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discussion and declamation, but led to no legislative enactment.
The shocking severity of treatment which a missionary named Smith had received from a courtmartial in Demerara, on a charge of being concerned in a revolt of slaves, was brought before parliament by Mr. Brougham. The punishment of the missionary was flagrantly unjust; but it must be confessed, that the ignorant fanaticism and spiritual presumption of these missionaries were calculated to alarm the fears and inflame the passions of the colonists. Mr. Canning deprecated an express censure, rather than vindicated the legality of the proceedings; and Mr. Brougham's motion of censure was negatived. The offence of engaging in the slave trade was, at the same time, declared piracy, subject to be punished as such.
This short and rather uninteresting session was closed by the king in person, on the 25th of June.
Violence and disorder pervaded almost the whole of the West India colonies during the year. The slaves manifested a spirit of insubordination, under the mistaken idea that the imperial parliament had given them freedom which was withheld by the colonial assemblies. Those assemblies, it is true, rejected every recommendation from the government at home for the benefit and improvement of the condition of the slaves ; and were at open war, especially in the chief island, Jamaica, with the local government.
At the Cape of Good Hope, lord Charles Somerset had a petty quarrel, involving a series of vexations and complaints with the people under his
government; and at the wretched settlement of Sierra Leone the governor, sir C. Macarthy, was defeated, with the loss of his own life, and a shocking carnage of his small military force, by the savage tribe or nation of Ashantee.
A serious war broke out in India between the company and the king of Ava, or the Burman empire. The Burmese invaded the territory of the company, and hostilities were commenced on an extensive scale in the spring ; but with great advantage, on the whole, to the British during the remainder of the year. A serious mutiny broke out in three native regiments at Barackpore; and was overcome only by surrounding them with an overwhelming force, and a heavy fire of musketry and artillery.
Louis XVIII., king of France, died on the 16th of August in this year, and was succeeded by his brother, the count d'Artois, with the title of Charles X.
The succession produced no immediate effects on the political relations of Europe.
The sixth session of the existing parliament was opened by commission on the 3d of February, 1825. The speech of the commissioners reviewed, somewhat more circumstantially than usual, the aspect of public affairs, foreign and domestic. Their references to foreign incidents were, on the whole, satisfactory. Peace was no longer endangered in the east of Europe; the differences between Russia and the Ottoman Porte were arranged through the British ambassador; the commercial relations with the new states of America were confirmed by formal treaties ; a continued improvement had taken place in agriculture; commerce was benefited by the abolition of restrictive laws : “ there never,” said the commissioners," was a period in British history when the people were so thriving and contented ;" even in Ireland, outrages had subsided, and “ industry and commercial enterprise were extending themselves to that part of the United Kingdom." But it would seem as if fate decreed that the state of Ireland should never give unalloyed satisfaction. “ It is therefore the more to be regretted,” continued the commissioners, " that associations should exist in Ireland which have adopted proceedings irreconcilable with the spirit of the constitution, and calculated, by exciting alarm, and by exasperating animosities, to endanger the peace of society, and to retard the course of national improvement. His majesty relies upon your wisdom to consider, without delay, the means of applying a remedy."
This allusion to Ireland, and the recommendation with which it closes, was the chief, if not the only topic, which was made the subject of discussion. “ The speech,” said Mr. Brougham, “talks of as
, sociations, in the plural, and not without an object. I warn the house not to be entrapped by the contrivance: that little letter 's' is one of the slyest introductions that ever Belial resorted to when he would
66 Make the worse appear
I am perfectly aware who added that " S ;' I know the hand. - I discern one of those 6 subtle equities' so familiar to the court over which a noble and learned lord presides. Let the proposed measures be carried, and the catholic association will be put down with one hand, whilst the Orange societies will receive only a gentle tap with the other.”
The judgment of Mr. Brougham, however expert as a connoiseur, may still have erred in giving lord Eldon the credit of this stroke of art; but it is certain that the catholic association was alone aimed at. That body, from its skilful organisation and extensive machinery, had acquired a formidable power during
the period of a few months from its birth. Contributions in money were solicited from the whole catholic population of Ireland ; and the fund thus obtained was employed effectively in obtaining legal redress for public or individual wrong; in promoting education; and vindicating the cause and religion of the catholics. This irregular power, like a new and paramount estate of the realm, excited the jealousy by invading the functions of the government : but there was one fact which the disingenuous only could and did contest,— that to its influence and exhortations was mainly due the pacification of Ireland. With the exception of this topic, the addresses were agreed to without dissent in both houses.
On the 10th of February, Mr. Goulburn, the Irish secretary, brought in a bill “ to amend the acts relating to unlawful societies in Ireland ;" in other words, to put down the catholic association. An address of the association to the people conjured them, “ by the hate they bore the orangemen, who were their natural enemies, and by the confidence they reposed in the catholic association, who were their natural and zealous friends, to abstain from all secret and illegal associations, and whiteboy disturbances and outrages.” This appeal was reprobated with pious horror by the enemies of the association and of the catholics. To turn an existing and natural hatred to the account of peace and humanity, shocked the Christian principles of those who would have witnessed or practised an appeal to religious rancour, for personal or party purposes, without the slightest scruple, in a feigned voice of