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"I confess that the multiplied proofs which I have given at all times of my love for the people, and the manner in which I have always conducted myself, ought, in my opinion, to demonstrate that I was not afraid to expose myself in order to prevent bloodshed, and ought to clear me for ever from such an imputation."

There was besides a tax called Church Cess, levied by Protestants in vestry meetings upon Roman Catholics for cleaning the church, ringing the bell, washing the minister's surplice, purchasing bread and wine for the communion, and paying the salary of the parish clerk. This tax was felt to be a direct and flagrant violation of the rights of conscience, and of the principles of the British Constitution; and against it there was a determined opposition, which manifested itself in tumultuous and violent assemblages at the parish churches all over the country on Easter Monday, when the rector or his curate, as chairman of the meeting, came into angry collision with flocks who disowned him, and denounced him as a tyrant, a persecutor, and a robber.

MARSHAL NEY. During the excitement that followed the passing of the Emancipation Act incessant attacks were made upon the character of the Duke of Wellington. Perhaps the most violent of these was published in the Standard by the Earl of Winchilsea, one of the most ardent of the anti-Catholic peers, who charged the Premier with disgraceful conduct. The offence was contained in a letter addressed by Lord Winchilsea to Mr. Coleridge, secretary to the committee for establishing the King's College, London. He said he felt rather doubtful as to the sincerity of the motives which had actuated some of the prime movers in that undertaking, "when he considered that the noble duke at the head of his Majesty's Government had been induced on this occasion to assume a new character, and to step forward himself as the public advocate of religion and morality." He then proceeded:"Late political events have convinced me that the whole transaction was intended as a blind to the Protestant and High Church party; that the[300] noble duke, who had, for some time previous to that period, determined upon breaking in upon the Constitution of 1688, might the more effectually, under the cloak of some outward show of zeal for the Protestant religion, carry on his insidious designs for the infringement of our liberties, and the introduction of Popery into every department of the State." The Duke having obtained from Lord Winchilsea an avowal of the authorship, demanded a retractation or apology, which was refused. The matter was then referred to friends, and a hostile meeting was agreed upon. "It is," says Mr. Gleig, "a curious feature in this somewhat unfortunate occurrence, that when the moment for action arrived it was found that the Duke did not possess a pair of duelling-pistols. Considering the length of time he had spent in the army, and the habits of military society towards the close of the last century, that fact bore incontestable evidence to the conciliatory temper and great discretion of the Duke. Sir Henry Hardinge, therefore, who acted as his friend, was forced to look for pistols elsewhere, and borrowed them at lasthe himself being as unprovided as his principalfrom Dr. Hume, the medical man who accompanied them to the ground. The combatants met in Battersea Fields, now Battersea Park. Lord Winchilsea, attended by the Earl of Falmouth, having received the Duke's fire, discharged his pistol in the air. A written explanation was then produced, which the Duke declined to receive unless the word 'apology' was inserted; and this point being yielded, they separated as they had met, with cold civility."

Had Sir Home Popham been satisfied with this well-executed piece of service, he would have merited honour; but, this being done, he suggested to Sir David Baird that an expedition might be made with advantage against the Spanish colonies in South America. It was reportednot truly, as it turned outthat these colonies were as poorly defended as they were wealthy. Sir David was weak enough to fall into the scheme, and, without any authority from home, as it would appear, for so important a proceeding, he permitted General Beresford to sail in Sir Home's squadron with a part of his forces. The fleet touched at St. Helena, and took in a few more soldiers, but the whole body did not then amount to more than sixteen hundred. With this contemptible handful of men, the British squadron entered the river La Plata, and landed the troops, on the 24th of June, at a short distance from Buenos Ayres. The few Spanish troops in the city were easily routed, and the place capitulated on the 27th, and Beresford entered and took up his quarters there. But he was not long left at peace. The Spaniards discovering, as a matter of course, the insignificance of the force which had thus rashly surprised the city, collected in sufficient numbers to make prisoners of them all. A French officer in the Spanish service, M. Liniers, landed with a thousand men from Monte Video and Sacramento, and, being joined by the troops of the neighbourhood which had been repulsed by Beresford, appeared before the city on the 10th of July, and summoned the British to surrender. This was the signal for the inhabitants to rise en masse and fall on them. They were prevented from escaping to their ships by the badness of the weather, and were assailed from the windows and doors, and exposed to a general attack in the great square, and were compelled to yield, on condition of being allowed to re-embark; but no sooner had they laid down their arms, than Liniers, who probably looked on them as no better than filibusters, treated them as such, and marched them up the country, where they were rigorously treated. Four hundred of them had perished in this mad attempt. Meanwhile, Sir Home Popham had sent home upwards of a million of dollars, reserving two hundred and five thousand for the pay of the army. There were great rejoicings in London at the news, and at the receipt of the specie. Popham, in his despatches, represented himself as having conquered a great colony, and opened up a wonderful mart for our manufactures; and the Ministry, delighted at the receipt of the dollars, though they had, on first hearing of the scheme, sent out orders to stop the squadron, now, on the 20th of September, issued an Order in Council declaring Buenos Ayres and its dependencies open to our trade. Long before this order could have reached America the whole scene was reversed. Sir Home Popham had, indeed, blockaded the river La Plata, and had attempted to bombard Monte Video, but his ships could not get near enough. In October reinforcements arrived from the Cape and from England, but not in sufficient strength to enable him to do anything decisive. He therefore contented himself with landing troops at Maldonado, and drove the Spaniards from the isle of Gorriti, where he lay to, and waited for greater reinforcements.

DR. JOHNSON VIEWING THE SCENE OF SOME OF THE "NO POPERY" RIOTS. (See p. 268.)

The Fte de la Concorde took place on Sunday, the 21st of May, and passed off without any attempt at disturbance. On the contrary, the people were in excellent humour, and everything upon the surface of society seemed in keeping with the object of the festivity. On the 26th the Assembly decreed the perpetual banishment of Louis Philippe and his family, by a majority of 695 to 63. But the ex-king was not the only pretender who occupied the attention of the new Government; a far more dangerous one was Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the Emperor and then an exile in London. He had gone over to Paris when the Republic was proclaimed, but acting on the advice of the Government, he quietly retired from the country. So potent, however, was still the charm that attached to the name of Napoleon, that his heir was elected a member of the National Assembly by no less than four constituencies. It was moreover discovered that money had been distributed in Paris by his partisans; that placards in his favour were posted upon the walls, and cries of "Vive Napoleon!" resounded through the city. Within four days, three journals had been established in Paris preparing the way for the candidature of Louis[553] Napoleon as President. After a violent debate, it was resolved by a large majority that he should be permitted to take his seat as a representative. On the Monday following Paris was excited by a rumour that Louis Napoleon had arrived, and while Lamartine was speaking in the Assembly several shots were fired, one at the Commandant of the National Guard, another at an officer of the army, and this was done to the cry of "Vive l'Empereur Napoleon!" "This," said Lamartine, "is the first drop of blood that has stained our revolution; and if blood has now been shed, it has not been for liberty, but by military fanaticism, and in the name of an ambition sadly, if not voluntarily, mixed up with guilty man?uvres. When conspiracy is taken in flagrante delicto, with its hand dyed in French blood, the law should be voted by acclamation." He then proposed a decree, causing the law of banishment of 1832 against Louis Napoleon to be executed. It was voted by acclamation, the Assembly rising in a body, and shouting, "Vive la Rpublique!"

The same scenes, but on a still larger scale, were exhibiting in the capital. The Reign of Terror was fully inaugurated, and rapidly extending itself. At first, on the expulsion of the Girondists from the Conventionthat is, in Junethe guillotinings were only fourteen. In July the number was about the same; but in August Robespierre became a member of the Committee of Public Safety, which carried on the machinery of government, and then the work went on swimmingly. From the moment that Robespierre took his place on the Committee, the stream of blood flowed freely and steadily. His friendif such monsters can be said to have any friendsBarrre, who belonged to the timid Plain till the Girondists were[424] overthrown, now became his active agent. He proposed, on the 7th of August, that William Pitt should be proclaimed the enemy of the whole human race, and that a decree should be passed that every man had a right to assassinate him. On the 9th it was announced that the Republic was completed; that Hrault de Schelles had produced a new and perfect constitution, which was at once adopted by the Convention. It was a constitution containing all the doctrines of the Mountain, in the bombast of that truculent faction. As it was quickly set aside, we need not detail its principles. Then this constitution was celebrated on the 10th of August, the anniversary sacred to the downfall of monarchy. Next followed fresh executions, among the most notable victims being Marie Antoinette (October 16) and Madame Roland (November 9), while most of the prominent Girondists were hunted down and killed.

Soon after the close of the Session in June, the king proceeded to Hanover, accompanied, as usual, by Townshend and the Duchess of Kendal. The state of his foreign relations demanded the utmost attention, and very soon underwent the most extraordinary changes. These were precipitated by the Duke of Bourbon, and were caused by the state of the French succession. The young king might have children, and the only reason why he might not have legitimate issue soon was that he was affianced to the Infanta, Mary Ann, Philip's daughter, then a mere child. Should he not have children, the young Duke of Orleans, the son of the late Regent, would succeed him. To prevent this contingency, the Duke of Bourbon, who had a violent hatred of Orleans, prevailed on Louis to dismiss the Infanta, and choose as queen some princess of mature age. He turned his eye for this purpose on the Princess Anne of England, but George declined the alliance, because the Queen of France was bound to become Catholic. The Princess Mary Leczinska was next fixed upon, daughter of the exiled Stanislaus of Poland, and the Duke of Bourbon then sent the Infanta back to Spain.

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The number of Catholics in Britain at the time of passing the Relief Bill was estimated by themselves at nearly 1,000,000, scattered, in various proportions, through England, Scotland, and Wales. Of these, 200,000 were resident in London. The most Catholic counties in England were Lancashire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Cheshire, Northumberland, Durham, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Kent. In Ireland the Roman Catholics were estimated at five millions and a half; and the Protestants, of all denominations, at one million and three-quarters. By the removal of the disabilities eight English Catholic peers were enabled to take their seats by right in the House of Lords. The Catholic baronets in England were then sixteen in number. In Ireland there were eight Roman Catholic peers; in Scotland, two. The system of religious exclusion had lasted 271 years, from the passing of the Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity in 1559.

Sir Mark Isambard Brunel, a hero of mechanical science, made a great step in advance by the invention of self-acting machinery to supersede the work of artisans, by which a new epoch was created in art. The greatest effort of Brunel was the Thames Tunnel, a structure of perfect firmness and solidity laid on a quicksand, and forced through a quaking mass of mud, which will endure like the cloac? of regal Rome, when the palace and the cathedral have crumbled to dust. He was enabled to accomplish this prodigious work by means of "the shield"a movable vertical frame of cast iron, provided with thirty-six cells, in each of which a man was placed with a pick to excavate the area, this frame or shield being moved bodily forward by powerful screws, while the bricklayers brought up the arched masonry behind, which was then beyond the power of injury. The works, however, were several times "drowned" during their progress by the irruptions of the Thames, but every fresh difficulty was met successfully by the heroic engineer. The tunnel was commenced on the 2nd of March, 1825, and finished on the 25th of March, 1843. Brunel survived the completion of this, his greatest work, above six years, dying on the 12th of December, 1849.

The number of Railway Acts passed during the first half of the century was more than 1,000; and the sums which Parliament authorised the various companies to expend in the construction of railways from 1826 to 1849 amounted to the enormous total of 348,012,188, the yearly average being 14,500,508. The Liverpool and Manchester Company was the first that contemplated the conveyance of passengers, which, however, was regarded as a sort of subsidiary traffic, that might produce some 20,000 a year, the main reliance being on the conveyance of raw cotton, manufactured goods, coals, and cattle. It need not be remarked how widely the result differed from their anticipation. The receipts from passengers in 1840 amounted to 343,910, and it was estimated that the saving to the public on that line[421] alone was nearly a quarter of a million annually. But as yet the system was in its infancy, though the broad gauge had been introduced by Brunel in 1833.