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On the 22nd of January, 1801, the first Imperial Parliament met, and Addington was re-elected Speaker. The king did not meet this Parliament till the whole of its members had been sworn; his opening of it for business took place on the 2nd of February, and his speech had no cheering topics to give spirit to its first proceedings; on the Continent there had been nothing but defeat on the part of the Allies, of triumph on that of France. Our late ally, Paul, had not only seized our merchant vessels in the ports of the Baltic, and the property of our merchants in the Russian towns, but he had entered into a league with Sweden and Denmark to close the Baltic altogether to us, and to compel us to relinquish the right of search. This confederacy, by stopping the supplies of corn from the North, threatened us with great aggravation of the distresses at home; and some members advocated the surrender of the right of search, or the acceptance of the principles of an armed neutrality, such as Catherine of Russia had endeavoured to establish. But Pitt plainly showed that to allow neutral vessels to carry arms, ammunition, and commodities of life into the ports of our enemies would render all blockades of their forts useless, and enormously increase our difficulties during war. Orders were immediately issued to send a powerful fleet into the Baltic to chastise the insane Czar.On the 3rd of February Mr. Darby brought forward a motion that the sheriffs should be discharged from the custody of the Serjeant-at-Arms. This gave rise to a long and animated debate. The Attorney-General opposed the motion, contending that until they made their submission the House could not dismiss them with due regard to its dignity. Sir William Follett replied to the arguments of the Attorney-General, and was answered by the Solicitor-General. The debate was adjourned, and was resumed on the 7th. At its conclusion the House divided on the question that the sheriffs be discharged, which was negatived by a majority of 71. On the 12th Mr. Sheriff Wheelton was discharged on account of ill-health, a motion for the release of the other sheriff having been rejected.

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On the 8th of May, 1777, Ministers moved for more money for the insatiable Landgrave of Hesse, whose troops were at this very time exhibiting the most scandalous state of defiance of discipline, of consequent inefficiency, and of plunder of the inhabitants of America. This grant, though violently opposed, was carried, but only by a majority of eight. All parties now began to denounce the shameless rapacity of these German princes. Nor did Chatham, ill as he was, allow the Session to pass without making one more energetic protest against the continuance of the war with America. On the 30th of May he moved an address to his Majesty for the immediate cessation of hostilities. Notwithstanding all that had been said on our successes over the Americans, Chatham contended as positively as ever that we could never conquer them. "You have," he said, "ransacked every corner of Lower Saxony, but forty thousand German boors never can conquer ten times the number of British freemen. You may ravage, you cannot conquerit is impossibleyou cannot conquer America. You talk of your numerous funds to annihilate the Congress, and your powerful forces to disperse their army; I might as well talk of driving them before me with my crutch! But what would you conquer? The map of America? I am ready to meet any general officer on the subject" (looking at Lord Amherst)"What will you do out of the protection of your fleet? In the winter, if together, they are starved; and if dispersed, they are taken off in detail. I am experienced in spring hopes and vernal promises. I know what Ministers throw out; but at last will come your equinoctial disappointment. You have got nothing in America but stations. You have been three years teaching them the art of war. They are apt scholars; and I will venture to tell your lordships that the American gentry will make officers enough fit to command the troops of all the European Powers." Chatham's motion was rejected by ninety-nine votes against twenty-eight. Parliament was prorogued by the king on the 6th of June, in a speech in which he indulged the fallacious hope that the American insurrection would be terminated in the present campaign. But Chatham's prophecies were at the very time realising themselves. Had the Howes had the necessary qualities of commanders in such an important causehad they pursued and dispersed[235] the American army, as they ought to have done on defeating it, and as they might readily have done; and had the British Government instantly, whilst in this favourable position, repealed all the obnoxious statutes, they would have thrown Congress and Washington so completely into the wrong, that it would have been impossible for them to have made head again. But neither the Generals nor the Government of that day had the capacity for such strategic and statesmanlike policy. The Generals went comfortably into winter quarters, leaving the embers of war to rekindle and spread; and Government, deaf to the warnings of Chatham, still stolidly refused justice whilst rigorously enforcing their injustice. And, indeed, when Chatham gave his last Cassandra-like remonstrance, it was already too late. We had indeed taught the Americans the art of war. Washington was no longer contented to stand on the defensive, happy if he could preserve his soldiers from running off without fighting at all. His circumstances were desperate, and the energy which springs from despair now urged him to measures of daring and wakefulness just as the English Generals, like northern bears, were entering on their winter's sleep. Benedict Arnold had paid him a visit in his wretched camp beyond the Delaware, and probably from their united counsels sprang a new style of movement, which confounded his unsuspecting enemies.

Pitt was not for a moment deceived, and in August the Family Compact was signed. He broke off the negotiation, recalled Stanley from Paris, dismissed Bussy from London, and advised an immediate declaration of war against Spain, whilst it was yet in our power to seize the treasure ships. But there was but one Pittone great mind capable of grasping the affairs of a nation, and of seizing on the deciding circumstances with the promptness essential to effect. The usually timid Newcastle became suddenly courageous with alarm. Bute pronounced Pitt's proposal as "rash and unadvisable;" the king, obstinate as was his tendency, declared that, if his Ministers had yielded to such a policy, he would not; and Pitt, having laboured in vain to move this stolid mass of ministerial imbecility through three Cabinet Councils, at last, in the beginning of October, declared that, as he was called to the Ministry by the people, and held himself responsible to them, he would no longer occupy a position the duties of which he was not able to discharge. On the 5th he resigned, and his great Ministry came to an end.What a contrast immediately presents itself in the generous nature of Steele, in the genial and pure writings of Addison! Both Addison and Steele were poets, Steele principally a dramatic poet, of considerable success; Addison was the author of "Cato," a tragedy, and the "Campaign," celebrating the victory of Blenheim, with other poems. But the reputation of both Steele and Addison rests on their prose. They were the introducers of essay and periodical writings, and carried these to a perfection which has never been surpassed. Richard Steele (b. 1671; d. 1729) has the honour of originating this new department of literaturea departmentwhich has grown into such importance, that the present age would scarcely know how to exist without it. He started the "Tatler" in 1709, issuing it three times a week, and was joined by Addison in about six weeks. The interest with which this new literary paper was expected at the breakfast tables of that day, can only be likened to that which the morning papers now excite. In 1711, the "Tatler" having come to an end, the "Spectator" was started on the same plan, jointly by Steele and Addison, and, this ceasing in 1712, in the following year the "Guardian" took its place. Steele was the largest contributor to the "Tatler" and "Guardian," Addison to the "Spectator." Various of their contemporaries furnished papers, Swift amongst the rest, but there are none which can compare with the vigorous, manly writing of Steele, and the elegant, and often noble, compositions of Addison. The mixture of grave and gay was admirable. In these papers we find abundant revelations of the spirit and manners of the times. The characters of Sir Roger de Coverley, Will Wimble, etc., have an imperishable English interest. The poetic and generous nature of Joseph Addison (b. 1672) was demonstrated by his zealous criticisms on Milton's "Paradise Lost," which mainly contributed to rescue it from the neglect which it had experienced. Addison, after Sir Philip Sidney, was the first to call attention to our old popular ballads, "Chevy Chase" and "The Babes in the Wood," the eulogies on which probably led Bishop Percy to the collection of the precious "Reliques" of the ballad lore of former ages. The "Spectator" and "Guardian" were published daily. Steele afterwards published the "Englishman," with which Addison had no concern, and it only reached to fifty-seven numbers. These two fellow-labourers, both in literature and Parliament, after nearly fifty years' friendship, were sundered by a mere political differencethe question of limiting the royal prerogative of creating peers, in 1719, the last year of Addison's life.

While stirring events were in progress on the Continent, public attention was naturally distracted from home politics; nor were these in themselves of a nature to command enthusiasm. The Russell Government was weak, but the Opposition was weaker. Sir Robert Peel with his little band gave, on the whole, his support to the Ministry, and Mr. Disraeli, on the retirement of Lord George Bentinck, had only just begun to rally the Conservatives, who had been utterly dispirited and crushed by the carrying of Free Trade. Finance was always a weak point with the Whigs, and that of 1848 was no exception to the rule. Urged by the Duke of Wellington's letter to Sir John Burgoyne on the state of the defences, the Chancellor of the Exchequer determined on increasing the naval and military establishments. The result was a deficit of three millions, and no less than three withdrawals and alterations of the Budget had to be made before his proposals could be so shaped as to be acceptable to the House. The next Session was mainly devoted to Irish affairs, the Rate in Aid producing a collision between the two Houses, which was decided in favour of the Lords. In the same year, however, the most important measure of the Russell Ministry became law; the repeal, namely, of the Navigation Act, by which the carrying monopoly was abolished after the retaliation of foreign nations had reduced the principle of reciprocity, upon which Mr. Huskisson's Act had been framed, to a dead letter. Supported by the Canadian demand for liberation from the restrictions of the Navigation Act, Ministers courageously faced the clamour raised by the Protectionists, and carried their Bill through the Commons by large majorities. In the Upper House, however, they snatched a bare majority of ten through the circumstance that they had more proxies than their opponents.On the 28th of March the Ministry, as completed, was announced in the House, and the writs for the re-elections having been issued, the House adjourned for the Easter holidays, and on the 8th of April met for business. The first affairs which engaged the attention of the new Administration were those of Ireland. We have already seen that, in 1778, the Irish, encouraged by the events in North America, and by Lord North's conciliatory proposals to Congress, appealed to the British Government for the removal of unjust restrictions from themselves, and how free trade was granted them in 1780. These concessions were received in Ireland with testimonies of loud approbation and professions of loyalty; but they only encouraged the patriot party to fresh demands. These were for the repeal of the two obnoxious Acts which conferred the legislative supremacy regarding Irish affairs on England. These Acts werefirst, Poynings' Act, so called from Sir Edward Poynings, and passed in the reign of Henry VII., which gave to the English Privy Council the right to see, alter, or suppress any Bill before the Irish Parliament, money Bills excepted; the second was an Act of George I., which asserted in the strongest terms the right of the king, Lords, and Commons of England to legislate for Ireland.

Growth of Material WealthCondition of the Working ClassesThe Charity SchoolsLethargy of the ChurchProposal to abolish Subscription to the ArticlesA Bill for the further Relief of DissentersThe Test and Corporation ActsThe Efforts of Beaufoy and Lord StanhopeAttempts to relieve the QuakersFurther Effort of Lord StanhopeThe Claims of the Roman CatholicsFailure of the Efforts to obtain Catholic EmancipationLay Patronage in ScotlandThe Scottish EpiscopaliansIllustrious DissentersReligion in Wales and IrelandLiteratureThe Novelists: Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, and SterneMinor and later NovelistsScottHistorians: Hume, Robertson, and GibbonMinor HistoriansMiscellaneous LiteratureCriticism, Theology, Biography, and SciencePeriodical LiteratureThe Drama and the DramatistsPoetry: Collins, Shenstone, and GrayGoldsmith and ChurchillMinor PoetsPercy's "Reliques," and Scott's "Border Minstrelsy"Chatterton and OssianJohnson and DarwinCrabbe and CowperPoetasters and GiffordThe Shakespeare ForgeriesMinor SatiresBurnsThe Lake School: Wordsworth, Coleridge, and SoutheyScott, Campbell, Byron, Shelley, and KeatsPoets at the close of the PeriodImprovement of Agricultural ScienceArthur YoungDrainage and RootsImprovements in Road-making: Telford and MacadamBrindley's and Telford's CanalsBridges and HarboursIron RailwaysApplication of the Steam-Engine to Railways and BoatsImprovements in MachineryWedgwoodManufacture of GlassCollieriesUse of Coal in Iron-worksImprovements in various ManufacturesScientific DiscoveriesMusicArchitecturePaintingSculptureEngravingCoins and CoinageManners and Customs.Amherst had now ten thousand men; and though he had to carry all his baggage and artillery over the Ontario in open boats, and to pass the rapids of the upper St. Lawrence, he made a most able and prosperous march, reducing the fort of ?le Royale on the way, and reached the isle of Montreal on the very same day as Murray, and a day before Haviland. Vaudreuil saw that resistance was hopeless, and capitulated on the 8th of September. The French were, according to contract, sent home, under engagement not to come against us during the remainder of the war. Besides this, Lord Byron chased a squadron of three frigates, convoying twenty store-ships to Quebec, into the Bay of Chaleur, and there destroyed them. Thus all the French possessions in North America, excepting the recent and feeble settlement of New Orleans, remained in our hands.

Next came the declaration of war by the King of Prussia, which Buonaparte styled a treachery; but, on the contrary, the King of Prussia had only preserved faith towards his oppressor and insulter too long. Not only all Prussia, but all Germany was on fire to throw off the detested yoke of the oppressor, and Frederick William would have been a traitor to his people and to common sense to have hesitated. Yet he proposed terms of a mutual settlement. To place himself in a position of independent treaty, he suddenly left Berlin on the 22nd of January, and made his way to Breslau, where he was out of the reach of French arms, and in certainty of the arrival, at no very distant date, of Russian ones. He invited, however, the French ambassador to follow him, and he there proposed an armistice, on the conditions that the French should evacuate Dantzic and all the other Prussian fortresses on the Oder, and retire behind the Elbe, on which the Czar had promised that he would stop the march of his army beyond the Vistula. But Buonaparte treated the proposition with contempt; he was determined to give up nothingto recover everything.It was now found that our pretended Mahratta allies, the Peishwa, Scindiah, and other chiefs, were in league with Cheetoo, and unless this conspiracy were broken the most fearful devastations might be expected on our states. The Governor-General represented this to the authorities at home, and recommended that the Pindarrees should be regularly hunted down and destroyed. In the course of 1816 he received full authority to execute this scheme. At the end of October he posted Lieutenant-Colonel Walker along the southern bank of the Nerbudda, to prevent the Pindarrees from crossing into the Company's territories; but as the line of river thus to be guarded was one hundred and fifty miles in length, the force employed was found insufficient against such adroit and rapid enemies. In November Cheetoo dashed across the river between Lieutenant-Colonel Walker's posts, and his forces dividing, one part made a rapid gallop through forests, and over rivers and mountains, right across the continent, into the district of Ganjam, in the northern Circars, hoping to reach Juggernaut and plunder the temple of its enormous wealth. But this division was met with in Ganjam by the Company's troops, and driven back with severe loss. The other division descended into the Deccan, as far as Beeder, where it again divided: one portion being met with by Major Macdonald, who had marched from Hyderabad, was completely cut up, though it was[139] six thousand strong. The other body struck westward into Konkan, under a chief named Sheik Dulloo, and then, turning north, plundered all the western coast, and escaped with the booty beyond the Nerbudda, though not without some loss at the hands of the British troops on that river.

In the Bill which was founded on the resolutions the term of apprenticeship was limited to six years for the plantation negroes, and four for all others. The Bill passed the House of Lords with slight opposition; and on the 28th of August, 1833, it received the Royal Assent. It does not appear that William IV. urged any plea of conscience against signing this Act of Emancipation, although in his early days he had been, in common with all the Royal Family, except the Duke of Gloucester, opposed to the abolition of the slave trade. The Act was to take effect on the 1st day of August, 1834, on which day slavery was to cease throughout the British colonies. All slaves who at that date should appear to be six years old and upwards were to be registered as "apprentice labourers" to those who had been their owners. All slaves who happened to be brought into the United Kingdom, and all apprentice labourers who might be brought into it with the consent of their owners, were to be absolutely free. The apprentices were divided into three classes. The first class consisted of "predial apprentice labourers," usually employed in agriculture, or the manufacture of colonial produce, on lands belonging to their owners, and these were declared to be attached to the soil. The second class, consisting of the same kind of labourers, who worked on lands not belonging to their owners, were not attached to the soil. The third class consisted of "non-predial apprenticed labourers," and embraced mechanics, artisans, domestic servants, and all slaves not included in the other two classes. The apprenticeship of the first was to terminate on the 1st of August, 1840; and of the "non-predial" on the same day in 1838. The apprentices were not obliged to labour for their employers more than forty-five hours in any one week. Voluntary discharges were permitted; but, in that case, a provision was made for the support of old and infirm apprentices. An apprentice could free himself before the expiration of the term, against the will of his master, by getting himself appraised, and paying the price. No apprentices were to be removed from the colony to which they belonged, nor from one plantation to another in the same colony, except on a certificate from a justice of the peace that the removal would not injure their health or welfare,[368] or separate the members of the same family. Under these conditions the apprentices were transferable with the estates to which they were attached. Their masters were bound to furnish them with food, clothing, lodging, and other necessaries, according to the existing laws of the several colonies, and to allow them sufficient provision ground, and time for cultivating it, where that mode of maintenance was adopted. All children under six years of age when the Act came into operation, and all that should be born during the apprenticeship, were declared free; but if any children were found destitute, they could be apprenticed, and subjected to the same regulations as the others. The Act allowed governors of colonies to appoint stipendiary magistrates, with salaries not exceeding 300 a year, to carry the provisions of the law into effect. Corporal punishment was not absolutely abolished, but it could be inflicted only by the special justices, who were authorised to punish the apprentices by whipping, beating, imprisonment, or addition to the hours of labour. The corporal punishment of females was absolutely forbidden in all circumstances. The quantity of punishment was restricted, and the hours of additional labour imposed were not to exceed fifteen in the week.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 contingencyan 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.

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Events now rushed on with accumulating force and accelerated pace. There had been a long drought, withering up the prospects of the harvest, and now, in July, came a terrible hailstorm, which extended one hundred and fifty miles round Paris, destroying the nearly ripe corn, the fruit on the trees, and leaving all that extent of country a desert, and the inhabitants the prey of famine. In such circumstances the people could not, those in other quarters would not, pay taxes; the Treasury was empty, and the king was compelled to promise to convoke the States General in the following May; Brienne endeavoured to amuse the active reformers by calling on men of intelligence to send in plans for the proper conduct of the States General, as none had been held for one hundred and seventy-two years. The public was impatient for a much earlier summons, but probably they would not have been much listened to, had Lomnie de Brienne known how to keep things going. His empty exchequer, however, and the pressing demands upon him, drove him to solicit the king to recall Necker and appoint him once more Comptroller of the Finances. He imagined that the popularity of Necker would at least extend the public patience. The queen energetically opposed the reinstatement of Necker; the position of affairs was, however, too desperate, and Necker was recalled. His triumphant return was speedily followed by the meeting of the States.

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