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ness, and much even of their vitality. The Ministry of Lord Palmerston commanded in a remarkable degree the acquiescence of the nation. True, the numerical strength of the whole Liberal party in the House of Commons exceeded by a very small margin that of their Conservative opponents, and the tendency of some recent popular elections had been even to reduce still more the narrow ministerial majority. Nevertheless it was apparent to careful observers that the strength of Lord Palmerston's Government was not measured merely by his own followers in the House of Commons. The truth was, that an indefinite portion of professed Conservatives in Parliament might be classed among the unavowed supporters of his policy. Without approving all his measures, these politicians instinctively felt that the veteran statesman, with his great tact and knowledge of the world, his large experience and skilful management of affairs and men, was, of all whom the times afforded, the person best adapted for the situation which he filled, and that, notwithstanding his alliance with many, whose designs and principles were to be feared, the institutions which they most valued were not unsafe in his hands. It was even whispered that, in the opinion of some Conservatives, there was more ground for confidence in the sagacious head of the Liberal Government than in certain of their own leaders. However this may be, it is unquestionable that no Minister of late years has possessed so great an ascendancy in the House of Commons, irrespective of the mere numerical strength of his professed adherents. The Parliamentary Session commenced this year at the usual time, the first week in February. On the 5th of that month it was opened by Commission, Her Majesty not yet feeling equal to the exertion of meeting her Parliament in person after her great affliction. The Royal Speech was delivered from the throne by the Lord Chancellor, and was in the following terms:—
“My LoRDS AND GENTLEMEN,
“Her Majesty commands us to inform you that, since you were last assembled, she has declared her consent to a marriage between His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and Her Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra, daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark; and Her Majesty has concluded thereupon a treaty with the King of Denmark, which will be laid before you. “The constant proofs which Her Majesty has received of your attachment to her person and family, persuade her that you will articipate in her sentiments on an event so interesting to Her ajesty, and which, with the blessing of God, will, she trusts, prove so conducive to the happiness of her family, and to the welfare of her people. “Her Majesty doubts not that you will enable her to make provision for such an establishment as you may think suitable to the rank and dignity of the Heir Apparent to the Crown of these realms. “A revolution having taken place in Greece, by which the throne
of that kingdom has become vacant, the Greek nation have expressed the strongest desire that Her Majesty's son Prince Alfred should accept the Greek Crown. This unsolicited and spontaneous manifestation of good will towards Her Majesty and
her family, and of a due appreciation of the benefits conferred by *
the principles and practice of the British Constitution, could not fail to be highly gratifying, and has been deeply felt by Her Majesty. “But the diplomatic engagements of Her Majesty's Crown, together with other weighty considerations, have prevented Her Majesty from yielding to this general wish of the Greek nation. “Her Majesty trusts, however, that the same principles of choice which led the Greek nation to direct their thoughts, in the first instance, towards His Royal Highness Prince Alfred, may guide them to the selection of a Sovereign under whose sway the Kingdom of Greece may enjoy the blessings of internal prosperity, and of peaceful relations with other States; and if in such a state of things the Republic of the Seven Islands should declare a deliberate wish to be united to the Kingdom of Greece, Her Majesty would be prepared to take such steps as may be necessary for a revision of the Treaty of November, 1815, by which that Republic was reconstituted, and was placed under the protection of the British Crown. “Her Majesty's relations with Foreign Powers continue to be friendly and satisfactory. “Her Majesty has abstained from taking any step with a view to induce a cessation of the conflict between the contending parties in the North American States, because it has not yet seemed to Her Majesty that any such overtures could be attended with a probability of success. “Her Majesty has viewed with the deepest concern the desolating warfare which still rages in those regions; and she has witnessed with heartfelt grief the severe distress and suffering which that war has inflicted upon a large class of Her Majesty's subjects, but which have been borne by them with noble fortitude and with exemplary resignation. It is some consolation to Her Majesty to be led to hope that this suffering and this distress are rather diminishing than increasing, and that some revival of employment is beginning to take place in the manufacturing districts. “It has been most gratifying to Her Majesty to witness the abundant generosity with which all classes of her subjects in all parts of her empire have contributed to relieve the wants of their suffering fellow-countrymen; and the liberality with which Her Majesty's colonial subjects have on this occasion given their aid has proved that, although their dwelling-places are far away, their hearts are still warm with unabated affection for the land of their fathers. “The Relief Committees have superintended with constant and
laborious attention the distribution of the funds entrusted to their charge.
..., Majesty commands us to inform you that she has concluded with the King of the Belgians a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, and a Convention respecting Joint-Stock Companies. That Treaty and that Convention will be laid before you.
“Her Majesty has likewise given directions that there shall be laid before you papers relating to the affairs of Italy, of Greece, and of Denmark, and that papers shall also be laid before you relating to occurrences which have lately taken place at Japan.
“GENTLEMEN of THE House of CoMMONs,
“Her Majesty has directed that the Estimates for the ensuing year shall be laid before you. They have been prepared with a due regard to economy, and will provide for such reductions of expenditure as have appeared to be consistent with the proper efficiency of the public service.
“My LoRDS AND GENTLEMEN,+
“We are commanded by Her Majesty to inform you that, notwithstanding the continuance of the civil war in North America, the general commerce of the country during the past year has not sensibly diminished.
“The Treaty of Commerce which Her Majesty concluded with the Emperor of the French has already been productive of results highly advantageous to both the nations to which it applies; and the general state of the Revenue, notwithstanding many unfavourable circumstances, has not been unsatisfactory.
“Her Majesty trusts that these results may be taken as proofs that the productive resources of the country are unimpaired.
“It has been gratifying to Her Majesty to observe the spirit of order which happily prevails throughout her dominions, and which is so essential an element in the well-being and prosperity of nations.
“Various measures of public usefulness and improvement will be submitted for your consideration; and Her Majesty fervently prays that in all your deliberations the blessing of Almighty God may guide your counsels to the promotion of the welfare and happiness of her people.”
It will be observed that this speech, differing from those delivered on the same occasion for some years past, abstained from the mention of any specific legislative projects or reforms, – a circumstance which may be regarded as indicative of that quiescent state of public opinion, to which we have before referred.
The Addresses to the Throne were moved and seconded in the Upper House by Earl Dudley and the Earl of Granard, and in the House of Commons by Mr. Calthorpe and Mr. Bazley. The debate in the House of Lords was signalized by the first appearance as a member of that illustrious assembly of His IRoyal Highness the Prince of Wales, who on that evening took the oaths and his seat. The ceremonies which took place on this occasion are described in another part of this volume. After being sworn His Royal Highness took his seat upon the cross benches. Subsequently on several occasions during the session the Prince attended in his place as a listener to the debates. The chief interest of the debates on the Address centres in the No. of the leaders of the Opposition and the replies of the inisters thereto. The Royal Speech offers a sort of programme of policy out of which the ... of the adverse party select their topics of animadversion or attack, commenting on any past measures which may afford them ground for blame, or announcing beforehand the ††, which they intend to offer to measures in contemplation. Upon the present occasion the Earl of Derby in the House of Lords discharged with his accustomed force and skill the office of Opposition critic, taking a wide survey of the field of policy, domestic and foreign, which the Speech exposed to view, on some points conceding credit to the Government, in other cases assailing their conduct with happy ridicule or forcibly pointed censure. Few men living could have expressed with more felicity than his lordship the congratulations of the House to Her Majesty on the auspicious event in the Prince of Wales's history which had been announced in the Speech from the Throne, and upon the appearance of His Royal Highness that day for the first time as a member of the House of Peers. Passing from this topic, Lord Derby proceeded to enter upon the subject of our foreign licy, and adverting first to the civil war in America, he expressed is deliberate approval of the policy of neutrality which was announced from the Throne and had been pursued by Her Majesty's Government. Referring to the overture for intervention which was believed to have been made by the Emperor of the French, Lord Derby said, “I may regret, indeed, that Her Majesty's Government did not feel themselves justified in joining in the attempt, however hopeless it might be, to which they were invited by the Sovereign of France, not, as the noble ... . has just spoken, by a slip of the tongue, said, for the purpose of putting an end to the war, but with the view of endeavouring by good offices to obtain such an armistice or cessation of hostilities as might lead the two parties themselves to reflect upon the miseries and hopelessness of the war in which they are at present engaged. I think it is matter of regret that Her Majesty's Government did not feel themselves justified in acceding to the wish of the Emperor of the French, but before I censure the course pursued by them, it is only fair I should say that they were in possession of much better means of information than any I can pretend to, as to whether such an interference as the one contemplated, intended to put an end to the war, might not rather have aggravated the bitterness of the strife by the irritation arising from any foreign intervention. Upon that point, which doubtless they considered in all its bearings, they were probably enlightened by the despatches of our Minister at Washington. I therefore take no objection to the course pursued, although I regret that no attempt was made to promote the restoration of peace. ‘Mediation' would, perhaps, not be a correct or legitimate expression to apply to that proposed species of intervention. I presume that, previous to attempting mediation, the two parties should be agreed upon the terms, or at all events the principles upon which it ought to be conducted; but if I know any thing of the state of feeling in the Northern and Southern States the question at issue between them is not a question of degree, but a question of fundamental principle, as to which there can be no mediation, because it is a question on one side of the continuance of the Union, and on the other of separation. And so much being decided, it is necessary to determine on what principle the negotiations should proceed—whether on the principle of maintaining the Union in its integrity, or of acquiescing in the separation of the two bodies. And I greatly fear from the language of the respective parties that at present the consent of both could not be obtained to either principle. It has been said, by personal and political friends of my own, by men for whose opinions I entertain the highest respect, that the time has arrived when it is desirable that we should recognize the Southern Republic. Upon that subject, regretting as I do to differ from any of my friends, I confess I cannot bring myself to the conclusion that the time has arrived at which it is either wise, politic, or even legitimate, to recognize the South. I do not think the circumstances have yet occurred under which a revolting State is entitled to recognition from neutral powers. The first of those circumstances is where, although the State from which a secession has taken place has not acquiesced in it as a fait accompli, yet the war is, in point of fact, at an end, and no struggle is going on for the restoration of the original dominion. That was the case when the States of South America revolted from Spain. For a long F. before those States were recognized by the Powers Spain ad ceased to take any active steps to keep them under her rule. Another set of circumstances under which recognition is legitimate is where other nations, having in the interest of humanity determined that a desolating warfare shall no longer be continued, agree to recognize the revolting party. But in that case recognition is always followed by something further, for it means nothing unless the Powers who join in it are ready to support by force of arms the claims of the State which they recognize. That was the case when Belgium separated from Holland, and when Greece separated from Turkey. No doubt there are occasions when the horrors of war and the danger to the public interests of the world from the prolongation of a contest are so great that it is essential it should be terminated by other nations intervening to recognize the seccssionist, but in that event they must be prepared to go a