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The debate was fixed for the 9th of February, on which day it was moved that the House should resolve itself into a committee on the propositions of the Government. Mr. P. Miles moved, as an amendment, that the House should go into committee on that day twelvemonth. The debate occupied twelve nights, in the course of which every species of vituperation was hurled at the Minister by the monopolist party. Mr. Beresford Hope denounced him as an apostate. Major Fitzmaurice thought the farmers might as well die by the manly system of Mr. Cobden as by the mincemeal interference of the right hon. baronet. Another member compared the Minister to a counsel who, after taking a fee for advocating one side, took the other when the case came into court. Mr. Disraeli attacked with great vehemence and bitterness the Ministerial proposals, and pointed to the "sad spectacle" of the Minister surrounded by a majority who, while they gave him their votes, protested in their speeches against his policy. Lord George Bentinck, who, in the many years he had hitherto been in Parliament, had never before taken part in any debate of importance, surprised the House on the last night of the debate by delivering a long and elaborate speech against the measure, in which he charged the Minister with "swindling" and deception—a speech which at once marked him out for one of the leaders of the new Opposition.

The Pope had been labouring to satisfy his subjects by effecting some mitigation of the ecclesiastical system of government. He had promulgated a plan for the organisation of the executive in nine departments; the chiefs of which were to compose the Council of Ministers, to consist partly of laymen, with a cardinal as secretary. The populace, however, became gradually more unmanageable. The cardinals were insulted wherever they appeared in the streets. In the new Administration, Count Rossi—formerly Ambassador from France—occupied the post of Prime Minister. He was the object of popular distrust; and it was supposed that by his temporising policy, and the feint of practical reforms, he was merely trying to gain time, and to delude the people—so, at least, thought the revolutionary party. The 15th of November was the day appointed for the opening of the Chambers, and on that day he was murdered on the steps of the Cancellaria. The mob obtained the upper hand with surprising rapidity. Thenceforth the Pope took no part in public affairs, and remained a prisoner in his palace, though the Government was still carried on in his name. It was not to be expected that the head of the Roman Catholic Church would remain long in that position. But the difficulty was to get out of the city unobserved. However, he escaped in disguise to Gaeta. Garibaldi, who had returned from South America, and had been serving with the army of Charles Albert as a guerilla leader, now appeared on the Roman stage. He had collected together about 3,000 volunteers and refugees, with whom he arrived in Rome at the end of January, 1849. A constituent Assembly was convoked, by which the Pope was dethroned, and a republic proclaimed, at the head of which was a triumvirate composed of Mazzini, Armellini, and Saffi.

The Court and the nobles were greatly alarmed, and secretly preparing for war. The nobles had joined the Assembly with the utmost repugnance, and many only on the assurance that the union would not continue. The members of that Order continued to protest against the proceedings of the Assembly, rather than join in its deliberations. The king himself had consented to the union, in the hope that the nobles would be able to put a check on the Tiers état. King and nobles saw now that all such hopes were vain. And whilst Necker was retained to satisfy the people for the present, and whilst Mounier, Lally Tollendal, and Clermont Tonnerre were consulting with him on establishing a Constitution resembling that of Britain, the Court was preparing to put down the insurrection and the Assembly by force. Marshal Broglie was placed at the head of the troops which surrounded both Paris and Versailles. He judged of both soldiers and citizens by the recollections of the Seven Years' War, and assured the king that a little grape-shot would soon disperse the rioters. Fifteen regiments, chiefly foreign, had been gradually drawn round the capital. The headquarters of Broglie were at Versailles, where he had a brilliant staff and a formidable train of artillery, some of which commanded the very hall in which the Assembly sat. There was a battery at the bridge of Sèvres, commanding the road to Paris, and in Paris itself there were strong batteries on Montmartre, which overlooked the city, and which, moreover, were carefully entrenched. Besides these preparations, there were French regiments quartered at St. Germain, Charenton, St. Cloud, and other places. Altogether, fifty thousand troops were calculated to be collected. The old noblesse were impatient for the king to give the order to disperse the people both in Paris and Versailles; to surround the Assembly, seize the chief members, put them in prison, and send the rest adrift; to treat the ringleaders of the electors in the same manner; to dissolve formally the States General, and restore the old order of things. Had the reins of government been in the hands of a Bonaparte, the whole plan would have been executed, and would for the time, without doubt, have succeeded. But Louis XVI. was not the man for a coup-d'état of that rigorous nature. He shuddered at the idea of shedding his subjects' blood; and instead of doing that for which the troops had been assembled, he now listened to Necker, who reminded him that when the people were put down or shot down, and the States General dispersed, the old debts and difficulties would remain, and without States General or Parliament there would be no authority to impose or collect taxes. To Necker's arguments, the more timid and liberal nobles added that the excitement would soon wear itself out; that nothing serious could be done in the presence of such forces, and that the Constitution, once completed, all would right itself, and that he would have to congratulate himself on his bloodless patience in a new and happier reign. This was humane but fatal advice in the circumstances. The soldiers, allowed to remain inactive in the very midst of the hotbed of sedition, were sure to become infected with the spirit of revolution. The debates in the National Assembly were actively distributed in print, and the soldiers read them eagerly.The number of places in which the inquiries under the commission were carried on was 237, having a population of 2,028,513. In twenty-five places the number of corporators was not ascertained; in the others (212) they amounted to 88,509. The governing body was self-elected in 186 boroughs. This body elected the mayor in 131 boroughs, appointed the recorder in 136, and the town-clerk in 135. The number of corporators exercising magisterial functions was 1,086, in 188 boroughs. In 112 boroughs the corporations had exclusive criminal jurisdiction, extending to the trial of various descriptions of offences, and in forty-two their jurisdiction was not exclusive. Seventeen boroughs did not enjoy any income whatever; in eight the precise amount could not be obtained. The total income of 212 boroughs amounted to £366,948; their expenditure to £377,027. 103 were involved in debts amounting to £1,855,371, and were besides burdened with annuities amounting to £4,463. In twenty-eight boroughs only were the accounts published; in fifteen the annual income was under £20; in eleven it was between £2,000 and £3,000; in five, £3,000, and under £4,000; in one, £4,000, and under £5,000; in four, £5,000, and under £7,500; in five, £10,000, and under £12,500; in one, £12,500, and under £15,000; in one, £15,000, and under £20,000; and in one, £91,000.HEROISM OF THE MAID OF SARAGOSSA. (See p. 556.)

Mr. Lamb, the Chief Secretary, wrote to Mr. Peel to the same effect. The Act, he said, had failed in fulfilling its main object, as well as every other advantageous purpose. To re-enact it would irritate all parties, and expose the Ministry to odium. He alluded to sources of dissension that were springing up in the Roman Catholic body, particularly the jealousy excited in the Roman Catholic prelates by the power which the Association had assumed over the parochial clergy. On the whole, his advice was against renewing the Statute. On the 12th of April Lord Anglesey wrote a memorandum on the subject, in which he pointed out the impolicy of any coercive measure, which, to be effective, must interfere with the right of public meeting, and make a dangerous inroad on the Constitution, at the same time displaying the weakness of the Government, which is shown in nothing more than passing strong measures which there was not vigour to enforce. His information led him to believe that the higher orders of the Roman Catholic clergy had long felt great jealousy of the ascendency that the leaders of the Association had assumed over the lower priesthood. Besides, many of the most respectable of the Catholic landlords were irritated at their tenantry for continuing to pay the Catholic rent, contrary to their injunctions; and sooner or later he believed the poorer contributors must consider the impost as onerous, arbitrary, and oppressive. These matters he regarded as seeds of dissolution, which would be more than neutralised by any coercive attempt to put down the Association. He felt confident that no material mischief could result from allowing the Act quietly to expire, supported as the Government was by "the powerful aid of that excellent establishment, the constabulary force, already working the greatest[270] benefit, and capable of still further improvement, and protected as this force was by an efficient army, ably commanded."

Burke proceeded amidst constant interruption to review the many scenes and debates in which Fox and himself had acted, as well as those on which they had differed, especially their difference of opinion on the Royal Marriage Act; but no difference of opinion had ever before affected their friendship. He alluded to his own long services and his grey hairs, and said that it was certainly an indiscretion, at his time of life, to provoke enemies, or induce his friends to desert him; but that, if his firm and steady adherence to the British Constitution placed him in that dilemma, he would risk all, and, as public duty required, with his last breath exclaim, "Fly from the French Constitution!" Here Fox whispered that there was no loss of friends; that there could be no loss of friendship between them; but Burke said—"Yes, there was a loss of friends: he knew the penalty of his conduct; he had done his duty at the price of his friends—there was an end of their friendship." It was some time before Fox could answer; he was completely overcome by his emotion; and it was only after a free flow of tears that he could proceed. He then said: "Painful as it was to listen to such sentiments as those just delivered by one to whom he owed so many obligations, he could never forget that, when little more than a boy, he had been in the habit of receiving instructions and favours from his right honourable friend. Their friendship had grown with their life; it had continued for upwards of five-and-twenty years; and he hoped, notwithstanding what had happened that day, that his right honourable friend would think on past times, and would give him credit for not intending anything unkind. It was quite true that they had before now differed on many subjects, without lessening their friendship, and why should they not now differ on the French Revolution without a severance of friendship? He could not help feeling that the conduct of his right honourable friend tended to fix upon him the charge of Republican principles, whereas he was far from entertaining such principles. His friend had heaped very ignominious terms upon him that day." Here Burke said aloud, he did not recollect having used such terms; and Fox promptly observed that "if his friend did not recollect those epithets—if they are out of his mind, then they were for ever out of his mind, too; they were obliterated and forgotten." He then denied that there was any marshalling of a party on this subject; that not one gentleman who had risen to call his right honourable friend to order had done it by his desire; on the contrary, he had entreated his friends not to interrupt him. After again dwelling for some time on the merits of the French Revolution, he once more lamented the breach in the unanimity of his friend and[380] himself, and said he would keep out of the way of his right honourable friend till he had time to reflect and think differently, and that their common friends might bring them together again; that he would endeavour to discuss the question on some future day, with all calmness, if his friend wished, but for the present he had said all that he desired to say.The Covent Garden meeting became thenceforth an annual feature in the political events of the metropolis, and the effects of this movement in the chief city of the kingdom were seen in the election of Mr. Pattison, the Free Trade candidate, for the City of London. Another sign of the times was the accession to the ranks of the Anti-Corn-Law League of Mr. Samuel Jones Loyd, the wealthy banker, a conspicuous City man, and a great[509] authority on financial matters. This gentleman addressed a letter to the council of the League in October, 1844, in which, after mentioning his reluctance to join a public body, for whose acts he could not be responsible, he said, "The time is now arrived when this must be overruled by other considerations of overwhelming importance. The great question of Free Trade is now fairly at issue, and the bold, manly, and effectual efforts which have been made by the League in its support command at once my admiration and my concurrence." Still more remarkable was the progress of the League in its scheme of converting the agriculturists themselves to their views. The truths which they had always maintained—that the tenant farmer had no real interest in maintaining the Corn Laws, the agricultural labourer, if possible, less, and that even the landed proprietor, on a far-seeing view of his interest, would be on the same side as themselves—were based upon arguments easily understood by calm reasoners, and were even beginning to make way with these classes themselves. Not a few great landowners and noblemen had openly classed themselves among their supporters. Foremost among these was Earl Fitzwilliam, who was one of the most effective speakers at Anti-Corn-Law meetings by the side of Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright. Among the noblemen openly supporting their cause were the Marquis of Westminster, Lord Kinnaird, Earl Ducie, the Earl of Radnor, Lord Morpeth, and Earl Spencer.

[See larger version]After these victories an armistice was agreed upon, as a preliminary to negotiations. The result was submission on the part of the Mahrattas, and the occupation of Gwalior by British troops. The Governor-General then imposed the terms of peace, which did not include the seizure of any territory, but consisted solely in the usurpation of[595] sovereignty. The Mahrattas were compelled to disband their army and abolish their government. The supreme authority was lodged in a Council of men devoted to the East India Company, whose President was to receive his instructions from the British Resident. A new army was organised as a contingent, which was to be at the service of the Indian Government when required. Until the majority of the reigning Prince, the administrators of the Government were to act on the British Resident's advice, not only generally or in important points, but in all matters wherein such advice should be offered.

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[45]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 regiment—the 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.

The Government determined to make the most formidable preparations for the preservation of the peace, and for putting down a riot, should it occur. Troops were seen directing their march from all quarters to the metropolis, and there was not a village in the vicinity which did not display the plumed helmet. George IV., always excessively fond of show and pomp, was resolved that the ceremonial of his coronation should outshine anything in history. The nation entered into the spirit of the occasion, and the metropolis was full of excitement. As early as one o'clock on the morning of the 19th of July, Westminster, the scene of this magnificent pageant, presented a dazzling spectacle. Even at that early hour, those who were fortunate enough to obtain places were proceeding to occupy them. From Charing Cross two streams of carriages extended, one to the Abbey and the other to Westminster Hall. The streets were crowded with foot passengers eager to secure seats on the platforms erected along the way, or some standing-place. All distinctions of rank were lost in the throng of eager expectants; judges, bishops, peers, commanders, wealthy citizens, richly dressed ladies, all mingled in the moving masses that converged towards the great centre of attraction.Scarcely had Colonel Forde returned from this expedition, towards the end of the year 1759, when the Dutch, envious of the English success, sent an armament of seven men-of-war and one thousand four hundred soldiers from Java. They landed on the Hooghly, and began committing ravages; but Forde surprised and defeated them, taking every one of their ships. They were glad to apologise, and pay the expenses of the war. In February, 1760, a few weeks after these events, Clive, whose health was failing, set sail for England, where he was received with the highest éclat, and made an Irish peer, as Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey. He soon after entered Parliament.In the midst of the excitement at Pesth, Count Lamberg was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial army in Hungary; and a decree appeared at the same time ordering a suspension of hostilities. The Count immediately started for Pesth without a military escort. In the meantime Kossuth had issued a counter-proclamation, in which the appointment of Lamberg was declared to be illegal and null, as it was not countersigned by the Hungarian Minister, according to the Constitution, and all persons obeying him were declared to be guilty of high treason. Unknown assassins, translating this language into action, stabbed the Count to death in the public street (September 28, 1848). The Government of Vienna resolved now to crush the Hungarian insurrection at any cost. A decree was issued by the emperor, who had lately returned to the capital, dissolving the Diet, declaring all its ordinances and acts illegal and void, constituting Jellacic Commander-in-Chief in Hungary and Transylvania, with unlimited powers, and appointing also a new Hungarian Ministry. Kossuth met this by a counter-proclamation, asserting the entire independence of Hungary, and denouncing the Ban and the new Prime Minister as traitors. The power given to Jellacic excited the indignation not only of all Hungarians, but of the citizens of Vienna. They rose the second time, and again forced the Emperor to fly, this time to Olmütz.

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