removed from the House by the Sergeant-at-Arms. The bill was passed and Parliament turned to the more formidable Land Bill, which was born in great pain. The Duke of Argyll, a devout believer in Liberalism, but also in land tenure, resigned from the office of Lord Privy Seal. On the same day Mr. Gladstone had to report a "scandalous breach of confidence." 3 The provisions of the Land Bill had leaked out and were printed in the Standard newspaper. In June, troops and constabulary were ordered to fire on the Irish, if necessary. Then the House of Lords made amendments to the Land Bill, which aroused Mr. Gladstone to what the Queen called his " high-handed dictator style."
The bill became law, but it did not beget reason or peace. Almost two months after it was passed, Parnell was imprisoned, calling on the Irish tenants, almost at the prison gate, to go on defying the law. When Lord Spencer was appointed Viceroy of Ireland, in April, 1882, his chief secretary and the permanent under-secretary were stabbed to death in Phoenix Park. Bills passed in the British Parliament could not cure Ireland's discontent.
ON MARCH 15, Lord Beaconsfield made his last speech in the House of Lords. Next day he wrote his last letter to Lady Bradford, no more than a "hurried line." At the end he said,
"I am very unwell and go about as little as I can. ... "The spring, which he had always loved, came reluctantly. When Sir Charles Dilke went to see him on March 27, Lord Beaconsfield was lying on a sofa; but the old humour bubbled up and he was able to launch a rocket of spite against Gladstone's verbosity. On March 28 he wrote his last letter to the Queen, ashamed to address Her Majesty, "not only from my room, but even my bed." His tired pen wrote,
"At present I am prostrate, though devoted. — B. "
There were spurts of playful cynicism, to the end. When he read a report that his strength was "still maintained," he remarked,
"I presume the physicians are conscious of that. It is more than I am."He corrected the proofs of his last speech, for Hansard, murmuring,
"I will not go down to posterity talking bad grammar."He was in London and his room was fragrant with flowers sent to him from Windsor,
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Reign of Queen Victoria. Contributors: Hector Bolitho - Author. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1948. Page number: 300.
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