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The Duke of York did not long survive his vehement declaration against the concession of the Catholic claims. His vow that he would never permit the Emancipation to take place, whatever might be his future positionalluding to his probable accession to the Throneembittered the feelings of the Irish Roman Catholics against him. His disease was dropsy, and Mr. Sheil, at a public dinner, jeeringly referred to the "rotundity of his configuration." Mr. O'Connell, with equally bad taste, exulted in the prospect of his dissolution, and said, "I wish no physical ill to the royal duke; but if he has thrown his oath in the way of our liberties, and that, as long as he lives, justice shall not be done to the people of Ireland, it is a mockery to tell me that the people of Ireland have not an interest in his ceasing to live. Death is the corrector of human errors; it is said to be man's hour for repentance, and God's opportunity. If the royal duke should not become converted from his political errors, I am perfectly resigned to the will of God, and shall abide the result with the most Christian resignation." The duke's bodily sufferings increased very much towards the end of 1826, and in December the disease manifested the most alarming symptoms. He continued to the last to discharge his duties as Commander-in-Chief. His professional zeal flashed out even on his death-bed. At a time when his breathing was so oppressed that it was necessary to support him with pillows in an upright position, he personally gave all the orders, and directed all the arrangements, for the expedition which left England in the middle of December, when the peace of Europe was in imminent danger from the threatened invasion of Portugal. Notwithstanding his dislike to Canning, in consequence of their difference on the Catholic question, he co-operated with him in this matter with an earnestness and vigour which the Duke of Wellington himself could not have surpassed. On the 5th of January, 1827, he died.[See larger version]
The debates were very animated, and excited the liveliest interest. The Bill was read the first time by a majority of five. On the 10th of May the House divided on the second reading, which was carried by a majority of twelve, the numbers being, for the Bill, two hundred and thirty-five; noes, two hundred and twenty-three. The exertions made to defeat this Bill were extraordinary. There were twenty-seven pairs of members who appeared in the House. The Duke of York canvassed against it in all directions with the utmost zeal and activity. It was felt that if it passed into law, the admission of Roman Catholics into the Lower House must follow as a matter of course. The Bill, however, was thrown out by the Lords.
there yourself.As it is, you have had two years more than most.'
The war in Afghanistan was alluded to in the Royal Speech, at the opening of the Session of 1843, in terms of congratulation at the complete success that had attended the recent military operations in that country, owing to the high ability with which they had been directed, as well as the constancy and valour of the European and native forces, which had established, by decisive victories on the scenes of former disasters, the superiority of her Majesty's arms, and had effected the liberation of the British subjects that had been held in captivity. This, therefore, is the proper time to relate briefly the incidents of that war, some of which are full of romantic interest. About the year 1837 the attention of the British Government in India was attracted by the conduct of certain supposed agents of Russia, in the countries to the west of the Indus. The Russian ambassador, Simonitch, was urging the Shah to lay siege to Herat, "the key to India," and the place was soon closely invested. It was saved by the fortuitous presence in the town of a gallant young officer of engineers, Eldred Pottinger, who rallied the inhabitants and beat off the enemy. Meanwhile, another Russian agent, Vicovitch by name, had been sent to Cabul. In order to counteract his designs, it was thought desirable to establish an alliance with the rulers of Afghanistan. With this view overtures were made to Dost Mahomed Khan through a mission headed by Alexander Burnes. These having failed, chiefly from the ill-advised interference with Burnes of the Governor-General, Lord Auckland, the British Government sought to establish a friendly power in Afghanistan by aiding the exiled prince, Shah Sujah, in another attempt to regain his throne. The step, which was condemned by numerous clear-sighted people in India, was probably forced upon Lord Auckland by the Melbourne Ministry, to whom it was recommended by the military authorities at home, among them the Duke of Wellington. The chief of Cabul had an army of 14,000 men, including 6,000 cavalry, with 40 field-pieces. His brothers held Candahar and the surrounding country, with a military force of 4,000 men and 50 guns. The British force assembled to support the claims of his opponent amounted to 28,000 men, aided by a contingent force of 6,000 Sikhs, furnished by the ruler of the Panjab, and about 5,000 troops raised by the Shah's eldest son. This combined force was called "the Army of the Indus." Under the chief command of Sir John Keane, it advanced to the town of Quetta, and thence to Candahar, which was occupied without opposition; and there, on the 8th of May, 1839, Shah Sujah was solemnly enthroned. After this the march was resumed towards Cabul. The fortress of Ghuznee, believed by the Afghans to be impregnable, was blown up and taken by storm. The invading army reached Cabul, and on the 7th of August the restored sovereign made his public entry into his capital. Having thus accomplished its mission, the Army of the Indus returned home, leaving behind a detachment of 8,000 men. For two years Shah Sujah and his allies remained in possession of Cabul and Candahar, Dost Mahomed having surrendered after having won a partial success over the British on the 2nd of November, 1840.
THE QUEEN'S FIRST COUNCIL.Judy