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His plan for his chef-d'?uvre, St. Paul's, like his grand plan for the City, with its principal streets ninety feet wide, its second-rate streets sixty, and its third-rate thirty, was rejected. This cathedral was a composition compact and simple, consisting of a single general octagonal mass, surmounted by a dome, and extended on its west side by a portico, and a short nave or vestibule within. The great idea of Wren was to adapt it to Protestant worship, and therefore he produced a design for the interior, the parts of which were beautifully grouped together so as to produce at once regularity and intricacy, yet without those long side aisles and recesses, which the processions and confessionals of Roman Catholic worship require. The whole long period of Wren's erection of this noble pile was one continued battle with the conceit, ignorance, and dogmatism of the commissioners, who made his life a bitter martyrdom; and when we read the admired inscription in St. Paul's, "Si monumentum requiris, circumspice," we behold, on obeying its injunction, only what Wren did, not what he suffered in doing it.

Meanwhile, the fleet which was to bear Buonaparte to Egypt was lying in various squadrons in the ports of Genoa, Civita Vecchia, and Bastia, ready, when any adverse wind should drive the British fleet from the coast, where it blockaded them, to drop down to Toulon and join the main body. On board of these vessels were thirty thousand men, chiefly from the army of Italy. Nelson, with a numerous fleet, was maintaining the blockade, though the secret of the fleet's destination had been so well kept that it was only surmised that Egypt might be its destination. Buonaparte himself had been recalled to Paris. A sudden message sent him back to Toulon. A gale had driven Nelson's fleet from the coast, and so much damaged it that he was obliged to make for Sardinia to repair. The moment was come; the different squadrons joined from the Italian ports, and the Egyptian armament issued on the 19th of May from Toulon. Napoleon was on the mission destined, he believed, to conquer Egypt, and thus to place not only a powerful barrier between us and our Indian possessions, but, having established a strong empire in Egypt and Syria, to enable France to maintain a large fleet in the Persian Gulf, and to accomplish the invasion and conquest of British India by land or sea, with the aid of Tippoo Sahib, who was once more at war with[466] Britain. Nay, like another Alexander, the boundless ambition of Buonapartean ambition which was his final ruincontemplated the conquest of all Asia and the founding of a giant empire there. "If St. Jean d'Acre," he said to Las Cases, "had yielded to the French arms, a great revolution would have been accomplished in the East. The general-in-chief would have founded an empire there, and the destinies of France would have undergone different combinations from those to which they were subjected." He would have come back and proceeded to the conquest of Europe.

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[See larger version] [269] Sheridan introduced the subject on the 18th of April, and Fox ably supported him; but the motion was negatived. But this defeat only appeared to stimulate the reformers to higher exertions. On the 28th of April a new Reform society, entitled the Society of the Friends of the People, was formally inaugurated by the issue of an address, which was signed by no less than twenty-eight members of the House of Commons, and a considerable number of Lords, amongst them the Lords Lauderdale, John Russell, Stanhope, and Fitzgerald. Their title was unfortunate, for, though they were united only for Parliamentary reform, this cognomen was so much in the French style as to create suspicion and alarm. Many of the members were known to be admirers of the French Revolution, and about the same time another and decidedly French-admiring society was started, calling itself the Corresponding Society, and prosecuting a zealous intercourse with the Girondists and Jacobins. The admiration of French political principles rendered the conservative portion of the population quite determined to resist all innovations; and as this Society of the Friends of the People was regarded as a direct imitation of the Jacobin Club, it was violently opposed and stigmatised. On the 30th of April Mr. Grey, as representative of this Society, rose to announce that in the next Session he meant to introduce a regular measure for the reform of Parliament; that it was necessary, he said, had long been asserted by the two leading men of the HousePitt and Fox. Pitt rose on this, and declared himself still the friend of Reform; but he contended that this was not the time to attempt it. He had only, he said, to point to[392] the state of things in France, and to the effervescence which those principles of anarchy had produced in Britain, to show the necessity of remaining quiet for the present; neither did he believe that the mass of the English people would support any change in our Constitution. Fox upbraided Pitt with the abandonment of his former sentiments, and contended that we had only to look at the money spent lately in the armament against Russia, money thus spent without any consent of the people, to perceive the necessity of reform in our representation. He referred to Pitt's remarks on revolutionary books and pamphlets recently published, and declared that he had read very few of them. He had only read one of the two books of Thomas Paine, the "Rights of Man," and did not like it. Burke replied to him, and drew a most dismal picture of the condition of France under her Revolutionists. He said that the French Assembly was composed of seven hundred persons, of whom four hundred were lawyers, and three hundred of no description; that he could not name a dozen out of the whole, he believed, with one hundred pounds a-year; and he asked whether we should like a Parliament in Great Britain resembling it. In this debate, the further dissolution of the Whig party became obvious when Windham and others took the side of Burke.

ATTACK ON SIR CHARLES WETHERELL AT BRISTOL. (See p. 340.)

Charles was anxious to follow up his victory by marching directly into England, trusting to the effect of this signal triumph to bring all inclined to the Stuart dynasty to his standard. He was confident that if he met with anything like success on the way, a rapid march would put London in his possession. And, in truth, such was the miserably misgoverned condition of the country at the time, that, had he come with a tolerable French army, nothing could have prevented him from becoming master of the kingdom. Never was England so thoroughly exposed to foreign danger, so utterly unarmed and unprotected,[98] whilst it had been sending such armaments to the Continent. Fortunately, the French had not supported the Pretender on this occasion, as they had promised, and fortunately, too, when Charles came to review the army with which he proposed to enter England, there remained of it only one thousand four hundred men. The rest had gone home with their booty; nay, some had gone and were returning, not to fight, but to carry off more which they had concealed.

Rt. Hon. Sir H. Langrishe, 15,000 for his patronage of Knocktopher, and a commissionership of revenue.

But if Great Britain was prosperous, the affairs of Canada got into a very disturbed state, and became a source of trouble for some time to the Government in the mother country. To the conflicting elements of race and religion were added the discontents arising from misgovernment by a distant Power not always sufficiently mindful of the interests of the colony. For many years after Lower Canada, a French province, had come into the possession of Britain, a large portion of the country westwardlying along the great lakesnow known as Upper Canada, nearly double the extent of England, was one vast forest, constituting the Indian hunting-ground. In 1791, when by an Act of the Imperial Parliament the colony received a constitution, and was divided into Upper and Lower Canada, with separate legislatures, the amount of the white population in Upper Canada was estimated at 50,000. Twenty years later it had increased to 77,000, and in 1825 emigration had swelled its numbers to 158,000, which in 1830 was increased to 210,000, and in 1834 the population exceeded 320,000, the emigration for the last five years having proceeded at the rate of 12,000 a year. The disturbances which arose in 1834 caused a check to emigration; but when tranquillity was restored it went on rapidly increasing, till, in 1852, it was nearly a million. The increase[397] of wealth was not less remarkable. The total amount of assessable property, in 1830, was 1,854,965; 1835, 3,407,618; 1840, 4,608,843; 1845, 6,393,630.

VIEW IN OLD PARIS: THE PORTE AU BL, FROM THE END OF THE OLD CATTLE MARKET TO THE PONT NOTRE DAME. (From a Print by De l'Espinasse in 1782.)

So successful were they in this endeavour that the Government was in a state of the greatest possible perplexity. Lord Anglesey, the Viceroy, and Lord Leveson Gower, the Chief Secretary, were in continual correspondence with the Home Secretary as to the propriety of adopting measures of repression. Lord Anglesey was decided in his conviction that Emancipation ought to be immediately granted. He was naturally reluctant to employ force, unless it was imperatively necessary, and then he felt with Mr. Peel that it ought to be used effectively, whatever might be the consequences. Neither the Irish nor the English Government concealed from itself what those consequences would probably benamely, an open rebellion, a sanguinary civil war; which, however, they had no doubt of being able to put down. The law officers of the Crown, both in England and Ireland, were called upon for their opinions as to the illegality of the proceedings of the agitators, as to the likelihood of success in case of prosecution, and whether the Government would be warranted, by statute or common law, in dispersing the popular assemblages by force. They agreed on both sides of the channel that the case was not sufficiently clear to justify the Government either in legal proceedings or military repression. The English law officers came to this conclusion although at the time Sir Charles Wetherell was Attorney-General. It is evident, however, from the tone of the correspondence published by Sir Robert Peel's executors, that the Home Secretary was far from being satisfied with the conduct of Lord Anglesey. It was believed that he did not always act with sufficient discretion, and that he sometimes did and said things which made the agitators believe that they had his countenance and support. For example, he went on a visit to Lord Cloncurry, who, though a Protestant, was a member of the Catholic Association, and who a few days after entertaining the representative of the king, attended a meeting of that body. The excuse of Lord Anglesey was, that Lord Cloncurry went for the purpose of preventing the passing of a resolution in favour of exclusive dealing. The opinion of the English Government was shared by Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald and many other Liberal statesmen who sympathised with the irritation of the Irish Protestants at the supineness of the Irish executive. Looking at the state of things at this distance of time, every impartial person must agree that Peel was right. He had urged the propriety of issuing a proclamation by the Lord-Lieutenant in council, warning the people against assembling in large bodies in military array, as exciting alarm in the public mind, and threatening to disturb the peace. When at last Lord Anglesey was induced to adopt this course, it proved successful. The agitators became cowed and cautious, and it was quite evident that nothing was further[285] from their wishes than to come to blows, either with the troops or the Brunswickers. Thus, in November, Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald wrote to Mr. Peel: "The sentiment is universal of disgust, indignation, and alarm at the proceedings of Lord Anglesey's Government, and at the tone of his partisans and his press. Whether the collision will happen so soon as is contemplated I know not. I rather think not. The Association is frightened; and if the demonstrations of the south are interrupted, and Mr. Lawless's progress in the west be not persevered in, it is possible, and it is to be hoped, that the hostile parties may not come to an effusion of blood. But can we read the reports of the meetings that are taking place and expect that before the winter is over the gentry of the country, Emancipators as well as Brunswickers, will not call on the Government to take a part, and to save us from these horrors?" Mr. Leslie Foster, a leading Irish statesman, wrote in the same month: "Depend upon it, let Parliament do what they may, the Catholics will not rebel. Their leaders are more deeply convinced than you are of the utter and immediate ruin that would be the result of any insurrectionary movement; and in every rank among them, down to the lowest, there is a due fear of the power of England, the facilities of a steam invasion, the character of the Duke, and not least, perhaps above all, the readiness of the Ulster Protestants for battle. It is further to be borne in mind that in no period within our memory was the condition of the people so rapidly improving, or their employment so great, as at the present moment; and there is a real, substantial disinclination in consequence, amongst all ranks above the mere rabble, to hazard any course that would involve the country in confusion."