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The Emperor Francis determined to remain at Aube, with the division under General Ducca, not[80] thinking it becoming him to join in the attack on the French capital where his daughter ruled as empress-regent; and a body of ten thousand cavalry, under command of Winzengerode and Czernicheff, was ordered to watch the motions of Napoleon and intercept his communications with Paris, whilst the Russian and Prussian light troops scoured the roads in advance, stopping all couriers. Blucher, at the same time, having thrown open the gates of Rheims, was moving on Chalons and Vitry, to form a junction with the army of Schwarzenberg. The flying parties captured, near Sommepuix, a convoy of artillery and ammunition; and, on another occasion, they fell in with a courier bearing a budget of the most melancholy intelligence to the Emperor—that the British had made a descent on Italy; that the Austrians had defeated Augereau, and were in possession of Lyons; that Bordeaux had declared for Louis XVIII.; and that Wellington was at Toulouse. These tidings gave immense confidence to the Allies. Near Fère-Champenoise the Allies met, finding Blucher in the act of stopping a body of infantry, five thousand in number, which was bearing provisions and ammunition to the army of Napoleon. The column consisted of young conscripts and National Guards, who had never been in action, but they bravely defended their charge till they were surrounded by the mingling forces of the two armies, and compelled to surrender.GREAT SEAL OF WILLIAM IV.

The Houses of Parliament reassembled on the 17th of January, 1712, and Anne sent word that she was not able to attend in person, not having recovered sufficiently from her attack of the gout. She announced that the plenipotentiaries were now assembled at Utrecht, and[2] were already engaged in endeavouring to procure just satisfaction to all the Allies according to their several treaties, and especially with relation to Spain and the Indies. This was a delusion, for, by our treaty with the Emperor, we had engaged to secure Spain and the Indies for his son; and it was now, notwithstanding the assurance in her message regarding them, fully determined to give them up to Philip. There was a strong protest in the message against the evil declarations that there had been an intention to make a separate peace, though nothing was more notorious than that the Ministers were resolved, if the Allies did not come to their terms, to go on without them. The message ended by recommending a measure for the restriction of the liberty of the press. Much alarm was expressed at the great licence in the publishing of false and scandalous libels, though the Ministers themselves did not scruple to employ the terrible pen of Swift.In the House of Lords on the 24th of January, 1721, five directors who had been called before them were arrested and their papers seized. By what had been drawn from them, it appeared that large sums had been given to people in high places to procure the passing of the South Sea Bill. Lord Stanhope rose and expressed his indignation at such practices, and moved that any transfer of stock for the use of any person in the Administration without a proper consideration was a notorious and dangerous corruption. The motion was seconded by Lord Townshend, and carried unanimously. The examination being continued on the 4th of February, Sir John Blunt refused to answer their lordships, on the plea that he had already given his evidence before the Secret Committee. A vehement debate arose out of this difficulty, during which the Duke of Wharton, a most profligate young nobleman, and president of the Hell-fire Club, made a fierce attack on Stanhope, accused him of fomenting the dissensions between the king and his son, and compared him to Sejanus, who had sown animosities in the family of Tiberius, and rendered his reign hateful to the Romans. Stanhope, in replying to this philippic, was so transported by his rage, that the blood gushed from his nostrils. He was carried from the House, and soon afterwards expired.

Such were the means employed by the British Government in 1817 to quiet the country under its distress—a distress the inevitable result of the long and stupendous war. The only idea was to tighten the reins of Government—to stimulate the sufferers into overt acts, and then crush them. Fortunately, with the exception of the Derby juries, the juries in general saw through the miserable farce of rebellion, and discharged the greater part of Oliver's and Lord Sidmouth's victims. Watson was acquitted of high treason in London on the 16th of June, less than a week after the Derbyshire insurrection. His son had eluded the pursuit of the police. Seventeen prisoners on the like charges were liberated in July in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and were paid seven shillings each to carry them home. On the 22nd of August, of the twenty-four persons that Oliver had entrapped in Yorkshire, twenty-two were discharged—against eleven of them no bills being found by the grand jury—and the two left in prison were detained there because, under the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, they were not brought up for trial. The Manchester Blanketeers were, in like manner, all discharged, though the Duke of Northumberland did his utmost to stimulate Lord Sidmouth to get them punished. On the country at large the impression was that the Government had propagated a most needless alarm, and that those who had fallen on the scaffold had been exalted by them from poor, ignorant labourers into burlesque traitors, through the execrable agency of their incendiaries, Oliver, Castles, Mitchell, and others.But the success of the capture only intensified the commotion on shore. The tumult continued the next day; the mob broke the windows of the houses of the commissioners and the custom-house officers; they dragged the collector's boat on shore, and made a bonfire of it. These officers fled for their lives—first on board the Romney, and then to Castle William, a fortress at the mouth of the harbour. The third day was Sunday, and the Bostonians kept the day with the decorum customary with New Englanders; but on the Monday the riot was resumed with unabated vigour. Placards were carried round the town, calling on the Sons of Liberty to meet on Tuesday at ten o'clock. The Sons of Liberty were members of the non-importation associations, which had been established there, and in many parts of America. They had adopted that designation from a phrase in a speech of Colonel Barré, delivered in Parliament as early as 1765. Daughters of Liberty existed as well as Sons of Liberty, who mutually bound themselves to drink no tea, as well as to wear nothing imported after the passing of these duties. The Government retaliated by pouring troops into the town and summoning ships of war into the harbour.

WARREN HASTINGS.

The winter of 1836-7 was marked by great commercial activity, and a strong tendency to over-trading, chiefly on the part of the banks. The result was a reaction, and considerable monetary embarrassment. In the reckless spirit of enterprise which led to these consequences, the American houses took the lead. The American speculators indulged an inordinate thirst for gain by land jobs, and over-trading in British produce. The most remarkable examples of this were afforded by three great American houses in London, called "the three W.'s." From an account of these firms, published in June, 1837, it appeared that the amount of bills payable by them from June to December, was as follows: Wilson and Co.,[411] £936,300; Wigan and Co., £674,700; Wildes and Co., £505,000; total acceptances, £2,116,000. This was upwards of one-sixth of the aggregate circulation of the private and joint-stock banks of England and Wales, and about one-eighth of the average circulation of the Bank of England. The shipments to America by Wigan and Co. amounted to £1,118,900. The number of joint-stock banks that started into existence at this time was remarkable. From 1825 to 1833 only thirty joint-stock banks had been established. In that year the Charter of the Bank of England being renewed, without many of the exclusive privileges it formerly enjoyed, and the spirit of commercial enterprise being active, joint-stock banks began to increase rapidly. There was an average of ten new companies annually, till 1836, when forty-five of these establishments came into existence in the course of ten months. In Ireland there were ten started in the course of two years. The consequence of this greatly increased banking accommodation produced a wild spirit of commercial adventure, which collapsed first in America, where the monetary confusion was unexampled—bankers, importers, merchants, traders, and the Government having been all flung into a chaos of bankruptcy and insolvency. This state of things in America had an immediate effect in England. Discounts were abruptly refused to the largest and hitherto most respectable houses of Liverpool and London. Trade, in consequence, became paralysed; prices suddenly dropped from thirty to forty per cent.; and the numerous share bubbles—the railway projects, the insurance companies, the distillery companies, the cemetery companies, the sperm oil, the cotton twist, zoological gardens, and other speculations—which had floated on the pecuniary tide, all suddenly collapsed, and there was an end to the career of unprincipled adventurers. It is satisfactory, however, to observe that the sound commerce of the country soon recovered the shock thus given; and in less than two years the pecuniary difficulties had passed away. Commerce had resumed its wonted activity, and flowed steadily in legitimate channels. The American banks resumed payment, and the three great American houses, which had involved themselves to such an enormous extent, were enabled to meet all their liabilities.

By permission of the Corporation of Liverpool. Reproduced by Andre & Sleigh, La., Bushey. Herts.The affairs of Italy were the subject of warm debates in the British Parliament in the Session of 1849. Lord Palmerston was assailed by the Conservatives for having countenanced the Sicilian insurrection, and for having sent Lord Minto to Italy on a mission of conciliation, which they considered an unwarrantable meddling in the affairs of foreign countries. His assailants, he said, belonged to a school which maintained "the right divine to govern wrong," and they therefore stigmatised the Sicilians as rebels. But the Sicilians had had a Constitution for centuries, and their ancient and indisputable rights were confirmed in 1812. As to Lord Minto, he interfered at the instance of the King of Naples himself. The Treaty of Vienna recognised the title of the king as King of the Two Sicilies; "but the recognition of a title was one thing, the overturning of a Constitution another."The business of the Regency was so important that Parliament—without adjourning, as usual, for the Christmas holidays—opened the year 1811, on the very first of January, by proceeding with it. An alteration in the fifth resolution, somewhat reducing the expense of the royal household, and also limiting more strictly the authority of the Queen, was proposed, and carried against Ministers, by two hundred and twenty-six votes against two hundred and thirteen. Perceval in the Commons, and Lord Liverpool in the Lords, moved amendments on this change but without effect. Another alteration was proposed by Lord Grenville, that the Regent should be allowed to elevate lawyers and other civilians to the peerage, as well as military men; and this was readily agreed to. The remaining restrictions were to terminate in February, 1812, if the House had been sitting then six weeks, or otherwise, after the sitting of the House for six weeks after its next assembling. Deputations were appointed by both Houses to announce these resolutions to the Regent and the Queen. The Regent complained of the restrictions, but the Queen expressed herself quite satisfied. The Great Seal was then affixed to a commission for opening Parliament under the Regent, after some opposition by Lord Grey. The House then adjourned till the 15th of January.

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CAPTAIN COOK.The Convention proceeded to debate the question of Louis's trial. On the 6th of November Valazé, a Girondist, presented to it the report of the Committee of Twenty-Four. This report charged Louis Capet with high treason against the nation, and declared that his punishment ought to be more than simple deposition. The next day Mailhé, another Girondist, presented the report of the Committee of Legislation, and accompanied it by a speech, in which he accused Louis of all the crimes which had been committed during the Revolution, and recommended the trial of Charles I. as the model for his trial. The queen, he said, ought to be tried by an ordinary tribunal, observing that the heads of queens were no more inviolable than other women's heads. This was as plainly intimating the wishes of the Girondists for the execution of the king and queen as any Jacobins could do. In fact, so completely did his remarks coincide with the views of the Jacobins, that he was applauded by Jacobins, Girondists, and Plain. It was voted that the report should be printed and circulated through the Departments; that a committee should be appointed to collect the necessary papers and other evidence; that these should be submitted to Louis, or his counsel; that the Convention should fix the day of trial, and should pronounce sentence by every member voting separately, and aloud. It was decreed that Louis should be brought to the bar of the Convention on the 26th of December. The king's demand to be allowed counsel having been conceded, he began to prepare his defence. In the afternoon of the 16th, four commissioners, who had been members of the Committee of Twenty-Four, appeared, and presented him with a copy of his impeachment, and also submitted to him a number of papers that were to be produced against him. At half-past nine in the morning of the 26th all Paris was again under arms, and Chambon, the mayor, appeared at the Temple, attended by Santerre with a strong force. Louis was conducted to the mayor's carriage, and was thus guarded to the Feuillants, the House of the Convention.

When such facts as these, again and again urged upon the attention of the legislators, failed to produce any practical result, it became evident to the leaders of the League that they must do something more than be the educators of the people in the principles of Free Trade. One of the ablest of the London newspapers, which was friendly to their cause, had warned them that nothing could be done in the House of Commons until they could send members there expressly to support their views. The fact was that the party which had an interest in opposing the Registration Bill returned some forty or fifty members; while the Corn Law Leaguers, as yet, returned not one. The Leaguers were now aroused to the importance of this branch of their tactics. The first fruit of this policy was seen in December, when the borough of Walsall being declared vacant, led to a contest long after remembered in the history of the movement. The Leaguers failed; but their failing was not barren. Captain Lyttelton, a Whig, and Mr. Gladstone, brother of the distinguished statesman were the two candidates on this occasion. The League sent a deputation to[485] test the candidates on the question of Corn Law Repeal, intending to give all their influence to the Whig candidate, if he pledged himself to advocate their objects. There was then no hope for assistance from Tory statesmen; and the League determined to bring forward a new candidate, in the person of Mr. J. B. Smith, one of the most prominent of their own body, and then President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. Amid disturbances during which the military were called in, Mr. Gladstone was returned, but by the narrow majority only of 362, against 335 votes given for the League candidate. This event created a strong impression; but it was but the beginning of the efforts of the League in this field, which were destined again and again to be crowned with a more successful issue. At the general election of 1841, however, the League was powerless against the Conservative majority, though Mr. Cobden was returned for Stockport.

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