The Government was paralysed by the greatness of the evil. While the House of Commons had been sitting, the mob had attacked Lord North's house, in Downing Street, close by; but a party of soldiers had succeeded in interposing themselves between the mansion and its assailants. The house of the Minister was saved; but the gigantic mass of rioters then rolled towards the City, vowing that they would sack Newgate, and release their comrades, who had been sent there on Friday. On the 6th they appeared in vast numbers before that prison, and demanded of Mr. Akerman, the keeper, the delivery of their associates. Their cry was still "No Popery!" though their object was havoc: they were armed with heavy sledge-hammers, crowbars, and pick-axes; and on the keeper refusing to liberate the prisoners, they commenced a desperate attack on his doors and windows, and, collecting combustibles, flung them into the dwelling. It was speedily in flames, and, whilst it burned, the mob thundered on the iron-studded doors of the prison with their tools. But, as they made no impression, they formed heaps of the keeper's furniture, and made a fire against the doors. The fires spread from the keeper's house to the prison chapel, and thence to some of the doors and passages leading into the wards. The mob raised terrible yells of rage and triumph, which were as wildly echoed by the prisoners within, some of whom were exulting in the expectation of rescue, and others shrieking, afraid of perishing in the conflagration. The crowd, now more furious than ever, from greedily drinking the wine and spirits in the keepers cellar, rushed through the gaps made by the flames, and were masters of the prison. They were led on by ferocious fellows, who were but too familiar with the interior of the place. The different cells were forced open, and the now half-maddened prisoners were either rudely dragged out, or they rushed forth in maniacal delight. Three hundred of these criminals, some of them stained with the foulest offences, and four of them under sentence of execution on the following Thursday, were let out, to add to the horrors of the lawless tumult. They came out into the surging, roaring multitude to raise their shouts at the sight of the great prison, which had lately been rebuilt at a cost of one hundred and forty thousand pounds, in one vast conflagration. Nothing was left of it the next morning but a huge skeleton of blackened and frowning walls.
The changes in the manners and morals of the age since the reign of George III. have been sufficiently indicated in the preceding pages. Corresponding changes were gradually introduced in the world of fashion, though the conservative instinct of the aristocracy and the spirit of exclusiveness resisted innovation as long as possible. What was called "good society" was wonderfully select. The temple of fashion at the beginning of the reign of George IV. was Almack's; and the divinities that under the name of lady patronesses presided there were the Ladies Castlereagh, Jersey, Cowper, and Sefton, the Princess Esterhazy and the Countess Lieven. These and their associates gave the tone to the beau monde. We can scarcely now conceive the importance that was then attached to the privilege of getting admission to Almack's. Of the 300 officers of the Foot Guards, not more than half a dozen were honoured with vouchers. The most popular and influential amongst the grandes dames was Lady Cowper, afterwards Lady Palmerston. Lady Jersey was not popular, being inconceivably rude and insolent in her manner. Many diplomatic arts, much finesse, and a host of intrigues were set in motion to get an invitation to Almack's. Very often persons whose rank and fortune entitled them to the entrée anywhere were excluded by the cliquism of the lady patronesses. Trousers had come into general use. They had been first worn by children, then adopted in the army, and from the army they came into fashion with civilians. But they were rigidly excluded from Almack's, as well as the black tie, which also came into use about this time. The female oligarchy who ruled the world of fashion, or tried to do so, issued a solemn proclamation that no gentleman should appear at the assemblies without being dressed in knee-breeches, white cravat, and chapeau bras. On one occasion, we are told, the Duke of Wellington was about to ascend the staircase of the ball-room, dressed in black trousers, when the vigilant Mr. Willis, the guardian of the establishment, stepped forward, and said, "Your Grace cannot be admitted in trousers." Whereupon the great captain quietly retreated, without daring to storm the citadel of fashion. The principal dances at Almack's had been Scottish reels, and the old English country dance. In 1815 Lady Jersey introduced from Paris the quadrille which has so long remained popular. The mazy waltz was also imported about the same time. Among the first who ventured to whirl round the salons of Almack's was Lord Palmerston, his favourite partner being Madame Lieven. This new dance was so diligently cultivated in the houses of the nobility and gentry that the upper classes were affected with a waltzing mania.
HELIGOLAND.Dr. Arbuthnot, a great friend of Pope and Swift, was also one of the ablest prose writers, "The Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus," published in Pope's and Swift's works, and the political satire of "John Bull," a masterly performance, being attributed to him.
On hearing of the defeat of Tarleton, Cornwallis advanced rapidly, in order, if possible, to intercept Morgan and his English prisoners at the fords of Catawba. A rise of the water from the rains prevented his crossing that river so soon as he expected, and Morgan joined Greene, both generals, however, retreating behind the Yadkin. The swollen state of the river and the want of boats also detained Lord Cornwallis at the Yadkin, but he finally succeeded in crossing and throwing himself between Greene and the frontiers of Virginia, from which Greene looked for his supplies and reinforcements. Greene continued to retreat till he had also placed the Dan between himself and Cornwallis; but his militia had deserted so rapidly on his flight, that, on reaching the Dan, he had not more than eighty of that body with him. Greene now had the way open to him for retreat into Virginia, and, Cornwallis giving up the chase, marched leisurely to Hillsborough, in North Carolina, where he invited the Royalists to join his standard. Such was his success—numbers of Royalists flocking in to serve with Tarleton's legion—that Greene, alarmed at the consequences of this movement, turned back for the purpose of cutting off all possible reinforcements of this kind, yet avoiding a general engagement. Once more Cornwallis advanced to chastise Greene, and once more Greene beat a retreat. This man?uvring continued till the 15th of March, when Greene having been joined by fresh troops, thought himself strong enough to encounter the English general. He drew up his army on very strong ground near Guildford Court House, where Cornwallis boldly attacked him, and, after a stout battle, completely routed him.During this first Session of the new Parliament Ministers had carried matters with a high hand, imagining that they had a majority which would enable them to resist popular opinion, as they had done since the conclusion of the war. But the progress of the Session did not warrant this conclusion. They were defeated in several very important contests, and before the Session came to an end were made to feel that they had greatly declined in public confidence. In the severe debate of the 18th of May, on the motion of Mr. Tierney for a Committee of Inquiry into the state of the nation, they had a majority of more than two to one. But this was very different on the 3rd of June, when they only carried their Foreign Enlistment Bill by a majority of thirteen. On the question of the resumption of cash payments, the conversion of Mr. Peel to the principles of Horner was a rude shock to the Cabinet, and shrewd men prognosticated that, the entire system of Mr. Vansittart being thus overturned, he must retire. Then came not merely partial conversions, or near approaches to defeat, but actual defeats. Such were those on Sir James Mackintosh's motion for inquiry into the criminal laws, and on Lord Archibald Hamilton's for Scottish burgh Reform. The question of Catholic Emancipation had approached to a crisis, and a majority of only two against it was, in truth, a real defeat. The consequence was that the conviction of the insecurity of Ministers was not only shared by men of impartial judgment, but by themselves. Towards the end of the Session Lord Liverpool himself was found writing to a friend, that unless the measure for the return to cash payments raised the confidence of the public in them, they must soon go out:—"I am quite satisfied that, if we cannot carry what has been proposed, it is far better for the country that we should cease to be a government. After the defeats we have already experienced during this Session, our remaining in office is a positive evil. It confounds all ideas of government in the minds of men. It disgraces us personally, and renders us less capable every day of being of any real service to the country, either now or hereafter. If, therefore, things are to remain as they are, I am quite sure that there is no advantage, in any way, in our being the persons to carry on the public service. A strong and decisive effort can alone redeem our character and credit, and is as necessary for the country as it is for ourselves."The army set out in successive divisions, and by different routes, in consequence of the exhausted state of the country, which had been stripped by the French as by an army of locusts. The roads were intolerable, and the weather was vile. Wading through mud, and dragging their artillery through bogs and sloughs, they struggled on to Castello Branco, which the first division reached on the 4th of December. By the 11th Sir John had crossed the Portuguese frontier, and entered Ciudad Rodrigo. There he was received with great demonstrations of joy; and on the 13th he arrived at Salamanca. Here he had to remain for the coming up of his artillery, which, under a guard of three thousand foot and one thousand horse, had been conducted, by Sir John Hope, round by Elvas, as the only road, according to the Portuguese, by which heavy cannon could be conveyed. This was a proof of the great need of those arrangements so strongly urged by Sir Arthur Wellesley. Proper inquiries, through proper officers, would have ascertained beforehand the actual state of the roads and passes. Here Sir John, too, had to wait for Sir David Baird's detachment, which had arrived at Corunna on the 13th of October, but had found the greatest difficulty in being allowed to land and proceed. This was refused by the junta of Galicia, out of that ignorant and inflated pride of the Spaniards, which persuaded them that, because they had compelled Dupont to surrender, they could drive the French out of their country without any assistance of the British, whom they regarded not as saviours, but as intruders. Whilst application was made to the Central Junta, at Madrid, for the troops to land, they had to remain for a fortnight cooped up in the transports. There was still another hindrance, which the sound sense and foresight of Wellesley would not have permitted. Though the British Government had forwarded to Spain two hundred thousand muskets, with all requisite ammunition, and sixteen millions of hard dollars, Sir John Moore was entrusted with only twenty-five thousand pounds of it, and Sir David Baird with none at all. When, therefore, permission was obtained, from Madrid, for the Allies, who were bringing them all the arms and all the material of war, to land, Baird had no money to pay his way on the march with ten thousand men, and Sir John Moore had to remit him eight thousand pounds. This was sufficiently bad management, but this was far from the worst. Sir John Moore, in the most critical circumstances, was left without the necessary information regarding the real strength of the enemy, and without the influence which the British Ambassador should have exerted to have the army supplied with the necessary means of conveyance for its baggage, ammunition, and artillery. The Spaniards obstructed rather than helped the British army. They did not know themselves that the French were pouring reinforcements through the Pyrenees to the amount of seventy thousand men, soon to be followed by Buonaparte himself. The British Ambassador, at such a time, ought to have taken measures for knowing the truth; but the Ambassador was, just at this moment, the most unfit person that could possibly have been pitched upon. Sir Charles Stewart, who had been for some time Ambassador at Madrid, was well acquainted with the Spaniards, and had energy and intelligence enough to have operated upon them. But as, with new changes of Ministry, everything must be changed by the British Government, even if it be for the worse, so here, not only had the generals been changed three times in four-and-twenty hours, but the active and well-informed Minister was withdrawn, and a most indolent and useless man sent in his place. This was Mr. John Hookham Frere, great in the Quarterly Review, and connected with Canning and his party. He either sent Sir John no information as to the state and position of the Spanish armies or of the advance and numbers of the French, or he sent him erroneous intelligence. Lord William Bentinck, who was in Spain, exerted himself to rouse the Spanish Junta to a proper sense of their real position, and of the necessity for affording the British army, which had come to assist them, all the information and support that they could; and he himself sent word that the French were crossing not merely the Pyrenees, but the Ebro. At length, a dispatch to Marshal Jourdain, being accidentally intercepted by a guerilla party on the frontiers, startled the Junta with the news that immense bodies of French were advancing into Spain; and they began to appreciate the value of their British allies, but would do nothing to facilitate their march, or to direct them to the quarter where they would be most useful; and Frere, who should have stimulated them to a sense of their duty, did just nothing at all.
On the 10th of September the Prussians began to examine the passes of the forest; and finding them defended, they attacked the French entrenchments but were everywhere repulsed. On the 11th, they concentrated their efforts on the pass of Grand-Pré, defended by Dumouriez himself, and were again repulsed by General Miranda at Mortaume, and by General Stengel at St. Jouvion. The Allies, thus unexpectedly brought to a check, for they had been led by the Emigrants to expect a disorganised or as yet undisciplined army, determined to skirt the forest and endeavour to turn it near Sedan. Whilst engaged in this plan, the Austrians discovered the weakness of the force in the defile of Croix-aux-Bois, where only two battalions and two squadrons of volunteers were posted, for Dumouriez had not examined the pass himself and was assured that this force was amply sufficient. Once aware of this mistake, the Austrians, under the Duke de Ligne, briskly attacked the position and drove the French before them. Dumouriez, informed of this disorder, ordered forward General Chasot with a strong force, who defeated the Austrians, killed De Ligne, and recovered the pass. But the advantage was but momentary; the Austrians returned to the charge with a far superior force, and again cleared the pass and remained in possession of it. Thus Dumouriez saw his grand plan of defence broken up; and finding that Chasot, who had fallen back on Vouziers, was cut off from him on his left along with Dubouquet, he saw the necessity of falling back himself into the rear of Dillon, on his right, who was yet master of the Islettes and the road to St. Menehould. He then sent messages to Chasot, Dubouquet, and to Kellermann, to direct their march so as to meet him at St. Menehould.At an early hour a crowd was assembled at the queen's residence in South Audley Street. Lady Anne Hamilton, "faithful found among the faithless, faithful only she," arrived a few minutes before five o'clock. Soon afterwards the gate was thrown open, and a shout was raised, "The queen! the queen!" She appeared in her state coach, drawn by six bays, attended by Lady Hood and Lady Anne Hamilton, Lord Hood following in his own carriage. Having arrived at Dean's Yard Gate, it was found that the entrance for persons of rank was Poet's Corner; thither the coachman went, but there he found there was no thoroughfare. After several stoppages she was conducted to the Poet's Corner, and arriving at the place where the tickets were received, Lord Hood demanded admission for the queen. The doorkeeper said that his instructions were to admit no person without a peer's ticket. Lord Hood asked, "Did you ever hear of a queen being asked for a ticket before? This is your queen. I present to you your queen. Do you refuse her admission?" She also said that she was his queen, and desired permission to pass. The doorkeeper answered that his orders were peremptory. Lord Hood then tendered one ticket which he had, and asked the queen whether she would enter alone. After a short consultation she declined, and it was resolved that, having been refused admission to the cathedral church of Westminster, she should return to her carriage. As she quitted the spot, some persons in the doorway laughed derisively, and were rebuked by Lord Hood for their unmannerly and unmanly conduct.The murder of one landlord was sufficient to spread terror throughout the whole class, the most recent and horrible case being used for this purpose in the threatening notices. Thus, when Major Mahon was shot, a letter was sent to the wife of another landed proprietor, warning her that if her husband did not remit all the arrears of rent due by his tenants, two men would be sent to dispatch him as they had dispatched the demon Mahon. The Lord-Lieutenant had increased the constabulary force in the disturbed districts, and called out the military to aid in the execution of the law. But it was the opinion of the magistrates in those districts that the powers of the executive were not sufficient. The object of Sir George Greys measure was to extend those powers—not to create any new tribunal, for trial by jury had worked satisfactorily. What he proposed was that the Lord-Lieutenant should have power to "proclaim" disturbed districts, to increase in them the constabulary force to any extent he might think fit out of the reserve of 600 in Dublin, to limit the use of firearms, and to establish nocturnal patrols. He thought that by such a measure the Government would be able to put down the crimes that were disorganising society in Ireland. Sir Robert Peel supported the Government measure. Mr. Feargus O'Connor divided the House against it; but was supported by only twenty members. It was soon after read a second time, having been strenuously resisted by some of the Irish members. It rapidly went through committee, and was read a third time, when the minority against it was only fourteen. The Bill passed through the Lords without alteration.
This tragedy produced a painful sensation through the whole community. The facts brought to light at the trial had the effect of dissociating the Bristol outrages from the cause of Reform, with which they had no real connection. Still the leading anti-Reformers were extremely obnoxious to the people; and as men's minds became more and more heated, in reiterating demands for national rights, withheld by a faction, extreme opinions grew into greater favour. For example, a national political union was formed in London, and held a great meeting, at which Sir Francis Burdett presided. This body issued a manifesto, in which they demanded annual Parliaments, universal suffrage, and vote by ballot. This was a legitimate demand; but they broached more disputable topics when they proclaimed "that all property honestly acquired is sacred and inviolable; that all men are born equally free, and have certain natural and inalienable rights; that all hereditary distinctions of birth are unnatural, and opposed to the equal rights of man, and ought to be abolished; and that they would never be satisfied with any laws that stopped short of these principles." The union was proclaimed by Lord Melbourne, but continued to assemble. Altogether, the country was in a most dangerous crisis in the autumn of 1831.The death of the Princess Charlotte left the prospect of the succession to the Crown equally serious. Of the numerous sons and daughters of George III. not one had legitimate issue. It might be necessary soon to look abroad in Germany or in Denmark for an heir to the Crown. This consideration led to a number of royal marriages during the earlier part of this year. The first of these marriages was not of this description. It was that of the Princess Elizabeth, his Majesty's third daughter, to the Landgrave and Hereditary Prince of Hesse-Homburg, on the 7th of April. As the princess was already nearly eight-and-forty, no expectation of issue in that quarter was entertained. On the 13th of April Lord Liverpool brought down a message from the Regent to the Peers, and Lord Castlereagh to the Commons, announcing treaties of marriage in progress between the Duke of Clarence and the Princess Adelaide Louisa, of Saxe-Meiningen; and also between the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Augusta Wilhelmina, of Hesse, youngest daughter of the Landgrave of Hesse. The House of Commons was also asked to add an additional ten thousand pounds a year to the allowance of the Duke of Clarence, and six thousand pounds a year each to those of the Dukes of Cumberland and Cambridge, and to that of the Duke of Kent, if he, too, should marry. Ministers intimated that it had been the intention to ask much larger sums, but they found that it was necessary to reduce the sum asked for the Duke of Clarence. It was a matter of notoriety that the duke had already a large family by the actress, Mrs. Jordan, and probably the feeling of the House was influenced by his desertion of that lady; but there was a stout opposition and the sum was reduced to six thousand pounds. Loud acclamations followed the carrying of this amendment, and Lord Castlereagh rose and said, after the refusal of the sum asked, he believed he might say that the negotiation for the marriage might be considered at an end. The next day the duke sent a message declining the sum granted; yet, after all, his marriage took place. The Duke of Cumberland was already married to the Princess Frederica Sophia, the daughter of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had been divorced from Frederick Louis, Prince of Prussia. The Duke of Cumberland was one of the most unpopular men in the whole kingdom, for there were rumours of very dark passages in his life, and Parliament had rejected an application for an additional allowance on his marriage; and it now rejected this application amid much applause. The sum asked for the Duke of Cambridge was carried, but not without considerable opposition. The spirit of reform was in the air.
Such was the battle of Dettingen, equally remarkable for the blunders of the generals and the valour of the men; still more so, as the last battle in which a King of England has commanded in person. At Hanau, the army not only refreshed itself, but was joined by reinforcements, which rendered the Allies nearly equal in numbers to the French. Lord Stair, therefore, proposed to pass the Main, and make a second attack on the enemy. The king, however, would not consent. Stair, with all his bravery, had shown that he was very incautious. He was, moreover, of a most haughty temper, and had quarrelled violently with the Hanoverian officers, and displayed much contempt for the petty German princes. They were, therefore, by no means inclined to second his counsels, though they had fought gallantly at Dettingen. Stair complained loudly of the neglect to follow up the French, and resigned.On the 3rd Parliament assembled, and the nation was full of expectation as to the measures of the Government. The great question of the day was understood to have been under their anxious consideration during the winter. It subsequently transpired that the measure of Reform contemplated by Lord Grey at the close of the year was far more moderate than the one which was brought forward by Lord John Russell. The material increase in the amount of concession was said to be chiefly owing to the growing demands of the people, enlightened by the discussions in the political unions. Lord Durham was the most advanced Liberal in the Cabinet, and most strenuously insisted on the necessity of a very liberal measure. In order that the Bill might be well matured, and might fully meet the wants of the country, Lord Grey appointed a committee to consider the whole subject, and report upon it to the Cabinet. This committee consisted of his son-in-law, Lord Durham, who was intimately acquainted with his own views; Lord John Russell, who had represented the Whig party in the House of Commons in the various proposals that he had made on the subject of Reform; Sir James Graham, who enjoyed the confidence of the advanced Liberals, and was considered something more than a Whig; and Lord Duncannon, who was supposed to be well acquainted with the Irish corporations. According to the general instructions given to the committee, they were to prepare the outlines of a measure which should be sufficiently comprehensive to meet the demands of public opinion, so as to extinguish the desire for further change. But it must rest upon property as its basis, and be connected with existing territorial divisions. He wished that the prerogative of the Crown should be in no degree diminished, that the peers should lose none of their rights or privileges; but that, saving these, the democracy should play its due part in the legislation and government of the country. The committee began to work as soon as the Administration was organised. They first discussed the principles involved in the measure, then the details were separately examined, and when a point was decided and agreed upon, it was recorded in writing by Lord Durham. Lord John Russell furnished the materials for Schedules A and B, which were supplied to him by coadjutors, who were labouring diligently out of doors facilitating the work. The first draft of the measure, as adopted by the committee, was explained by Lord Durham in the form of a report to the Cabinet, showing how the plans thus propounded would fulfil the conditions required, and, by satisfying all reasonable desires, stop the tendency to innovation. The scheme, when thus placed before the Cabinet, became the subject of their anxious deliberation, and was unanimously adopted by them, with the exception of the ballot, which was rejected owing to Lord Grey's objections. It was then submitted to the king at Brighton, a few days from the meeting of Parliament, was discussed with him from point to point, and sanctioned.
It is a singular fact, and by no means creditable to the "collective wisdom of the nation," that we have had no authentic enumeration of the English people till the beginning of the nineteenth century. The result, however, of the census of 1800 showed that the population of England had made progress throughout the whole of the preceding century, with the exception of the first ten years, when it seemed to have declined. Mr. Finlayson, the actuary, drew up a statement founded on the returns of births, marriages, and deaths, giving an estimate of the population at decennial periods, from which it appears that in the year 1700 it was 5,134,516, and in 1800 it was 9,187,176. Further, from the decennial census we gather that the population of Great Britain and Ireland, which in 1821 amounted to 21,193,458, was at the enumeration in 1831, 24,306,719; the percentage rate of increase during that interval being 14.68, or very nearly 1? per cent. per annum; and that at the enumeration in 1841 the numbers were 26,916,991, being an increase since 1831 of 2,610,272, or 10?74 per cent., which is very little beyond 1 per cent. per annum. Comparing 1841 with 1821, it appears that the increase in the twenty years was in England 33?20, or 1?66 per cent. per annum; Wales, 27?06, or 1?35; Scotland, 25?16, or 1?25; Ireland, 20?50, or 1?02; the United Kingdom, 27?06, or 1?35 per cent. per annum. For the purpose of comparison with the corresponding number of years in the nineteenth century, it may be stated that the increase during thirty years, from 1700 to 1800, is computed to have amounted to 1,959,590, or 27The style of St. Paul's, and, indeed, of all Wren's churches, is neither Grecian nor Gothic, but Italian, influenced by the fashion which Bernini, the Italian architect of Louis XIV., had introduced into France. It is a class of architecture of which the Grecian is the basis, but which is so freely innovated upon as to leave little general resemblance. In its different parts we have columns and pilasters of every Grecian and, indeed, Roman order, pediments, peristyles, architraves, and friezes, mingled up with windows of all sorts, and all kinds of recesses and projections, the fa?ades and intercolumniations ornamented with festoons, and wreaths, and human masks, and the whole surmounted by a great Eastern dome, and by campaniles partaking of all the compilations of the main buildings. St. Paul's itself is a noble building, notwithstanding the manifest gleanings from the antique and the medi?val, and their combination into a whole which has nothing original but their combination into one superb design. Besides St. Paul's, the rest of Wren's churches are disappointing, and we cannot avoid lamenting that he had lost the sense of the beauty of Gothic architecture, especially when we call to mind the exquisite churches of that style which adorn so many of the Continental cities. Whilst the exteriors of Wren's churches show heavily in their huddled-up situations in London streets, their interiors, in which much more of the Grecian and Roman styles is introduced, are equally heavy, and wanting in that pliant grace which distinguishes the interiors of Gothic cathedrals. Perhaps the noblest work of Wren next to St. Paul's is Greenwich Hospital, which is more purely Grecian, and therefore displays a more graceful and majestic aspect. The Palace of Hampton Court, attached to the fine old Tudor pile of Cardinal Wolsey, is a great square mass, in which the Dutch taste of William is said to have set aside Wren's original design. But surely William did not compel him to erect that (in such circumstances) ponderous barbarism of a Grecian colonnade in the second quadrangle of Hampton Court, attaching it to a Gothic building. In fact, neither Wren nor Inigo Jones appears to have had the slightest sense of the incongruity of such conjunctions. Jones actually erected a Grecian screen to the beautiful Gothic choir of Winchester Cathedral, and placed a Grecian bishop's throne in it, amid the glorious canopy-work of that choir. The return to a better taste swept these monstrosities away.
The condition of the Irish poor, and the expediency of a State provision for their support, had long been a subject of anxious consideration with the Imperial Government and the legislature, and also with public men of every party who took an interest in the state of the country. It was at length resolved that something should be done for their regular relief. At the close of 1835 there had been a Poor Law Commission in existence for more than two years, consisting of men specially selected on account of their fitness for the task, and standing high in public estimation, including the Protestant and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin. They were appointed, in September, 1833, "to inquire into the condition of the poorer classes in Ireland, and into the various institutions at present established by law for their relief, and also whether any and what further remedial measures appear to be requisite to ameliorate the condition of the Irish poor or any portion of them." In July, 1835, they made their first report, in which they refer to the various theories with which they were assailed in the course of their inquiries. "One party attributed all the poverty and wretchedness of the country to an asserted extreme use of ardent spirits, and proposed a system for repressing illicit distillation, for preventing smuggling, and for substituting beer and coffee. Another party found the cause in the combinations among workmen, and proposed rigorous laws against trades unions. Others, again, were equally confident that the reclamation of the bogs and waste lands was the only practical remedy. A fourth party declared the nature of the existing connection between landlord and tenant to be the root of all the evil. Pawn-broking, redundant population, absence of capital, peculiar religious tenets and religious differences, political excitement, want of education, the maladministration of justice, the state of prison discipline, want of manufactures and of inland navigation, with a variety of other circumstances, were each supported by their various advocates with earnestness and ability, as being either alone, or conjointly with some other, the primary cause of all the evils of society; and loan-funds, emigration, the repression of political excitement, the introduction of manufactures, and the extension of inland navigation, were accordingly proposed each as the principal means by which the improvement of the country could be promoted."详情
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