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events last referred to. Nearly at the same time as the news arrived of the fall of the stronghold of King Theodore, the country, was shocked and dismayed at the intelligence from Australia that his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, visiting in his voyage in the “Galatea” our Australian settlements, had been shot in the back, while attending some festive meeting at Sydney, by the hand of an assassin, and dangerously wounded. The public indignation at the crime and anxiety for the life of the young and popular prince were excited to a very high degree, and the feeling was not abated until by the next advices from the colony it was learned that the royal patient, though narrowly escaping a mortal injury, had been successfully treated for the wound, and that there was good reason to anticipate in due time his complete recovery. The sympathy of the nation in the feelings of the Queen was promptly indicated by addresses moved immediately on the arrival of the painful tidings in both Houses of Parliament.
Lord Malmesbury asked the House of Lords to congratulate her Majesty on the providential and happy escape of his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh from the attack of a cowardly assassin. The attempt made was one most diabolical, and was as cowardly as it was purposeless. Purposeless it was in every sense, for it could have no political effect whatever, either on the dynasty or the Government. It was simply a murderous attempt on the life of a young prince who had never connected himself with political parties of any kind: He moved, therefore, that a message of condolence from their Lordships' House be forwarded to her Majesty, who, the House would be glad to hear, had received the painful intelligence of her son's wound with the firmness and courage which distinguished her and all her race.
Earl Russell said he entirely concurred in the address. It was plain now that the Fenians, finding themselves powerless to effect any thing else, had resorted to the dastardly system of assassinating unoffending persons in the hope of exciting terror. The address was voted nem. con.
Similar proceedings took place in the House of Commons.
Mr. Disraeli, in proposing the address, said that if any thing could aggravate the atrocity of the act it was the occasion on which it was perpetrated, when his Royal Highness was fulfilling one of those offices which are the most graceful appanages of his rank. “ We flatter ourselves that we live in an age of progress, but there appear to be cycles in our progress in which the worst passions and habits of distant ages are revived.
Some distant centuries ago the world was tortured with the conviction that some mysterious power existed which could command in every camp, and court, and capital, a poniard at its disposal. It seems that at this time too some dark confederacy of that kind is spreading over the world. All that I can say is that I regret that for a moment such acts should have been associated with the name of Ireland. I am convinced myself, as I have expressed before in this House, that the
imputation is unjust. I believe that these acts, and the characters who perpetrate them, are the distempered consequences of civil wars and disorganized societies, and that when their dark invasion first touched Ireland, the nation as a whole entirely repudiated them. The manner in which, in that land, another son (his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales) of the Queen has recently been received has proved that the loyalty of the Irish nation is unchanged and undimmed, and that those amiable and generous feelings which have always been characteristic of the Irish people flourish with the same vigour that we have before recognized. I trust that under these circumstances I may move, “That an humble address be presented to her Majesty the Queen, as an expression of the sorrow and indignation with which the House has heard of the atrocious attempt to assassinate his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh while on a visit to her Majesty's loyal Australian colonies ; of their heartfelt congratulations to her Majesty on the preservation of his Royal Highness from material injury; and, further, to assure her Majesty of the sympathy of this House under her Majesty's present anxiety, and of their earnest hope for the speedy recovery of his Royal Highness.”
Mr. Gladstone seconded the address, which was unanimously adopted. Her Majesty returned to it the following answer :-"Í receive with deep satisfaction your sympathizing address. The attempt upon the life of my son, the Duke of Edinburgh, has, I feel, only further aroused the loyalty of my Australian subjects, so heartily displayed in his reception. I am very sensible of the Divine protection afforded him, and in my anxiety still trust in it; while in this as in all trials I derive consolation and support from the affectionate attachment of my Parliament and people.”
The wretched author of this nefarious attempt, one O'Farrell, an emigrant from Ireland, suffered the penalty due to his crime at Sydney, where the loyal feelings of the inhabitants towards the British Crown, and their indignation at the outrage which seemed to reflect dishonour on their soil, were kindled to a high pitch. The prisoner appears to have met his death with courage. He left behind him a letter in which he expressed extreme sorrow for what he had done, and denied that his act was connected with any political organization. There was not a single human being in existence, he said, who had the slightest knowledge of his project. The statement that there was a Fenian organization in New South Wales had no foundation, except perhaps mere hearsay. “From brooding over the wrongs of Ireland, I became,” he says in conclusion, "excited, and filled with enthusiasm on the subject, and it was when under the influence of those feelings that I attempted to perpetrate the deed for which I am now justly called upon to suffer."
The following speech, which was made by the Duke of Edinburgh at an entertainment given by the Governor of New South
Wales at Sydney, just before his Royal Highness left that colony under the advice of his medical attendants for England, shows the sentiments of a courageous and high-spirited prince on the occurrence which had caused so much public excitement. The company which his Royal Highness addressed on this occasion, consisted of most of the leading persons in Sydney, the chief civil and military functionaries, and other individuals prominent by their wealth or station in that society. A spirit of the most cordial loyalty, enhanced by the sympathy felt for the youthful prince who had so narrowly escaped a tragical doom, pervaded the assembly. The health of her Majesty the Queen was drunk with great enthusiasm; that of the Prince himself was greeted with equally ardent feelings. It was understood that his Royal Highness had expressed his desire that the life of O'Farrell should be spared, but the authorities in the colony wisely thought that it was a case in which the law should take its course. In acknowledging the toast of his health the Duke of Edinburgh spoke as follows:
“Gentlemen: I have no doubt you will allow me to read the few words that I desire to say to you, as I do not feel equal to the task of speaking extempore. In returning you my best thanks for drinking my health, I must express my regret at having to bid you farewell; and I take this opportunity of thanking you for the enthusiastic and hospitable manner in which I have been received and entertained in this as well as all the Australian colonies. The universal manifestations of loyalty to the Queen and attachment to her person and throne have ere this been made known to her Majesty, and cannot fail to have given her the liveliest pleasure. I must now, however, allude to the unfortunate occurrence connected with myself which marred your festivities and cast a temporary gloom over the community. I sincerely regret, on your part, that there should have been any one incident during my sojourn among you which should have detracted from the general satisfaction which I believe my visit to Australia has given. The event, however, cannot in any degree shake my conviction of the loyalty of the colonists at large, nor her Majesty's confidence in her Australian subjects. Indeed, the meetings and expressions of sentiments which have been called forth by the recent attempt on my life will show their fellow-subjects at home and the world at large that they not only have loyalty, but affection for their Queen and her family. If there is any disaffection tending to disloyalty among any community in any section of this portion of her Majesty's dominions, it will be the duty of the Government to put it down, and I am certain that here it will receive every support from all classes. Through the merciful interposition of Providence the injury I received was but slight, and I believe no further evil consequences are to be anticipated from the wound.
It has, however, been considered that I shall be unequal to any great exertion for some time, and therefore it has been decided that it would be most advisable for me to return home direct. It is a
great disappointment for me not to be able to visit New Zealand, and I am afraid it will also very much disappoint the people there. In thanking you once more for your kindness to me during my visit, I must tell you how much I have enjoyed it, and regret that it comes to an end to-day. Before I conclude I will ask you to join me in a toast. I propose Prosperity to the Colony of New South Wales ;' and as this is the last opportunity I shall have of addressing an assembly of Australians, I beg to couple with it the toast, ‘Prosperity to all the Australian Colonies.''
Upon the Duke's return to England the public was highly gratified to learn that he had entirely recovered from the effects of his wound.
RELIGION AND EDUCATION – Settlement of the long-contested Church-rate question
Review of the various plans proposed—Four Bills are brought in by different Members -Statement of Mr. Gladstone's scheme for abolishing the compulsory paymentGreat majority in the House of Commons in favour of the principle of this BillOpposition of Mr. Henley and Mr. Newdegate—The Bill is passed and sent to the Lords – The Earl of Malmesbury proposes to refer it to a Select Committee, Earl Russell, with some hesitation, consents to this course—Some important modifications are introduced in Committee - Effect of these alterations stated by Lord Russell, who accedes to the Amendments-Lord Derby also expresses his assent, The Bishops of Oxford and Gloucester and Bristol protest against the measure - The amendments moved are negatived and the Bill passed-On the motion of Mr. Gladstone the Lords' Amendments are agreed to by the other House -- National Education - Bill brought in by Mr. H. A. Bruce to authorize compulsory rating for the purpose of educationThe Duke of Marlborough, President of the Council, proposes a measure on behalf of the Government - Statement of his plan-It is approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of London, and other Peers, but is opposed by the Earl of Airlie, the Duke of Argyll, and Lord Kimberley— The second reading is passed, but in consequence of the pressure of public business the Bill is eventually withdrawn The same result befalls Mr. Bruce's Bill-Vote for Public Education, moved by Lord Robert Montagu–His statement as to the progress of national instruction and extension of schools—Comments of Mr. H. A. Bruce, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Hubbard, and other members on the Ministerial statement - Religious Tests at the Unirersities --Mr. J. D. Coleridge renews his attempt to carry a Bill for abolishing these restrictions --Iinportant debate on the second reading, which is carried by 198 to 140—The farther progress of the Bill is stopped by the pressure of businessBill for restraining the excess of Ritual observances in the Church brought in by Lord Shaftesbury – The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Marquis of Salisbury and other Peers oppose the measure as premature, and the “ previous question " being moved by Lord Derby, it is lost – Disendowment of the Church in the West Indies-A Bill for this purpose brought in by the Government suggests a parallel with Mr. Gladstone's policy as to the Irish Church-Controversy on this question between the Earl of Carnarvon and the Lord Chancellor— The Bill is passed - Miscellaneous Measures passed or rejected before the close of the Session - The Promissory Oaths Bill, the Railway Companies Bill, the Electric Telegraph Govern. ment Purchase Bill, and the Public Schools Bill are passed— The Sale of Liquors on Sundays Bill, and the Metropolitan Meat Market Bill are withdrawn-Parliament
is prorogued by Commission on July 31st-Her Majesty's Speech. The Session of 1868, which was in various other respects a memorable one, happily witnessed the conclusion of a long-pending con
troversy, by bringing to a legislative settlement the much-vexed question of Church-rates. This fruitful topic of discussion and agitation, of which all parties were thoroughly wearied, was laid to rest in a manner which if not satisfactory to all minds, appeared on the whole a preferable result to that chronic irritation and suspense which the previous state of the law had engendered, and which there seemed no other prospect of allaying. The schemes for settling the problem, which had at different times during the last few years been propounded in a' more or less formal shape, were of various characters. The Conservatives some time ago had proposed to exempt any one from payment on his declaring himself a Dissenter, and accepting some consequent disqualifications. This scheme, under various modifications, had been proposed Session after Session, and had of late been promoted by Mr. Hubbard and others who acted with him. It was forcibly objected to this plan that it stamped or “ ticketed” as Dissenters a distinct party in the parish, and tended to cut them off from joining the Church, or at least threw obstacles in the way of their conformity. Mr. Bright again had suggested that all that was necessary was to abolish the compulsory machinery of summons and bailiff, leaving the law in other respects in statu quo. This idea appears to have caught the mind of Mr. Gladstone, and to have suggested to him the rudiments of the plan which he propounded in the present year as the basis of a settlement. The situation of the Conservative party in office, and other circumstances, combined to render the plan acceptable to a large majority of the House of Commons, and to produce, after certain modifications of detail, its ultimate adoption.
At an early period of the Session no less than four Bills on the subject were together offered to the House for their selection : first, that of Mr. Hardcastle for total and unconditional abolition ; next, that of Mr. Hubbard, which proposed an optional exemption under the conditions above described ; thirdly, a plan of Mr. Newdegate for fixing the liability to the rate as a compulsory charge upon property instead of upon persons; and fourthly, the measure proposed by Mr. Gladstone.
The latter Bill came on first for discussion on the second reading, when Mr. Gladstone gave a short explanation of its provisions. He said that it would abolish henceforth all legal proceedings for the recovery of Church-rates, except in cases of rates already made, or where money had been borrowed on the security of the rates; but it permitted voluntary assessments to be made, and all agreements to make such payments on the faith of which any expenditure had been incurred would be enforcible in the same manner as contracts of a like character in any court of law or equity. No one who had not paid would be able to vote on any question relating to voluntary assessment. Mr. Gladstone expressed a strong hope that the Bill would elicit such a concurrence of opinion as would lead to a satisfactory settlement, but intimated that if it