England and the Orleans Monarchy

By Major John Hall | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE POWERS AND THE CITIZEN KING

IN 1830 England was still suffering acutely from the financial crisis of five years before. The losses of the capitalists entailed distress upon the working classes in the shape of unemployment and diminished wages. The misery of the people led to the commission of acts of violence and incendiarism upon a scale unparalleled in the recent history of England. The advocates of parliamentary reform drew their best arguments, in support of their cause, from the wretched condition of the country. The elections, rendered necessary by the death of George IV., began in the very week which saw France in the throes of her revolution. By the Opposition the victory of the Parisians was acclaimed enthusiastically as the triumph of a neighbouring people over despotism and aristocratic privilege. The downfall of Polignac was celebrated as a crushing blow to Wellington. The belief that the Duke had connived at, if not directly inspired, the French King's attempted coup d'état, was not confined to ignorant people, but was professed by the leaders of the Whig party.1 Whilst this supposed connection of Wellington with Polignac increased the voting power of the Opposition, Tory patrons of rotten boroughs, incensed at his Catholic policy, withheld from him their support.

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1
Affaires étrangères 631, Angleterre Baudrand à Molé, août 28, 1830. H. Bulwer, Life of Palmerston, I. p. 330. Edinburgh Review, October, 1830. Stockmar, Memoirs, I. pp. 131-134. C. Greville, Journals, II. pp. 94, 95. Correspondence of Princess Lieven with Earl Grey, II Grey to Princess Lieven, July 29, 1830.

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