« PreviousContinue »
youngest brother profiting not only by his own ability in administration, but by the information as to constitutional government which he had acquired in England, to lead a friendly neighbouring country to the full appreciation of free and liberal institutions. The great historical event in the life of Her Royal Highness is her charge of the only child of her second marriage. In the twelfth year of Her Majesty's life, Her Royal Highness was unanimously chosen by Parliament as Regent of the country, in the event of the Sovereign's death while his successor was in her minority. Many of your lordships may recollect that admirable speech of Lord Lyndhurst, in which he dwelt on the manner in which, up to that time, her Royal Highness had conducted the education of her child, and pointed her out for the important and responsible duty which she was then called on to perform. Six years afterwards, she saw that
daughter, at the early age of .
eighteen, not yet arrived at the
ears of womanhood, placed in the most difficult and responsible situation which any one of her age and sex could possibly oceupy—the ruler of one of the greatest kingdoms in the world. In her Daughter's reign she beheld the beneficial effects of her previous education, and the influence of those personal qualities which she had fostered and developed. Soon after, she saw the Queen, of her own free choice,
contract a marriage which has
been of great advantage to this country, and which has led to a degree of domestic happiness not
to be surpassed in any sphere of life. She saw her daughter reign for nearly a quarter of a century, during times of national glory and prosperity quite unexampled.
She saw her bring up anumerous
family in a manner that gives us promise of their emulating her own private and public life. She had the satisfaction of seeing her eldest granddaughter, by her excellent qualities, gain the attachment of a neighbouring ally, and give birth to a son who will probably one day become the Sovereign of that country. She had seen the other children of the Queen visiting various parts of the world, and strengthening by their personal behaviour that respect for the royal family of England which prevails so widely, and which, if I am not misinformed by my noble friend behind me, amounts in the colonies which are connected with us by every tradition of birth and history, to a feeling of the most profound veneration and affection. Her Royal Highness had lived beyond the period which the Psalmist tells us is allotted to the age of man, and showed in her last hours, when she was cheered by the presence of her family, singular patience and resignation under a most cruel malady. Your lordships cannot be unaware how strong were the ties which bound together the illustrious mother and Daughter, how deep are the domestic feelings of the Queen, and how few trials of this sort she has experienced.”
Lord Derby spoke in terms of the highest praise of the Queen, who had so identified herself with the interests of her people, that “any event in the slightest degree affecting Her Majesty's feelings must at the same time call forth the warm and cordial sympathy of the whole people. We rejoice,” said the noble Lord, “in any circumstance which can add to Her Majesty's happiness. We regret that even the slighest cloud should for a moment overshadow her. We cannot, then, withhold the fullest tide of our sympathy and the expressions of our loyal affection at a moment when Her Majesty is visited by an affliction the very deepest which has yet befallen her, an affliction which involves all the purest, dearest, and deepest affections of our nature. I am satisfied that your lordships will give a cordial and ready support to the Address of Condolence.” Wiscount Palmerston was the mover of the Address in the House of Commons. He said:— “It is the usual lot of royal families, that mothers and daughters are separated at an early period of the life of the children. Marriage takes the daughter to another land from that inhabited by the mother, and, although that separation in no degree diminishes the strength of natural affection, yet, nevertheless, the habitual separation in some degree mitigates and prepares the more perpetual separation which the course of nature may bring about. that has not been the case in the present instance. From the earliest infancy of Her Majesty, the mother and daughter have been perpetually together, and their daily intercourse has been that of mutual affection and reciprocal confidence. To the care
and attention of the late Duchess of Kent we owe, in a great degree, that full development which we so much admire, of those great and eminent qualities by which our Sovereign is distinguished ; while, on the other hand, the affectionate care of the Sovereign has enabled her to repay, by her kindness and attention, those advantages which the mother was able to confer in the earliest years of her Daughter's existence. Therefore, it is natural that this blow, however in the ordinary course of nature, has come upon Her Majesty with great and intense pain, and I am persuaded that this. House will discharge a satisfactory duty in conveying to Her Majesty, by the Address I now propose, the expression of their respectful condolence, their devoted attachment and loyalty to the Crown, and the deep interest which they feel in everything that affects the happiness of Her Majesty in her domestic circle.” Mr. Disraeli seconded the motion, paying a tribute of respect to the Queen, as well as to her august mother. He added:— “For the great grief which has fallen on the Queen there is only one source of human consolation—the recollection of unbroken devotedness to the being whom we have loved and whom we have lost. This tranquil and sustaining memory is the inheritance of our Sovereign. It is generally supposed that the anguish of affection is scarcely compatible with the pomp of power, but that is not so in the present instance. She who reigns over us has elected, amid all the
splendour of empire, to establish permits a nation to bear its hearther life on the principle of do- felt sympathy to the feet of a mestic love. It is this—it is the bereaved throne, and whisper soremembrance and consciousness lace even to a royal heart." of this -- which now sincerely The Address was voted nom. saddens the public spirit, and con.
PARLIAMENTARY REFORM—Disinclination of the Country for any change
in the Representation—The Government resolve to postpone the subject- Attempts of Private Members to introduce Partial Reforms Mr. Locke King renews his Bill to reduce the County Franchise to £10 -Debate on the introduction of the Bill— Remarks of Lord Palmerston and Mr. Disraeli— On the second reading, the “ Previous Question" is moved by Mr. A. Smith-Speeches of Lord Henley, Mr. Adderley, Lord Enfield, Sir George Lewis, Mr. Bernal Osborne, Lord J. Russell, Mr. Disraeli, and other Members-On a Division, the Bill is lost by a Majority of 19–Mr. Baines proposes to reduce the qualification for Borough Members--- After a debate, in which Mr. Cave, Mr. Leathăm, and Sir John Ramsden take part, the House divides against the Bill-Mr. H. Berkeley renews his Annual Motion on the BallotHis Speech—After a brief debate the Motion is rejected by 279 to 154 -A Bill is introduced by the Government to assign the Seats vacated by the disfranchisement of Sudbury and St. Alban's to other places. After much discussion and soine alteration, it is passed through both Houses—Bill for taking the Poll at University Elections by means of Voting Papers-Introduced by Mr. Dodgson-Remarks of Sir George Lewis and other Members on the Measure-It is referred to a Select Committee, where it undergoes modification- Again debated in the House of Commons—Sir George Lewis, Mr. Walpole, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Henley, and Sir W. Heathcote take part in the discussion-It is carried, after some opposition—The Bishops of Oxford and London raise some objections to the Measure in the House of Lords—The Earl of Derby vindicates the Bill, which is passed without a divisionCHURCH RATED—Sir John Trelawny again brings in a Bill to abolish the Rate-Sir W. Heathcote moves the rejection of the MeasureSpeeches of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Bright, Mr. Disraeli, Lord John Russell, and Mr. Walpole--The Second Reading is carried by 281 to 266-Mr. Newdegate proposes a scheme for a substitute for Church Rates, which, after some discussion, is withdrawn-On the third reading a great struggle takes place-Mr. 8. Estcourt moves that the Bill be postponed for Six Months-Speeches of Mr. Cross, Mr. Newdegate, Mr. Bright, Mr. Stansfield, Mr. Whiteside, and other Members—The Members, on a division, are found to be equal—The Speaker is called upon to give a casting vote-He states his reasons, and votes with the Noes.—The Bill is therefore lost.
HE disinclination which the ary Reform in the preceding
country had manifested year, was assumed by the Goto the subject of Parliament- vernment to be a sufficient
reason for abstaining, during the present session, from bringing forward any general measure for that object. The subject, however, was not left entirely untouched, for several private members attempted to promote amendments in certain branches of our electoral system. All their experiments proved, with one exception, unsuccessful, but it will be convenient to give ashort account of the discussion which took place in respect of the several Bills that were introduced. Mr. Locke King, who had for several years attempted, with varying but always incomplete success, to achieve the reduction of the county franchise to a 10l. qualification, again introduced, at an early period of the session, a Bill for the same purpose. In moving for leave, on the 19th February, to bring in his Bill, the honourable member observed that, as there was no prospect of a Government Reform Bill this session, he thought this a suitable occasion to bring this question once more before the House, and to propose an instalment, and by no means an insignificant one, of reform, extending the county franchise to 10l. occupiers. He referred to the repeated admission by great authorities in that House of the principle of the measure, and even the limit he proposed, and he concluded, in the words of Lord John Russell, that the measure, if acceded to by the House, “would tend not only to improve but to consolidate our institutions.” Mr. Warner, who had given notice of a resolution, as an amendment to the motion, “That a Select Committee be appointed to consider what changes it may be desirable to introduce with a
view to amend the representation of the people,” stated his reasons for proposing this amendment, in doing which he reviewed various schemes of reform proposed at different times, condemning the principle of a dead level of qualification and attempts at reform by isolated measures. “We ought to measure our strength,” he observed, “beforewe begin our work, and remember that we are but the remnant of a great party"—a confession which was received with ironical cheers by the Opposition side of the House. The honourable member eventually withdrew his amendment, and declared that he should vote for the motion. Mr. Griffith then moved, as an amendment, a resolution, “That considering that the object of the proposed Bill involves the practical adoption of a principle which has generally been considered as opposed to the spirit of our Parliamentary Constitution— namely, the uniformity of the county and borough franchise— it is not expedient to reduce the county franchise below 201.” Mr. Newdegate, referring to the conflicting estimates of the number of electors which this measure would add to the county constituency, and observing that of all changes this was the one respecting the effects of which the House was least informed, insisted that it would be most imprudent to adopt an isolated measure on this great subject. Instead of increasing the representation of the operative classes, it would aggravate the anomaly now complained of, diminishing relatively the representation of these classes by increasing that of the occupying classes,