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Parliamentary electors. In 1838, the number of electors registered was 978,816. It has since exceeded a million.

The sweeping character of the bill surpassed public expectation, and produced an electric effect upon the country; the reformers hailing it with enthusiasm, whilst the champions of old abuses were stricken with horror. Mr. Hume, the leader of the radicals, declared that “it far exceeded his highest hopes.” Sir Charles Wetherell, the oracle of the legal formalists, denounced it as “a corporation robbery." Mr. Macaulay, the organ of the philosophic reformers, pronounced it “a great, noble, and comprehensive plan.” Sir R. H. Inglis, the representative of the bigotry of Oxford Univorsity, said, “the plan of ministers meant revolution, not reformation."

All parties girded themselves for such a conflict as England had not witnessed for a century. After an inveterate contest of three weeks, the English bill (one for each kingdom was introduced) passed its second reading in the House by a majority of only one. A day or two afterwards, an amendment was carried against ministers, by a majority of eight. Immediately thereupon ministers announced that they should dissolve Parliament, and appeal to the people. At this suggestion, the Opposition broke through all restraint, and denounced them as revolutionists and traitors. They dreaded the appeal, for they knew the country was with the ministry. The Tory Peers resolved on the desperate measure of preventing the dissolution, by arresting the reading of the king's speech. The day came, and brought with it a scene of uproar in both Houses, which baffles description. A cotemporary writer says :

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A hope had remained, that the project of stopping the king's speech, and interposing an address, might succeed. That hope rested entirely upon the speech being read by the Chancellor, (Brougham,) and not by the king in person. Suddenly the tbunder of the guns was heard to roar, breaking

the silence of the anxious crowds without, and drowning even the noise that filled the walls of Parliament. In the fullness of his royal state, and attended by all his magnificent Court, the monarch approached the House of Lords. Preceded by the great officers of state and of the household, he moved through the vast halls, which were filled with troops in iron mail, as the outside courts were with horse, while the guns boomed, and martial music filled the air. Having stopped in the robing chamber in order to put on his crown, he entered the House and ascended the throne, while his officers and ministers crowded around him. As soon as he was seated, he ordered the usher of the black rod to summon the Commons; and his Majesty, after passing some bills, addressed them. By those who were present, the effect will not soon be forgotten, of the first words he pronounced, or the firmness with which they were uttered, when he said that he had come to meet his Parliament in order to prorogue it, with a view to its immediate dissolution, for the purpose of ascertaining the sense of his people in regard to such changes in the representation as circumstances might appear to require.' He then, with an audible voice, commanded the Lord Chancellor to prorogue; which being done, the Houses dispersed, and the royal procession returned amidst the hearty and enthusiastic shouts of thousands of the people."

Great praise is due to the “ Sailor King” for the firmness with which he stood by his reform ministers in this crisis, despite the clamors of alarmists in Church and State.

At the elections, the friends of the bill swept the country. They carried nearly all the counties, and all the cities and large towns. Its opponents obtained their recruits chiefly from close corporations and rotten boroughs. The English bill was proposed in the New House on the 24th of June, and, after a running fight of three months, passed the Commons by 109 majority, and was sent to the Lords.

The greatest anxiety was felt for its fate in that refuge of ancient conservatism. The debate on the second reading continued four nights. On the last evening, October 7th, Lord Brougham spoke five hours in its support, making the great effort of his

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remarkable life. His speech was an era in the history of that House. He replied seriatim to the opponents of the measure,

dissecting this lord with keen logic, scathing that marquis with impassioned rebuke, holding this duke's ignorance up to ridicule, putting down the effrontery of that viscount, basting this earl with the oil of flattery while he roasted him with intense reasoning, and bringing to the defense and elucidation of the bill those rich stores of learning, argument, eloquence, wit, sarcasm, denunciation, and appeal, which have given him an undying name. The radical boldness of his doctrines, and the abandon with which he demolished “illustrious dukes,” tore the drapery from“ noble lords,” were no less remarkable features of this speech, than its transcendent ability. Lord Dudley, probably the first scholar and the most polished orator in the House, had sneered at the statesmen of Birmingham, and the philosophers of Manchester.” Brougham repelled the sneer, and, in a passage of keen severity, contrasted Lord Dudley's accomplishments with the practical sense of the men he had traduced, closing it by saying, “To affirm that I could ever dream of putting the noble earl's opinions, aye, or his knowledge, in any comparison with the bold, rational, judicious, reflecting, natural, and, because natural, the trustworthy opinions of those honest men, who always give their strong sense fair play, having no affectations to warp their judgment —to dream of any such comparison as this, would be, on my part, a flattery far too gross for any courtesy, or a blindness which no habits of friendship could excuse."

He brought his great speech to a close, by uttering this solenn warning:


“My lords, I do not disguise the intense solicitude I feel for the event of this debate, because I know full well that the peace of the country is involved in the issue. I cannot look without dismay at the rejection of this measure. But, grievous as may be the consequences of a temporary defeat-temporary


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it can only be for its ultimate, and even speedy success, is certain. Nothing can now stop it. Do not suffer yourselves to be persuaded that, even if the present ministers were driven from the helm, any one could steer you through the troubles which surround you, without reform. But our successors would take up the task in circumstances far less auspicious. Under them, you would be fain to grant a bill, compared with which, the one we now proffer you is moderate indeed. Hear the parable of the Sybil ; for it conveys a wise and wholesome moral. She now appears at your gate, and offers you mildly the volumes, the precious volumes of wisdom and peace. The price she asks is reasonable ; to restore the franchise which, without

any bargain, you ought voluntarily to give. You refuse her terms, her moderate terms. She darkens the porch no longer. But soon, for you cannot do without her wares, you call her back. Again she comes, but with diminished

The leaves of the book are in part torn away by lawless hands ; in part defaced with characters of blood. But the prophetic maid has risen in her demands-it is Parliaments by the Year—it is Vote by the Ballot-it is Suffrage by the Million ! From this, you turn away indignant, and for a second time she departs. Beware of her third coming ; for the treasure you must have; and what price she may next demand, who shall tell ? It may be even the mace which rests upon that woolsack. What may follow your course of obstinacy,

if persisted in, I cannot take upon me to predict, nor do I wish to conjecture. But this I well know—that, as sure as man is mortal, and to err is human, justice deferred enhances the price at which you must purchase safety and peace; nor can you expect to gather in another crop than they did who went before


you persevere in their utterly abominable husbandry, of sowing injustice and reaping rebellion.. You are the highest judicature in the realm. It is a judge's first duty never to pronounce sentence, in the most trifling case, without hearing Will you make this the exception? Are you really prepared to determine, but not to hear, the mighty cause upon which a nation's hopes and fears hang? You are ! Then beware of your decision ! Kouse not a poace-loving but resolute people. Alienate not from your body the affections of a whole empire. I counsel you to assist with your uttermost, efforts in preserving the peace, and upholding and perpetuating the Constitution. Therefore I pray and exhort you not to reject this measure. By all you hold dear-by all the ties that bind every one of us to our common order and our common country, I solemnly adjure you, I warn you, I implore you, yea, on my bended knees, I supplicate you, reject not this bill !"


now come.

The warning and the appeal were in vain. The bill was thrown out on the second reading by 41 majority. The struggle for the mastery between the people and the nobility had

The Commons adopted a strong vote of confidence in ministers, and ministers resolved to stand by the bill. Parliament was prorogued till December. In the vacation, reform meetings assembled in unprecedented numbers. On one of these occasions, at Taunton, Sydney Smith first brought to notice a venerable matron whose name is likely to be immortal in both hemispheres. In the course of his speech, the witty diyine said:

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I do not mean to be disrespectful, but the attempt of the Lords to stop the progress of reform reminds me very forcibly of the great storm of Sidmouth, and of the conduct of the excellent Mrs. Partington on the occasion. In the winter of 1824, there set in a great flood upon that town—the tide rose to an incredible hight-the waves rushed in upon the houses, and everything was threatened with destruction. In the midst of this sublime and terrible storm, Dame Partington, who lived upon the beach, was seen at the door of her house with mop and pattens, trundling her mop and squeezing out the sea-water, and vigorously pushing away the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic was roused. Mrs. Partington's spirit was up; but I need not tell you that the contest was unequal. The Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington. She was excellent at a slop, or a puddle, but she should not have meddled with a tempest. Gentlemen, be at your ease—be quiet and steady. You will beat Mrs. Partington."

A few riots gave diversity to the scene. At Derby, the mob denuolished the property of some anti-reformers—they terribly frightened Sir Charles Wetherell, at Bristol—they burnt the

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