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The inhabitants, men, women, and children, fled in terror from their splendid villas, around the city, into the fort of St. George. A fast-sailing vessel was dispatched to Calcutta, to implore the Governor-General to send them speedy aid of men and money. The forces were called together from different quarters, and Sir Hector Munro at the head of one body, and Colonel Baillie at the head of another, were ordered to combine, and intercept Hyder. First one place of rendezvous and then another was named, but, before the junction could take place, Baillie had managed to allow himself to be surrounded by the whole host of Hyder, and after a brave defence was compelled to surrender, one half of his troops being cut to pieces. The insults and cruelties of the troops of Hyder to their captives were something demoniac. Munro had sent to demand troops from the Nabob of Arcot, for whom the British were always fighting, and received a message of compliments, but no soldiers. On the defeat of Baillie he made a hasty retreat to Mount St. Thomas. Meanwhile, the call for aid had reached Calcutta, and Hastings instantly responded to it with all his indomitable energy. He called together the Council, and demanded that peace should be made at once with the Mahrattas; that every soldier should be shipped off at once to Madras; that fifteen lacs of rupees should be sent without a moment's delay to the Council there; that the incompetent governor, Whitehill, should be removed; and Sir Eyre Coote sent to perform this necessary office, and take the command of the troops. Francis, who was just departing for England, raised as usual his voice in opposition. But Hastings' proposals were all carried. The troops, under Sir Eyre Coote, were hurried off, and messengers dispatched in flying haste to raise money at Moorshedabad, Patna, Benares, Lucknow—in short, wherever the authority of Hastings could extort it. At the same time, other officers were sent to negotiate with the Mahrattas for peace.

In order to get, if possible, more trustworthy information and a clue out of the labyrinth, they gave directions to Mr. Nicholls to proceed to Ireland, taking with him the reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry, and there to examine how far it might be judicious or practicable to offer relief to whole classes of the poor; whether of the sick, the infirm, or orphan children; whether such relief might not have the effect of promoting imposture without suppressing mendicity; whether the condition of the great bulk of the poorer classes would be improved by such a measure; whether any kind of workhouse could be established which should not give its inmates a superior degree of comfort to the common lot of the independent labourer; whether the restraint of a workhouse would be an effectual check to applicants for admission; and whether, if the system were once established, the inmates would not resist by force the restraints which would be necessary. He was further to inquire by what machinery the funds for carrying out a Poor Law system could be best raised and expended. He was dispensed from inquiring as to the extent and the occasional severity of the destitution, though he properly questioned the estimate of 2,385,000 as being excessive, and it was no doubt a great exaggeration. On this point, Mr. Nicholls thought it enough to state at the end of his mission that the misery prevalent among the labouring classes in Ireland appeared to be "of a nature and intensity calculated to produce great demoralisation and danger." His first report was delivered on the 15th of November, 1836. His attention had been particularly directed to the south and west, "everywhere examining and inquiring as to the condition of the people, their character and wants; and endeavouring to ascertain whether, and how far, the system of relief established in England was applicable to the present state of Ireland." The route from Cork round by the western coast, and ending at Armagh, was deemed most eligible, because the inhabitants of the manufacturing and commercial districts of the north and east more nearly resembled the English than those of the southern and western parts of Ireland; and if the English system should be found applicable to the latter, there could be no doubt of its applicability to the others. It was impossible, he said, to pass through the country without being struck with the evidence of increasing wealth everywhere apparent. Great as had been the improvement in England during the same period, he believed that in Ireland it had been equal. The increase of capital was steadily progressive. The great obstacles to its more general application to the improvement of the country were the excessive subdivision of land, and the dependence of the people for subsistence upon the possession of a plot of potato-ground. One of the most striking[405] circumstances resulting from the want of employment was the prevalence of mendicancy, with the falsehood and fraud which formed part of the profession, and which spread its contagion among the lower orders.Peel's Second Cabinet—Prorogation of Parliament—Growing Demand for Free Trade—Mr. Villiers—His First Motion for the Repeal of the Corn Laws—The Manchester Association—Bright and Cobden—Opposition of the Chartists—Growth of the Association—The Movement spreads to London—Renewal of Mr. Villiers' Motion—Formation of the Anti-Corn Law League—Its Pamphlets and Lectures—Ebenezer Elliott—The Pavilion at Manchester—Mr. Villiers' Third Motion—Want in Ireland—The Walsall Election—Depression of Trade—Peel determines on a Sliding Scale—His Corn Law—Its Cold Reception—Progress of the Measure—The Budget—The Income Tax—Reduction of Custom Duties—Peel's Speech on the New Tariff—Discussions on the Bill—Employment of Children in the Coal Mines—Evidence of the Commission—Lord Ashley's Bill—Further Attempts on the Life of the Queen—Sir Robert Peel's Bill on the subject—Differences with the United States—The Right of Search—The Canadian Boundary—The Macleod Affair—Lord Ashburton's Mission—The First Afghan War: Sketch of its Course—Russian Intrigue in the East—Auckland determines to restore Shah Sujah—Triumphant Advance of the Army of the Indus—Surrender of Dost Mohammed—Sale and the Ghilzais—The Rising in Cabul—Murder of Burnes—Treaty of 11th of December—Murder of Macnaghten—Treaty of January 1st—Annihilation of the Retreating Force—Irresolution of Auckland—His Recall—Disasters in the Khyber Pass—Pollock at Peshawur—Position of Affairs at Jelalabad—Resistance determined upon—Approach of Akbar Khan—The Earthquake—Pollock in the Khyber—Sale's Victory—Ellenborough's Proclamation—Votes of Thanks—Ellenborough orders Retirement—The Prisoners—They are saved—Reoccupation of Cabul—Ellenborough's Proclamation—The Gate of Somnauth.

GOVERNMENT HOUSE, CALCUTTA. (From a Photograph by Frith & Co.)

The Privy Council decided that the petition from Massachusetts was framed on false and exaggerated allegations, and was groundless, vexatious, and scandalous. Two days afterwards, the king dismissed Franklin from the office, which he had till now held, of Deputy-Postmaster of America.

Before these discussions took place, an attempt had been made by similar means to lead the people of Scotland into insurrection. Emissaries appeared in the towns and villages informing the people that there were preparations made for a general rising, and they were ordered to cease all work and betake themselves to certain places of rendezvous. On the morning of Sunday, the 2nd of April, the walls of Glasgow were found placarded everywhere by a proclamation, ordering all persons to cease labour and turn out for a general revolution. The next morning the magistrates called out the military, and they were drawn up in the streets in readiness for the appearance of an insurrection, but none took place. The people were all in wonder, and assembled to see what would happen; but there appeared not the slightest disposition to make any disorder, and some of the cotton mills were at work as though nothing was expected to take place. But still, the mischief had not altogether failed. Some fifty poor ignorant men had been decoyed out of Glasgow to near Kilsyth, on the assurance that four or five thousand men would there join them, and proceed to take the Carron Ironworks and thus supply themselves with artillery. These poor dupes were met on the road, on some high ground on Bonnymuir, by a detachment of armed men sent out against them, and, after some resistance, during which some of them were wounded, nineteen were made prisoners and the rest fled. Other arrests were made in different parts of Scotland, and they were tried in the following July and August; but so little interest was felt in this attempt, or in the details of what was called "the Battle of Bonnymuir," that three only were punished and the rest discharged.SIR JOHN MOORE.

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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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