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The king now announced to Ministers his fixed resolve to call in another Cabinet, though the Whigs had endeavoured to keep office by dropping the Bill, and on the 25th of March they delivered to the king their seals of office. Erskine alone retained his for a week, that he might pronounce his decrees on the Chancery suits which had been heard by him; and two days before he parted with the Seal, he took the opportunity to make his son-in-law, Edmund Morris, a Master in Chancery. This was regarded as a most singular act, Erskine being no longer bona fide Chancellor, but only holding the Seal for a few days after the resignation of his colleagues, to complete necessary business. The House adjourned to the 8th of April, and before this day arrived the new appointments were announced. They werethe Duke of Portland, First Lord of the Treasury; Lord Hawkesbury, Secretary of the Home Department; Canning, Secretary for Foreign Affairs; Lord Castlereagh, Secretary for War and the Colonies; the Earl of Chatham, Master of the Ordnance; Spencer Perceval, Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer; Lord Camden, Lord President of the Council; Lord Bathurst, President of the Board of Trade, with George Rose as Vice-President; the Earl of Westmoreland, Keeper of the Privy Seal; Lord Eldon, Lord Chancellor; and the Duke of Richmond, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. As the Duke of Portland's health was bad, the real Prime Minister was Mr. Perceval.
Agrarian outrage had thus been effectually put down by the special commission; but a much more formidable difficulty was now to be encountered by the Government, which was called upon to suppress a rebellion. In order that its origin may be understood, it will be necessary to sketch briefly the rise and progress of the Young Ireland party. It had its origin in the establishment of the Nation newspaper in 1842, by Thomas Davis, Charles Gavan Duffy, and John Mitchel. Davis was a native of the county of Cork, a member of the Church of England, and a barrister who had devoted himself to literature. He was a man of genius and enthusiastic temperament, combined with habits of study and a love of system. As a member of the Repeal Association, and as a writer in the Nation, he constantly advocated national independence. He was a vigorous writer, and also a poet. He was much respected personally by all classes, and would have exerted a powerful influence, but he was cut off by fever in the midst of his career. His memory received the honour of a public funeral, which was one of the largest and most respectable that had for some time taken place in Dublin. Mr. Duffy, the proprietor and editor of the Nation, a Roman Catholic and a native of Monaghan, had been connected with the press in Dublin. Mr. Mitchel, also a northerner and a solicitor by profession, was the son of a Unitarian minister in Newry. These men were all animated by the same burning love of Ireland, and unmitigated hatred of English domination. The Nation soon attained a vast circulation; its leading articles were distinguished by an earnestness, a fire, a power, an originality and boldness, till then unknown in the Irish press. Its columns were filled with the most brilliant productions in literature and poetry, all designed to glorify Ireland at the expense of England, and all breathing the spirit of war and defiance against the Government. In addition to the Nation, they prepared a number of small books, which they issued in a cheap form as an Irish library, devoted chiefly to the history of their country, and its struggles for independence. By their exertions, reading-rooms were established throughout the country, and a native literature was extensively cultivated. The orator of the party was Thomas Meagher, at a later period general in the American army, son of a Waterford merchant, who was afterwards member of Parliament. He was a brilliant, fluent, ardent, daring speaker; his appearance and manners were those of a gay, reckless, dashing cavalier; and his warlike harangues had won for him the designation, "Meagher of the Sword." His speeches fired his audience with wild enthusiasm. Since 1844, as we have seen, Mr. William Smith O'Brien had become the leader of this party, which differed in spirit and purpose from the Old Ireland party, of which O'Connell had been so long the leader. O'Connell's agitation even for Repeal was essentially religious. Ireland and the Roman Catholic Church were indissolubly associated in his mind. His habits as a nisi prius barrister made him an advocate more than a statesman; and having pleaded the cause of his Church for forty years, having been rewarded and retained for so doing by an annual "tribute" collected in the chapels of the kingdom, and having won his unparalleled popularity and almost kingly power by his services in this cause, he could not help regarding himself as the special champion of the Irish priests and their people. For them he courted Whig alliances, for them he abused the Tories, for them he sought Repeal, and for their sakes he deprecated war. He knew that the Protestants of Ireland would never sufficiently trust him or his ecclesiastical clients, to join them in a war against English supremacy, which they disliked far less than Roman Catholic ascendency. He knew that a war for Repeal must be a civil and religious war; and he too well remembered the horrors of 1798, and was too well aware of the power of England, seriously to encourage anything of the kind. He talked indeed about fighting at the monster meetings, but he did so merely to intimidate the Government, confident of his power to hold the masses in check, and to prevent breaches of the peace. The State prosecutions and the proceedings of the Young Ireland party worked in him the painful and almost heart-breaking conviction that he had gone too far. Another essential difference existed between the two parties regarding religion. The Young Irelanders wanted to ignore religion in the national struggle. Their object was to unite all Irishmen in the great cause, to exorcise the spirit of bigotry, and to cultivate the spirit of religious toleration. But neither the Protestants nor the Catholics were prepared for this. The peasantry of the South especially would not enter into a contest in which their priests refused to lead and bless them; and these would neither lead nor bless except in the interest of their Church. This truth was discovered too late by Mr. Smith O'Brien and Mr. Meagher. The latter gentleman is said to have remarked in his prison, "We made a fatal mistake in not conciliating the Catholic priesthood. The agitation must be baptised in the old Holy Well."
Annaliotaha, as appears from the account drawn up by Dollier
The following letter by Beccaria to the Abb Morellet in acknowledgment of the latters translation of his treatise is perhaps the best introduction to the life and character of the author. The letter in question has been quoted by Villemain in proof of the debt owed by the Italian literature of the last century to that of France, but from the allusions therein contained to Hume and the Spectator it is evident that something also was due to our own. Beccaria had spent eight years of his youth in the college of the Jesuits at Parma, with what sense of gratitude this letter will show. The following is a translation of the greater part of it:
On the 26th of August Massena arrived before Almeida, a strongly fortified town not thirty miles from Ciudad Rodrigo. Wellington hoped that it would detain him at least a month, for it had a good Portuguese garrison, commanded by Colonel Cox, an English officer: and he himself drew near, to be able to seize any opportunity of damaging the besiegers. But in the night of the 27th there was a terrible explosion of a powder magazine, which threw down part of the wall, and made the place untenable. Treachery was immediately suspected, and what followed was sufficient proof of it; for the Portuguese major, whom Colonel Cox sent to settle the terms of the capitulation, went over to the French, and was followed by a whole Portuguese regiment with the exception of its British officers. This was a great disappointment to Lord Wellington, whose plan was to detain Massena till the rainy season set in, when he would at once find himself embarrassed by bridgeless floods and in intolerable roads, and, as he hoped and had ordered, in a country without people and without provisions.[See larger version]