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OF

OUR OWN TIMES

BY

JUSTIN MCCARTHY

WITH APPENDIX AND INDEX

Twenty-four Photogravure Portraits

IN FOUR VOLUMES

VOLUME I.

1837-1847

NEW YORK

MERRILL AND BAKER

74 FIFTH AVENUE

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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 every

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