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Britain, for the benefit of those whose fate has been committed to her charge, may not be without result, and I trust it may be imitated hereafter.” Adverting to Mr. Disraeli's strictures on our operations in China, Lord Palmerston defended the course that had been pursued. He argued that our policy in China had always been to protect our trade and commerce there, and it had succeeded in turning an enemy into a friend. He justified, also, Earl Russell's proceedings relative to Denmark. With regard to Italy, Rome, and the Pope, Lord Palmerston explained the circumstances under which the offer was made by Mr. Odo Russell to the Pope of an asylum at Malta. The fact was that the matter originated with the Pope, who sent for Mr. Russell and asked him whether, in the event of his being compelled to leave Rome, he would be received and protected in England. Sir G. Bowyer gave a different version of the communication between the Pope and Mr. Odo Russell in regard to the offer of an asylum to His Holiness at Malta. He denounced with much warmth the political changes that had taken place in Italy, and insisted that the Romans knew that they were better off than their neighbours of the Italian unity. “The British Government had produced, through their influence, a state of things in Italy which was not liberty but enslavement, and they would be cursed eternally for it. When, he should like to know, was Italy great P Was it in the days of her unity ? It was rather in the days of the Medicis—(cries of “Borgia') Would hon. members, because there happened to be one bad man, ignore the glories of Florence, Venice, and Genoa, and the great artists and poets which Italy, though not united, produced P. The greatness of Italy, he for one should maintain, was due not to unity, but to the national development and the municipal liberty fostered by individual States. He would go further and say that the unity which would be the result of placing the whole country under the iron heel of Piedmont, would turn out to be to Italy not a blessing but a curse. The noble lord at the head of the Government seemed to imagine that the Roman people were entirely opposed to the authority of the Pope, but in that opinion he was grievously mistaken, and if the French garrison were withdrawn from Rome to-morrow, and the Piedmontese prevented from taking possession of it by military force, the rule of the Pope would, he felt assured, be as safe as that of Queen Victoria was in England. Indeed, the sole reason why it was expedient to keep a French garrison in Rome was, because she had at her gates a piratical Government which knew no respect for law.” Mr. Hennessey likewise denounced in strong terms the conduct which the British Government had pursued towards the Papal power. The same hon. Member also called attention to the unhappy condition of Poland, for which, he said, Great Britain was responsible. We were bound, in his opinion, by treaty to protect.” the Poles. He hoped that the question would find other oppor- “. tunities for discussion during the present session. `... * , Another topic which was urged on this occasion upon the notice of Government was the distress existing in Ireland, to which attention was earnestly called by Mr. Maguire, Sir T. O’Brien, Mr. Hennessey, and other representatives of that country. A succession of wet seasons, it was stated, had greatly diminished the production of the soil, and had involved all classes connected with agriculture in great difficulties. It was declared that every indication showed the decline of prosperity. The population had diminished. The money spent in works of a reproductive character had decreased; the quantity of live stock, the acreage of land under cultivation, the money in the Savings' Banks, were all in course of reduction. Mr. Maguire unhesitatingly stated that the distress then existing in Ireland was much worse than that of Lancashire, and that in its existing condition Ireland was a source of danger to the empire. Lord Palmerston took notice in his speech of these painful representations, which, it may be observed, received confirmation from the Chancellor of the Exchequer some weeks afterwards in his speech upon the Budget. The noble Wiscount now said:— “There is no doubt that Ireland has had three bad years, and no country can endure that without suffering. My information, however, does not go so far as some of the statements which have been made to-night. I am told that the potatoes and oats were not generally bad in Ireland last year. The people were also able to save their turnips. The crops were certainly shorter than the average, and doubtless there is a good deal of pressure in many parts of the country. I think, at the same time, that some of the assertions which have been made are exaggerated, and, at all events, the appeal which has been made for a grant of money for public works would require to be supported by stronger evidence of its necessity than we have yet received. It is impossible that English members should not feel deeply for the miseries of any portion of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom. We sympathize as heartily with the sufferers in Ireland as with those in Lancashire. There is, however, this distinction between the two cases, that the misfortune in Ireland is due to natural causes, such as the unfavourable nature of the seasons; while that in Lancashire is the result of human causes, which are beyond our control.” The Address to the Throne was agreed to, as in the other House, without any opposition. One of the first proceedings of the session was to make provision for an establishment for the Prince and Princess of Wales upon their approaching marriage. A Message from the Queen having been communicated in the usual form to both Houses, an
Address was moved and seconded in both, assuring Her Majesty of a prompt and willing consideration of her request, and two days afterwards the Prime Minister proposed the necessary Resolutions in the House of Commons. After dwelling upon the advantages possessed by this country in its free Constitution —advantages which he trusted the nation would continue to enjoy under the mild sway of its Sovereign—he declared his ersuasion that the proposal it would be his duty to make would i. readily acceded to by the House and approved by the country. Adverting to the provision made in times gone by on similar occasions for Princes of Wales, and particularly to the sum granted in 1795 to the then Prince of Wales—which, including a sum set apart for the payment of his debts, amounted to 138,000l. a year—he remarked that it was not the desire of the Government or of Her Majesty that the present application should reach that amount. In former reigns the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall were added to the available income of the Crown, whereas in the present reign those revenues, with the accumulations, had been set apart for the Prince of Wales when he should come of age. Part of this fund had been invested in the purchase of an estate, but after all deductions the actual probable income of the Duchy of Cornwall, with the accumulations, amounted, in round numbers, to 60,000l. a year. The Government thought that 100,000l. a year would not be disproportioned to the exalted station of the Prince of Wales, and he therefore proposed to the House to grant 40,000l. a year in addition, out of the Consolidated Fund, for the establishment of the Prince and Princess of Wales, and that a separate allowance of 10,000l. a year should be made to the Princess of Wales, making a charge of 50,000l. a year upon that fund. He proposed further that a jointure of 30,000l. a year should be secured to the Princess in the event of her surviving her husband. The arrangement proposed by the Government was admitted on both sides of the House to be reasonable and moderate, and the Resolutions being agreed to mem. con. were afterwards embodied in a Bill, which speedily passed through both Houses and received the Royal assent. The alacrity which Parliament showed in thus making provision for the Royal union, was only in accordance with the universal feeling of satisfaction which this event occasioned throughout the nation. Many circumstances combined to make the marriage of the heir to the throne—an occurrence at all times calculated to excite loyal emotions—peculiarly acceptable to the public. The prospect of a direct succession in the line to which the nation owed so many benefits; the hope that such an event would, more than any other, tend to alleviate the deep sorrow of the Queen; the warm personal interest taken by the nation in all the members of that royal household whose training and education it so cordially approved;—these causes alone would have sufficed to render the marriage generally popular. There were also other circumstances which made the Prince's choice acceptable. The alliance with Denmark,+a country to which the British people entertained a friendly regard, the prevalent report, in this case not exaggerated, of the beauty and engaging qualities of the young princess; above all, the total disconnexion of this alliance with state interests and with those indirect political aims to which the domestic happiness of princes has been too often sacrificed, recommended this match,--which was generally believed to be one of pure mutual affection,--to the favour of the nation. The result was that not only from one end of the kingdom to the other, but even throughout the widely separated dependencies of the Crown, among all classes, parties, and denominations of men, this event became the signal for an outburst of loyalty probably unexampled for its universality and heartiness since § present dynasty has filled the throne. It belongs to another department of this work to record in detail the ceremonies and pageants, the revels and festivities to which this happy event gave occasion,-the cordial and interesting reception of the royal bride at Gravesend, her brilliant entry into the metropolis, the magnificent ceremonial of the nuptials at Windsor, and the innumerable and varied demonstrations by which the public manifested their delight both in the capital, and in most of the cities, towns, and villages of the kingdom. Every where the people revelled in their loyalty, and laid aside for the moment the grave cares and business of life to participate in the general enthusiasm. Every form of celebration that ingenuity could devise, balls, masques, banquets, illuminations, bonfires, processions, pageants, were adopted, as the taste and feeling of each locality dictated, but the same spirit animated all. For the most signal feature of these rejoicings was their entire spontaneousness; there was no dictation, nor even suggestion, from authority; the public took the matter into their own hands; all was the work of voluntary zeal and overflowing private liberality. It was gratifying to observe that amidst the general rejoicings the claims of the humble and necessitous classes were not forgotten. Dinners and entertainments to the labouring poor, to the children of the National Schools, to the recipients of parochial relief, and to the distressed operatives in the manufacturing districts, formed no unimportant part of the local festivities. The same feeling of enthusiasm which had been manifested before the marriage, was exhibited on every occasion on which the royal pair, or either of them, afterwards appeared in public. The Princess was every where hailed with cordial expressions of admiration and good will. Her beauty and the graces of her manner won all hearts that came within the sphere of her influence, and the efforts that were made whenever she went abroad to catch even a transient glimpse of her fair face, evinced a truly chivalrous spirit of loyalty. The Prince also, as he became better known, was cordially appreciated, and received many tokens of public favour and respect. Altogether, there could scarcely be a more hopeful prospect for the British throne than this auspicious marriage appeared to loyal subjects to foreshadow.
Meanwhile it was consolatory to learn that the Sovereign herself, towards whom, throughout all these rejoicings at the happiness of her son and daughter-in-law, the affectionate attachment of the people was especially manifested, was gradually emerging from that heavy cloud of dejection and grief which had for a time almost overwhelmed her. Her presence at the Royal marriage, though but as a spectator of the scene, indicated her wise resolve to make the painful effort which was needed to enable her to resume those duties from which, in the first crisis of her sorrow, she had naturally shrunk. The public were now encouraged to hope that, under the soothing influence of time and the pleasing excitement of new domestic relations, their beloved Sovereign would be enabled ere long to resume her wonted place of pre-eminence in the eyes and in the interest of her people.
State of the Public Finances—Decrease in certain branches of expenditure—Anticipations of a reduction of taxation—The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Financial Statement—Favourable reception of his proposals to lower the Income Tax and Tea Duty—Minor features of his scheme—Unsuccessful attempt to impose licence dut on clubs—Proposal to make charitable endowments liable to Income Tax is met wit strenuous opposition—Extraordinary deputations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the subject–His powerful vindication of the measure in the House of Commons —Receiving little support and being warmly opposed by the Opposition leaders it is withdrawn by the Government—Discussions on the Income Tax—Modifications advocated by Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Roebuck—The Chancellor of the Exchequer contends for the maintenance of the Tax on its existing footing, and is supported by the House—Military and Naval expenditure—Reduction of one million upon each service–The Army Estimates moved by Sir George Lewis—Debates and divisions— Objections raised to expenditure for Colonial defences and fortifications—Arguments of Mr. Mills, Mr. Baxter, and Mr. Childers—Defence of the Estimates by Sir George Lewis–Comparison between English and foreign military expenditure—Speech of Lord Robert Cecil and answer of the Government—Exposition of the Naval Estimates by Lord Clarence Paget—Mr. Cobden arraigns the amount and cost of our naval force as excessive—Replies of Lord C. Paget and Sir John Pakington—Debates on the preferable mode of constructing iron ships—Mr. Lindsay, Mr. Laird, and other members condemn the plan adopted by the Government—It is vindicated by the Ministers—Resolution moved by Mr. Lindsay is negatived—Motion by Sir John Hey for alteration of pay and retirement arrangements of naval officers—Lord Palmerston moves as an amendment the appointment of a Committee of inquiry, which is agreed to by the House.
THERE being no announcement of legislative changes of importance in the present session, the financial proposals of the Chan