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  • Slider 1 Amongst the provinces employing themselves to carry out the recommendation of the Congress, by framing new constitutions, that of New York was emboldened by the presence of Washington and his army to disregard the Royalists, and to frame a perfectly independent system. Gouverneur Morris took the lead in the ultra party, and declared that the time was now come for asserting entire independence. On the 27th of May a resolution to that effect was passed. The delegates of the Assembly were instructed to support these principles in Congress.

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    Slider 2 As this rout was taking place, Bulow, who had beaten back the French battalions from Frischermont and Planchenoit, was approaching La Belle Alliance, and Blucher with the main army soon after appeared following him. At a farmhouse called Maison Rouge, or Maison du Roi, behind La Belle Alliance, the Duke of Wellington and Blucher met and felicitated each other. Blucher, in the Continental manner, embraced and kissed the victorious Duke; and it was agreed that, as the army of Wellington had been fighting hard for eight hours, the Prussians should make the pursuit. Blucher swore that he would follow the French whilst a horse or a man could move, and, with three cheers from the British, he set forward with his troops in chase. So far from "the Guards dying, but not surrendering," these brave men flew now before the stern old Prussian, and immediately in the narrow passage at Genappe they abandoned to him sixty pieces of their cannon. Amongst other spoil they captured the carriage of Napoleon, and found in it, amongst other curious papers, a proclamation for publication the next day at Brussels. As it was moonlight, the Prussians continued the chase till late into the night, slaughtering the fugitives like sheep. Numbers quitted the road and fled across the country, seeking shelter in the woods, where many of them were afterwards found dead or severely wounded. The highway, according to General Gneisenau, was covered with cannon, caissons, carriages, baggage, arms, and property of every kind. The wounded were humanely sent to Brussels, but those who could continue their flight did so till they had reached France, where they sold their horses and arms, and dispersed themselves to their homes. The grand army was no more, with the exception of the division of Grouchy, who made good his retreat to Paris, only to be upbraided by Buonaparte as the cause of his defeat. In this battle and retreat the French lost more men than at Leipsic, the killed and wounded exceeding thirty thousand.

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    Slider 3 The remnant of the Beloochee forces were hunted for some weeks by flying columns. At length, Captain Roberts, at the head of one of them, captured the brother of Shere Mahommed and 1,000 of his followers. Another column was attacked by the Ameer himself; but his followers,[593] after the first round of fire, dispersed. The whole military force of the Ameers was now annihilated, and the conquest of Scinde was complete. "I think," said Sir Charles Napier, "I may venture to say that Scinde is now subdued. The Scindian population everywhere express their satisfaction at the change of masters." No doubt the change from Mohammedan to British rule was an advantage to the poor Hindoos; and if it be allowable to do evil that good may come, Lord Ellenborough was justified in the means he had adopted for supplanting the Ameers.

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    Connaught 1,418,859 1,465,643 745,652 526,048

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    Prussia, it might be supposed, would escape the invasion of Revolutionary principles in 1848. Great hopes had been excited on the accession of Frederick William IV. to his father's throne. Yet it was evident to close observers of the signs of the times that a spirit of sullen discontent was brooding over the population. There was a feeling that their amiable and accomplished Sovereign had disappointed them. He proved to be excessively sensitive to the slightest infringement of his prerogative, and he abhorred the idea of representative bodies, who might oppose constitutional barriers to his own absolute will. Hence, there grew up sensibly a mutual feeling of distrust between him and the people, and the natural effect on his part was a change from the leniency and liberality of his earlier years to a more austere temper, while a tedious, inactive, and undecided course of policy wore out the patience of those who expected a more constitutional system. Consequently, although the administration of the country was free from any taint of corruption, and was, on the whole, moderate and just, the revolutionary earthquake of 1848 shook the kingdom of Prussia to its very foundations.

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    GENERAL ELECTION OF 1784: MASTER BILLY'S PROCESSION TO GROCERS' HALL¡ªPITT PRESENTED WITH THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY OF LONDON. (Reduced facsimile of the Caricature by T. Rowlandson.)

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    In Wales, such was the neglect of religion by the Establishment, that, previous to 1804, there was scarcely a clergyman of the Church of England in the principality who was a native, or could preach in Welsh. The capability of a minister to make himself understood by his parishioners had been totally disregarded by those who had the presentation to livings; the exercise of patronage had alone been cared for; the souls of people went for nothing. About that time the Rev. Mr. Charles was engaged as curate in a Welsh parish. He found not a single Bible in the parish, and on extending his inquiries he scarcely found a Bible in Wales. He made this fact known to the public, in an appeal for Welsh Bibles, and for this appeal and the attendant exposure of the clerical neglect he was dismissed from his cure, and could find no bishop who would license him to preach in any other parish. But his truly Christian act had excited the attention of the religious public, and had the effect of establishing the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804.

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    Now, much of this at the moment was true; the manufacturers were naturally anxious to resume their business, and a fall in the price of corn, after the plentiful harvest of 1817, to seventy-four shillings and sixpence, relieved a little the pressure on the working classes. Could cheap bread have[133] been secured, the condition of the people might soon have become easy; but the fatal Corn Law came immediately into operation. By the end of 1817 corn had risen in price again to eighty-five shillings and fourpence; and then the ports were opened, but the supplies did not bring down the markets. The spring of 1818 proved wet, and then about the middle of May a drought set in, and continued till September, so that the apprehension of a deficient harvest kept up the price of all articles of life, notwithstanding that a million and a half quarters of wheat had been imported during the year. So long as bread was tolerably cheap, and work more abundant, political agitation in the manufacturing districts subsided; but it was soon proved that the apparent increase of activity in manufacturing and commercial exports was but a feverish desire on the part of manufacturers and merchants to force a trade for which the exhausted Continent was not yet prepared. Nothing but a free importation of corn could have carried the country comfortably through the crisis; and this was denied by the measures of Government, except at a rate of price that put the proper consumption of bread beyond the means of the working classes.

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    The anti-Gallic spirit was at the same time made violent use of to crush opinion at home. It is true that there was a foolish zeal on behalf of the French Revolution in a certain portion of the British public, which ought, by this time, to have been cooled by the too obvious nature and tendency of that Revolution; but this might readily have been prevented from doing harm by a fair exposure of the folly of the admirers of so bloody and dishonest a system as that of the French Jacobins. But it was more in accordance with the spirit of Government at that time to endeavour to crush the freedom of the press and of speech, under cover of the repression of a Gallic tendency. The persecution began in Scotland.

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    The place had been fortified so well as to be able to defy any attack that could be made upon it without artillery. Colonel Broadfoot had insisted on bringing an ample supply of working tools, which were found to be of the greatest advantage. In the official report of General Sale, written by Havelock, there is a description of the works that had been executed, and the immense[499] labour that had been undertaken to clear away everything that could serve as a cover for the enemy. They demolished forts and old walls, filled up ravines, destroyed gardens, and cut down groves; they raised the parapets six or seven feet high, repaired and widened the ramparts, extended the bastions, re-trenched three of the gates, covered the fortress with an outwork, and excavated a ditch, ten feet deep and twelve wide, round the whole of the walls. The enemy soon approached, under the command of Akbar Khan; the white tents, which the British were obliged to abandon, appearing in the distance. But the garrison were full of confidence, proudly rejoicing in the work of their hands, and feeling that they were perfectly safe behind the defences which they had raised with so much labour. In a short time, however, they had an astounding illustration of the vanity of all confidence in human strength, showing that, in a moment, it can be turned into weakness.

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    In the course of 1810 the French were expelled completely from the East and West Indies, and the Indian Ocean. Guadeloupe, the last of their West India Islands, was captured in February, by an expedition conducted by General Beckford and Admiral Sir A. Cochrane. In July an armament, sent out by Lord Minto from India, and headed by Lieutenant-Colonel Keating, reduced the Isle of Bourbon; and, being reinforced by a body of troops from the Cape of Good Hope, under Major-General John Abercromby and Admiral Bertie, the Isle of France, much the more important, and generally called Mauritius, surrendered on the 3rd of December. Besides[608] a vast quantity of stores and merchandise, five frigates and about thirty merchantmen were taken; and Mauritius became a permanent British colony. From this place a squadron proceeded to destroy the French factories on the coast of Madagascar, and finished by completely expelling them from those seas.

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    The distress was greatly aggravated, and spread over the whole country, by the extraordinary drought which prevailed in the summer of 1826. The richest meadows were burnt up. The stunted grain crops were only a few inches in height. The cattle, and even the deer in noblemen's parks, died from thirst. The people sat up all night to watch the springs, waiting for their turn to be[245] supplied. Water was retailed in small quantities, and sold like beer. Those who occupied the more favoured districts sent jars of fresh water to their friends in other places, as most acceptable presents. In the midst of all this scarcity and suffering the Corn Laws stopped the supplies of provisions from abroad, which were ready to be poured in in any quantities. Bills had been passed with great difficulty through Parliament, to enable Government to relax the restrictions of the Corn Laws, in order to meet the emergency. But so clogged were those enactments with conditions, that in autumn Ministers were obliged to anticipate their operation by opening the ports, trusting to the legislature for an indemnity. It is melancholy to reflect upon the perplexities and miseries in which the country was involved through the mistaken views of the landed interest, then predominant in Parliament.

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    Now, much of this at the moment was true; the manufacturers were naturally anxious to resume their business, and a fall in the price of corn, after the plentiful harvest of 1817, to seventy-four shillings and sixpence, relieved a little the pressure on the working classes. Could cheap bread have[133] been secured, the condition of the people might soon have become easy; but the fatal Corn Law came immediately into operation. By the end of 1817 corn had risen in price again to eighty-five shillings and fourpence; and then the ports were opened, but the supplies did not bring down the markets. The spring of 1818 proved wet, and then about the middle of May a drought set in, and continued till September, so that the apprehension of a deficient harvest kept up the price of all articles of life, notwithstanding that a million and a half quarters of wheat had been imported during the year. So long as bread was tolerably cheap, and work more abundant, political agitation in the manufacturing districts subsided; but it was soon proved that the apparent increase of activity in manufacturing and commercial exports was but a feverish desire on the part of manufacturers and merchants to force a trade for which the exhausted Continent was not yet prepared. Nothing but a free importation of corn could have carried the country comfortably through the crisis; and this was denied by the measures of Government, except at a rate of price that put the proper consumption of bread beyond the means of the working classes.

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