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On the morning of the 26th the conflict was confined chiefly to the Faubourg St. Antoine and the greatest stronghold of the insurgents, the Clos St. Lazare. The barriers were built of paving stones of large size, and blocks of building-stone. All the houses commanding them were occupied by the insurgents. The city wall was perforated for a mile in length with loopholes, and from behind it a deadly fire upon the troops was kept up for two days by invisible enemies, who ran from loophole to loophole with the agility of monkeys. General Lamoricire commanded here, and having ordered cannon and mortars, he made breaches in the barricades, and reduced many of the fortified houses to heaps of ruins. The Faubourg St. Antoine was surrounded by troops on all sides. The insurgents were summoned to surrender, and after some parleying, a flag of truce was sent forward, and they finally submitted, permitting the troops to take quiet possession of the district. General Cavaignac at once announced the result to the President of the Assembly, stating that the revolt was suppressed, that the struggle had completely ceased, and that he was ready to resign his dictatorship the moment the powers confided to him were found to be no longer necessary for the salvation of the public. He resigned accordingly, but he was placed at the head of the Ministry, as President of the Council. During this tremendous conflict between the Red Republicans and the guardians of society more than 300 barricades had been erected, 16,000 persons were killed and wounded, 8,000 prisoners were taken, and the loss to the nation by the insurrection was estimated at 30,000,000 francs. Miserably as Arnold had passed the winter in his camp, as spring approached he again planted his batteries above Quebec, but produced so little effect that Carleton lay still in expectation of his reinforcements on the breaking up of the river. On the 1st of April General Wooster arrived, and took the command, much to the disgust of Arnold, who was sent to command a detachment at[224] Montreal. On the 1st of May, General Thomas, who was to be supreme in command, arrived, and found the forces amounting to about two thousand men. The river was now opening; and on the 6th of May three English ships had made their way up to Quebec, full of troops. Two companies of the 29th Regiment and one hundred marines were immediately landed amid the rejoicings of the inhabitants; and General Carleton gave instant orders to issue forth and attack the American lines. But General Thomas, conscious that, so far from being able to take Quebec, he should be himself taken, unless he decamped with all haste, was already on the move. General Carleton pursued him vigorously, and the retreat of the Americans became a regular rout. They threw themselves into boats at the Three Rivers, leaving behind them all their artillery and stores, as well as the sick, who were numerous, the smallpox having broken out amongst them. Thomas managed to reach Fort Chambly and St. John's on the Sorel; but there he died, having taken the smallpox.

Mr. Vansittart introduced some financial measures which effected a material saving. He proposed a plan for reducing the interest of the Navy Five per Cents. to four per cent. Holders not signifying their dissent were to have one hundred and five pounds in a New Four per Cent. stock, and persons dissenting were to be paid off in numerical order. By this scheme an annual saving to the public of one million one hundred and forty thousand pounds would be effected; besides a further saving of upwards of ninety thousand pounds of annual charge, which would be gained by similar reduction of the Irish Five per Cents. The high prices of the public funds obviated all difficulty in the execution of this financial operation, and the holders of the Five per Cent. stock found it expedient to acquiesce in the Minister's terms. The dissentients were in number only one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, and the stock held by them amounted to two million six hundred and fifteen thousand nine hundred and seventy-eight pounds, not a fifteenth part of the Five per Cent. capital. Another operation related to what was called "The Dead Weight Annuity." The amount of military and naval pensions and civil supernumeraries was about five millions annually. Accordingly Mr. Vansittart brought forward an amended scheme for relieving the immediate pressure of this dead weight by extending it over a longer term of years than the natural lives of the annuitants. For this purpose an annuity of two million eight hundred thousand pounds was appropriated out of the existing revenue for forty-five years, invested in trustees for the discharge of the then payments, which for that year were estimated at four million nine hundred thousand pounds, subject to a yearly diminution by deaths. It was computed that, according to the ordinary duration of human life, the annuities for the lives of the then holders would be equal to the annuity of two million eight hundred thousand pounds for forty-five years. The trustees were therefore empowered to sell from time to time such portions of this annuity as would provide the funds required for the payment of the dead weight, according to a computation made of the amount which would probably be due in each year. The Bank of England became the contractor for a portion of the annuity. There was no novelty of principle in the project; it was only the old one of anticipating distant resources by throwing the burden of the existing generation on the next. It had the further disadvantage of incurring a useless expense for management; whereas the Sinking Fund, amounting at the time to about five millions, might have been applied to existing exigencies, and a real saving effected.

One of the most important measures of the Session was the Marriage Act, a subject which had been taken up by Sir Robert Peel during his short-lived Ministry. By this Act Dissenters were relieved from a galling and degrading grievance, one which, of all others, most painfully oppressed their consciences. Notwithstanding their strong objection to the ceremonies of the Established Church, they were obliged, in order to be legally married, to comply with its ritual in the marriage service, the phraseology of which they considered not the least objectionable part of the liturgy. By this Act marriages were treated as a civil contract, to which the parties might add whatever religious ceremony they pleased, or they might be married without any religious ceremony at all, or without any other form, except that of making a declaration of the Act before a public officer, in any registered place of religious worship, or in the[410] office of the superintendent registrar. This was a great step towards religious equality, and tended more than anything, since the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, to promote social harmony and peace between different denominations.

During the summer, meetings of a similar character were held at Cork, Longford, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Mallow, Dundalk, Baltinglass, Tara, and other places. At Tara, in the county Meath, on the 15th of August, an immense multitude was assembled250,000, at the lowest estimate, but represented by the Repeal journals as four times that number. The place was selected because of its association with the old nationality of the country, where its ancient kings were elected and crowned. O'Connell's speech on this occasion was defiant in tone, and in the highest degree inflammatory. Referring to a speech of the Duke of Wellington, he said, "The Duke of Wellington is now talking of attacking us, and I am glad of it. The Queen's army is the bravest army in the world, but I feel it to be a fact that Ireland, roused as she is at the present moment, would, if they made war upon us, furnish women enough to beat the whole of the Queen's forces." The Lord Chancellor Sugden having recently deprived of the commission of the peace all magistrates who were members of the Repeal Association, Mr. O'Connell announced that the dismissed magistrates would be appointed by the Repeal Association as arbitrators to settle all disputes among the people, who were not again to go to the petty sessions. He pronounced the union to be null, to be obeyed as an injustice supported by law, until they had the royal authority to set the matter right and substitute their own Parliament. In his speech after dinner to a more select audience, he said that the statesman was a driveller who did not recollect the might that slumbers in a peasant's arm, and who expected that 700,000 such men would endure oppression for ever. An outbreak would surely come, though not in his time, and then the Government and gentry would weep, in tears of blood, their want of consideration and kindness to the country whose people could reward them amply by the devotion of their hearts and the vigour of their arms. What were the gentry afraid of? It could not be of the people, for they were under the strictest discipline. No army was ever more submissive to its general than the[527] people of Ireland were to the wishes of a single individual.

The year, gloomy in itself from the dislocation of trade and the discontent of the people, terminated still more gloomily from another causethe death of the Princess Charlotte. This event, wholly unexpected, was a startling shock to the whole nation. This amiable and accomplished princess was not yet twenty-two. She had been married only in May, 1816, to Prince Leopold of Coburg, and died on the 6th of November, 1817, a few hours after being delivered of a stillborn child. What rendered the event the more painful was that her death was attributed to neglect by her accoucheur, Sir Richard Croft. Dr. Baillie, who saw her soon after her confinement, refused to join in the issue of a bulletin which the other medical men had prepared, stating that she was going on well, and a few hours proved the fatal correctness of his opinion. Sir Richard, overwhelmed by the public indignation and his own feelings, soon afterwards destroyed himself. No prince or princess had stood so well with the nation for many years. The people saw in her a future queen, with the vigour, unaccompanied by the vices and tyrannies, of Elizabeth. She had taken the part of her mother against the treatment of her father, and this was another cause which drew towards her the affections of the people. All these hopes were extinguished in a moment, and the whole nation was plunged into sorrow and consternation, the more so that, notwithstanding the twelve children of George III., there had only been this single grandchild, and several of his sons remained unmarried.

Scarcely had Colonel Forde returned from this expedition, towards the end of the year 1759, when the Dutch, envious of the English success, sent an armament of seven men-of-war and one thousand four hundred soldiers from Java. They landed on the Hooghly, and began committing ravages; but Forde surprised and defeated them, taking every one of their ships. They were glad to apologise, and pay the expenses of the war. In February, 1760, a few weeks after these events, Clive, whose health was failing, set sail for England, where he was received with the highest clat, and made an Irish peer, as Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey. He soon after entered Parliament.

While stirring events were in progress on the Continent, public attention was naturally distracted from home politics; nor were these in themselves of a nature to command enthusiasm. The Russell Government was weak, but the Opposition was weaker. Sir Robert Peel with his little band gave, on the whole, his support to the Ministry, and Mr. Disraeli, on the retirement of Lord George Bentinck, had only just begun to rally the Conservatives, who had been utterly dispirited and crushed by the carrying of Free Trade. Finance was always a weak point with the Whigs, and that of 1848 was no exception to the rule. Urged by the Duke of Wellington's letter to Sir John Burgoyne on the state of the defences, the Chancellor of the Exchequer determined on increasing the naval and military establishments. The result was a deficit of three millions, and no less than three withdrawals and alterations of the Budget had to be made before his proposals could be so shaped as to be acceptable to the House. The next Session was mainly devoted to Irish affairs, the Rate in Aid producing a collision between the two Houses, which was decided in favour of the Lords. In the same year, however, the most important measure of the Russell Ministry became law; the repeal, namely, of the Navigation Act, by which the carrying monopoly was abolished after the retaliation of foreign nations had reduced the principle of reciprocity, upon which Mr. Huskisson's Act had been framed, to a dead letter. Supported by the Canadian demand for liberation from the restrictions of the Navigation Act, Ministers courageously faced the clamour raised by the Protectionists, and carried their Bill through the Commons by large majorities. In the Upper House, however, they snatched a bare majority of ten through the circumstance that they had more proxies than their opponents.

The news of this astonishing cowardice of the soldiery caused great consternation in Paris. Lafayette and Rochambeau wrote complaining of Dumouriez and the Gironde Ministry; the Girondists accused the Jacobins of inciting the troops to this conduct; and the Jacobins blamed the incompetence of the Gironde. The king proceeded to dismiss his Girondist Ministry, and to rule with something like independence. In the early part of July it was known at the Tuileries that the Prussians, having joined the Austrians, had marched on Coblenz, to the number of eighty thousand men, all old soldiers of the great Frederick, and commanded by the Duke of Brunswick, the nephew of Frederick, who had won so much distinction in the Seven Years' War. Marshal Luckner, not deeming himself strong enough to resist this force, had retired upon Lille and Valenciennes. The Court was in high spirits; the queen told her ladies, in confidence, that the Allies would be in Paris in six weeks. The king wrote to the allied camp recommending moderation. In this moment of effervescence appeared the proclamation of the Duke of Brunswick as commander of the allied armies, and in the name of the allied monarchs. This proclamation arrived in Paris on the 28th of July, though it was dated Coblenz, July 25th. It was far from being of the reasonable nature which the king had recommended, and was calculated to do the most fatal injuries to his interests. It stated that the Emperor and the King of Prussia, having seen the manner in which the authority of the King of France had been overturned by a factious people, how his sacred person and those of his family had been subjected to violence and restraint, in which those who had usurped his Government had, besides destroying the internal order and peace of France, invaded the Germanic Empire, and seized the possessions of the princes of Alsace and Lorraine, had determined to march to his assistance, and had authorised himself, a member of the Germanic body, to march to the aid of their friend and ally; that he came to restore the king to all his rights, and to put an end to anarchy in France; that he was not about to make war on France, but on its internal enemies, and he called on all the well-disposed to co-operate in this object; that all cities, towns, villages, persons, and property would be respected and protected, provided that they immediately concurred in the restoration of order. He summoned all officers of the army and the State to return to their allegiance; all Ministers of Departments, districts, and municipalities were likewise summoned, and were to be held responsible, by their lives and properties, for all outrages and misdemeanours committed before the restoration of order; and all who resisted the royal authority, and fired on the royal troops or the Allies, should be instantly punished with all rigour, and their houses demolished or burned. Paris, in case of any injury done to the royal family, was to be delivered up to an exemplary and ever-memorable vengeance; that no laws were to be acknowledged as valid but such as proceeded from the king when in a state of perfect liberty.