When he was removed, it was evident that the temporising system would do no longer. The head of the Cabinet must take one side or the other. The Prime Minister must be a friend or an enemy of progress—a Reformer or an anti-Reformer. In these circumstances the king had great difficulty in forming an Administration. The prostration of Lord Liverpool had come upon the political world “with the force of an earthquake,” convulsing parties in the most violent and singular manner, and completely changing the aspect of affairs at Court and in the State. The Sovereign had before him, on one hand, Mr. Canning, the leader of the House of Commons, the most popular Minister, the most brilliant statesman in England since the days of Pitt. How could he put aside his claims to be Prime Minister? On the Tory side there was no statesman to whom the post could be safely entrusted. If Eldon could be kept in his place as Lord Chancellor, it was as much as could be expected at his time of life. The Duke of Wellington’s military character, as well as his anti-Catholic feeling, prevented his being placed at the head of an Administration. Mr. Peel was considered too young to occupy so great a position. The latter was consulted, and gave it as his opinion that an anti-Catholic Ministry could not be formed. The issue was, that, after a fortnight’s anxious suspense and difficulty, the king entrusted Mr. Canning with the formation of a Ministry. The task which he undertook was extremely delicate and difficult. He was greatly disliked by the chiefs of both parties. He belonged to no old aristocratic house. He had risen to the first position in the State by his genius and industry, by the wise and beneficent application of the most brilliant and commanding talents. These excited intense jealousy among those whose principal merit consisted in hereditary rank. When he had received the king’s orders, though aware of their feelings towards him, he dealt with them in a frank and generous spirit. He wrote to his colleagues individually, courteously expressing his desire that the public service might still enjoy the advantages to be derived from the exercise of their administrative talents. Most of them answered evasively, pretending that they did not know who was to be Prime Minister, and postponing their decision till they had received that information. As soon as they learnt that they were to serve under Mr. Canning, the entire Administration, with very few exceptions, resigned. Mr. Peel did not share the antipathies of his aristocratic colleagues. Mr. Canning declared that he was the only seceding member of the Government that behaved well to him at this time; and so high was his opinion of that gentleman that he considered him to be his only rightful political heir and successor. He was not deceived on either of those points. Mr Peel, writing confidentially to Lord Eldon, on the 9th of April, expressed his feelings frankly, and they did him honour. His earnest wish was to see the Government retained on the footing on which it stood at the time of Lord Liverpool’s misfortune. He was content with his own position as Home Secretary. Though differing from every one of his colleagues in the House of Commons on the Catholic question, he esteemed and respected them, and would consider it a great misfortune were his Majesty to lose the services of any of them, “but particularly of Canning.” He was willing to retire alone if the rest of his colleagues, who did not feel the same difficulty, would consent to hold office with Canning. He advised the king that an exclusive Protestant Government could not be formed. He also said that he was out of the question as the head of a Government under the arrangement that he considered the best that could be made, namely, the reconstruction of the late Administration, “because it was quite impossible for Canning to acquiesce in his appointment.” He was, however, ready to give Canning’s Government his general support.
On the 10th of April, when Mr. Canning kissed hands as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, he found himself deserted by the Duke of Wellington, Lord Eldon, Mr. Peel, Lords Bathurst, Melville, and Westmoreland. The members of the Cabinet who finally adhered to him were Lord Harrowby, Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Wynne, and Mr. Robinson, afterwards Lord Goderich, who had become Secretary of the Colonial Department, with the lead of the Government in the House of Lords. Having received the resignations, and presented them to the king, Mr. Canning said:—”Here, sire, is that which disables me from executing the orders I have received from you respecting the formation of a new Administration. It is now open to your Majesty to adopt a new course; for no step has yet been taken in the execution of those orders that is irrecoverable.” He added, that if he was to go on, his writ must be moved for that day, which was the last before the Easter recess. The king at once gave him his hand to kiss, and confirmed the appointment. Two hours afterwards the House was ringing with acclamations while Mr. Wynne was moving that a new writ be issued for the borough of Newport in consequence of the Right Honourable George Canning having accepted the office of First Lord of the Treasury. This was a result which Lord Eldon did not anticipate. He evidently expected that Canning would be foiled in his attempt to form a Ministry. He wrote, “Who could have thought it? I guess that I, Wellington, Peel, Bathurst, Westmoreland, and C. will be out.” Again he says, “The whole conversation in town is made up of abusive, bitterly abusive, talk of people about each other—all fire and flame. I have known nothing like it.” Elsewhere he remarks, “I think political enmity runs higher and waxes warmer than I ever knew it.”
The irritation arose from the fact that the force of public opinion was wresting political power from the families that had so long held it in well-assured possession as their hereditary right. Mr. Canning appeared before them as the man in whom that opinion had triumphed—who, by his own talents and merit alone, had risen to the first position in the State, to be, in fact, the chief ruler, the acting Sovereign of the empire. Hence the mortification, hence the factious wrath that was poured upon his devoted head. They succeeded in victimising a statesman of whom, as Englishmen, they ought to have been proud, vainly hoping that they could thereby maintain the domination of their order in the Government of the country. They were aware that the state of Mr. Canning’s health was not good. He had all the exquisite sensibility as well as the pride of genius. His finely strung nervous system had been overwrought by incessant labour and anxiety, and irritated by the unworthy and unmerited attacks to which he had been subjected. He suppressed his feelings with a manly self-control, and a noble disdain of the mean and virulent assaults upon him. But he felt keenly, nevertheless, and the more carefully he hid the wounds of his mind, the more fatally the poisoned shafts rankled within.
The new Premier, however, was resolute, and persevered with his arrangements. He found an excellent successor to Lord Eldon, as Chancellor, in Sir John Copley, the Master of the Rolls, who was created Lord Lyndhurst. Mr. Peel, as Home Secretary, was succeeded by Mr. Sturges Bourne, who retired after a few weeks to make way for the Marquis of Lansdowne. He represented a section of the Whigs, prominent among whom were Brougham, Tierney and Burdett, who gave their support to the Ministry. The Duke of Clarence succeeded Lord Melville as First Lord of the Admiralty, and the Marquis of Anglesey the Duke of Wellington as Master-General of the Ordnance. Viscount Palmerston was appointed the Secretary at War, with which office he commenced his long, brilliant, and popular career as a Cabinet Minister. The new Master of the Rolls was Sir John Leech, the Attorney-General Sir James Scarlett, and the Solicitor-General Sir N. Tindal. Mr. Lamb, afterwards Lord Melbourne, succeeded Mr. Goulburn as Chief Secretary of Ireland.
These three events—the death of the Duke of York, the appointment of Mr. Canning as Prime Minister, and the entire remodelling of the Cabinet on Liberal principles—succeeding one another so rapidly in the early months of 1827, were regarded as the turning-points in the modern history of England, and fraught with most momentous consequences. The first changed the Heir-Apparent to the Throne, and for an obstinate bigot substituted a prince of popular sympathies. The second represented the triumph of intellect and public opinion over rank and monopoly. “Changes so vast,” writes Sir Archibald Alison, “could not fail to exercise a powerful influence on the course of events in future times. The magnitude of the change appeared in the most decided manner when the Ministerial explanations usual in such cases took place in Parliament. Both Houses were crowded to excess, both in the highest degree excited, but the excitement in the two was as different as the poles are asunder: in the Commons it was the triumph of victory, in the Peers the consternation of defeat. So clearly was this evinced that it obliterated for a time the deep lines of party distinction, and brought the two Houses, almost as hostile bodies united under different standards, into the presence of each other. The Commons rang with acclamations when the new Premier made his triumphant explanation from the head of the Ministerial bench; but they were still louder when Mr. Peel, from the cross benches, out of office, said, ‘They may call me illiberal and Tory, but it will be found that some of the most necessary measures of useful legislation of late years are inscribed with my name.’ The tide of reform had become so strong that even the avowed Tory leaders in the Lower House were fain to take credit by sailing along with it. In the House of Lords, on the other hand, the feeling of the majority was decidedly hostile to the new Administration, and that not merely on the Tory benches, where it might naturally have been looked for, but among the old Whig nobility, who had long considered Government as an appendage of their estates. It was hard to say whether the old peers on both sides responded more strongly to the Duke of Wellington’s and Lord Eldon’s explanation of their reasons for declining to hold office, or to Earl Grey’s powerful and impassioned attack on the new Premier. The division of the two Houses was clearly pronounced; the one presaged its approaching triumph, the other its coming downfall. The secret sense of coming change had raised their numbers in unwonted combinations, and the vital distinction of interest and order had for the time superseded the old divisions of party.”
Mr. Canning had now attained the highest summit to which the ambition of a British subject can aspire. With the acclamation of the country and of the House of Commons, he had taken the first place in the Government of the empire, to which he had raised himself by his talents and his merit alone, surmounting as he rose the most formidable impediments, aristocratic antipathies, class interests, and royal dislike. He was the idol of the nation, and not only in Great Britain, but throughout the world, his fame shone brightest of all the public men of his age. His name was associated with the triumph of Liberal principles throughout Europe and America; he was at the head of a strong Government, and he had conciliated the good-will of his Sovereign. Such a combination of what are usually regarded as the elements of human happiness has rarely, if ever, been known in the history of England, where alone such a phenomenon could occur. As a man of genius, as an orator, as a political leader, he enjoyed a reputation and a degree of success which in any one of these capacities would be regarded by the majority of men as the acme of human felicity. But in addition to these he enjoyed a position and wielded a power with which many great men have been content, without the brilliant halo of glory with which, in Canning’s case, they were surrounded. But it is a singular and humbling illustration of the vanity of human wishes and human glory, that this great man was, after all, unhappy, and that the political enemies he had vanquished had the power of bringing him to an early grave. The Whig and Tory lords studied in every way to wound the proud spirit, which they knew to be extremely sensitive. They scowled upon him with looks of resentment and vengeance. Old friends averted their eyes from the affectionate companion of earlier days; the cordial pressure of his hand was not returned; his associates and supporters in office and in Parliament were, for the most part, his former opponents in many a political battlefield. The odium of being a convert to Liberal principles settled upon his noble spirit like a fatal blight, the animosity with which intolerance pursues the honest and generous lover of truth and right pierced his susceptible nervous system like a keen, pitiless, persistent east wind. This was more than his delicate organism could long bear. The state of his mind affected his bodily health. The charm of his conversation made him the delight of his friends in private society, in which he found a solace and a welcome relaxation from the toils of office. It was natural, though to be regretted, that with such a susceptible, enjoying, and genial temperament, delighting in wit and humour, and diffusing pleasure around him by the coruscations of his own genius, he should have lingered longer in convivial parties than was prudent for his health. The consequence was an inflamed and irritable state of the system. Thus predisposed to disease, he caught cold by sitting under a tree, after being heated with walking, while on a visit with Lord Lyndhurst at Wimbledon. Attacked with inflammation of the kidneys, he went to Chiswick, on the advice of his doctors, and there, on the 8th of August, after a brief period of intense suffering, he died in the villa of the Duke of Devonshire, and in the same room in which a man of kindred genius, the illustrious Charles James Fox, breathed his last.
LORD LIVERPOOL. (After the Portrait by Sir T. Lawrence, P.R.A.)
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The Ministerial changes consequent on the death of Mr. Canning were announced on the 17th of August. Viscount Goderich, afterwards Earl of Ripon, became the First Lord of the Treasury, the Duke of Portland President of the Council, Mr. Herries Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Huskisson Colonial Secretary, and Mr. C. Grant President of the Board of Trade. On the 22nd the Duke of Wellington was gazetted as Commander-in-Chief. He accepted this office at the earnest request of the king, and it was universally felt that he was the fittest man for the post; but those who, with Lord Eldon, earnestly wished for the speedy downfall of the new Ministry—which they regarded as almost exclusively Canningite—lamented that he should have assumed that position which would necessarily paralyse his opposition in the House of Lords, and so far tend to keep in the Administration. There was, however, little chance of that, for perhaps no Cabinet was ever more divided. They intrigued man against man, section against section; and at last, without any external pressure, the Cabinet fell to pieces from its own weakness. Lord Goderich lost heart, and gave in his resignation before Parliament met. The king was at Windsor while the work of dissolution was going on. When it was complete, he said, “If they had not dissolved themselves by their own acts, I should have remained faithful to them to the last.” They appeared before him on the 8th of January, 1828, to resign the offices which they had received from his hands. The Duke of Wellington was then sent for. It was not his wish to become Prime Minister of England. The reasons which had impelled him, on a former occasion, to resist the solicitations of his colleagues induced him now to remonstrate respectfully with the Sovereign; but the king would take no denial.
DEVONSHIRE VILLA, CHISWICK.
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Lord Goderich acted with great humility. In a letter to the Duke of Buckingham, shortly after his resignation, he expressed his willingness to serve under the Duke of Wellington, though it might certainly be a matter of doubt with him how far, in existing circumstances, he could with credit accept office. But as the Government was to rest upon a broad basis, and was not to oppose the principles he had always advocated, he was ready to consider favourably any offer that might be made to him. The task which Wellington had undertaken was a most difficult one, considering the nature of the questions that agitated the public mind, and the course which he had adopted in reference to them. The new Government was announced on the 25th of January. It retained several members of the Goderich Ministry—namely, Lord Dudley, Mr. Huskisson, and Mr. Herries. The Duke of Wellington was Premier, Mr. Goulburn Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Aberdeen Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Lord Ellenborough Privy Seal. Mr. Canning’s widow was created a viscountess, with a grant of ￡6,000 a year, to be enjoyed after her death by her eldest son, and, in case of his death, by her second son. The former was in the navy, and perished accidentally soon after his father’s death. The second son, to whom the family honours descended, was the Governor-General of India during the most memorable crisis in the history of that empire. The grant was opposed by Lord Althorp, Mr. Hume, and Mr. Banks, but was carried by a majority of 161 to 54.
Of all the expectants of office in the Wellington Administration, the most bitterly disappointed was the ex-Chancellor, Lord Eldon, to whom official life had from long habit become almost a necessity. He had enjoyed power long enough in reason to admit of his retirement with a contented mind; but the passion for it was never stronger than at the present moment. He hastened to London a few days after Christmas on account of rumours of a dissolution of the Cabinet. Having so often done this when there was a talk of a Ministerial crisis, he was called the “stormy petrel.” Believing that he had mainly contributed to bring about the Ministerial catastrophe, he was dreadfully mortified when he saw in the newspapers the list of the new Ministers beginning thus: “Chancellor, Lord Lyndhurst.” He had not set his heart this time on the office of Lord Chancellor, he would have been content with the Presidentship of the Council or Privy Seal; but his name was not found in the list at all, nor had he been consulted in any way, or informed about what was going forward during the fortnight that passed before the Ministerial arrangements were completed. This utter neglect of his claims excited his anger and indignation to the utmost, and caused him to indulge in bitter revilings and threats against the new Cabinet. The great Tory lords shared in his resentment, and felt that they were all insulted in his person. Referring to the Ministerial arrangements, he wrote:—”You will observe, Dudley, Huskisson, Grant, Palmerston, and Lyndhurst (five) were all Canningites, with whom the rest were three weeks ago in most violent contest and opposition; these things are to me quite marvellous. How they are all to deal with each other’s conduct, as to the late treaty with Turkey and the Navarino battle, is impossible to conjecture. As the first-fruits of this arrangement, the Corporation of London have agreed to petition Parliament to repeal the laws which affect Dissenters.”
The Greeks had been struggling to emancipate themselves from the tyrannical dominion of the Turks, aided in their war of independence only by the voluntary contributions and personal services of enthusiastic friends of freedom, like Lord Byron. At length, however, the sanguinary nature of the contest, and the injury to commerce by piracy, induced the Great Powers of Europe to interfere in order to put an end to the war. Accordingly, on the 6th of July, 1827, a treaty was signed in London by the Ministers of Great Britain, France, and Russia, for the pacification of Greece. In pursuance of this treaty, a joint expedition, consisting of British, French, and Russian ships, entered the Bay of Navarino on the 20th of October, with the object of compelling the Sultan to concede an armistice, in order that there might be time for effecting an arrangement. The Sultan, Mahmoud, having declined the mediation of the combined Powers, and Ibrahim Pasha having received a large reinforcement of troops from Egypt, he was ordered to put down the insurrection at every cost by land and sea. He had accordingly recommenced the war with fanatical fury. All Greeks found in arms were to be put to the sword, and the Morea was to be laid waste. The combined fleet of the Allies had received orders to demand an armistice, and if this were refused by the Turkish admiral, they were to intercept the Turkish supplies, but not to commit hostilities. When the Turkish fleet met the Allies, the futility of these instructions became evident. They found it ranged at the bottom of the bay, in the form of a crescent. Instead of parleying, the Turks began to fire, and the battle commenced apparently without plan on either side. It soon became general. Admiral Codrington, in the Asia, opened a broadside upon the Egyptian admiral, and soon reduced his ship to a wreck; others in rapid succession shared the same fate. The conflict lasted with great fury for four hours. When the smoke cleared off, the enemy had disappeared, and the bay was strewn with the fragments of their ships. Among the Allies, the loss of the British was greatest, though not large—only 75 men killed and 197 wounded. The catastrophe produced immense excitement at Constantinople, and had the Janissaries (those fierce and bigoted defenders of Mohammedanism whom the Sultan had so
recently extirpated) been still in existence, it would have fared ill with Christians in that part of the world. The Sultan demanded satisfaction, which would not be granted, and the European ambassadors left Constantinople. The battle of Navarino occurred at the time when the Duke of Wellington assumed the reins of office, our ambassador having then returned from Constantinople.
Parliament was opened by commission on the 29th of January, four days after the formation of the Wellington Ministry. The Royal Speech referred chiefly to the affairs of the East, to the rights of neutral nations violated by the revolting excesses of the Greeks and Turks, to the battle of Navarino with the fleet of an ancient ally, which was lamented as an “untoward event;” but hopes were expressed that it might not lead to further hostilities. The Speech alluded to the increase of exports and the more general employment of the people as indications of returning prosperity. The phrase “untoward” was objected to by Lords Lansdowne and Goderich. Lord Holland denied that our relations with Turkey were those of an alliance; but the Duke of Wellington contended that the Ottoman empire was an ancient ally of Great Britain, that it formed an essential part of the balance of power, and that the maintenance of its independent existence was more than ever necessary as an object of European policy.
The Duke of Wellington had some difficulty in producing due subordination among the members of his Government at the outset. At Liverpool, Mr. Huskisson, in addressing his constituents, by way of apology for serving under a Tory chief, said that in taking office he had obtained guarantees for the future Liberal course of the Government. The Duke resented this assertion, and in the House of Lords, on the 11th of February, with some warmth, contradicted the statement, and declared that pledges had neither been asked nor given, and that if they had been asked, they would have been indignantly refused. Mr. Huskisson explained, in the Commons, that by guarantees he had meant only that the past conduct and character of his colleagues furnished pledges for the future course of the Ministry. Another cause of misunderstanding arose, on the 19th of the same month, with reference to the disfranchisement of East Retford. A Bill had been brought in for that purpose. A portion of the Cabinet were for the enlargement of the constituency by taking in the neighbouring hundred of Bassetlaw; but the constituency had obtained permission to be heard by counsel before the Lords, and they produced such an impression that the Duke of Wellington hesitated about the propriety of the measure. Another party were for transferring the members to Birmingham. The course Mr. Huskisson is represented to have taken on this question seems so tortuous that it is not easy to account for it. The Duke of Wellington and Mr. Peel were understood to have advocated in the Cabinet the disfranchisement of East Retford, and the transference of its members to Birmingham. Mr. Huskisson, conceiving that he was in honour bound to adhere to an arrangement that Mr. Canning had made, voted for throwing open the franchise, and carried his point. They produced their Bill accordingly, and were met, as in the kindred case of Penryn, with a counter-proposal for transferring the members to Birmingham. Against this Mr. Huskisson argued, as tending to weaken too much and too suddenly the agricultural interest. The second reading was proposed on the 19th of May, and an animated debate ensued, in which the chief speakers on the Ministerial side were Mr. Peel and Mr. Huskisson. Nobody appeared to suspect that Mr. Huskisson did not intend to support with his vote the measure which as a speaker he had recommended. Such, however, proved to be the fact. A division took place, and Mr. Huskisson and Lord Palmerston, very much to the astonishment of all parties, went into the lobby against the Ministerial proposal. At two o’clock that night Mr. Huskisson wrote a letter to the Duke, which his Grace received at ten in the morning, in which he said, “I owe it to you, as the head of the Administration, and to Mr. Peel, as leader of the House of Commons, to lose no time in affording you an opportunity of placing my office in other hands.” The Duke very naturally took this as a resignation, but Mr. Huskisson denied that it was so meant. An irritating correspondence ensued, and Mr. Huskisson left the Cabinet, as he affirmed,长沙桑拿哪里好推荐 against his will. All the followers of Mr. Canning went with him—namely, Lord Dudley from the Foreign Office, Lord Palmerston from the War Office, and Mr. C. Grant from the Board of Control. They were succeeded by Lord Aberdeen as Foreign Secretary, Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald at the Board of Control, and Sir Henry Hardinge as Secretary at War. Such was the constitution of the Government, with all its Liberalism thus expurgated, which repealed the Test and Corporation Acts, and carried Catholic Emancipation. The king was particularly anxious to have a strong Government. He was still firm in his resistance to Catholic Emancipation. The very mention of the subject by his Ministers produced a degree of excitement and irritation which made their intercourse with him occasionally unpleasant. The Duke of Wellington seemed, of all 长沙桑拿论坛 men, the least likely to give way on the subject. In the debate on the Test and Corporation Acts, he said, “There is no person in this House whose feelings and sentiments, after long consideration, are more decided than mine are with respect to the Roman Catholic claims; and I must say that, until I see a great change in that question, I must oppose it.”
On the 28th of February Lord John Russell proposed and carried a resolution that the House of Commons should go into committee to inquire into the operation of the Test and Corporation Acts, with a view to their repeal. From the very foundation of the Established Church at the Reformation the most stringent measures were adopted to put down Nonconformity, to render the Church and State identical in their constituent elements, and to preserve the uniformity and secure the 湖南长沙桑拿论坛 perpetuity of the faith which had been established. The Dissenters, however, maintained that the Act of Uniformity had utterly failed to accomplish its object. They observed that at first the Reformed Church was Calvinistic in its articles, its clergy, and its preaching; that it then became Arminian and overcharged with ceremony under Laud; that it was latitudinarian in the days of William and Anne; that in more modern times it had been divided into “High Church,” and “Low Church,” and “Broad Church;” that subscription did not prevent the greatest variety and even the most positive contrariety of doctrine and religious opinion, referring, for illustration, to the rise and progress of the “Evangelical” and the “Anglican” parties. They further contended that the Act had failed in one of its main objects—namely, in keeping all Protestants 长沙桑拿哪里最好 within the pale of the Church, as, so far as actual membership or communicants were concerned, the adherents to the Establishment were now in a minority. In vain, then, were 2,000 clergymen ejected from their parishes, followed by 60,000 earnest Protestants, who, by fines, imprisonment, or voluntary exile, suffered on account of their Nonconformity. This persecution had an effect the opposite of what had been anticipated. If, as Hume remarked, every martyrdom in the Marian persecution was worth to Protestantism and liberty a hundred sermons against Popery, so every act of persecution against the Nonconformists was of value to the religious life of the nation. In consequence of the development of that life, the Toleration Act became a necessity; and from the accession of George II. an annual Indemnity Act was passed.
Sanguine 长沙桑拿最好最高端 though the Dissenters had been respecting the growth of the principles of civil and religious liberty, of which the seeds had been sown in tears by the early Puritan confessors, they did not anticipate that the harvest was at hand. As their claims were not embarrassed by any question of divided allegiance or party politics, many members of Parliament who had not supported the relief of the Roman Catholics found themselves at liberty to advocate the cause of the Protestant Nonconformists; while almost all who had supported the greater measure of Emancipation felt themselves bound by consistency to vote for the abolition of the sacramental test. Yet the victory was not achieved without a struggle. Lord John Russell said:—”The Government took a clear, open, and decided part against us. They summoned their followers from 长沙桑拿哪里好 every part of the empire. Nay, they issued a sort of ‘hatti-sheriff’ for the purpose; they called upon every one within their influence who possessed the faith of a true Mussulman to follow them in opposing the measure. But, notwithstanding their opposition in the debate, their arguments were found so weak, and in the division their numbers were found so deficient, that nothing could be more decided than our triumph.”
BATTLE OF NAVARINO: THE “ASIA” ENGAGING THE SHIPS OF THE CAPITAN BEY AND MOHURREM BEY. (See p. 262.)
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Lord John Russell, who introduced the measure, Lord Althorp, Mr. Smith of Norwich, and Mr. Ferguson pleaded the cause of the Dissenters with unanswerable arguments. They showed that the Church was not now in danger; that there was no existing party bent on subverting the Constitution;长沙桑拿会所哪里最好 that in the cases where the tests were not exacted during the last half century there was no instance of a Dissenter holding office who had abused his trust; that though the Test Act had been practically in abeyance during all that time, the Church had suffered no harm. Why, then, preserve an offensive and discreditable Act upon the Statute Book? Why keep up invidious distinctions when there was no pretence of necessity for retaining them? Why, without the shadow of proof, presume disaffection against any class of the community? Even the members of the Established Church of Scotland might be, by those tests and penalties, debarred from serving their Sovereign unless they renounced their religion. A whole nation was thus proscribed upon the idle pretext that it was necessary to defend the church of another nation. It was asked, Did the Church of England aspire, like the 长沙桑拿微信 Mussulmans of Turkey, to be exclusively charged with the defence of the empire? If so, let the Presbyterians and Dissenters withdraw, and it would be seen what sort of defence it would have. Take from the field of Waterloo the Scottish regiments; take away, too, the sons of Ireland: what then would have been the chance of victory? If they sought the aid of Scottish and Irish soldiers in the hour of peril, why deny them equal rights and privileges in times of peace? Besides, the Church could derive no real strength from exclusion and coercion, which only generated ill-will and a rankling feeling of injustice. The Established Church of Scotland had been safe without any Test and Corporation Acts. They had been abolished in Ireland half a century ago without any evil accruing to the Church in that country. It was contrary to the spirit of the age to keep up irritating yet inefficient and impracticable restrictions, which were a disgrace to the Statute Book.
Mr. Peel urged that it is dangerous to touch time-honoured institutions in an ancient monarchy like this, if the Dissenters did not feel the tests as a grievance; if they did, it would be a very strong argument for a change. “But,” he asked, “are the grievances now brought forward in Parliament really felt as such by the Dissenters out of doors? So far from it, there were only six petitions presented on the subject from 1816 to 1827. The petitions of last year were evidently got up for a political purpose.” He quoted from a speech of Mr. Canning’s, delivered, in 1825, on the Catholic Relief Bill, in which he said, “This Bill does not tend to equalise all the religions in the State, but to equalise all the Dissenting sects of England. I am, and this Bill is, for a predominant church, and I would not, even in appearance, meddle with the laws which secure that predominance to the Church of England. What is the state of the Protestant Dissenters? It is that they labour under no practical grievances on account of this difference with the Established Church; that they sit with us in this House, and share our counsels; that they are admissible into the highest offices of State, and often hold them. Such is the operation of the Test and Corporation Acts, as mitigated by the Annual Indemnity Act; this much, and no more, I contend, the Catholics should enjoy.” With regard to Scotland Mr. Peel appealed to the facts that from that country there was not one solitary petition; that there was not any military or naval office or command from which Scotsmen were shut out; that, so far from being excluded from the higher offices of Government, out of the fourteen members who composed the Cabinet, three—Lord Aberdeen, Lord Melville, and Mr. Grant—were Scotsmen and good Presbyterians. Even in England the shutting out, he said, was merely nominal. A Protestant Dissenter had been Lord Mayor of London the year before. The Acts had practically gone into desuetude, and the existing law gave merely a nominal preponderance to the Established Church, which it was admitted on all hands it should possess.
The restrictions, however, if not to any great extent a practical grievance, were felt to be a stigma utterly undeserved, and the necessity for an annual Indemnity Act continually reminded a large, influential, intelligent, energetic portion of the nation of their inferiority to the rest of the king’s subjects. The Government felt that public opinion was against them. They therefore allowed the Bill to go into committee without opposition, and there they adopted it as their own by carrying certain amendments. It passed the Commons by a majority of 44, the numbers being 237 to 193. From the tone of the debate in the Commons it was evident that the Government was not sorry to be left in a minority. In the House of Lords the measure encountered more opposition. Lord Eldon, exasperated with the treatment he had received from the Ministers, denounced it with the utmost vehemence. When he heard of its success in the Lower House, he was in a state of consternation.
The prejudiced old man fought with desperation against the measure in the Lords. He was tremendously severe on the Government. He said, much as he had heard of the march of mind, he did not believe that the march could have been so rapid as to induce some of the changes of opinion which he had witnessed within the last year. His opinions are now among the curiosities of a bygone age. His idea of religious liberty may be seen from the following:—”The Sacramental Act, though often assailed, had remained ever since the reign of Charles II., and the Annual Indemnity took away all its harshness. The obnoxious Act did not interfere with the rights of conscience, as it did not compel any man to take the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England, and only deprived him of office if he did not.” He concluded by solemnly saying, “From his heart and soul, ‘Not Content.'” He was effectually answered by the Duke of Wellington, and the Bill was read a second time, without a division, on the 17th of April. On the 21st he proposed an amendment to exclude Roman Catholics from the benefit of the measure by inserting in the declaration the words, “I am a Protestant.” The amendment was negatived by 117 to 55; but so eager was he to have it adopted, that he renewed it on the third reading of the Bill, when the Contents were 52, Not Contents 154. Still he entered on the Journals a violent protest against the Bill, in which he was joined by the Duke of Cumberland and nine other peers. As soon as the measure was carried, all the world acknowledged the Duke of Wellington’s sagacity in declining the offer of Lord Eldon to return to office; for if that sturdy adherent to ancient prejudices had been Lord Chancellor or President of the Council, the Government must either have been speedily dissolved by internal dissensions or overthrown by a vain resistance to the popular voice.