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      The year 1797 was opened by the suspension of cash payments. The Bank of England had repeatedly represented to Pitt, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, that his enormous demands upon it for specie, as well as paper money, had nearly exhausted its coffers and could not long be continued. The payment of our armies abroad, and the advances to foreign kings, were necessarily made[455] in cash. The Government, in spite of enormous taxation, had already overdrawn its account eleven million six hundred and sixty-eight thousand eight hundred pounds, and the sole balance in the hands of the Bank was reduced to three million eight hundred and twenty-six thousand eight hundred and ninety pounds. Pitt was demanding a fresh loan for Ireland, when a message came from the Bank to say that, in existing circumstances, it could not be complied with. Thus suddenly pulled up, the Privy Council was summoned, and it was concluded to issue an order for stopping all further issue of cash, except to the Government, and except one hundred thousand pounds for the accommodation of private bankers and traders. Paper money was made a legal tender to all other parties, and the Bank was empowered to issue small notes for the accommodation of the public instead of guineas. A Bill was passed for the purpose, and that it might not be considered more than a temporary measure, it was made operative only till June; but it was renewed from time to time by fresh Acts of Parliament. The system was not abolished again till 1819, when Sir Robert Peel brought in his Bill for the resumption of cash payments, and during the whole of that time the depreciation of paper money was comparatively slight.FOREBODINGS.


      There was an energetic debate in each House as the Bill passed through. It was opposed in the Peers by Lords Lansdowne, Holland, and Erskine, but was carried by ninety-three against twenty-seven. Ten peers entered a strong protest on the journals against the measure, denying the traitorous conspiracy or the extensive disaffection to the Government alleged, affirming that the execution of the ordinary laws would have been amply sufficient, and that Ministers were not entitled to indemnity for causeless arrests and long imprisonments which had taken place, for the Bill went to protect them in decidedly illegal acts. In the House of Commons the Bill was strongly opposed by Brougham, Tierney, Mr. Lambtonafterwards Lord Durhamand Sir Samuel Romilly. They condemned the conduct of Ministers in severe language, while the Bill was supported by Canning, by Mr. Lambafterwards Lord Melbourne, who generally went with the other sideby Sir William Garrow, and Sir Samuel Shepherd, Attorney-General.France. This had anciently been exercised by assemblies of the French clergy, but in the reign of Francis I. the king and the Pope had combined to wrest it from them by the Concordat of Bologna. Under this compact, which was still in force, the Pope appointed French bishops on the nomination of the king, a plan which displeased the Gallicans, and did not satisfy the ultramontanes.


      The Ruins of St. Ignace ? The Relics found ? Brbeuf at the Stake ? His Unconquerable Fortitude ? Lalemant ? Renegade Hurons ? Iroquois Atrocities ? Death of Brbeuf ? His Character ? Death of LalemantBut where were the Iroquois? Montmagny and the Jesuits grew very anxious. In a few days more the concourse would begin to disperse, and the golden moment be lost. It was a great relief when a canoe appeared with tidings that the promised embassy was on its way; and yet more, when, on the seventeenth, four Iroquois approached the shore, and, in a loud voice, announced themselves as envoys of their nation. The tumult was prodigious. Montmagny's soldiers formed a double rank, and the savage rabble, with wild eyes and faces smeared with grease and paint, stared over the shoulders and between the gun-barrels of the musketeers, as the ambassadors of their deadliest foe stalked, with unmoved visages, towards the fort.

      Their voyage up the St. Lawrence was enlivened by an extraordinary bear-hunt, and by the antics of one of their Indian attendants, who, having dreamed that he had swallowed a frog, roused the whole camp by the gymnastics with which he tried to rid himself of the intruder. On approaching Onondaga, they were met by a chief who sang a song of welcome, a part of which he seasoned with touches of humor, apostrophizing the fish in the river Onondaga, naming each sort, great or small, and calling on them in turn to come into the nets of the Frenchmen and sacrifice life cheerfully for their behoof. Hereupon there was much laughter among the Indian auditors. An unwonted cleanliness reigned in the town; the streets had been cleared of refuse, and the arched roofs of the long houses of bark were covered with red-skinned children staring at the entry of the black robes. Crowds followed behind, and all was jubilation. The dignitaries of the tribe met them on the way, and greeted them with a speech of welcome. A feast of bears meat awaited them; but, unhappily, it was Friday, and the fathers were forced to abstain.

      Commodore Hotham, with only five ships of the line, a bomb-vessel, and some frigates, conveyed Major-General Grant and this force to the West Indies, being nearly the whole way within a short sail of D'Estaing and his much superior fleet, without knowing it. Grant's destination was to protect Dominica; but, before his arrival, Marshal de Bouill, Governor-General of Martinique, had landed with two thousand men, and had compelled Lieutenant-Governor Stewart, who had only about one hundred regular troops and some indifferent militia for its defence, to surrender. Grant being too late to save Dominica, turned his attention to St. Lucia, being conveyed thither by the joint fleet of Hotham and Barrington. They had scarcely made a good footing on the island when D'Estaing's fleet hove in sight. He had twelve sail-of-the-line, numerous frigates and transports, and ten thousand men on board, and the English would have had little chance could he have landed. But the British fleet resolutely attacked him, and, after several days' struggle, prevented his landing more than half his troops. These were so gallantly repulsed by Brigadier Medows, who was at the head of only one thousand five hundred men, that, on the 28th December, D'Estaing again embarked his troops, and quitted the island. The original French force under Chevalier de Michaud then surrendered, and St. Lucia was won, though Dominica was lost. the charges.


      On the fifteenth of July following, Bressani wrote from the Iroquois country to the General of the Jesuits at Rome:"I do not know if your Paternity will recognize the handwriting of one whom you once knew very well. The letter is soiled and ill-written; because the writer has only one finger of his right hand left entire, and cannot prevent the blood from his wounds, which are still open, from staining the paper. His ink is 253 gunpowder mixed with water, and his table is the earth." [15]

      producing similar effects on the imagination of the people.[317] Douay in Le Clerc, ii. 321; Cavelier, Relation.

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      But the great glory of this session was not the exposure of Davison and his fellow thieves, but the stop put to the operations of a much larger class of rascals. The death of Fox had been a sad blow to Wilberforce and the abolitionists, who had calculated on his carrying the prohibition of the slave trade; but Lord Grenville and his Cabinet seemed to have made up their minds to have the fame of achieving the grand object of so many years' exertion for the suppression of the African slave trade. Wilberforce, to his inconceivable joy, discovered that Spencer Perceval, the leader of the Opposition, and his party were willing to co-operate for this purpose. The king and royal family alone remained as adverse to the abolition of slavery as they were to the emancipation of the Catholics. The abolitionists, however, had so imbued the country with the sense of the barbarity and iniquity of the traffic, that royal prejudice could no longer swamp the measure, nor aristocratic apathy delay it. Lord Grenville brought in a Bill for the purpose into[532] the Peers on the 2nd of January, 1807: the 12th was fixed for the second reading. Before this took place, counsel was heard at the bar of the House against the measure, who repeated all the terrible prognostics of ruin to the West Indies and to Britain from the abolition, with which the planters and proprietors of the West Indies, the merchants and slave captains of Liverpool and Bristol, had so often endeavoured to alarm the nation. The emptiness of these bugbears had, however, been now too fully exposed to the people by the lectures, speeches, and pamphlets of the Abolition Society, and Wilberforce had all along merely to use the arguments in Parliament with which they had abundantly furnished him. Lord Grenville now introduced the second reading by an elaborate speech, in which he condensed and summed up these arguments. He was warmly supported by the Duke of Gloucestera liberal exception to his familyby Lords King, Selkirk, Rosslyn, Northesk, Holland, Suffolk, Moira, and the Bishops of Durham, London, and others. The Dukes of Clarence and Sussex as zealously opposed him, as well as Lords Sidmouth, Eldon, Ellenborough, Hawkesbury, St. Vincent, and many others. The second reading was carried, after a debate which continued till five o'clock in the morning, by one hundred against thirty-six. The third reading was also carried with equal ease, and the Bill was brought down to the Commons on the 10th of February. Lord Howick proposed its reading in an eloquent speech, and it was opposed, with the usual prediction of ruin, by Mr. George Hibbert, Captain Herbert, and General Gascoyne, who said the nation was carried away by sentimental cant, the result of an enormous agitation by the Quakers and Saints. The first reading, however, passed without a division, and the second on the 24th of February, by two hundred and eighty-three against sixteen. The House gave three cheers. Seeing the large majority, and that the Bill was safe, Lord Grenville recommended Wilberforce to strengthen it by inserting the penalties, which he did; but they left a great advantage to the slave merchants by allowing them to clear out their vessels from Great Britain by the 1st of May, and gave them time to deliver their human cargoes in the West Indies till the 1st of January, 1808a liberty which was sure to create a great sending out of vessels for the last occasion, and a fearful crowding of them. However, the accursed trade was now doomed, as far as British merchants could go, though it was soon found that it was not so easy to suppress it. When it was seen that the Bill must pass, Lords Eldon, Hawkesbury, and Castlereagh, who had hitherto opposed it, declared themselves in favour of it. It was carried in both Houses by large majorities, and received the royal sanction on the 25th of March. So easily was the Bill passed, at last, that Lord Percy, the day after it had left the Commons, moved in that House for leave to bring in a Bill for the gradual emancipation of the slaves; but this being deemed premature, and calculated to injure the operation of the Bill for the abolition of the trade, and to create dangerous excitement in the West Indies, the motion was discouraged, and so was dropped.

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      On the 23rd, the day fixed for the rising, the insurgents turned out in many places, notwithstanding the arrest of their leaders. They did not succeed at Carlow, Naas, and Kilcullen. But, on the 25th, fourteen thousand of them, under one Father Murphy, attacked Wexford, defeated the garrison which came out to meet them, took a considerable number of prisoners, whom they put to death, and frightened the town into a surrender on the 30th. They treated such Protestants as remained in the place with the utmost barbarity. They took Enniscorthy and, seizing some cannon, encamped on Vinegar Hill. On the 31st they were attacked by General Lake, who drove them from their camp, made a great slaughter of them, and then retook Wexford and Enniscorthy. General Johnson attacked another party which was plundering the town of New Ross, killing and wounding two thousand six hundred of them. On this news reaching Scullabogue, the insurgents there massacred about one hundred Protestant prisoners in cold blood. These massacres of the Protestants, and the Presbyterians in the north having been too cautious to rise, after the betrayal of the plot, caused the whole to assume the old character of a Popish rebellion. Against this the leading Catholics protested, and promptly offered their aid to Government to suppress it. Of the leaders, MacCann, Byrne, two brothers named Sheares, the sons of a banker at Cork, were executed. The success of the soldiers was marked by worse cruelty than that of the rebels; for instance, at Carlow about 200 persons were hanged or shot. Arthur O'Connor, Emmet, MacNevin, Sampson, and a number of others, were banished. Lord Cornwallis was appointed Lord-Lieutenant in place of Lord Camden, and pardons were assured to those who made their submission. All now seemed over, when in August there appeared at Killala three French frigates, which landed nine hundred men, who were commanded by General Humbert. Why the French should send such a mere handful of men into Ireland, who must inevitably be sacrificed or made prisoners, can perhaps only be accounted for by the assurances of the disaffected Irish, that the whole mass of the people, at least of the Catholics, were ready to rise and join them. But if that were trueif, as Wolfe Tone assured them, there were three hundred thousand men already disciplined, and only in need of arms, it would have been sufficient to have sent them over arms. But then Tone, who had grown as utterly reckless as any sansculotte Frenchman, described the riches of Ireland, which were to repay the invaders, as something prodigious. In his memorial to the Directory he declared that the French were to go shares with[464] the nation whom they went to liberate, in all the church, college, and chapter lands, in the property of the absentee landlords, which he estimated at one million pounds per annum, in that of all Englishmen, and in the income of Government, which he calculated at two millions of pounds per annum. General Humbert, who had been in the late expedition, and nearly lost his life in the Droits de l'Homme, no doubt expected to see all the Catholic population flocking around him, eager to put down their oppressors; but, so far from this, all classes avoided him, except a few of the most wretched Catholic peasants. At Castlebar he was met by General Lake, with a force much superior in numbers, but chiefly yeomanry and militia. Humbert readily dispersed thesethe speed of their flight gaining for the battle the name of the Castlebar Racesand marched on through Connaught, calling on the people to rise, but calling in vain. He had made this fruitless advance for about seventeen days when he was met by Lord Cornwallis with a body of regular troops, and defeated. Finding his retreat cut off, he surrendered on the 8th of September, and he and his followers became prisoners of war. But the madness or delusion of the French Government had not yet reached its height; a month after this surrender Sir John Warren fell in with a French line-of-battle ship and eight frigates, bearing troops and ammunition to Ireland. He captured the ship of the line and three of the frigates, and on board of the man-of-war was discovered the notorious Wolfe Tone, the chief instigator of these insane incursions, and who, before sailing, had recorded in his diary, as a matter of boast, that every day his heart was growing harder, that he would take a most dreadful vengeance on the Irish aristocracy. He was condemned to be hanged, but he managed to cut his throat in prison (November 19, 1798). And thus terminated these worse than foolish attempts of France on Ireland, for they were productive of great miseries, both at sea and on land, and never were conducted on a scale or with a force capable of producing any permanent result.

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      Towards evening on the 3d of August, after the party had landed to encamp, an Onondaga chief made advances to a Christian Huron girl, as he had already done at every encampment since leaving Montreal. Being repulsed for the fourth time, he split her head with his tomahawk. It was the beginning of a massacre. The Onondagas rose upon their prisoners, killed seven men, all Christians, before the eyes of the horrified Jesuit, and plundered the rest of all they had. When Ragueneau protested, they told him with insolent mockery that they were acting by direction of the governor and the superior of the Jesuits, The priest himself was secretly warned that he was to be killed during the night; and he was surprised in the morning to find himself alive. * On reaching Onondaga, some of the Christian captives were burned, including several women and their infant children. **


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