In the debate on this subject, George Canning, who on many occasions had shown himself capable of better things, breathed the very language of Toryism. He declared the representation of Parliament perfect, and treated the most moderate proposals for Reform as only emanations from the mad theories of the Spenceans. The message of the Prince Regent came down on the 3rd of February, ordering certain papers to be laid before the House, "concerning certain practices, meetings, and combinations in the metropolis, and in different parts of the kingdom, evidently calculated to endanger the public tranquillity, to alienate the affections of his Majesty's subjects from his Majesty's person and Government, and to bring into hatred and contempt the whole system of our laws and institutions." Lord Sidmouth endeavoured to guard the House of Peers against the belief that the insult to the Regent had any share in the origination of this message, but the House of Lords, in its Address, directly charged this event as an additional proof of the public disaffection. Unfortunately, the Regent had two Houses of Parliament only too much disposed to make themselves the instruments of such vengeance. The message was referred to a secret committee in each House, and on the 18th and 19th of February they respectively made their reports. Both went at great length into the affair of the Spa Fields meeting, and the proceedings and designs of the Spenceans were made to represent the designs of the working classes all over the kingdom; that such men as Thistlewood, who not long after suffered for his justly odious conduct, were conspicuous among the Spenceans, and that there had been an affray in Spa Fields, were circumstances to give ample colouring to the reports of these committees. The Lords' report stated"It appears clear that the object is, by means of societies, or clubs, established, or to be established, in all parts of Great Britain, under pretence of Parliamentary reform, to infect the minds of all classes of the community, and particularly of those whose[124] situation most exposes them to such impressions, with a spirit of discontent and disaffection, of insubordination, and contempt of all law, religion, and morality; and to hold out to them the plunder of all property as the main object of their efforts, and the restoration of their natural rights; and no endeavours are omitted to prepare them to take up arms, on the first signal, for accomplishing their designs."

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By the 28th of September Mar had mustered at Perth about five thousand men. He was cheered by the arrival of one or two ships from France with stores, arms, and ammunition. He had also managed to surprise a Government ship driven to take shelter at Burntisland, on its way to carry arms to the Earl of Sutherland, who was raising his clan for King George in the north. The arms were seized by Mar's party, and carried off to the army. Argyll, commander of the king's forces, arrived about the same time in Scotland, and marched to Stirling, where he encamped with only about one thousand foot and five hundred cavalry. This was the time for Mar to advance and surround him, or drive him before him; but Mar was a most incompetent general, and remained inactive at Perth, awaiting the movement of the Jacobites in England. Thanks, however, to the energy of the Government, that movement never took place.

THE FLIGHT OF LAWLESS. (See p. 283.) 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. Joseph Mallord William Turner (born in 1775) has been pronounced as "essentially the great founder of English landscape painting, the greatest poet-artist our nation has yet produced. He excelled in everythingfrom the mere diagram and topographic map to the most consummate truth and the most refined idealism. In every touch of his there was profound thought and meaning." He was unrivalled in storms; as Napoleon said of Kleber, "He wakes on the day of battle." The remark of Admiral Bowles, when looking at Turner's "Wreck of the Minotaur," conveyed the highest compliment to his art"No ship could live in such a sea." His "Man Overboard" is a still higher effort of genius, in conveying an expression of horror and utter despair. He was the best illustrator of our national poets. He made known to Englishmen[432] the beauties of their native land, and made them acquainted with the picturesque on the Continent. He gave our young artists love for colour, and made us the Venetians of the modern school. From "The fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Moorings," to "Wilkie's Burial," and the "Burning of the Houses of Parliament," he let no event of his age pass without record or comment. He died in 1851.

But Joseph did not live to see the full extent of the alienation of the Netherlands. He had despatched Count Cobentzel to Brussels on the failure of Trautmansdorff's efforts. Cobentzel was an able diplomatist, but all his offers were treated with indifference. On the last day of 1789 the States of Brabant, in presence of the citizens of Brussels, swore to stand by their new freedoman act which was received by the acclamations of the assembled crowds. They soon afterwards ratified their league with the other States, and entered into active negotiation with the revolutionists of France for mutual defence. On the 20th of February, 1790, Joseph expired, leaving a prospect full of trouble to his brother Leopold, the new Emperor.

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Two more attempts were made. Mr. Crewe reproduced the Bill to disable revenue officers from voting at elections, which was at once rejected. Sir Philip Jennings Clerke then reintroduced his Bill to exclude contractors from the House of Commons, unless their contracts were obtained at a public bidding. This was suffered, for appearance' sake, to pass the House with little opposition; but it was arrested in the Peers by the law lords, at the head of whom were Mansfield and Thurlow, and thrown out.

The popular agitation became so alarming, however, that Mr. Stevens, one of its instigators, was indicted and held to bail on a charge of sedition. But this interference with liberty of speech served only to inflame the excitement, and to render the language of the orators more violent. In June, 1839, Mr. Attwood presented the Chartist petition to the House of Commons, bearing 1,200,000 signatures, and on the 15th of July he moved that it should be referred to a select committee, but the motion was rejected by a majority of 289 to 281. This gave a fresh impulse to the agitation. The most inflammatory speakers besides Mr. Stephens were Mr. Oastler and Mr. Feargus O'Connor. The use of arms began to be freely spoken of as a legitimate means of obtaining their rights. Pikes and guns were procured in great quantities; drilling was practised, and armed bands marched in nocturnal processions, to the terror of the peaceable inhabitants. At length, Lord John Russell, as Home Secretary, reluctant as he was to interfere with the free action of the people, issued a proclamation to the lieutenants of the disturbed counties, authorising them to accept the armed assistance of persons who might place themselves at their disposal for the preservation of the public peace. As a means of showing their numerical strength, the Chartists adopted the plan of going round from house to house with two books, demanding subscriptions for the support of the Charter, entering the names of subscribers in one book, and of non-subscribers in the other. Each subscriber received a ticket, which was to be his protection in case of insurrection, while the non-subscribers were given to understand that their names would be remembered. Another striking mode of demonstrating their power and producing an impression, though not the most agreeable one, was to go in procession to the churches on Sunday some time before Divine service began, and to take entire possession of the body of the edifice. They conducted themselves quietly, however, although some were guilty of the impropriety of wearing their hats and smoking pipes.

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This was a serious position of affairs for the consideration of the new Whig Ministry. They were called on to declare, either that Ireland was part of the empire, and subject to the same laws, as regarded the empire, as Great Britain, or that it was distinctly a separate empire under the same king, just as Hanover was. The Ministry of Rockingham have been severely blamed by one political party, and highly lauded by another, for conceding the claims of Ireland on that head so readily; for they came to the conclusion to yield them fully. They were by no means blind to the[290] difficulties of the case, and to the evils that might arise from a decision either way. But the case with the present Ministry was one of simple necessity. England had committed the great error of refusing all concession to demanded rights in the case of America, and now lay apparently too exhausted by the fight to compel submission, with all Europe in arms against her. Ireland, aware of this, was in arms, and determined to profit by the crisis. Fox, therefore, on the 17th of May, announced the intention of Ministers at once to acknowledge the independence of Ireland by repealing the Act of the 6th of George I. Fox, in his speech, declared that it was far better to have the Irish willing subjects to the Crown than bitter enemies. The Bill repealing the 6th of George I. accordingly passed both Houses as a matter of course, and the effect upon Ireland was such, that in the first ebullition of the national joy the Irish House of Commons voted one hundred thousand pounds to raise twenty thousand seamen. The Irish Commons, moreover, offered to grant Grattan, for his patriotic and successful exertions in this cause, a similar sum, to purchase him an estate. Grattanthough a poor man, his income at that time scarcely exceeding five hundred pounds a yeardisinterestedly refused such a sum, and was only with difficulty induced ultimately to accept half of it.