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Mr. Walpole has summed up the character of George IV. in words alike of terrible conciseness and of unmitigating truth" He was a bad son, a bad husband, a bad father, a bad subject, a bad monarch, and a bad friend."

After a lengthened and toilsome Session Parliament was at length prorogued by the king in person on the 10th of September. Several important measures which had passed the Commons were rejected by the Lords. Their resistance had caused great difficulty in carrying through the imperatively demanded measures of Municipal Reform; and they had deprived the Irish Church Temporalities Act of one of its principal features. But their obstructive action was not confined to great political measures of that kind. They rejected the Dublin Police Bill, and other measures of practical reform. The consequence was that the Liberal party began to ask seriously whether the absolute veto which the Lords possessed, and which they sometimes used perversely and even factiously, was compatible with the healthful action of the legislature and the well-being of the country. It was roundly asserted that the experience of the last two years had demonstrated the necessity of reform in the House of Lords. The question was extensively agitated, it was constantly discussed in the press, public meetings were held throughout the country upon it, and numerous petitions were presented to Parliament with the same object. On the 2nd of September Mr. Roebuck, while presenting one of these petitions, announced his intention of introducing early in the next Session a Bill to deprive the House of Lords of its veto upon all measures of legislation, and to substitute for it a suspense of power, so that if a Bill thrown out by the Lords should pass the Commons a second time, and receive the Royal Assent, it might become law without the concurrence of the Peers. Mr. Ripon also gave notice of a motion to remove the bishops from the House of Peers; while Mr. Hume indignantly denounced the humiliating ceremonials observed in the intercourse between the Commons and the Lords. Although the whole proceeding at a conference between the two Houses consists of the exchange of two pieces of paper, oral discussions not being permitted, the members of the House of Commons are obliged to wait upon the Lords, standing with their hats off, the members of the Upper House, as if they were masters, remaining seated with their hats on. The state of feeling among the working classes on this subject was expressed in the strongest language in an address to Mr. O'Connell from the "non-franchised inhabitants of Glasgow." They warmly deprecated the unmanly and submissive manner in which the Ministers and the Commons had bowed bare-headed to the refractory Lords. They demanded that responsibility should be established in every department of the State; and they said, "As the House of Lords has hitherto displayed a most astounding anomaly in this enlightened age by retaining the right to legislate by birth or Court favour, and being thereby rendered irresponsible, it follows it must be cut down as a rotten encumbrance, or be so cured as to be made of some service to the State, as well as amenable to the people." But the question of the restrictions upon Dissenters was again taken up by Lord Stanhope, in 1811. On the 21st of March he presented to the House of Lords a short Bill "For the better securing the liberty of conscience." It had the same fate as his former ones. Ministers seemed rather inclined to abridge the liberty of conscience, for immediately afterwards, namely, on the 9th of May, Lord Sidmouth brought in a Bill to limit the granting of licences to preach, asserting that this licence was made use of by ignorant and unfit persons, because having such a licence exempted them from serving in the militia, on juries, etc. The Bill excited great alarm amongst the Dissenters, and Lord Stanhope and Lord Grey, on the 17th of the month, when Lord Sidmouth moved for the second reading of the Bill, prayed for some time to be allowed for the expression of public opinion. The second reading was, accordingly, deferred till the 21st, by which time a flock of petitions came up against it, one of which was signed by four thousand persons. Lord Erskine said that these petitions were not a tenth part of what would be presented, if time were afforded for the purpose; and he ridiculed the idea of persons obtaining exemption from serving in the militia by merely taking out licences to preach. Lord Grey confirmed this, saying that it was impossible for persons to obtain such licences, except they were ministers of separate congregations. This was secured by an Act passed in 1802, and still more, the party applying for such licence was restricted from following any trade, except that of keeping a school. These regulations, he stated, were most minutely adhered to, both in the general and local militia, and he challenged Lord Sidmouth to show him a single instance, since the Act of 1802, where exemption had been improperly obtained by a Dissenter. Lord Grey proved from actual returns that the whole number of persons who had been licensed during the last forty-eight years had only been three thousand six hundred and seventy-eight, or about seventy-seven[165] annually on an average, and that the highest number reached in any one year had been only about one hundred and sixty. He contended that these facts demonstrated the non-necessity of the Bill. It was lost. But a month only elapsed when fresh differences arose in the Cabinet leading to further[373] resignations, and ending in the retirement of Lord Grey from public life. Again Ireland was the rock on which the Cabinet struck and went to pieces. The Irish Coercion Act, which had been passed for one year only, was to be renewed, with modifications, for which purpose a Bill was introduced into the Lords about the middle of June. A large number of the Liberal members of England and Scotland, as well as Ireland, required the omission of the clauses enabling the Lord-Lieutenant to suppress public meetings by proclamationa power which Lord Wellesley was induced by his meddlesome advisers, Mr. Littleton and Lord Brougham, to declare he did not require. His opinion, however, was overruled in the Cabinet, and they agreed to support the Bill as it stood. Lord Althorp had very reluctantly yielded the point, more especially as the necessity for the extra-constitutional powers was denied by the Irish executive and by the Lord Chancellor. Mr. Littleton, the Irish Secretary, having indiscreetly made O'Connell aware of the division in the Cabinet, and of the fact that several of its members were supporting the clause contrary to their convictions, the Irish leader used the knowledge thus obtained with tremendous effect. While sitting under the fierce invectives of his opponent, Lord Althorp felt his position to be intolerable. On quitting the House, after a long and harassing discussion, on the 7th of July, he wrote to the Prime Minister, announcing this fact. Next morning there was a conference, after which Lord Grey transmitted to the king his resignation, with that of Lord Althorp; and on the recommendation of Lord Grey, Lord Melbourne was appointed to the office of Prime Minister, being succeeded in the Home Office by Lord Duncannon; while Lord Althorp, relieved from his obligation with regard to the Coercion Bill, consented to resume the post he had just resigned.

Cries not when his father dies, On the 19th of February the men heard an awful and mysterious sound, as if of thunder, beneath their feet. They instantly rushed to their arms, and thus many lives were saved. A tremendous earthquake shook down all the parapets built up with so much labour, injured several of the bastions, cast to the ground all the guard-houses, made a considerable breach in the rampart of a curtain in the Peshawur face, and reduced the Cabul gate to a shapeless mass of ruins. In addition to this sudden destruction of the fortificationsthe labour of three monthsone-third of the town was demolished. The report states that, within the space of one month, the city was thrown into alarm by the repetition of full 100 shocks of this phenomenon of Nature. Still, the garrison did not lose heart or hope. With indomitable energy, they set to work immediately to repair the damage. The shocks had scarcely ceased when the whole garrison was told off into working parties, and before night the breaches were scalped, the rubbish below was cleared away, and the ditches before them were dug out. From the following day all the troops off duty were continually at work, and so well sustained were their energy and perseverance, that by the end of the month the parapets were entirely restored, or the curtain was filled in, where restoration was impracticable, and every battery re-established. The breaches were built up with the rampart doubled in thickness, and the whole of the gates re-trenched. So marvellously rapid was the work of restoration that Akbar Khan declared that the earthquake must have been the effect of English witchcraft, as Jelalabad was the only place that escaped.

The result of these victories was that the Punjab was annexed to our Indian Empire, the reasons for this step being explained by the Governor-General in a proclamation, which announced favourable terms for the conquered people. Henry Lawrence, as is well known, was against the annexation, but his arguments were overridden by the strenuous Governor-General, and he became chief of the Commission, with his brother John as a member, for the administration of the Punjab. Moolraj was subsequently tried for the murder of Mr. Agnew and Mr. Anderson, and being found guilty, he was sentenced to death. The sentence was afterwards commuted to imprisonment for life. ST. JUST. (After the Portrait by David.)

The Great Seal had remained in commission ever since the resignation of Sir Robert Peel, and it was supposed to be reserved for Lord Brougham when the king's objections to his reappointment should be overcome. Such, however was not the case, as Lord Melbourne was determined to have nothing more to do with him. On the 1st of January, 1836, Sir Charles Pepys, Master of the Rolls, was appointed to the office of Lord Chancellor, and created a peer by the title of Lord Cottenham. At the same time Mr. Henry Bickersteth, appointed Master of the Rolls, was called to the Upper House by the title of Baron Langdale. Lord Brougham, thus passed over, was too ill to make any protest, but before long he assumed an attitude of active opposition to the Ministry. Parliament was opened by the king in person on the 4th of February, 1836, in a Speech remarkable for the number and variety of its topics. It gave the usual assurances of the maintenance of friendly relations with all Foreign Powersexpressed regret at the continuance of the civil contest in the northern provinces of Spain, and hope of a successful result to our mediation between France and the United States. Referring to domestic affairs, the state of commerce and manufactures was declared to be highly satisfactory; but difficulties continued to press on agriculture. Measures were to be submitted for increasing the efficiency of the Church, for the commutation of tithes, for alleviating the grievances of Dissenters; and improvements in the administration of justice were recommended, especially in the Court of Chancery. The special attention of Parliament was directed to the condition of the poor of Ireland, and it was suggested that as experience had proved the salutary effect of the Poor Law Amendment Act in England, a similar measure might be found useful in alleviating the social condition of Ireland. Allusion was also made to the reform of Irish corporations, and the adjustment of the Irish Tithe question, which we have already disposed of in preceding pages. Chiefly with reference to these questions, amendments to the Address were moved in both Houses; in the Upper by the Duke of Wellington, whose amendment was carried without a division; in the Commons Ministers won by 284 against 243.