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In committee the Opposition endeavoured to introduce some modifying clause. They proposed that the Dissenters should have schools for their own persuasion; and, had the object of the Bill been to prevent them from endangering the Church by educating the children of Churchmen, this would have served the purpose. But this was not the real object; the motive of the Bill was the old tyrannic spirit of the Church, and this most reasonable clause was rejected. They allowed, however, dames or schoolmistresses to teach the children to read; and they removed the conviction of offenders from the justices of peace to the courts of law, and granted a right of appeal to a higher court. Finally, they exempted tutors in noblemen's families, noblemen being supposed incapable of countenancing any other than teachers of Court principles. Stanhope seized on this to extend the privilege to the members of the House of Commons, arguing that, as many members of the Commons were connected with noble families, they must have an equal claim for the education of their children in sound principles. This was an exquisite bit of satire, but it was unavailing. The Hanoverian Tories, headed by Lord Anglesey, moved that the Act should extend to Ireland, where, as the native population was almost wholly Catholic, and therefore schismatic in the eye of the Established Church, the Bill would have almost entirely extinguished education. The Bill was carried on the 10th of June by a majority only of seventy-seven against seventy-two, and would not have been carried at all except for the late creation of Tory peers.Thus the whole country was torn by religious animosity; the nobles were insolent to the Crown, and the people were nothing. Such was the divided condition of Poland which led to its dismemberment. All nobility of mind was destroyed; pride and oppression were the inseparable consequences of such a system. There was no middle class, no popular class; it was a country of lords and slavesof one class domineering over the other. The Greek Catholics were the Dissidents, and the Dissidents sought aid from Russiawhich was also Greek in religionand, to insure this aid, condescended to the lowest arts of solicitation, to the practice of fawning, stooping, and cringing to the great barbarous power of Russia on one side, and to the equally barbarous power of Turkey on the other. The nobles could bring large bodies of cavalry into the field, as many, at times, as a hundred thousand; but as they had no free people, and dreaded to arm their slaves, they had little or no infantry, except such as they hired, and even this was in no condition to withstand the heavy masses of Russian infantry, much less such armies as Prussia or Austria might be tempted to bring against them.

SIR RALPH ABERCROMBY. (After the Portrait by J. Hoppner, R.A.)It was in these circumstances that Sir James Graham, on the 7th of April, brought forward a series of resolutions on our relations with China, and the Government escaped defeat by a narrow majority of ten. A vote of censure would inevitably have been passed, had not the Duke of Wellington expressed his cordial approval of the Ministerial policy. His followers were furious. "I know it," said the Duke to Charles Greville, "and I do not care one damn. I have no time to do what is not right."

At the close of an admirable defence by his counsel Desze, Louis rose and read the following few remarks, which he had prepared:"My means of defence are now before you. I shall not repeat them. In addressing youperhaps for the last timeI declare that my conscience reproaches me with nothing, and that my defenders have told you the truth. I was never afraid that my conduct should be publicly examined; but it wounds me to the heart to find, in the act of accusation, the imputation that I caused the blood of the people to be spilt; and, above all, that the calamitous events of the 10th of August are attributed to me.Immediately after this debate the Government took active steps to crush that spirit of free discussion in books, pamphlets and associations, which no doubt had been greatly stimulated by the excitement of the French Revolution, and which they professed to believe was aiming at the same objectthe destruction of the monarchy. But in attempting to check this spirit, they adopted the un-English plan of fettering the press and individual opinion. Pitt's Government issued a proclamation against seditious books, and societies corresponding with the Republicans across the water; and magistrates were desired to make diligent inquiries as to the authors of seditious books and pamphlets, to put down all mischievous associations, and to take the promptest means of suppressing and preventing riots and disturbances. An Address in approbation of this proclamation was moved by Mr. Pepper Arden, the Master of the Rolls, in the Commons, and a short debate was the consequence. In this Grey and Fox declared that the proclamation was unconstitutional, mischievous, and oppressive; that it was a stimulus given to hot-headed and bigoted magistrates all over the country to invade the freedom of the press and of private life, on pretence of preventing disturbance; that the true constitutional remedy for any wrong opinions promulgated by the press was their regulation by right and sound opinions; that the blow was aimed against the Society of the Friends of the People, and intended to crush Reform, and divide the Whig party; that, in truth, the riots and instigations to anarchy came not from the Reformers, but from the Church, the magistracy, and the Tories; and they appealed for the truth of this to the disgraceful scenes which had occurred at Birmingham. They reminded Government that in 1782 Pitt had joined the Duke of Richmond, Major Cartwright, and Horne Tooke, in a meeting, at the Thatched House Tavern, for Reform; that they, the Whigs, had never gone to the length of Cartwright and Horne Tooke in their principles of Reform, as Pitt had done; and they reproached the Minister with his shameful inconsistency. Lord John Russell, Francis, Lambton, and others, supported Grey and Fox; and Windham, Lord North, Dundas, etc., supported Pitt. The Address was carried; and when sent up to the Lords produced another striking exhibition of the change going on in the Whig party; for the Prince of Wales, who had hitherto been in such close union with them, and had been so zealously supported by them, now rose and gave his decided approbation to the Address, declaring that he had been educated in admiration of the established Constitution, and was determined, so far as in him lay, to support it. These words were received with triumph by the Government party, the Address was carried almost unanimously, and was followed by an immediate prosecution of the "Rights of Man," by the Attorney-General, which caused it to be far more generally read than it otherwise would have been.[113]

In the latest period scarcely any acting dramas were produced. Amongst the unacted tragedies, or such as were acted with no great successbeing better fitted for private studywere Coleridge's "Remorse" and "Zapolya;" Shelley's "Prometheus Unbound" and "The Cenci;" Byron's "Cain," "Manfred," "Sardanapalus," etc.; Maturin's "Bertram," "Manuel," and "Fredolpho;" Joanna Baillie's "Plays on the Passions," "The Family Legend"the last acted with some success at Edinburgh, through the influence of Sir Walter Scott, in 1810Charles Lamb's "John Woodvill," Milman's "Fazio," and Walter Savage Landor's "Count Julian," "Andrea of Hungary," "Giovanni of Naples," "Fra Rupert," "The Siege of Ancona," etc., all masterly dramas, constituting a blaze of dramatic genius which, had it been adapted to the stage, would have given it a new grandeur at the close of this reign.This being done, Mr. Vyner suggested that the physicians should rather be examined by the House itself, a proposal supported by Fox. Pitt[344] replied that this was a matter requiring much delicacy, and that the opinions of the physicians before the Council being on oath, he imagined that they had greater force than any given before Parliament, where they would not be on oath. But, during the four days' adjournment, he had ascertained, to his satisfaction, that the majority of the physicians were of opinion that the king would pretty soon recover, and that especially Dr. Willis was of this opinion, under whose more immediate care he was; and no sooner did the Commons meet, than Pitt most judiciously acquiesced in the suggestions of Vyner and Fox; and the physicians were examined by a committee of twenty-one members, of which he himself was chairman. On the 16th of December Pitt brought up the report of the committee, in which a majority of the physicians had expressed the opinion that the malady of the king would not be of long duration; and he then moved for another committee to search for precedents as to the power to be exercised by a regent. Fox declared that Pitt knew very well that there were no precedents to be found while there existed an Heir Apparent, at the time, of full age and capacity; that he was seeking only the means of delaying what ought to be done at once; that the failure of the mind of the sovereign was a case of natural demise, and that the Heir Apparent succeeded to the exercise of the royal authority from the period of that failure, as a matter of course; that the Parliament had, indeed, the authority to decide that such failure had actually taken place, and to sanction the assumption of the powers of regency, as the other two Estates of the realm, but nothing more. When Fox made this astounding assertion, Pitt slapped his thigh and exclaimed to a colleague sitting near him, "I'll unwhig the gentleman for the rest of his life."

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[See larger version]Mr. Smith O'Brien returned to London, took his seat in the House of Commons, and spoke on the Crown and Government Securities Bill, the design of which was to facilitate prosecutions for political offences. He spoke openly of the military strength of the Republican party in Ireland, and the probable issue of an appeal to arms. But his[567] address produced a scene of indescribable commotion and violence, and he was overwhelmed in a torrent of jeers, groans, and hisses, while Sir George Grey, in replying to him, was cheered with the utmost enthusiasm.Since the appearance of the Waverley Novels the poetry of Scott has been somewhat depreciated, but his metrical romances, if not of the highest class of poetry, are always fresh, from their buoyancy and the scenery in which they are laid. They are redolent of the mountain heather and summer dews; and the description of the sending of the "fiery cross" over the hills, and the battle in "Marmion," as well as other portions, are instinct with genuine poetic vigour. Campbell, who won an early reputation by his "Pleasures of Hope," is more esteemed now for his heroic ballads "Hohenlinden," "The Battle of the Baltic," and his "Mariners of England;" Moore, for his "Irish Melodies," than for his "Lalla Rookh;" Byron, for his "Childe Harold," rather than for his earlier love tales of the East, or his later dramatic poems. Amongst the very highest of the poets of that period stands Percy Bysshe Shelley (b. 1792; d. 1822), the real poet of spiritual music, of social reformation, and of the independence of man. Never did a soul inspired by a more ardent love of his fellow-creatures receive such a bitter portion of unkindness and repudiation. John Keats, of a still more delicate and shrinking temperament, also received, in return for strains of the purest harmony, a sharp judgment, in no degree, however, equal to the severity of that dealt out to Shelley. In his "Ode to a Grecian Urn," and his "Lamia," Keats left us examples of beauty of conception and felicity of expression not surpassed since the days of Shakespeare. In his "Hyperion" he gave equal proof of the strength and grandeur to which he would have attained.

What a totally different species of composition was the "Vicar" to the tale of "Rasselas," published by his friend Dr. Samuel Johnson (b. 1709; d. 1784), the great lexicographer, seven years before! This was conceived in the romantic and allegoric spirit of the time"The Ten Days of Seged," "The Vision of Mirza," and the like. It was laid in the south, but amid Eastern manners, and didactic in spirit and ornate in style. It was measured, and graceful, and dulltoo scholastic to seize on the heart and the imagination. On a nature like Goldsmith's it could make no impression, and therefore leave no trace. The one was like a scene amid palm trees, and fountains, and sporting gazelles; the other like a genuine English common, on which robust children were tumbling and shouting, amid blooming gorse, near the sunny brook, with the lark carolling above them. There is no country in Europe, scarcely in the world, where letters are known, which has not its translation of the "Vicar of Wakefield." Even in England, "Rasselas" is almost forgotten.The question of the Canadian boundary had been an open sore for more than half a century. Nominally settled by the treaty of 1783, it had remained in dispute, because that arrangement had been drawn up on defective knowledge. Thus the river St. Croix was fixed as the frontier on the Atlantic sea-board, but there were five or six rivers St. Croix, and at another point a ridge of hills that was not in existence was fixed upon as the dividing line. Numerous diplomatic efforts were made to settle the difficulty; finally it was referred to the King of the Netherlands, who made an award in 1831 which was rejected by the United States. The question became of increasing importance as the population grew thicker. Thus, in 1837, the State of Maine decided on including some of the inhabitants of the disputed territory in its census, but its officer, Mr. Greely, was promptly arrested by the authorities of New Brunswick and thrust into prison. Here was a serious matter, and a still greater source of irritation was the McLeod affair. McLeod was a Canadian who had been a participator in the destruction of the Caroline. Unfortunately his tongue got the better of his prudence during a visit to New York in 1840, and he openly boasted his share in the deed. He was arrested, put into prison, and charged with murder, nor could Lord Palmerston's strenuous representations obtain his release. At one time it seemed as if war was imminent between England and the United States, but, with the acquittal of McLeod, one reason for fighting disappeared.The attempt of the Whigs in the Lords to unearth the vituperative dean, though it had failed, stimulated the Tories in the Commons to retaliation. Richard Steele, author of "The Tatler," an eloquent and able writer, had not sought to screen himself from the responsibility of the honest truths in "The Crisis," as Swift had screened himself from the consequences of his untruths, and a whole host of Tories assailed him in the Commons, of which he was a member. Amongst these were Thomas Harley, the brother of Oxford, Foley, the auditor, a relative of Oxford's, and Sir William Wyndham, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. They flattered themselves with an easy triumph over him, for Steele, though popular as a writer, was new to the House of Commons, and had broken down in his first essay at speaking there; but he now astonished them by the vigour, wit, and sarcasm of his defence. He was ably supported, too, by Robert Walpole, who had obtained a seat in this new Parliament. Nothing, however, could shield Steele, as Swift's being anonymous had shielded him. Steele was pronounced by the votes of a majority of two hundred and forty-five to one hundred and fifty-two to be guilty of a scandalous libel, and was expelled the House. During the debate Addison had sat by the side of Steele, and, though he was no orator to champion him in person, had suggested continual telling arguments.

RETREAT OF THE HIGHLANDERS FROM PERTH. (See p. 31.)

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"Such is the extraordinary power of the Association, or, rather, of the agitators, of whom there are many of high ability, of ardent mind, of great daring (and if there was no Association, these men are now too well known not to maintain their power under the existing order of exclusion), that I am quite certain they could lead on the people to open rebellion at a moment's notice; and their organisation is such that in the hands of desperate and intelligent leaders they would be extremely formidable. The hope, and indeed the probability, of present tranquillity rests upon the forbearance and the not very determined courage of O'Connell, and on his belief, as well as that of the principal men amongst them, that they will carry their cause by unceasing agitation, and by intimidation, without coming to blows. I believe their success inevitable; that no power under heaven can arrest its progress. There may be rebellionyou may put to death thousandsyou may suppress it, but it will only be to put off the day of compromise; and, in the meantime, the country is still more impoverished, and the minds of the people are, if possible, still more alienated, and ruinous expense is entailed upon the empire. But supposing that the whole evil was concentred in the Association, and that, if that was suppressed, all would go smoothly, where is the man who can tell me how to suppress it? Many cry out that the nuisance must be abatedthat the Government is supinethat the insolence of the demagogues is intolerable; but I have not yet found one person capable of pointing out a remedy. All are mute when you ask them to define their proposition. All that even the most determined opposers to Emancipation say is, that it is better to leave things as they are than to risk any change. But will things remain as they are? Certainly not. They are bad; they must get worse; and I see no possible means of improving them but by depriving the demagogues of the power of directing the people; and by taking Messrs. O'Connell, Sheil, and the rest of them, from the Association, and placing them in the House of Commons, this desirable object would be at once accomplished.The Chambers were opened by the king on the 2nd of March, 1830, with a speech which conveyed a threat to the French nation. "If culpable man?uvres," he said, "should raise up against my Government obstacles which I do not wish to foresee, I shall find the power of surmounting them in my resolution to maintain the public peace, in my just confidence in Frenchmen, and in the love which they have always borne to their kings." The Chambers did not hesitate to express their want of confidence in the Government. The king having declared that his intentions were immutable, no alternative remained but a dissolution, as he was resolved to try once more whether a majority could be obtained by fair means or foul. In this last appeal to public opinion he was bitterly disappointed. It scarcely required a prophet to foresee the near approach of some great change; nor could the result of the impending struggle appear doubtful. Nine-tenths of the community were favourable to a constitutional system. Not only the working classes, but the mercantile and trading classes, as well as the professional classes, and all the most intelligent part of the nation, were decidedly hostile to the Government. In Paris the majority against the Ministerial candidates was seven or eight to one. The press, with scarcely an exception, was vehement in its condemnation of the policy of the Government, which came to the conclusion that it was not enough to abolish the Constitution, but[316] that, in order to insure the success of a purely despotic rgime, it was absolutely necessary to destroy the liberty of the press, and to put down journalism by force. Accordingly, a report on this subject was addressed to the king, recommending its suppression. It was drawn up by M. Chantelauze, and signed by De Polignac and five other Ministers.

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