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[See larger version]The Queen's marriage has been referred to in connection with the proceedings in Parliament. The details of that interesting event, and other incidents affecting her Majesty's happiness which occurred during the year, will now be recorded. The royal party assembled in the morning of the 10th of February at Buckingham Palace, whence it had been arranged that the members of her Majesty's family and those of Prince Albert's, accompanied by the officers of State, should proceed to St. James's Palace. The entire route along which the royal cortge was to pass was lined by the Horse Guards, while the trumpeters, in their State uniforms, were stationed at intervals to announce the approach of the royal bride and bridegroom. First, the Ladies and Gentlemen of her Majesty's Household, in seven royal carriages, arrived at the garden entrance of St. James's Palace; and then followed the splendid State coach containing her Majesty, her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, and the Mistress of the Robes. The closet behind the Throne Room had been draped with silk and prepared for the reception of the Queen. There her Majesty, attended by her maids of honour, train-bearers, and bridesmaids, remained until the Lord Chamberlain of her Household marshalled the procession to the Chapel Royal. Soon after her Majesty had entered the closet, the clash of "presented arms," the roll of drums and flourish of trumpets outside, told that the bridegroom had arrived. At a quarter to one o'clock the ring was placed upon her Majesty's finger; outside, the guns thundered forth the intelligence; but their loud booming was nearly drowned by the long-continued shouts of acclamation which arose from the thousands who thronged the park. At the conclusion of the service the Queen Dowager cordially embraced and kissed the bride, and the Prince acknowledged Queen Adelaide's congratulations by kissing her hand. The bride and her royal consort drove at once to Buckingham Palace, and the noble assembly that had witnessed the ceremony retired. After a splendid breakfast at Buckingham Palace the bride and bridegroom took their departure for Windsor Castle. The sun shone out in cloudless lustre just at the moment of their leaving the gateway; the vast concourse of people assembled outside the palace hailed this as a happy omen, and as the carriage containing the royal pair drove off, the air was rent with the most enthusiastic cheering.
On the 6th of May Lord Pelham communicated to the Lords, and Mr. Addington to the Commons, another message from his Majesty, informing them that he had ordered Lord Whitworth, our Ambassador, to quit Paris immediately, unless he saw a prospect of closing the negotiations with the First Consul within a certain date; and that M. Andreossi, the French Ambassador, had applied for his passport, in order to quit London when Lord Whitworth should quit Paris. In consequence of the uncertainty of the result there was an adjournment, and then a second; but on the 16th of May all suspense was terminated by the announcement of Ministers that Lord Whitworth had quitted Paris, and M. Andreossi London. The papers which had passed between this Government and France, in the late negotiations, were ordered to be produced, and an Order in Council was issued, directing reprisals to be granted against the ships, goods, and subjects of the French Republic, and also for an embargo not only on all French ships in British ports, but on all Dutch vessels, and vessels of any Power under the military rule of France. Britain was once more at war. On the 17th of June the king announced, by message, that, in consequence of the Batavian Republic refusing to order the French troops to quit Hollandwhich, indeed, would have paid no attention to such ordershe had recalled his Ambassador from the Hague and had issued letters of marque and reprisals against that Republic. Thus, we were also at war with Holland. At the same time a demand was made for a grant of sixty thousand pounds, and a pension of sixteen thousand pounds per annum to the Prince of Orange, the ex-Stadtholder, on the plea that he was an exile and destitute; and the grant was voted. Parliament was now daily occupied in passing fresh measures for the defence of the country. It was voted, on the 20th of June, that a reserve army of fifty thousand should be raised by ballot, like the militia; and, indeed, it was no other than the extension of the militia: for during the war this division was to serve only in Great Britain, Ireland, and the Channel Islands. On the 18th of July it was proposed to pass a Bill enabling his Majesty to raise a levy en masse in case of invasion. Pitt strongly supported it, and proposed fresh fortifications on the coasts.
The large majorities in the House of Lords were to be ascribed chiefly to the unparalleled influence of the Duke of Wellington. But the public at the time were little aware of the difficulties that great man had to deal with in overcoming the opposition of the king, who was much under the influence of the Duke of Cumberland. When the storm of Conservative violence reached its height, after the rejection of Peel in Oxford, and his return, not without a struggle, for Westbury; and when, on the 3rd of March, he gave notice that he would draw the attention of the House to the clause of the Royal Speech referring to Ireland, the king, greatly excited and alarmed, sent the same evening to desire that the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, and the Chancellor should wait upon him next day. He had already seen the Chancellor once, and the Duke twice separately. The king received his three Ministers, when they presented themselves at the palace, kindly but gravely; he looked anxious and embarrassed while he requested them to make him acquainted with the details of their Bill. It was explained to him that it would relieve Roman Catholics from the necessity of making a declaration against the doctrine of transubstantiation; whilst it so far modified in their case the oath of supremacy, as to omit all notice of the king's authority in things spiritual. "What!" he exclaimed, "do you mean to alter the ancient law of supremacy?" It was to no purpose he was shown that the alteration applied only to Roman Catholics, who would be dispensed from swearing what they could not believe; but he appealed to his own coronation oath, in reference to which he could not recognise the dispensing power of his Ministers. The king was condescending in the extreme. He seemed deeply grieved at the dilemma to which they had been brought. He acknowledged that possibly he had gone too far on former occasions, though he had acted entirely through misapprehension. But now he trusted that they would see, with him, that it had become a point of conscience, and that there was no alternative left him except to withdraw his assent. In the most respectful manner they acquiesced in his Majesty's determination, allowing, without a murmur, that he had a perfect right to act as he proposed. But when he went on further to ask what they intended to do, the Duke's answer was explicit: they must retire from his Majesty's service, and explain to Parliament that unexpected obstacles had arisen to the accomplishment of the policy which they were engaged to pursue. To this Mr. Peel added, that as the Bill for the suppression of the Catholic Association had been carried on the understanding that other and more comprehensive measures would follow, it would be necessary to make Parliament generally aware of the causes which operated to prevent the bringing forward of those measures. The king heard all this to an end, without attempting to interrupt, or argue with, his Ministers. He admitted, on the contrary, that it was impossible for them to take any other course, and then bade them farewell, kissing each of them on both cheeks. They set off from Windsor immediately, and arrived at Lord Bathurst's, where their colleagues were waiting dinner for them. They made a full report of all that had occurred, and announced that the Government was at an end. The party broke up, believing themselves to be out of office; but early next morning, before any decisive steps had been taken, a special messenger arrived at Apsley House with a letter from the king. It was guardedly expressed, for it went no further than to state that his Majesty had found greater difficulties than he expected in forming a new Cabinet, and was therefore desirous that the present Ministry should go on. The moment was critical, and the position of the Government delicate and in some sense insecure. No doubt, his Majesty's letter might be read as implying an abandonment of the objections which he had taken to the policy of his Ministers overnight, but it was certainly capable of a different interpretation. It appeared, therefore, to the Duke, that before proceeding further it would be necessary to come to a clear understanding with the king as to his Majesty's real intentions, and Mr. Peel concurring in this opinion, the Duke was requested to write to the king on the subject. He did so, with all the candour and loyalty which were natural to him; and the result was an unequivocal declaration from the Sovereign that he would accept the measures of his Ministers as his own.
Lord Durham at once resigned, and was succeeded by Mr. Poulett Thomson, afterwards Lord Sydenham, who fully adopted his policy, which was ably expounded in an important report from the pen of Mr. Charles Buller, with additions by Gibbon Wakefield. It was characterised by profound statesmanship, and was the basis of the sound policy which has made united Canada a great and flourishing State. Meanwhile, the returned prisoners from Bermuda showed their sense of the leniency with which they had been treated by immediately reorganising the rebellion. Sir John Colborne, the commander-in-chief, who had, on Lord Durham's departure, assumed provisionally the government of the colonies, thereupon proclaimed martial law, and stamped out the insurrection. Only twelve of the principal offenders were ultimately brought to trial, of whom ten were sentenced to death, but only four were executed. The persons convicted of treason, or political felony, in Upper Canada, from the 1st of October, 1837, to the 1st of November, 1838, were disposed of as follows:pardoned on giving security, 140; sentenced to confinement in penitentiary, 14; sentenced to banishment, 18; transported to Van Diemen's Land, 27; escaped from Fort Henry, 12. The American prisoners had been sent to Kingston, and tried by court-martial on the 24th of November. Four of them were sentenced to death, and executed, complaining of the deception that had been practised on them with regard to the strength of the anti-British party, and the prospects of the enterprise. Five others were afterwards found guilty and executed. The American Government, though deprecating those executions on grounds of humanity, disclaimed all sanction or encouragement of such piratical invasions, and denied any desire on its part for the annexation of Canada.