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      Great was the excitement when, in pursuance of this recommendation, Mr. Peel introduced the Emancipation Bill on the 5th of March. Everywhere the Protestant press teemed, and the Protestant pulpit rang, with denunciations of Wellington and Peel as arch-traitors. From the highest pinnacle of popularity the Duke fell to the lowest depth of infamy; the laurels won in so many glorious fields were withered by the furious breath of popular execration. Petitions were poured into the House of Commons from all parts of the United Kingdom, and "the pressure from without" was brought to bear against the two Ministers, who were considered the chief delinquents, with a force and vehemence that would have deterred a man of weaker nerves than the Duke of Wellington; but he felt that he had a duty to discharge, and he did not shrink from the consequences. Nor did Mr. Peel. His speech, in introducing the measure, went over the ground[296] he had often traversed in privately debating the question with his friends. Matters could not go on as they were. There must be a united Cabinet to carry on the king's Government effectually. It must be united either on the principle of Catholic Emancipation or Catholic exclusion. It must either concede the Catholic claims, or recall existing rights and privileges. This was impossibleno Government could stand that attempted it; and if it were done, civil war would be inevitable. The House of Commons, trembling in the nice balance of opinion, had at length inclined to concession. Ireland had been governed, since the union, almost invariably by coercive Acts. There was always some political organisation antagonistic to the British Government. The Catholic Association had just been suppressed; but another would soon spring out of its ashes if the Catholic question were not settled. Mr. O'Connell had boasted that he could drive a coach-and-six through the former Act for its suppression; and Lord Eldon had engaged to drive "the meanest conveyance, even a donkey cart, through the Act of 1829." The new member for Oxford (Sir Robert Inglis) also stated that twenty-three counties in Ireland were prepared to follow the example of Clare. "What will you do," asked Mr. Peel, "with that power, that tremendous power, which the elective franchise, exercised under the control of religion, at this moment confers upon the Roman Catholics? What will you do with the thirty or forty seats that will be claimed in Ireland by the persevering efforts of the agitators, directed by the Catholic Association, and carried out by the agency of every priest and bishop in Ireland?" Parliament began to recede; there could be no limit to the retrogression. Such a course would produce a reaction, violent in proportion to the hopes that had been excited. Fresh rigours would become necessary; the re-enactment of the penal code would not be sufficient. They must abolish trial by jury, or, at least, incapacitate Catholics from sitting on juries. Two millions of Protestants must have a complete monopoly of power and privilege in a country which contained five millions of Catholics, who were in most of the country four to onein some districts twenty to oneof the Protestants.


      Byng went in pursuit of the Spanish fleet, which was assisting in the conquest of Sicily, and came in sight of twenty-seven sail of the line,[41] with fire-ships, ketches, bombs, and seven galleys, drawn up in line of battle between him and Cape Passaro. So soon as they were clear of the straits, a council was held to determine whether they should fight or retreat. They came to no resolution, but continued to linger about in indecision till Byng was down upon them. Whereupon he utterly destroyed them (August 11, 1718).

      "Hullo there!"


      Cairness did not see that it called for a reply, and he made none.

      ATTACK ON THE CHINESE JUNKS. (See p. 474.)

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      Sir John Warren put the two thousand four hundred Chouans on shore near Lorient, and left them to return to their own predatory mode of warfare. He then located himself on two small neighbouring islands, and waited for a fresh squadron carrying four thousand British troops, which arriving in September, he bore away with them for La Vende, and thus terminated the miserable descent on the coast of Brittany. The descent on the coast of La Vende was still more unsatisfactory. On arriving there, it was found that fifteen thousand Republicans were in possession of the Isle Noirmoutier, formerly the stronghold of Charette. The British, therefore, disembarked on the little desolate Isle Dieu, about five leagues from Noirmoutier, and there awaited the arrival of Count d'Artois, who did not come till the 10th of October, and then, alarmed at the fusillading of the officers at Quiberon, declined to land. On hearing this, Charette exclaimed"We are lost! To-day I have fifteen thousand men about me; to-morrow I shall not have five hundred!" And, in fact, chagrined at the pusillanimous conduct of the prince, and the approach of Hoche with his victorious troops from Brittany, his followers rapidly dispersed, and at the end of the year the British armament returned home, having done nothing. From this day may be dated the extinction of the war in La Vende. Stofflet, in January, 1796, was defeated, and in February was betrayed to the enemy, and on the 26th of that month was executed at Angers with four of his companions. Charette was captured a month afterwards, and was shot at Nantes on the 29th of March. With him died the last Vendan general of mark. By this time, the spring of 1796, not a fifth part of the male population of La Vende remained alive; and Hoche himself calculated that the Vendan war had cost France a hundred thousand men.

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