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CHAP. XXVIII.

1821–1824.

The session of parliament commenced on the 23d of January: it was opened by the king in person, with a speech characterised by a crest-fallen moderation. The references to domestic affairs were, on the whole, satisfactory or inoffensive; and, in alluding to recent events abroad, he stated that his great object should be the continuance of the blessings of peace to his people.

Addresses were carried without opposition in both houses. The principal subject of observation was the foreign policy of the country. Southern Europe had been the theatre of great movements during the preceding year : there was a general effort to throw off the system of despotism by divine right, to which the holy alliance had given the hypocritical designation of " paternal government.” In Spain, more favourable circumstances enabled Quiroga and Riego to effect that in which Porlier and Lacy had failed, the restoration of the cortes and the constitution. The impulse and example of Spain soon communicated themselves to Portugal and Italy; and, in the two great European peninsulas, constitutional freedom was established with a bloodless facility, which should have left no doubt that the people desired and deserved it. It was

only in Italy that peace and liberty appeared in peril from foreign interference: Austrian despotism was not likely to tolerate the close vicinage of liberty in Piedmont and Naples ; and a congress

of tyrants and their minions was actually sitting.

The queen continued to riot in protracted triumph over her husband and her enemies. She was assailed indeed, during and after her trial, with slanderous fabrications, and even obscene ribaldry, by the idolaters of royalty ; for these servile worshippers have a grovelling superstition, which, like that of savages, makes them as ready at one moment to spit upon their idol, as to prostrate themselves before it at another. But the queen had a masculine courage to sustain her; and, for days and even weeks from the moment when the evidence against her had closed, persons of rank and character, who had previously stood aloof, made her visits of adhesion; whilst the road to her residence at Brandenburgh House was thronged with processions, bearing to her addresses of support and congratulation. The tables of the houses of lords and commons at the same time groaned under petitions in her favour. It was on this occasion that the duke of Wellington, in the excess of his military pride or civil ignorance, said a county meeting was a farce.

The queen, however, from the moment of her victory to that of her death, obtained an undue share of the attention of parliament and of the country. Her pretensions were supported by strong minorities in the house of commons : a motion by lord Archibald Hamilton, for the insertion of her

name in the liturgy, was negatived by a majority of 310 to 209. The speech from the throne recommended a provision for her : she declined, by a message to the house through Mr. Brougham, any vote of money for her use until she should be prayed for by name in the church service, and reinstated in her other rights. Lord Castlereagh said that she would never be satisfied until the power and dignity of the crown were prostrate at her feet. Notwithstanding her message of refusal, a sum not exceeding 50,0001. a year was voted for her life, and accepted by her. Lord Tavistock, on the 5th of February, moved a resolution of censure on the general system of measures pursued against her by ministers : after two nights spent in violent and barren debate, the motion was negatived, by 324 to 178 votes. The last great effort in her favour was made upon a motion by Mr. J. Smith, on the 13th of February, for the restoration of her name to the liturgy: it was negatived by a majority of 298 to 178.

The remainder of the session was, for the most part, languid and uninteresting. The catholic claims were submitted, on the 28th of February, by Mr. Plunket, who naturally inherited the station left vacant by the death of Mr. Grattan. Mr. Peel, on this occasion, appeared as the chief opponent of emancipation for the first time. The motion for a committee was carried, on a division of 227 to 221. In the committee, six resolutions proposed by Mr. Plunket were agreed to; and upon these he founded two bills, the one repealing disabilities, the other enacting securities. The accompanying securities vere repudiated by a portion of the catholics, as

interfering with their religious conscience ; and they were really vexatious, petty, and offensive. Mr. Canning supported the measure with an eloquence and fervour rarely equalled. The two bills, ultimately consolidated, were passed by the house of commons, sent up to the house of lords, and there rejected by a majority of 159 to 120.

Whilst the lords were engaged in discussing the second reading of the emancipation bill, on the 16th of April, the commons were debating a well digested and complete plan of parliamentary reform, introduced with an able speech by Mr. Lambton. The debate was adjourned, and had not long begun on the second evening, when the opponents of reform, taking advantage of a thin house, and the absence of its supporters, pressed a division, which ended prematurely in a majority of 55 to 43. Mr. Lambton, on entering the house to hear the debate, was not a little surprised to find the question already disposed of. This result was the subject of much pleasantry, and some humorous squibs from the wits of the tory party.

The house of commons was occupied once more, but for a moment only, and for the last time, on the 11th of July, with the rights of the queen. Mr. Hume moved an address to the king, the object of which was to secure the queen's participation in the honours of the approaching coronation. The usher of the black rod knocked at the door whilst he was reading his resolution, and the session was immediately prorogued.

The coronation was fixed for the 19th of July, A correspondence took place between the queen and lord Liverpool, in which she demanded, and the mi

nister refused her, participation in the ceremony. She next memorialed to be heard by counsel in support of her claim.

A committee of the privy council, after hearing Mr. Brougham and Mr.Denman on her side, and the attorney and solicitor general on the other, decided against her. She then demanded, without effect, from lord Sidmouth the home secretary, and lord Howard of Effingham the deputy earl marshal, a suitable place to view the coronation. Her last appeal was to the archbishop of Canterbury, by whom she desired to be crowned in Westminster Abbey, a day or two after the king. The archbishop replied, that he could act only in obedience to the sovereign. The morning of the 19th shone brightly upon the splendid absurdities of this mimic show of feudal vassalage and Gothic barbarism. Unmoved by the entreaties of her better-judging friends, the unhappy, infatuated queen proceeded to the abbey door, - was refused admittance by the door-keepers and military officers on guard, -attempted to obtain admittance by other entrances,

,—was equally unsuccessful,- and retired through the multitude, amidst mingled expressions of disapprobation and applause.

The exclusion from the abbey she might have borne, but to be hooted by the mob wounded her deeply. There was a wildness in her looks as she passed through the crowd ; and she manifested through the day a feverish excitement of spirits. Her proud heart and masculine energy sustained her for a short time, and she appeared in public as usual; but her health was manifestly declining. On the 30th of July, whilst at Drury Lane Theatre,

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