NAPLES, FROM THE MERGELLINA. George had arrived in England from his German States on the 11th of November of the preceding year, 1719, and opened Parliament on the 23rd. In his speech he laid stress on the success of his Government in promoting the evacuation of Sicily and Sardinia by Spain, in protecting Sweden, and laying the foundation of a union amongst the great Protestant Powers of Europe. He then recurred to the subject of the Bill for limiting the peerage, which had been rejected in the previous Session. George was animated by the vehement desire to curtail the prerogative of his son, and said that the Bill was necessary to secure that part of the Constitution which was most liable to abuse. Lord Cowper declared, on the other hand, that besides the reasons which had induced him to oppose the measure before, another was now added in the earnestness with which it was recommended. But Cowper was not supported with any zeal by the rest of the House, and the Bill passed on the 30th of November, and was sent down to the House of Commons on the 1st of December. There it was destined to meet with a very different reception. During the recess Walpole had endeavoured to rouse a resistance to it in both Houses. He had convened a meeting of the Opposition Whigs at Devonshire House, and called upon them to oppose the measure; but he found that some of the Whig peers were favourable to it, from the perception that it would increase the importance of their order; others declared that it would be inconsistent in them to oppose a principle which they had so strenuously maintained against a Tory Ministrythat of discountenancing the sudden creation of peers for party purposes; and others, though hostile to the Bill, declared that they should only expose themselves to defeat by resisting it. But Walpole persisted in his opposition, and declared that, if his party deserted him, he would contend against the Bill single-handed. He asserted that it would meet with strong resistance from the country gentlemen who hoped some time or other to reach the peeragea hope which the Bill, if carried, would extinguish for ever.

MR. STANLEY (AFTERWARDS 14th EARL OF DERBY). [From a photograph by S. A. Walker, Regent Street, London. A law in force since the time of Cromwell had provided that no merchandise from Asia, Africa, or America should be imported into Great Britain in any foreign ships; and not only the commander, but three-fourths of the crew, were required to be English. In addition to this restriction of our foreign commerce to English-built and English-manned ships, discriminating duties were imposed upon foreign ships from Europe, which had to pay more heavily than if the goods were imported under the British flag. The object of this system, which prevailed for one hundred and fifty years, was to maintain the ascendency of Britain as a Maritime Power. Adam Smith remarks that the Navigation Act may have proceeded from national rivalry and animosity towards Holland; but he held that its provisions were as beneficial as if they had been dictated by the most consummate wisdom. He admits, however, that they were not favourable to foreign commerce, or to the growth of that opulence that can arise from it, remarking, "As defence is of more value than opulence, the Act of Navigation is perhaps the wisest of all the commercial regulations of England." But had Adam Smith lived later on, he would have seen that the utmost freedom of commerce with foreign nations, and the most boundless opulence arising from it, are quite compatible with a perfect system of national defence; and whatever were the advantages of the restrictive system, other nations could act upon it as well as England. America did so, and thus commenced a war of tariffs equally injurious to herself and the mother country, causing the people of each to pay much more for most of the commodities they needed than they would have done if the markets of the world were open to them. The consequence was that both parties saw the folly of sending their ships across the Atlantic in ballast, and a commercial treaty was concluded in 1815, which put the shipping of both America and England upon an equal footing, and relieved them from the necessity of paying double freight. The reciprocity system was also partially adopted in our commerce with other countries. In 1822 Mr. Wallace had brought in four Bills, which made other important alterations. The 3 George IV., cap. 41, repealed certain statutes relating to foreign commerce which were passed before the Navigation Act. Another Act (cap. 42) repealed that part of the Navigation Act itself which required that goods of the growth or manufacture of Asia, Africa, and America should only be imported in British ships; and that no goods of foreign growth or manufacture should be brought from Europe, except from the place of their production, and in the ships of the country producing them. The next enactment prescribed certain specified goods to be brought to Great Britain from any port in Europe, in ships belonging to the ports of shipment. Two other Acts further extended freedom of commerce, and removed the vexatious restrictions that had hampered our colonial and coasting trade. In 1823 Prussia retaliated, as the United States had done, which led Mr. Huskisson to propose what are called the Reciprocity Acts, 4 George IV., cap. 77, and 5 George IV., cap. 1, which empowered the king, by Order in Council, to authorise the importation and exportation of goods in foreign ships from the United Kingdom, or from any other of his Majesty's dominions, on the same terms as in[240] British ships, provided it should first be proved to his Majesty and the Privy Council that the foreign country in whose favour the order was made had placed British ships in its ports on the same footing as its own ships. These enactments proved an immense advantage to the people of the nations affected by them, and satisfied all parties but the ship-owners, who cried out loudly that their interest was ruined. But their complaints were altogether unfounded, as will appear from the following figures. Under the restrictive system, from 1804 to 1823, the tonnage of British shipping had increased only ten per cent. Under the Reciprocity Acts and the Free Trade system, from 1823 to 1845, the increase rose to forty-five per cent. This result fully bore out the calculations and anticipations of Mr. Huskisson, in his answer to the arguments of the Protectionists.

Father, with panting breast,

Before leaving, the courteous officer permitted Bailly and about half-a-dozen deputies to enter and bring out their papers. The carpenters were already at work making preparations for the royal sance, which was intended for a counter-manifestation, and as the body of the deputies, now nearly completing their six hundred, marched through the streets, they heard the heralds[361] proclaiming it for Monday, the 22nd. Bailly felt that there was more indignity intended than even that of turning them so unceremoniously out of their house, for a message had been sent to him from the king, announcing the sance, but it had not been delivered to him, as etiquette required, at the hall, but at his private house, and not by a written dispatch, but verbally by De Brz, the master of ceremonies. When the deputies, with their president at their head, reached the Tennis Court, they found it a very spacious apartment, but naked, unfurnished, and desolate. There were no seats for the deputies, and a chair being offered to Bailly he declined it, saying he would not sit whilst the other members were standing. A wooden bench was brought, and served for a desk, two deputies were stationed as doorkeepers, and the keeper of the Court appeared and offered them his services. Great numbers of the populace crowded in, and the deliberations commenced. There were loud complaints of the interruption of their sitting, and many proposals to prevent such accidents in future. It was proposed to adjourn to Paris, where they would have the support of the people, and this project was received with enthusiasm; but Bailly feared that they might be attacked on the way, and, moreover, that such a measure would give an advantage to their enemies, looking like a desertion of their ground. Mounier then proposed that the deputies should bind themselves by an oath never to separate till they had completed the Constitution. This was hailed with enthusiasm. The oath was drawn up, and Bailly, standing on the bench, read it aloud:"You solemnly swear never to separate, and to re-assemble whenever circumstances shall require it, until the Constitution of the kingdom is founded and established on a solid basis." As he read this all the deputies held up their right hands, and repeated after him the words, "We swear!" The formula was read so loud that not only the spectators within but numbers without heard it, and all joined in the cry, "We swear!" Then followed loud acclaims of "Vive l'Assemble!" "Vive le Roi!"

The Session of 1840 was opened by the Queen in person. The first two paragraphs of the Royal Speech contained an announcement of the coming marriage. The Speech contained nothing else very definite or very interesting; and the debate on the Address was remarkable for nothing more than its references to the royal marriage. The Duke of Wellington warmly concurred in the expressions of congratulation. He had, he said, been summoned to attend her Majesty in the Privy Council when this announcement was first made. He had heard that the precedent of the reign of George III. had been followed in all particulars except one, and that was the declaration that the Prince was a Protestant. He knew he was a Protestant, he was sure he was of a Protestant family; but this was a Protestant State, and although there was no doubt about the matter, the precedent of George III. should have been followed throughout, and the fact that the Prince was a Protestant should be officially declared. The Duke, therefore, moved the insertion of the word "Protestant" before the word "Prince" in the first paragraph of the Address. Lord Melbourne considered the amendment altogether superfluous. The Act of Settlement required that the Prince should be a Protestant, and it was not likely that Ministers would advise her Majesty to break through the Act of Settlement. The precedent which the Duke had endeavoured to establish was not a case in point, for George III. did not declare to the Privy Council that the Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was a Protestant, but only that she was descended from a long line of Protestant ancestors. All the world knew that the Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg was a Protestant, and that he was descended from the most emphatically Protestant house in Europe. But the House decided to insert the phrase.

This concession, though deemed by the Home Government a large one, did not satisfy the Canadians. They took it as an instalment, but gave no pledge to make the return that was sought, by liquidating the arrears. In their answer to the Governor they said, "The great body of the people of this province, without distinction, consider the extension of the elective principle, and its application to the constitution of the Legislative Council in particular, and the repeal of the Acts passed in Great Britain on matters concerning the internal government of the province, as fully within the jurisdiction of the provincial Parliament, as well as the privileges conferred by such Acts; and the full and unrestrained enjoyment on the part of the legislature and of this House of their legislative and constitutional rights, as being essential to the prosperity and welfare of his Majesty's faithful subjects in Canada, as well as necessary to insure their future confidence in his Government, their future contentment under it, and to remove the causes which have been obstacles to it." Mr. Roebuck had become their champion and paid agent in the British House of Commons, and one of their first acts was to insert the agent's bill for the amount of his expenses (500) in the public accounts. This the Government refused to sanction, whereupon the Assembly took it upon them to pass it themselves without such sanction. The temper exhibited on both sides in these proceedings indicated no sign of a fair prospect of conciliation between the ruler and the ruled, more especially as the British Government exhibited anything but a conciliatory spirit. The discontent and agitation went on increasing during the following year. The Assembly rose in its demands, still persisting in refusing to vote the supplies. They required that the "executive council" of the Governor should be subjected to their control, and that their proceedings should be made public. The Assembly, in fact, had become quite refractory, owing to the violent measures of the democratic party, led on by Papineau, the Canadian O'Connell.

"I have to lament that, in consequence of the failure of the potato crop in several parts of the United Kingdom, there will be a deficient supply of an article of food which forms the chief subsistence of great numbers of my people.

When the advanced guard of the Allies came in sight of the Rhine, over which the last of the hated invaders had fled, they raised such shouts of "The Rhine! the Rhine!" that those behind rushed forward, supposing that it was a call to action; but they soon learned the true cause, and joined in a mighty acclamation, that proclaimed the haughty and sanguinary oppressor driven out, and the soil of Germany at length freed from his licentious and marauding legions. It turned out that they had left behind them one hundred and forty thousand prisoners, and seven hundred and ninety-one guns. On the 2nd of November Hanover was again delivered to Great Britain; the Duke of Brunswick, who had maintained his stern hatred to Buonaparte, also returned to his patrimonial domains; the kingdom of Westphalia dissolving like a dream, the different portions of Jerome's ephemeral realm reverted to its former owners. The Confederacy of the Rhine was at an end, the members of it hastening to make peace with the Allies, and save as much of their dominions as they could. Bernadotte, immediately after the defeat of Buonaparte at Leipsic, entered Denmark, and overran the country of that ally of France. The Danish army speedily consented to an armistice, by which it was agreed that the Swedes should occupy Holstein and a part of Schleswig till the French were expelled from all the Danish fortresses. It was already stipulated as the price of his co-operation, that the Crown Prince should receive Norway to add to the Swedish Crown.