From the Picture by DANIEL MACLISE R.A., in the Walker Art Gallery.

The Marquis of Lansdowne, the President of the Council in the Whig Ministry which had replaced that of Sir Robert Peel, in a speech delivered in the House of Lords on the 25th of January, 1847, gave an estimate, as accurate as the best calculation could make it, of the loss in money value that had been occasioned by the failure of the crops in Ireland. "Taking a valuation of 10 per acre for potatoes, and 3 10s. for oats, the deficiency on the potato crop alone amounted to 11,350,000, while on the crop of oats it amounted to 4,660,000, or to a total value of 16,010,000 for the whole of a country which, if it could not be said to be the poorest, was certainty not one of the richest in the world. In[543] weight the loss was 9,000,000 or 10,000,000 tons of potatoes. The whole loss had been equivalent to the absolute destruction of 1,500,000 arable acres." On the same day, Lord John Russell, who had succeeded Peel as Prime Minister, gave a statement of what the Government had done during the recess for the relief of the Irish population, in pursuance of Acts passed in the previous Session. He stated that an immense staff of servants had been employed by the Board of Public Worksupwards of 11,000 personsgiving employment to half a million of labourers, representing 2,000,000 of souls; the expense for the month of January being estimated at from 700,000 to 800,000. The Scottish rebellion had been an auspicious circumstance for the arms of France. Marshal Saxe had taken the field, to the surprise of the Allies, in the very middle of winter, invested Brussels, and compelled it to surrender on the 20th of February, 1746. One town fell after another; Mons, Antwerp, Charleroi, and finally, Namur capitulated on the 19th of September, after a siege of only six days. As soon as Cumberland could leave Scotland after the battle of Culloden, he returned to London, in the hope that he should be appointed, covered, as he was, with his bloody laurels, to the supreme command of the Allied forces in Flanders, where he flattered himself he could arrest the progress of the French. But that command had been conferred on Prince Charles of Lorraine, the Emperor's brother, much to the disgust of both Cumberland and the king. On the 11th of October the Prince of Lorraine engaged the French at Raucoux, on the Jaar, and was signally defeated; the English cavalry, under General Ligonier, managing to save his army from total destruction, but not being able to stem the overthrow. At the close of the campaign the French remained almost entire masters of the Austrian Netherlands.

In 1720 Colin Maclaurin, the successor of James Gregory in the mathematical chair at Edinburgh, published his "Geometrical Organica," a treatise on curves; in 1742 his admirable treatise on Fluxions; and in 1748 his treatise on Algebra. Dr. Robert Simson, professor of mathematics at Glasgow, published a restoration of the "Loci" of Apollonius, and an English translation of Euclid, which continued down to a late period in use, both in Scotland and England. In 1717 James Stirling published a Latin treatise on lines of the third order, and another on Fluxions, called "Methodus Differentialis," in 1730. William Emerson, a mathematician and mechanist, wrote on fluxions, trigonometry, mechanics, navigation, algebra, optics, astronomy, geography, dialling, etc., but a considerable portion was only in part published during this period. Thomas Simpson, a weaver, of Market Bosworth, at the age of seven-and-twenty suddenly discovered himself as an extraordinary mathematician, and went on till his death, in 1761, publishing works on fluxions, the nature and laws of chance, on mixed mathematics, on the doctrine of annuities and reversions, on algebra, elementary geometry, trigonometry, etc. James Ferguson, also, the son of a day-labourer, in Banffshire, studied mathematics whilst tending sheep, and published a number of works on the phenomena of the harvest moon, astronomy, mechanics, hydrostatics,[154] pneumatics, and optics. Ferguson had a remarkably lucid and demonstrative style, both in writing and lecturing, and his example excited a keen spirit of inquiry amongst the working classes, so that he is said to have diffused the knowledge of physical science amongst the class from which he sprang more than any other man. There was a radical difference in spirit between the Viceroy and the Premier. The former sympathised warmly with the Roman Catholics in their struggles for civil equality, feeling deeply the justice of their cause. The Duke, on the other hand, yielded only to necessity, and thought of concession not as a matter of principle, but of expediency; he yielded, not because it was right[291] to do so, but because it was preferable to having a civil war. The feeling of Mr. Peel was somewhat similar; it was with him, also, a choice of evils, and he chose the least.

Sir Robert Peel then rose. He said that the immediate cause which had led to the dissolution of the Government was "that great and mysterious calamity which caused a lamentable failure in an article of food on which great numbers of the people in this part of the United Kingdom and still larger numbers in the sister kingdom depended mainly for their subsistence." But he added, "I will not assign to that cause too much weight. I will not withhold the homage which is due to the progress of reason, and to truth, by denying that my opinions on the subject of Protection have undergone a change." This announcement was received in profound silence from the Ministerial benches, but with triumphant cheering from the Opposition. Protection, he said, was not a labourer's question. High prices did not produce high wages, nor vice versa. In the last three years, with low prices and abundance of food, wages were comparatively high, and labour was in demand. In the three years preceding, with high[522] prices and scarcity, wages were low and employment was scarce. Experience thus proved that wages were ruled by abundance of capital and demand for labour, and did not vary with the price of provisions. Again, increased freedom of trade was favourable to the prosperity of our commerce. In three scarce and dear years, namely, from 1839 to 1841, our foreign exports fell off from 53,000,000 in value to 47,000,000. But in three years of reduction of duties and low prices, namely, from 1842 to 1844, the value of our exports rose from 47,000,000 to 58,000,000. Even deducting the amount of the China trade, a similar result was shown. Nor was the reduction in the customs duties unfavourable to the revenue. In 1842 there was an estimated loss of 1,500,000; in 1843 a smaller one of 273,000; but in 1845 there was a reduction at an estimated loss to the revenue of no less than 2,500,000. The total amount of the various reductions effected in three years exceeded 4,000,000; and many of the duties were totally abolished; the loss, therefore, not being compensated by any increased consumption. Had 4,000,000 been lost to the revenue? He believed that on the 5th of April next the revenue would be found to be more buoyant than ever. Sir Robert Peel referred to other proofs of prosperity resulting from reduced import duties, and then adverted to his own position, and declared that "he would not hold office on a servile tenure." The butcheries were not terminated till late at night; but the shouts of victory had, so early as eleven o'clock in the morning, informed the Assembly that the people were masters of the[404] Tuileries. Numbers of the insurrectionists had appeared at the Assembly from time to time, crying, "Vive la Nation!" and the members replied with the same cry. A deputation appeared from the H?tel de Ville, demanding that a decree of dethronement should be immediately passed, and the Assembly so far complied as to pass a decree, drawn up by that very Vergniaud who had assured the king that the Assembly was prepared to stand to the death for the defence of the constituted authorities. This decree suspended the royal authority, appointed a governor for the Dauphin, stopped the payment of the Civil List, but agreed to a certain allowance to the royal family during the suspension, and set apart the Luxembourg for their residence. The Luxembourg Palace being reported full of cellars and subterranean vaults and difficult of defence, the Temple, a miserable dilapidated old abbey, was substituted, and the royal family were conveyed thither.

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The inhabitants, men, women, and children, fled in terror from their splendid villas, around the city, into the fort of St. George. A fast-sailing vessel was dispatched to Calcutta, to implore the Governor-General to send them speedy aid of men and money. The forces were called together from different quarters, and Sir Hector Munro at the head of one body, and Colonel Baillie at the head of another, were ordered to combine, and intercept Hyder. First one place of rendezvous and then another was named, but, before the junction could take place, Baillie had managed to allow himself to be surrounded by the whole host of Hyder, and after a brave defence was compelled to surrender, one half of his troops being cut to pieces. The insults and cruelties of the troops of Hyder to their captives were something demoniac. Munro had sent to demand troops from the Nabob of Arcot, for whom the British were always fighting, and received a message of compliments, but no soldiers. On the defeat of Baillie he made a hasty retreat to Mount St. Thomas. Meanwhile, the call for aid had reached Calcutta, and Hastings instantly responded to it with all his indomitable energy. He called together the Council, and demanded that peace should be made at once with the Mahrattas; that every soldier should be shipped off at once to Madras; that fifteen lacs of rupees should be sent without a moment's delay to the Council there; that the incompetent governor, Whitehill, should be removed; and Sir Eyre Coote sent to perform this necessary office, and take the command of the troops. Francis, who was just departing for England, raised as usual his voice in opposition. But Hastings' proposals were all carried. The troops, under Sir Eyre Coote, were hurried off, and messengers dispatched in flying haste to raise money at Moorshedabad, Patna, Benares, Lucknowin short, wherever the authority of Hastings could extort it. At the same time, other officers were sent to negotiate with the Mahrattas for peace.

The new Ministry were now to find that it was very difficult to perpetuate principles and measures which they had for a quarter of a century been condemning simply because they furnished weapons of annoyance to the party then in power. The public, still smarting under the ruinous mismanagement of the war, returned to the charge, by demanding an inquiry into the conduct of Walpole, whom they accused of their sufferings. These petitions were introduced and recommended by what were called the Boy PatriotsPitt, Lyttelton, and the rest.