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As it stood at the Period of the Dissolution, September 29, 1812.

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HISTORY OF EUROPE,

1812.

CHAP. I.

Domestic Affairs. Meeting of Parliament. Princ? Regent's Speech on Opening the Session. State of the King's Health. King's Household Establishment. Debates in Parliament on some points connected with the Civil List. Droits of Admiralty. Leeward Island Duties. Provision to the Princesses.

The session of parliament was opened brilliant enterprise of General Hill in by commission on the 7th of January ; Spanish-Estremadura, were mentioned and a speech was pronounced, which, with high satisfaction. The consumas is usual on such occasions, alluded mate talents of Lord Wellington-the briefly to the state of public affairs, persevering bravery of the Spaniards and to the leading features of the po- the extension of the Guerilla system of licy of administration. His royal high. warfare, and the hopes of ultimate sucness the Prince Regent lamented the cess which so many favourable circumcontinued indisposition of his majesty; stances inspired, were expatiated upon, and had ordered copies of the last re- as affording strong inducements to con. ports of the queen's council, respect. tinue the aid which Great Britain had ing the king's health, to be laid be- hitherto afforded to the brave and opfore parliament. Suitable provisions pressed nations of the peninsula. The were recommended for the support of great abilities of Lord Minto, the gothe royal dignity, for the care of the vernor-general of India, in planning royal person, and for affording all due the expeditions against the isles of facility to the resumption of the royal France and Bourbon--the talents and authority, in the event of the king's bravery of Sir Samuel Auchmuty and restoration to health. The successful the officers and troops under his comdefence of the kingdom of Portugal - mand, by whòm the views of the go. the bravery and discipline of the Bria vernor-general were so well seconded tish and Portuguese troops--and the and the entire destruction of the ene

VOL. V. PART I.

A

my's colonial :power, węre next ailu. distresses they themselves had occaded to and partiámetit svas:rėmirided sioned, still held the same flattering and of the propriety of turning its atten- fallacious language. He would protion towards the improvement of that test against a continuance of those meamighty empire which Great Britain sures which had brought such calami. had established in the East. With re- ties on the country; calamities so real ference to the subsisting relations be- and so momentous, that they must soon twixt Great Britain and America, it press themselves with irresistible force was stated, that, although the affair of on their lordships' attention, whether the Chesapeake had been finally ad- or not they were willing to give them justed, the other discussions had not the consideration they deserved. Peoyet been brought to a close ; but an ple might choose to close their eyes, assurance was given, that no measure but the force of truth must dispel the of conciliation should be left untried, wilful blindness; they might choose to which might be found consistent with shut their ears, but the voice of a sufthe rights and dignity of the empire, fering nation must sooner or later be The finances of Ireland were repre. heard. The noble lord said he still resented as in a flourishing state ; and tained his objections to every part of the Prince Regent expressed his confi- the system he had so often condemndence, that, when the estimates for the ed; he still deprecated that wanton year should be laid before parliament, waste of money, and of all the public a liberal disposition would be shewn to resources, when it was more necessary sustain the country in the great con than ever to husband them with the test in which it was engaged. most provident care. He still objected

The address was moved in the House to those commercial measures, which of Lords by the Earl of Shaftesbury; were pompously announced as the most the debate which succeeded was by formidable weapon against the enemy, no means interesting, except for the and which had recoiled on our own zeal displayed by Lords Grenville and commerce and manufactures. He still Grey, to have their sweeping con- retained his objections to a system of demnation of the measures of

govern finance, which had forced a debased ment put upon record. These noble coin on the people, and had spread lords, although professing a sincere bankruptcy and ruin throughout the desire for unanimity on this occasion, land.” were anxious to warn the country Nor was Lord Grey less severe in against reposing any confidence in the his reproaches. “ He should feel unadministration.

happy,” he said, “ if he departed from Lord Grenville, “ considering the that house, without declaring that he critical circu.nstances of the times, and retained all the opinions he had before the present alarming state of the coun- held on subjects of great magnitude ; try, would have been happy if the ad- opinions confirmed by experience and dress proposed to the House had been the evidence of facts; opinions which so worded as to procure unanimity, on he should be ready to maintain and dethe present day, at least ; yet, he did fend on future opportunities of discussnot feel surprised that such had not ing them. Whether the noble Secrebeen the case, when he reflected, that tary of State (Lord Liverpool) chose the framers of the speech were the very to allude to the affairs of America on men, who, by their obstinate blindness, which he had shewn much caution and had brought the country to the brink silence, and ventured to call our transof ruin, and who, in the midst of the actions in that quarter a proof of the

assertion, that the system of the go- firmly convinced that the system the vernment had contributed to the se. noble baron had so much condemned, curity, prosperity, and honour of the was the only one that had saved, or country; or whether he intended to could have saved, this country: to the refer to the system of our measures in continuance of that system only, Eu. the peninsula, he pledged himself that rope could look for deliverance, and he should be ready to meet him, and England for permanent safety ; in to contend, that whatever might be short, by the merits of that system his said to have been done, had not been lordship and his colleagues were dedone to the promotion of the safety termined to stand or fall.” The ad.. and honour of the country; and that dress was carried without a division. the general system adopted had been, In the House of Commons the ordi. in fact, the source of almost all our nary course of proceeding was deran. present and impending calamities.”- ged by a singular interference on the Such were the terms in which the part of Sir Francis Burdett. It is cus. whole policy of government was ar. tomary that the Speaker, on his re. raigned, not at a season when it was turn from the House of Lords, should still untried, and might, therefore, with read to the Commons the speech from some plausibility, have been represent- the throne : the address is then moved ed as matter of uncertain and danger- and seconded, when a general debate ous experiment, but in the beginning ensues. Such is the usual course; but of the year 1812, when the measures Sir Francis Burdett thought proper of administration had already secured to anticipate the member who should so many practical advantages—when have moved the customary address, they had saved Portugal-kept alive and to make a long speech, and move the flame of patriotism in Spain, and a long address of his own, which, withopened up the fairest prospects for out touching on any of the topics alEurope. As the ensure pronoun- luded to in the speech from the throne, ced by the leaders of opposition had exhibited a good summary of his own been vague and declamatory, the an- political eccentricities. On this reswer made by the Earl of Liverpool markable occasion the honourable bawas of a general nature. “ 'The pre- ronet began, by paying a compliment sent," his lordship was convinced, to his royal highness the Prince Re

was not a fit day to dwell on any gent, and by assuring the house that details ; but the noble baron (Gren- the prince was not of a temper to be ville) had entered a general protest pleased by flattery; but that he would against the whole of the system pur. consider those members as his best sued by the present ministers, and on friends who pointed out the real grie. that ground, he was ready to meet him vances under which his people labourthe more willingly, as that system and ed. It was of the utmost importance those measures so condemned, had at so great a crisis, that the prince stood the test of experience. Many should be addressed in a spirit of canopportunities would undoubtedly oc- dour and truth; and no member of par. cur of canvassing the merits of their liament could do his duty to his constidifferent opinions ; but, as the noble tuents, to his country, or to the Prince baron had been heard in support of his, Regent himself, if he failed to represent it would not be, perhaps, too much to his royal highness the general sentito presume, that the same indulgence ments of the people. This solemn bemight be allowed to him. He was ginning seemed to promise something

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