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counsels, which was denied them by the jealous inferiority of the partisans who have since discredited Pitt's memory by misusing his name. A second and more serious error of Mr. Canning was, his recent entrance into office with the Castlereaghs and Sidmouths, from whom he had withdrawn himself in disgust, and his contempt for whose incapacity he had put upon record. But a leading part in the government of a powerful kingdom and a free people, is the great purpose of existence to every mind of historic tone and stature, conscious of its powers; and if Canning, to reach the sphere of his ámbition, was obliged to capitulate with an oligarchy, it was the fault of a vicious system, rather than of the statesman. To return to the indemnity bill : it was read a third time and passed, on the 13th of May, by a majority of 82 to 23.
In pursuance of recommendations in the commissioners' speech at the opening of the session, the finance committee of the preceding year was revived, and an act passed for building additional churches in populous parishes. Since the termination of the war, the repeal of the bank restriction act, or resumption of cash payments, was periodically talked over, rather than earnestly discussed. Nothing could be more shallow than the pretences, or more transparent than the unavowed reasons, for which cash payments were put off. The speakers distinguished as niost conversant with the subject in the present and other sessions, were Messrs. Tierney, Grenfell, Frankland Lewis, and J. P. Grant.
Three royal marriages, upon the failure of a royal progeny, which resulted from the death of
the princess Charlotte, took place during the session of parliament. The duke of Clarence married the princess of Saxe-Meiningen; the duke of Kent, the princess of Leiningen, sister of prince Leopold; and the duke of Cambridge, the princess of Hesse. Suitable provisions for the several dukes on their marriages were voted, on the recommendation of the regent. Lord Castlereagh made a conciliatory or deprecatory appeal in favour of the duke of Cumberland, and that personage came in for an additional 60001. a-year, in company with his brothers.*
Immediately before the close of the session, Mr. Brougham succeeded in carrying the appointment of a commission to enquire into the abuses of public charities for the education of the
This was the first great practical step towards that system of public or popular instruction, in which so much has since been achieved by this eminent man, who has already stamped the impress of his remarkable genius so widely and deeply upon the generation in which he lives. The ministers, having failed to throw out his bill, so altered it as to cripple its operations. Lord Eldon used all his authority, moral and legal, against it in the upper house, and, with the simplicity peculiar to him, recommended the poor to seek redress against the rich in the court of chan
The measure, however, even mutilated, effected a breach hardly contemplated at the moment, by either its enemies or friends.
* Mr. Holme Sumner said, that lord Castlereagh“ hooked in " the duke of Cumberland.
The prince regent, in person, closed the session with a speech ; immediately after which the chancellor declared the parliament dissolved.
Distress and discontent, though mitigated, still prevailed through the country. A sort of diversion was created by the general election. Sir Samuel Romilly, without personal solicitation, patronage, or promises, — with only the ascendant of his talents and virtues, was returned for Westminster. But, to adopt the philosophic and affecting apostrophe of Burke, on a somewhat similar occasion, “ What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue !” His election had not long taken place when, overcome by a domestic grief, he died, like Whitbread, by his own hand, in a moment of nervous despondency or disgust with life. Sir Samuel Romilly united an intellect of the first order with the purest character. He was one of the very few English lawyers who ascended from puny detail to general principles *, combined a humane and eloquent philosophy with the practice of the bar, and attained an European
He introduced in this session a bill to take away the capital part of the act respecting privately stealing in shops, &c., and set forth in the preamble the maxim, that extreme severity of punishment tends to procure impunity for crime. The attorney-general, a mere lawyer, was horror struck at a general principle, and besought the house, in its “ practical wisdom,” to expunge it. “ I cannot,” said sir Samuel Romilly, " accede. In modern legislation, acts are founded upon no principles at all: I wish, on the contrary, to pursue the reasonable course of setting forth in the preamble that upon which my bill is founded." The authority of sir S. Romilly carried it through the commons, but it was thrown out, through the influence of lord Eldon, in the house of lords.
reputation. In every generous cause,
civil and religious liberty, the abolition of African slavery, the diffusion of education, and the redress of private wrong,
ever found among the foremost. It was sir Samuel Romilly who gave the first signal of that reform in the absurd and revolting barbarisms of British jurisprudence, both civil and criminal, which has been advanced a step farther by sir James Mackintosh, in a spirit worthy of his predecessor, and by sir Robert Peel, with a surprising intrepidity of reason for a tory and a minister.
Another prominent figure in the judiciary and political transactions of the kingdom, lord Ellenborough, chief justice of England, disappeared from the scene of life at the same period. The following sketch of his character, which has the recommendation very infrequent with respect to him - of being dispassionate, appeared in print at the time: - “Lord Ellenborough filled, for sixteen years, that judicial station which, in this country, is the second in rank, but the first in difficulty, and, incomparably, the most calculated to attract the popular eye, and excite the popular passions. He was at once the object of admiration and animosity: the latter slandered his character; the former exaggerated his merits. He was rightly judged by those who respected, and by some who feared him.
... From Cambridge he brought with him a vast stock of classical learning; he had read the poets, historians, and orators of Greece and Rome. He loved and studied them; but still his mind, though richly endowed, was by no means ornamented. He was eloquent; for eloquence is the gift of nature. But with oratory he seemed never to have cultivated
an acquaintance; perhaps, because he disdained its discipline. His delivery was ungraceful; he moved his arms with uncouth vehemence, and his tones, naturally not pleasing, were overstrained in the heat and excitation of his feelings: but his man: ner, with these disadvantages, bore the stamp of sincerity. You perceived that he thought only of his cause, and not at all of himself. You felt that he was in earnest; and the adversary who could hear him speak, and refuse him the credit of honest feeling, must be strongly secured, either in the coldness of his own heart, or the consciousness of his own knavery. His language was remarkable for its force. He anglicised expressions from the Latin with remarkable energy. His taste, it is true, was not refined; but that which disfigured an unpremeditated speech, would probably not have appeared in composition. .... In the house of lords he was scarcely less vehement than he had been at the bar and in the house of commons. singular enough to see and hear him, in his judge's robes, and surrounded by the British peerage, haranguing with more warmth of voice and gesticulation, than a demagogue delirious with the brain fever of radical reform. . . . . In his court he was sometimes harsh and hasty, and it was supposed he decided sometimes without due deliberation. His temper, it is true, in a man of less capacity, might have led into error; but the sight of his mind was so clear and quick, that he saw the question and its solution, before another would have comprehended the terms in which it was proposed. He was unfairly harsh and intolerant to counsel, because they