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Mr. Manners Sutton was again chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, having already presided over four successive Parliaments, occupying a period of fourteen years, during which he performed the onerous duties of his high position to the satisfaction of all parties. A week was occupied in the swearing-in of members. All the preliminary formalities having been gone through, the Parliament was opened by the king in person on the 2nd of November. The Royal Speech, which was of unusual length, excited the deepest interest, and was listened to with breathless attention and intense anxiety. The concluding paragraph of the Speech, while expressing the strongest confidence in the loyalty of the people, intimated the determination of the Government to resist Parliamentary Reform. This attitude was regarded as a defiance to the Opposition; and it roused into excitement the spirit of hostility, which might have been disarmed by a tone of conciliation, and by a disposition to make moderate concessions. Nothing, therefore, could have been more favourable to the aims of the Whig leaders than the course taken by the Administration; and if they wanted an excuse for breaking forth into open war, it was supplied by the imprudent speech of the Duke of Wellington. The Royal Speech, indeed, suggested revolutionary topics to the Reformers, by its allusion to Continental politics. The king observed that the elder branch of the House of Bourbon no longer reigned in France, and that the Duke of Orleans had been called to the throne. The state of affairs in the Low Countries—namely, the separation of Belgium from Holland—was viewed with deep regret; and "his Majesty lamented that the enlightened administration of the King of the Netherlands" should not have preserved his dominions from revolt; stating that he was endeavouring, in concert with his allies, to devise such means of restoring tranquillity as might be compatible with the welfare and good government of the Netherlands, and with the future security of other States.TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN. (From a Photograph by Poulton and Son, Lee.)

On the morning of the 16th of May Beresford fell in with the French at Albuera, a ruined village, standing on ground as favourable for horse as that at Fuentes d'Onoro. Blake's corps occupied the right wing of the allied army, the British the centre, opposite to the village and bridge of Albuera. Soult advanced in great strength towards the centre; but Beresford soon saw that the attack was not intended to be made there, but on the division of Blake on the right. He sent to desire Blake to alter his front so as to face the French, who would else come down on his right flank; but Blake thought he knew better than the British general, and would not move, declaring that it was on the British centre where the blow would fall. But a little time showed the correctness of Beresford's warning, and Blake, attempting to change his front when it was too late, was taken at disadvantage and rapidly routed.

of rationsNewcastle, a man older than his brother Pelham, and of inferior abilities, instead of strengthening himself by the promotion of Pitt and Henry Fox, was only anxious to grasp all the power of the Cabinet, and retain these far abler men as his obedient subordinates. He at once got himself placed at the head of the Treasury, and selected as Chancellor of the Exchequer Henry Legge, a son of the Earl of Dartmouth, a quiet but ordinary man of business, by no means fitted to take the leadership of the House of Commons. The three men calculated for that post were Pitt, Fox, and Murray; but Pitt was still extremely disliked by the king, who did not forget his many years' thunderings against Hanoverian measures, and both George and Newcastle were no little[117] afraid of his towering ambition. Henry Fox was a man of amiable character in private life, but in politics an adventurer.

Soon it became apparent that the Italians were disunited, monarchists against republicans, and Milanese against Piedmontese. Radetzky, meanwhile, had received ample reinforcements, and in June set himself to reduce Venetia. Fortress after fortress fell, and by the end of the month the province, with the exception of the capital, was once more in Austrian hands. Then the sturdy[585] old warrior crushed the Piedmontese at Custozza and drove them pell-mell across the Mincio, after a battle which lasted three days. Charles Albert, unequal to his position, and worn out by the dissensions of his staff, surrendered Milan without a struggle, and by August, 1848, the fate of Lombardy was sealed. In vain the Lombards appealed to France; the cautious Cavaignac had there replaced the sentimental Lamartine. He offered, indeed, to join with England in mediation, and, with his consent, Lord Palmerston proposed the terms which had been previously offered by Baron Hummelauer. The Austrians, however, declined to negotiate on that basis, and at last on the 25th of September declared that they would consent to no cession of territory. However, there was a cessation of hostilities.The rapid growth of the commerce of the American colonies excited an intense jealousy[166] in our West Indian Islands, which claimed a monopoly of supply of sugar, rum, molasses, and other articles to all the British possessions. The Americans trading with the French, Dutch, Spaniards, etc., took these articles in return; but the West Indian proprietors prevailed upon the British Government, in 1733, to impose a duty on the import of any produce of foreign plantations into the American colonies, besides granting a drawback on the re-exportation of West Indian sugar from Great Britain. This was one of the first pieces of legislation of which the American colonies had a just right to complain. At this period our West Indies produced about 85,000 hogsheads of sugar, or 1,200,000 cwts. About three hundred sail were employed in the trade with these islands, and some 4,500 sailors; the value of British manufactures exported thither being nearly £240,000 annually, but our imports from Jamaica alone averaged at that time £539,492. Besides rum, sugar, and molasses, we received from the West Indies cotton, indigo, ginger, pimento, cocoa, coffee, etc.

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As to the silk and wool trades, in the ten years preceding 1824 the quantity of raw and thrown silk used by our manufacturers was on an average of 1,882,311 lbs. per annum. In the ten succeeding years the average was nearly double, viz. 95 per cent. higher; and in the sixteen years which ended in 1849 there was an increase of 120 per cent. over the quantity used under the restrictive system. According to the report of the inspectors of factories, there were, in 1835, 231 silk factories in England, six in Scotland, and one in Ireland. The total number of females thus employed was over 20,000, and the total number of both sexes was about 31,000. The total number of woollen and worsted factories at work in 1835 was returned by the inspectors of factories as being 1,313, showing an increase of ten per cent. in four years. The total number of persons employed in them in 1835 was 71,274, on which there was an increase of twenty per cent. up to 1839. There was a general depression in the price of British wool, in consequence of which a Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to inquire into the causes. From the evidence which they received, it appeared that the actual number of sheep in England and Wales had increased one-fifth since the year 1800, when it was 19,000,000, yielding about 95,000,000 lbs. of wool, or about five pounds[419] for each fleet. It was estimated that the quantity used for manufacturing purposes increased during the first half of the nineteenth century by 115 per cent. Yorkshire is the chief seat of the woollen manufacture, and the best proof of its progress, perhaps, is presented in the state of the population, which in the whole of the West Riding increased during the first forty years of the century at the rate of 104 per cent. At the census of 1801 it was 563,953, while the census of 1841 showed it to be 1,154,101.

The Duke of Wellington wrote to the British Government to inform them of this event, and that the Allied sovereigns were this time resolved to make sure of the fugitive; that the Emperor of Austria had agreed to bring into the field three hundred thousand men; the Czar, two hundred and twenty-five thousand; Prussia, two hundred and thirty-six thousand; the other States of Germany, one hundred and fifty thousand; and that it was expected Holland would furnish fifty thousand. Thus nine hundred and sixty thousand men were promised, independently of Sweden and Great Britain; so that a million of men might be calculated upon to crush Buonaparte, provided that the latter Power were ready to furnish the necessary millions of money to put this mighty host in motion.Could this treaty have been carried out, Buonaparte would at once have obtained his one hundred thousand veterans from Spain, and completely paralysed the army of Lord Wellington. The Duke de San Carlos conveyed the treaty to Spain. He was instructed to inquire into the state of the Regency and the Cortes, whether they were really so infected with infidelity and Jacobinism as Napoleon had represented; but, whether so or not, he was to procure the ratification of the treaty by these bodies, and Ferdinand undertook to deal with them himself when once safe upon the throne. San Carlos travelled eastward into Spain, and visited the camp of Suchet, who very soon communicated to General Capons, who was co-operating with General Clinton, that there was peace concluded between Spain and France, and that there was no longer any use for the British. Capons was very ready to act on this information and enter into a separate armistice with Suchet; but fortunately for both Spain and the British, neither the Regency nor the Cortes would sign the treaty so long as the king was in durance in France.


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Completely disheartened by this result, Wolfe for a moment felt despair of his object, and in that despairing mood, on the 9th of September, he wrote to Pitt. He said that, "to the uncommon strength of the country, the enemy had added, for the defence of the river, a great number of floating batteries and boats; that the vigilance of the Indians had prevented their effecting anything by surprise; that he had had a choice of difficulties, and felt at a loss how to proceed; and he concluded with the remark, that his constitution was entirely ruined, without the consolation of having done any considerable service to the State, or without any prospect of it."

[See larger version]The slave merchants of Liverpool and London demanded to be heard against even this degree of interference. On the 2nd of June counsel was heard on their behalf at the bar of the House of Commons. These gentlemen endeavoured to prove that the interest of the merchants was the best guarantee of the good treatment of the slaves; and they called witnesses to prove that nothing could be more delightful and salubrious than the condition of slaves on the voyage; and that the negroes passed their time most charmingly in dancing and singing on the deck. But, on cross-examination, these very witnesses were compelled to disclose one of the most revolting pictures of inhuman atrocity ever brought to the light of day. It was found that no slave, whatever his size, had more room during the whole voyage than five feet six inches in length, and sixteen inches in breadth; that the floor of every deck was thus densely packed with human beings; between the floor and the deck above were other platforms or broad shelves packed in the same manner! The height from the floor to the ceiling seldom exceeded five feet eight inches, and in some cases not four feet. The men were chained together two and two by their hands and feet, and were fastened by ringbolts to the deck or floor. In this position they were kept all the time they remained on the coast—often from six weeks to six months. Their allowance was a pint of water daily and two meals of yams and horse-beans. After eating they were ordered to jump in their irons to preserve their health, and were flogged if they refused. When the weather was wet they were often kept below for several days together. The horrors of what was called the "middle passage" were terrible and fatal beyond description. It was calculated that up to that time the Europeans had consumed ten millions of slaves, and that the British alone were then carrying over forty-two thousand Africans annually.The consternation of the city may be imagined. The inhabitants, who had, at first, treated the rumour of the Young Pretender's landing with ridicule, now passed to the extreme of terror. On Sunday night the Highlanders lay between Linlithgow and the city, and on Monday morning Charles sent forward a detachment, which, on coming in sight of the pickets, discharged their pistols. The dragoon pickets did not wait to return the fire, but rode off towards Coltbridge, nearer to Edinburgh, where Gardiner lay with the main body of horse. No sooner, however, did this commander perceive the advancing Highlanders, than he also gave the order to retreat, and the order was so well obeyed, that from a foot's-pace the march quickened into a trot and presently into a gallop, and the inhabitants of Edinburgh saw the whole force going helter-skelter towards Leith, where they drew bit. The valiant troops mounted again, and galloped to Preston, six miles farther, some of them, it was said, not stopping till they reached Dunbar. This "Canter of Coltbridge," as it was called in derision, left the city at the mercy of the Highlanders, except for about six or seven hundred men mustered from the City Guard, the volunteer corps, and some armed gentlemen from Dalkeith and Musselburgh, who took post at the gates.


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