On the 1st of July the report of the committee was read, together with the form of declaration as drawn up by Jefferson, but afterwards remodelled by Franklin and the committee. Nine states now voted for independence. Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted against it. Delaware and South Carolina requested an adjournment to the next day, in order to make up their minds, when they voted for it, a new delegate having arrived from Delaware with firmer instructions. New York held out against independence, General Howe having now arrived at Sandy Hook, and the Provincial Congress having retired from New York to White Plains. Jay and Gouverneur Morris, from that State, were, however, vehement for independence, asserting that the Congress of New York ought to be dissolved, and delegates sent up to a new and more popular Congress.The Duke of Buckingham justly remarks that the task of the Government was from the first an up-hill one, "which nothing but their devotion to their master's service made them continue; but when a thousand unmistakable signs foretold a rebellion if they persevered, they had no alternative but to put an end to the thing with all convenient despatch." The truth is, in this case, victory would have been ruin to the victors. By beating a timely retreat they saved the monarchy. The Tory leaders, however, consoled themselves that they had so damaged the queen's character that even the chiefs of the great Whig families would not wish to have her at the head of the female aristocracy, or to have their wives and daughters at her court. They said: "The stout lady in the magnificent hat and feathers was very well as a source of Ministerial embarrassment; but, much as some of them pretended to decry the evidence against her that was elicited during her trial, they took especial care not to allow her anything resembling an intimacy with their wives or daughters." She was, however, visited after the trial by her son-in-law, Prince Leopold, and by the Duke of Sussex; and for some time the carriages of the highest ladies in the land were at her door. Grateful to Providence for the deliverance she had experienced from the hands of her persecutors, she went in state to St. Paul's to return public thanks to God. But even in this she was subjected to humiliation. An application had been made to have a sermon preached on the occasion, and Archdeacon Bathurst solicited the honour of delivering an appropriate discourse, but the authorities of the Cathedral refused his request, and the ceremony consisted merely of the reading of the morning service. The Bishop of Llandaff stigmatised the service as "a mockery of a religious solemnity, at which every serious Christian must shudder."
Apprehensions of this kind were not lessened by the memorable speech of Mr. Canning, delivered on the 15th of February, in which he gave a narrative of his labours and sacrifices in the Catholic cause, and complained of the exactions and ingratitude of its leaders. Having shown how he stood by the cause in the worst of times, he proceeded:—"Sir, I have always refused to act in obedience to the dictates of the Catholic leaders; I would never put myself into their hands, and I never will.... Much as I have wished to serve the Catholic cause, I have seen that the service of the Catholic leaders is no easy service. They are hard taskmasters, and the advocate who would satisfy them must deliver himself up to them bound hand and foot.... But to be taunted with a want of feeling for the Catholics, to be accused of compromising their interests, conscious as I am—as I cannot but be—of being entitled to their gratitude for a long course of active services, and for the sacrifice to their cause of interests of my own—this is a sort of treatment which would rouse even tameness itself to assert its honour and vindicate its claims."[See larger version]Thus occupying the right bank of the Aller, and the French the left, or western side, the Russians advanced to Friedland, not many miles from Eylau. At Friedland was a long wooden bridge crossing the Aller, and there, on the 13th of June, Buonaparte, by a stratagem, succeeded in drawing part of the Russians over the bridge by showing only Oudinot's division, which had been severely handled at the battle of Heilsberg. The temptation was too great. Benningsen forgot his usual caution, and allowed a division of his army to cross and attack Oudinot. Oudinot retired fighting, and thus induced more of the Russians to follow, till, finding his troops hotly pressed, Benningsen marched his whole force over, and then Napoleon showed his entire army. Benningsen saw that he was entrapped, and must fight, under great disadvantages, with an enfeebled army, and in an open space, where they were surrounded by a dense host of French, who could cover themselves amid woods and hills, and pour in a tempest of cannon-balls on the exposed Russians. It was the anniversary of the battle of Marengo, and Buonaparte believed the day one of his fortunate ones. Benningsen was obliged to reduce his number by sending six thousand men to defend and keep open the bridge of Allerburg, some miles lower down the Aller, and which kept open his chance of union with L'Estocq and his Prussians. Notwithstanding all these disadvantages, Benningsen fought desperately. The battle continued from ten o'clock in the morning till four o'clock in the afternoon, when Buonaparte brought up his full force in person for one of those terrible and overwhelming shocks by which he generally terminated a doubtful contest. There was such a simultaneous roar of musketry and cavalry as seemed enough to sweep away the Russians like chaff. The batteries poured down upon them a rain of no less than three thousand ball and five hundred grape-shot charges; yet the Russians did not flinch till they had at least twelve thousand killed and wounded. It was then determined to retreat across the river, and, two fords having been found, the Czar's Imperial Guard charged the troops of Ney with the bayonet, and kept them at bay till the army was over. The transit was marvellous in its success. All their cannon, except seventeen, were saved, and all their baggage.
The Ministry had, as a matter of course, been much weakened by the retirement of Lord Grey; but, having got through the Session, it might have survived to the next meeting of Parliament but for the death of Earl Spencer, which occurred on the 10th of November—an event which removed Lord Althorp to the House of Peers. It was supposed that this would lead only to a fresh modification of the Cabinet, by a redistribution of places. For example, Lord John Russell was to succeed Lord Althorp as the leader of the House of Commons. Lord Melbourne's Administration seemed to be quietly acquiesced in, as sufficient for a time; the nation evidently assuming that, in any case, a Liberal Government was the necessary consequence of a reformed Parliament. The public were therefore startled when it was announced on the 15th that the king had dismissed his Ministers. It appeared that Lord Melbourne had waited upon his Majesty at Brighton, on the 14th, to take his commands as to the new arrangements he was about to make. But the king said he considered that Government dissolved by the removal of Lord Althorp; that he did not approve of the intended construction of the Cabinet; that Lord John Russell would make "a wretched figure" as leader of the House, and that Abercromby and Spring-Rice were worse than Russell; that he did not approve of their intended measure with regard to the Irish Church; and concluded by informing Lord Melbourne that he would not impose upon him the task of completing the Ministerial arrangements, but would send for the Duke of Wellington.[See larger version]
But, in spite of the importance of these measures, there was one question which engrossed the attention of both parliament and the public far more than any other. This was the demand by Burke for the impeachment of Warren Hastings, late Governor-General of Bengal, for high crimes and misdemeanours there alleged to have been by him committed. It therefore becomes necessary at this point to resume our narrative of Indian affairs from the year 1760, which our connected view of the events of the American war necessarily suspended.To oppose this tremendous force, our Admiral, Sir Charles Hardy, had only thirty-eight sail. In the confidence of their overwhelming strength, the Franco-Spanish fleet sailed directly for the English coast. Hardy, who was a brave seaman, but somewhat past his prime, endeavoured to prevent their insulting our shores, and pursued them first near the Scilly Isles, and then towards the straits of the Channel. On shore the panic was intense, the French and Spaniards being expected every hour to land. But on the 31st of August, the wind veering enabled Hardy to get the weather-gauge of them; and being now in the Channel, he was prepared to engage their fleet, though so much superior in numbers; and on shore great quantities of military and volunteers had collected. Hardy anchored off Spithead. At the sight of this combination of circumstances, the courage of the Spaniards and French evaporated. They began to quarrel amongst themselves. The Spaniards were for landing on some part of the British coast; the French admiral contended that they would have the equinoctial gales immediately upon them, and that many of their vessels were in bad condition. The Spanish commander declared that, this being the case, he would relinquish the enterprise, and return to his own seaports. D'Orvilliers was necessarily compelled to return too, and retired to Brest, where a pestilential disease attacked the French, from having been so long cooped up in foul ships. Well might Lord North, on the meeting of Parliament, say, "Our enemies fitted out a formidable fleet; they appeared upon our coasts; they talked big; threatened a great deal; did nothing, and retired."
From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step. A scene followed the king's departure which seems almost incredible. After the service of the second course, the numerous attendants, singers, and even ladies and gentlemen began to press round the royal table, as if prepared for a scramble to possess its contents. The crowd of spectators pressed nearer and nearer. For a moment only covetous eyes were cast on the spoils, as if each were afraid to begin the plunder; but, at last, a rude hand having been thrust through the first ranks, and a golden fork having been seized, this operated as a signal to all, and was followed by a "general snatch." In a short time all the small portable articles were transferred to the pockets of the multitude. The Lord High Chamberlain, hearing of the attack, hastened to the rescue, and with the greatest difficulty saved the more important articles of plate, and had them conveyed to Carlton Garden. Then followed a scene unparalleled in the annals of coronations. The crowds in the galleries had beheld with envy the operations at the banquet. They were very hungry, and very thirsty, and seeing now that Westminster Hall was "liberty hall," they rushed down different stairs and passages, and attacked the viands and the wine. A raging thirst was the first thing to be satisfied, and in a few minutes every bottle on the table was emptied. A fresh supply was soon obtained from the cellarettes. When the ravening selfishness of the hungry crowd was satisfied, the gentlemen recovered their politeness, and began to think of the ladies. Groups of beautiful women then found their way to the tables, and every effort was made to afford them the refreshment of which they stood so much in need. In the meantime, the plunderers took advantage of the confusion to enrich themselves with trophies, breaking and destroying the table ornaments to obtain fragments of things too cumbrous to carry away. Thus, baskets, flowerpots, vases, and figures were everywhere disappearing, and these were followed by glasses, knives, forks, salt-spoons, and, finally, the plates and dishes. The last were engraved with the royal arms and the letters "Geo. IV.," and were therefore specially coveted as memorials. The dirty state of the articles, however, was rather out of keeping with the costly dresses; but the ladies and gentlemen got over the difficulty by wrapping up the articles in their pocket-handkerchiefs. Having thus secured all the spoils they could, they made all possible haste to their carriages. At a subsequent period, it was with the greatest difficulty that the royal plate could be kept from being carried away by the multitude outside when the barriers were removed.
[See larger version]In prosecution, however, of his unrighteous engagement to Catherine, he mustered the large army he had engaged to bring against Turkey, and in February, 1788, he made a formal proclamation of war, having no cause of hostility to assign of his own, but merely that his alliance with Russia demanded that he should support that power in its equally lawless invasion of Turkey. The Prince of Saxe-Coburg, who commanded one division of Joseph's army, entered Moldavia, and spent the whole campaign nearly in the siege and reduction of the fortress of Choczim. The Emperor himself accompanied another division, the destination of which was the renewal of the siege of Belgrade. He had been led by Catherine to hope, as his reward for the co-operation, the recovery of Bosnia and Servia, the acquisition of Moldavia and Wallachia, and the extension of his boundaries to the Dnieper. But, having waited some time for the junction of the Russians, Joseph's army assembled on the banks of the Danube in February, and occupied itself in securing the banks of that river and of the Save. Joseph himself joined it in April, accompanied by his favourite marshal and counsellor, Lacy, and having also with him, but paying little attention to him or his advice, the brave and able Laudohn, who had so successfully coped with Frederick of Prussia in Silesia. On the 24th he took the little fortress of Szabatch, whilst another part of his army suffered a defeat from the Turks at Dobitza. He then sat down before Belgrade, but carried on the siege with such slackness as to disgust his own troops and astonish all Europe. He was at length roused by the advance of the vizier, Yussuff, who was coming rapidly down upon him. At his approach, Joseph precipitately retreated behind the Save, while Yussuff threw bridges over the Danube at Cladova, broke the Austrian cordon by the defeat of a portion of the forces of General Wartesleben on the heights of Meadiha, and swept through the banat of Temeswar, Joseph's own territory, which he held, and threatened to invade Hungary. Joseph hastened with forty thousand men to support Wartesleben, leaving General Laudohn to conduct the war in Croatia. The army was delighted to have Laudohn at their head instead of the Emperor. He led it on the very day of his arrival against the fortress of Dobitza, which he took; he then passed the Save, drove the Turks before him, defeated seven thousand of the enemy before Novi, and took that place, where his operations were suspended by the winter. Joseph gained little credit by his junction with Wartesleben. The Turks attacked him, and, though they were for the moment repulsed, the Emperor retreated in a dark night, and Turks and Austrians resumed their former positions. After taking Verplanka, the campaign ended with a three months' truce. But the Austrians had suffered more severely from the miasma of the marshes of the Danube and Save than from the Turks.
The elections were now carried on with all the fire and zeal of the two parties. The Tories boasted of their successful efforts to stem the tide of expenditure for the war, to staunch the flow of blood, and restore all the blessings of peace. The Whigs, on the contrary, made the most of their opposition to the Treaty of Commerce, which they represented as designed to sacrifice our trade to the insane regard now shown to the French. To show their interest in trade, they wore locks of wool in their hats; and the Tories, to show their attachment to the Restoration and the Crown, wore green twigs of oak. Never was shown more completely the want of logical reason in the populace, for whilst they were declaring their zeal for the Protestant succession, and whilst burning in effigy on the 18th of November—Queen Bess's day—the Pope, the Devil, and the Pretender, they sent up a powerful majority of the men who were secretly growing more and more favourable to the Pretender's return. Never, indeed, had the chances of his restoration appeared so great. General Stanhope, on the close of the elections, told the Hanoverian minister that the majority was against them, and that if things continued ever so short a time on the present footing, the Elector would not come to the Crown unless he came with an army.There was one object, however, to be gained which was deeply interesting to every true Briton in India as well as to the public at home, without which no victories however glorious, and no infliction of punishment however terrible, upon the enemy, would have been considered satisfactory—namely, the deliverance of the captives that were still held as hostages by Akbar Khan. On this subject the two generals, Pollock and Nott, held a consultation. Nott declared that the Government had thrown the prisoners overboard, and protested against taking any measures for their recovery. But Pollock was determined that the effort should be made, and took upon himself the responsibility of telling Nott to ignore his orders. Ellenborough, half-persuaded, sanctioned Pollock's remaining at Jelalabad until October, but commanded Nott to retire either by Quetta or Cabul. Nott and Pollock, however, disregarded these absurd orders, and the advance was continued. The duty of rescuing the prisoners was undertaken by Sale, whose own heroic wife was among them. He started in pursuit, taking with him a brigade from the army at Jelalabad. The captives had been hurried on towards the inhospitable regions of the Indian Caucasus, not suffered to sleep at night, and were stared at as objects of curiosity by the inhabitants of the villages through which they passed. They reached their destination, Maimene, on the 3rd of September, and there, in a short time, before Sale's brigade arrived, they had providentially effected their own ransom. The commander of their escort was Saleh Mahomed, a soldier of fortune, who had been at one time a soubahdar in Captain Hopkins's regiment of infantry, and had deserted with his men to Dost Mahomed. Between this man and Captain Johnson an intimacy sprang up, which the latter turned to account by throwing out hints that Saleh Mahomed would be amply rewarded, if, instead of carrying off his prisoners, he would conduct them in safety to the British camp. Days passed away without anything being done, till after their arrival at Maimene, when, on the 11th of September, Saleh Mahomed sent for Johnson, Pottinger, and Lawrence, and in a private room which had been appropriated to Lady Sale, he produced a letter which he had just received from Akbar Khan, directing him to convey the prisoners to a more distant prison-house. This seemed to be a sentence of hopeless captivity, but the officers' minds were soon relieved by another piece of intelligence—namely, a message from General Pollock that if Saleh Mahomed released the prisoners he should receive a present of 20,000 rupees, and a life pension of 1,000 rupees a month. Saleh said to them, "I know nothing of General Pollock, but if you three gentlemen will swear by your Saviour to make good to me what Synd Moortega Shah states that he is authorised to offer, I will deliver you over to your own people." The offer was gladly accepted; and an agreement was drawn up, in pursuance of which Saleh Mahomed and his European allies proclaimed their revolt to the people of Maimene and the surrounding country. They deposed the governor of the place, and appointed a more friendly chief in his stead. They supplied themselves with funds by seizing upon the property of a party of merchants who were passing that way. Major Pottinger assumed the functions of government, and issued proclamations, and called upon the chiefs to come in and make their salaam. But they might come for a different purpose, and hence they began to fortify themselves, and prepare for a very vigorous defence. While thus employed, a horseman was seen rapidly approaching from the Cabul side of the valley, who proved to be the bearer of glad tidings. The Jugduluk Pass had been forced; Akbar Khan had been defeated by General Pollock at Tizeen, and had fled, no one knew whither. This was delightful news indeed. The power of the oppressor was now broken, and the captives were free. Early next morning they started for Cabul, sleeping the first night upon stony beds under the clear moonlight; they were awakened by the arrival of a friendly chief, who brought a letter from Sir Richmond Shakespear, stating that he was on his way to Maimene with a party of horse. On the 17th of September Shakespear, with his cavalry, came up. Pushing on again, they were met by a large body of British cavalry and infantry, under the command of Sir Robert Sale. "In a little time the happy veteran had embraced his wife and daughter; and the men of the 13th had offered their delighted congratulations to the loved ones of their old commander. A royal salute was fired. The prisoners were safe in Sale's camp. The good Providence that had so long watched over the prisoners and the captives now crowned its mercies by delivering them into the hands of their friends. Dressed as they were in Afghan costume, their faces bronzed by much exposure, and rugged with beards and moustachios of many months' growth, it was not easy to recognise the liberated officers, who now came forward to receive the congratulations of their friends."
The career of Lord Ellenborough as Governor-General of India was one of the most remarkable in its annals. He went out for the purpose of inaugurating a policy of peace, conciliation, and non-intervention. His course from that day was one of constant aggression and war. The conquests of Scinde and Gwalior were planned and prepared for deliberately and in good time; and when the Governments to be subdued were goaded into hostilities, he was ready to pounce upon them with overwhelming force. His friends defended this policy on the ground that, though it was aggressive it was self-defensive; to guard against a possible, but very remote contingency—an invasion of the Sikhs to drive the British out of India. The Governor-General, however, had become entirely too warlike; and since he had smelt powder and tasted blood at Gwalior, the Board of Control, who had already formally censured his Scinde policy, became so alarmed at his martial propensities that they determined on his immediate recall, and sent out Sir Henry Hardinge to rule in his stead.The history of Hume was much over-estimated in his own time, in spite of the despotic notions which abound in it. It was held up as a marvel of eloquence and acuteness. But after times always correct the enthusiasm of contemporaries, and Hume's history has been found not in every case trustworthy. When we now, indeed, take up Hume, we are surprised to find it a very plain, clear narrative of events, with many oversights and perversions, and nothing more. We wonder where are the transcendent beauties which threw our readers of the eighteenth century into raptures for which language scarcely gave expression. Whoever will read the correspondence of contemporaries with Hume, will find him eulogised rather as a demi-god than a man, and his works described in extravagant strains of praise.
On the declaration of war, Buonaparte resorted to a proceeding that had never been practised before, and which excited the most violent indignation in England. He ordered the detention of British subjects then in France, as prisoners of war. Talleyrand previously assured some British travellers, who applied to him for information, that they had nothing to fear; that their persons would be safe under the protection of a Government which, unlike that of Britain, observed the laws of nations, and Buonaparte caused his well-known agent, Louis Goldsmith, the editor of a French paper, the Argus, published in London, to insert the same assurance in that journal. Thus thrown off their guard, all the British in France were seized by authority of a proclamation of the 22nd of May. Numbers of these were families and individuals not resident in France, but merely hurrying home from Italy, Switzerland, etc. They numbered some 12,000, and were kept confined till the close of the wars. The pretext was the capture of two ships before war was declared, but they were not captured until the Ambassadors had withdrawn, or until an embargo had been laid by Napoleon on British shipping.The campaign in Flanders opened in April. The British faithfully furnished their stipulated number of men (twenty-eight thousand), but both Austria and Holland had most disgracefully failed. Holland was to send fifty thousand into the field, and keep the other ten thousand in her garrisons; but she had sent less than half that number, and Austria only eight squadrons. The French had a fine army of seventy-five thousand men under the able general, Marshal Saxe; and the King of France and the Dauphin had come to witness the conflict, which gave a wonderful degree of spirit to their troops. On the part of the Allies, the Duke of Cumberland was chief in command, but, from his youth, he was not able to set himself free from the assumptions of the Austrian general, old Marshal K?nigsegg, and the Dutch general, the Prince of Waldeck. As it was, to march against the French before Tournay was to rush into a certain contest with the whole French army of nearly eighty thousand men, whilst the Allies could have only about fifty thousand. Saxe made the ablest arrangements for the coming fight. He left fifteen thousand infantry to blockade Tournay, drew up his army in a very strong position a few miles in advance, and strengthened it by various works.Eugene, during these affairs, had been actively prosecuting the fortunes of the Allies with his remnant of an army. He pushed on the siege of Quesnoy, and took it. He sent a flying detachment of one thousand five hundred cavalry, under Major-General Grovestein, to make an incursion into France. This force made a rapid raid in Champagne, passed the Noire, the Meuse, the Moselle, and the Saar, ravaged the country, reduced a great number of villages and towns to ashes, rode up to the very gate of Metz, and then retired to Traerbach with a load of rich booty. This was a proof of what might have been done in France at this period with the whole army united under a commander like Marlborough, in place of miserably giving up everything to that country in the moment of power. As it was, it created the utmost consternation in Paris, the people of which already saw the English at their gate; whilst Louis did not think himself safe at Versailles, but gathered all the troops in the neighbourhood of the capital around his palace, leaving the city to take care of itself.
For a short time quiet prevailed, as if the nation, and Europe, too, were stunned by the news of the execution of the king. In spite of the loud talk of the Jacobins and sansculottes throughout France, there was a startled sense of terror—a foreboding of calamity. In La Vendée there was intense horror and indignation. Abroad, every monarchy seemed thrown into a new attitude by the death of Louis. Spain and England, which had maintained a careful neutrality, assumed a threatening aspect. Germany, which had not yet federally allied itself with the movements of Austria and Prussia, became agitated with resentment; and Holland, by the fear of suffering the fate of Belgium. The axe which severed the head of Louis from his body seemed to sever every international sympathy with France. In England, the sensation on the news of the execution was profound. People in general had not believed that the French would proceed to such an extremity with a monarch of so inoffensive a character. The crime seemed to verify all the predictions and the denunciations of Burke. There was, except amongst a certain class of almost frantic Republicans, a universal feeling of abhorrence and execration. There was a gloomy sense of approaching war; a gloomy sense, as if the catastrophe was a national rather than a foreign one. Pitt had hitherto maintained a position of neutrality. He had contrived to avoid giving any support to the royal family of France, which must have produced immediately hostile consequences, but he had not failed, from time to time, to point out in Parliament the atrocious conduct of the French revolutionists, which justified all the prophecies of Burke, and threw shame on the laudatory language of Fox.During the recess of Parliament there was an active contest between the new French opinions and the old constitutional ones. One called forth and provoked the other. Clubs and societies for Reform were more after the model of the wholesale proceedings of France than the old and sober ones of England. The Society of the Friends of the People was compelled to disclaim all connection with the Society for Constitutional Information in London, which was in open correspondence with the Jacobins of Paris. It was forced to disown societies in the country of the same stamp, and especially to check a branch of the Society for Constitutional Information in Sheffield, which, in May of the present year, called on the Society of the Friends of the People to establish a Convention in London. To allow of no mistake as to their principles, the Society of the Friends of the People held a great meeting on the 5th of May, in which they announced that they had no other object but to obtain Parliamentary Reform by strictly legal and constitutional means, and that after this end had been secured they should dissolve themselves. Yet, notwithstanding this, there were those in the Society who deemed that they were in connection with persons and associations whose views went farther than their own, and, on this ground, on the 9th of June, Mr. Baker, who had been the chairman at the late meeting at the Freemasons' Tavern, Lord John Russell, who had been deputy-chairman, Dudley North, Mr. Curwen, and Mr. Courtney, withdrew from it.With the reign of George III. commenced a series of improvements in the manufacture of iron, which have led not only to a tenfold production of that most useful of metals, but to changes in its quality which before were inconceivable. Towards the end of the reign of George II. the destruction of the forests in smelting iron-ore was so great as to threaten their extinction, and with it the manufacture of iron in Britain. Many manufacturers had already transferred their businesses to Russia, where wood was abundant and cheap. It was then found that coke made from coal was a tolerable substitute for charcoal, and, in 1760, the very first year of the reign of George III., the proprietors of the Carron Works in Scotland began the use of pit-coal. Through the scientific aid of Smeaton and Watt, they applied water-, and afterwards steam-power, to increase the blast of their furnaces to make it steady and continuous, instead of intermitting as from bellows; and they increased the height of their chimneys. By these means, Dr. John Roebuck, the founder of these works, became the first to produce pig iron by the use of coal. This gave great fame to the Carron Works, and they received large orders from Government for cannon and cannon-balls. It was some time, however, before enough iron could be produced to meet the increasing demand for railroads, iron bridges, etc.; and so late as 1781 fifty thousand tons were imported annually from Russia and Sweden.详情
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