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chievous intentions, as evidence of a design to sap the foundations of the greatness of the country.”
The following passage is still more explicit: “ But it is singular to remark, how ready some people are to admire in a great man the exception, rather than the rule, of his conduct. Such perverse worship is like the idolatry of barbarous nations, who can see the noon-day splendour of the sun without emotion ; but who, when he is in eclipse, come forward with hymns and cymbals to adore him. Thus, there are those who venerate Mr. Pitt less in the brightness of his meridian glory than under his partial obscurations; and who gaze on him with the fondest admiration when he has accidentally ceased to shine.” The motion of Mr. Ellice was rejected by a majority of 222 to 40.
A motion made by Mr. Whitmore, for a general enquiry into the operation of the corn-laws, was rejected, notwithstanding the clamour of the manufacturing workmen, and the petitions on the tables of both houses. Mr. Canning, however, early in May, introduced two measures into the house of commons, one for the admission of bonded corn, on paying a certain duty; the other for giving ministers the power of admitting foreign grain at their discretion during the recess.
The first measure was intended for present relief, the second, to guard against the contingency of a famine price of corn at a time when parliament would not be sitting. Both were carried after strong opposition ; but, in the second bill, the quantity of corn admissible, instead of being indefinite, was limited
to 500,000 quarters, and the period to two months from the opening of the ports.
The state of the finances was still favourable, notwithstanding the pressure of distress. The income exceeded the expenditure by half a million.
Mr. Peel in this session made a great advance in reducing to an orderly and accessible compass the chaotic mass of English criminal law, and purifying it of some barbarous enactments and absurd technicalities. Attempts were made, in this and two preceding sessions, to reform both the abuses and the judicature of the court of Chancery : but lord Eldon was chancellor; and delays of justice, and the profits of accumulated unperformed duties, were held sacred.
This short session, the sixth of the existing parliament, was prorogued by commission on the 31st of May, and the parliament dissolved on the 2d of June. The chief topics upon which candidates were sounded or tested were the corn laws, and the catholic claims. In England, the speech of the duke of York and the Irish political agitations had created an adverse feeling to the catholic claims ; but the catholics ruled the elections in Ireland. The ca- , tholic association, in about six months after it had been put down, re-appeared under a new form, without constituent organisation, without committees, without officers, without collections of money, without adjourned meetings, and pursued its destination with more success than ever. The "rent" was received as usual, under the name of “free gifts.”. A sort of political revolution had begun in the social community of Ireland. The catholics began to mani
fest a more daring sense of their manhood, their numbers, and their rights. A new power had started up on their side, — the growth of a short-sighted and petty policy. To prevent the Irish priests from being inoculated with anti-British 'feelings abroad, it was resolved that they should be educated and ordained at home. The result was a race of priests, in religion more catholic than if they had been sent to France, Italy, Portugal, or Spain; in politics, not alone national, but democratic, and exercising the influence of unbroken connection, kindred, and sympathy with the catholic people. The priests joined and identified themselves with the lay agitators of the association; and the consequence was unbounded dominion over the catholic mind. This
decided the elections through three out of the four provinces in favour of emancipation. It dispossessed the Beresford family of the county representation of Waterford. Never was popular retribution more just, or the victim better chosen.
The prospects of the harvest were, in the mean time, unfavourable. Towards the end of August the price of grain rose above the importation limit; but the averages could not be taken, and foreign corn legally admitted into the market, until the 15th of November. Ministers, acting on their responsibility in this crisis, admitted foreign corn contrary to law, by an order in council, on the 1st of September. The necessity of a bill of indemnity caused the premature assembling of parliament on the 14th of November. The ceremony of swearing the members of the house of commons began on that day; and on the 21st the session was opened by the
king in person. The chief subject of congratulation to which he referred was the termination of the war in India, and conclusion of a treaty of peace with the Burmese. The chief objections to the royal speech were of omission ; and the addresses were carried by large majorities in both houses. An act of indemnity for the recent violation of the corn laws was passed without opposition.
Mr. Canning was, at this time, four years foreign minister. His policy during that time was incessantly directed to the means of disengaging the British government, without violence, from the wake of the holy alliance, in which his predecessor had bound it, and disorganising that confederacy against the rights of men and nations : but his foreign administration, however able, energetic, and active, was yet confined, for the most part, to an invisible under current of diplomatic missions and state papers, of which the effects, however important, were negative and unperceived. He now signalised his ministry by a stroke of statesmanship which practically and publicly righted England in her position as an European power, and gave promise of counsels which, in inspiring wisdom and vigorous execution, should resemble and equal those of the elder and greater Pitt.
It is necessary to revert for a moment to some events in Portugal.
John VI., king of Portugal, was imbecile and humane. He did not like his neighbour Ferdinand, shed the blood and proscribe the lives of constitutionalists by a perfidious and forsworn reaction. His second son, Miguel, who has since attained a celebrity so
odious, and his wife, the worthy mother of Miguel h and sister of Ferdinand, both felt an impatient thirst of blood, vengeance, and ambition; formed a parti cidal conspiracy against the king; assassinated his chamberlain; arrested his other servants; imprisoned his person; and would probably have taken his life, if the British minister had not interfered and concerted his escape on board a British ship of war in the Tagus. The unnatural son was ordered out of Portugal, under pretence of travelling; the king reinstated, and quiet for the time restored. This occurred in April, 1824. The unsettled relations between Portugal and Brazil continued until May, 1825; when the king of Portugal, under the advice and influence of England, acknowledged, by letters patent, the independence of Brazil. During all this time the French minister at Lisbon, supported by the queen and her faction, laboured with unceasing activity and intrigue to deprive England of her ancient ascendency, and even attempted to occupy Portugal with French troops from Spain; but was foiled by the vigour and vigilance of the British government, and the presence of a British naval force in the Tagus. John VI. died on the 10th of March, 1826; having appointed his daughter
, the infanta Isabella Maria, regent, in the name of his eldest son don Pedro, resident emperor of Brazil. The constitution of Brazil obliged don Pedro to make his election between the two crowns : and, preferring that of Brazil, he abdicated the crown of Portugal in favour of his eldest daughter; having, however, first framed a constitution for the Portuguese nation, which he sent over"