Attack helicopters lift off for mission

On the 3rd Parliament assembled, and the nation was full of expectation as to the measures of the Government. The great question of the day was understood to have been under their anxious consideration during the winter. It subsequently transpired that the measure of Reform contemplated by Lord Grey at the close of the year was far more moderate than the one which was brought forward by Lord John Russell. The material increase in the amount of concession was said to be chiefly owing to the growing demands of the people, enlightened by the discussions in the political unions. Lord Durham was the most advanced Liberal in the Cabinet, and most strenuously insisted on the necessity of a very liberal measure. In order that the Bill might be well matured, and might fully meet the wants of the country, Lord Grey appointed a committee to consider the whole subject, and report upon it to the Cabinet. This committee consisted of his son-in-law, Lord Durham, who was intimately acquainted with his own views; Lord John Russell, who had represented the Whig party in the House of Commons in the various proposals that he had made on the subject of Reform; Sir James Graham, who enjoyed the confidence of the advanced Liberals, and was considered something more than a Whig; and Lord Duncannon, who was supposed to be well acquainted with the Irish corporations. According to the general instructions given to the[329] committee, they were to prepare the outlines of a measure which should be sufficiently comprehensive to meet the demands of public opinion, so as to extinguish the desire for further change. But it must rest upon property as its basis, and be connected with existing territorial divisions. He wished that the prerogative of the Crown should be in no degree diminished, that the peers should lose none of their rights or privileges; but that, saving these, the democracy should play its due part in the legislation and government of the country. The committee began to work as soon as the Administration was organised. They first discussed the principles involved in the measure, then the details were separately examined, and when a point was decided and agreed upon, it was recorded in writing by Lord Durham. Lord John Russell furnished the materials for Schedules A and B, which were supplied to him by coadjutors, who were labouring diligently out of doors facilitating the work. The first draft of the measure, as adopted by the committee, was explained by Lord Durham in the form of a report to the Cabinet, showing how the plans thus propounded would fulfil the conditions required, and, by satisfying all reasonable desires, stop the tendency to innovation. The scheme, when thus placed before the Cabinet, became the subject of their anxious deliberation, and was unanimously adopted by them, with the exception of the ballot, which was rejected owing to Lord Grey's objections. It was then submitted to the king at Brighton, a few days from the meeting of Parliament, was discussed with him from point to point, and sanctioned.

Mr. Smith O'Brien, early in July, gave occasion for another great debate on the state of Ireland, by moving that the House resolve itself into a committee for the purpose of taking into consideration the causes of the discontent prevailing there, with a view to the redress of grievances, and the establishment of a system of just and impartial government in that part of the United Kingdom. The honourable gentleman reviewed the history of the country since the union, discussed the questions of the National Debt and taxation, the Church Establishment, the position of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, Government appointments, Coercive Acts, and land tenure. Lord Eliot, then Chief Secretary of Ireland, answered his arguments at length. A great number of speakers followed, continuing the debate for five nights. At length the House divided, when the numbers wereagainst the motion for a committee, 243; for it, 164. The whole of these vexed questions again came up on the 9th of August, when the Irish Arms Bill was set down for the third reading. On this occasion Sir Robert Peel made some remarks, expressing the feeling of his Government with regard to Ireland, declaring that he viewed the state of things there with deep anxiety and pain. He had hoped that there was a gradual abatement of animosity on account of religious differences; that he saw the gradual influence of those laws which removed the political disabilities of Catholics and established civil equality. He thought he saw, in some respects, a great moral and social improvement; that there was a hope of increasing tranquillity, which would cause the redundant and superfluous capital of England, then seeking vent in foreign and precarious speculations, to flow into Ireland. But the agitation had, in his opinion, blasted all those hopes.

Wolfe, meanwhile, had reached the St. Lawrence in June, on board a fleet commanded by Admiral Saunders. The navigation of that river was considered very dangerous, but in ascending they captured two small store-ships, and found on board some excellent charts of the river, which enabled the admiral to ascend safely. On the 27th of June the army was landed on the Isle of Orleans, in the middle of the St. Lawrence, in front of Quebec.

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At the time of this armistice, Napoleon, by the great battles of Lützen and Bautzen, had recovered his prestige sufficiently to induce the German Confederates of the Rhine to stand by him; but he was by no means what he had been. The[67] opinion of his invincibility had been irreparably damaged by the Russian campaign, and the success in these battles was not of a character to give confidence to his own army. They saw that the Allies had lost all superstitious fear of him. To assist in the negotiations of this armistice, Buonaparte sent for his two ablest heads, Fouch and Talleyrand, whom he had so long thrown from him for their sound advice. If Buonaparte could have heard, too, what was really going on in France, what were the growing feelings there, he would have been startled by a most ominous condition of things. But he had thoroughly shut out from himself the voice of public opinion, by his treatment of the press and of liberty, and he now was to suffer for it. Great Britain, on the 14th of June, had concluded an alliance with Russia and Prussia, and promised to send ample materials of assistance, even an army to the north of Prussia; and many British officers of the highest rank repaired to the headquarters of the Allies. When Great Britain was asked to take part in this negotiation she refused, declaring it useless, as Napoleon would not grant the only demands which the Allies ought to make.

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About a week before the king died the physician delicately announced to him the inevitable catastrophe, when he said, "God's will be done." His sufferings were very great, and during the paroxysms of pain his moans were heard even by the sentinels in the quadrangle. On the night of the 25th of June his difficulty of breathing was unusually painful, and he motioned to his page to alter his position on the couch. Towards three o'clock he felt a sudden attack of faintness, accompanied by a violent discharge of blood. At this moment he attempted to raise his hand to his breast, and ejaculated, "O God, I am dying!" Two or three seconds afterwards he said, "This is death." The physicians were instantly called, but before they arrived the breath of life was gone. A post mortem examination showed ossification of the heart, which was greatly enlarged, and adhering to the neighbouring parts. The liver was not diseased; but the lungs were ulcerated, and there were dropsical symptoms on the skin, on various parts of the body. The king was an unusually large and, at one time, well-proportioned man; but he afterwards became very corpulent. He died on the 26th of June, in the sixty-eighth year of his age and the eleventh of his reign, having been Prince Regent for ten years. During his last illness the bulletins had been unusually deceptive. The king was anxious to put away the idea of dissolution from his own mind, and unwilling that the public should know that his infirmities were so great; and it was said that he required to see the bulletins and to have them altered, so that he was continually announced as being better till the day of his death. His message to both Houses on the 24th of May, however, put an end to all delusion on the subject. He wished to be relieved from the pain and trouble of signing Bills and documents with his own hand. A Bill was therefore passed to enable him to give his assent verbally, but it was jealously guarded against being made a dangerous precedent. The stamp was to be affixed in the king's presence, by his immediate order given by word of mouth. A memorandum of the circumstances must accompany the stamp, and the document stamped must be previously endorsed by three members of the Privy Council; the operation of the Act was limited to the existing Session. The three Commissioners appointed for affixing his Majesty's signature were Lord Farnborough, General Sir W. Keppel, and Major-General A. F. Barnard.

LORD LIVERPOOL. (After the Portrait by Sir T. Lawrence, P.R.A.)

The coasting trade carried on by means of steamers underwent an astounding development during the twenty years now under review. In 1820 there were but nine steamers engaged in it, with a tonnage of 500. The next year there were 188 steamers, and thenceforth they went on doubling for several years. In 1830 the number of vessels was nearly 7,000, with a tonnage of more than a million; in 1840 it was upwards of 15,000, with a tonnage of nearly three millions; and in 1849 it was 18,343, with a tonnage of upwards of four millions and a quarter. This account does not include vessels arriving and departing in ballast or with passengers only, which are not required to enter the Custom House. Steam-vessels were not employed in this kingdom for conveying goods coastwise before 1820, nor in foreign trade, except for the conveyance of passengers, earlier than 1822. In the foreign trade the number of steamers increased gradually from that year till they reached the number of 4,000, with an aggregate tonnage of 800,000.