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how restful it is when he gets here."The consequence of letting loose the passions at present chained and confined would be to produce a scene of desolation which no man can contemplate without horror, and I would not sleep easy on my couch if I were conscious that I had contributed to accelerate it by a single moment. This is the reason why I dread the recurrence of hostilities in any part of Europe; why I would forbear long on any point which did not taint the national honour, ere I let slip the dogs of war, the leash of which we hold in our hands, not knowing whom they may reach, or how far their ravages may be carried. Such is the love of peace which the British Government acknowledges, and such the necessity for peace which the circumstances of the world inculcate. Let us fly to the aid of Portugal, because it is our duty to do so; and let us cease our interference when that duty ends. We go to Portugal not to rule, not to dictate, not to prescribe constitutions, but to defend and preserve the independence of an ally. We go to plant the standard of England on the well-known heights of Lisbon. Where that standard is planted, foreign dominion shall not come." The House received this speech with tumultuous applause, and refused to listen to the objections that Mr. Hume and others wished to urge against the expedition on the score of economy. In the Upper House also the Government was sustained by an overwhelming majority. The expedition, consisting of six thousand men, received orders to march (as we have seen) on the 11th of December, and began to land in Lisbon on Christmas Day. The incursions from Spain immediately ceased, and France, which had instigated and secretly encouraged the movement, now found it prudent to disclaim all connection with it. Before eighteen months had elapsed the troops had returned.
During the interval that elapsed between the opening of Parliament and the introduction of this measure, society was in a state of nervous anxiety and suspense, which became at length almost unbearable. Petitions poured into the House of Commons from every part of the United Kingdom, conveying the earnest desire of the people for a real representation, which would put an end to the influence of the aristocracy in returning its members. They recommended, as the best means of effecting these objects, that the duration of Parliament should be shortened, that the suffrage should be extended, and that elections should be by ballot. They expressed their conviction that a fair representation of the people would prevent manufacturing distress, commercial embarrassment, and violent fluctuations in the currency; that it would prevent unjust and unnecessary wars, and would restrain the profligate expenditure of the public money on placemen and pensioners. Itinerant orators were employed by the political unions to hold meetings for the discussion of all questions of this kind, while the press put forth its gigantic power with tremendous effect, in the provinces as well as in the metropolis.During the Easter recess, popular meetings were held condemning the conduct of Ministers and calling for Parliamentary Reform. On the meeting of the House again, a very strong petition, bearing rather the character of a remonstrance, was presented from the electors of Middlesex by Mr. George Byng, on the 2nd of May. The Ministerial party declared that the petition was an insult to the House; but the Reformers maintained that not only the language of the petition, but the whole of the unhappy events which had taken place, were the direct consequences of the corrupt character of the representation, and of the House screening from due punishment such culprits as the Duke of York, Lord Castlereagh, etc. The petition was rejected; but the very next day a petition of equal vigour and plainness was voted by the Livery of London, and was presented on the 8th, and rejected too. The House had grown so old in corruption, that it felt itself strong enough to reject the petitions of the people. A memorial was presented also on the same subject from Major Cartwright, one of the most indefatigable apostles of Reform, by Whitbread, and this was rejected too, for the major pronounced the committal of Sir Francis a flagrantly illegal act.
But the year 1809 opened with one auspicious circumstance. There was no relief from the necessity of continuing the flight; but the proud Corsican, who hoped to annihilate the "English leopards," was suddenly arrested in his pursuit, and called away to contend with other foes. On the 1st of January he was in Astorga, and from the heights above it could see the straggling rear of the British army. Nothing but the most imperative urgency prevented him from following, and seeking a triumph over the hated Britishbut that urgency was upon him. Pressing dispatches from France informed him that the North was in ferment, and that Austria was taking the field. The intelligence was too serious to admit of a moment's delay; but he made sure that Soult could now conquer the British, and on the 2nd he turned his face northward, and travelled to Paris with a speed equal to that with which he had reached Spain.CHAPTER VII. PROOFS AND FORMS OF JUDGMENT.
Three months on a farm!
25th OctoberShe used to laugh when he tramped in mud or dropped ashes on the floor,
all the curtains washed. I am driving to the Corners this morning