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Earl Grey was not slow to avail himself of these exciting topics in order to point the lightning of popular discontent against the head of the Government. "We ought," he said, "to learn wisdom from what is passing before our eyes; and, when the spirit of liberty is breaking out all round, it is our first duty to secure our own institutions by introducing into them a temperate reform. I have been a Reformer all my life; and on no occasion have I been inclined to go farther than I am prepared to go now, if an opportunity were to offer. But I do not found the title to demand it on abstract right. We are told that every man who pays taxesnay, that every man arrived at the years of discretionhas a right to vote for representatives. That right I utterly deny. The right of the people is to have a good Government, one that is calculated to secure their privileges and happiness; and if that is incompatible with universal, or very general suffrage, then the limitation, and not the extension, is the true right of the people."
Besides these leading histories, this reign produced many others of great value. Amongst these appeared, in 1763, a "History of England," by a lady, Catherine Macaulay, from James I. to the accession of the House of Hanover; which was followed by another series, from the Revolution to her own time. Mrs. Macaulay was a thorough-going Republican; had gone to America expressly to see and converse with Washington, and her history presented the very opposite opinions and phase of events to those of Hume. Lord Lyttelton wrote a "History of Henry II.," in by no means a popular style; and the book is now forgotten. In 1776 there was published the first volume of Lord Hailes's valuable "Annals of Scotland," of which Dr. Johnson entertained so high an opinion. Besides these may be named Macpherson's "History of Great Britain from the Restoration;" Stuart's "History of the Reformation in Scotland," and "History of Scotland from the Reformation to the Death of Queen Mary;" Whitaker's "History of Manchester;" Warner's "History of Ireland;" Leland's "History of Ireland;" Grainger's "Biographical History of England;" Ferguson's "History of the Progress and Termination of the Roman Republic;" Watson's "History of Philip II. of Spain;" Orme's "History of the British Nation in Hindostan;" Anderson's "Annals of Commerce." In 1784 Mitford published his "History of Ancient Greece," and two years later Gillies published another "History of Greece." In 1789 Pinkerton published a "History of the House of Stuart down to Queen Mary." In 1790 Boswell published his "Life of Johnson," the most interesting biography ever written; in 1796 Roscoe his "Life of Lorenzo de' Medici," and, in 1805, the "Life and Pontificate of Leo X."
Mlas, who had been besieging Genoa, had left part of his army to reduce that city, defended by a strong French division under Massena and Soult, and advanced to Nice, which he had entered, and was contemplating his descent on Provence, when the news of Buonaparte's entrance of Piedmont reached him. He directed his march now to meet him. In the meantime, Massena and Soult, worn out by famine, the fort being blockaded by Admiral Lord Keith, had surrendered Genoa to General Otto, whom Mlas had ordered to raise the siege and join him. Mlas summoned his scattered forces to make head against Buonaparte, and was himself pursued from the neighbourhood of Nice by Suchet. Buonaparte deceived Mlas by false movements, making him imagine that his object was Turin, and so entered Milan in triumph on the 2nd of June. After various encounters and man?uvres between Buonaparte and Mlas, the First Consul crossed the Po at Piacenza, drove back the advanced guard of the Austrians, and took up a position on the plains of Marengo, on the right bank of the little stream, the Bormida, and opposite to Alessandria, where Mlas was lying. The next daythe 14th of JuneMlas drew out his forces, and attacked the French with great spirit. The Austrians amounted to about forty thousand, including a fine body of cavalry, for which the ground was highly favourable; the French were not more than thirty thousand, posted strongly in and around the village of Marengo, in three divisions, each stationed about a quarter of a mile behind the other. After two or three attempts the Austrians drove the French out of the village of Marengo, threw the second division, commanded by Lannes, into confusion, and put to rout the left wing of Buonaparte's own division, threw his centre into disorder, and compelled him to retreat as far as St. Juliano. The whole tide of battle was running against Buonaparte, and a short time must have completed his rout, when the strength of the old general, Mlasmore than eighty years of agegave way, for he had been many hours on horseback. He retired from the field quite secure of the victory, and left General Zach to finish it. But, at this moment, General Desaix, who had lately arrived from Egypt, and had been sent by Buonaparte to make a diversion at Rivolta, came back with his detachment of twenty thousand men. Kellermann, also, who was posted in the rear with a body of reserve, marched up at the same time. A new and desperate charge was made on the fatigued Austrians, and they were broken and put to the rout. They retreated across the Bormida, towards Alessandria, in a panic, the horse galloping over the infantry. Mlas, dispirited by his defeat, but more by his age, gave up the struggle and on the 16th of June concluded an armistice, resigning not only Alessandria, where he might have stood a longer siege, but Genoa, which had just surrendered to the Austrians, and all the Genoese territory, agreeing to retire behind the line of Mantua and the Mincio, and leaving to the French all Lombardy as far as the Oglio. The French themselves could scarcely believe the reality of such a surrender.
A very instructive point of comparison is the relative increase of different classes of occupations in the decennial period from 1831 to 1841. A comparative return of the Commissioners includes males only, ages twenty years and upwards, and exhibits the following results. The number of occupiers and labourers in agriculture had decreased in that period from 1,251,751 to 1,215,264; but the Commissioners explained this result by supposing that numerous farm servants had been returned in 1841 as domestic servants instead of as agricultural labourers. Persons engaged in commerce, trade, and manufactures had increased from 1,572,292 to 2,039,409 (or 29?7 per cent.); capitalists, bankers, professional, and other educated men, from 216,263 to 286,175 (or 32?3 per cent.); labourers employed in labour not agricultural had decreased from 611,744 to 610,157; other males, twenty years of age, except servants, had increased from 237,337 to 392,211; male servants, twenty years of age and upwards, had increased from 79,737 to 164,384; including, however, as already noticed, many farm servants. For the purpose of instituting a just comparison of the relative increase of particular employments, it must be understood that the total number of male persons, twenty years of age and upwards (exclusive of army, navy, and merchant seamen), had increased in this period of ten years from 3,969,124 to 4,707,600 (or 18?6 per cent.). These people were better fed than their ancestors, and had more work to do. There are three kinds of raw material the consumption of which is particularly indicative of social advancement, as giving employment to the people, adding to their comforts, and increasing the national wealth. These are timber, cotton, and wool. Taking all the different kinds of imported timber, there was an increase during the ten years of 37 per cent.; in cotton there was an increase of 61 per cent.; and of sheep and lamb's wool, in addition to the home production, there was an increased importation of more than 78 per cent.
The Ministry lost no time in introducing their Irish measuresthe new Municipal Reform Bill and the Bill for the Relief of the Poor. The former, after three nights' debate, passed the Commons by a majority302 to 247. It was during this debate that Mr. Sheil delivered his brilliant reply to the indiscreet and unstatesmanlike taunt of Lord Lyndhurst, who, when speaking on the same question in the Upper House, declared that the Irish were "aliens in blood, in language, and religion." "The Duke of Wellington," said Mr. Sheil, "is not a man of sudden emotions; but he should not, when he heard that word used, have forgotten Vimiera, Badajoz, and Salamanca, and Toulouse, and the last glorious conflict which crowned all his former victories. On that day, when the destinies of mankind were trembling in the balance, when the batteries spread slaughter over the field, and the legions of France rushed again and again to the onset, did the 'aliens' then flinch? On that day the blood of the men of England, of Ireland, and of Scotland was poured forth together. They fought on the same field, they died the same death, they were stretched in the same pit; their dust was commingled; the same dew of heaven fell on the grass that covered them; the same grass sprang from the soil in which they reposed together. And is it to be endured that we are to be called aliens and strangers to that empire for whose salvation our best blood has been poured out?"