On the 31st of March Dundas introduced the Indian Budget, and soon afterwards Pitt congratulated the country on the fact that, so far from the American war having injured the trade or the power of Britain, the fact was that our shipping had increased considerably more than one-third since 1773, and we had been continually gaining strength even during the American war, and had relieved ourselves of a load of expense always incurred by the government of the States. This was an admirable argument for declaring all our colonies independent, if it meant anything; but Pitt went on seconding, and even surpassing Dundas in the prognostications of a long peace. What such ministerial speeches were worth was shown on the 5th of May, only a month and five days since the prophecy of Dundas, and not three weeks since his own prophecy, by Pitt announcing that the peace was already disturbed with Spain. It appeared that the high prices obtained by the crews of Captain Cook's ships, the Discovery and Resolution, at Canton, on his exploring voyages in the South Seas, for the ill-selected, half-worn furs brought from the north-west coast of America, had attracted the attention of adventurers under the direct protection of the East India Company. Mr. Mears, who had been a lieutenant in the royal navy, and a Mr. Tippin, were sent out in command each of a vessel. Tippin was wrecked on the coast of Kamtschatka; but Mears reached Prince William's Sound and wintered there, opening a good trade with the natives. In the spring of 1788 he discovered Nootka Sound, a fine bay on the west side of a small island on the west coast of Vancouver's Island. There he formed a settlement, making a bargain with the chief for it. He went to Canton with furs and was opening a fine trade, when the Spaniards came down on the settlement, seized four British vessels, but permitted two United States' vessels to remain unmolested. Part of the English crew were shipped in one of the American vessels to China, and the rest suffered to depart in one of their own ships after it had been plundered. The Spanish commander then settled himself in the new colony, and Spain set up a general claim to all coasts and islands, and the whole Pacific as far as China.On the 1st of June her Majesty arrived at St. Omer, intending to embark at Calais without delay for England. She wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, the Earl of Liverpool, commanding him to prepare a palace in London for her reception; another to Lord Melville, to send a yacht to carry her across the Channel to Dover; and a third to the Duke of York, repeating both demands, and complaining of the treatment she had received. Two days later Lord Hutchinson, with Mr. Brougham, who was her legal adviser, arrived with a proposition from the king, offering her fifty thousand pounds a year for life if she would remain on the Continent, and relinquish her claims as Queen of England. The queen instantly and indignantly rejected the offer, and started for England with all haste, having dismissed her foreign suite, including Bergami, her chamberlain, and the prime cause of the scandal that attached to her name. She would not even be dissuaded by Mr. Brougham, who most earnestly implored her to refrain from rushing into certain trouble and possible danger; or, at least, to delay taking the step until Lord Hutchinson should have received fresh instructions. She was peremptory, and sailed at once for Dover, accompanied by Lady Anne Hamilton and Alderman Wood, landing on the 6th of June. As this event was quite unexpected by Government, the commandant, having had no orders to the contrary, received her with a royal salute. The beach was covered with people, who welcomed her with shouts of enthusiasm. From Dover to London her journey was a continued ovation. In London the whole population seemed to turn out in a delirium of joy and triumph, which reached its climax as the procession passed Carlton House. No residence having been provided for her by the Government, she proceeded to the house of Alderman Wood in Audley Street.
But where, all this time, was the Great Commoner? The whole world was astonished when the fact came out that Pitt would accept no post in his own Ministry but that of Privy Seal, which necessitated his removal to the House of Peers. The king himself offered no opposition. Pitt's colleagues were not only astonished, but confounded; for they calculated on having his abilities and influence in the House of Commons. "It is a fall up stairs," said the witty Chesterfield, "which will do Pitt so much hurt that he will never be able to stand upon his legs again." No doubt it was a great mistake, but the infirmity of Pitt's health is an abundant excuse. This matter settled, Chatham condescended to coax the haughty Duke of Bedford, whom he met at Bath, to join him. He explained that the measures he meant to pursue were such as he knew the Duke approved. Having heard him, Bedford replied, proudly, "They are my measures, and I will support them, in or out of office." It was understood that he would receive overtures from Chatham, and, in these circumstances, Parliament met on the 11th of November.The various triumphs in the direction of liberty of conscience evidence a sense of civil right in the community, which forced itself on the Government, rather than a sense of religion. But religion, too, was in steady growth. The Dissenters had greatly increased during this period, and amongst them the names of some of their ministers had acquired a general reputation. Robert Hall, of Leicester, and afterwards of Bristol, threw a new lustre on the Baptist community. He was the son of a Baptist minister, was at first educated by Dr. Ryland, the learned Baptist pastor of Northampton, and afterwards took his degree of M.A. at King's College, Aberdeen. He commenced his ministerial career in Bristol, and subsequently resided as minister at Leicester for twenty years. On the death of his old tutor, Dr. Ryland, he became the president of the Baptist Academy at Bristol, and pastor of Broadmead Chapel, in that town. Robert Hall was not inferior to any of the clergy of the Establishment in learning or eloquence. He was for eleven years the Baptist minister in Cambridge before removing to Leicester. In Cambridge he succeeded to a man nearly as remarkable, the celebrated Robert Robinson. At this university town he attracted the notice of some of the leading Established clergy and professors, and of the world at large, by his "Vindication of the Freedom of the Press," and his splendid sermon "On Modern Infidelity." Dr. Parr has left a testimony to the merits of Robert Hall in his will, which does honour to his liberality:—"Mr. Hall has, like Jeremy Taylor, the eloquence of an orator, the fancy of a poet, the subtlety of a schoolman, the profoundness of a philosopher, and the piety of a saint." To the same body belonged the celebrated author of "Essays on the Formation of Character," John Foster, also of Bristol.
"Child, is thy father dead?"
THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON AT ALMACK'S. (See p. 440.)
The Session of 1840 was opened by the Queen in person. The first two paragraphs of the Royal Speech contained an announcement of the coming marriage. The Speech contained nothing else very definite or very interesting; and the debate on the Address was remarkable for nothing more than its references to the royal marriage. The Duke of Wellington warmly concurred in the expressions of congratulation. He had, he said, been summoned to attend her Majesty in the Privy Council when this announcement was first made. He had heard that the precedent of the reign of George III. had been followed in all particulars except one, and that was the declaration that the Prince was a Protestant. He knew he was a Protestant, he was sure he was of a Protestant family; but this was a Protestant State, and although there was no doubt about the matter, the precedent of George III. should have been followed throughout, and the fact that the Prince was a Protestant should be officially declared. The Duke, therefore, moved the insertion of the word "Protestant" before the word "Prince" in the first paragraph of the Address. Lord Melbourne considered the amendment altogether superfluous. The Act of Settlement required that the Prince should be a Protestant, and it was not likely that Ministers would advise her Majesty to break through the Act of Settlement. The precedent which the Duke had endeavoured to establish was not a case in point, for George III. did not declare to the Privy Council that the Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a Protestant, but only that she was descended from a long line of Protestant ancestors. All the world knew that the Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg was a Protestant, and that he was descended from the most emphatically Protestant house in Europe. But the House decided to insert the phrase.
High duties were not the only evils that had been strangling the silk trade. Its chief seat was at Spitalfields, where by the Act of 1811 and other legislation the magistrates had been empowered to fix the rate of wages, and to subject to severe penalties any masters who employed weavers in other districts. The result, said a manufacturers' petition in 1823, is, "that the removal of the entire manufacture from the metropolis is inevitable, if the Acts are to continue any longer in force." However, the journeymen declared that a repeal of the Acts would be followed by the reduction of their wages and the increase of the poor rates. No less than 11,000 petitioned against Huskisson's motion for a repeal, and, though the Bill passed the House of Commons by small majorities, it was so altered by amendments in the Lords that it was abandoned for the Session. But in this remarkable Session of 1824 it was reintroduced and passed through all its stages. As a result the Combination Acts directed against meetings of workmen to affect wages, the Acts which prevented the emigration of artisans, and the laws against the exportation of machinery were brought under discussion by Joseph Hume. The last question was waived for the present, but the laws interfering with the emigration of artisans were repealed without a voice being raised in their favour. As for the Combination Acts, it was ordained that no peaceable meeting of masters or workmen should be prosecuted as a conspiracy, while summary punishments were enacted on those "who by threats, intimidation, or acts of violence interfered with that freedom, which ought to be allowed to each party, of employing his labour or capital in a manner he may deem most advantageous." In consequence, however, of the outrages which occurred during the Glasgow strikes of 1824, during which a workman who disregarded the wishes of his union was shot, and men of one trade were employed to assassinate the masters of another, further legislation was necessary. By the Act of 1825 all associations were made illegal, excepting those for settling such amount of wages as would be a fair remuneration to the workman. Any other combination either of men against masters or of masters against men, or of working men against working men, was made illegal. The law thus framed continued to regulate the relations of capital and labour for nearly half a century.The state of opinion among the members of the Government from the early part of 1828 may be traced in the "Memoirs" of Sir Robert Peel, which comprise the confidential correspondence on the subject. The Marquis Wellesley had retired from the Government of Ireland, and was succeeded by the Marquis of Anglesey. The former nobleman would have given more satisfaction to the Irish Roman Catholics; but he was overruled, as they believed, by Mr. Goulburn, his Chief Secretary. His popularity and the confidence reposed in him were much increased by the fact that the marchioness was a Roman Catholic, which, however, proportionably rendered him an object of suspicion to the Orange party.
Notwithstanding that Hyder had established his camp soon after in a strong position near the village of Pollilore, he was attacked on the 27th of August by Eyre Coote. On this occasion Sir Hector Munro warned Coote of the disadvantages of ground under which he was going to engage, and the inevitable sacrifice of life. Coote replied angrily, "You talk to me, sir, when you should be doing your duty!" His warning, however, was just. Coote did not succeed in driving Hyder from his post without severe loss. But again, on the 27th of September, another battle was fought between them in the pass of Sholinghur, near Bellore, in which Coote defeated Hyder with terrible loss. This battle relieved the English garrison in Bellore, and the rainy season put an end to operations, but the Carnatic was saved.
"I have had great satisfaction in giving my assent to the measures which you have presented to me from time to time, calculated to extend commerce, and to stimulate domestic skill and industry, by the repeal of prohibitory and the relaxation of protective duties.
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