Economic Annals of the Nineteenth Century

By William Smart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
1811. THE UNIVERSAL DISTRESS

. IN February, the actual reign of George III. came to an end. The shock of his favourite daughter's death confirmed his insanity, and he was kept in strict seclusion at Windsor till the close of his life. After prolonged debates, which take up a whole volume of Hansard, and occupied the attention of Parliament, to the exclusion of everything else, from 1st November, 1810, the necessary Bill was passed on 5th February, and the Prince of Wales became Regent -- under restrictions as to patronage which he very much resented. Although his sympathies had hitherto been with the Opposition, he left -- "from filial affection," he said1 -- the Government unchanged. One of his first acts was -- amid considerable sensation -- to reinstate the Duke of York, acknowledged to be a good administrator if a bad general, as Commander-in-Chief.

The Regency

. The Lords Commissioners' Speech in February said that discussions were pending between this country and the United States, and expressed the earnest wish of the Government that they should be brought to an amicable termination. Aberdeen, in moving the Address, confessed that, in Spain, "the appearance of matters was chequered; there were some dark clouds and obscurity, but still there were, notwithstanding, in that country many circumstances that kept hope alive": in Portugal, matters were "of a much sounder complexion"; we had withdrawn a numerous and powerful army from the country of Spain, baffled its first attack, and preserved the capital and a large portion of the country of Portugal. The revenue, it was added, was as a whole most flourishing and prosperous.

Speech from the Throne

____________________
1
"That any man in those high regions of life cares for his father, is what I cannot easily believe," said Sydney Smith cynically. "A whig king would be an unexampled thine," said Simond.

-257-

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