« ForrigeFortsett »
Ann. Reg 1819
CHAP. Commons by Lord Castlereagh, subjecting newspapers to
certain stamps, and to prevent the abuses arising from the publication of blasphemous and seditious libels. The first and third of the first four acts alone were permanent; the second and third were temporary only in their endurance, and have long since expired. The bills were all strenuously resisted, with the exception of the first, in both houses, but were passed by large majorities,—that in the Commons, on the Seditious Meetings Bill, being 223, the numbers 351 to 128 ; in the Lords, on the same bill, 97, the numbers being 135 to 38. In regard to the Training Act, however, which is still in force, a much greater de
gree of unanimity prevailed. Several members of both i Parl. Deb. xli.675, *"houses usually opposed to Government, but officially
acquainted with the state of the country, added their
testimony to its necessity; and that the practice of Sidmouth's training was then generally prevalent has since been Memoirs, iii. 302, 303. admitted by the Radical leaders, and their ablest his
torical advocates. 1*
A curious but instructive circumstance took place Impression when the Radical leaders were brought up for examinaLord Sid. mouth and tion before the Privy Council, into the presence of those Lord Cas
whom they had been taught to regard as of a cruel and unrelenting disposition, and the bitterest enemies of the people. “The simple-minded men who had followed Hunt were surprised,” says Miss Martineau,“ when brought into the presence of the Privy Council, at the actual appearance of the rulers of the land, whom they
had regarded as their cruel enemies. They found no Martineau, i, 246. ". cruelty or ferocity in the faces of the tyrants 2_Lord
Castlereagh, the good-looking person in a plum-coloured
d by the Rotally prevalent les practice of
made on the Radicals.
* « There is, and can be, no dispute about the fact of military training; the only question is in regard to the design or object of the practice. Numerous informations were taken by the Lancashire magistrates, and transmitted to Government in the beginning of August." Bamford, the Radical annalist, assures us it was done solely with a view to the great meeting on the 16th August at Manchester. See Miss MARTINEAU, i. 227; BAMFORD'S Life of a Radical, i. 177, 180.
Life of a
coat, with a gold ring on the little finger of his left hand, CHAP.
grey hairs, broad and prominent forehead, whose mild
2 Martineau, vailing passion of the demagogue, and his spirits sink the i. 246, 247. moment the exciting influence is withdrawn.2
The beginning of the year 1820 was marked by two events which strongly riveted the attention of the nation, Death of the and had a beneficial general effect in reviving those feelings Kent. of loyalty, which, though sometimes forgotten, are never extinct in the breast of the English people. The Duke of Kent, the father of our present gracious Sovereign, had accompanied the Duchess and his infant daughter, the future Sovereign of Great Britain, to Sidmouth in Devonshire, for the benefit of change of air. There he was unfortunately exposed to wet and cold on the 13th January, which brought on a cough and inflammation of the lungs, which, notwithstanding the most active treatment, terminated fatally on the 23d of the same month. He was interred, with the usual solemnities, at Windsor on 7th February. This prince took little share in public life ; and the rigorous discipline which he had found it necessary to enforce in the army, in his earlier years, when in
1820, 6; Hughes, vi. 403.
CHAP, command, had at the time given rise to considerable dis
cussion. But he had survived this temporary unpopularity, as really estimable characters seldom fail to do; and in his latter years he possessed alike the respect of the nation and the warm affection of his personal friends. Personally intrepid, as his race have ever been, he possessed at the same time the kindness of heart and charm of manner, which in all, but in none so much as those of exalted station, are the main foundation of lasting affection. In politics he inclined to the Liberal side, as his brother the Prince-Regent and the Duke of Sussex had so long done ; but he had little turn for political contentions, and shrouded himself in preference in the seclusion and enjoyments of private life. Deeds of beneficence, or the support of institutions of charity, of which he was a
munificent patron, alone brought him before the eye of 1 Ann. Reg.
the public; but in private, no one was more kindly in his disposition, or had secured by acts of generosity a wider or more attached circle of friends.1
The death of the Duke of Kent was speedily followed Death of by that of his father, who had so long swayed the George III.
sceptre of the realm. Towards the end of January, the health of George III., which had hitherto been surprisingly preserved during his long and melancholy mental alienation, rapidly sunk. His strength failed, his appetite left him, and it became evident that the powers of nature were exhausted.
At length, at half-past eight on the 28th January, he breathed his last ; and the PrinceRegent, as George IV., formally ascended the throne, of which, during ten years, he had discharged the duties. On Monday the 31st, the new sovereign was proclaimed with the usual formalities at the Palace, Temple Bar, Charing Cross, and other places; the members of Parliament were sworn in, and both houses immediately adjourned to the 17th February.2
Although he had lived nearly ten years in retirement, and the practical discharge of the functions of royalty by
2 Ann. Reg. 1820, 7; Hughes, vi. 441.
the sovereign who succeeded him had so long withdrawn CHAP.
* Sermon on the Jubilee, 1810, by Rev. A. Alison--Sermons, i. 419.
CHAP. season drawn closer, from the removal of one who had
shared in its brightness. Nor did it lessen the emotion
The French said, in the days of their loyalty, “ The
of this noble maxim more strongly felt than on the pre-