- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
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Indeed, the perusal of the debates, in connection with the Royal Speech, threw the whole United Kingdom into a ferment of agitation. Public meetings were held to express indignation at the anti-Reform declaration of the Duke of Wellington. Petitions were presented, pamphlets were published, harangues were delivered, defiances were hurled from every part of the country. It was in these circumstances that the king was invited to honour the City with his presence at the Lord Mayor's banquet, which was to be held on the 9th of November, the day on which the new Lord Mayor enters upon his office. It had been the custom for a new Sovereign to pay this compliment to the City, and William IV. was advised by his Ministers to accept the invitation. The Metropolitan Police force had been recently established. It was a vast improvement upon the old body of watchmen, in whose time thieves and vagabonds pursued their avocations with comparative impunity. The new force, as may be supposed, was the object of intense hatred to all the dangerous classes of society, who had organised a formidable demonstration against the police, and the Government by which the force was established, on Lord Mayor's Day. Inflammatory placards had been posted, and handbills circulated, of the most exciting and seditious character, of which the following is a specimen:"To arms! Liberty or death! London meets on Tuesday next an opportunity not to be lost for revenging the wrongs we have suffered so long. Come armed; be firm, and victory must be ours.... We assure you, from ocular demonstration, 6,000 cutlasses have been removed from the Tower for the immediate use of Peel's bloody gang. Remember the cursed Speech from the Thronethesepolice are to be armed. Englishmen! will you put up with this?" Appeals of this kind, and sinister rumours of all sorts, industriously circulated, created the greatest alarm throughout London. It was reported that a conspiracy of vast extent had been discoveredthat society was on the eve of a terrible convulsionthat the barricades would immediately be up in the Strand, and that there would be a bloody revolution in the streets. The inhabitants prepared as well as they could for self-defence. They put up iron blinds and shutters to their windows, got strong bolts to their doors, supplied themselves with arms, and resolutely waited for the attack. So great was the public consternation that the Funds fell three-and-a-half per cent. in two hours. This panic is not a matter of so much astonishment when we consider that the three days' fighting in the streets of Paris was fresh in the recollection of the people of London. The Lord Mayor Elect, Alderman Key, had received so many anonymous letters, warning him of confusion and riot if his Majesty's Ministers should appear in the procession, that he became alarmed, and wrote to the Duke of Wellington, pointing out the terrible consequences of a nocturnal attack by armed and organised desperadoes in such a crowded city as London. The Duke, thinking the danger not to be despised, advised the king to postpone his visit. Accordingly, a letter from Sir Robert Peel, as Home Secretary, appeared posted on the Exchange on the morning of the 9th. The multitude of sightseers, disappointed of their pageant, were excited beyond all precedent, and execrations against the Government were heard on every side. In fact, this incident, concerning which no blame whatever attached to the Ministers, exposed the Duke of Wellington and his colleagues to a hailstorm of popular fury. The two Houses of Parliament hastily met, in a state of anxiety, if not alarm. Unable to restrain their feelings until the arrival of Ministers to give explanations, they broke forth into vehement expressions of censure and regret. Lord Wellesley more justly described it as "the boldest act of cowardice of which he had ever heard."
In the valley of Glen Tronian, on the 19th of August, they proceeded to erect the standard. The Marquis of Tullibardine, as highest in rank, though feeble and tottering with age, was appointed to unfurl the banner, supported on each hand by a stout Highlander. The colours were of blue and red silk, with a white centre, on which, some weeks later, the words Tandem triumphans were embroidered. Tullibardine held the staff till the manifesto of James, dated Rome, 1743, appointing his son Regent, was read; and as the banner floated in the breeze the multitude shouted lustily, and the hurrahs were boisterously renewed when Charles made them a short address in English, which few of the common class understood.
In this utter desertion, the king prevailed on Lord North, who was already Chancellor of the Exchequer, to accept Grafton's post of First Lord of the Treasury, with the Premiership. Lord North, eldest son of the Earl of Guildford, was a man of a remarkably mild and pleasant temper, of sound sense, and highly honourable character. He was ungainly in his person and plain of countenance, but he was well versed in the business of Parliament, and particularly dexterous in tagging to motions of the Opposition some paragraph or other which neutralised the whole, or turned it even against them. He was exceedingly near-sighted, so much so, that he once carried off the wig of the old Secretary of the Navy, who sat near him in the House. For the rest, he was of so somnolent a nature that he was frequently seen nodding in the House when Opposition members were pouring out all the vials of their wrath on his head. He thought himself a Whig, but if we are to class him by his principles and his acts of administration, we must pronounce him a Tory.
Ministers were soon compelled to pursue the policy which Pitt had so successfully inaugurated. With all the determination of Lord Bute and his colleagues to make a speedy peace, they found it impossible. The Family Compact between France and Spain was already signed; and in various quarters of the world Pitt's plans were so far in progress that they must go on. In East and West, his plans for the conquest of Havana, of the Philippine Isles, and for other objects, were not to be abruptly abandoned; and Ministers were compelled to carry out his objects, in many particulars, in spite of themselves. And now the unpleasant truth was forced on the attention of Ministers, that the war which Pitt declared to be inevitable was so, and that he had recommended the only wise measure. The country was now destined to pay the penalty of their folly and stupidity in rejecting Pitt's proposal to declare war against Spain at once, and strip her of the means of offence, her treasure ships. Lord Bristol, our ambassador at Madrid, announced to Lord Bute, in a despatch of the 2nd of November, that these ships had arrived, and that all the wealth which Spain expected from her American colonies for the next year was safe at home. And he had to add that with this, Wall, the Minister, had thrown off the mask, and had assumed the most haughty and insolent language towards Great Britain. This was a confession on the part of Lord Bristol that he had suffered Wall to throw dust in his eyes till his object was accomplished, and it made patent the fact that Pitt had been too sagacious to be deceived; but that the new Ministers, whilst insulting Pitt and forcing him to resign, had been themselves completely duped. Spain now, in the most peremptory terms, demanded redress for all her grievances; and, before the year had closed, the Bute Cabinet was compelled to recall Lord Bristol from Madrid, and to order Fuentes, the Spanish ambassador in London, to quit the kingdom. On the 4th of January, 1762, declaration of war was issued against Spain. Neither king nor Ministers, seeing the wisdom of Pitt's policy and the folly of their own, were prevented from committing another such absurdity. They abandoned Frederick of Prussia at his greatest need. They refused to vote his usual subsidy. By this execrable proceedingfor we not only abandoned Frederick, but made overtures to Austria, with which he was engaged in a mortal strugglewe thus threw him into the arms and close alliance of Russia, and were, by this, the indirect means of that guilty confederation by which Poland was afterwards rent in pieces by these powers. On the 5th of January, 1762, died the Czarina Elizabeth. She was succeeded by her nephew, the Duke of Holstein, under the title of Peter III. Peter was an enthusiastic admirer of the Prussian king; he was extravagant and incessant in his praises of him. He accepted the commission of a colonel in the Prussian service, wore its uniform, and was bent on clothing his own troops in it. It was clear that he was not quite sane, for he immediately recalled the Russian army which was acting against Frederick, hastened to make peace with him, and offered to restore all that had been won from him in the war, even to Prussia proper, which the Russians had possession of. His example was eagerly seized upon by Sweden, which was tired of the war. Both Russia and Sweden signed treaties of peace with Frederick in May, and Peter went farther: he dispatched an army into Silesia, where it had so lately been fighting against him, to fight against Austria. Elated by this extraordinary turn of affairs, the Prussian ambassador renewed his applications for money, urging that, now Russia had joined Frederick, it would be easy to subdue Austria and terminate the war. This was an opportunity for Bute to retrace with credit his steps; but he argued, on the contrary, that, having the aid of Russia, Frederick did not want that of England; and he is even accused of endeavouring to persuade Russia to continue its hostilities against Prussia; and thus he totally alienated a power which might have hereafter rendered us essential service, without gaining a single point. The Duke of Newcastle, man of mediocre merit as he was, saw farther than Bute into the disgraceful nature of thus abandoning a powerful ally at an extremity, as well as the impolicy of converting such a man into a mortal enemy; and, finding all remonstrances vain, resigned. Bute was glad to be rid of him; and Newcastle, finding both his remonstrance and resignation taken very coolly, had the meanness to seek to regain a situation in the Cabinet, but without effect, and threw himself into the Opposition.The Bills were highly necessary, and, on the whole, well calculated to nip in the bud those ever-growing abuses of India and its hundred millions of people which, some seventy years later, compelled Government to take the control out of the hands of a mere trading company, whose only object was to coin as much money as possible out of the country and the folk. But it needed no sagacity to see that the means of defeat lay on the very surface of these Bills. Those whose sordid interests were attacked had only to point to the fact that Parliament, and not the Crown, was to be the governing party under these Bills, in order to secure their rejection. This was quickly done through a most ready agent. Thurlow had been removed by the Ministry from the Woolsack, where he had remained as a steady opponent of all the measures of his colleagues; and it required but a hint from the India House, and he was at the ear of the king. Nothing was easier than for Thurlow to inspire George III. with a deep jealousy of the measure, as aiming at putting the whole government of India into the hands of Parliament and of Ministers, and the effect was soon seen.
The general election brought a large accession of strength to the Reform Party. The new Parliament met on the 21st of June, and Mr. Manners Sutton was again elected Speaker. In the Speech from the Throne the king said, "Having had recourse to the dissolution of Parliament, for the purpose of ascertaining the sense of my people on the expediency of a Reform in the Representation, I have now to recommend that important question to your earliest and most attentive consideration, confident that, in any measures which you may prepare for its adjustment, you will adhere to the acknowledged principles of the Constitution, by which the rights of the Crown, the authority of both Houses of Parliament, and the rights and liberties of the people are equally secured." The usual assurances were then given of the friendly disposition of all foreign Powers; reference was made to the contest then going on in Poland, to the Belgian Revolution, and the right of its people to regulate their own affairs, so long as the exercise of it did not endanger the security of neighbouring States. A paragraph was devoted to Portugal, lamenting that diplomatic relations with its Government could not be re-established, though a fleet had been sent to enforce our demands of satisfaction. Strict economy was recommended, in the stereotype phraseology of Royal Speeches. Having referred to reduction of taxation, the state of the revenue, and to the desire to assist the industry of the country, by legislation on sound principles, the Speech described the appearance of Asiatic cholera, and the precautions that had been taken to prevent its introduction into England. The rest of the Speech was devoted to Ireland, where "local disturbances, unconnected with political causes," had taken place in various districts, especially in Clare, Galway, and Roscommon, for the repression of which the constitutional authority of the law had been vigorously and successfully applied; and thus the necessity of enacting new laws to strengthen the executive had been avoided, to avert which, the king said, would ever be his most earnest desire.