Page images
PDF
EPUB

nately, the mass of discordant tal, will ward off any extremity of matter communicated to the com want ; yet a high price of the nemittee in the progress of inquiry, cessaries of life will continue to so much retarded any parliamen- aggravate the general calamity tary determination respecting the till a return of plenty. resolutions, that no alteration in The discontents among the inthe law had taken place, when a ferior ranks of people, occasioned change of circumstances had given by the want of regular employa very different idea of the state inent, and by reduced wages, first of the country. An uncommon began to assume a menacing apinclemency of the seasons as the pearance in the counties of Noryear advanced, presented such folk, Suffolk, Huntingdon, and gloomy prospects for the approach- Cambridge; where nightly asing harvest, that the price of semblages were held, threatening corn began to rise ; and instead letters were sent, and houses, of apprehensions, that the stores barns, and rick-yards were set on in the farmers' granaries would fire, displaying melancholy proofs rot unconsumed, or become mere of the degradation of national drugs in the markets, the alarm character produced by long disof scarcity now took its turn. tress, and an interruption of the This fear was too well verified by usual habits of industry. Many the event ; for the year's produce articles will be found in our of grain proved so deficient in Chronicle, relative to these unquantity, and inferior in quality, happy incidents; of which the that, after harvest, the price ra most remarkable was a kind of pidly ascended beyond the point organized insurrection in the Isle at which the ports were open for of Ely, which was not suppressed importation ; and the dearth ex without a strong hand, and which tending through most of the terminated in the trial of a large countries of Europe, anxious looks number of criminals by a special were cast towards those quarters commission, several of whom paid whence foreign supplies might with their lives their daring atbe procured in aid of our boasted tacks upon the peace of society. home resources.

Distress now The distresses arising from the appeared among the cultivators stagnation of manufactures were of the land, in a different shape; no where more severely felt than and the complaints were of scanty in those districts which had been and ruined crops, and the poor

in rendered populous and flourishdanger of starving. Before the ing by the numerous branches of year closed, riots broke out in

the iron trade, several of which some parts, occasioned by the derived a large share of their desudden rise of the markets, but mand from the consumption of they were no inore than transient Many great works of this disturbances. It may, however, class were suddenly put to a stop, be hoped, that the remainder of with the effect of throwing enthe former harvest, together with tirely out of employment the lasuch importations as may always bourers of different kinds, who be commanded by superior capi. had been engaged in them. The

southern

war.

same cause.

southern part of Staffordshire a tumultuous manner ; and were was particularly affected by this not restored to order without mimelancholy change ; and the most litary interference, joined with lamentable accounts were trans- such conciliatory measures as premitted of the state to which the vented any considerable mischief. working people of the populous In the other districts of the kingvillage of Bilston were reduced, dom which partook, some of them being rendered totally dependent largely, of the declension of maon parochial relief, the funds of nufactures, the public tranquillity which were inadequate to pre was rarely disturbed. The hand serve them from absolute famine. of charity was liberally extended A body of men intimately con to the relief of distress; and nected with the iron factories, plans were adopted in many places, were the colliers, whose labours for supplying the want of usual were nearly suspended from the employment by new undertakings

Some of these re of public utility. In the metrosorted to a mode of obtaining re- polis, large subscriptions were lief from the public, occasionally entered into for relieving the nupractised in hard times—that of

merous poor', who were reduced drawing loaded waggons of coals to the most urgent necessity by to distant towns, for the purpose the failure of demand for the silk of exciting commiseration. A di- manufactures in Spitalfields, as vision of these wandering peti- well as by the loss of various other tioners approached the metropo sources of employment; and in

but their advance was pro- almost every parish contributions perly intercepted by the police, were raised for enlarging donathrough the apprehension that tions without additional burthens their appearance might be at upon the poor-rates. tended with tumults, and they In a state of society so prega were sent back with admonition, nant with calamity, it is not surand a gratuity. The same re- prising that the public mind was ception was given them on their disposed to complaint and dismarch to other capitals; for al- content; and that, in meditating though they preserved due deco- upon the source of the existing rum of behaviour, their mendi- evils, every defect in the system city came within the notice of of government, how remotely the vagrant la ws.

soever connected with the mass For the most part, the sufferers of present misfortune, was studiin the iron manufactories bore ously brought to view. We have their hardships with due resigna- seen, that in the great council of tion, and were grateful for the the state, the immense load of charitable exertions made for their debt and expense entailed on the relief. In the great works of nation roused an active spirit of South Wales, however, especially economy, which subjected to a those in the vicinity of that new rigorous scrutiny every demand creation of art and industry, upon the public purse not justiMerthyr Tydvil, large bodies of fied by utility, however sanctioned discarded workmen assembled in by the laxity of former times;

and

lis;

and the resistance made by minis- strances, especially in the address ters to some proposed retrench presented in December, to the ments, was by no means calculated Prince Regent, from the Corpoto inspire general confidence in ration of London, which, with their government. A spirit of pe- the answer of his Royal Hightitioning for a redress of obvious ness, will be found among the grievances was therefore diffused State Papers, as a political docuthrough the country, and in many ment worthy of preservation. places produced public meetings, Although assemblies in popuat which the waste and corrup- lous towns were convened for tion arising from pensions, sine- political purposes, which included cures, and extravagant charges the lowest and most uninstructed of every kind, were exposed with members of the cominunity, yet great freedom and severity. When, either from their orderly dispohowever, the lower classes, irri- ' sition, or from the precautions tated by their distresses, and at employed by the government and all times readily acted upon by magistracy, the public peace was bold declamation, began to take little disturbed ; and even in the a conspicuous part in such assem- metropolis, where popular meetblies, the superior orders, alarmed ings are peculiarly dangerous, with the dread of popular com- they might have harmlessly

passed motion, found it expedient in ge over in listening to field orators, neral to stand aside, and await had not, on one occasion, a few the result of the lessons already desperate enthusiasts taken the given, of the necessity of concili- advantage of collecting a mob, ating the people at large, by far for the purpose of putting in exether sacrifices of personal inter- cution a daring, though absurd, ests. This quiescence was doubt- insurrectionary attempt, which, less promoted by the introduc- for a short time, threw the whole tion at meetings for petition, city into alarm, and threatened among other topics, of that of serious nischief. It was, howparliamentary reform, so often a ever, without any difliculty, quelled subject of unavailing discussion, by military assistance, and the and almost discarded as an im- principal agents were taken into practicability, by the party con custody. (See Chronicle for Desidered as taking the lead in po- cember, for the particulars.) The litical improvement. Whether year closed with general transuch an emergence as the present quillity through this island. is a seasonable time for exciting Ireland during the present year a warm interest in the commu has suffered under a continuance nity, respecting a matter so im- of those disorders and atrocities, portant and difficult, we shall not which so much prevailed in the enquire ; but as a fact it may be last year, and which have rendered stated, that the most guarded ad- necessary the maintenance of an dresses for the abolition of abuses, additional number of troops in carefully avoided that topic. On that unfortunate country. The the other hand, it formed a con parts particularly infested with spicuous object in some remon these disturbances, and the state

of

of the island in general, will be Cobourg of Saalfeld, a Prince of found in Mr. Peel's report, in- the Protestant branch of the House serted in our Parliamentary His- of Saxony, obtained high reputatory. At the same time the peo- tion in the war against Buonaple of Ireland have partaken even parte, where he had a command more than their share of the ca of cavalry in the allied army ; and lamities proceeding from unfa- after the surrender of Paris, in vourable seasons, and a deficient 1814, he accompanied the soveproduct of the necessaries of life, reigns on their visit to England, combined with commercial dis where he became advantageously tresses. The situation of the known to the Prince Regent. country is indeed extremely me The propriety of his conduct, and lancholy, and little prospect is yet the solidity of his understanding, afforded of its melioration. With made a favourable impression on respect to the admittance of the the court, which terminated in Roman Catholics of Ireland to his being honoured with the hand the full rights of subjects, so long of the daughter of the Regent. and anxiously expected by them. The nuptials between the Princess no progress towards that event Charlotte and the Prince Leopold has been made in this year ; nor took place on the 2d of May, (See have the different opinions among Chronicle.) The parliament with themselves, relative to the terms perfect unanimity made a liberal to be proposed for obtaining the provision for the illustrious pair; desired concession, been brought and

public bodies to an agreement. In the mean- throughout the kingdom pretiine it has been resolved by both sented addresses of cordial congraparties, not to intermit the an. tulation on the auspicious event. nual practice of petitioning for Another matrimonial union in the redress of their particular the Royal Family, though rather grievances.

a domestic than a political occurIn the midst of the gloom rence, was greeted by the public, which was spread over the na as affording the well-founded protion, in consequence of so many mise of an addition of happiness spectacles of distress, the public in that august House. The Prinfeelings were cheered by the dis cess Mary, fourth daughter of his posal in marriage, to the general Majesty, married in July her satisfaction, of that Princess who cousin, the Duke of Gloucester ; appears destined, at a future pe- a couple regarded, by their manriod, to wear the British Crown.

ners and principles, as eminently In the choice of a partner, poli- suited to the duties of domestic tical alliance was wisely made no life. Their establishment was part of the consideration, and the framed upon a scale of moderapersonal merit of the individual tion, which rendered unnecessary was the deciding point. Leopold any application to the public George Frederick, younger bro- purse. ther of the reigning Duke of Saxe

numerous

CHAPTER

CHAPTER IX.

British Expedition to Algiers.

TH

a

peace

HE general peace on the Eu Of the original plan of opera

ropean continent has hap- tions, and the first proceedings pily, during the present year, left towards putting it into execution, no other employment to the Bri we are furnished with no docutish land forces in this part of the ments from authority ; but the world, than that of assisting in following concise narrative is rethe preservation of the external garded as in some degree official. tranquillity so dearly purchased; Early in this spring, Lord Exbut an unexpected circumstance mouth, the naval commander-inhas procured to the British navy chief in the Mediterranean, rethe opportunity of acquiring fresh ceived instructions to negociate laurels of no common splendor. with the Barbary powers, for

It has long been a topic of re- treating the Ionian isles as Briproach, which foreigners have tish possessions ; and also to mebrought against the boasted ma diate

between these powers ritime supremacy of England, and the kingdoms of Sardinia that the piratical states of Bar- and Naples ; and further, if posbary have been suffered to exer sible, to procure a general abolicise their ferocious ravages upon tion of Christian slavery in Barall the inferior powers navigating bary. The Dey of Algiers was the Mediterranean sea, without first applied to, and he readily any attempt on the part of the consented to consider the Ionian mistress of the ocean to control isles as entitled to the privileges them, and reduce them within the of the British flag, and to make limits prescribed by the laws of peace with Naples and Sardinia ; civilized nations. The spirited but declined any overtures for exertions of the United States of the abolition of the slavery of America in the last year, to en ca ves. Lord Exmouth then force redress of the injuries they proceeded to Tunis and Tripoly, had sustained from these pirates, with the Beys of which he conwere calculated to excite invidious cluded an arrangement similar to comparisons with respect to this that made with Algiers, relacountry; and either a feeling of tive to the two first objects ; but national glory, or some other un with the addition of a declaration explained motives, at length in on their part, promising in future spired a resolution in the British not to make slaves of prisoners government, to engage in earnest of war, but to conform to the in that task, which the general practice of civilized European expectation seemed to assign it. nations. Lord Exmouth then reVol. LVIII.

[H]

turned

« PreviousContinue »