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Chapter XVII, of Cassells Illustrated History of England, Volume 7 page 4

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The general result of the elections was considered to have diminished by fifty the number of votes on which ministers could depend, and the relation in which they now stood to the more popular part of the representation was stated to be as follows: - Of the eighty-two members returned by the forty counties of England, only twenty-eight were steady adherents of the ministry; forty-seven were avowed adherents of the opposition, and seven of the neutral cast did not lean much to government. Of the thirteen popular cities and boroughs (London, Westminster, Aylesbury, &c.), returning twenty-eight members, only three seats were held by decidedly ministerial men, and twenty-four by men in avowed opposition. There were sixty other places, more or less open, returning 126 members. Of these only forty- seven were ministerial; all the rest were avowed opposition men, save eight, whose leaning was rather against the government than for it. Of the 236 men then returned by elections more or less popular in England, only seventy- nine were ministerial votes; 141 were in avowed opposition, and sixteen of a neutral cast.

It was stated positively at the time that the duke of Wellington did not put forth the power of the government in the usual way on this occasion to gain the elections, and that his supporters were rather disheartened. It is not easy to account for this, if it be the fact. He was opposed to parliamentary reform; he hated revolution; but perhaps he was disgusted with party conflicts, or he may have despaired of the issue, and thought it useless to waste his resources on a hopeless contest; and we are assured that he was by no means blind to the abuses which had crept in upon our parliamentary system. He was not averse to close boroughs, which he considered an essential feature of the constitution, "and perhaps the greatest bulwark of imperial government in the abstract;" but he had no patience with the grasping ambition and greed of individuals, which prompted them to buy up borough after borough, and to render themselves thereby all powerful in the legislature. " They are blind," he used to say, " to their interests, which cannot be separated from those of the state. They do not see that they are perverting to the worst purposes an institution which ought to have been rendered subservient to the best. Instead of having these boroughs so distributed that men of all shades of political opinion, and representing all the great interests of the empire, may, if they possess but talent and character, find their way through them into the house of commons, they go into the market, and purchase up one after another T with no other view than to provide for their own dependants, and promote their own objects. Over and over again it has been pressed upon me to become the proprietor of a borough; but I would have nothing to say to the proposal - I would not dirty my fingers with so vile a job."

It is a wonder that so honest a mind as his did not see that a system which, so long as men were ambitious and covetous, would lead to the perpetration of such vile jobs, could not be an essential part of any sound constitution. The duke had little to console him in connection with the general elections. In passing the Emancipation Act he had made great sacrifices, and had converted many of his most devoted friends into bitter enemies. The least that he could expect was, that the great boon which it cost him so much to procure for the Roman catholics of Ireland would have brought him some return of gitititude, and some amount of political support in that country, But hitherto the Emancipation Act had failed in tranquillising the country, On the contrary, its distracted state pointed the arguments of the tories on the hustings during the Irish elections. O'Connell, instead of returning to the quiet pursuit of his profession, was agitating for repeal of the union, and reviling the British government as bitterly as ever. He got up new associations with different names, as fast as the lord-lieutenant could proclaim them down; and he appealed to the example of the French and Belgian revolutions as encouraging Ireland to agitate for national independence. In consequence of his agitation, many ministerial seats in Ireland were transferred to the most violent of his followers. During these conflicts with the government, Mr. O'Connell was challenged by Sir Henry Hardinge, in consequence of offensive language used by him about that gentleman, who was then chief secretary for Ireland. Mr. O'Connell declined the combat, on the ground that he had a " vow registered in heaven" never again to fight a duel, in consequence of his having shot Mr. D'Esterre. This affair of honour drew upon him from some quarters very severe censure.

On the 15th of September this year the Manchester and Liverpool railway was opened. The ceremony excited great interest, and it would have excited much more if the public of that day could have anticipated the vast expansion during the last forty years of the system of locomotion of which it may be said to have been the inauguration. It was the first line ever opened for travelling in the British empire. There was much difference of opinion as to the success of the experiment, and vast crowds attended to see the first trains running. The duke of Wellington, Mr. Huskisson, and many persons of the highest distinction, started in the trains, which travelled on two lines in the same direction, sometimes nearly abreast. At Parkside the trains stopped to take in water, and Mr. Huskisson and several of his friends got out. He was brought round to the carriage where the duke of Wellington was seated, who, as soon as he saw him, shook hands cordially with his old colleague. At this moment the other train started, when there was a general cry of " Get in, get in! " There was not time to do this, but Mr. Holmes, who was with Mr. Huskisson, had sufficient presence of mind to draw himself up close to the duke's carriage, by which means he escaped uninjured. Mr. Huskisson, unfortunately, caught one of the doors, which, struck by the train in motion, was swung round, and caused him to fall on the other railway, so that his right leg was passed over and crushed by the engine. The duke of Wellington and others ran to his assistance. The only words he uttered were, "I have met my death. God forgive me! " He was carried to Eccles, where the best medical advice was obtained, but he survived only a few hours, bearing his intense pain with great fortitude. He received the sacrament with Mrs. Huskisson, and his last words were, " The country has had the best of me, I trust it will do justice to my public character. I regret not the few years that might have remained to me, except for those dear ones," he added, grasping Mrs. Huskisson's hand, "whom I leave behind me.' He expired a few minutes after. On the 24th he was interred in the new cemetery in Liverpool, having received the honour of a public funeral, which Was attènded by an immense concourse of spectators, many of whom were in tears for the tragic end of this eminent statesman, thus cut off so suddenly, on an occasion so joyous, and in connection with an undertaking in which he felt so deep an interest. The duke of Wellington seems to have been overwhelmed with grief at this catastrophe. "He described it on his return to Walmer as one of the saddest events which, in the course of a career not strange to heartrending incidents, he had ever witnessed. Indeed, there is some reason to believe that the memories associated with this his first essay were not without their effect in strengthening, if they did not create, that disinclination to railway travelling which adhered to him ever after. Be this as it may, the fact remains that, in spite of the success which attended the Liverpool and Manchester line, the duke never could be persuaded directly or indirectly to countenance the extension of the system in other quarters. When it was proposed, not long afterwards, to connect Southampton with London by rail, he gave to the project all the opposition in his power; and, more characteristic still, he continued in all his journeys to travel post, till the impossibility of finding horses along the deserted high roads of Kent and Hampshire compelled him to abandon the practice." f Mr. Huskisson had spent an active life in the public service. In 1783, when fourteen years of age, he went to Paris, at the request of his uncle, Dr. Green, then physician to the English embassy. He was present at the taking of the Bastile, and was enthusiastic in the cause of the French revolution. When the British ambassador was recalled, he returned to England in 1792, and got the charge of an office created for investigating the claims of French emigrants. In 1796 he was brought into parliament as member for Morpeth. He was secretary to the treasury under Mr. Pitt's administration in 1802. He successively represented Liskeard, Harwich, and Chichester; and from 1823 till his death he was one of the members for Liverpool. In 1814 he was appointed chief commissioner of woods and forests, and in 1823 he became president of the board of trade and treasurer of the navy. He held the office of colonial secretary, and retained it when lord Goderich became the head of a new ministry. He seems to have been very fond of official life, and to have felt greatly disappointed and mortified when the duke of Wellington accepted his resignation in May, 1829. He excited the hostility of the protectionists by his efforts to relax the restrictions on commerce, though he was far from going the whole length of free trade. He seldom spoke in parliament, except on commercial subjects. On retiring from office, in 1828, he received one of six pensions of £3,000 a-year each, which the crown had been empowered to grant for long public services, having been nominated by lord Liverpool before his political demise. He was for many years agent T for Ceylon, the salary for which was increased from £800 to £1,200 a-year. A handsome monument, with a statue by Gibson, was erected to his memory by his constituents in the new cemetery at Liverpool. A second statue was placed in the Royal Exchange, and another, also by Gibson, in Lloyd's rooms, London. His speeches were published in three volumes, with a biographical memoir, in 1831.

Napoleon's saying about French revolutions was verified in 1830. The shock of the political earthquake was felt throughout the Continent, and severed Belgium from Holland. The inhabitants of Brussels began their revolt by resistance to local taxes, and ended by driving the Dutch garrison out of the city, and proclaiming the independence of Belgium. The duke of Wellington had no difficulty about the prompt recognition of the de facto government of France. The change of dynasty had not been officially communicated to him many hours when he sent instructions to the English ambassador to enter into friendly relations with the new government. He had not, however, the same facility in recognising the independence of Belgium. He had been instrumental in establishing the Kingdom of the Netherlands; and he regarded the union as being a portion of the great European settlement of 1815, which ought not to be disturbed without the concurrence of the great powers by which it was effected. This hesitation on his part to hail the results of successful revolution added to his unpopularity. In the meantime a dangerous spirit of disaffection and disorder began to manifest itself in the south of England. Incendiary fires had preceded the revolution in France, especially in Normandy, and they were supposed to have had a political object. Similar preludes of menaced revolution occurred during the autumn in some of the English counties nearest the French coast, in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Hampshire. Night after night, in the most fertile districts, the sky was reddened with the blaze of burning stack-yards. Crowds of the working classes, complaining of want of employment, went about through the country, breaking the threshing- machines, which had then come into extensive use. The government were compelled to employ force to put down these disturbances - a fact which supplied inflammatory arguments to agitators, who denounced the duke of Wellington as the chief cause of the distress of the working classes. Such was the state of things when the new parliament met on the 26th of October.

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