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      All this time it was raining heavily, and Brandreth, daunted by the weather, or by the courageous conduct of the manager, gave the word to march. The manager calculated that there were only about a hundred of them at this point; but they were soon after joined by another troop from Ripley, and they took two roads, which united about three miles farther on, collecting fresh men by the most direful threats. When they reached Eastwood, a village three or four miles farther on the road to Nottingham, they were said to amount to three hundred, but ragged, famished, drenched with the rain, and not half of them armed, even with rude pikes. Near Eastwood they were met by a troop of horse from Nottingham, which had been summoned by Mr. Rolleston, a magistrate, and at the sight they fled in confusion. About forty guns and a number of pikes were picked up, and a considerable number of prisoners were made, amongst them Brandreth. These prisoners were afterwards tried at a special assize at Derby. They were defended by Thomas (afterwards Lord) Denman, whose eloquence on the occasion raised him at once into notice, and whose generous, gratuitous, and indefatigable exertions on behalf of these simple, ignorant victims of Government instigation, showed him to be a man of the noblest nature. Notwithstanding his efforts, twenty of these unhappy dupes were transported for different terms, and threeBrandreth, Ludlam, and Turnerwere hanged and then beheaded as traitors.


      CAPTAIN WALPOLE INTERCEPTING THE DUKE OF SALDANHA'S SHIPS. (See p. 306.)Byng went in pursuit of the Spanish fleet, which was assisting in the conquest of Sicily, and came in sight of twenty-seven sail of the line,[41] with fire-ships, ketches, bombs, and seven galleys, drawn up in line of battle between him and Cape Passaro. So soon as they were clear of the straits, a council was held to determine whether they should fight or retreat. They came to no resolution, but continued to linger about in indecision till Byng was down upon them. Whereupon he utterly destroyed them (August 11, 1718).


      The Remainder of the SessionThe Coercion Bill carriedRejection of the Tithes BillUniversity TestsProrogation of ParliamentBrougham's Tour in ScotlandBurning of the Houses of ParliamentFall of Melbourne's MinistryWellington sole MinisterPeel forms a MinistryThe Tamworth ManifestoDissolution and General ElectionMr. Abercromby elected SpeakerThe Lichfield House CompactPeel defeated on the AddressLord John Russell announces a Resolution on AppropriationLord Chandos's MotionLord Londonderry's AppointmentThe Dissenters and London UniversityHardinge's Tithe BillThe Appropriation ResolutionThe DebatePeel resignsMelbourne's second MinistryConservative SuccessesLord Alvanley and O'ConnellThe Duel between Alvanley and Morgan O'ConnellO'Connell and DisraeliCharacter of Lord MelbourneMunicipal ReformReport of the CommissionThe Municipal Corporations Act introducedIts Progress in the CommonsLyndhurst's Amendments-It becomes LawIrish CorporationsReport of the CommissionThe Bill is mutilated in the Upper House, and abandonedIt becomes Law in 1840Municipal Reform in Scotland.These were measures which must have greatly irritated the American colonists. They exhibited a disposition to curb and repress their growing energies between the interests of British merchants and British West Indian planters. The prospect was far from encouraging; whilst, at the same time, the English Ministers, crushing these energies with one hand, were contemplating drawing a revenue by taxation from them on the other. Britain argued that she sacrificed large amounts in building up colonies, and therefore had a right to expect a return for this expenditure. Such a return, had they had the sagacity to let them alone, was inevitable from the trade of the colonies in an ever-increasing ratio.

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      The point, however, which excited the most indignation was that regarding Gibraltar. There was a strong feeling in the public mind that the Government was willing to give up this fortress to Spain. The Spanish Government was extremely urgent on the subject, declaring that there could be no peace, no truce with England, until it was surrendered. It was recollected by the English public that Stanhope had actually offered to give it up, and it was not known whether any equivalent except the signing of the Quadruple Alliance had been demanded. The Opposition in the House of Lords moved, "That effectual care be taken in any treaty that the King of Spain do renounce all claims to Gibraltar and Minorca in plain and strong terms." The Ministers, however, carried a more moderate resolution"That the House relies on his Majesty for preserving his undoubted right to Gibraltar and Minorca." A similar discussion with a similar result took place in the Commons. The Government saw plainly that nothing would induce the British people to relinquish this important station.

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      But the Committee found itself opposed in these objects in the highest quarter. The king displayed the most firm disposition to protect his late Minister, and was in constant communication with Walpole and his friends for the purpose. Every means were used to protect from the scrutiny of the Committee those who were possessed of the most important information, and to induce them to remain obstinately silent. Mr. Edgecumbe, who had managed the Cornish boroughs for Walpole, and could have revealed things which would have filled the Committee with exultation, was raised to the Upper House, and thus removed from the power of the Commons. Paxton, the Solicitor to the Treasury, a most important witness, remained unshakably silent, and was committed to Newgate; nor was the Committee more successful with Scrope, the Secretary to the Treasury. This officer, who, no doubt, held most desirable knowledge in his bosom, firmly refused to make any disclosures, though he was now a very feeble old man. Other officials declined to make statements whose disclosure might incriminate themselves, and which they were excused from doing by the great principles of our judicature. To remove this obstacle Lord Limerick, the Chairman of the Committee, then moved that a Bill of Indemnity should be passed, to exempt witnesses from all penalties in consequence of their disclosures. This passed the Commons by a majority of twelve, but was rejected in the House of Lords by a large majority.

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      Whilst the rebellion was raging in Scotland there had been an attempt to change the ministry, and to place at the helm Lord Granville. That nobleman had so engrossed the favour of the king, that Pelham and his brother, Newcastle, found their measures greatly obstructed by Granville's influence, and suspected that they would soon be called on to give place to him. They determined, therefore, to bring matters to a crisis, confident that Granville would never be able to secure a majority in either House against them. To furnish a reason for their tendering their resignation, they demanded the place which they had promised to Pitt.

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