Economic Annals of the Nineteenth Century

By William Smart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXIII
1820. DEPRESSION AND PARTIAL REVIVAL

GEORGE III. died on 30th January, at the age of 81, after a reign of 60 years.

. When Parliament met, on 17th February, it was to receive a message from the new king, George IV., saying that, in consideration of the present state of public business, it seemed most conducive to the public interests and convenience to call the new parliament, which was now necessary, without delay. To this there was considerable opposition: Brougham, for instance, pointed out that, as one of those "most harsh and restrictive measures" which the government had thought fit to pass, "to put down the turbulence of the country," expired with the parliament, the proposal either showed that the necessity for it had ceased, or that the ministers were about to plunge the country into a situation which, not many weeks since, they had said was inconsistent with its safety. In the message of dissolution, on 28th February, the King commended the "prudence and firmness" of the repressive measures, and said that the flagrant and sanguinary conspiracy lately detected must have vindicated to the whole world the justice and expediency of those measures.1

George IV

. In the early months of the year, there does not seem to have been any break in the cloud of depression. With the exception of Thistlewood's desperate attempt, the country was comparatively tranquil -- not that the industrial conditions were any better, but that the coercive measures were effectual and, on the whole, were

Continued depression

____________________
1
Hansard, xli. 1593seq. The "horrid attempt" alluded to was the Cato Street Conspiracy of Thistlewood and others. The design was to murder the members of the Cabinet while dining with the Prime Minister, but one of the confederates was an informer, and the gang were arrested on the eve of the proposed crime.

-727-

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