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A warm altercation followed, but it was admitted by Mr. Littleton that he had in confidence led Mr. O'Connell to expect the modifications he had named, and averred that he had done so on what he deemed sufficient authority. On the 7th of July a portion of the correspondence was laid upon the table. From this it appeared that a change of opinion on the part of the Lord-Lieutenant had taken place recently on the subject in dispute, though the precise cause was not explained. Mr. O'Connell then challenged the Government to deny that, in the judgment of Lord Wellesley, Mr. Littleton, and of five members of the Cabinet—namely, Lord Althorp, Mr. Grant, Mr. Spring Rice, Mr. Abercrombie, and Mr. Ellice, deliberately formed and recently expressed, no necessity existed for the continuance of the obnoxious provisions. The appeal was not responded to in the House; but on returning home the same night, Lord Althorp addressed a letter of resignation to the Premier. Lord Grey on this determined to quit office, and Lord Melbourne was by the King named as his successor; Lord Althorp resumed his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Lord Duncannon became Secretary for the Home Department.
The first act of the new Prime Minister was to
announce in the House of Lords, on the 17th of July, that Government did not intend to proceed with the Coercion Bill, but that another bill, omitting the clauses objected to, would be introduced without delay. A good deal of discussion took place on the details of the new measure, in which Mr. Sheil took part. It was eventually passed for a period of twelve months, without further modifications, on the 29th of July.
The consideration of the Tithes Bill was then resumed. Its further progress was opposed on the same grounds as formerly, and the lateness of the session was used as an additional plea. When all efforts at postponement had failed, Mr. O'Connell moved an amendment reducing the charge on land by two-fifths, which was to be payable to the Crown: and securing to the clergy somewhat more than three-fourths of their usual incomes—the difference to be made up out of the Consolidated Fund. On a division, this was carried by eighty-two to thirty-three, and Government having adopted the alteration thus introduced, the Bill was sent up to the Lords, where, a few days afterwards, it was rejected by a majority of sixty-seven.
With these proceedings may be said to close the Parliamentary struggle between the Irish popular
party and the Whigs. On the two great points of practical difference in legislation, Ministers had conceded much. In administrative details they were prepared to adopt a course equally conciliatory. No man was so well qualified to carry into effect such a policy as Lord Duncannon; the only man perhaps possessing the confidence of his own class, who at all times and under all circumstances retained the personal good-will and public respect of O'Connell. A man of few words and of great firmness of resolution, the newly-appointed Home Secretary had great discernment and temper; he avoided argument where his mind was made up and he knew that agreement was impossible; but wherever he believed that a kindness or a mark of respect ought to be shown, he was beforehand with the person whom he wished to gratify, and disdained to take any personal credit for conferring a favour where he was really acting upon public grounds. Every one who came in contact with him felt safe in relying on his word, and involuntarily laid aside that worst of all misgivings in the transaction of public business—the fear that advantage may be taken of some ill-considered phrase or doubtful word. Lord Duncannon never made any man regret that he had trusted him. Hence he was trusted
by persons the most opposite in opinions and irreconcilable in their enmities; and if he had possessed no other quality, this would alone have rendered him peculiarly well fitted to be the organ of communication between the Government in England, the local executive in Ireland, and the chiefs of the section in the House of Commons that had been hitherto in violent opposition. His views regarding the government of Ireland were fully in accordance with those of Lord Wellesley, already noticed; and an opportunity soon arose of manifesting them. In the month of September, Mr. Crampton was promoted to a seat on the judicial bench, and the office of SolicitorGeneral having been declined by Mr. Perrin (on grounds highly honourable to him) was conferred on Mr. O’Loghlen, who, after O'Connell, occupied the most eminent position at the Catholic bar. one of those,” said Sheil, "upon whom Emancipation had fortunately come just at the period of his career when promotion being possible was inevitable.”* This was the first administrative office conceded, since the passing of Emancipation, upon any individual of the long-excluded creed. It led, by the rule of recognised promotion, to the Attorney-Generalship, to the Privy
* Article in Metropolitan Magazine, July, 1831.
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Council, and to the Bench; and as an earnest of equality too long delayed, it was regarded with no little satisfaction by the educated class of the Catholic community. Before time had been given for any further development of the policy contemplated by the administration over which Lord Melbourne had been called to preside, the administration itself was suddenly brought to an end. Lord Althorp's elevation to the peerage by the death of his father, had rendered the choice of a new Leader in the Commons, and other changes, necessary; and when on the 14th of November, the arrangements proposed were submitted to the King, his Majesty informed Lord Melbourne that he had no longer sufficient confidence in the ability of the Whigs to carry on the Government, and that he intended to seek the advice of the Duke of Wellington. By the recommendation of his Grace, Sir Robert Peel was sent for to Italy, and on his return he undertook to form a Conservative Cabinet. The elements of which it was composed left little room for doubt as to the principles by which it was likely to be animated. In his celebrated address to the electors of Tamworth, the new Premier sedulously strove to allay the prejudices which as anti-Reformers, he was conscious that he and his colleagues would have to