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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 64MB


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      Parliament was prorogued on the 31st of May, 1826, and two days afterwards dissolved. It had nearly run its course. It was the sixth Session, which had been abridged with a view of getting through the general election at a convenient season. But though short, the Session had much work to show of one kind or another, including some useful legislation. The Parliamentary papers printed occupied twenty-nine folio volumes, exclusive of the journals and votes. The Parliament whose existence was now terminated had, indeed, effected the most important changes in the policy of Great Britain, foreign and domestic. Mr. Canning had severed the connection, unnatural as it was damaging, between England and the Holy Alliance. The Government of the freest country in the world, presenting almost the only example of a constitution in which the power of the people was represented, was no longer to be associated in the councils of a conclave of despots; and this change of direction in its foreign policy was cordially adopted by the House of Commons and by the nation. Another great and vital change in national policy was the partial admission of the principles of Free Trade, which the Tories regarded, not without reason, as effecting a complete revolution, which extended its influence to the whole legislation and government.

      The year 1743 opened with a mighty struggle on the subject of gin. In 1736, as we have seen, the awful increase of drunkenness, which was attributed to the cheapness of gin, induced a majority of the House of Commons to pass an Act levying twenty shillings a gallon duty upon the liquor, and charging every vendor of it fifty pounds per annum for a licence. Walpole at the time declared that such an attempt to place gin beyond the reach of the poor consumers would fail; that it would fail equally as a source of revenue, for it would lead to wholesale smuggling and every possible evasion of the law. The event had proved Walpole only too correct in his prognostications. So far from checking the use of gin, the Act had stimulated it enormously. The licences, so preposterously high, were wholly neglected; no duty was paid, yet the destructive liquid was sold at every street corner. Ministers now saw that, by attempting too much, every thing in this case had been lost. They were sacrificing the revenues only to sacrifice the well-being of the people. They determined, therefore, to reduce the licences from fifty pounds to one pound per annum, and at the same time to retain a moderate duty on the liquor. By this means the fatal compound would remain much at the same price, but the vendors would be induced to take out licences, and the revenues would be greatly improved, whilst the whole sale of the article would be more under the restraints of law and police. A Bill was framed on these principles, and passed rapidly through the Commons; but in the Lords it encountered a determined opposition. It was, however, carried entire, and, says Smollett, "we cannot help averring that it has not been attended with those dismal consequences which the Lords in the Opposition foretold."

      She put the baby between them, and it sat looking into the fire in the way she herself so often did, until her husband had called her the High Priestess of the Flames. Then she sank down among the cushions again and stirred her coffee indolently, drowsily, steeped in the contentment of perfect well-being. Cairness followed her movements with sharp pleasure.


      Landor's troop was stationed at Stanton, high up among the hills. It had come there from another post down in the southern part of the territory, where anything above the hundreds is average temperature, and had struck a blizzard on its march.



      Mr. Bankes again introduced his Billwhich was about to expirefor prohibiting the grant of offices in reversion; and he endeavoured again to make it permanent, but, as before, he was defeated on the second reading in the Commons. He then brought in a Bill confined to two years only, and this, as before, was allowed to pass both Houses. Great discussion arose on the grant of the office of paymaster of widows' pensions to Colonel MacMahon, the confidential servant of the Prince Regent. This was a mere sinecure, which had been held by General Fox, the brother of Charles James Fox; and it had been recommended that, on the general's death, it should be abolished; but Ministersmore ready to please the Regent than to reduce expenditurehad, immediately on the general's decease, granted it to Colonel MacMahon. Ministers met the just complaints of the Opposition by praising the virtues and ability of MacMahonas if it required any ability or any virtue to hold a good sinecure! But there was virtue enough in the Commons to refuse to grant the amount of the salary, Mr. Bankes carrying a resolution against it. But Ministers had their remedy. The prince immediately appointed MacMahon his private secretary, and a salary of two thousand pounds was moved for. But Mr. Wynne declared that any such office was unknown to the countrythat no regent or king, down to George III., and he only when he became blind, had a private secretary; that the Secretary of State was the royal secretary. Ministers replied that there was now a great increase of public business, and that a private secretary for the Regent was not unreasonable; but they thought it most prudent not to press the salary, but to leave it to be paid out of the Regent's privy purse.