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The restless Englishman, much more like a Frenchman in temperament and character than a native of England, had married Madame de Villette, a niece of Louis XIV.'s last mistress, Madame de Maintenon, a lady rich and well-trained in all the Court life of Paris. By this means Bolingbroke was brought into close connection with that Court. The notorious Cardinal Dubois had died in August, 1723, and in less than four months died also the Duke of Orleans, the Regent. Louis XV. being nominally of age, no other Regent was appointed; but the Duke of Bourbon, a man of better character but of less ability than the Regent, Orleans, was Prime Minister. He was greatly under the influence of his bold and ambitious mistress Madame de Prie; and Bolingbroke, who was high in the favour of both Minister and mistress, flattered himself that, with the aid of his courtier wife, he could govern both them and France.Attention was now turned to a matter of the highest importance in a commercial, an intellectual, and a moral point of view. The stamp duty on newspapers had been the subject of keen agitation for some months, and newspaper vendors had incurred repeated penalties for the sale of unstamped newspapers; some of them having been not only fined, but imprisoned. A general impression prevailed that such an impost was impolitic, if not unjust, and that the time had come when the diffusion of knowledge must be freed from the trammels by which it had been so long restrained. A deputation, consisting of Dr. Birkbeck, Mr. Hume, Colonel Thompson, Mr. O'Connell, Mr. Grote, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Brotherton, Mr. Wallace, and Mr. Buckingham, having, on the 11th of February, waited upon Lord Melbourne, to ask for an entire abolition of the stamp on newspapers, he promised to give his most serious attention to the matter; and he kept his word, for on the 15th of the next month the Chancellor of the Exchequer brought the subject before Parliament, and announced the intentions of Government with regard to it. He stated that it was proposed to revise the whole of the existing law respecting stamp duties, first by consolidating into one statute the 150 Acts of Parliament over which the law was at present distributed; secondly,[402] by the apportionment of the various rates on a new principle—namely, by the simple and uniform rule of making the price of the stamp in every case correspond to the pecuniary value involved in the transaction for which it is required. The effect of this change would be to reduce the stamp duty upon indentures of apprenticeship, bills of lading, and many others of the more common instruments, and to increase it upon mortgages and conveyances of large amounts of property. It was intimated that the proposed Consolidation Act would contain no less than 330 sections. With regard to the stamp on newspapers, then fourpence with discount, it was proposed to reduce it to one penny without discount. This would be a remission of a proportion, varying according to the price of the newspaper, of between two-thirds and three-fourths of the tax. To this remission Parliament assented, and the illicit circulation of unstamped papers was in consequence abandoned. Some of the members very reasonably objected to any stamp whatever on newspapers; but the time was not yet come when Government would venture entirely to remove it, although the advantages which must necessarily arise from such a proceeding could not but have been foreseen. It was considered unfair that the public at large should pay for the carriage of newspapers by post; and it does not seem to have been remembered that, as only a portion of them would be transmitted in this way, an injustice would be committed by demanding payment for all. The difficulty of the case was, however, in due time, easily surmounted; and political knowledge was, by the change even then made, in a great degree exempted from taxation—a good preparation for the time, which was not very far off, when a newspaper of a high order might be obtained, even for the reduced price of the stamp.


In 1817 the number of power-looms in Lancashire was estimated at 2,000, of which only about 1,000 were then in employment, and the wages had fallen below the rate at which goods could be produced by machinery. To the power-loom, therefore, the hand-loom weavers gradually gave way. In 1832 there were 80,000 power-looms in Lancashire, employing persons of both sexes and of all ages from nine years upwards, at rates of wages varying from half-a-crown to ten shillings a week. In 1817 the estimated number of persons employed in the spinning of cotton in Great Britain was 110,763, and the quantity of yarn produced was under 100,000,000 lbs.; in 1853 the yarn spun was nearly 700,000,000 lbs. In 1838 the total number of cotton factories in Great Britain and Ireland was 1,815, of which there were in England and Wales, 1,599; in Scotland, 192; in Ireland, 24. The total number of persons employed in these factories was 206,000, of whom 145,934 were females.The most important change in the Settlement Law was the repeal of the settlement by hiring and service, which prevented the free circulation of labour, interfered with the liberty of the subject, and fixed an intolerable burden upon the parish. This law was repealed by the 64th and 65th sections of the Act; the settlement by occupation of a tenement, without payment of rates, by the 66th; while other sections effected various improvements in the law of removal. The old law made it more prudent for a woman to have a number of children without a husband than with a husband, as she could throw the burden of their support upon the parish, or through the parish force the putative father to support them; and if he could not give security to pay, he was liable to imprisonment. By this means marriages were often forced. These evils were remedied by rendering the unmarried mother liable for the maintenance of her children, by rendering it unlawful to pay to her any sums which the putative father might be compelled to contribute for the reimbursement[365] of the parish, and by rendering it necessary that evidence additional to that of the mother should be required to corroborate her charge against the person accused of being the father. The law worked fairly well, though it was discovered that many mothers shrank from prosecuting the fathers of their babies at the price of disclosing their shame, and thus illegitimate children were brought up in the utmost squalor.

The two Pugins, father and son, had much to do with the revival of Gothic architecture among us. The father, Augustus, born in France in 1769, came over to London to practise his profession. In 1821-3 he published "Specimens of Gothic Architecture," selected from various ancient edifices in England; and in 1825-28 "Specimens of the Architectural Antiquities of Normandy." The year before his death, in 1832, he assisted his son in producing a work entitled "Gothic Ornaments," selected from various buildings in England and France. Augustus Welby Pugin, who was born in 1811, very soon eclipsed his father's fame. Having resolved to devote his time to the arch?ological study of style and symbolism in architectural ornaments, he settled down at Ramsgate in 1833, and carried his resolution into effect both with pen and pencil. In 1835 he published designs for furniture, in the style of the fifteenth century; and designs for iron and brass work, in the style of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The year following appeared his "Designs for Gold and Silver Ornaments, and Ancient Timber Houses." His exclusive and ardent devotion to these studies, aided, no doubt, by his habits of seclusion, began to produce a morbid effect upon his intellect, which was shown in the overweening arrogance of a tract entitled "Contrasts; or, a Parallel between Ancient and Modern Architecture." This morbid tendency probably was increased by his becoming a member of the Roman Catholic Church, in which a great field was opened for the display of his peculiar tastes by the construction of buildings which he expected would shame the degenerate taste of the age, but which, too often, were found to be gloomy and inconvenient. His principal works were the Cathedral of St. George, Southwark, the Church of St. Barnabas, at Nottingham, the Cistercian Abbey of St. Bernard, in Leicestershire, the cathedral churches of Killarney and Enniscorthy, Alton Castle, and the model structure which he erected at his own place near Ramsgate. The Medi?val Court in the Exhibition of 1851 was associated in all minds with the name of Pugin. In his case genius was too nearly allied to madness. The awful boundary was passed towards the close of his life, when his friends were obliged to confine him in a lunatic asylum, from which he returned only to die in 1852.John Stewart, made Attorney-General and a baronet.

At the very time he received this appointment he was actually in correspondence with Colonel Robinson, an officer of General Clinton's staff, declaring that he was become convinced of the more righteous cause of the mother country, and that he was prepared to testify this by some signal service to his king. It was at the beginning of August of the present year when Arnold assumed his command at West Point; and Clinton lost no time in opening a direct correspondence with him, through which such singular advantages were offered. Sir Henry Clinton employed as his agent in this correspondence a young officer of high promise in his profession and of considerable literary talents, Major John André, Adjutant-General and aide-de-camp to Sir Henry. As Clinton was naturally anxious to bring this hazardous correspondence to a close, he pressed Arnold to come to a speedy decision, offering him rank in the army and a high reward in return for the promised services—namely, the surrender of West Point, with all its dependent forts and stores, including, as a matter of course, the command of the Hudson, and the terror and distrust which this act would spread through the American army. The absence of Washington at the meeting with Rochambeau at Hartford was seized on as a proper opportunity for a personal and final conference on the subject. Major André was selected by General Clinton to meet Arnold on neutral ground. The place selected was on the western bank of the Hudson, and Clinton strongly enjoined him to enter on no account within the American lines, to assume no disguise, nor to be the bearer of any written documents. Day dawned before the whole preliminaries were settled, though the chief point was determined—namely, that West Point should be surrendered to the English on the following Monday. André was prevailed on to remain with Arnold the greater part of the day; and then, on going down to the shore, he found that the boatman who had brought him out refused to carry him back. When André returned to Arnold at Smith's house, he gave him a pass, and advised him to travel by land to King's Ferry, and there to cross. He insisted that for this purpose he must assume a disguise, and travel under his assumed name of John Anderson. So little was André apprehensive of danger, that he not only disobeyed the injunction of his[278] commander-in-chief in this particular, but in the far more important one of carrying written papers, which he concealed in his boot.

Coote landed at Madras at the beginning of November. A council was immediately called, Whitehill was removed from the government of the Presidency, and the member of Council next in seniority appointed. Coote had brought with him only five hundred British troops and six hundred Lascars. The whole force with which he could encounter Hyder amounted only to one thousand seven hundred Europeans and five thousand native troops. Coote, whose name as the conqueror of the French at Wandewash and Pondicherry struck terror into Hyder, soon resumed his triumphs on his old ground, driving the enemy from[331] Wandewash. Hearing then of the arrival of the French armament off Pondicherry, he marched thither, and posted himself on the Red Hills. The French fleet, consisting of seven ships of the line and four frigates, was anchored off the place. But the French squadron having sailed away for the Isle of France, from apprehension of the approach of a British fleet, Hyder retreated, and, entering the territory of Tanjore, laid it waste, while his son, Tippoo, laid siege again to Wandewash. Hyder was again encouraged to advance, and on the 6th of July, 1781, Coote managed to bring him to action near Porto Novo, and completely routed him and his huge host, though he had himself only about eight thousand men. Hyder retired quite crestfallen to Arcot, and ordered Tippoo to raise the siege of Wandewash.The very Dames des Halles, the market women, took up the word against them. They sang a song with much vivacity, "Donnez-nous notre paire de gants,"—equivalent in pronunciation to notre père de Ghent, that is, Louis, who was then residing at Ghent. None but the very lowest of the population retained the old illusions respecting him. In such circumstances, not even his new Constitution could satisfy anybody. It was very much the same as Louis XVIII. had sworn to in 1814. It granted free election of the House of Representatives, which was to be renewed every five years; the members were to be paid; land and other taxes were to be voted once a year; ministers were to be responsible; juries, right of petition, freedom of worship, inviolability of property, were all established. But Buonaparte destroyed the value of these concessions by publishing this, not as[93] a new Constitution, but as "an additional Act" to his former Constitution. The word "additional" meant everything, for it proclaimed that all the despotic decrees preceding this fresh declaration were still in force, and thus it neutralised or reduced these concessions to a mere burlesque.

Such was Massena's situation, so early as the commencement of November—having to maintain his army in a country reduced to a foodless desert by the art of his masterly antagonist, and, instead of being able to drive the British before him, finding them menacing him on all sides, so that he dispatched General Foy to make his way with a strong escort to Ciudad Rodrigo, and thence to proceed with all speed to Paris, to explain to the Emperor the real state of affairs. The state was that the whole of Portugal, except the very ground on which Massena was encamped, was in possession of the British and the Portuguese. There was no possibility of approaching Lisbon without forcing these lines at Torres Vedras, and that, if done at all, must be at the cost of as large an army as he possessed altogether. All the rest of Portugal—Oporto, Coimbra, Abrantes—and all the forts except Almeida were in the hands of the enemy. As to the destitution of Massena's army, we have the description from his own statements in letters to Napoleon, which were intercepted. From this information, Lord Wellington wrote in his dispatches: "It is impossible to describe the pecuniary and other distresses of the French army in the Peninsula. All the troops are months in arrears of pay; they are, in general, very badly clothed; they want horses, carriages, and equipments of every description; their troops subsist solely upon plunder; they receive no money, or scarcely any, from France, and they realise but little from their pecuniary contributions from Spain. Indeed, I have lately discovered that the expense of the pay and the hospitals alone of the French army in the Peninsula amounts to more than the sum stated in the financial exposé as the whole expense of the entire French army."On the 10th of February, 1797, the French made a descent on the Welsh coast, which created much alarm at the time, and no less speculation as to its meaning. Four armed vessels, containing about fourteen hundred men, had appeared in the Bristol Channel, off Ilfracombe, in north Devon. They did not attempt to land there, but stood over to the Welsh coast, and landed in a bay near Fishguard. They were commanded by General Tate, and commenced marching inland, and the whole country was in alarm. Lord Cawdor marched against them with three thousand men, including a considerable body of militia, and they at once laid down their arms and surrendered without a shot. Many were the conjectures as to the object of this descent, and historians have much puzzled themselves about a matter which appears plain enough. The men looked ragged and wild, more like felons than soldiers, and were apparently not unwilling to be made prisoners. They were, no doubt, a part of the great Brest fleet meant for Ireland, which had been driven about by the tempests ever since they quitted that port on the 17th of December, and were only too glad to set foot on any land at all, and probably were by this time so famished and bewildered that they did not know whether they were in England or Ireland. Many of their comrades of the same unfortunate expedition never did see land again.

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Besides the grand army of the Allies, of two hundred thousand, marching from Bohemia, one hundred and twenty thousand Austrians, and eighty thousand Russians and Prussians, Blucher lay on the road to Breslau with eighty thousand; the Crown Prince of Sweden, near Berlin, with thirty thousand Swedes and sixty thousand[68] Prussians and Russians; Walmoden lay at Schwerin, in Mecklenburg, with thirty thousand Allies; and Hiller, with forty thousand Austrians, watched the army of Italy.The foreign relations of England at this period were, on the whole, satisfactory—as might be expected from the fact that our foreign policy was committed to the able management of Lord Palmerston, who, while sympathising with oppressed nationalities, acted steadily upon the principle of non-intervention. Considering, however, the comparative smallness o£ our naval and military forces, the formidable military powers of Russia and France created a good deal of uneasiness, which the king expressed in one of his odd impromptu speeches at Windsor. On the 19th of February there was a debate in the House of Commons on Eastern affairs, in which the vast resources and aggressive policy Of Russia were placed in a strong light. On that occasion Lord Dudley Stuart said, "Russia has 50,000,000 subjects in Europe alone, exclusive of Asia; an army of 700,000 men, and a navy of eighty line-of-battle ships and frigates, guided by the energy of a Government of unmitigated despotism, at whose absolute and unlimited disposal stand persons and property of every description. These formidable means are constantly applied to purposes of territorial aggrandisement, and every new acquisition becomes the means of gaining others. Who can tell that the Hellespont may not be subject to Russia at any moment? She has a large fleet in the Black Sea, full command of the mouths of the Danube, and of the commercial marine cities of Odessa and Trebizond. In three days she may be at Constantinople from Sebastopol; and if once there, the Dardanelles will be so fortified by Russian engineers that she can never be expelled except by a general war. She could be in entire possession of these important straits before any expedition could be sent from this country, even if such a thing could be thought of against the enormous military force at the command of Russia. That Russia is determined to have the Dardanelles is evident from the treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, by which she began by excluding the ships of all other nations. The effect of this treaty was to exclude any ship of war from these straits, except with the permission of Russia. Russia might at any moment insist on the exclusion of our ships of war from the Dardanelles—nay, she has already done so; for when Lord Durham, going on his late embassy to the Court of St. Petersburg, arrived at the Dardanelles in a frigate, he was obliged to go on board the Pluto, an armed vessel without her guns, before he could pass the straits; and when he arrived at Sebastopol no salute was fired, and the excuse given was that they did not know the Pluto from a merchant vessel. But both before and since Lord Durham went, Russian ships of war, with their guns out and their streamers flying, passed through the Black Sea to the Dardanelles, and again through[412] the Dardanelles to the Black Sea. Russia has now fifteen ships of the line and seven frigates in the Black Sea. Sebastopol is only three days' sail from the Hellespont. Turkey has no force capable of resisting such an armament; the forts of the Hellespont are incapable of defence against a land force, for they are open in the rear. Russia might any day have 100,000 men in Constantinople before England or France could even fit out expeditions to defend it."

With Spain the prospect of war became every day more imminent. Stanhope quitted that country, and the Spanish Government ordered the seizure of the Prince Frederick, a ship belonging to the South Sea Company. Twenty thousand men were assembled and sent against Gibraltar. All attempts on the great fortress were as useless as former ones had been. The English regarded the attack with even an air of indifference, whilst their guns, sickness, and desertion, were fast cutting off the besiegers. In four months the investing army, being reduced to half its number, drew off with this empty but destructive result.SOMERSET HOUSE, LONDON (RIVER FRONT).



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