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One of the most appalling of the narratives sent to the Central Committee of the Society of Friends was Mr. William Bennet's account of his journey in Ireland. He left Dublin on the 12th of January, and proceeded by coach to Longford, and thence to Ballina, from which he penetrated into remote districts of the county Mayo. In the neighbourhood of Belmullet he and his companion visited a district which may serve as a representation of the condition of the labouring class generally in the mountainous and boggy districts, where they burrowed and multiplied, more like a race of inferior animals than human beings. "Many of the cabins," wrote Mr. Bennet, "were holes in the bog, covered with a layer of turf, and not distinguishable as human habitations from the surrounding moors, until close down upon them. The bare sod was about the best material of which any of them were constructed. Doorways, not doors, were provided at both sides of the latter, mostly back and front, to take advantage of the way of the wind. Windows and chimneys, I think, had no existence. A second apartment or partition of any kind was exceedingly rare. Furniture properly so called, I believe, may be stated at nil. I cannot speak with certainty, and wish not to speak with exaggeration, we were too much overcome to note specifically; but as far as memory serves, we saw neither bed, chair, nor table at all. A chest, a few iron or earthen vessels, a stool or two, the dirty rags and night coverings, formed about the sum total of the best-furnished. Outside many were all but unapproachable from the mud and filth surrounding them; the scene inside is worse, if possible, from the added closeness, darkness, and smoke.... And now language utterly fails me in attempting to depict the state of the wretched inmates.... We entered a cabin. Stretched in one dark corner, scarcely visible from the smoke and rags that covered them, were three children huddled together, lying there because they were too weak to rise, pale and ghastly; their little limbs, on removing a portion of the covering, perfectly emaciated; eyes sunk, voice gone, and evidently in the last stage of actual starvation. Crouched over the turf embers was another form, wild and all but naked, scarcely human in appearance. It stirred not nor noticed us. On some straw, soddened upon the ground, moaning piteously, was a shrivelled old woman, imploring us to give her something, baring her limbs partly to show how the skin hung loose from her bones, as soon as she attracted our attention. Above her, on something like a ledge, was a young woman with sunken cheeks, a mother, I have no doubt, who scarcely raised her eyes in answer to our inquiries; but pressed her hand upon her forehead, with a look of unutterable anguish and despair.... Every infantile expression had entirely departed; and, in some, reason and intelligence had evidently flown. Many were remnants of families, crowded together in one cabin; orphaned little relatives taken in by the equally destitute, and even strangersfor these poor people are kind to each other, even to the end. In one cabin was a sister, just dying, lying beside her little brother, just dead. I have worse than this to relate; but it is useless to multiply details, and they are, in fact, unfit."
The king rejoiced too soon. The announcement to the public of the queen's death was the knell of the popularity which he had recently acquired. There was an immediate and powerful reaction in the public mind against the king, which was strengthened by the ungracious measures adopted in connection with her funeral. There was a clause in her will to this effect:"I desire and direct that my body be not opened, and that three days after my death it be carried to Brunswick for interment; and that the inscription on my coffin be, 'Here lies Caroline of Brunswick, the injured Queen of England.'" The Government were very anxious to have the corpse sent out of the kingdom immediately, in order that its presence might not interfere with the festivities in Ireland; they therefore wished to have the remains dispatched at once to Harwich for embarkation. Lady Hood appealed in vain to Lord Liverpool for some delay on the ground that the queen's ladies were not prepared to depart so soon, at the same time protesting against any military escort. The military guard was an ostensible honour; but its real object was to prevent popular manifestations detrimental to the Government in connection with the funeral. The friends of the queen could not even learn by what route the body would be conveyed. It should have gone through the City, where the Lord Mayor and Corporation announced their intention of following the hearse; but to prevent that honour, it was ordered that the corpse should be sent round by the New Road to Romford. The funeral passed from Hammersmith to Kensington Church without obstruction; there the conductors were turning off from the way to the City, in order to get into the Bayswater Road, when they were met by a loud cry of wrath and execration from the multitude. In a few minutes the road was dug up, barricaded, and rendered impassable. The Life Guards and the chief magistrate of Bow Street appeared, and seeing the impossibility of forcing a passage, they ordered the cortge to proceed on the direct route through the City, amidst thundering shouts of victory that might have appalled the king had he heard them. In the meantime the multitude had been rushing through the parks in mighty surging masses, now in one direction and now in another, according to the varying reports as to the course the procession was to take. Orders had been issued from the Government that it should go through the Kensington gate of Hyde Park, but the people closed the gates, and assumed such a fierce and determined attitude of resistance that the authorities were again compelled to give way, and again the popular shouts of victory sounded far and wide. Peremptory orders were given by the Government to pass up the Park into the Edgware Road, either by the east side or through Park Lane. In the effort to do this the line of procession was broken, the hearse was got into the Park, and hurried onwards to Cumberland Gate; but the people had outrun the military, and again blocked up the way in a dense mass. Here a collision ensued: the populace had used missiles; the military were irritated, and having had peremptory orders, they fired on the people, wounding many and killing two. But the people, baffled for the moment, made another attempt. At Tottenham Court Road the Guards found every way closely blocked up, except the way to the City. In this way, therefore, they were compelled to move, amidst the exulting shouts of the multitude. Seeking an outlet to the suburbs at every turn in vain, the procession was forced down Drury Lane into the Strand. The passage under Temple Bar was accompanied by the wildest possible excitement and shouts of exultation. The Corporation functionaries assembled in haste and accompanied the funeral to Whitechapel. On the whole way to Romford, we read, that not only the direct, but the cross roads, were lined with anxious spectators. The shops were closed, the bells were tolling, mourning dresses were generally worn, and in every direction symptoms abounded of the deep feeling excited by the death of the queen. The funeral cortge rested for the night at Colchester, the remains being placed in St. Peter's Church. There the plate with the inscription "injured Queen" was taken off, and another substituted. At Harwich the coffin was unceremoniously conveyed to the Glasgow frigate. At length the remains arrived at their last resting-place in a vault beneath the cathedral at Brunswick.
When the falls were passed, the troops pushed on as before along the narrow stream, and through the tangled labyrinths on either side; till, on the first of August, they reached Lake Onondaga, and, with sails set, the whole flotilla glided before the wind, and landed the motley army on a rising ground half a league from the salt springs of Salina. The next day was spent in building a fort to protect the canoes, bateaux, and stores; and, as evening closed, a ruddy glow above the southern forest told them that the town of Onondaga was on fire.The poets who most retained the robes of the past, without disguising the divine form within, were the Rev. George Crabbe and Cowper. The poetry of Crabbe, all written in the metre of Pope, is, nevertheless, instinct with the very soul of nature. It chooses the simplest, and often the least apparently lofty or agreeable topics, but it diffuses through these, and at the same time draws from them, a spirit and life that are essentially poetry. Nothing at the time that it appeared could look less like poetry. The description of a library, the dirty alleys, the pothouses, the sailors, and monotonous sea-shores in and about a maritime borough, struck the readers of the assumed sublime with astonishment and dismay. "Can this be poetry?" they asked. But those who had poetry in themselvesthose in whom the heart of nature was strong, replied, "Yes, the truest poetry." Nature smiles as the rude torch flickers past, and shows its varied forms in its truest shape. In his "Tales of the Hall" Crabbe entered on scenes which are commonly deemed more elevated; he came forward into the rural village, the rectory, and the manor-house; but everywhere he carried the same clear, faithful, analytical spirit, and read the most solemn lessons from the histories and the souls of men. Crabbe has been styled the Rembrandt of English poetic painting; but he is not merely a painter of the outward, he is the prober of the inward at the same time, who, with a hand that never trembles, depicts sternly the base nature, and drops soothing balm on the broken heart.
On the 21st of March Lord John Russell moved the second reading of this great Reform Bill. Sir Richard Vivian moved, as an amendment, that it be read a second time that day six months. There was nothing new in the debate that followed, though it lasted two nights. On the 22nd the division occurred. The second reading was carried by a majority of one. This was hailed with exultation by the Conservatives, as equivalent to a defeat. But there were prophets who saw something ominous in this majority of one. They remembered that the first triumph of the Tiers Etat in the National Assembly, in 1789, when they constituted themselves a separate Chamber, was carried by one. The House was the fullest on record up to that time, the numbers being 302 to 301, the Speaker and the four tellers not included. A remarkable circumstance connected with the division was, that about two to one of the county members in England and Ireland were in favour of the Bill. No less than sixty votes on the same side were for places to be disfranchised or reduced. Although in the House it was felt that the division was equivalent to a defeat, the Reformers out of doors were not in the least disheartened; on the contrary, they became, if possible, more determined. The political unions redoubled their exertions, and the country assumed an attitude of defiance to the oligarchical classes which excited serious alarm, from which the king himself was not exempt. The pressure from without accumulated in force till it became something terrific, and it was evident to all reflecting men that the only alternative was Reform or Revolution.
The intendant Champigny accordingly proceeded to the fort in advance of the troops, and invited the neighboring Iroquois to a feast. They 141 came to the number of thirty men and about ninety women and children, whereupon they were surrounded and captured by the intendant's escort and the two hundred men of the garrison. The inhabitants of the village of Ganneious were not present; and one Perr, with a strong party of Canadians and Christian Indians, went to secure them. He acquitted himself of his errand with great address, and returned with eighteen warriors and about sixty women and children. Champigny's exertions did not end here. Learning that a party of Iroquois were peaceably fishing on an island in the St. Lawrence, he offered them also the hospitalities of Fort Frontenac; but they were too wary to be entrapped. Four or five Iroquois were however caught by the troops on their way up the river. They were in two or more parties, and they all had with them their women and children, which was never the case with Iroquois on the war-path. Hence the assertion of Denonville, that they came with hostile designs, is very improbable. As for the last six months he had constantly urged them, by the lips of Lamberville, to visit him and smoke the pipe of peace, it is not unreasonable to suppose that these Indian families were on their way to the colony in consequence of his invitations. Among them were the son and brother of Big Mouth, who of late had been an advocate of peace; and, in order not to alienate him, these two were eventually set free. The other warriors were tied like the rest to stakes at the fort.[Pg 326]The rulers of Canada labored without ceasing in their perplexing task of engrossing the fur-trade of the West and controlling the western tribes to the exclusion of the English. Every day made it clearer that to these ends the western wilderness must be held by forts and trading-posts; and this policy of extension prevailed more and more, in spite of the league of merchants, who wished to draw the fur-trade to Montreal,in spite of the Jesuits, who felt that their influence over the remoter tribes would be compromised by the presence among them of officers, soldiers, and traders; and in spite of the King himself, who feared that the diffusion of the colony would breed disorder and insubordination.