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But the subject was not so easily disposed of. Colonel Barr, in the House of Commons, only three days after Burke introduced his great motion, declared that Burke's measure did not go far enough; that Burke did not mean to interfere with the enormous pensions and overpaid places already in possession; and that he would himself introduce a motion for a Committee of Accounts, to probe all these depths of corruption, and to examine into the army extravagances, which were excessive, and to him unaccountable. Lord North, so far from opposing this motion, declared his surprise that no one had thought of introducing it before, and that he was extremely anxious himself for the reduction of all needless expenditure. The Opposition expressed their particular satisfaction; but they were rather too precipitate, for North made haste to get the business into his own hands; and, on the 2nd of March, was ready with a Bill of his own framing. The Opposition were lost in astonishment; and Barr denounced this perfidious conduct in the Minister in terms of just indignation. The whole Opposition, who found themselves outwitted, declared that the scheme, so far from being intended to relieve the country, was meant to shield existing abuses, and they accordingly resisted it to the utmost. North, however, by his standing majority of myrmidons, carried the Bill through the House; and Sir Guy Carleton, late Governor of Canada, and five others, were appointed Commissioners. Thus the whole motion was in reality shelved.The British Government had employed the best portion of the Session of Parliament between the commencement of November and Christmas, 1797, in receiving the report of the insults of the French Commissioners at Lille to our Ambassador, and his summary dismissal from the place of meeting without any chance of peace, and in voting money to carry on the war at our own doors. Pitt called for the grant of twenty-five million five hundred thousand pounds, and for trebling all the assessed taxes. All this was readily granted. In April, 1798, he called for three millions, and that was as freely conceded. In fact, by that time, the Irish were on the very verge of appearing in arms to cast off the yoke of England and accept the boasted fraternity of France. Lord Edward Fitzgerald, brother of the Duke of Leinster, one of the leading members of the Society of United Irishmen, had spent some time in France during the Revolution. He had married Pamela, the daughter of Madame de Genlis. To him, on his return to Ireland, French emissaries of revolution were secretly sent over, and he introduced them to the leading members of the projected revolt. In 1794 a Jacobinised Irishman, the Rev. William Jackson, came over from Paris, at the time of the fiercest raging of the Reign of Terror, to concert with Wolfe Tone and his fellow-conspirators the plans of insurrection. At the very time that some of theseBond, Simon Butler, and Hamilton Rowanwere[461] tried as accomplices of the Scottish reformers, Muir and the rest, and acquitted as men only seeking reform of Parliament, they were deep in this scheme of French invasion. Jackson was arrested in Dublin, was tried and convicted of high treason, but anticipated his sentence by suicide. The most public display of sympathy with his views and mission was made by a vast attendance of carriages at his funeral, and the features of rebellion became so undisguised that a stop was put to all questions of political concession and amelioration.

The Repeal AgitationDebate in the Dublin CorporationThe Monster MeetingsO'Connell's Speech at TaraThe Arms BillDismissal of the Repeal MagistratesSpeeches of the Duke of WellingtonThe Arms Bill becomes LawProclamation of the Clontarf MeetingO'Connell's Counter-ProclamationArrest and Trial of O'ConnellThe SentenceIt is reversed by the House of LordsRejoicings on O'Connell's LiberationThe Excitement at CorkDecline of O'ConnellHis Breach with the Young Ireland PartyIrish Debates in ParliamentApproach of the Irish FamineThe Devon CommissionIts ReportArrival of the Potato DiseaseThe FamineThe Relief Committee of the Society of FriendsThe Famine in UlsterA Description of Cork and SkibbereenDemoralisation of the PopulationPolicy of the Whig CabinetLord George Bentinck's Railway PlanFailure of the new Poor Law and of the Public WorksThe Temporary Relief ActFather MathewPrivate BenevolenceMunificence of the United States.

On the 8th of February Lord John Russell brought forward the paragraph of the Speech relating to agricultural distress, and moved for a select committee to inquire into the causes of the depression of the agricultural interest, although he confessed that he did not anticipate any satisfactory result from the investigation. In this the noble lord did not miscalculate, for after sitting for eight months the committee could not agree to any report, and all the benefit they conferred upon the public was an outline of the evidence which was laid before the House at the end of the Session. On the 9th and the 12th the same Minister submitted three measures to the House, which were passed into law this Sessionnamely, a Bill for the Commutation of Tithes in England; a Bill for a General Registration of Marriages, Births, and Deaths; and another for the amendment of the Law of Marriage. On the 16th of this month Mr. Hardy brought before the House of Commons the case of Mr. O'Connell and Mr. Raphael. The latter gentleman was one of the sheriffs of London, and he wished to represent an Irish constituency. Mr. O'Connell thought it was possible to get him in for the borough of Carlow; but he warned him that the expenses would be 2,000, and that this sum should be deposited in a bank as a preliminary, "say 2,000." It was alleged that this was a corrupt bargain, and Mr.[401] O'Connell was accused of selling a Parliamentary seat. Mr. Hardy, therefore, moved for a select committee to investigate the transaction. The committee was obtained, and the result was a complete acquittal of Mr. O'Connell. So strong, however, was the feeling against him that no less than sixty members of Brooks's Club resigned, having failed to procure his expulsion.Amongst the prose writers of this period a lady stands prominent, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (b. 1690; d. 1762), the daughter of the Duke of Kingston, and mother of Lady Bute, the wife of the Earl of Bute, the celebrated Minister of George III. Lady Mary derives her chief fame from her Letters, which were not published till after her death. They are as remarkable for their wit, brilliancy, and clear, thorough sense, as any of the writings of the age. In these we have a most graphic picture of life in the East, as she had lived some years at Constantinople with her husband. She thence conferred one of the greatest boons on her country, by the introduction of inoculation for the smallpox. Lady Mary translated the "Enchiridion of Epictetus," and wrote many verses, including satirical ones, called "Town Eclogues;" but her fame must always rest upon her clear and sparkling letters. She was celebrated for her wit and beauty, and was a leading figure in the fashionable as well as the literary world. Pope and she were long great friends, but quarrelled irreconcilably.

And, in truth, everything now seemed to run counter to Walpole, and to tend towards war. His colleague, the Duke of Newcastle, who had been one of the most obsequious of subordinates both under Stanhope and Walpole, now thought he should serve himself decidedly by advocating war. The king was naturally of a martial turn; he had won some military repute in his youth, and he was no longer under the exceedingly sensible guidance of the queen. Newcastle, therefore, probably in the hope of supplanting Walpole, fostered this spirit in the king, and took advantage of it to recommend warlike measures in the Cabinet, and to send despatches to the British ambassadors in Spain, which but for the energy and wisdom of Walpole might have done irreparable mischief, and which rendered the negotiations extremely difficult. Lord Chancellor Hardwicke and Lord Harrington arrayed themselves on the same side, and blew the war-note in the House of Lords with unrestrained zeal. There was a time when Walpole would have had[71] these antagonistic colleagues dismissed; but both he and they saw too well that there was such a strong war spirit in both king and people, that no such thing was possible. He therefore pursued his efforts with the Court of Spain for peaceable conclusions, at the same time that he fell in so far with the belligerent spirit as to make active preparations as if for an encounter. This, however, was his last and most powerful argument for peacean argument meant to tell on the fears, as he could not reach a spirit of conciliation in the Spaniards.NAPOLEON ON BOARD THE "BELLEROPHON." (From the Picture by W. Q. Orchardson, R. A.)

Great was the joy inspired by these successes. The new Governor-General, Lord Ellenborough, issued a proclamation, in which he stated that he felt assured every subject of the British Government would peruse with the deepest interest and satisfaction the report of the entire defeat of the Afghan troops, under the command of Mahomed Akbar Khan, by the garrison of Jelalabad. These feelings of joy and satisfaction were shared by the Home Government. On the 20th of February, 1843, the Duke of Wellington, in the House of Lords, moved a vote of thanks to Sir George Pollock, Sir William Nott, Sir John M'Caskill, Major-General England, and the other officers of the army, both European and native, for the intrepidity, skill, and perseverance displayed by them in the military operations in Afghanistan, and for their indefatigable zeal and exertions throughout the late campaign. Lord Auckland seconded the motion, which was carried without opposition. Sir Robert Peel brought forward a similar motion in the House of Commons on the same day, following the example of the Duke in giving a succinct narrative of the events of the war, and warmly eulogising, amidst the cheers of the House, the officers who had most distinguished themselves. The resolution passed without opposition, Mr. Hume having withdrawn an amendment which he had proposed.Meanwhile, Lafayette and Bailly, summoned by this strange news, had hurried to the H?tel de Ville, where they found the National Guard and the French Guard drawn up, and demanding to be led to Versailles. The French Guard declared that the nation had been insulted by the Flanders regimentthe national cockade trampled on; and that they would go and bring the king to Paris, and then all should be well. Bailly and Lafayette attempted to reason with them; but they, and thousands upon thousands of armed rabble again collected there, only cried, "Bread! bread! Lead us to Versailles!" There was nothing for it but to comply; and at length Lafayette declared that he would conduct them there. He mounted his white horse, and this second army, about three o'clock in the afternoon, marched in the track of the amazons who had already reached Versailles.

The news of these imposts, and of this intended stamp duty, flew across the Atlantic, and produced the most bitter excitement. Never could this unwelcome news have reached the colonies at a more unpropitious moment. To restrictions on their legitimate trade, the British had been adding others on their illegitimate trade. Nearly all the American colonies lay on the seaboard, and were, therefore, naturally addicted to a free sort of trade, which these new duties made contraband. The British Government had sent out a number of revenue ships and officers to cut off this trade, and capture and confiscate all vessels found practising it. The colonists met in various places, and passed very strong resolutions against these regulations. The people of New England spread their views and resolves all over the colonies by means of the press. They refused to listen to any overtures of the British Government on the subject. They claimed the right to grant, of their own free will, such contributions to the revenue of the empire as their own assemblies should deem just, and to submit to no compulsion where they had no voice. They called on all the colonists to refrain as much as possible from purchasing any of the manufactures of England so long as she showed a disposition to oppress them, and to obtain their materials for clothing from other countries, or to begin to manufacture them themselves; and to cease also to use all luxuries on which the duties were laid. To make their case known in England, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Georgia appointed the celebrated Benjamin Franklin their agent in London.But there was one subject of general and permanent interest brought under the notice of the House of Commons. Mr. Henry Brougham made an important speech on the great and difficult subject of Popular Education, which he continued to advocate, with so much power and success, throughout the whole of his lengthened and brilliant career. He stated that there were then twelve thousand parishes or chapelries in England; of these three thousand five hundred had not a vestige of a school, and the people had no more means of education than the Hottentots or Kaffirs. Of the remainder, there were five thousand five hundred unendowed, depending entirely on the casual and fleeting support of the parents of the children attending them. The number of children receiving education at all the schools, week-day and Sunday, was seven hundred thousand. Estimating the number educated at home at fifty thousand, the whole number then under instruction would be seven hundred and fifty thousandabout one-fifteenth of the entire population. In Scotland the proportion at that time was about one-tenth; in Holland and Prussia the same; in Switzerland one-eighth. France was then at the bottom of the scale, only one-twenty-eighth of the population being under instruction. Mr. Brougham proposed a school-rate for England, according to the American plan.In the autumn of this year the British Admiralty tested a plan to blow up and destroy the French invasion flotilla in the harbour of Boulogne. It consisted of a chest, pitched outside and made waterproof, containing forty barrels of gunpowder, which was to be ignited by a certain contrivance when it struck smartly against a solid body. This machine was called a catamaran. The experiment was tried by Lord Keith on the 2nd of October. There were one hundred and fifty French gunboats, praams, and floating batteries anchored outside the pier of Boulogne. Lord Keith anchored opposite to them with three line-of-battle ships and several frigates, covering a number of bomb-ships and fire-ships and the catamarans. Four fire-ships were towed into the neighbourhood of the French flotilla and exploded with a terrific noise, but did no injury whatever to the flotilla or the French, beyond wounding some half-dozen men. The catamarans exploded, for the most part, with the same failure of effect.

An extraordinary scene of confusion was being enacted in the House of Commons at the moment when the king's reluctance was overcome. Sir R. Vivian took occasion to arraign Ministers violently for their intention of dissolving Parliament. Sir Francis Burdett contended that he was out of order. The Speaker ruled that he was in order. The Reformers differed from the Chair. Loud cries of "Sir Robert Peel! Sir Robert Peel!" were answered by counter-cries of "Sir Francis Burdett! Sir Francis Burdett!" and some wiser cries of "Chair! Chair!" The Speaker rose and stilled this unprecedented stormrebuked those who had disputed his authority, and again called on Sir Robert Peel, who proceeded thereupon, in undisguised anger, to address the House. But as the noise of the cannon, which announced the king's approach, boomed into the House, the Reform members loudly cheered, each discharge being greeted with overbearing and triumphant shouts. Suddenly Sir Robert's angry speech, and the loud cheers of the Reformers, were stilled by the three admonitory taps of the Usher of the Black Rod, who came to summon the members to attend his Majesty in the House of Peers. The Speaker at once obeyed, the Commons following. A similar scene of confusion in the Upper House was interrupted by the approach of the king. Lord Londonderry said, "I protest my lords, I will not submit to." Further than this his speech did not proceed, as the Lord Chancellor, who heard the king approaching, clutched the seals, left the woolsack, and darted out of the House. Lord Londonderry, not yet despairing, moved Lord Shaftesbury again to act as Speaker, and Lord Mansfield began a furious harangue in a loud and angry voice. In the meantime the Lord Chancellor met the king entering the House, and proceeding in procession to the robing-room. As the king advanced, the noise in the House became distinctly audible. "What's that, my Lord Chancellor?" said the king. "Only, may it please you, sire, the House of Lords amusing themselves while awaiting your Majesty's coming." The king, knowing what was meant, hastily robed, and as hastily entered the Housecutting short Lord Mansfield's speech, and putting an end to all chance of passing the[333] resolution under debate. The king ascended the throne, and commanded the attendance of the Commons. The bar of the House of Lords was thronged by the mass of members who now entered. The Speaker addressed the king, stating that the House of Commons approached the king with profound respect; and that the Commons had at no time more faithfully responded to the real feelings and interest of his Majesty's affectionate people; "while it has been," he added, "their earnest desire to support the dignity and honour of the Crown, upon which depend the greatness, the happiness, and the prosperity of this country." The Royal Assent being given to the bills that had passed, and, among others, to the Civil List Bill, the Chancellor presented to his Majesty the Speech he was to deliver, and the king, with the high shrill tone he always employed, but with more than wonted energy, read the first, which, indeed, was the really important paragraph of the Speech, and that which alone men cared to listen to or hear.

Each union of parishes, or each parish, if large and populous enough, was placed under the management of a board of guardians, elected annually by the ratepayers; but where under previous Acts an organisation existed similar to that of unions or boards of guardians, under the Poor Law Amendment Act these were retained. The following table exhibits the local divisions of England and Wales made under that Act:

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RESCUE OF THE BRITISH PRISONERS FROM AKBAR KHAN. (See p. 503.)Charles H. Coote, created Lord Castlecoote, with a regiment, patronage in Queen's County, and 7,500 in cash.

The state of opinion among the members of the Government from the early part of 1828 may be traced in the "Memoirs" of Sir Robert Peel, which comprise the confidential correspondence on the subject. The Marquis Wellesley had retired from the Government of Ireland, and was succeeded by the Marquis of Anglesey. The former nobleman would have given more satisfaction to the Irish Roman Catholics; but he was overruled, as they believed, by Mr. Goulburn, his Chief Secretary. His popularity and the confidence reposed in him were much increased by the fact that the marchioness was a Roman Catholic, which, however, proportionably rendered him an object of suspicion to the Orange party.Iron suspension bridges were also introduced towards the end of this reign. Chain bridges had been erected in China for nearly two thousand years, and rope bridges in India and South America still earlier. In England a foot-bridge of iron chains was erected at Middleton, over the Tees, in the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1816 a bridge of iron wire was thrown across the Gala Water; and another, on a different principle, the following year, was erected over the Tweed, at[193] King's Meadows. But now much greater and more complete works of the kind were to be executed. Captain (afterwards Sir Samuel) Brown introduced many improvements into these structures. He substituted iron ropes for hempen ones, thereby forming cable-chains, like those used in Wales on quarry tram-roads, and these he applied to suspension bridges. In 1819 he was commissioned to construct an iron suspension bridge over the Tweed, near Kelso, called the union Bridge, which he completed in 1820, at a cost of five thousand pounds. In 1827 the first suspension bridge was thrown over the Thames by Mr. William Tierney Clarke; and in 1818 Telford commenced his great work of throwing a suspension bridge over the Menai Strait, near Bangor, which he completed in 1825. The main opening of this stupendous work is five hundred and sixty feet wide, and one hundred feet above high-water mark. The length of the roadway of the bridge is one thousand feet. The cost was one hundred and twenty thousand pounds. This was Telford's chef-d'?uvre. But the same neighbourhood was destined to see a more stupendous structure span the Strait from the Welsh shore to Anglesey. This was the tubular railway bridge, connecting the London and Holyhead line, within view of Telford's elegant suspension bridge. This was erected by Robert Stephenson, from his own design, greatly improved by suggestions from William Fairbairn of Manchester. It was completed in October, 1850, at a cost of six hundred and twenty-five thousand eight hundred and sixty-five pounds. Further description of this great work is not proper here, as it belongs to a later date, but it seemed fit to mention it in passing, as an evidence of the progress of the engineering science in the reign of Victoria.

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