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      [318]On assembling his remnant of an army in Brelowa, Buonaparte beheld a state of general disorganisation prevailing. Perishing with cold and hunger, every man was only mindful of himself. In a short time the whole village was pulled down to make camp-fires of the timber, for the weather was fiercely cold. He could scarcely prevent them from stripping off the roof under which he had taken shelter. He set out on his march for Wilna on the 29th of November. The army hurried along without order or discipline, their only care being to outstrip the Russians, who were, like famished wolves, at their heels; the Cossacks continually cutting down numbers of their benumbed and ragged comrades, who went along more like spectres than actual men. The thermometer was at twenty degrees below zero.


      One can't help thinking, Daddy, what a colourless life a man isThe growth of material wealth during this reign had in no degree improved the condition of the working class in any proportion to that of other classes. Landlords had greatly raised their rents, and farmers, by the high price of corn and other provisions, had grown comparatively rich, many very rich. The merchants and master manufacturers had shared liberally in the benefits of a vastly increased commerce, and the wonderful spread of manufactures; but the working manufacturers, between the high price of corn and meat, and the lowness of their wages, were in a miserable condition, and frequently, as we have seen, were driven to riot and insurrection. The handloom weavers were swamped by machinery, and those working the machinery were living in wretched houses, and in a most neglected and insanitary condition. Before the first Sir Robert Peel introduced his Bill for reforming the hours and other regulations of cotton mills, many of these worked night and day, one gang, as it was called, succeeding another at the spinning-jenny, in hot, ill-ventilated rooms. Apprentices were purchased of parishes, either children of paupers, or orphans of such, and these were kept by mill-owners, and worked long hours, one gang having to quit their beds in the morning for another gang of these poor unfortunates to turn into them. The agricultural labourers were little better off. Their habitations were of the worst description, though squires' kennels on the same estates were equal, in all sanitary conditions, to tolerable mansions. Their wages remained only some eight or ten shillings a weekwhen the wheat which they had raised was one hundred and thirty shillings per quarter, and a stone of flour of fourteen pounds cost a gold seven-shilling piece. This drove them in shoals to the workhouse, and produced a state of things that is hardly credible. Their mental and moral condition was equally deplorable. Education, either in town or country, was scarcely known. There was not a school in all the swarming region[158] of Whitechapel, and many another equally poor and populous region of London, much less in country towns and agricultural parishes. It was a settled maxim amongst the landed gentry, that education, even of the most elementary kind, would totally destroy the supply of servants; and it was gravely stated in Parliament that the plot of Thistlewood was owing to the working classes being able to read.


      Lord Anglesey had expressed himself so strongly in his communications with the Government, that he was afraid of being regarded by them as a partisan. He deprecated giving the executive any additional powers, though not without apprehensions of a rebellion, which he believed he had sufficient force to quell, even in the improbable event of foreign aid, upon which some of the Irish people might, however rashly, rely for success. On the 20th of July he wrote: "It appears not improbable there may be an attempt to introduce arms, and finally insurrection. I am quite sure the disaffected are amply organised for the undertaking. They are partially, but ill, armed. Pikes, however, to any amount, and at very short notice, would be easily manufactured, if they are not already made and secreted. Still, I cannot bring myself to believe that the ruling characters are at all inclined to put their cause to the test of arms; and if they do, I cannot imagine how, without foreign aidof which there appears no fearthey can calculate upon success." The priests had become all silent and reserved, even towards those with whom they had hitherto maintained confidential intercourse. No money would tempt them to make a single disclosure, and there was a general impression among them that some great event was at hand. The law officers of the Crown had been consulted as to the expediency of prosecuting some of the agitators for the most violent of their speeches; but their advice was, that it could not be done with any prospect of success, because their most exciting stimulants were accompanied by declarations that they wished only to guard the Government against insurrection, which only concession could prevent. Such being the condition of Ireland, the position of the Government was in the highest degree perplexing. The House of Commons was for Emancipation; the Lords were opposed to it; the king was opposed to it. The strength of political parties was nicely balanced in Parliament, and strong political excitement prevailed on both sides of the Irish Sea. Peel, in view of this state of affairs, says: "I maturely and anxiously considered every point which required consideration, and I formed a decision as to the obligation of public duty, of which I may say with truth that it was wholly at variance with that which the regard for my own personal interests or private feelings would have dictated." His intention was to relinquish office; but he resolved not to do so without placing on record his opinion that a complete change of policy was necessary, that the Catholic question should no longer be an open question, and that the whole condition of Ireland, political and social, should be taken into consideration by the Cabinet, precisely in the same manner in which every other question of grave importance was considered, and with the same power to offer advice upon it to the Sovereign. He also gave it as his decided opinion that there was less evil and less danger in conceding the Catholic claims than in persevering in the policy of resistance. He left London for Brighton soon after the close of the Session, having made a previous arrangement with the Duke of Wellington that he should send him a memorandum explanatory of his views on the state of Ireland and on the Catholic question, and that he should write to the Duke fully in reply. On the 9th of August the Duke wrote to him as follows:"I now send you the memorandum which I sent to the king on the state of Ireland, a letter which I sent to him at the same time, his answer, a memorandum upon the Roman Catholic[281] question which I have since drawn up, and a letter which I wrote yesterday to the Lord Chancellor."

      Another postscript.

      Lord Ellenborough was so hard upon speculative humanity, as opposed to real practical common sense, that the speculative school are never likely to forget him. But they owe too much to him not to forgive him; since he is the standing proof, that in matters of the general policy of the law professional opinion is a less trustworthy guide than popular sentiment,[64] and that in questions of law reform it is best to neglect the fossil-wisdom of forgotten judges, and to seek the opinion of Jones round the corner as readily as that of Jones upon the Bench.In the early part of the reign the English operas of Augustine Arne, "Artaxerxes" and "Love in a Village"the former principally a translation from Metastasiowere much admired. For the rest, there were numbers of lovers and professors of the art, both in sacred, operatic, and glee music. The Catch Club was formed in 1761, and zealously supported, as well as the Concerts of Ancient Music in 1776. Under the patronage of this society, and particularly of his Majesty, took place the celebrated Handel "Commemoration" in Westminster Abbey, in May and June of 1784. During the early part of the reign, too, appeared several distinguished works in this department. At the head of these stood the "Histories of Music," by Sir John Hawkins and Dr. Burney; Dibdin's "Musical Tour;" Dr. John Browne's "Dissertation on Poetry and Music;" the "Letters" of Jackson, of Exeter; and Mason's "Essays on Church Music." In the later portion of the reign there was much love of music, but little original composition, except for the stage, where Arnold, Shield, Storace, and Dibdin produced the most delightful compositions. Arnold's "Castle of Andalusia," "Inkle and Yarico," "The Surrender of Calais," and "The Mountaineers;" and Shield's "Rosina," "The Poor Soldier," "The Woodman," and "The Farmer," are universally admired. The sea songs of Charles Dibdin are as imperishable as the British navy, to which they have given a renown of its own. He wrote about one thousand four hundred songs, thirty dramatic pieces, "A Musical Tour," and a "History of the Stage," and was allowed, after all, to die in deep poverty, after charming the world for half a century. During the latter part of the reign music was in much esteem, and musical meetings in various parts of the countryin London, the opera, Ancient Concerts, and performances by foreign composers, such as Handel's "Messiah," Beethoven's "Mount of Olives," Mozart's opera of "Don Giovanni," etc.were flocked to, but little native genius appeared.


      This result was due to important negotiations behind the scenes. For many months the more extreme section of the Cabinet had urged Lord Grey to recommend the king to swamp the hostile majority by a creation of peers. Both he and Althorp objected to this course, and fresh overtures were made to the waverers, while the king undertook to convert the Bishops. Both attempts[348] failed, and then the Cabinet was nearly rent in twain. Lord Durham attacked his father-in-law in language which Althorp declared to be "brutal," and for which, said Lord Melbourne, he deserved to be knocked down. At last the king resolved to agree to a creation of peers on condition that the new creations should not exceed the number of 24. This alarmed the waverers, and with the aid of Charles Greville they came to terms with the Government. Lord Harrowby and Lord Wharncliffe secured a majority on the second reading, on condition that no new peers should be created.

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      IRISH PRISONERS LIBERATED DURING LORD MULGRAVE'S PROGRESS. (See p. 396.)Whilst these operations were going on the British blockading squadrons rode in every American port and completely obstructed all commerce. Their vessels ascended many of the rivers, especially the Chesapeake and its tributaries. At the end of June Sir S. Beckwith landed, from the squadron of Admiral Cockburn, at Hampton, in Virginia, where the Americans had a fortified camp, and drove them out of it, and captured all their batteries. In the following month Admiral Cockburn visited the coasts of North Carolina and seized the islands, towns, and ports of Portsmouth and Ocracoke. The complaints of the Americans of the miseries of this state of blockade began very unpleasantly to reach the ears of President Madison.

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      trousers (he tore them every day of his life) and learned my lessons


      alllittle