in such a state as that it could safely bear additional subject of irritation. Let the noble lord look at the subjects of dissatisfaction which existed from other causes. Look at the state of the agriculturists 1 He (Mr. Smith) was not among those who thought that agriculture was in a state of absolute ruin; but he admitted that those engaged in it were reduced to a state of very great distress; and he knew from many farmers that they were suffering the greatest calamities. Then, he asked, was it worth while to insult persons so depressed, by paying no attention to the prayers which they had so earnestly addressed to the legislature on the question before

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