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      It was very short, but he held it a long time before he gave it back.


      The Roman Catholic prelates, however, seem to have been satisfied with the achievement of Emancipation, and to have received the boon in a very good spirit. There was one of their number who, more than all the rest, had contributed to the success of the work. This was Dr. Doyle, so well known as "J.K.L.," unquestionably the most accomplished polemical writer of his time. In January, 1830, the Catholic bishops assembled in Dublin, to deliberate, according to annual custom, on their own duties and the interests of their Church. Dr. Doyle, at the close of these deliberations, drew up a pastoral, to which all the prelates affixed their signatures. It gave thanks to God that the Irish people not only continued to be of one mind, labouring together in the faith of the Gospel, but also that their faith was daily becoming stronger, and signally fructifying among them. Having drawn a picture of the discord that had prevailed in Ireland before Emancipation, the pastoral went on to say that the great boon "became the more acceptable to this country, because among the counsellors of his Majesty there appeared conspicuous the most distinguished of Ireland's own sons, a hero and a legislatora man selected by the Almighty to break the rod[304] which had scourged Europea man raised by Providence to confirm thrones, to re-establish altars, to direct the councils of England at a crisis the most difficult; to stanch the blood and heal the wounds of the country that gave him birth." The pastoral besought the people to promote the end which the legislature contemplated in passing the Relief Billthe pacification and improvement of Ireland. It recommended that rash and unjust oaths should not be even named among them, and deprecated any attempt to trouble their repose by "sowers of discord or sedition." The bishops rejoiced at the recent result of the protracted struggle, not more on public grounds than because they found themselves discharged from a duty which necessity alone allied to their ministry"a duty imposed on us by a state of times which has passed, but a duty which we have gladly relinquished, in the fervent hope that by us or our successors it may not be resumed."


      The employment of children in factories also occupied the attention of Parliament at this time. A Bill had been framed in 1833 with the most benevolent intentions for the protection of factory children. The law excluded from factory labour all children under nine years of age, except in silk factories, and prohibited those under thirteen from working more than thirteen hours any one day; the maximum in silk mills alone being ten hours. The provisions of the law were, however, evaded by fraud. Children were represented as being much older than they really were, and abuses prevailed that induced Lord Ashley to bring in a Bill upon the subject. Accordingly, on the 22nd of June the noble lord moved, by way of amendment to the order of the day, the second reading of his Bill for the Better Regulation of Factories. The order of the day was carried by a majority of 119 to 111. The Bill was therefore lost by a majority of eight. On the 20th of July Lord Ashley again brought the whole matter under the consideration of the House in a speech full of painful details, and concluded by moving a resolution to the effect that the House deeply regretted that the imperfect and ineffective law for the regulation of labour in factories had been suffered to continue so long without any amendment. He was answered by the usual arguments of the Manchester school about the evils of interfering with free contract. Lord John Russell argued that, in the present condition of the manufacturing world, we could not, with restricted hours of labour, compete with other nations. A ten hours' Bill would drive the manufacturers abroad; and it would no longer be a question as to an hour or two more or less work to be performed by the children, but as to how their starvation was to be averted. On a division, the motion was lost by a majority of 121 to 106. On[455] the 16th of August the Queen proceeded to Westminster for the purpose of proroguing Parliament.

      MARSHAL SOULT. (From the Portrait by Rouillard.)On the 18th of January, 1815, commenced the final retreat of the British to their ships. They were allowed to march away without molestation, taking all their guns and stores with them, except ten old ship guns of no value, which they rendered useless before they abandoned them. Andrew Jackson, afterwards President of the United States, commanded in this defence of New Orleans, and loud were the boastings of his prowess all over the States, when, in fact, he had not risked a man. His merit was to have shown what excellent shots his countrymen were, and how careful they were to keep out of the reach of shot themselves. So far as the British were concerned, they had shown not only their unparalleled bravery, but also, as on many such occasions, their great want of prudence. This sacrifice of life would have been spared by a single and much more effectual blockade, and the most lamentable part of the business was, that all the time peace had been made, though the news of it had not reached them.

      Marriage is one of the fundamental principles of the social system. The law of marriage, therefore, ought to be plain and simple, intelligible to all, and guarded in every possible way against fraud and abuse. Yet the marriage laws of the United Kingdom were long in the most confused, unintelligible, and unsettled state, leading often to ruinous and almost endless litigation. A new Marriage Act was passed in the Session now under review, which, like many Acts of the kind, originated in personal interests affecting the aristocracy. It was said to have mainly arisen out of the marriage of the Marquis of Donegal with Miss May, who was the daughter of a gentleman celebrated for assisting persons of fashion with loans of money. The brother of the marquis sought to set this marriage aside, and to render the children illegitimate, in order that he might himself, should the marquis die without lawful issue, be heir to his title and estates. In law the marriage was invalid; but it was now protected by a retrospective clause in the new Act. By the Marriage Act of 1754 all marriages of minors certified without the assent of certain specified persons were declared null. A Bill was passed by the Commons giving validity to marriages which, according to the existing law, were null, and providing that the marriages of minors, celebrated without due notice, should not be void, but merely voidable, and liable to be annulled only during the minority[226] of the parties, and at the suit of the parents or guardians.But though the 21st of January was to be the day of the grand attack on the Ministry, the battle was not deferred till then. Every day was a field-day, and the sinking Minister was dogged step by step, his influence weakened by repeated divisions, and his strength worn out by the display of the inevitable approach of the catastrophe. The first decided defeat that he suffered was in the election of the Chairman of Committees. The Ministerial candidate, Giles Earle, was thrown out by a majority of two hundred and forty-two to two hundred and thirty-eight, and the Opposition candidate, Dr. Lee, was hailed by a shout that rent the House. Other close divisions followed. The fall of Walpole was now certain, and he would have consulted both his dignity and comfort in resigning at once. This was the earnest advice of his friends, but he had been too long accustomed to power to yield willingly. He was oppressed with a sense of his defeats, and the insolence of enemies whom he had so long calmly looked down upon without fear. He was growing old and wanted repose, but he still clung convulsively to his authority, though he had ceased to enjoy it.


      The general turned his head sharply, and his eyes flashed, but he only asked dryly, "Why?"

      [Pg 141]

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      As for the poems of Ossian, he made a violent attack upon them in his "Tour to the Western Isles."

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      Still, Fox took the opportunity to sound the French Government as to the possibility of peace. In a correspondence with Talleyrand he said that Britain would be willing to treat on reasonable terms, the first condition of which was that the Emperor Alexander should be admitted to the treaty. This was at once refused; yet Fox did not give up the attempt, and at length the French Government proposed that a British ambassador should go to Paris, to endeavour to arrange the principles of an agreement. Fox complied. Before a British plenipotentiary was[518] permitted to proceed to Paris, the great points of the negotiation should have been brought forward, and it should have been seen whether there was a probability of agreeing. It should have been understood whether Buonaparte was disposed to surrender Naples again, which Britain demanded; to require the retirement of the Prussians from Hanover, even if nothing was said of Holland and Switzerland. To send a plenipotentiary without having ascertained these points was simply to enable Buonaparte to boast that he had sought to conciliate, and that British rapacity and ambition rendered all his overtures useless. This was exactly what occurred. Lord Yarmouth, late Marquis of Hertford, who had been residing for years in France as one of Buonaparte's dtenus at the Peace of Amiens, was first sent. Lord Yarmouth arrived in Paris towards the end of May, and though it had been settled that the negotiations should, for the present, remain secret, the French had taken care to make every Court in Europe well acquainted with the fact. Then one of the very first demandshaving got the ambassador therewas for the recognition, not only of Buonaparte as emperor, but also of all his family as princes and princesses of the blood. Next they came to the surrender of Naples, but Talleyrand assured Lord Yarmouth that the Emperor, so far from giving up Naples, or any part of Italy, must have Sicily, which was in possession of the British, because Joseph Buonaparte, now made King of Naples, declared that it could not be held without Sicily. France, Talleyrand said, would consent to Britain holding Malta, the Cape of Good Hope, which we had taken again, and would not only restore Hanover to us, but also allow us to seize on the Hanse Towns and Hamburg! We were in fact, to be permitted to set up for marauders, like themselves, and invade neutral States, and appropriate them; but, as for Naples or Sicily being restored, that was impossible. Lord Yarmouth also demanded that Dalmatia, Istria, and Albania should be restored, the last to the Turks, whose empire should regain its entirety. These points were equally resisted. Meanwhile, Prussia had taken the alarm about Hanover, and Russia, fearful of our treating without her, sent to Paris Count d'Oubril. Talleyrand managed to excite jealousies between the British and Russian envoys, to such a degree, that d'Oubril quitted Paris hastily, and returned to St. Petersburg. Instead of peace, the elements of new heartburnings and wars every day developed themselves. Finding that Lord Yarmouth did not succeed. Fox sent over the Earl of Lauderdale, but he got on no better. Buonaparte insisted that Sicily should be given up to Naples, and a little mock monarchy should be created for Ferdinand, the ex-king, in the Balearic Isles, which were to be taken unceremoniously from Spain. Lord Lauderdale, after a month's waste of words, demanded his passports, and returned; and Fox had now had ample proof that no peace was to be effected with Napoleon, except upon the terms of leaving the Continent to his dictation.

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      George had, if anything, a narrower intellect than his father, but spoke English fluently, though with a foreign accenta great advantage over his predecessor. He was small of stature, and subject to fits of violent passion, neither of which qualities was conducive to royal dignity. Nor did the attributes of his mind supply any gain calculated to remedy these defects. He was possessed of courage, which he had proved at the battle of Oudenarde, and displayed again at Dettingen, and he was praised for justice. Perhaps it was a love of order and etiquette rather than justice which distinguished him. For his sort of military precision and love of soldiers he was nicknamed the "Little Captain" by the Jacobites. But the worst trait of his disposition was his avarice. He admitted, says Lord Chesterfield, that he was much more affected by little things than great onesthe certain mark of a little mind; he therefore troubled himself very little about religion, but took it as he found it, without doubt, objection, or inquiry. He hated and despised all literature and intellectual pursuit, arts and sciences, and the professors of them.On the 16th of August a party of English soldiers, sent by the Governor of Fort Augustus to reinforce the garrison at Fort William, were assailed by a number of Keppoch's Highlanders in the narrow pass of High Bridge. They attempted to retreat when they found they could not reach their antagonists in their ambush, but they were stopped by a fresh detachment of the followers of Lochiel, and compelled to lay down their arms. Five or six of them were killed, and their leader, Captain Scott, was wounded. They received the kindest treatment from the conquerors, and as the Governor of Fort Augustus refused to trust a surgeon amongst them to dress the wounds of Captain Scott, Lochiel immediately allowed Scott to return to the fort on his parole, and received the rest of the wounded into his house at Auchnacarrie.


      alllittle