Mr. Manners Sutton was again chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, having already presided over four successive Parliaments, occupying a period of fourteen years, during which he performed the onerous duties of his high position to the satisfaction of all parties. A week was occupied in the swearing-in of members. All the preliminary formalities having been gone through, the Parliament was opened by the king in person on the 2nd of November. The Royal Speech, which was of unusual length, excited the deepest interest, and was listened to with breathless attention and intense anxiety. The concluding paragraph of the Speech, while expressing the strongest confidence in the loyalty of the people, intimated the determination of the Government to resist Parliamentary Reform. This attitude was regarded as a defiance to the Opposition; and it roused into excitement the spirit of hostility, which might have been disarmed by a tone of conciliation, and by a disposition to make moderate concessions. Nothing, therefore, could have been more favourable to the aims of the Whig leaders than the course taken by the Administration; and if they wanted an excuse for breaking forth into open war, it was supplied by the imprudent speech of the Duke of Wellington. The Royal Speech, indeed, suggested revolutionary topics to the Reformers, by its allusion to Continental politics. The king observed that the elder branch of the House of Bourbon no longer reigned in France, and that the Duke of Orleans had been called to the throne. The state of affairs in the Low Countries攏amely, the separation of Belgium from Holland攚as viewed with deep regret; and "his Majesty lamented that the enlightened administration of the King of the Netherlands" should not have preserved his dominions from revolt; stating that he was endeavouring, in concert with his allies, to devise such means of restoring tranquillity as might be compatible with the welfare and good government of the Netherlands, and with the future security of other States. [See larger version] 丁香五月啪啪,激情综合,色久久,色久久综合网,五月婷婷开心中文字幕 [See larger version] After the Painting by BIRKET FOSTER, R.W.S. The feeling of humanity that gained ground among the masses powerfully affected the middle classes. The consequence was that the state of public feeling produced by the practical inculcation of Christianity and the diffusion of knowledge compelled our legislature to change its system, despite the obstinate resistance of Lords Eldon and Ellenborough, hardened by a long official familiarity with the destructive operation of legal cruelty. How fearful the amount of that destruction was we may infer from the calculation of Mr. Redgrave, of the Home Office, who stated that had the offences tried in 1841 been tried under the laws of 1831, the eighty capital sentences would have been increased to 2,172. Mr. Redgrave gave the following succinct history of the mitigation of the criminal code during the reigns of George IV. and William IV., in a series of enactments which were extorted from a reluctant Legislature by society, humanised through the education of the masses:擨n 1826, 1827, and 1828 Sir Robert Peel carried several very important Bills for the consolidation and amendment of the criminal laws, but these Bills did not abolish capital punishments. That statesman, indeed, made it a matter of boast that he did not constitute any new capital felonies, and pointed out an instance in which he had abated the capital punishment by increasing from 40s. to 锟?, the sum of which the theft in a dwelling-house constituted a capital offence, and by widening the technical description of a dwelling. In 1830 Sir Robert Peel brought in his Forgery Bill, and petitions were poured into the House from all quarters against the re-enactment of the severe penalties for this offence. Sir James Mackintosh again took up the subject, and moved that the capital punishment be struck out from the Bill. He was unsuccessful; but in the last stage of the measure Mr. Spring-Rice was enabled to defeat the Ministry by a majority of 151 to 138, and to remove the sentence of death from the Bill. It was, however, restored by the Lords, and the Bill, as altered, was suffered to pass the House of Commons at the end of the Session. In 1832 two most important Bills for abolishing capital punishments were passed. Mr. Ewart, assisted by the Government, was able to carry a Bill abolishing the punishment of death in cases of horse, sheep, and cattle stealing, and larceny in a dwelling-house. He was opposed by Sir Robert Peel, and an amendment was made in the Lords, subjecting these offences to the fixed penalty of transportation for life. At the same time, Ministers brought in a Bill for abolishing capital punishment in cases of forgery. The Bill was introduced into the Commons by the Attorney-General, and into the House of Lords by the Lord Chancellor. It passed into law, but an amendment was made in the House of Lords, under protest of the Lord Chancellor, exempting the forgery of wills and powers of attorney to transfer stock, which offences were left capital. In 1833 Mr. Leonard carried his Bill for abolishing capital punishment for housebreaking, executions for which offence were continued down to 1830. In 1834 Mr. Ewart carried a Bill for abolishing capital punishment for returning from transportation, and in the following year for sacrilege and letter-stealing. This was the state of the criminal law when Lord John Russell brought in Bills for its mitigation, founded on the report of a committee which Government had appointed. The little progress which Sir S. Romilly and Sir J. Mackintosh had made in opposition to the Governments of their day will be seen by the foregoing sketch, as well as the extensive and salutary changes which followed. Lord John Russell's Bills effected an extensive abolition of the sentence of death, and a mitigation of the secondary punishments. He was enabled to abolish capital punishments in all cases but murder and attempts to murder where dangerous bodily injuries were effected; burglary and robbery when attended with violence or wounds; arson of dwelling-houses where life was endangered; and six other offences of very rare occurrence. The number of capital convictions in 1829 was 1,385; and in 1834, three years after the extensive abolition of capital punishments, the number was reduced to 480. The Cabinet, by a very considerable majority, declined giving its assent to the proposals which the Minister thus made to them. They were supported by only three members of the Cabinet攖he Earl of Aberdeen, Sir James Graham, and Mr. Sidney Herbert. The other members of the Cabinet, some on the ground of objection to the principle of the measures recommended, others upon the ground that there was not yet sufficient evidence of the necessity for them, withheld their sanction. CHAPTER XX. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).