THE CHRISTENING OF THE PRINCESS ROYAL AT BUCKINGHAM
PALACE, February io, 1841.
Her Majesty's eldest child, the Princess Royal,
1840, christened Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa.
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The Fall of the
THE closing months of the Melbourne Ministry afford
melancholy matter for chronicle. The Government went
on steadily losing popularity in the country and
forfeiting respect in Parliament. The sword, long
impending, descended at last. Mr. Baring, Who had
succeeded Spring Rice as Chancellor of the
Exchequer, had to confess to a deficiency in his
Budget of nearly two millions, which he proposed to
meet by a re-adjustment of the sugar and timber
duties, which brought about the defeat of the
Government by a majority of thirty-six. Still,
Ministers did not resign. Russell had
determined at length to make a bid for the Free
Trade vote, and gave notice of his intention to
propose a permanent reduction in the duty on corn.
But the announcement fell flatly ; people only saw
in this sudden conversion another desperate effort
to retain office, for the Whigs hitherto had been
inflexible in resistance to Free Trade demands.
Melbourne had sworn roundly that of all the mad
projects he had ever heard of the surrender of
duties was the maddest and Russell had been equally
explicit, though employing fewer expletives. The
duty on imported corn had been established by
legislation in 1815, and was on a sliding scale
according to current prices. The impost was 27s. on
each quarter of wheat when the price fell below
6os.,and diminished in proportion as the price rose
till it stood at is. when the price of the quarter
was 73s. and upwards.
The next move in Parliament
was a vote of no confidence, moved by Sir Robert
Peel, and then at last Lord John Russell announced
that Her Majesty had been advised to dissolve
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