Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/332

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Ocean of Reform, in which the character of the apocryphal and obstinate dame is sustained by that vigorous opponent of the Reform Bill, his grace the Duke of Wellington.

A Dead Lock. As the Lords had thrown out the Reform Bill, it was necessary to begin de novo. Accordingly, on the 12th of December, Lord John Russell again moved for leave to bring in a new Reform Bill, which passed the third reading by a majority of 116 on the 23rd of March, 1832, and its second reading in the House of Peers, by a majority of nine, on the 14th of April. Then the fighting and opposition became once more as strenuous and as sustained as ever. On a subsequent division the ministry were left in a minority of thirty-five, whereupon Earl Grey proceeded to the king, and tendered to his Majesty the alternative either of arming the ministers with the powers they deemed necessary to carry through their bill (which really meant a power to create whatever new peers they might deem requisite for the purpose), or of accepting their own immediate resignation. In the course of the following day the king informed his lordship that he had determined to accept his resignation rather than have recourse to the only alternative which had been proposed to him; and accordingly, on the 9th, Earl Grey announced in the House of Lords, and Lord Althorp in the Commons, that the ministry was at an end, and simply held office till their successors should be appointed. The Duke of Wellington attempted to form an administration, and failed—and his failure left matters, the ministers, and the perplexed monarch, of course exactly "as they were."

The excitement occasioned by the Lords was tremendous. At London, Birmingham, Manchester, and other large centres, simultaneous meetings were held to petition the Commons to stop the supplies. In the metropolis placards were everywhere posted, recommending the union of all friends of the cause; the enforcement of the public rights at all hazards; and a universal resistance to the payment of taxes, rates, tithes, and assessments; the country in fact was on the brink of revolution. At the meetings of the political societies, even in the leading journals, projects were openly discussed and recommended for organizing and arming the people; the