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      extract, copied from the Petit Registre de la Cure deOn the arrival of peace the fall of agricultural prices ruined great numbers who had pushed their speculations and land purchases beyond their legitimate means; but the Corn Laws again buoyed up both farmers and landlords, and the progress of improvement continued. Draining strong lands, manuring light ones with lime and marl, and the introduction of artificial grasses, added incalculably to the produce of the country. Turnips enabled the farmer to maintain his cattle and sheep in high condition during the winter, and the introduction of the Swedish turnip and mangel-wurzel extended this advantage till rye, rye-grass, sainfoin, and clover became plentiful. Before the end of the reign rentals had doubled, and lands, even in hilly districts, where it had been supposed that nothing but oats would grow, and where the reapers were often obliged to shake the snow from the corn as they cut it, were seen producing good wheat, and, from the better system of husbandry, at a much earlier period of autumn.


      succeed him, as was also a son of the attorney-general


      In one respect the general election happened at an unseasonable time. It was the driest and warmest summer on record. On the 28th of June, the hottest day in the year, the thermometer stood at eighty-nine and a half degrees in the shade. Several deaths were occasioned by sunstroke; among the victims were a son of Earl Grey, and Mr. Butterworth, the eminent law bookseller, a candidate for Dover. The elections were carried on in many places with great spirit. But, though there were exciting contests, the struggles were not for parties, but for measures. There were three great questions at issue before the nation, and with respect to these pledges were exacted. The principal were the Corn Laws, Catholic Emancipation, and the Slave Trade. In England and Wales one hundred and thirty-three members were returned who had never before sat in Parliament. This large infusion of new blood showed that the constituencies were in earnest. In Ireland the contests turned chiefly on the Catholic question. The organisation of the Catholic Association told now with tremendous effect. In every parish the populace were so excited by inflammatory harangues, delivered in the chapel on Sundays, after public worship, both[254] by priests and laymenthe altar being converted into a platformthat irresistible pressure was brought to bear upon the Roman Catholic electors. The "forty-shilling freeholders" had been multiplied to an enormous extent by the landlords for electioneering purposes. Roman Catholic candidates being out of the question, and the Tory interest predominant in Ireland, electioneering contests had been hitherto in reality less political than personal. They had been contests for pre-eminence between great rival families; consequently, farms were cut up into small holdings, because a cabin and a potato garden gave a man who was little better than a pauper an interest which he could swear was to him worth forty shillings a year. The Protestant landlords who pursued this selfish course little dreamt that the political power they thus created would be turned with terrible effect against themselves; and they could scarcely realise their position when, in county after county, they were driven from the representation, which some of them regarded as an inheritance almost as secure as their estates. The most powerful family in Ireland, and the most influential in the Government, was that of the Beresfords, whose principal estates lay in the county Waterford, and where no one would imagine that their candidate could be opposed with the least prospect of success. But on this occasion they suffered a signal defeat. The forty-shilling freeholders, as well as the better class of Roman Catholic farmers, were so excited by the contest that they went almost to a man against their landlords. In many cases they had got their holdings at low rents on the express condition that their vote should be at the disposal of the landlord. But all such obligations were given to the winds. They followed their priests from every parish to the hustings, surrounded and driven forward by a mass of non-electors armed with sticks and shouting for their church and their country. O'Connell was now in his glory, everywhere directing the storm which he had raised. When the contest was over, many of the landlords retaliated by evicting the tenants who had betrayed their trust and forfeited their pledges. They were tauntingly told that they might go for the means of living to O'Connell and the priests. This was a new ingredient in the cauldron of popular discontent, disaffection, and agrarian crime. The gain of the Catholic party in Ireland, however, was more than counterbalanced by the gain of the opposite party in England and Scotland.

      Judgment must be nothing but the precise text of the law, and the office of the judge is only to pronounce whether the action is contrary or conformable to it.

      The first act of Viele was a blunder. He told the Onondagas that the English governor was master of their country; and that, as they were subjects of the king of England, they must hold no council with the French without permission. The pride of Big Mouth was touched. "You say," he exclaimed to the envoy, "that we are subjects of the king of England and the Duke of York; but we say that we are brothers. We must take care of ourselves. The coat of arms which you have fastened to that post cannot defend us against Onontio. We tell you that we shall bind a covenant chain to our arm and to his. We shall take the Senecas by one hand and Onontio by the other, and their hatchet and his sword shall be thrown into deep water." [11]THE "FIGHTING TMRAIRE" TUGGED TO HER LAST BERTH TO BE BROKEN UP, 1838.


      [333]

      Such was Massena's situation, so early as the commencement of Novemberhaving to maintain his army in a country reduced to a foodless desert by the art of his masterly antagonist, and, instead of being able to drive the British before him, finding them menacing him on all sides, so that he dispatched General Foy to make his way with a strong escort to Ciudad Rodrigo, and thence to proceed with all speed to Paris, to explain to the Emperor the real state of affairs. The state was that the whole of Portugal, except the very ground on which Massena was encamped, was in possession of the British and the Portuguese. There was no possibility of approaching Lisbon without forcing these lines at Torres Vedras, and that, if done at all, must be at the cost of as large an army as he possessed altogether. All the rest of PortugalOporto, Coimbra, Abrantesand all the forts except Almeida were in the hands of the enemy. As to the destitution of Massena's army, we have the description from his own statements in letters to Napoleon, which were intercepted. From this information, Lord Wellington wrote in his dispatches: "It is impossible to describe the pecuniary and other distresses of the French army in the Peninsula. All the troops are months in arrears of pay; they are, in general, very badly clothed; they want horses, carriages, and equipments of every description; their troops subsist solely upon plunder; they receive no money, or scarcely any, from France, and they realise but little from their pecuniary contributions from Spain. Indeed, I have lately discovered that the expense of the pay and the hospitals alone of the French army in the Peninsula amounts to more than the sum stated in the financial expos as the whole expense of the entire French army."At the opening of 1841 the country might be said to be free from all excitement on the subject of politics. There was no great question at issue, no struggle between rival parties seemed impending. Many of the principal topics which in former years had agitated the public mind had been settled or laid to rest. The Chartist riots seemed to have abated the desire of the leading Reformers to extend the suffrage to the working classes. Still the Government was lamentably weak, and only existed on sufferance. Nor did the conduct of affairs in the House of Commons tend to strengthen their position. The reintroduction by Lord Stanley of his Bill to regulate the registration of voters in Ireland led to much angry discussion with damaging results to the Government, who had already suffered grievous defeats in attempting to arrest the progress of the measure during the previous Session. Two days later Lord Morpeth brought in a Government Bill for the same object. The main features of the plan were to abolish certificates; to make the register conclusive of the right to vote, except where disqualification afterwards appeared; to establish an annual revision of the registers, and to give a right of appeal equally to the claimant and the objector. The main point of difference between this and Lord Stanley's Bill consisted in the tribunal to which the appeal was to be made. The Government proposed for this purpose the creation of a new court, consisting of three barristers of a certain standing. An additional feature of the Government Bill was a proposal to settle the question of the basis of the franchise by fixing upon the Poor Law valuation as the standard; and the Bill proposed to enact that every occupier of a tenement under a holding of not less than fourteen years, of the annual value of 5, should have the right of voting previously enjoyed by persons who had a beneficial interest of 10. The Conservatives complained of the unfairness of thus introducing by surprise a fundamental alteration in the elective franchise of Ireland, founded upon principles unknown both in England and Scotland. It was represented as a new Reform Bill for Ireland, tacked on as a postscript to a Bill for amending the registration. The 5 franchise, it was argued, would in effect be little short of the introduction of universal suffrage. The House divided on the respective merits of the rival Bills, when the Government measure was carried by a majority of five. The result was hailed with cheers from both sides of the House, the Opposition regarding the victory as little better than a defeat. Lord John Russell at first announced that he would proceed immediately with the measure, but he afterwards moved its postponement till the 23rd of April. During the interval Lord Morpeth announced the conversion of the Ministry to the principle of an 8 rating. When the question was introduced again, on the 26th of April, it gave rise to a party debate. While the House was in committee on Lord Morpeth's Bill, Lord Howick proposed an amendment to the effect that the tenant, in order to entitle him to the franchise, should have a beneficial interest in his holding of 5 a year over and above the rent. Lord Morpeth proposed as a qualification for the franchise a lease of fourteen years, and a low rating of 8. Lord Howick proposed that the yearly tenant should be entitled to vote as well as the leaseholder if he had an annual interest of 5 in it; but Lord Morpeth contended, and showed from statistics, that this principle would disfranchise more than three-fourths of the 10 tenant voters in several of the counties. In short, it would have the effect of almost entirely disfranchising the existing occupying constituency of Ireland. On a division, Lord Howick's amendment was carried by 291 to 270. Finally the Bill was reduced to such a jumble of[477] contradictory amendments that it was impossible to proceed with it. Thus ended the great struggle of the Session. Much time had been wasted in party debates and fruitless discussions, and the proposal to give the Irish people the benefit of the Reform Act by putting its perishing constituencies on a proper basis, simple as it may seem, utterly failed. Lord Stanley also abandoned his measure, and there the matter ended. The whole of the proceedings plainly indicated that the doom of Lord Melbourne's feeble Cabinet was at hand.

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      I forged the letterI disposed the picture

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      After this fashion, they entered the town of Argentan, and marched, two by two, through all the streets, crying with a loud voice that the Faith was perishing, and that whoever wished to save it must quit the country and go with them to Canada, whither they were soon to repair. It is said that they still hold this purpose, and that their leaders declare it revealed to them that they will find a vessel ready at the first port to which Providence directs them. The reason why they choose Canada for an asylum is, that Monsieur de Montigny (Laval), Bishop of Petr?a, who lived at the Hermitage a long time, where he was instructed in mystical theology by Monsieur de Bernires, exercises episcopal functions there; and that the Jesuits, who are their oracles, reign in that country. forfeited grants is that of the vast domain of La Citire,

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      SURRENDER OF LORD CORNWALLIS, YORK TOWN. (See p. 283.)In the meantime, General Gage landed at Boston on the 13th of May. The Port Bill had preceded him a few days, and the tone of the other colonies rendered the Bostonians firmer in their temper than ever. On the 25th of May General Gage announced to the Assembly at Boston the unpleasant fact, that he was bound to remove, on the 1st of June, the Assembly, the courts of justice, and all the public offices, to Salem, in conformity with the late Act. As they petitioned him to set apart a day for fasting, he declined that, and, to prevent further trouble, adjourned them to the 7th of June, to meet at Salem.


      alllittle