It was now proposed that as the Orange leaders had violated the law as much as the Dorsetshire labourers, they should be dealt with in the same manner, and that if evidence could be obtained, the Duke of Cumberland, Lord Kenyon, the Bishop of Salisbury, Colonel Fairman, and the rest should be prosecuted in the Central Criminal Court. There was an Orangeman, named Heywood, who had betrayed his confederates, and was about to be prosecuted by them for libel. The opponents of the Orangemen, believing his allegations to be borne out by the evidence given before the committee, resolved to have him defended by able counsel, retaining for the purpose Serjeant Wilde, Mr. Charles Austen, and Mr. Charles Buller. All the necessary preparations were made for the trial, when Heywood suddenly died, having broken a blood-vessel through agitation of mind, and alarm lest he should somehow become the victim of an association so powerful, whose vengeance he had excited by what they denounced as treachery and calumny. The criminal proceedings, therefore, were abandoned. Almost immediately after the opening of Parliament in February, 1836, Mr. Finn and Mr. Hume again made a statement in the House of Commons of the whole case against the Duke of Cumberland and the Orange Society, and proposed a resolution which seemed but a just consequence of their terrible indictment. The resolution declared the abhorrence of Parliament of all such secret political associations, and proposed an Address to the king requesting him to cause the dismissal of all Orangemen and members of any other secret political association from all offices civil and military, unless they ceased to be members of such societies within one month after the issuing of a proclamation to that effect. Lord John Russell proposed a middle course, and moved, as an amendment, an Address to the king praying that his Majesty would take such measures as should be effectual for the suppression of the societies in question. Mr. Hume having withdrawn his resolution, the amendment was adopted unanimously. The king expressed concurrence with the Commons; a copy of his reply was sent to the Duke of Cumberland, as Grand Master, by the Home Secretary. The duke immediately sent an intimation that before the last debate in the Commons he had recommended the dissolution of the Orange societies in Ireland, and that he would immediately proceed to dissolve all such societies elsewhere. "In a few days," Harriet Martineau remarked, "the thing was done, and Orangeism became a matter of history." Mr. Bankes again introduced his Billwhich was about to expirefor prohibiting the grant of offices in reversion; and he endeavoured again to make it permanent, but, as before, he was defeated on the second reading in the Commons. He then brought in a Bill confined to two years only, and this, as before, was allowed to pass both Houses. Great discussion arose on the grant of the office of paymaster of widows' pensions to Colonel MacMahon, the confidential servant of the Prince Regent. This was a mere sinecure, which had been held by General Fox, the brother of Charles James Fox; and it had been recommended that, on the general's death, it should be abolished; but Ministersmore ready to please the Regent than to reduce expenditurehad, immediately on the general's decease, granted it to Colonel MacMahon. Ministers met the just complaints of the Opposition by praising the virtues and ability of MacMahonas if it required any ability or any virtue to hold a good sinecure! But there was virtue enough in the Commons to refuse to grant the amount of the salary, Mr. Bankes carrying a resolution against it. But Ministers had their remedy. The prince immediately appointed MacMahon his private secretary, and a salary of two thousand pounds was moved for. But Mr. Wynne declared that any such office was unknown to the countrythat no regent or king, down to George III., and he only when he became blind, had a private secretary; that the Secretary of State was the royal secretary. Ministers replied that there was now a great increase of public business, and that a private secretary for the Regent was not unreasonable; but they thought it most prudent not to press the salary, but to leave it to be paid out of the Regent's privy purse.

But the subject was not so easily disposed of. Colonel Barr, in the House of Commons, only three days after Burke introduced his great motion, declared that Burke's measure did not go far enough; that Burke did not mean to interfere with the enormous pensions and overpaid places already in possession; and that he would himself introduce a motion for a Committee of Accounts, to probe all these depths of corruption, and to examine into the army extravagances, which were excessive, and to him unaccountable. Lord North, so far from opposing this motion, declared his surprise that no one had thought of introducing it before, and that he was extremely anxious himself for the reduction of all needless expenditure. The Opposition expressed their particular satisfaction; but they were rather too precipitate, for North made haste to get the business into his own hands; and, on the 2nd of March, was ready with a Bill of his own framing. The Opposition were lost in astonishment; and Barr denounced this perfidious conduct in the Minister in terms of just indignation. The whole Opposition, who found themselves outwitted, declared that the scheme, so far from being intended to relieve the country, was meant to shield existing abuses, and they accordingly resisted it to the utmost. North, however, by his standing majority of myrmidons, carried the Bill through the House; and Sir Guy Carleton, late Governor of Canada, and five others, were appointed Commissioners. Thus the whole motion was in reality shelved.

Have a turnip than his father. The king left Scotland on the 29th, taking a route different from that by which he entered. On his way to the place of embarkation he visited the Earl of Hopetoun, at whose house he conferred the honour of knighthood on Mr. Raeburn, the celebrated portrait-painter. At Queensferry the country people assembled to testify their loyalty with a last look and a parting cheer. The roar of cannon from all the surrounding hills, and the shouts of the multitude, greeted him on his embarkation at Port Edgar. The royal squadron arrived safely on the 1st of September at Greenwich, where he was cordially welcomed home.

The next step in the increase of means of traffic was the construction of canals. The rivers had previously been rendered more navigable by removing obstructions, deepening channels, and making good towing-paths along their banks; but now it was projected to make artificial rivers. In this scheme, Richard Brindley, under the patronage of the Duke of Bridgewater, was the great engineer; and his intrepid genius dictated to him to carry these canals over hills by locks, over rivers by aqueducts, and through the heart of hills by tunnels. These enterprises at that moment appeared, to the ordinary run of civil engineers, as rash experiments, which were sure to prove abortive. As all new ideas are, these ideas, now so commonplace, were ridiculed by the wise ones as little short of madness. Mr. Brindley's first great work was the formation of the Duke of Bridgewater's canal, from Worsley to Manchester. In this he at once proved all his plans of locks, tunnels, and aqueducts. He conducted his canal by an aqueduct over the river Irwell, at an elevation of thirty-nine feet; and those learned engineers who had laughed at the scheme as "a castle in the air," might now see boats passing over the river at that height with the greatest ease, while other boats were being drawn up the Irwell against the stream and under the aqueduct with five times the labour. At Worsley the canal was conducted into the very heart of the coal-mine by a tunnel, with branches, which conducted the boats up to the different parts of the[191] mine, so that the coal could be loaded on the spot where it was dug. The immediate effect of this canal was to reduce coals in Manchester to half the former price; and the canal being extended so as to connect it with the Mersey, at Runcorn, it reduced the freight of goods from Manchester to Liverpool to the same extent, from twelve shillings to six shillings per ton, the land carriage having been forty shillings. Brindley was next engaged to execute the Grand Trunk Canal, which united the Trent and Mersey, carrying it through Birmingham, Chesterfield, and to Nottingham. This was commenced in 1766, and exhibited further examples of his undaunted skill, and, as he had been laughed at by the pedants of the profession, he now in his turn laughed at their puny mediocrity. One of his tunnels, at Harecastle Hill, in Staffordshire, was two thousand eight hundred and eighty yards long, twelve feet wide, nine high, and in some parts seventy yards below the surface of the ground. This tunnel, after half a century's use, was found too confined for the traffic, and a new one, much wider, was made by Telford. By this time the art of tunnelling had made great progress, and whilst Brindley required eleven years to complete his tunnel, Telford made his much larger one in three. Many causes intervened to check for a time the progress of canals, so that from 1760 to 1774 only nineteen Acts were passed for them; but in the two years of 1793 and 1794 no fewer than thirty-six new Bills were introduced to Parliament, with others for extending and amending rivers, making altogether forty-seven Acts, the expenditure on the canals of these two years' projection amounting to five million three hundred thousand pounds. The work now went on rapidly, and investments in canal shares exhibited at that day, in miniature, the great fever of railway speculation at a later period. Lines of canals were made to connect the Thames, the Tweed, the Severn, and the Mersey; so that the great ports of London, Liverpool, Hull, and Bristol were connected by them, and put into communication with nearly all the great inland manufacturing towns. In 1779 a ship-canal was completed from the Forth to the Clydea work proposed as early as the reign of Charles II. This canal, thirty-five miles in length, had thirty-nine locks, which carried the canal to a height of one hundred and fifty-six feet above the sea, and it crossed the river Kelvin by an aqueduct eighty-three feet from the bed of the river to the top of the masonry. A few years later a much larger ship-canal united Gloucester to the Severn, and wonderfully increased the trade and growth of that city.

Undaunted by this display of prelatical bigotry, Lord Stanhope immediately gave notice of a Bill to prevent a tyrannical exercise of severity towards Quakers, whose principles did not permit them to pay tithes, church-rates, or Easter offerings; this he did on the 3rd of July of the same year. By the 7 and 8 William III. two justices of peace could order a distress on a Quaker for tithes under the value of ten pounds; and by 1 George I. this power was extended to the non-payment of Easter and other dues; but his Lordship showed that of late the clergy had preferred to resort to an Act of Henry VIII., a time when Quakers did not exist, which empowered the clergy, by warrant from two justices of peace, to seize the persons of the defaulters and throw them into prison, where, unless they paid the uttermost farthing, they might remain for life. Thus the clergy of the eighteenth century in England were not satisfied with the humane enactments of William III. or George I., by which they could easily and fully obtain their demands, but they thirsted for a little vengeance, a little of the old enjoyment of imprisoning and tormenting their neighbours, and therefore went back to the days of the brutal Henry VIII. for the means. They had, two months before, thrown a Quaker of Worcester into gaol for the non-payment of dues, so called, amounting to five shillings, and there was every prospect that he might lie there for life. At Coventry six Quakers had lately been prosecuted by the clergyman for Easter offerings of the amount of fourpence each; and this sum of two shillings amongst them had, in the ecclesiastical court, been swelled to three hundred pounds. For this three hundred pounds they were cast into prison, and might have lain there for life, but being highly respected by their townsmen, these had subscribed the money and let them out. But this, his Lordship observed, would prove a ruinous kindness to the Quakers, for it would whet the avarice of the clergy and proctors to such a degree that the people of that persuasion would everywhere be hunted down without mercy for small sums, which might be recovered at once by the simple process of distraint. He declared that he would have all clerical demands satisfied to the utmost, but not by such means, worthy only of the dark ages; and he therefore, in this Bill, proposed the repeal of the obnoxious Act of 27 Henry VIII. But the glutting of their vengeance was too precious to the clergy of this period, and the Bill was rejected without a division.


But there was another topic started in this first Imperial Parliament which was as odious to George III. as the perfidious conduct of his late Russian ally. As one means of bringing about the union with Ireland, Pitt held out to the Irish Catholics the argument that by having Irishmen in the united Parliament they would be most likely to obtain a repeal of the Catholic disabilities. Both he and Lord Cornwallis had sent circulars to this effect, anonymous, it is true, but with a secret avowal of their authorship, amongst the leading Catholics, which had a great effect in procuring their assent to the union. Lord Castlereagh, who as Secretary of State for Ireland had helped to carry the union, claimed the redemption of this pledge. The matter was talked over in the Cabinet during the autumn of 1799, and again in September, 1800. Pitt introduced the subject about the middle of January in the Privy Council. But in the interval the Chancellor, Lord Loughborough, had betrayed the plan to the king, and in conjunction with Lord Auckland had convinced his Majesty that it would involve a violation of the Coronation Oath. George was indignant, and almost furious. At the levee on the 28th of January, when Lord Castlereagh was presented, he said to Dundas, "What is this which this young lord [Castlereagh] has brought over to fling at my head?" He alluded to a plan for Catholic emancipation, and added, "I shall reckon every man my personal enemy who proposes any such measure! This is the most jacobinical thing I ever heard of." Dundas replied that his Majesty would find amongst those friendly to the measure some whom he had never supposed to be his enemies. On the 31st of January Pitt wrote to the king, assuring him that the union with Ireland would render it absolutely necessary that important questions regarding the Catholics and Dissenters should be discussed; but, as he found how extremely such[479] topics were disliked by his Majesty, and yet how just it was that Catholics should be admitted to Parliament as well as Protestant Dissenters, who were already admitted, he begged to be permitted to resign. At the same time, not to inconvenience his Majesty, he was willing to hold office till his Majesty had reconstructed a Cabinet wholly to his mind. George replied, the very next day, that Mr. Pitt's letter had occasioned him the liveliest concern; that, so far from exposing him to the agitation of this question, he had flattered himself that the union, by uniting the Protestants of both kingdoms, would for ever have excluded the question of Catholic emancipation. He expressed his ardent wish that Pitt should continue to be his Minister as long as he lived; and he only required, as a condition, that he should stave off this question. Pitt replied, on the 3rd of February, that his Majesty's determined tone on the subject of Catholic emancipation left him no alternative but to resign, in compliance with his duty; and that, as his Majesty's resolve was taken, it would certainly be best for the country that his retirement should be as early as possible. On the 5th the king wrote, accepting Pitt's resignation, though with expressions of deep regret.

O'Connell also wielded against the Government the fierce democracy of Roman Catholic Ireland. Sir Robert Peel had irritated him by some contemptuous remarks on his Repeal agitation, and he rose in his own defence, like a lion in his fury. He proceeded to give a description of the condition of Ireland, "which," said Mr. Brougham, "if not magnified in its proportions, if not painted in exaggerated colours, presents to my mind one of the most dismal, melancholy, and alarming conditions of society ever heard of or recorded in any State of the civilised world." Mr. O'Connell thus addressed the Treasury bench:"Tell the people of Ireland that you have no sympathy with their sufferings, that their advocate is greeted with sneers and laughter, that he is an outlaw in the land, and that he is taunted with want of courage, because he is afraid of offending his God. Tell them this, and let them hear also in what language the Secretary of State, who issued the proclamation to prevent meetings in Ireland, has spoken of Polignac." A powerful defence of his system of peaceful agitation, and a fierce defiance and denunciation of the existing Administration, closed this remarkable speech, whose effect upon the House, Mr. Roebuck said, was great and unexpected. Its effect upon the Roman Catholics of Ireland, it need not be added, was immense.