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      The tidings of this disaster roused the people of England to a pitch of desperation. The Ministers were condemned for their gross neglect and imbecile procrastination, and Byng was execrated as a coward and a traitor. Meanwhile, the most culpable man of all, Newcastle, was trembling with terror, and endeavouring to find a scapegoat somewhere. Fox was equally trembling, lest Newcastle should make that scapegoat of him. He declared to Dodington that he had urged Newcastle to send succour to Minorca as early as Christmas, and that Cumberland had joined him in urging this, to no purpose. He asserted that Newcastle ought to answer for it. "Yes," replied Dodington, "unless he can find some one to make a scapegoat of." This was the very fear that was haunting Fox, and he hastened, in October, to the king, and resigned the seals. This was a severe blow to Newcastle, and he immediately thought of Murray to succeed him; but, unfortunately, Sir Dudley Ryder, the Lord Chief Justice, just then having died, Murray had fixed his ambition on occupying his seat on the bench. They were obliged to give it to him, with the title[123] of Mansfield, or make a mortal enemy of him. Newcastle then thought of conciliating Pitt. Pitt refused to belong to any Ministry at all in which Newcastle remained. Newcastle, in his perplexity, next tried Lord Egmont, and even old Granville, but both declined the honour; and not a man being to be found who would serve under him, he was compelled most reluctantly to resign. He had certainly presided over the destinies of the nation far too long.In the autumn of this year the British Admiralty tested a plan to blow up and destroy the French invasion flotilla in the harbour of Boulogne. It consisted of a chest, pitched outside and made waterproof, containing forty barrels of gunpowder, which was to be ignited by a certain contrivance when it struck smartly against a solid body. This machine was called a catamaran. The experiment was tried by Lord Keith on the 2nd of October. There were one hundred and fifty French gunboats, praams, and floating batteries anchored outside the pier of Boulogne. Lord Keith anchored opposite to them with three line-of-battle ships and several frigates, covering a number of bomb-ships and fire-ships and the catamarans. Four fire-ships were towed into the neighbourhood of the French flotilla and exploded with a terrific noise, but did no injury whatever to the flotilla or the French, beyond wounding some half-dozen men. The catamarans exploded, for the most part, with the same failure of effect.


      Whilst the English Court was distracted by these dissensions, the Emperor was endeavouring to carry on the war against France by himself. He trusted that the death of Queen Anne would throw out the Tories, and that the Whigs coming in would again support his claims, or that the death of Louis himself might produce a change as favourable to him in France; he trusted to the genius of Eugene to at least enable him to maintain the war till some such change took place. But he was deceived. The French, having him alone to deal with, made very light of it. They knew that he could neither bring into the field soldiers enough to cope with their arms, nor find means to maintain them. They soon overpowered Eugene on the Rhine, and the Emperor being glad to make peace, Eugene and Villars met at Rastadt to concert terms. They did not succeed, and separated till February; but met again at the latter end of the month, and, on the 3rd of March, 1714, the treaty was signed. By it the Emperor retained Freiburg, Old Briesach, Kehl, and the forts in the Breisgau and Black Forest; but the King of France kept Landau, Strasburg, and all Alsace. The Electors of Bavaria and Cologne were readmitted to their territories and dignities as princes of the Empire. The Emperor was put in possession of the Spanish Netherlands, and the King of Prussia was permitted to retain the high quarters of Guelders.These motions were defeated, and Lord North, on the 21st of June, moved for the introduction of a Bill to double the militia and raise volunteer corps. The proposal to double the militia was rejected, that to raise volunteer corps accepted. To man the Navy a Bill was brought in to suspend for six months all exemptions from impressment into the Royal Navy. The measure was passed through two stages before rising, and carried the next morning, and sent up to the Lords. There it met with strong opposition, and did not receive the Royal Assent till the last day of the Session. This was the 3rd of July, and was followed, on the 9th, by a Royal Proclamation ordering all horses and provisions, in case of invasion, to be driven into the interior. The batteries of Plymouth were manned, and a boom was drawn across the harbour at Portsmouth. A large camp of militia was established at Cox Heath, in front of Maidstone, and, in truth, this demonstration of a patriotic spirit was very popular.


      And Foster answered him that there would be thirty or forty.


      Murray, afterwards Lord Mansfield, as we have said, of a decided Jacobite house, was a rising young lawyer, who had won great fame for his speech in a case of appeal before the House of Lords, was now Solicitor-Generalaccomplished and learned in the law, a man of pleasing person, and a fine orator, bold, persevering in his profession, yet, with all the caution of a Scotsman, plodding his way towards the benchthe real and almost the only object of his ambition. Murray, indeed, let Newcastle know that such was his ambition; and therefore, as Pitt was passed over from the royal dislike and Newcastle's own jealousy, and Murray, too, for this reason, Henry Fox alone was the man for the leadership of the Commons. Newcastle told him that he proposed him for that post; but when they met, Fox soon found that he was expected to play the r?le without the essential power. Fox, of course, demanded to be informed of the disposal of the secret-service money, but Newcastle replied that his brother never disclosed that to any one, nor would he. Fox reminded him that Pelham was at once First Lord of the Treasury and leader of the Commons, and asked how he was to "talk to members when he did not know who was in pay and who was not?" And next he wished to know who was to have the nomination to places? Newcastle replied, Himself. Who was to recommend the proper objects?Still himself. Who to fill up the ministerial boroughs at the coming elections?Still Newcastle himself. Fox withdrew in disgust, and Newcastle gave the seals of the Secretaryship to a mere toolSir Thomas Robinson, a dull, uncouth man, who had been some years ambassador at Vienna, and had won the favour of the king by his compliance with all his German desires. Robinson, according to Lord Waldegrave, was ignorant even of the language of the House of Commons, and when he attempted to play the orator, threw the members into fits of merriment. Newcastle, says Lord Stanhope, had succeeded in a very difficult attempthe[118] "had found a Secretary of State with abilities inferior to his own."

      Monster meetings, not unaccompanied by disturbance, were held in various places, the most serious of which occurred at Birmingham. The inhabitants of this town had been kept in a state of almost incessant alarm by the proceedings of disorderly persons calling themselves Chartists. Representations to this effect having been sent to the Home Office, sixty picked men of the metropolitan force were sent down to aid the civil authorities in the preservation of peace. They arrived at Birmingham by the railway on Thursday, July 4th, and speedily mustering, they marched two abreast into the Bull Ring, where about 2,000 Chartists were assembled, at nine o'clock in the evening. They endeavoured, at first, to induce the meeting quietly to disperse, but failed in the attempt. They then seized the flags with which Lord Nelson's monument in the centre of the square was decorated, and among which was one that bore a death's head; but the Chartists, who had at first been disconcerted, recaptured them, after a desperate struggle, and broke their staves into pieces, to be used as clubs. A conflict immediately ensued, in which the police, who were armed only with batons, were seriously injured; and the Chartists were retiring in triumph when the 4th Dragoons charged them, by concert, through all the streets leading to the Bull Ring, and they fled in every direction. Further riots ensued, and on the 15th an organised mob attacked the houses in the High Street and Spiral Street. They broke into the warehouses, flinging their contents into the streets. A large pile of bedding was set on fire in the Bull Ring. Windows and shop-fittings were remorselessly demolished by the infuriated multitude. A few minutes past nine o'clock the cry of "Fire!" was raised. Scarcely had the words been uttered when the rioters carried immense heaps of burning materials from the streets, forcing them into the houses of Mr. Bourne and Mr. Legatt. Within a quarter of an hour the flames burst out with awful violence from both houses, amidst the exulting shouts of the rioters. While this work of destruction was going on they had the streets to themselves. The general cry among the inhabitants was, "Where are the military? Where are the magistrates?" At length, about ten o'clock, sixty of the metropolitan[457] police, with a posse of special constables, made their appearance, and rushed upon the rioters sword in hand, causing them to fly in all directions. The dragoons, under the command of Colonel Chatterton, were now discerned galloping down Moore Street, and another squadron at the same moment down High Street, and in five minutes about 300 of the Rifle Brigade marched to the Bull Ring. The inhabitants, feeling like people sore pressed by a long siege, clapped their hands with joy at the approach of their deliverers. The fire engines also came under escort, having been driven away before, and set about arresting the conflagration. In the meantime the cavalry were scouring and clearing the streets and suburbs, and the police were busily engaged bringing in prisoners. About midnight the roofs of the two houses fell in, and about one o'clock the fire was got under. Next day the shops were nearly all closed, the middle classes full of suspicion, and the populace vowing vengeance against the police and the soldiers. A piece of artillery placed at the head of High Street contributed materially to prevent further disturbance. About twenty prisoners were made, and the evidence produced before the magistrates showed the determined purpose of the rioters. When these outrages were the subject of discussion in the House of Lords, the Duke of Wellington said, "That he had seen as much of war as most men; but he had never seen a town carried by assault subjected to such violence as Birmingham had been during an hour by its own inhabitants."Whilst these events had been passing in Austria and Bavaria, the King of England had endeavoured to make a powerful diversion in the Netherlands. Under the plea of this movement sixteen thousand British troops were embarked in April for the Netherlands; but they were first employed to overawe Prussia, which was in contention with Hanover regarding the Duchy of Mecklenburg. There were other causes of dispute between Prussia and the Elector of Hanover. George having now this strong British force, besides sixteen thousand Hanoverian troops and six thousand auxiliary Hessians, Frederick thought proper to come to terms with him, and, in consequence of mutual arrangements, the Hanoverian troops quitted Mecklenburg, and George, feeling Hanover safe, marched this united force to the Netherlands to join the British ones. He expected the Dutch to co-operate with him and the Austrians, and strike a decided blow at France. But the Earl of Stair, who was to command these forces, and who was at the same time ambassador to the States, found it impossible to induce the Dutch to act. They had increased their forces both by sea and land, but they were afraid of the vicinity of the French, and were, with their usual jealousy, by no means pleased to see the English assuming power in the Netherlands. Therefore, after making a great demonstration of an attempt on the French frontier with the united army, the project was suddenly abandoned, and the troops retired into winter quarters. But little was accomplished during this year by the British fleet.

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      [511]Home we have none!

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      "I say, Landor," he began, after having outwardly greeted Felipa and inwardly cursed his luck at being obliged to tear a man away from so fair a bride, "I say, there's been the dickens of a row up at the Agency."

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      So strongly did the latter feel the urgency of the case that Parliament was called together again on the 6th of December. It was opened by the king in person, who, in his Speech, recommended the speedy settlement of the Reform question; referred to the opposition made to the payment of tithes in Ireland; announced the conclusion of a convention with France for the suppression of the African slave trade; deplored the outrages at Bristol; and recommended improvements in the municipal police of the kingdom. On the 12th Lord John Russell introduced the Reform Bill the third time. It is said that his manner, like his proposal, had undergone a striking alteration. His opening speech was not now a song of triumph, inspired by the joyous enthusiasm of the people. He no longer treated the Opposition in a tone of almost contemptuous defiance. The spirit which had dictated the celebrated reply to the Birmingham Political union about the voice of the nation and the whisper of a faction seemed to have died within him. Lord John Russell proceeded to explain the changes and modifications that had been made in the Bill since it was last before the House. As the census of 1831 was now available, the census of 1821 was abandoned. But a new element was introduced in order to test the claim of a borough to be represented in Parliament. Numbers alone were no longer relied upon. There might be a very populous town consisting of mean houses inhabited by poor people. With numbers therefore, the Government took property, ascertained by the amount of assessed taxes; and upon the combination of these two elements the franchise was based. The calculations needed to determine the standard were worked out by Lieutenant Drummond, afterwards Under Secretary for Ireland. Upon the information obtained by the Government as to the limits of each borough, its population, and the amount of assessed taxes it paid, he made out a series of a hundred boroughs, beginning with the lowest, and taking the number of houses and the amount of their assessed taxes together, as the basis of their relative importance. Thus Schedule A was framed. In the original Bill this schedule contained sixty boroughs; in the present Bill it contained only fifty-six. The consequence of taking Mr. Drummond's report as a basis of disfranchisement was, that some boroughs, which formerly escaped as populous and large, were now placed in Schedule A; while others, which were better towns, were taken out of that schedule and placed in Schedule B, which now contained only thirty instead of forty boroughs, as in the former Bill. The diminution in this schedule, consisting of boroughs whose members were to be reduced from two to one, was owing to the fact that the Government had given up the point about reducing the number of members in the House of Commons, which was to remain as before, 658. Thus a number of small boroughs escaped which ought to have but one member eachso small that every one of them ought to have been in Schedule A, that their members might be given to new, prosperous, and progressive communities. Twenty-three members were now to be distributed. Ten were given to the largest towns placed in the original Schedule B, one to Chatham, one to the county of Monmouth, and the rest to the large towns, which, by the former Bill, obtained power to return one member only. The new Bill retained the 10 qualification. Every man who occupied a house of the value of 10 a year was to have a vote, provided he was rated for the poor. It was not the rating, however, that determined the value; it did not matter to what amount he was rated, if only at 5 or 1, if the holding was really worth 10 a year.On the return of the king and Carteret, Parliament was opened on the 1st of December. The first trial of the Opposition was on the Address, on which occasion its real strength was not called forth, and this was carried by two hundred and seventy-eight votes against one hundred and forty-nine. But the subject of Hanoverian troops and Hanoverian measures soon displayed its extent and virulence. There was a vehement feeling against everything relating to Hanover, and Pitt lost no time in denouncing Carteret and his measures in the most bitter terms. Pitt's thunder was echoed by others, and the scene in the Commons was described by a spectator as like nothing but a tumultuous Polish Diet. Such was the ferment amid which opened the year 1744, and it soon became evident that the existence of the country was at stake. Preparations had been making for the invasion of England for some time. Cardinal Tencin, the new French Minister, sent Murray of Broughton to James in Rome, to desire him to send his eldest son, Prince Charles, to France to be in readiness for the campaign[87] in England, and in due course the Young Pretender arrived at Gravelines.


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