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A HISTORY

OF

OUR OWN TIMES

FROM THE ACCESSION OF QUEEN VICTORIA TO
THE GENERAL ELECTION OF 1880

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BY JUSTIN

McCARTHY

99 66

AUTHOR OF THE WATERDALE NEIGHBORS MY ENEMY'S DAUGHTER" ETC.

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOL. I.

WITH AN APPENDIX OF EVENTS TO THE END OF 1886

NEW YORK AND LONDON

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY GIFT OF

BERNARD BERENSON
OCT 13 1938

A HISTORY

OF

OUR OWN TIMES.

CHAPTER I.

THE KING IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE QUEEN!

BEFORE half-past two o'clock on the morning of June 20th, 1837, William IV. was lying dead in Windsor Castle, while the messengers were already hurrying off to Kensington Palace to bear to his successor her summons to the throne. The illness of the King had been but short, and at one time, even after it had been pronounced alarming, it seemed to take so hopeful a turn that the physicians began to think it would pass harmlessly away. But the King was an old man -was an old man even when he came to the throne-and when the dangerous symptoms again exhibited themselves, their warning was very soon followed by fulfilment. The death of King William may be fairly regarded as having closed an era of our history. With him, we may believe, ended the reign of personal government in England. William was, indeed, a constitutional king in more than mere name. He was to the best of his lights a faithful representative of the constitutional principle. He was as far in advance of his two predecessors in understanding and acceptance of the principle as his successor has proved herself beyond him. Constitutional government has developed itself gradually, as everything else has done in English politics. The written principle and code of its system it would be as vain to look for as for the British Constitution itself. King William still held to and exercised the right to dismiss his ministers when he pleased, and because he pleased. His fa

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