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ning broached this doctrine was one (the issue of Exchequer Bills by the Government) of little moment; but, not being “convinced” of its
" propriety, he thought that it would be his duty to resign rather than to give it his sanction.
If, therefore, the annihilation of the supremacy of the Church of England be an evil, and if the example of Ministers of the Crown supporting measures against their own conviction be a bad one it never can be said that the evil is one which Mr. Canning would have brought about, or the example one which Mr. Canning would have given.
The second measure of the session was the Corn Bill. On this subject we have only to remark, that the Bill brought in was very considerably less favourable to the consumer than that brought in by Mr. Canning, of which the Duke of Wellington's clause had caused the rejection. It nevertheless was founded upon the same principle, viz. the substitution of a graduated scale of duties, instead of absolute prohibition
up to a certain point. But Mr. Charles Grant, in bringing it forward, did not hesitate to say, that it was not such as he approved, although it was the best which he could obtain ; and that, since it was a very considerable step towards a better system, it would be so much gained. This bill operated to the greater disadvantage of the consumer, because at the high prices when the
averages are the most fallacious - erring in representing corn to be cheaper than it really isthe duties are more sustained. Dear bread, and bread is the thing really meant, is ever the effect rather of light corn, yielding little flour, than of diminished number of quarters. The quarter of corn, therefore, is nominally cheap compared with the price of flour, and the duty is governed by the price of the quarter. If a scale is not to be uniform, its variation ought to be such as is calculated to counteract any natural irregularity of the subject to which it is applied ; but the variation in this Bill acts in aggravation, not in compensation, of the irregularity.
In proportion therefore as this Bill has been less favourable to the importation of corn than the one introduced by Mr. Canning, in that same proportion have those Ministers who restrained Mr. Grant from going to the extent of the former Bill, deviated from Mr. Canning's views and principles.
It was shortly after this question had been disposed of by the Legislature that all the liberal Ministers quitted the Cabinet; and before the ensuing Session of Parliament nearly all those individuals of note, not in the Cabinet, who had been appointed by Mr. Canning, were successively displaced by the Duke of Wellington.
We next come to the Catholick Question, which it had so long been the object of Mr.
Canning's policy to bring to some conciliatory settlement. This policy had, however, been defeated by the uncompromising opposition of the Duke of Wellington and Mr. Peel. In vain Mr. Canning pointed out that the inevitable conse. quences of an obstinate perseverance in resist. ance to the claims of the Catholicks would lead, sooner or later, to a civil war. His predictions either were disbelieved, or, if not disbelieved, were wholly disregarded ; and when he was nominated by the King to the post of First Mi. nister, the Duke of Wellington and Mr. Peel both retired from the Cabinet, exclusively on account of the altered position in which this question would be placed ; they could not conscientiously persuade themselves to form part of a Government, which was calculated to advance, in any degree, the ultimate adjustment of so perplexing a subject. The Duke indeed “ was one of those who thought that the King, “ in forming his Ministry, should select a person “ for its head, of the same general opinions with “ himself upon the great questions of policy, “ whether foreign or domestick.”
From these circumstances it was universally believed, when the King selected the Duke of Wellington to be his First Minister, that it was in the entire confidence that His Grace would continue to further His Majesty's views with respect to the Catholick Question. This belief
received still greater confirmation from the return of Mr. Peel to the office of Home Secretary, with which was now united that of King's Minister in the House of Commons.
For some time after his accession to Office, the language of the Duke seemed to imply the most determined opposition. On the discussions respecting the Test and Corporation Acts, He declared that “there was not in that House” (of Lords)“ a person whose feelings and sentiments “after long deliberation were more decided than “his were, with regard to the Roman Catho“ lick Claims; and until he saw a great change in “ that question, he certainly should oppose it.” Mr. Peel likewise opposed, as strenuously as ever, the motion in favour of the Catholicks brought forward by Sir Francis Burdett; but, notwithstanding, the resolution for a Committee was carried by a majority of six. When, however, this resolution was communicated to the House of Lords, for their Lordships' concurrence, the Duke of Wellington's exertions were more successful than Mr. Peel's, and the resolution was thrown out by a majority of 44.
The Irish Catholicks, who during Mr. Canning's Premiership had been content to wait with patience, in the full confidence that that Minister was sincerely anxious to effect a conciliatory settlement of their claims, no longer maintained the quiet attitude which they had then assumed,
in the belief that the influence of the Government would be exerted in facilitating concessions, by winning over the publick opinion to the conviction that conciliation would contribute to the stability of established institutions, and the general prosperity of the kingdom. Goaded by the resistance of the two leading Ministers of the Crown, they began to despair of success except by means of agitation. Accordingly, the organization of the people throughout the Island was carried to an alarming degree of perfection; so that, when an opportunity offered for the Catholicks to measure their strength with the Government, they without difficulty prevailed. Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, an individual of high character and talents, Member for the County of Clare, vacated his seat in Parliament by accepting a Cabinet office. Mr. Fitzgerald had always been a most zealous and able advocate of the Catholick cause : he had committed in their eyes but the single fault, of joining an Administration of which the Duke of Wellington was the head. To cause him to be rejected for such an offence, by a County which he had represented, would at once be a signal triumph over the Duke, and the most unequivocal evidence of the power which the Catholicks possessed while kept united by exclusion. But if, in addition to this, the individual chosen should have been a Catholick, and therefore ineligible