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called) it of course spread into the country: the failure of London houses involved the ruin of their country connections, and putting a stop to the widely extended system of accommodation, at once overturned all those, who by means of that iniquitous system had been enabled to carry on trade, and incur debts, which continued accommodation was necessary to provide for. Parliament met on the 3d of February, when the Session was opened by Royal Commission. In the speech bis Majesty expressed great regret for the embarrassment which had occurred in the pecuniary transactions of the country. “This embarrassment,” his Majesty proceeded, “ did not arise from any political events either at home or abroad. It was not produced by any unexpected deniand upon the public resources, nor by the apprebension of any interruption of the general tranquillity. Some of the causes to which this evil must be attributed, lie,” said his Majesty, “ without the reach of direct parliamentary interposition ; nor can security against the recurrence of them be found, unless in the experience of the sufferings which they have occasioned. But to a certain portion of this evil, corrective at least, if not effectual, remedies niay be applied, and his Majesty relies upon the wisdom of Parliament to devise such measures as may tend to protect both private and public interests against the like sudden and violent fluctuations, by placing on a more firm foundation, the currency and circulating credit of the country.” Acting upon this recommendation, Parliament, after considerable debate, passed a Bill, whereby it was enacted, first, that the notes of country bankers under the value of 5l., should be allowed to circulate until the 5th of February, 1829, and no longer; and in the second place, that the limitation to six persons imposed upon banking partnerships by the Bank of England Charter, should be removed, so far as it affected bankers at more than sixty-five miles from London. These enactments, it was considered, would have the effect of giving greater stability to the country banking establishments, and introduce at the end of three years the full benefits of a metallic currency.
In the meantime, however, the distress had begun to shew itself in a very alarming manner in the manufacturing districts of Lanca. shire and Yorkshire. Several thousands of unemployed workmen, armed with pikes and bludgeons, proceeded to destroy the machinery of the manufactories in which they had fornierly been employed. The military were called out to put down the riots, and several lives lost; but the most effectual means of quieting them, was a subscription, which was entered into at a public meeting held in the City of London on the 2nd of May. The subscription was headed by a donation of 2000l. from his Majesty, who had previously, upon the first account of the distress, transmitted a sum of 5000l. to their relief, and at the close of the meeting, the sum collected amounted to about 20,000l. In a few days, it rose to upwards of 100,0001. A committee of intelligent men transmitted the amount to the distressed districts, and the miseries of our starving fellow-countrymen were thus materially alleviated.
Another measure, which, in the pressure of the distress, ministers
thought it necessary to propose, had the effect of quieting the minds of the people, and keeping down the price of provisions. This was the passing of an Act of Parliament, authorizing his Majesty, by Order of Council, to permit the entry of 500,000 quarters of foreign wheat, if it should be thought necessary so to do, at a reduced duty. The granting of this power was opposed by Sir Thomas Lethbridge, Mr. Sumner, and other leading members of the landed interest, who considered the growers of corn would be injured by it; but the question was determined in favor of ministers by a very large majority.
A variety of other important bills were also passed this Session, amongst which may be mentioned Mr. Peel's Bill for the more effectual administration of Criminal Justice, which we noticed in the memoir of that gentleman in our last number. On the 31st of May, the Parliament was prorogued ; and on the 2nd of June, a proclamation was issued, dissolving it, and commanding the attendance of a New Parliament on the 25th of July.
The elections were contested throughout the country with much spirit, and in Ireland were attended with some most disgraceful scenes of outrage and bloodshed, especially in the counties of Waterford and Galway. In the latter place, the barbarities committed were of a nature unprecedented in the annals of elections.
The distress which had been so general at the commencement of the year, began sensibly to decrease about the month of August; but in consequence of a partial failure of the crops in Ireland and elsewhere, Government judged it expedient to exert the power which had been committed to them of allowing the importation of foreign corn. On the 1st of September, an Order of Council was promulgated to that effect, and at the same time the New Parliament was summoned to meet for the dispatch of business on the 14th of November. The state of the country, however, continued to improve progressively, but manufactures and commerce had received so great a shock, that its effects could not be expected to disappear instantly.
On the 14th of November, the Lords and Commons assenıbled, and the Commons having elected the Right Honorable Charles Manners Sutton for their Speaker, which election was approved by his Majesty, on the 21st, the King opened Parliament in person. A copy of his speech will be found in our last number; it candidly admitted the existence of considerable distress, and regretted that the depression of trade and manufactures had abated more slowly than was anticipated. The address in the Lords was moved by Earl Cornwallis, and seconded by Lord Colville; in the Commons it was moved by Mr. Liddell, member for Northumberland, and seconded by Mr. Winn, member for Maldon. The question of a modification of the Corn Laws, to which ministers stood pledged, was delayed until after Christmas, when Lord Liverpool gave notice he should be prepared to submit a specific measure to Parliament. The indemnity to ministers for the admission of foreign corn, for the purpose of obtaining which Parliament had been assembled so early, was readily assented to, and nothing seemed to occupy public attention, save an
inquiry, instituted by Mr. Alderman Waithman, into the conduct of Mr. Brogden, as connected with the Arigna Mining Company; when, of a sudden, the House and the country were surprised, on the 11th of December, by Mr. Canning bringing down to the House the following message from his Majesty.
“ His Majesty acquaints the House of Commons that His Majesty has received an earnest application from the Princess Regent of Portugal, claiming, in virtue of the ancient obligations of alliance and amity between His Majesty and the Crown of Portugal, His Majesty's aid against an hostile aggression from Spain.
“His Majesty has exerted 'bimself for some time past, in conjunction with His Majesty's ally, the King of France, to prevent such an aggression ; and repeated assurances have been given by the Court of Madrid of the determination of His Catholic Majesty neither to commit, nor to allow to be committed, from His Catholic Majesty's territory, any aggression against Portugal; but His Majesty has learned, with deep concern, that notwithstanding these assurances, hostile inroads into the territory of Portugal have been concerted in Spain, and have been executed under the eyes of Spanish anthorities, by Portuguese regiments, which had deserted into Spain, and which the Spanish Government had repeatedly and solemnly engaged to disarm and disperse.
" His Majesty leaves no effort unexhausted to awaken the Spanish Government to the dangerous consequences of this apparent connivance.
“ His Majesty makes this communication to the House of Commons with the full and entire confidence, that his faithful Commons will afford to His Majesty their cordial concurrence and support in maintaining the faith of Treaties, and in securing against foreign hostility the safety and independence of the Kingdom of Portugal, the oldest ally of Great Britain."
G. R.” On the following day, Mr. Canning, after a brilliant speech, moved an address to his Majesty, pledging the House to support his Majesty in the defence of the Government of Portugal. Mr. Hume proposed an amendment, which was seconded by a new member of the name of Wood, but opposed by Mr. Baring and Mr. Brougham, and negatived without a division; indeed, the Address moved by Mr. Canning may be said to have been carried by acclamation. Mr. Canning's speech, upon this occasion, certainly created, both within and without the House, a degree of enthusiasm seldom equalled; Mr. Brougham declared “that Mr. Canding appeared to have collected all his energies, and all his noble and varied powers, for that occasion, and even to have excelled all his previous efforts." The embarkation of British troops has been proceeded in with great vigour and dispatch, and ere the publication of what we now write, they will have landed upon the shores of Portugal. Up to the present moment, the rebellious Portuguese, whom Spain has instigated to invade their native country, have continued to advance-Braganza has been sacked by them, and the English inhabitants treated with great cruelty-Oporto is threatened, and, throughout Portugal, every thing is in the greatest confusion; but as France seems to continue desirous of maintaining peace, it is to be hoped that a short time will again restore to us the benefit of universal amity. Spain, humbled and crippled Spain, capnot war without the aid of France, and surely France will not grant her assistance for any such iniquitous purpose.
During the present year, a variety of public works of great beauty and utility have been vigorously prosecuted-giving employment to
many of our population, and adding to our national splendour; but as these works are not as yet complete, we shall reserve them for future notice. With the exception of the circumstances we have referred to, no events of any importance have marked the present year, except that in India the power of the British Government has been rendered secure by the conclusion of an advantageous peace with the Burmese, by the terms of which the latter power ceded seven provinces to the British, and undertook to pay a crore of rupees (about one million sterling) for the expenses of the war.
II.--BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY OF 1826*. Under this head we propose to give biographical notices of the most celebrated persons, by whose decease the last year has been distinguished. Our notices will, of course, be brief, nor can we extend them to any but the most important.
Lindley Murray, Esg. Mr. Murray was born at Pennsylvania, in North America, in the year 1746. His father was a man of considerable property, and extensively engaged in mercantile transactions at New York, in which place Lindley Murray spent many years of the early part of his life, Being destined for the law, he passed through the usual course of study, and for several years practised that profession at New York, until the troubles of his native country, and his own ill health induced him to leave America, and take up his residence in a warmer climate. In the year 1784, he accordingly removed to this country, and purchased a residence in the village of Holdgate, a short distance from the city of York. His bodily infirmities, however, very sensibly increased, and for many years he was entirely unable to walk, or take any other exercise than riding in a coach. Being thus rendered incapable of mixing in the more active pursuits of life, he gave himself up to literary occupations, and produced his English Grammar, Exercises and Key, which are well known to every student, and have had an almost unprecedented sale. He also wrote a, French and English Reader, several other school books, and a religious work upon “ The Power of Religion on the Mind;" all of them of great value.
Mr. Murray was a member of the Society of Friends, a religious and excellent man-cheerful under no ordinary afflictions-charitable and benevolent. He was married, before leaving America, to an amiable lady, who survives him. His death was rather sudden, for although he had been a cripple many years, his general health was good, and his mental faculties unimpaired. He was attacked on the 14th of January, and died on the 16th, in the 80th year of his age. Mr. M. had no children.
• We are indebted, for a variety of facts mentioned in this division of our Summaries, to the Obituary of Mr. Sylvanus Urbun. We feel pleasure in acknowledging this obligation, not only because it is of right due, but as it gives us an opportunity of testifying our respect for this "pater familiâs," whose age is " as a lusty winter, frosty, but kindly."
Mr. Edward Knight. This gentleman, well known on the London Stage as “ Little Knight," was born at Birmingham, in the year 1774. He was intended by his friends for an artist; but an affection for the stage was his ruling passion, and the death of the person to whom he was articled, having in some degree set him at liberty, he determined to try his fortune upon the boards. He accordingly made his first appearance at Newcastle-under-line, in the character of Hob, in the farce of Hob in the Well; but his reception was so discouraging, that after stemming the storm for some time, he at length ran off the stage, and the remainder of the performance was gone through by another actor. His bad success, however it disconcerted him at the time, did not deter him from again attempting the same character at a small town in Wales; when the result being very different from that on the former occasion, he was engaged by the manager, and strolled for some time in the “ Staffordshire Company of Comedians." Whilst a member of this honorable band, he married a daughter of Mr. Clewes, a wine merchant, at Stafford, who died, after they had been married five years, leaving him a family of three children. From the Staffordshire Company, he removed, in consequence of an invitation from Tate Wilkinson, to York, where, in 1807, he married Miss Susan Smith, sister to Mr. Bartley, and then the heroine of the York Stage.
"In 1809, Mr. Knight received an invitation to Drury Lane, which was joyfully accepted, and he made his first appearance in that company (then performing at the Lyceum, on account of the destruction of Drury Lane by fire) on the 14th of October, 1809, as “ Timothy Quaint,” in the Soldier's Daughter, and “ Robin Roughhead," in Fortune's Frolic.
The public, since that time, have been familiar with his acting, and duly appreciated his powers. Few actors were greater favorites, few more droll, or, in their lines of character, more effective. In private life, we have been given to understand, he was an extremely quiet and inoffensive man-kind-hearted and considerate; but without any of that excessive carelessness which is too frequently the ruin of men of his profession. He was confined by illness for a considerable time previous to his death, which took place on the 21st of February, in the 52nd year of his age. His funeral was attended to St. Pancras New Church by many of his professional brethren, who were desirous of testifying their respect for his memory. The Hon. and Right Rev. Shute Barrington, Bishop of Durham.
This Prelate was the sixth and youngest son of John Shute, first Viscount Barrington, by Anne, daughter and co-heiress of Sir William Daines, Knight. He was born on the 26th of May, 1734, and at an early age was sent to Eton, from which he was entered a gentleman commoner of Merton College, Oxford, in 1752. He took orders in 1756, and, in 1760, was appointed one of the King's Chaplains. On