« AnteriorContinuar »
CHAPTER IV.-ITALY_SPAIN-BELGIUM-NETHERLANDS -SWITZERLAND-
CHAPTER V.-NORTH AMERICA—UNITED STATES—Mexico—SOUTH AMERICA.
down of the Erie Ring--Presidential Election Campaign-Horace Greeley-
Dowager Countess Brownlow-General Chesney-Sir F. Crossley—Mr. Gillott
-Major-Gen. Halleck—General Sir Alexander Lindsay-Canon Moseley-
FOR THE YEAR
THE “Weather-year”—The Prince's Convalescence–The Thanksgiving—Letter from
the Queen-Prospects of Trade-Unpopularity of the Government-State of Ireland-Galway and Kerry Elections-Speeches of Mr. Roebuck, &c.—The Collier Appointment—The Retiring and the New Speaker-The Opening of Par.
liament- The Queen's Speech-Debates on the Address. The year, whose history we are now to write, will chiefly be remembered in England, in spite of such grave matters as the “ Alabama” Award and the Ballot Act, as so far the most remarkable “ weatheryear” of the century. The very first week of the new year brought with it shocks of earthquake, fearful thunderstorms, and a hurricane with snow and hail; and the precedent thus strangely set was faithfully followed to the last. Steady rains and cold were prolonged far into the summer, to be succeeded by an amount of electrical disturbance unparalleled in living memory. For weeks and months the newspapers were filled with accounts of fresh thunderstorms each more severe than the last; and even when the heavy and vaporous heats which for some time accompanied them had given place to cold and rain again, the constant thunder and lightning survived the change of the thermometer. The gales of the year were equally abnormal in their violence and frequency, and the disastrous record of wrecks and casualties at sea had never told so sad a tale. During the closing months of the year they were so active, with the rains that accompanied them, that in London they entirely superseded the usual characteristics of that period of the year, and November passed over the capital without bringing with it a single specimen of the well-known “yellow fog.” The leading topic of English conversation has seldom if ever held its
position with such justifiable firmness as during the weird year, 1872.
Auspiciously enough, perhaps, did the year open at once for the Queen and her people. It was impossible not to see what would be the effect of the happily-conceived and cordially-expressed note from Windsor Castle with which we closed our record of last
year. The Queen spoke from her heart to the people, and very warm was the answer.
It was not necessary that she should write to acknowledge the deep sympathy of the nation during the painful, terrible days of the Prince of Wales' illness, but it was quite natural that she should. The whole experience had been one of singular importance and interest, and the unanimous and even surprising tokens of loyalty which it called forth, and which made a deep and lasting impression on the Queen's heart, which could never be effaced, had made an impression upon the people also. Meanwhile the progress of the Prince towards convalescence continued to be most satisfactorily rapid. The local pain and feverishness in the hip, which had been the most disquieting of recent symptoms, were reported to have subsided, and the strength to be daily improving. This fortunate state of things continued, and the complete recovery of the Prince was commemorated in the month of February, by a celebration which, at first intended as little more than a private thanksgiving-service on the part of the Queen and her household, assumed by the appointed day all the proportions of a national festival, ihe most general and the most successful, probably, to be found in the annals of the country. The magnitude of the celebration grew as the day approached, and many of the streets on the route which the
procession was to follow, were impassable for some days before the event, from the gathering throng of people who came to examine the scene and the preparations beforehand. It is, in sooth, as was observed at the time, that the decent conventional formality prescribed by the custom of all Christians has been made an occasion for the grandest outburst of unanimous popular emotion witnessed here since the age of the Tudors; and the form of the celebration must surely be accepted as indicating that the nation is not more inclined to give up its Christianity than its Monarchy.
The procession started from Buckingham Palace at five minutes past twelve o'clock. It was led by the carriages of the Speaker, the Lord Chancellor, and the Commander-in-Chief, and was composed of nine royal carriages, the eighth drawn by four and the ninth by six horses. The last two were open carriages.
The streets along the whole route were lined with a dense throng of people, standing behind the barriers on each side-pavement; every shop, every window, upper and lower, every doorstep, portico, and balcony, and the roofs of many houses were occupied by eager spectators. Lofty and spacious stands, or covered galleries, in which several tiers of seats rose one above another, were erected at convenient places. The procession, as it went along the Strand and
| Another and briefer account is given in our “Chronicle."