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Additional Grant to the Duke of Wellington: Thanks to him, and to Marshal Blucher, and the Armies.-Motion for a National Monument of the Victory at Waterloo.-Message respecting the Duke of Cumberland's Marriage, and debates.-Repeal of the Assize of Bread Laws in London. Financial Acts.-Speech of the Prince Regent on the Prorogation of Parliament.
UT few of the remaining pro
of sufficient importance to require notice.
The glorious victory of Waterloo produced a message to both houses from the Prince Regent on June 22d, recommending to them" to enable his Royal Highness to grant such additional provision to Field-marshal the Duke of Wellington as shall afford a further proof of the opinion entertained by Parliament of the Duke of Wellington's transcendant services, and of the gratitude and munificence of the British nation." Parliament, never backward at such a call, unanimously concurred in a vote for adding the sum of 200,000l. to the former liberal grants by which its sense of his extraordinary merits had been demonstrated. The thanks of both Houses were afterwards voted to the Duke of Wellington, and to many officers of distinction in his army, and to Marshal Prince Blucher, the Prussian army, and the allied troops under the Duke's command. motion being afterwards made in the House of Commons by Lord Castlereagh for an address to the
Prince Regent, that he would be
erecting a National Monument in honour of the victory at Waterloo, and in commemoration of those who gloriously fell in achieving it, the same was unanimously agreed to.
The arrival of his Royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland, with his spouse the Princess of Salms, for the purpose of repeating the marriage ceremony in this country, is recorded in our Chronicle for the month of June. On the 27th of that month a message from the Prince Regent was received by both Houses of Parliament, informing them "that a marriage, to which the consent of his Royal Highness was duly given, had been solemnized between his brother the Duke of Cumberland, and a daughter of the reigning Duke of Mecklenburgh Strelitz. niece to her Majesty the Queen of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and relict of the Prince Salms Braunfels." The message further expressed a confidence of the readiness of Parliament to enable his Royal Highness to make such provision for their Royal Highnesses on this occasion
as their rank and station might appear to require.
This message being taken into consideration on the following day by the House of Lords, the Earl of Liverpool stated, that the provision intended to be made was an addition of 60001. a year to the Duke's income, and a jointure to the same amount to the Duchess, if she should be the survivor. A corresponding address to the Regent was agreed upon without opposition.
In the House of Commons the subject was introduced by Lord Castlereagh, who, in the introductory speech to his motion, said that he could not conceive any grounds on which it was likely to be opposed. Having then stated the fact of the marriage, he moved for the grant of a provision to the royal pair to the amount above-mentioned.
The motion was opposed by Mr. Whitshed Keene and Sir M. W. Ridley on the ground of its being unnecessary to lay an additional burden on the public for augmenting the income of a branch of the royal family already adequately provided for. Mr. Bennet took a different view of the subject. He said, and appealed to the public voice for the truth of his assertion, that of all the branches of the royal family, the Duke of Cumberland was the one to whom the public feeling would be the least inclined to grant any pecuniary boon. He asked whether a marriage between the princess of Salms and another member of the royal family had not been projected, and broken off in consequence of certain circumstances; and whe
ther the Queen had not strongly expressed herself on the impropriety of the Duke of Cumberland's marriage with this princess, after her professed union with the Duke of Cambridge had been obviated.
This attack on the persons of the royal pair was followed up the speeches of other members, notwithstanding the regret expressed by Lord Castlereagh at the turn which the debate had taken. To the observation respecting the secrecy with which the marriage had been conducted, he affirmed that it had, on the contrary, been attended with all possible publicity, the duke and duchess having been married at Berlin in the presence of the king of Prussia and several members of the house of Mecklenburg. The question being at length called for, the House divided, when there appeared for the motion 87, against it 70.
The report of the committee with respect to the grant to the Duke ofCumberland being brought up on the 29th, and a motion made for reading a second time the resolution in its favour, Mr. R. Gordon rose to oppose it, and maintained, contrary to the assertion of the above noble lord, that it was the duty of the House to consider the question as a personal one, and to inquire whe ther the Duke of Cumberland had rendered any services to his country which could entitle him to the grant. In conclusion he moved to defer the second reading to that day three months. A further debate was then entered into, which the ministerial party in vain attempted to terminate by the cry of question, repeated as
each member rose to speak. Mr. W. Smith said that he apprehended that the marriage of the Duke of Cumberland was disagreeable to the Royal Family, and that it was reported that his new connection would not be received at court, and he wished to ask whether this were the fact. Mr. Tierney having repeated the question, Lord Castlereagh said that he should abstain from answering any interrogatories tending to vilify the Royal Family, and that he did not think the right hon. gentleman had a right to put such questions. Mr. T. however persisted, and asked whether her Majesty had not declared that she would not receive the Duchess of Cumberland at court; and whether she had not decidedly disapproved of a proposed marriage between the Princess of Salms and the Duke of Cambridge? These questions receiving no reply, the house first divided on the amendment, which was rejected by 74 to 62. A motion for bringing a bill conformably to the resolution was then carried by 75 to 62.
The bill being presented on the 30th by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the first reading moved for, the opposition was resumed by Lord Archibald Hamilton on the ground of the uncontradicted report of the Queen's hostility to the marriage; and Mr. Burrel, who followed, moved an amendment for reading the bill on that day three months. It now appeared that the question had taken a strong hold on the public feelings; for, in a much fuller house than before, the first read
ing was carried only by the majority of 100 to 92.
The final decision took place on July 3d, upon the motion of the second reading of the bill. On this occasion Mr. Wilberforce viewed the question as having a reference to the public morals. He said that the various rumours afloat respecting the person with whom the connection was formed in this marriage, was a strong corroboration of the report that she would not be received by the Queen. He conceived that Parliament was called upon to exercise a sound discretion on the subject before them; and if in expressing its opinion any pain was inflicted, the blame was attributable to those only who had brought the measure forward. The House ought to withhold its sanction to the connection, if it were such as the Queen refused to approve, which refusal they were justified in inferring.
Mr. Western having moved for deferring the reading to that day six months, his amendment was carried by the majority of one; the numbers being yeas 126, noes 125. Thus terminated a discussion which will be memorable in parliamentary history, as one of those examples of the preponderating influence of moral estimate in the British House of Commons, which, whenever they occur, cannot but be regarded as highly honourable to the national character.
The high price of bread for some years past had produced considerable research into the causes of a circumstance which pressed hard upon the lower ranks of society, and a committee
had been appointed by the House of Commons for inquiring into the state of the existing laws which regulate the manufacture and sale of bread. Its report having been printed, Mr. Frank land Lewis, on June 22d, called the attention of the House to the subject. He said, that it was the opinion of the committee, that the operation of the assize laws tended rather to increase than to diminish the price of bread, an effect which might be proved either by comparing the price of bread with that of wheat, by comparing its price in those places where the assize prevailed with that where it did not exist, or by considering the natural consequences of the laws. After adducing a number of facts in proof of these positions, he moved for leave to bring in a bill" to repeal the laws relating to the assize of bread in the city of London, and within ten miles of the Royal Exchange," which was granted.
On the motion for its second reading on the 27th, Mr. Alderman Atkins cautioned the House against overturning a system which had stood the test of 700 years. The principle of these laws, he thought, was unobjectionable, although the mode of taking the assize was imperfect, and required modification. Mr.
F. Lewis, in reply, affirmed that from the evidence produced before the committee it appeared that no modification of the law would answer the purpose. As an argumentum ad hominem, he said that the hon. alderman was among those who, some time since, contributed so much to
agitate the public by asserting, that if wheat were at 80 shillings bread must be sold at 16 pence the quartern loaf; in which case a quantity of wheat sold at £.4 would in bread produce £.7 14s. In fact, it mattered nothing to the baker at what price flour was sold according to the existing law, because that price settled the price of the loaf, and it might easily be arranged between the mealman and the baker, the latter being, in general, the agent of the former, from whom he took his meal at long credit, and yet the price settled upon such credit was the standard by which the price of bread was fixed. The evil was inherent in the law, and no alteration in the mode of fixing the assize could remedy it. He admitted that the proposed bill was only an experiment, but he was anxious that the trial should be made with as little delay as possible. The bill was then committed for Friday next.
In the progress of the bill a petition was delivered in its favour, signed by 800 master bakers, and at the same time another was presented against it from the master and wardens of the baker's company. Mr. F. Lewis explained this contradiction by affirming, that scarcely a person whose name appeared to the latter petition was a baker, but that they were chiefly mealmen and flour-factors. During the farther discussion, it was agreed that its operation should commence on the first of September next. On July 5th it was read the third time, and it afterwards passed into a law.
By the provisions of this bill the bakers were still bound under penalties
penalties to allow the same weight as formerly to loaves of the same denomination, but the price was left to free competition, as in the case of all other articles of common sale.
Some farther financial acts were passed before the conclusion of the session; among which were two bills imposing very large additions to the tax on stamps in law proceedings, and every other case in which stamps had been rendered necessary; and a bill for a vote of credit of six millions, to enable his Majesty to take such measures as the exigency of affairs might require,
On July 11th the Prince Regent prorogued Parliament by a speech from the throne. Its substance was a brief recapitulation of the extraordinary events which had occurred since the commencement of the year, and which had terminated so much to the glory
of the allied arms, but had left a state of affairs in which it was necessary that there should be no relaxation in our exertions till those arrangements were completed which should afford the prospect of permanent peace and security to Europe. The restoration of the kingdom of Naples to its ancient sovereign, the reception of the king of France in his capital, and the renewal of peace with the United States of America, followed by a negociation for a commercial treaty, were mentioned with satisfaction; and Parliament was informed that the labours of the congress at Vienna were terminated by the signature of a treaty, the ratifications of which not having been yet exchanged, it could not be at present communicated. Entire silence was observed with respect to all domestic occurrences.