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old duke of Newcastle, ever administered a high department of government with such a penury of intellect as lord Londonderry. He was the ministerial leader in the house of commons; but a wretched public speaker. He abounded in words; but so scanty and confused were his ideas that he lost his way in the mazes of parenthesis, and never could arrive at a complete sense or the turning of a period. In his attempts at the figurative, he brought together images the most trite and meagre, with a whimsical absence of all affinity or propriety.
The death of a public man in England, especially a death so sudden and lamentable, greatly assuages the political resentments against him in his life; and there was a reaction in favour of lord Londonderry when he ceased to live. His servile complaisance to despots abroad, his predilection for the worst engines of government at home, were for a moment forgotten. His social kindness, his fidelity to friends, his engaging manners, were alone remembered. But the honest hatred of the populace, deep-rooted, sincere, and savage, remained untouched, and spoke in a fearful yell of triumphant execration over his remains whilst his coffin was descending into the grave in Westminster Abbey.
The office of secretary of state for foreign affairs remained vacant for some time. The public voice, with one accord, designated Mr. Canning. He, however, continued his preparations for his departure for India ; and declared to his friends at Liverpool that, as to his taking office at home, he had nothing
to communicate or conceal. Three causes were publicly and truly assigned for this delay; - the absence of the king in Scotland; his resentment of the part taken by Mr. Canning in favour of the queen; and the aversion of the old and incorrigible tories, with lord Eldon at their head, afraid of knowledge, jealous of talent, filled with a superstitious horror of any innovation in favour of commercial and religious emancipation, and therefore alarmed at the appointment and probable ascendant of Mr. Canning. But lord Liverpool earnestly desired the succession of Mr. Canning to lord Londonderry. His authority, as head of the administration, overcame the reluctance of his colleagues: the king sacrificed his resentments to his indolence and the prime minister's advice; and Mr. Canning received the seals of the foreign office, on the 16th of September. It was a momentous crisis for the new minister, and for the nation. Lord Londonderry had bequeathed to his successor the foreign relations of the country involved in difficulty and danger, and without any proportionate contingent opportunities of glory or success. The duke of Wellington left England for the Continent, to take the vacant place of lord Londonderry as British minister at Verona, when the foreign secretary was yet but two days in office.
Mr. Canning strengthened himself in the beginning of January, 1823, by the accession of two of his friends. : Mr. Vansittart retired with a seat in the cabinet, a peerage by the title of lord Bexley, Lancaster. He was succeeded by Mr. Frederick Robinson, as chancellor of the exchequer. Mr. Huskisson was appointed president of the board of trade, without a seat in the cabinet. Both stood deservedly high in public opinion, as men of talent, of business, and of enlightened views.
The secretary needed this reinforcement. He had to contend in the cabinet with the profound hatred and plausible hypocrisy of some, and the unmanageable stupidity of others: in the two houses of parliament, with a new bitterness of opposition from the whigs. They charged him with insincerity in his support of Catholic emancipation, because he came into office without making it a cabinet question. This condition assuredly would not have been conceded; and Mr. Canning's insisting on it, instead of bringing in the whigs, himself, and a liberal administration, would only have perpetuated the sway of intolerance and toryism, to the prejudice of the Catholic claims, and of the liberties of Europe.
The aspect of the country, however, was, on the whole, favourable at the opening of the year 1823. Commerce and manufactures continued to improve, and the distress of the farmers was somewhat mitigated, though the landlords were still clamorous for relief. Several county meetings voted petitions on this subject to parliament. The most remarkable of these meetings was that of Norwich, on the 3d of January. A petition in accordance with the views of the whig opposition was proposed to the meeting, and favourably received. Mr. Cobbett presented, by way of amendment, an address drawn up by him
self, briefly, elaborately, and of course ably. His petition contained several propositions, of which the most important were, an appropriation of church property to the payment of the public charges; and an equitable adjustment with regard to the public debt, and all debts and contracts between man and
Mr. Cobbett struck, with a bold and skilful hand, a string which had already been touched, but hesitatingly and feebly; and his amendment was carried by acclamation.
The session was opened by commission on the 4th of February, with a speech which was received with general approbation. Lord Stanhope proposed an amendment, recommending a return to paper currency, for the relief of the landed interest. His speech had some of the eccentricity, but none of the wisdom, of his father; and after his amendment had been rejected, on a division of 62 to 3, the ministerial address was carried unanimously. The same unanimity prevailed in the house of commons. The speech set forth that his majesty declined being a party to any proceedings at Verona, with a view to interference in the internal concerns of Spain by foreign powers; and would use his utmost endeavours and good offices to avert the calamities of war between Spain and France. Upon this text Mr. Brougham spoke — in support of Spain, and in reprobation of the holy alliance,-a philippic not unworthy of the forum or the agora. The versatility and vigour with which he combined, in his speech, reason, history, rhetoric, and invective, acting upon the favourable prepossessions of the housé, produced an electric eifect, which was felt in Spain, and produced there a fatal confidence.
Mr. Canning having vacated his seat, was not yet returned. Considering the duties imposed by the representation of Liverpool incompatible with the occupation of his time as a minister, he took his seat for Harwich, on the 12th of February. The distress of the landed interest was discussed incidentally on the 14th; and upon a motion by Mr. Whitmore for reducing the import price of grain 2s: a year until it fell to 60s., on the 25th of February. The motion was negatived; but there was an obvious disposition on the part of the government to open the trade in corn.
The foreign trade committee was at the same time re-appointed, and further steps taken to liberate foreign commerce. On the 21st of February, the new chancellor of the exchequer made a favourable statement of the finances. The income exceeded the expenditure by 7,000,000l.; of which 5,000,0001. should be applied to the payment of the debt, and the remaining 2,000,0001. to a further remission of taxation.
A considerable portion of the session was wasted, rather than employed, upon the daring insolence and corrupt practices of the ascendant faction in Dublin. The government of lord Wellesley was too impartial and enlightened to escape the revilings of the Orange party. Lord Wellesley prohibited the dressing of the statue of king William in College Green,-a mischievous folly, which had frequently produced riot and bloodshed. The Orange faction of Dublin took fire at this interference with a dis