Whilst these elements of a new convulsion were in active operation, the Allies had settled to some extent the affairs of Europe, and had returned home. On the 30th of May a treaty had been signed at Paris, between Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, with France. The boundaries of France were settled as they existed in 1792; it was decreed that Holland and Belgium should be united to form a strong barrier against France; the independence of Switzerland was restored; the north of Italy was again made over to Austria, including[86] Venice, but not including Sardinia, which was enlarged by the addition of Genoa, out of which Lord William Bentinck, with a British army, had driven the French. Murat had assisted the Austrians to conquer Eugene Beauharnais, and hoped to be allowed to retain Naples, yet having many fears of his new allies, the Austrians, and of the Allies generally. The Pope was again in peaceful possession of his States; the arms and the money of Great Britain had triumphed over Buonaparte, and had restored the monarchs of Europe to their thrones; but it was not to be denied that in restoring them they had restored so many detestable despotisms.

The weather was so unpropitious when the royal squadron cast anchor on the 14th, that it was found necessary to defer the landing until the 15th. The officers of the Household and of the State, in splendid uniforms and appropriate insignia, awaited the king's landing. He wore the full-dress uniform of an admiral, with St. Andrew's cross and a large thistle in his gold-laced hat. The Lord-Lieutenant of Midlothian and the Lord Chamberlain received his Majesty on shore, while the senior magistrate congratulated him on his arrival on Scottish ground. The cavalry, the Highland infantry, and the Gentlemen Archers of the Royal Guards saluted him. The Usher of the White Rod sent his herald to give three knocks at the city gate, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh going through the same medi?val forms as the Lord Mayor of Dublin. The knocking, after proper delay, was answered, the keys were delivered and returned, and the king was admitted into his ancient capital with enthusiastic acclamations. The royal cortge was peculiarly interesting from the variety of costumes adopted. The king declared that the beauty of the scenery, the splendour of the display, and the enthusiasm of his welcome affected him more than anything in the whole course of his life. The people, in their turn, were delighted beyond measure with the condescension and affability of their Sovereign. He took up his residence during his stay at Dalkeith Palace, as the guest of the Duke of Buccleuch. The following day he held a levee in the palace of Holyrood, restored for the occasion to its former splendour, so far as upholstery could accomplish the renovation. The king on this occasion wore the Highland costume, selecting for his dress the tartan of the Stewarts. On the next day three thousand persons paid their respects to his Majesty at a court held in the same place. He received his visitors in a field-marshal's uniform. He completely won the hearts of the Scottish ladies, dancing with the young and gaily chatting with the old. A magnificent fte was given by the Lord Provost in the Parliament House, Sir Walter Scott officiating as croupier. When the king's health had been drunk, his Majesty stood up and said, "I am quite unable to express my sense of the gratitude which I owe to[228] the people of this country. But I beg to assure them that I shall ever remember, as one of the proudest moments of my life, the day I came among them, and the gratifying reception they gave me. I return you, my Lord Provost, my lords and gentlemen, my warmest thanks for your attention this day, and I can assure youwith truth, with earnestness and sinceritythat I shall never forget your dutiful attention to me upon my visit to Scotland, and particularly the pleasure I have derived from dining in your hall this day." ("God save the King" and immense cheering followed.) He continued: "I take this opportunity, my lords and gentlemen, of proposing the health of the Lord Provost, Sir William Arbuthnot, Baronet, and the Corporation of Edinburgh." When the king named the Lord Provost by the title he had conferred upon him, the magistrate knelt, and kissed his hand, which was held out at the moment, and the incident was loudly applauded by the company. The king afterwards gave as a toast, "Health to the chieftains and clans, and God Almighty bless the 'Land o' Cakes!'" He added, "Drink this with three times three!" The delight of the company in drinking this toast may well be imagined.

At the close of the Session of 1837 an earnest desire was expressed by the leaders of both parties in the House for an amicable adjustment of two great Irish questions which had been pending for a long time, and had excited considerable ill-feeling, and wasted much of the time of the Legislaturenamely, the Irish Church question, and the question of Corporate Reform. The Conservatives were disposed to compromise the matter, and to get the Municipal Reform Bill passed through the Lords, provided the Ministry abandoned the celebrated Appropriation Clause, which would devote any surplus revenue of the Church Establishment, not required for the spiritual care of its members, to the moral and religious education of all classes of the people, without distinction of religious persuasion; providing for the resumption of such surplus, or any part of it, as might be required, by an increase in the numbers of the members of the Established Church. The result of this understanding was the passing of the Tithe Bill. But there were some little incidents of party warfare connected with these matters, which may be noticed here as illustrative of the temper of the times. On the 14th of May Sir Thomas Acland brought forward a resolution for rescinding the Appropriation Clause. This Lord John Russell regarded as a breach of faith. He said that the present motion was not in accordance with the Duke of Wellington's declared desire to see the Irish questions brought to a final settlement. Sir Robert Peel, however, made a statement to show that the complaint of Lord John Russell about being overreached, was without a shadow of foundation. The noble lord's conduct he declared to be without precedent. He called upon Parliament to come to the discussion of a great question, upon a motion which he intended should be the foundation of the final settlement of that question; and yet, so ambiguous was his language, that it was impossible to say what was[451] or was not the purport of his scheme. Sir Thomas Acland's motion for rescinding the Appropriation resolution was rejected by a majority of 19, the numbers being 317 and 298. On the following day Lord John Russell gave Sir Robert Peel distinctly to understand that the Tithe measure would consist solely of a proposition that the composition then existing should be converted into a rent charge. On the 29th of the same month, Lord John Russell having moved that the House should go into committee on the Irish Municipal Bill, Sir Robert Peel gave his views at length on the Irish questions, which were now taken up in earnest, with a view to their final settlement. The House of Commons having disposed of the Corporation Bill, proceeded on the 2nd of July to consider Lord John Russell's resolutions on the Church question. But Mr. Ward, who was strong on that question, attacked the Government for their abandonment of the Appropriation Clause. He concluded by moving a series of resolutions reaffirming the appropriation principle. His motion was rejected by a majority of 270 to 46. The House then went into committee, and in due course the Irish Tithe Bill passed into law, and the vexed Church question was settled for a quarter of a century. The Municipal Bill, however, was once more mutilated by Lord Lyndhurst, who substituted a 10 for a 5 valuation. The amendment was rejected by the Commons, but the Lords stood firmly by their decision, and a conference between the two Houses having failed to settle the question, the measure was abandoned. In these events the Ministry had incurred much disrepute. Meanwhile the country continued to suffer from a great wave of trade depression. Gloom and discontent were throughout the land; and the Home Secretary of the new Administration afterwards stated that there was hardly a day during this period when he had not found it necessary to have personal communication with the Horse Guards, as well as with the heads of the police in the metropolis, and in the manufacturing districts. There seemed, indeed, to be no limit to the distress of the people. In Carlisle a committee of inquiry into the state of the town reported that one-fourth of their population was living in a state bordering on absolute starvation. In a population of 22,000 they found 5,561 individuals reduced to such a state of suffering that immediate relief had become necessary to save them from actual famine. Terrible accounts from other and far distant neighbourhoods showed how widespread was the evil. The manufacturers of the West of England appointed a committee to consider the distressed state of that district. Taking the town of Bradford, in Wilts, as an example, the committee reported that of the nineteen manufacturers carrying on business there in 1820, nine had failed, five had declined business from want of success, one[486] had taken another trade, and two only remained. Of 462 looms, 316 were entirely out of work, and only 11 in full employment; and this distress, it must be remembered, could not be traced to one great overwhelming cause, like that of the failure of the cotton supplies of a later day. The blight that had spread over the field of British industry was to most men a puzzle; but the West of England committee, after reporting that the same condition of things existed at Chalford, Stroud, Ulley, Wotton, Dursley, Frome, Trowbridge, etc., did not hesitate to declare that the depression of trade that was destroying capital, and pauperising the working classes was attributable to the legislation on the principle of protection. A public meeting was held at Burnley in the summer of 1842 to memorialise the Queen on the prevailing distress. At a great public conference of ministers of religion, held in Manchester in the previous autumn, it had been resolved that the existing Corn Laws were "impolitic in principle, unjust in operation, and cruel in effect;" that they were "opposed to the benignity of the Creator, and at variance with the very spirit of Christianity." This conference, which extended over an entire week of meetings, held both morning and evening, was attended by nearly 700 ministers. Their proceedings filled an entire volume, and attracted considerable attention throughout the kingdom. Similar conferences were afterwards held in a great number of towns.

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But far more important are the wondrous powers evolved from the study of heat. The pioneer in this branch of work was the Hon. H. Cavendish, who was born in 1731, and devoted his life, until his death in 1810, to the pursuits of science. He was followed by Dalton, who made several important discoveries in chemistry, particularly with reference to the gases, and in the doctrine of heat. With the greatest modesty and simplicity of character, he remained in the obscurity of the country, neither asking for approbation nor offering himself as an object of applause. In 1833, at the age of sixty-seven, he received a pension from Government, which he enjoyed till 1844, when he died. His discoveries may be said to have terminated at the age of forty, though he laboured for thirty years after. His first sketch of the atomic theory was propounded as early as 1807. The year 1823 opened auspiciously, and continued to exhibit unequivocal marks of progressive prosperity. Every branch of manufacturing industry was in a flourishing state. The cotton trade was unusually brisk. There was a considerable increase in the quantity of silks and woollens manufactured; and in consequence of augmenting exportation, the demand for hardware and cutlery was quickened from the state of stagnation in which it had remained since the conclusion of the war. The shipping interest, which had been greatly depressed, fully shared in the general improvement. The agriculturists, however, were still embarrassed and discontented. In January no less than sixteen English counties had sent requisitions to their sheriffs to call meetings to consider the causes of their distresses. The principal remedies proposed were reduction of taxation; reform of the House of Commons; depreciation of the currency; commutation of tithes; and appropriation of the redundant wealth of the Church to public exigencies. At the Norwich meeting a series of resolutions was proposed and seconded by the gentry of the county, but they were rejected and put aside on the motion of Mr. Cobbett, who read a petition which was adopted with acclamation. It recommended an appropriation of part of the Church property to the payment of the public debt; a reduction of the standing army; an abolition of sinecures and undeserved pensions; the sale of the Crown lands; an equitable adjustment of contracts; the suspension of all legal processes for one year for the recovery of rents and tithes; and the repeal of the taxes on malt, soap, leather, hops, and candles.

When Buonaparte heard that Ferdinand had arrived, he is said to have exclaimed"What! is the fool really come?" He received him, however, with courtesy, invited him to dinner, and treated him with all the deference of a crowned head; but the same evening he sent Savary to inform him that he had determined that the Bourbons should cease to reign, and the crown should be transferred to his own family. Possessed of the Prince of Asturias, Buonaparte proceeded to complete his kidnapping, and make himself master of the king and queen. He was sure that if he brought Godoy to Bayonne he should draw the infatuated queen after him, and that she would[553] bring the king with her. He therefore ordered Murat to send on Godoy under a strong guard. This was executed with such rapidity that he was conveyed from Aranjuez to the banks of the Bidassoa in a couple of days. Buonaparte received Godoy in the most flattering manner, told him that he regarded the abdication of Charles as most unjustifiable, and that he would be glad to see the king and queen at Bayonne, to arrange the best mode of securing them on the throne. Godoy communicated this intelligence with alacrity, and Napoleon very soon had the two remaining royal fools in his safe keeping. On the 30th of April a train of old, lumbering carriages, the first drawn by eight Biscayan mules, was seen crossing the drawbridge at Bayonne. The arrival consisted of the King and Queen of Spain, with three or four unimportant grandees. Godoy welcomed Charles and his queen, and assured them of the friendly disposition and intentions of Buonaparte. Having the family in his clutches, Napoleon had little difficulty in compelling Ferdinand to restore the crown to his father, who abdicated a second time, and placed his crown in the hands of the Emperor.

CABINET MEMORANDUM, NOVEMBER 6.

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The West India interest in the City held great meetings, and instructed their Parliamentary representatives for the coming contest. The Free Traders argued that the Government proposition was simply that the West India proprietors should receive 10s. per cwt. more for the sugar they sent here than the growers in any other part of the world could get. This was equivalent to a tax of 2,000,000 upon the people of Britain, because the West India landlords were alleged to be in distress, and could not cultivate their estates. It was, indeed, the old question of protection for the landed interest on the ground of peculiar burdens. The white population of the West Indies amounted only to about a tenth of the whole; and it was admitted that the free coloured people, forming the bulk of the community, had no interest in the proposed monopoly. Moreover, it had been shown by repeated experiment that these differential duties always defeated their own objects. The slave-grown sugar was simply exported first to the free country, and then to Britainthe British people paying in the enhanced cost of the article all the cost of this circuitous mode of supply.

CHAPTER XIV. THE REIGN OF VICTORIA (continued).

Amid these angry feelings Admiral Byng was brought to trial. The court-martial was held at Plymouth. It commenced in December, 1756, and lasted the greater part of the month of January of the following year. After a long and[125] patient examination, the Court came to the decision that Byng had not done his utmost to defeat the French fleet or relieve the castle of St. Philip. The Court, however, sent to the Admiralty in London to know whether they were at liberty to mitigate the twelfth Article of War, which had been established by an Act of Parliament of the twenty-second year of the present reign, making neglect of duty as much deserving death as treason or cowardice. They were answered in the negative, and therefore they passed sentence on Byng to be shot on board such of his Majesty's ships of war and at such time as the Lords of the Admiralty should decide.