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    ANNE MAKING THE DUKE OF SHREWSBURY LORD TREASURER. (See p. 22)The year 1823 opened auspiciously, and continued to exhibit unequivocal marks of progressive prosperity. Every branch of manufacturing industry was in a flourishing state. The cotton trade was unusually brisk. There was a considerable increase in the quantity of silks and woollens manufactured; and in consequence of augmenting exportation, the demand for hardware and cutlery was quickened from the state of stagnation in which it had remained since the conclusion of the war. The shipping interest, which had been greatly depressed, fully shared in the general improvement. The agriculturists, however, were still embarrassed and discontented. In January no less than sixteen English counties had sent requisitions to their sheriffs to call meetings to consider the causes of their distresses. The principal remedies proposed were reduction of taxation; reform of the House of Commons; depreciation of the currency; commutation of tithes; and appropriation of the redundant wealth of the Church to public exigencies. At the Norwich meeting a series of resolutions was proposed and seconded by the gentry of the county, but they were rejected and put aside on the motion of Mr. Cobbett, who read a petition which was adopted with acclamation. It recommended an appropriation of part of the Church property to the payment of the public debt; a reduction of the standing army; an abolition of sinecures and undeserved pensions; the sale of the Crown lands; an equitable adjustment of contracts; the suspension of all legal processes for one year for the recovery of rents and tithes; and the repeal of the taxes on malt, soap, leather, hops, and candles.
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    Almost immediately on the meeting of the House of Commons, Welbore Ellis demanded whether a return had been made for Westminster, and being answered in the negative, moved that Mr. Corbett, the high bailiff, with his assessor, should attend the House; and the next day, February 2nd, Colonel Fitzpatrick presented a petition from the electors of Westminster, complaining that they were not legally and duly represented. In fact, the scrutiny had now been going on for eight months, and as not even two of the seven parishes of Westminster were yet scrutinised, it was calculated that, at this rate, the whole process would require three years, and the city would, therefore, remain as long unrepresented. The high bailiff stated that the examinations, cross-examinations, and arguments of counsel were so long, that he saw no prospect of a speedy conclusion; and Mr. Murphy, his assessor, gave evidence that each vote was tried with as much[310] form and prolixity as any cause in Westminster Hall; that counseland this applied to both sidesclaimed a right to make five speeches on one vote; and that propositions had been put in on the part of Sir Cecil Wray to shorten the proceedings, but objected to on the part of Mr. Fox.

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    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.

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    ST. GEORGE'S CATHEDRAL, SOUTHWARK.

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    Ministers carried their indemnity in the Commons by one hundred and sixty-two against sixty-nine; but this did not prevent a prolongation of the demands of the Reformers for a searching inquiry into their employment of the spies. Many petitions were presented to the House of Commons for this inquiryone of them from Samuel Bamford, who had been a sufferer by imprisonment. On the 3rd of February Hone's case was brought forward by William Smith, of Norwich; on the 10th, Lord Archibald Hamilton made a motion for inquiry into similar prosecutions of persons in Scotland, and especially of Andrew M'Kinley, and this was supported by Sir Samuel Romilly and others, but rejected; yet the next day Mr. Fazakerley made a demand for a rigid inquiry into the employment of the spies, and for ascertaining whether they really had exceeded their instructions. Here was an opportunity for Ministers to clear themselves, were they really innocent of sending them out to excite as well as to discover conspirators. There was a violent debate, but the motion was rejected by one hundred and eleven against fifty-two. The discussion left no doubt of the employment of Oliver and others, and this fact being put beyond dispute, Ministers should, in self-vindication, have cleared themselves, if they were guiltless, as their friends pretended; but they did not do so. On the 17th Lord Folkestone moved for inquiry into the treatment in prison of Mr. Ogden and others, and a similar motion was made on the 19th, in the Lords, by the Earl of Carnarvon. In both cases Ministers, instead of courting inquiry, resented it, and closed the door of investigation by large majorities. Lords Sidmouth, Bathurst, and Liverpool were prominent in staving off these inquiries; and Lords Grosvenor, King, and Holland were earnest in urging the necessity of such inquiry for their own good fame. Lord Stanley, afterwards Earl of Derby, put this in the strongest light. He said that he thought Ministers "had been much calumniated, but they would be most so by themselves if they refused to inquire into those acts, when inquiry, according to their own statements, would fully[135] acquit them of the charges laid against them." This was so self-evident that the fact that they would not admit this inquiry might, were there no other grounds for decision, be taken as positive proof of their guilt. But it is not likely that Oliver and his comrades, who were for months in daily communication with Ministers whilst on their detestable missions, would have dared so far to exceed their orders, or, had they done so, that they would have been protected at the expense of the reputations of Ministers themselves, and rewarded into the bargain. The instructions to these men were undoubtedly of too dark a character to be produced in open daylight. about
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    This was the fatal year in which Buonaparte, led on by the unsleeping ambition of being the master of all Europe, and so of all the world, made his last great attemptthat of subduing Russia to his yokeand thus wrecked himself for ever. From the very day of the Treaty of Tilsit, neither he nor Alexander of Russia had put faith in each other. Buonaparte felt that the Czar was uneasy under the real dictatorship of France which existed under the name of alliance. He knew that he was most restless under the mischief accruing from the stipulated embargo on British commerce, and which, from the ruin which it must bring on the Russian merchants, and the consequent distress of the whole population, might, in fact, cause him to disappear from the throne and from life as so many of his ancestors had done. Timber, pitch, potash, hemp, tallow, and other articles were the very staple of Russia's trade, and the British were the greatest of all customers for these. The landed proprietors derived a large income from these commodities, and they asked why they were to perish that Buonaparte might destroy Great Britain, whence they drew their principal wealth. He knew that Alexander looked with deep suspicion on his giving the Duchy of Warsaw to the King of Saxony, a descendant of the royal family of Poland. To this act was added the stipulations for a free military road and passage for troops from Saxony to Warsaw; and also that France should retain Dantzic till after a maritime peace. These things seemed to point to the re-establishment of the kingdom of Poland, and the demand, at some future day, for the surrender of the rest of the Polish territory by Russia. So the Poles seemed to interpret these matters, for they had, since these arrangements, flocked to his standard, and were fighting Buonaparte's battles in Spain. To these causes of offence and alarm, which Alexander did not hesitate to express, and which Napoleon refused to dissipate, were added the seizure of the Duchy of Oldenburg, guaranteed to Alexander's near relative, and the marriage alliance with Austria. Alexander, on this last occasion, said"Then my turn comes next;" and in anticipation of it he had been strengthening himself by a secret league with Sweden. View more

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    None of the princes who accepted our protection benefited more than Scindiah. He was relieved from the insolence of haughty military chieftains, who commanded his armies, and left him as little free will as they left to his subjects quiet possession of their property. He was enabled to disband his vast armies, and reduce them to thirteen thousand infantry and nine thousand horse. His disbanded soldiers returned home, and became tillers of the land lately running into jungle, by which, and other influences of peace, his revenue was nearly doubled. All the districts wrested from him by the Pindarrees were restored to him; he lost only the mischievous fortress of Aseerghur. Sir John Malcolm cleared the country of the swarms of Arabs, and of Mekranees from Beluchistan, who had acquired a most formidable ascendency in the armies of the Indian chiefs; and these chiefs were informed that again to employ these mercenary ruffians, or to allow them to remain on their territories, would be regarded as a declaration of hostility by the British Government. Similar changes were introduced into the territories of the dethroned Peishwa by the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, who resided at Poonah; and by the conquest of the Poonah territory, by the treaty of Mundissoor, made by Sir John Malcolm after his great victory at Mahidpore, and by exchanges made with the Guicowar of Baroda, and other arrangements, the British dominions were now linked together in one broad and continuous expanse, from Calcutta to Bombay, and from Bombay to Madras, as by the former Mahratta war they had been established between Madras and Calcutta. about
    The agitation extended to England, where also the "No Popery" cry was effectually raised. The Duke of Newcastle, Lord Winchilsea, and Lord Kenyon led the way in the formation of Brunswick Clubs. A great demonstration was got up on Penenden Heatha monster meeting of English Brunswickers. To counteract its effects, it was determined that some of the leading advocates of the Catholic cause, being freeholders of Kent, should go to the meeting. Among those who attended were Lord Darnley, Mr. Cobbett, Serjeant Shee, and Mr. Sheil; but none of them could obtain a hearing. Mr. Sheil had come prepared with a grand speech, carefully written out, as was his custom, and committed to memory, but not so strictly as to exclude such extemporaneous additions as might be necessary to adapt the oration to the actual circumstances. When he arrived at the meeting, the reporter from the Sun asked him for his manuscript, which he gave, with the understanding that he must make it correspond with his speech as delivered. The reporter, taking it for granted that it would be delivered all right, made all possible haste to get it into type. The speech appeared in extenso; but it unfortunately happened that, owing to the uproar and continued interruptions, it was not delivered. The circumstance became the subject of remark, eliciting comments by no means flattering to the Irish orator. The intended speech, however, was as able as any he had ever delivered. It consisted chiefly of an elaborate defence of the Roman Catholic Church from the charge of persecution. It admitted that it did persecute like every other church when in power; but that it was an incident of its establishment, not the natural result of its spirit and principles. Co-Founder

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    In the opening of the reign the gentlemen retained the full-skirted coat, with huge cuffs, the cocked-hats and knee-breeches of the former period. Pigtails were universal, and the more foppish set up their hair in a high peak, like the women. The ladies had their hair turned up on frames half a yard high, and this hairy mountain was ornamented with strings of pearls or diamonds, or surmounted with a huge cap edged with lace. They wore their waists as long as possible, with a peaked stomacher, and hanging sleeves of Mecklenburg lace. Their gowns were of the richest silks, satins, and brocades, their skirts flowing; and the fan was an indispensable article. Designer

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    This, though it was a severe blow to our trade, was but a small part of the damage which the active spirit of Florida Blanca did us. He promoted with all his energies the system of armed neutrality which had long been projected on the Continent to cripple our power. England knew that if she permitted this process, there was little chance of her bringing any of her antagonists to terms; she therefore insisted rigidly on the right of search, and on the seizure of all such contraband articles under whatever flag they were conveyed. Not only did Holland supply France and Spain in Europe, but she allowed the American privateers to carry their English prizes into their West Indian ports for sale. All this time Holland was not only bound by the most immense obligations to Great Britain for the millions of money and the tens of thousands of men whom we had sacrificed for the security of her independence against France, but she was also bound by treaty to furnish us certain aids when we were attacked by France. From the year 1778 Sir Joseph Yorke, our Ambassador at the Hague, had made continual remonstrances against this clandestine trade with our enemies; and France, on the other hand, had, by alternate menaces and persuasions, exerted herself to induce the Dutch to set England at defiance. In this she succeeded to a great extent. Much correspondence ensued, the Dutch maintaining a specious neutrality, but still continuing to carry timber and naval stores to France. Sir Joseph Yorke was therefore instructed to demand from the States the succours stipulated by treaties, and which might have been demanded the moment that France declared war against England. On the 26th of November, 1779, he received not only a positive refusal, but a fresh complaint of the interruption of their trade by English men-of-war. Developer

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    Had the sovereigns of Europe been in earnest in behalf of the King of France, and had they at once marched into the country, they could scarcely have failed to make themselves masters of Paris; though they might have precipitated the deaths of the king and queen. But, in truth, the kings of Europe were in no such chivalrous mood; they were thinking more of their own interests, and actually, some of them, planning the most disgraceful robberies of their neighbours. Spain, seeing no sign of coalition[387] amongst the northern sovereigns, expressed its friendly disposition towards the French Government, and prevented an attempt on its southern provinces, in which the Knights of Malta were to assist with two frigates. The French Emigrants at Brussels and Coblenz were in a state of agitation, declaring that Monsieur, who had now joined them, was the Regent of the kingdom, seeing that the king was a prisoner and had no will of his own. The poor king was compelled by the Assembly to write to them, disavowing these proceedings. As to the Powers in general, Leopold of Austria, who had the most direct interest in the rescue of his sister and her family, was, notwithstanding his recent declarations, desirous rather of peace and by no means pleased with the Emigrants. A declaration of allied sovereigns was, indeed, made at Pillnitz, that Prussia and Austria and Russia would advance to the rescue of Louis XVI.; but the more immediate object of the agreement made there was the dismemberment of Poland, which was determined in secret articles. Any concerted action on the part of the Powers was, in fact, rendered impossible by the action of Pitt, who, true to his policy of neutrality and of holding aloof from any interference in the domestic concerns of France, declined to sanction any appeal to arms. about
    On the 10th of April, when Mr. Canning kissed hands as First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer, he found himself deserted by the Duke of Wellington, Lord Eldon, Mr. Peel, Lords Bathurst, Melville, and Westmoreland. The members of the Cabinet who finally adhered to him were Lord Harrowby, Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Wynne, and Mr. Robinson, afterwards Lord Goderich, who had become Secretary of the Colonial Department, with the lead of the Government in the House of Lords. Having received the resignations, and presented them to the king, Mr. Canning said:"Here, sire, is that which disables me from executing the orders I have received from you respecting the formation of a new Administration. It is now open to your Majesty to adopt a new course; for no step has yet been taken in the execution of those orders that is irrecoverable." He added, that if he was to go on, his writ must be moved for that day, which was the last before the Easter recess. The king at once gave him his hand to kiss, and confirmed the appointment. Two hours afterwards the House was ringing with acclamations while Mr. Wynne was moving that a new writ be issued for the borough of Newport in consequence of the Right Honourable George Canning having accepted the office of First Lord of the Treasury. This was a result which Lord Eldon did not anticipate. He evidently expected that Canning would be foiled in his attempt to form a Ministry. He wrote, "Who could have thought it? I guess that I, Wellington, Peel, Bathurst, Westmoreland, and C. will be out." Again he says, "The whole conversation in town is made up of abusive, bitterly abusive, talk of people about each otherall fire and flame. I have known nothing like it." Elsewhere he remarks, "I think political enmity runs higher and waxes warmer than I ever knew it."

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    He despatched a squadron of ten ships of the line to the Mediterranean, under Admiral Haddock; another strong squadron sailed for the West Indies; letters of marque and reprisal were issued to the merchants; and troops and stores were forwarded to Georgia, which the Spaniards had threatened to invade. He gave directions to all merchants in Spanish ports to register their goods with a public notary in case of a rupture. These measures produced a rapid change of tone at the Spanish Court. On comparing the demands on both sides for damages sustained in commerce, there appeared a balance in favour of England of two hundred thousand pounds. Against this, the Spaniards demanded sixty thousand pounds in compensation for the ships taken by Admiral Byng in 1718a claim which Stanhope would never allow, but which had been recognised in the Treaty of Seville, and was now, therefore, acknowledged. This reduced the sum to a hundred and forty thousand pounds, which the Spanish Court proposed should be paid by assignments on the American revenues. This, the Ministers were well aware, might involve the most endless delays and uncertainties, and they certainly showed a most conceding spirit by allowing a deduction of forty-five thousand pounds for prompt payment at Madrid. The sum was now reduced to ninety-five thousand pounds; and this being agreed to, a convention was signed on the 14th of January, 1739.
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