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The Cabinet met again on the 25th, when Sir Robert Peel informed his colleagues that, in the position of affairs, he could not abstain from advising the immediate suspension, by Order in Council, of the restrictive law of importation, or the early assembling of Parliament for the purpose of proposing a permanent change. Lord Aberdeen, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and Sir James Graham supported him. The Duke of Wellington gave a reluctant adhesion. It then became known that Lord Stanley had withdrawn from the Ministry, and it was believed that the Duke of Buccleuch intended to follow his example. The majority of the Cabinet had decided in favour of a permanent reduction in the sliding scale; but the position of the Minister was now too uncertain for him to attempt to carry through his measures. A resignation was the only step which could show the true strength of parties, and determine who would and who would not follow the Minister in that course which, if he was to return to power, he had finally resolved to take. On the 5th of December he announced his determination to her Majesty, and the public learned that the Peel Administration was at an end.[See larger version]
(I dare say I'm blasphemous; but you'd be, too, if you'd offered asUndaunted by this display of prelatical bigotry, Lord Stanhope immediately gave notice of a Bill to prevent a tyrannical exercise of severity towards Quakers, whose principles did not permit them to pay tithes, church-rates, or Easter offerings; this he did on the 3rd of July of the same year. By the 7 and 8 William III. two justices of peace could order a distress on a Quaker for tithes under the value of ten pounds; and by 1 George I. this power was extended to the non-payment of Easter and other dues; but his Lordship showed that of late the clergy had preferred to resort to an Act of Henry VIII., a time when Quakers did not exist, which empowered the clergy, by warrant from two justices of peace, to seize the persons of the defaulters and throw them into prison, where, unless they paid the uttermost farthing, they might remain for life. Thus the clergy of the eighteenth century in England were not satisfied with the humane enactments of William III. or George I., by which they could easily and fully obtain their demands, but they thirsted for a little vengeance, a little of the old enjoyment of imprisoning and tormenting their neighbours, and therefore went back to the days of the brutal Henry VIII. for the means. They had, two months before, thrown a Quaker of Worcester into gaol for the non-payment of dues, so called, amounting to five shillings, and there was every prospect that he might lie there for life. At Coventry six Quakers had lately been prosecuted by the clergyman for Easter offerings of the amount of fourpence each; and this sum of two shillings amongst them had, in the ecclesiastical court, been swelled to three hundred pounds. For this three hundred pounds they were cast into prison, and might have lain there for life, but being highly respected by their townsmen, these had subscribed the money and let them out. But this, his Lordship observed, would prove a ruinous kindness to the Quakers, for it would whet the avarice of the clergy and proctors to such a degree that the people of that persuasion would everywhere be hunted down without mercy for small sums, which might be recovered at once by the simple process of distraint. He declared that he would have all clerical demands satisfied to the utmost, but not by such means, worthy only of the dark ages; and he therefore, in this Bill, proposed the repeal of the obnoxious Act of 27 Henry VIII. But the glutting of their vengeance was too precious to the clergy of this period, and the Bill was rejected without a division.
For many years the king had been scarcely ever free from gout, but its attacks had been resisted by the uncommon strength of his constitution. Partly in consequence of the state of his health, and partly from his habits of self-indulgence, he had for some time led a life of great seclusion. He became growingly averse from all public displays and ceremonials, and was impatient of any intrusions upon his privacy. During the spring of 1829 he resided at St. James's Palace, where he gave a ball to the juvenile branches of the nobility, to which the Princess Victoria and the young Queen of Portugal were invited. His time was mostly spent within the royal domain at Windsor, where his outdoor amusements were sailing and fishing on Virginia Water, or driving rapidly in a pony phaeton through the forest. He was occasionally afflicted with pains in the eyes and defective vision. The gout attacked him in the hands as well as in the feet, and towards the end, dropsya disease which had been fatal to the Duke of York, and to his sister, the Queen of Würtembergwas added to his other maladies. In April the disease assumed a decisive character; and bulletins began to be issued. The Duke of Clarence was at Windsor, and warmly expressed his sympathy with the royal sufferer. The Duke of Cumberland, and nearly all the Royal Family, expressed to Sir William Knighton their anxiety and fears as to the issue. This devoted servant was constantly by the side of his master. On the 27th of May Sir William wrote to Lady Knighton: "The king is particularly affectionate to me. His Majesty is gradually breaking down; but the time required, if it does not happen suddenly, to destroy his originally fine constitution, no one can calculate upon." We are assured that Sir William took every opportunity of calling his Majesty's attention to religious subjects, and had even placed unordered a quarto Bible, of large type, on the dressing-table, with which act of attention the king was much pleased, and frequently referred to the sacred volume. A prayer was appointed for public use during his Majesty's indisposition, which the Bishop of Chichester read to him. "With the king's permission," wrote this learned prelate, "I repeated it on my knees at his bedside. At the close, his Majesty having listened to it with the utmost attention, three times repeated 'Amen,' with the greatest fervour and devotion. He expressed himself highly gratified with it, and desired me to convey his approbation of it to the Archbishop of Canterbury."
 Hocquart's account is given in full by Pichon, Lettres et Mmoires pour servir l'Histoire du Cap-Breton. The short account in Prcis des Faits, 272, seems, too, to be drawn from Hocquart. Also Boscawen to Robinson, 22 June, 1755. Vaudreuil au Ministre, 24 Juillet, 1755. Entick, I. 137.De Goutin sometimes discourses of more serious matters. He tells the minister that the inhabitants have plenty of cattle, and more hemp than they can use, but neither pots, scythes, sickles, knives, hatchets, kettles for the Indians, nor salt for themselves. "We should be fortunate if our enemies would continue to supply our necessities and take the beaver-skins with which the colony is gorged;" adding, however, that the Acadians hate the English, and will not trade with them if they can help it.
[Pg 136]Vetch sailed from Portsmouth in the ship "Dragon," accompanied by Colonel Francis Nicholson, late lieutenant-governor of New York, who was to take an important part in the enterprise. The squadron with the five regiments was to follow without delay. The weather was bad, and the "Dragon," beating for five weeks against headwinds, did not enter Boston harbor till the evening of the twenty-eighth of April. Vetch, chafing with impatience, for every moment was precious, sent off expresses that same night to carry the Queen's letters to the governors of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Dudley and his council met the next morning, and to them Vetch delivered the royal message, which was received, he says, "with the dutiful obedience becoming good subjects, and all the marks of joy and thankfulness." Vetch, Nicholson, and the Massachusetts authorities quickly arranged their plans. An embargo was laid on the shipping; provision was made for raising men and supplies and providing transportation. When all was in train, the two emissaries hired a sloop for New York, and touching by the way at Rhode Island, found it in the throes of the annual election of governor. Yet every warlike preparation was already made, and Vetch and his companion sailed at once for New Haven to meet Saltonstall, the newly elected governor of Connecticut.[Pg 137] Here too, all was ready, and the envoys, well pleased, continued their voyage to New York, which they reached on the eighteenth of May. The governor, Lord Lovelace, had lately died, and Colonel Ingoldsby, the lieutenant-governor, acted in his place. The Assembly was in session, and being summoned to the council-chamber, the members were addressed by Vetch and Nicholson with excellent effect.