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In the House of Commons, on the 21st of July, Mr. Bernal Osborne raised a discussion on the affairs of Hungary, and was followed by Mr. Roebuck, Colonel Thompson, and Lord Claud Hamilton: the latter denounced the conduct of Kossuth as "infamous." This debate is memorable chiefly on account of Lord Palmerston's great speech on the causes of the revolutions of 1848. In reply to the eulogiums upon the Austrian Government, the noble lord stated that Austria, in the opinion of a great part of the Continent, had been identified with obstruction to progress, resistance to improvement, political and social; and it was in that capacity she won the affections of the Tories. He regarded the conduct of such men as an example of "antiquated imbecility." He firmly believed that in the war between Austria and Hungary there were enlisted on the side of Hungary the hearts and souls of the whole people of that country. He took the question then being fought for on the plains of Hungary to be this, whether that country should maintain its separate nationality as a distinct kingdom with a constitution of its own, or be incorporated in the empire as an Austrian province. If Hungary succeeded, Austria would cease to be a first-rate European power. If Hungary were entirely crushed, Austria in that battle would have crushed her own right arm. Every field that was laid waste was an Austrian resource destroyed. Every Hungarian that perished upon the field was an Austrian soldier deducted from the defensive forces of the empire. "It is quite true," continued the noble lord, "that it may be said, 'Your opinions are but opinions; and you express them against our opinions, who have at our command large armies to back themwhat are opinions against armies?' Sir, my answer is, opinions are stronger than armies. I say, then, that it is our duty not to remain passive spectators of events that in their immediate consequences affect other countries, but in their remote and certain consequences are sure to come back with disastrous effect upon ourselves; that so far as the courtesies of international intercourse will permit us to do so, it is our dutyespecially when our opinion is asked, as it has been on many occasions on which we have been blamed for giving itto state our opinions, founded on the experience of this countryan experience that might be, and ought to have been, an example to less fortunate countries. We are not entitled to interpose in any manner that will commit this country to embark in those hostilities. All we can justly do is to take advantage of any opportunities that may present themselves, in which the counsels of friendship and peace may be offered to the contending parties.... Sir, to suppose that any Government of England can wish to excite revolutionary movements in any part of the worldto suppose that England can have any other wish or desire than to confirm and maintain peace between nations, and tranquillity and harmony between Governments and subjectsshows really a degree of ignorance and folly which I never supposed any public man could have been guilty ofwhich may do very well for a newspaper article, but which it astonishes me to find is made the subject of a speech in Parliament." The noble lord sat down amidst much cheering. Lord Dudley Stuart said that he looked upon the speech which had been delivered by Mr. Osborne, followed up as it had been by Mr. Roebuck and Lord Palmerston, as one of the most important events of the Session.

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,[242] 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.

"Father is gone!

While the Irish Government was in this state of miserable trepidation, the Dublin confederates carried on their proceedings with the most perfect unconcern and consciousness of impunity. Among these proceedings was the sending of a deputation to Paris to seek the aid of the republican Government on behalf of the "oppressed nationality of Ireland." The deputation consisted of Messrs. O'Brien, Meagher, and O'Gorman. They were the bearers of three congratulatory addresses, to which Lamartine gave a magniloquent reply about the great democratic principle"this new Christianity bursting forth at the opportune moment." The destinies of Ireland had always deeply moved the heart of Europe. "The children of that glorious isle of Erin," whose natural genius and pathetic history were equally symbolic of the poetry and the heroism of the nations of the North, would always find in France under the republic a generous response to all its friendly sentiments. But as regarded intervention, the Provisional Government gave the same answer that they had given to Germany, to Belgium, and to Italy. "Where there is a difference of racewhere nations are aliens in bloodintervention is not allowable. We belong to no party in Ireland or elsewhere except to that which contends for justice, for liberty, and for the happiness of the Irish people. We are at peace," continued Lamartine, "and we are desirous of remaining on good terms of equality, not with this or that part of Great Britain, but with Great Britain entire. We believe this peace to be useful and honourable, not only to Great Britain and to the French Republic, but to the human race. We will not commit an act, we will not utter a word, we will not breathe an insinuation, at variance with principles of the reciprocal inviolability of nations which we have proclaimed, and of which the continent of Europe is already gathering the fruits. The fallen monarchy had treaties and diplomatists. Our diplomatists are nationsour treaties are sympathies." The sympathies felt for the Irish revolutionists, however, were barren. Nevertheless the deputation who were complimented as "aliens in blood" shouted "Vive la Rpublique," "Vive Lamartine," who had just declared that the French would be insane were they openly to exchange such sympathy for "unmeaning and partial alliance with even the most legitimate parties in the countries that surrounded them."

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Music advanced at an equal rate with its sister arts, and during this period added to its conquests the compositions of Purcell and Handel. William was too much engaged in war to become a patron of music, or of any of the fine arts, and his queen, Mary, does not appear to have possessed much taste for it. She is related by Sir[155] John Hawkins to have sent for Purcell and Mrs. Arabella Hunt, a famous singer, to entertain her. Mrs. Hunt sang some of Purcell's splendid compositions, and Purcell accompanied them on the harpsichord; but Mary soon grew weary of these, and called on Mrs. Hunt to sing the Scottish ballad, "Cold and Raw!"

The nobles rose in a body and quitted the Assembly; but Gustavus continued his speech to the three remaining Orders. He declared it necessary, for the salvation of the country, for him to assume almost despotic powers, and he called on the three Estates to support him in punishing the traitorous nobles, promising to secure the liberties of the country as soon as this was accomplished. Not only the three Orders, but the public at large zealously supported him. Stockholm was in a state of high excitement. Gustavus surrounded the houses of the chief nobility with his brave Dalecarlians; secured twenty-five of the principal nobles, including the Counts Brah, Fersen, Horne, and others, who were consigned to the castle. He had already arrested nine of the leaders of the insurrection in the army in Finland, and these officers were[353] now also confined in the castle; others had escaped and fled to their patroness in St. Petersburg. To intimidate the king, nearly all the officers of the army, the fleet, and the civil department threw up their commissions and appointments, believing that they should thus completely paralyse his proceedings. But Gustavus remained undaunted. He filled up the vacancies, as well as he could, from the other Orders of the State; he brought the nobles and officers to trial, and numbers of them were condemned to capital punishment, for treason and abandonment of their sworn duties. Some few examples were made; the rest, after a short confinement, were liberated, and they hastened to their estates in the country. But it was found there, as everywhere else, that rank confers no monopoly of talent. The three other Orders warmly supported Gustavus, and he remodelled the Diet, excluding from it almost all the most powerful nobles, and giving greater preponderance to the other three Orders. In return for this, these Orders sanctioned an act called the Act of Safety, which conferred on the king the same power which is attached to the British Crown, namely, that of making peace or war. They granted him liberal supplies, and he quickly raised an army of fifty thousand men. As he considered the reduction of the restless and lawless power of Russia was equally essential to Britain, Holland, and Prussia, as to Sweden, Gustavus called on them to second his efforts. But Pitt would do nothing more than guarantee the neutrality of Denmark; and even this guarantee he permitted to become nugatory, by allowing the Danish fleet to give protection to the Russian fleet in the Baltic. A second Russian squadron, commanded by Dessein, a French admiral, descended from Archangel, entered the Baltic, menaced Gothenburg, and by the aid of the Danish ships was enabled to join the other Russian fleet at Cronstadt.

Character of the new KingPosition of the MinistryDiscussion in the Lords on a RegencyBrougham's Speech in the CommonsThe King in LondonBrougham's Slavery SpeechThe DissolutionSketch of the July RevolutionIts Effects in EnglandThe ElectionsTheir Results in England and IrelandDeath of HuskissonDisturbances in EnglandThe King's SpeechDeclarations of Grey and Wellington on ReformBroughams NoticeEffect of the Duke's Speech-Agitation in IrelandAnd against the PolicePostponement of the King's Visit to the Mansion HouseResignation of Wellington's MinistryGrey forms a MinistryBrougham's PositionThe MinistryGrey's StatementAgricultural EnglandCobbett and CarlileAffairs in IrelandLord AngleseyHis Struggle with O'ConnellO'Connell's Prosecution droppedThe Birmingham Political unionPreparation of the Reform BillIt is entrusted to Lord John RussellThe BudgetThe Bill introducedThe First Reading carriedFeeling in the CountryThe Second Reading carriedGascoigne's AmendmentA Dissolution agreed uponScene in the LordsThe PressThe Illuminations and RiotsThe New ParliamentDiscussions on the Dissolution and O'ConnellThe Second Reform BillThe Second ReadingThe Bill in CommitteeIt is carried to the LordsDebate on the Second ReadingThe Bill rejectedPopular ExcitementLord Ebrington's ResolutionProrogation of ParliamentLord John Russell's DeclarationThe Bristol RiotsColonel Brereton.

In such circumstances closed the year 1789. The intense excitement which the rapid course of these French events had produced in England had nearly superseded all other topics of interest. At first there was an almost universal jubilation over this wonderful revolution. The dreadful state of misery and oppression to which France had been reduced; the fearful exactions; the system of popular ignorance maintained by priestcraft; the abominable feudal insolence; the abuse of lettres de cachet; and the internal obstructions of customs and barriers between one province and another, made every friend of freedom desirous of seeing all these swept away. The early progress of their destruction was hailed with enthusiasm in England. Even the retired and timid poet, Cowper sang a triumphal note on the fall of the Bastille; but soon the bloody fury of the populace, and the domineering character of the Assembly, which did not deign to stop at the proper constitutional limits, began to create distrust and alarm. Amongst the first to perceive and to denounce this work of anarchy rather than of reform, was Burke. In common with Fox and Pitt, and many other statesmen, he had rejoiced in the fall of the corrupt government of France; but he soon began to perceive that the people were displaying the same ferocious character as in all their former outbreaks. "If," he wrote to M. Menonville, a moderate Member of the Assembly, "any of these horrid deeds were the acts of the rulers, what are we to think of the armed people under such rulers? But if there be no rulers in reality, and the chiefs are driven before the people rather than lead them; and if the armed corps are composed of men who have no fixed principle of obedience, and are moved only by the prevalence of some general inclination, who can repute himself safe amongst a people so furious and so senseless?" As he continued to gaze, he was compelled to confess that he saw no great and wise principles of legislation displayed by the Assembly; but that it went on destroying, without knowing how to rebuild in a manner likely to last or to work any one any good. The whole of the constitution-making, which annihilated the royal power, which erected no second chamber, but absorbed all authority into the Assembly, a mixed and heterogeneous body, he declared to be a bungling and monstrous performance. On the other hand, Dr. Price, Dr. Priestley, and numbers of equally enthusiastic men, saw nothing but what was animating in the progress of the French Revolution. "The Revolution Society," including many of the highest names of the Whig aristocracy, which was accustomed to meet on the 5th of November, to celebrate the anniversary of the landing of William III., and the English Revolution of 1688, this year presented a glowing address of congratulation to the French National Assembly, which was carried over by Lord Stanhope and Dr. Price. Of course, they and the address were received with great acclamation by the Assembly. The admiration of the French Revolution spread over Britain. Clubs were established, both in London and in the country, in sympathy with it, and the press became very Gallican and Republican in its tone, and there was much corresponding with admirers of the revolution in France, especially with Thomas Paine, who had now transferred himself from America, with a political fanatic destined to acquire considerable attention, calling himself Anacharsis Clootz, the "orator of mankind," and with many others.

The Irish Bill was read a second time in the House of Lords on the 23rd of July. It was strongly opposed by the Duke of Wellington, as transferring the electoral power of the country from the Protestants to the Roman Catholics. Lord Plunket, in reply, said, "One fact, I think, ought to satisfy every man, not determined against conviction, of its wisdom and necessity. What will the House think when I inform them that the representatives of seventeen of those boroughs, containing a population of 170,000 souls, are nominated by precisely seventeen persons? Yet, by putting an end to this iniquitous and disgraceful system, we are, forsooth, violating the articles of the union, and overturning the Protestant institutions of the country! This is ratiocination and statesmanlike loftiness of vision with a vengeance! Then it seems that besides violating the union Act we are departing from the principles of the measure of 1829. I deny that. I also deny the assumption of the noble Duke, that the forty-shilling freeholders were disfranchised on that occasion merely for the purpose of maintaining the Protestant interests in Ireland. The forty-shilling freeholders were disfranchised, not because they were what are called 'Popish electors,' but because they were in such indigent circumstances as precluded their exercising their[353] suffrage right independently and as free agentsbecause they were an incapable constituency." The Bill, after being considered in committee, where it encountered violent opposition, was passed by the Lords on the 30th of July, and received the Royal Assent by commission on the 7th of August.

To insure a powerful diversion, the Sultan had engaged the military co-operation of Sweden. Sweden had been forcibly deprived of Finland by Peter the Great, and she longed to recover it. She had a brave army, but no money. The Grand Turk, to enable her to commence the enterprise, had sent her a present of about four hundred thousand pounds sterling. Sweden put her fleet in preparation in all haste, and had Pitt merely allowed the Russian fleet to quit the Baltic, there was nothing to prevent the execution of the Swedish design on Finland, nor, indeed, of marching directly on St. Petersburg in the absence of the army.

This coalition was considered a matter of great importance, not as giving strength to the Administration of Lord Liverpool, to which it brought only a few votes in the House of Commons, but as indicating a radical change of policy towards Ireland. Lord Eldon was by no means satisfied with the changes. "This coalition," he writes, "I think, will have consequences very different from those expected by the members of administration who have brought it about. I hate coalitions." No doubt they ill suited his uncompromising spirit; and any connection with Liberal opinions must have been in the highest degree repugnant to the feelings of one who believed that the granting of Catholic Emancipation would involve the ruin of the Constitution.

In fact, the chief scene of the war during this year continued to be south. In September, D'Estaing arrived off Savannah, to co-operate with the American forces in recovering that important place. He brought with him twenty-four ships of the line and fourteen frigates, and was moreover attended by a numerous squadron of French and American privateers, besides carrying a considerable body of troops. On learning D'Estaing's approach, General Lincoln and Governor Rutledge began to march their troops towards Savannah, and sent a number of small vessels to enable the French to carry their troops up the river, and land them near the town. General Prevost, commander of the English garrison, made the most active preparations to receive them. D'Estaing had agreed to wait for the arrival of General Lincoln, with the South Carolina force, but, with the want of faith characteristic of the man, on the 12th of September he landed three thousand men, and summoned General Prevost to surrender in the name of the French king. Prevost claimed twenty-four hours to decide, and this time he employed in strengthening his defences. Before the expiration of this time Colonel Maitland, who was on the march for Beaufort with eight hundred veterans, came in, and Prevost returned for answer that he would defend the place to the utmost. On the 16th, General Lincoln arrived, and was greatly incensed to find that D'Estaing had broken the agreement to wait for him, and still worse, had summoned the place in the name of France instead of the Congress.