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On the 2nd of July, in a letter to Lord Francis Leveson Gower, the Viceroy gave his opinion of the state of Ireland in these terms:"I begin by premising that I hold in abhorrence the Association, the agitators, the priests, and their religion; and I believe that not many, but that some, of the bishops are mild, moderate, and anxious to come to a fair and liberal compromise for the adjustment of the points at issue. I think that these latter have very little, if any, influence with the lower clergy and the population.
Another ground of attack upon the Government at the opening of the Session was their conduct in not bringing up Mr. O'Connell for judgment. It was alleged that they had entered into a corrupt compromise with the great Irish agitator, in order to avert his hostility and secure his support at the elections. This was indignantly denied both by Mr. Stanley and Lord Plunket. They contended that as the Act expired with the Parliament, so did the conviction, and that Mr. O'Connell could not be legally punished. This was the opinion of the law officers of the Crown in Ireland, an opinion in which the English law officers concurred. Mr. Stanley said:"Not only was there no collusion or compromise, but I should have been most glad if Mr. O'Connell could have been brought up for judgment; but then we have been told that we ought not to have dissolved Parliament, because by so doing Mr. O'Connell had escaped. Now, no man can be more sensible than I am of the importance of showing to the people of Ireland that if Mr. O'Connell chooses to go beyond the law, he is not above the law; but, without meaning the slightest disrespect to Mr. O'Connell, I must say that if I put on the one hand the success of a great and important measure like the Reform Bill, and on the other the confinement of Mr. O'Connell in his Majesty's gaol of Kilmainham for three, six, or nine months, I must say that what became of Mr. O'Connell was as dust in the balance. Besides, the impression of the supremacy of the law was made upon the people by the fact of the verdict having been obtained against him, and an immediate change was wrought in the system of agitation, which, indeed, ceased. Such being the case, the question of what might be the personal consequences to any individual by the dissolution became of still less importance than it was before."In this battle the Allies lost in killed and wounded ten thousand men, the French not less than fifteen thousand. The French generals Bruyres, Kirchner, and Duroc were amongst the killed. Duroc had long been one of the most intimate friends and attendants of Buonaparte, who was so much cut up by his loss that for the first time in all his terrible campaigns he became unable to attend to further details, but answered every call for orders with "Everything tomorrow!" When he came to find that not a gun, not a prisoner was left behind by the Germans and Russians, Napoleon seemed to comprehend the stern spirit in which they were now contending, and exclaimed, "How! no result after such a massacre? No prisoners? They leave me not even a nail!" He advanced to Breslau, various slight conflicts taking place on the way, and on the 1st of June he entered that city, the princesses of Prussia removing thence into Bohemia.
like that of 1663. He adds that the evidence that suchThough she rarely permitted herself to speak, yet some oracular utterance of the sainted recluse would now and then escape to the outer world. One of these was to the effect that teaching poor girls to read, unless they wanted to be nuns, was robbing them of their time. Nor was she far wrong, for in Canada there was very little to read except formulas of devotion and lives of saints. The dangerous innovation of a printing-press had not invaded the colony, ** and the first Canadian newspaper dates from the British conquest.
Quebec).In spite of Lord Melbourne's declaration that he would regard the success of the motion as a pure vote of censure, it was carried by a majority of five. In consequence of this result, Lord John Russell announced his intention, next day, of taking the opinion of the House of Commons on the recent government of Ireland, in the first week after the Easter recess. Accordingly, on the 15th of April, he moved"That it is the opinion of this House that it is expedient to persevere in those principles which have guided the Executive Government of late years, and which have tended to the effectual administration of the laws, and the general improvement of that part of the United Kingdom." The debate emphasised the discontent of the Radicals. Mr. Leader was particularly severe on the Government. "In what position is the Government?" he asked. "Why, the right hon. member for Tamworth governs England, the hon. and learned member for Dublin governs Irelandthe Whigs govern nothing but Downing Street. Sir Robert Peel is content with power without place or patronage, and the Whigs are contented with place and patronage without power. Let any honourable man say which is the more honourable position." On a division, the numbers werefor Sir Robert Peel's amendment, 296; against it, 318. Majority for the Ministry, 22.
Such was the state of affairs at home and abroad during the recess of 1829. The Government hoped that by the mollifying influence of time the rancour of the Tory party would be mitigated, and that by the proposal of useful measures the Whig leaders would be induced to give them their support, without being admitted to a partnership in power and the emoluments of office. But in both respects they miscalculated. The Duke met Parliament again on the 4th of February, 1830. It was obvious from the first that neither was Tory rancour appeased nor Whig support effectually secured. The Speech from the Throne, which was delivered by commission, was unusually curt and vague. It admitted the prevalence of general distress. It was true that the exports in the last year of British produce and manufacture exceeded those of any former year; but, notwithstanding this indication of an active commerce, both the agricultural and the manufacturing classes were suffering severely in "some parts" of the United Kingdom. There was no question about the existence of distress; the only difference was as to whether it was general or only partial. In the House of Lords the Government was attacked by Earl Stanhope, who moved an amendment to the Address. He asked in what part of the country was it that the Ministers did not find distress prevailing? He contended that the kingdom was in a state of universal distress, likely to be unequalled in its duration. All the great interestsagriculture, manufactures, trade, and commercehad never at one time, he said, been at so low an ebb. The Speech ascribed the distress to a bad harvest. But could a bad harvest make corn cheap? It was the excessive reduction of prices which was felt to be the great evil. If they cast their eyes around they would see the counties pouring on them spontaneously every kind of solicitation for relief; while in towns, stocks of every kind had sunk in value forty per cent. The depression, he contended, had been continuous and universal ever since the Bank Restriction Act passed, and especially since the suppression of small notes took effect in the beginning of the previous year. Such a universal and continued depression could be ascribed only to some cause pressing alike upon all branches of industry, and that cause was to be found in the enormous contraction of the currency, the Bank of England notes in circulation having been reduced from thirty to twenty millions, and the country bankers' notes in still greater proportion. The Duke of Wellington, in reply, denied that the Bank circulation was less than it had been during the war. In the former period it was sixty-four millions, including gold and silver as well as paper. In 1830 it was sixty-five millions. It was an unlimited circulation, he said, that the Opposition required; in other words, it was wished to give certain individuals, not the Crown, the power of coining in the shape of paper, and of producing a fictitious capital. Capital was always forthcoming when it was wanted. He referred to the high rents paid for shops in towns, which were everywhere enlarged or improved, to "the elegant streets and villas which were springing up around the metropolis, and all our great towns, to show that the country was not falling, but improving." After the Duke had replied, the supporters of the amendment could not muster, on a division, a larger minority than nine. In the House of Commons the discussion was more spirited, and the division more ominous of the fate of the Ministry. The majority for Ministers was only fifty-three, the numbers being 158 to 105. In the minority were found ultra-Tories, such as Sir Edward Knatchbull, who had proposed an amendment lamenting the general distress, Mr. Bankes, Mr. Sadler, and General Gascoigne, who went into the same lobby with Sir Francis Burdett, Lord John Russell, Mr. Brougham, Mr. Hume, and Lord Althorp, representing the Whigs and Radicals; while Lord Palmerston, Mr. Huskisson, Mr. Charles Grant, and Sir Stratford Canning represented the Canning party. No such jumble of factions had been known in any division for many years.
Wilberforce, on the 27th of January, had obtained a committee of inquiry into the slave trade. He, Clarkson, and the anti-slavery committees, both in London and the provinces, were labouring with indefatigable industry in collecting and diffusing information on this subject. The Committee of the Commons found strong opposition even in the House, and, on the 23rd of April, Lord Penrhyn moved that no further evidence should be heard by the Committee; but this was overruled, and the hearing of evidence continued through the Session, though no further debate took place on the question.On the 23rd Moore was obliged to halt for the coming of his supplies; and whilst doing so, he received the intelligence that no fewer than seventy thousand men were in full march after him, or taking a route so as to cut off his rear at Benevento, and that Buonaparte himself headed this latter division. There was no further thought of advancing, but of retreat, before the army was completely surrounded. By the 26th the whole army was beyond Astorga, but the French were now close behind them. Buonaparte, indeed, hoped to have rushed on by the Guadarama, and to have cut off his retreat at Tordesillas, but he was twelve hours too late. On the last day of December, 1808, Buonaparte was pressing close on the British rear in the vicinity of Astorga, and thus closed the year on the fortunes of the Spaniards and their British Allies. The boastful Spanish armies, too proud to think at first that they needed assistance, too unskilful, when they did see the need of it, to co-operate with it, and who had afforded nothing but indifference and false intelligence to their benefactors, were dispersed like so many clouds, and their Allies were flying from an overwhelming foe.