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poration Acts passed under that king (see pp. 230, 231). Mr. Peel was left in a minority, and withdrew his opposition. In the lords the measure was supported by lord HOLLAND, the nephew of Charles James Fox, and the duke of Sussex, the sixth son of George III., to whom his consistent support of civil and religious liberty had been most distasteful, as it now was to George IV. The passing of this act gave a new stimulus to the agitation for Catholic relief. The crisis was brought on by the election of O'Connell for the county of Clare. The duke of Wellington was convinced that his choice lay between concession and a civil war, the horrors of which he deprecated with deep feeling; and his ministry announced a measure for the relief of the Catholics in the king's speech (1829). Mr. Peel, who had always opposed the Catholic claims, was rejected by his constituents of the University of Oxford, in favour of sir Robert Harry Inglis, a kind-hearted simple-minded Tory, who always held that “wherever the king carried his flag, there he should carry his church.” Peel came back to the house as member for Westbury, and introduced the bill, which passed the lords on April 10, after earnest opposition. Lord Eldon was moved to tears, and lord Winchelsea came forward as the champion of religion in a duel with the duke of Wellington. The act opened parliament and offices of state to the Catholics on their taking a new oath in place of the oath of supremacy ; but they were excluded from the offices of regent, viceroy of Ireland, and lord chancellor both in England and Ireland. The exclusion from the crown, and its forfeiture by marriage with a Catholic, remained in force. The words of the new oath, “ on the true faith of a Christian," had the effect of excluding the Jews from parliament till 1858, when they were admitted.
The king gave his assent to the bill, but showed a resentment against the ministry, which was shared by the Tory party. Their violent opposition, in concert with the radicals, was only neutralized by the support of the Whigs, which enabled Peel to carry some valuable measures, among which was the formation of the new police (1830). He had previously mitigated the criminal law; and Mr. Brougham had moved (Feb. 1828), in a speech of surpassing eloquence, for a commission on the state of the law, which led to most important reforms. But the rejection of lord John Russell's motion to give members to the great manufacturing towns of Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds, left the question of parliamentary reform to be settled in the next reign. Meanwhile the king was living in peevish seclusion at Windsor, where he died on the 26th of June, 1830, in the 68th year of his age and the 11th of his reign, and was succeeded by his next surviving brother, William Henry duke of Clarence.
William Wilberforce. Medal struck on the abolition of the Slave Trade.
WILLIAM IV. A.D. 1830-1837. WILLIAM IV., the third son of George III., was within two months of completing his 65th year when he came to the throne. He was married to the princess ADELAIDE of Saxe Meiningen (July 11, 1818), by whom he had two daughters, who died in infancy. He had entered the navy at the usual early age, which shut him out from the advantages of education. He never affected statesmanship, but followed at one time the current of popular opinion, and at another the influence of those about him. He gained popularity by his sailor-like frankness and simplicity of manner.
He ascended the throne at a great crisis in Europe as well as England. The continental princes had cast to the winds the liberal professions which had raised the hopes of their people during the last conflict with Napoleon, and relied on their vast armies and the support of Russia. In France the Charter had been tolerably observed by Louis XVIII., but Charles X. followed a reactionary policy, which became more decided under the ministry of POLIGNAC (1829). The ordinances against the freedom of the press caused a revolt in Paris, which lasted three days (July 27-29, 1830), and ended in the REVOLUTION OF 1830. Charles X. iled to England, and the
duke of Orleans, son of Philippe-Egalité, was made “ king of the French” by the title of LOUIS-PHILIPPE I. An equally sudden revolution separated Belgium from the kingdom of Holland, to which it had been united by the congress of Vienna. Ultimately prince Leopold became king of the Belgians.
These events had a marked effect on the English elections, which were unfavourable to ministers. The tone of the king's speech, and the declaration of the duke of Wellington against any change in the representation, produced the greatest ferment. There were rumours of vast bodies of reformers marching up to London from the north, and the king's visit to the city on Nov. 9 was put off. At last, on Nov. 15, the government were defeated on the motion of sir H. Parnell for an inquiry into the civil list; they resigned next day, and were succeeded by the ministry of EARL GREY, in which BROUGHAM (b. Sep. 9, 1779) was lord chancellor with a peerage, lord Althorp chancellor of the exchequer and leader of the House of Commons, and the other leading members were lords Lansdowne, Palmerston, Melbourne, Goderich, and Durham, and sir James Graham. Their bill for parliamentary reform was brought in by lord John Russell, who was not in the cabinet, on March 1, 1831. The modest claim of seats for a few great towns was found to be replaced by changes so vast, that the announcement was received at first with silent wonder, and then with derisive shouts ; and the first reading was only carried by a majority of 1. A dissolution produced a parliament pledged to “the Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill.” It was carried by large majorities in the commons, after tremendous struggles, but rejected in the lords by a majority of 41 (Oct. 3). Formidable riots ensued. Nottingham Castle, the residence of the duke of Newcastle, was burnt; and Bristol was in the hands of the mob for several days, and a large part of the city was burnt down. Amidst these commotions, Eng. land was visited in the autumn by that new plague, the CHOLERA, which had gradually advanced from India across Asia and Europe. A second great outbreak of it occurred in 1849.
The Reform Bill was brought in again on the meeting of parliament in December, and passed the commons in March, 1832. The opposition of the lords was only overcome by the resolution of the ministry to create a body of new peers, a measure forced upon the king by a temporary resignation, which proved the inability of the Tories to form a government. The execution of the threat was avoided by the wisdom of the duke of Wellington, who advised the king to desire the absence of the great body of opposition peers, and so the bill was carried. It received the royal assent on June 7, 1832, 50 years and a month after Pitt's first motion (p. 296). Its principle was the proportioning of the representation to the importance of the constituency. All boroughs with less than 2000 inhabitants ceased to return members. In the list of them (Schedule A) were places, such as Gatton and Old Sarum, which had ceased to exist at all, but still returned members on the nomination of the owner of the soil ; and, absurd as this arrange ment seemed, it was strongly defended as a means of introducing into parliament young and unknown men of great ability, of whom several had in fact sat for nomination boroughs. Places whose population was between 2000 and 4000 were restricted to one member. The 143 seats thus gained were given partly to great towns of modern growth, including the suburbs of London, which were divided into four boroughs; and partly to the counties, several of which were divided into districts, and altogether they returned 159 members, instead of 94. The franchise was greatly extended, on the basis of property (as before) and of income, as tested by the occupation of property. The constituency in boroughs was composed of occupiers of houses to the value of 101. ; but in the city of London the livery retained their votes. In the counties the voters were freeholders to the value of 40s., copyholders of 101. per annum, leaseholders of 101. for 60 years or 501. for 20 years, and, lastly, tenants paying a rent of 501. The last (called the “ Chandos clause," from its mover) was carried against ministers, who opposed it as likely to create a constituency subservient to the great landlords. There were also important provisions for regulating and shortening elections, and for the registration of voters. Similar bills were passed for Scotland and Ireland, but with some difference in their details, especially as to the amount of the Irish franchise. The parliamentary constitution thus created has remained substantially the same for 30 years; the chief alterations being the extension of the Irish franchise, and the abolition of the “property qualification " for members. The two boroughs of Sudbury and St. Albans have been disfranchised for corruption; and their four seats have been lately (1861) given, one to Birkenhead, one to South Lancashire, and two to the West Riding of Yorkshire,* making the composition of parliament as follows
England. Wales. Ireland. Scotland. COUNTIES .. .. .. 147
0 CITIES and BOROUGHS .. 320
39 23 Totals .... 471 29 105
Grand Total of Members for the United Kingdom, 658. The first reformed parliament met on Feb. 5, 1833. The Tory party seemed almost destroyed, but the tactics of sir Robert Peel * These two members are not to be elected till after the present parliament (1862).
organized a steady though small opposition, who assumed the name of Conservatives. The querwhelming majority for ministers enabled them to carry some great measures, especially the abolition of negro slavery in the West Indies and Mauritius, which was effected at a cost of 20,000,0001. for compensation to the slaveholders. The motions of the radical party for vote by ballot, triennial parliaments, and a further extension of the suffrage, were unsuccessful. Ireland was a constant source of trouble. Neither Catholic emancipation, nor reform, nor the reduction of the Protestant Church establishment, which was carried by the Irish secretary Mr. STANLEY (now the earl of Derby), could satisfy the priests and demagogues. O'Connell headed a new agitation for the Repeal of the Union, and collected a larger “rent” than ever, while payment of tithe was generally refused. The disorders which thus arose were met by a Coercion Act, which produced a schism between the Whigs and Irish Catholics. The proposal to apply Irish Church property to purposes of education led to the secession of sir James Graham, lord Stanley, lord Ripon, and the duke of Richmond from the ministry (May 1834); and earl Grey soon resigned (July). Lord Melbourne, formerly Mr. Lamb, now became premier, and carried an important bill for the amendment of the poor-law. But the ministry were much weakened ; and on the removal of lord Althorp from the House of Commons by the death of his father, earl Spencer, the king suddenly dismissed them (Nov. 1834), and sent for sir ROBERT PEEL from Rome, the duke of Wellington meanwhile holding the seals of several departments.
Sir Robert Peel undertook the government on “liberal conserva. tive" principles, and appealed to the country. But his intentions, since known to be sincere, were distrusted at the time, and, though he gained greatly by the new elections, he was still in a minority, and after several defeats he resigned (April 1835). Lord Melbourne returned to office, but without lord Brougham, who, however, helped the government to carry their measure for municipal reform (1836). They also passed an act authorizing marriages by dissenting clergymen and by a purely civil form, coupled with a general system for registering births, marriages, and deaths. The support of O'Connell, however, made the Conservatives the more hostile to the ministry, and they were violently attacked by the Radicals. At this juncture the king died, June 20, 1837, in the seventy-second year of his age, and within a week of completing the seventh year of his reign. He was succeeded by his niece the princess Victoria of Kent, and in Hanover by his brother Ernest, duke of Cumberland. The joy of the nation at the accession of a young and hopeful princess was not diminished by the loss of a troublesome burthen and an unpopular prince.