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Opinions of the Irish Government on the Catholic Question—Renewal of the Catholic Claims by Burdett—Vesey Fitzgerald accepts the Board of Trade—O'Connell opposes him for Clare—His Reputation—His Backers—Father Murphy's Speech—O'Connell to the Front—The Nomination—O'Connell's Speech—The Election—Return of O'Connell—Anglesey's Precautions—Peel's Reflections on the Clare Election—Anglesey describes the State of Ireland—Peel wishes to resign—The Duke wavers—Anglesey urges Concession—Insurrection probable—Wellington determines on Retreat—Why he and Peel did not resign—The Viceroy's Opinion—Military Organisation of the Peasantry—The Brunswick Clubs—Perplexity of the Government—O'Connell's "Moral Force"—The Liberator Clubs—Dawson's Speech—"No Popery" in England—The Morpeth Banquet—The Leinster Declaration—Wellington's Letter to Dr. Curtis—Anglesey's Correspondence with O'Connell—The Premier Censures the Viceroy—Anglesey dismissed—He is succeeded by Northumberland—Difficulties with the King and the English Bishops—Peel determines to remain—His Views communicated to the King—The King yields—Opening of the Session—Peel defeated at Oxford University—Suppression of the Catholic Association—The Announcement in the King's Speech—Peel introduces the Relief Bill—Arguments of the Opposition—The Bill passes the Commons—The Duke's Speech—It passes the Lords by large Majorities—The King withdraws his Consent—He again yields—His Communication to Eldon—Numbers of the Catholics in Britain—The Duke's Duel with Winchilsea—Bill for the disfranchisement of "the Forties"—O'Connell presents himself to be sworn—He refuses to take the Oaths—He is heard at the Bar—Fresh Election for Clare—O'Connell's new Agitation—The Roman Catholic Hierarchy—Riots in the Manufacturing Districts—Attempt to mitigate the Game Laws—Affairs of Portugal—Negotiations with the Canningites—Pitched Battles in Ireland—Meeting of Parliament—Debate on the Address—Burdett's Attack on Wellington—The Opposition proposes Retrenchments—The Duke's Economies—Prosecution of Mr. Alexander—Illness and Death of George IV.The Parliament was punctually opened on the 16th of February, 1714, by the queen, as she had promised at Windsor, though she was obliged to be carried there; for during last autumn she had been obliged, by her gout and obesity, to be raised into her chamber by pulleys, and so let down again, like Henry VIII. After congratulating the two Houses on the peace with Spain, she turned to the subject of the Press, and the rumours spread by it regarding the danger of the Protestant succession. Bolingbroke had been active enough in prosecuting the Press because it was dangerous to the designs which he was cherishing, notwithstanding the affected warmth which he and Oxford had put into the queen's mouth. They had taxed the penny sheets and pamphlets which agitated these questions; but this, according to Swift, had only done their own side mischief. Bolingbroke had, further, arrested eleven printers and publishers in one day. But now the war was opened in Parliament, Lord Wharton, in the House of Peers, called for the prosecution of "The Public Spirit of the Whigs," and the printer and publisher were brought to the bar. These were John Morphew, the publisher, and one John Bache, the printer. But Lord Wharton, who was aiming at higher quarry, said, "We have nothing to do with the printer and publisher, but it highly concerns the honour of this august assembly to find out the villain who is the author of that false and scandalous libel." Oxford denied all knowledge of the author, yet, on retiring from the debate, he sent one hundred pounds to Swift, and promised to do more. Lord Wharton then turned upon the printer, whom he had first affected to disregard, and demanded that he should be closely examined; but the next day the Earl of Mar, one of the secretaries of State, declared that her Majesty had ordered his prosecution. This was to shield him from the Parliamentary inquiry. Here the matter dropped, for Swift was too well screened by his patrons, who had lately rewarded him by Church preferment, and shortly afterwards made him Dean of St. Patrick's, in Dublin.

Buonaparte had arrived in Rochefort on the 3rd of July—only fifteen days after the battle of Waterloo. The two frigates provided by the Provisional Government to convey him to America—the Saale and the Medusa, accompanied by the corvette Balladière and the large brig Epervier—lay in the Aix roads; but Buonaparte was very sure that the British Government would not permit them to sail. That Government, anticipating such an event as the endeavour of Napoleon to make his escape to America—whence he might watch his opportunity of once more renewing the troubles of the world—had, immediately after the battle of Waterloo, placed no less than thirty vessels of different descriptions along the whole coast of France, from Ushant to Cape Finisterre, thus making it impossible for any vessel to pass out of a French port without undergoing the severest search. Napoleon thereupon embarking in a British frigate, the Bellerophon, wrote a theatrical letter, claiming the hospitality of the Prince Regent:—

[346]At the very time that these measures were occupying the British Parliament, the Bostonians were driving affairs to a crisis. In nearly all the seaports committees were in active operation for examining all cargoes of ships, and reporting the result. These committees also kept a keen observation on each other, and visited publicly any that appeared lukewarm. Boston, as usual, distinguished itself most prominently in this business. Regular meetings were held in Faneuil Hall, and votes passed denouncing all who dared to import the prohibited goods. Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson exerted himself to form an[201] association amongst the traders in opposition to these anti-importers, but he tried in vain. They insisted that the merchants who had imported goods in their shops and warehouses should be compelled to ship them back to those who had sent them. One merchant, more stubborn than the rest, was immediately waited on by a deputation, headed by an axeman and a carpenter, as if prepared to behead and bury him; and he was told that a thousand men awaited his decision, and they could not be answerable for his safety if he refused to comply.

[See larger version]Continuing southwards, Mackintosh joined the English insurgents at Kelso on the 22nd. This united force now amounted altogether to about two thousand men—one thousand four hundred foot commanded by Mackintosh, and six hundred horse under Lord Kenmure and Mr. Forster. This force might, in the paucity of troops in the service of the king, have produced a great effect had they marched unitedly southward and engaged General Carpenter, who was advancing from Newcastle, with only about nine hundred cavalry, to attack them; or had they gone at once north, taken Argyll in the rear, and then combined with Mar. But after marching to Jedburgh and then to Hawick, the Scots and English formed two different opinions. The Scots would not enter England, being persuaded by the Earl of Wintoun that, if they went into England, they would be all cut to pieces, or be sold for slaves. Mackintosh was willing to enter England, but they would listen to no one but Wintoun. Several hundred Highlanders deserted, and the remainder of the army, under the inefficient command of Forster, marched into England and reached Preston without molestation.

GEORGE I.The system of combination had spread very widely in 1837 and 1838. So great was the terrorism produced that conviction for an outrage was very rare. The utmost precautions were taken to prevent discovery in committing assassination. Strangers were sent to a great distance for the purpose; and even if they were detected, few persons would run the risk of coming forward as witnesses. The consequence was that in nine cases out of ten combination murders were perpetrated with impunity. In 1837 the Cotton Spinners' Association at Glasgow struck to prevent a reduction of wages in consequence of the mercantile embarrassments arising from the commercial crash in the United States. This association had its branches all over Scotland and the North of England. During sixteen years a total of £200,000 had passed through its hands. So extensive were its ramifications that, when it struck in the spring of 1837, no less than 50,000 persons, including the families of the workers, were deprived of the means of existence, and reduced to the last degree of destitution. Crowds of angry workmen paraded the streets and gathered round the factory gates, to prevent other people from going in to work; fire-balls were thrown into the mills for the purpose of burning them. At length the members of the association went so far as to shoot one of the new hands in open day in a public street of Glasgow. In consequence of this outrage the sheriff of Lanarkshire proceeded with a body of twenty policemen and arrested the members of the secret committee, sixteen in number, who were found assembled in a garret, to which they obtained access by a trap-ladder, in Gallowgate of that city. This was on Saturday night, August 3rd. On the Monday following the strike was at an end, and all the mills in Glasgow were going. The jury found the prisoners guilty of conspiracy, and they were sentenced to transportation, but the murder not proven—a result which excited some surprise, as the evidence was thought to have warranted a general verdict of "Guilty." This was, two years after, followed by their being all liberated from confinement by Lord Normanby, then Home Secretary.

On the 20th of June, when the Bill was in committee of the Peers, the Lord Chancellor urged his objection to the retrospective clause, as unsettling the rights of property. The report being brought up on the 25th, he repeated his objections, and moved that the retrospective clause should be omitted. The motion was negatived. On the 2nd of July, the day fixed for the third reading, his brother, Lord Stowell, made a similar motion, which was also defeated. The Lord Chancellor moved the insertion of a clause for giving validity to deeds, assignments and settlements made by persons having claims on any property affected by the Bill. The Marquis of Lansdowne opposed this clause, which, he said, would give the Bill the effect of declaring children legitimate and yet disinheriting them—"of peopling the House of Lords with titled beggars." This clause having been negatived on a division, the Lord Chancellor proposed another to the same effect, with the addition of the words, "for good and valuable consideration." This also was rejected by a majority. This was too much for the temper of Lord Eldon, so long accustomed to have his way in that House. Irritated at being repeatedly thwarted in his efforts, on declaring the numbers he exclaimed with vehemence, "My lords, ten days ago I believed this House possessed the good opinion of the public, as the mediator between them and the laws of the country; if this Bill pass to-night, I hope in God that this House may still have that good opinion ten days hence. But to say the best of this measure, I consider it neither more nor less than a legal robbery, so help me God! I have but a short time to remain with you, but I trust it will be hereafter known that I used every means in my power to prevent its passing into law." Thenceforth the Lord Chancellor became sulky with his colleagues, feeling himself dragged on by their too rapid progress. He was very reluctant to attend their Cabinet meetings, and absented himself whenever he could make any excuse. In reply to a summons from Mr. Peel, the Home Secretary, to attend a meeting on the Alien Act, he answered that he could not possibly attend, adding, "My absence, however, can be of little, and possibly of no consequence." The Session ended on the 6th of August; the Parliament being prorogued by the king in person.Exasperated at the failure of this measure, a furious mob broke into the Irish House of Commons on the 15th of April, but they were soon quelled, and two of the ringleaders seized. The magistrates of Dublin were censured for observing the gathering of the mob and taking no measures to prevent its outbreak. The printer and supposed publisher of the Volunteers' Journal were called before the House and reprimanded, and a Bill was brought in and passed, to render publishers more amenable to the law. The spirit of violence still raged through the country. Tumultuous associations were formed under the name of Aggregate Bodies.

During the summer, meetings of a similar character were held at Cork, Longford, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Mallow, Dundalk, Baltinglass, Tara, and other places. At Tara, in the county Meath, on the 15th of August, an immense multitude was assembled—250,000, at the lowest estimate, but represented by the Repeal journals as four times that number. The place was selected because of its association with the old nationality of the country, where its ancient kings were elected and crowned. O'Connell's speech on this occasion was defiant in tone, and in the highest degree inflammatory. Referring to a speech of the Duke of Wellington, he said, "The Duke of Wellington is now talking of attacking us, and I am glad of it. The Queen's army is the bravest army in the world, but I feel it to be a fact that Ireland, roused as she is at the present moment, would, if they made war upon us, furnish women enough to beat the whole of the Queen's forces." The Lord Chancellor Sugden having recently deprived of the commission of the peace all magistrates who were members of the Repeal Association, Mr. O'Connell announced that the dismissed magistrates would be appointed by the Repeal Association as arbitrators to settle all disputes among the people, who were not again to go to the petty sessions. He pronounced the union to be null, to be obeyed as an injustice supported by law, until they had the royal authority to set the matter right and substitute their own Parliament. In his speech after dinner to a more select audience, he said that the statesman was a driveller who did not recollect the might that slumbers in a peasant's arm, and who expected that 700,000 such men would endure oppression for ever. An outbreak would surely come, though not in his time, and then the Government and gentry would weep, in tears of blood, their want of consideration and kindness to the country whose people could reward them amply by the devotion of their hearts and the vigour of their arms. What were the gentry afraid of? It could not be of the people, for they were under the strictest discipline. No army was ever more submissive to its general than the[527] people of Ireland were to the wishes of a single individual.New barricades were now raised at the end of almost every street, and the astonished army, who had received no orders either to attack or retreat, remained passive spectators of the insurrection, a prey to emotions of terror and grief. At daybreak[551] on the 23rd Paris was a vast battlefield. Upon the barricades, hastily constructed of overturned omnibuses, carts, furniture, and large paving-stones, were seen glistening weapons of every size and form. "Vengeance, vengeance, for the murders committed under the windows of Guizot!" was the only cry. The people did not for a moment doubt that the deed was done by the order of that Minister. Their feelings were still more inflamed by the appointment of Bugeaud. Even at this moment, however, the king could with difficulty be brought to see his position. However, his eyes were opened at last, when too late, and a proclamation was issued announcing that Barrot and Thiers were charged by the king with the formation of a Ministry; that the Chamber would be dissolved; that General Lamoricière was Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard of Paris, instead of Bugeaud (whose appointment was cancelled); and concluding with the words, "Liberté, Ordre, union, Réforme." Barrot himself rode along the Boulevards to explain the nature of the changes, but without effect. The people had lost all faith in the king; they would trust him no more; nothing would satisfy them but his dethronement. On the morning of the 24th of February the royal family were assembled in the gallery of Maria, where breakfast was about to be served. At this moment it was announced to the king that the troops were quitting their ranks, and delivering up their arms to the people. The Tuileries were now filled with deputies and functionaries of all parties and ranks, all bringing the same tidings, that the city was in possession of the insurgents; that the army had fraternised with the people; that the école Polytechnique were behind the barricades; that the troops had delivered up their muskets and cartouches, and the Revolution was everywhere triumphant. The fatal word, "abdication," was pronounced. The king faltered, but the heroic queen energetically resisted. But, while she spoke, the insurgents were attacking the last post which protected the Tuileries. The fusillade which thundered in the Place du Carrousel reverberated in the chamber in which the king then stood, and already an armed multitude was entering the palace of the ancient kings of France. Thereupon the king abdicated in favour of his young grandson, the Count of Paris, whom his mother, the Duchess of Orleans, presented to the Chamber of Deputies. It was, however, too late; the Revolution had got the upper hand. The king and queen had escaped through the garden of the Tuileries, and hastened to the gate which opens upon the Place de la Concorde. After various vicissitudes they arrived at Honfleur at eight o'clock, on the 26th of February, and after many hairbreadth escapes and fruitless efforts to sail from Trouville, they embarked on the 2nd of March at Honfleur, for Havre, among a crowd of ordinary passengers, with a passport made out in the name of William Smith. There he was received by the English Consul. He embarked in the Express, which arrived at Newhaven on the 3rd of March. The royal party reached Claremont, and remained there, under the protection of Queen Victoria, whom he had not long since visited in regal pomp, and whom he had welcomed with parental affection at the Chateau d'Eu. Such are the vicissitudes of human life! He died at Claremont on the 26th of August, 1850, in the seventy-sixth year of his age.

The House of Lords did not sit on that day; but on the following day the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Stanley, Lord Brougham, and the Duke of Wellington gave earnest expression to the feelings of their lordships upon the subject of this national bereavement. The Duke of Wellington in particular, as might be expected, was deeply moved while expressing his great gratification at what had been said as to the character of Sir Robert Peel. He added his testimony as to what he believed to be its strongest feature—his truthfulness. "In all the course of my acquaintance[608] with Sir Robert Peel," said the Duke, "I never knew a man in whose truth and justice I had a more lively confidence; or in whom I saw a more invariable desire to promote the public service. In the whole course of my communication with him, I never knew an instance in which he did not show the strongest attachment to truth; and I never saw in the whole course of my life the smallest reason for suspecting that he stated anything which he did not firmly believe to be the fact." Lord John Russell, who had been absent on the previous day, spoke in the warmest terms of admiration of the late statesman, and avowed his conviction that the harmony which had prevailed for the last two years, and the safety which Great Britain had enjoyed during a period when other nations were visited by the calamity of revolution, had been owing to the course which Sir Robert Peel had thought it his duty to adopt. He concluded by offering, in the name of the Crown, funeral honours similar to those accorded on the death of Pitt or Grattan. But Mr. Goulburn stated that Sir Robert had recorded his desire to be interred in a vault in the parish church of Drayton Bassett without funeral pomp. On the 12th of July, pursuant to a motion made by the Prime Minister, the House of Commons went into committee for the purpose of adopting an address to the Queen, praying her Majesty to order the erection of a monument in Westminster Abbey to the memory of Sir Robert Peel, which was unanimously voted. He stated that the Queen, anxious to show the sense which she entertained of the services rendered to the Crown, had directed him to inform Lady Peel that she desired to bestow upon her the same rank that was bestowed upon the widow of Mr. Canning. Lady Peel answered that her wish was to bear no other name than that by which her husband was known to the world.

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Scarcely was the Rockingham Administration formed when they determined to recall England's ablest admiral, Sir George Rodney, and they carried this into execution in May of this year, and appointed Admiral Pigott in his stead. Lord Keppel, who had shown himself so sensitive in his own case, now he was at the head of the Admiralty not only recalled Rodney because he was of another party, but he did it in the coldest and most direct manner, through his secretary, Mr. Stephen. However, before this order of recall was issued—the 1st of May—Rodney had fought one of the greatest and most decisive battles which adorn the history of our navy. He had gone in all haste to the West Indies, with fourteen ships of the line, to join Sir Samuel Hood, who was vainly contending against the fleet of De Grasse and a strong land force at St. Christopher's. But, as De Grasse had landed eight thousand men, under De Bouillé, and Hood had no land troops, he could not save the island. After its capture Rodney fell in with him, and their united fleet amounted to thirty-six ships of the line. It was well, for Hood informed Rodney that De Grasse was intending to join the Spanish general, Galvez, at St. Domingo, where they were to sail for a grand attack on the chief of the British West India Islands, Jamaica, almost the only island, excepting Barbadoes and Antigua, which Britain now owned in that part of the globe. On the 8th of April he was signalled that the French fleet was unmoored and proceeding to sea. Rodney instantly put out, and the next morning discovered this fleet under Dominica. The wind being in favour of De Grasse, he stood away for Guadeloupe; but Rodney gave chase, and Hood's squadron getting far in advance, De Grasse veered round in the hope of beating him before the rest of Rodney's fleet could come up. Hood received the fire of three men-of-war in the Barfleur, his ship, for some time; but he stood bravely to the enemy, and the wind now favouring Rodney, he came up and joined in the engagement. Several ships on each side were so much damaged that they were almost useless, and Captain Bayne, of the Alfred, was killed. The next morning the French were nearly out of sight; but Rodney pressed after them, for he knew that if they succeeded in joining the Spaniards, he should have sixty sail, instead of thirty-six, to contend with.

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