- Software name: appdown
- Software type: Microsoft Framwork
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Such a tremendous crash in the commercial world could not have occurred without involving the working classes in the deepest distress. In order fully to understand all that society has gained by the instruction of the people, by extending to them the blessings of education, and especially by the diffusion of useful knowledge through the medium of cheap literature, we have only to read the records of popular disturbance and destructive violence which occurred in 1825 and 1826. In the August of the former year there was a combination of seamen against the shipowners at Sunderland; and on one occasion there was a riot, when a mob of some hundreds flung the crew of a collier into the sea. They were rescued from drowning, but, the military having fired on the rioters, five persons were killed. Their funeral was made the occasion of a great popular demonstration. There was a procession with flags, and a band of singers, twelve hundred seamen walking hand in hand, each with crape round the left arm. In the Isle of Man the people rose against the tithing of their potatoes, and were quieted only by the assurance that the tithe would not be demanded of them, either that year or at any future time. In the spring of 1826 the operatives of Lancashire rose up in open war against the power-looms, the main cause of the marvellous prosperity that has since so largely contributed to the wealth of England. They believed that the power-looms were the cause of their distress, and in one day every power-loom in Blackburn, and within six miles of it, was smashed; the spinning machinery having been carefully preserved, though at one time the spinning jennies were as obnoxious as the power-looms. The work of destruction was not confined to one town or neighbourhood. The mob proceeded from town to town, wrecking mill after mill, seizing upon bread in the bakers' shops, and regaling themselves freely in public-houses. They paraded the streets in formidable numbers, armed with whatever weapons they could lay hands onscythes, sledge-hammers, and long knives. They resisted the troops fiercely, showering upon them stones and other missiles. The troops, in their turn, fired upon the crowds, and when they were dispersed the streets were stained with blood, the mob carrying away their wounded into the fields. In one week no less than a thousand power-looms were destroyed, valued at thirty thousand pounds. In Manchester the mob broke the windows of the shops. At Carlisle, Norwich, Trowbridge, and other places in England, similar lawless proceedings occurred. Even in Glasgow the blame of the general distress was thrown upon the machinery, not only by the ignorant operatives, but by the gentry and the magistrates. In Dublin the silk-weavers marched through the streets, to exhibit their wretchedness.
[See larger version]For this Keppel was much blamed, as it was considered that the papers might have been made out in order to deceive him. The number of the French fleet, however, soon proved to be correct, for, during Keppel's absence, it sailed out of Brest, under the command of Admiral D'Orvilliers. Keppel, returning with his squadron augmented to thirty vessels of the line, found D'Orvilliers out at sea, and the Lively, twenty-gun brig, which he had left to watch the motions of the French, surprised by them in a fog, and captured. On the 27th of July Keppel came up with D'Orvilliers off Ushant, and instantly gave battle. The two fleets passed each other on different tacks, keeping up a furious cannonade for two hours. Keppel then signalled his second in command, Sir Hugh Palliser, to wear round and renew the attack; but Palliser had received so much injury, that he could not or did not obey the signal. Keppel, therefore, bore down to join Palliser's division, and formed afresh for the fight. But by this time D'Orvilliers was making for Brest as fast as he could, claiming a victory. Night came down, and the next morning the French fleet was nearly out of sight. On this, Keppel returned to England to refit, much out of humour with Palliser.
CHAPTER VIII. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).
TRICOTEUSE, OR KNITTING WOMAN, OF THE NATIONAL CONVENTION.Nor were the fears of Cobbett imaginary. The Ministry at this time were such fanatics in tyranny, that they would have rejoiced to have thus caged the great political lion, and kept him in silence. At this very moment they had pounced upon one who was equally clever in his way, and who had, perhaps, annoyed them still more, but whom they did not so much fear to bring into a court of justice. This was William Hone, who had for some time been making them the laughing-stock of the whole nation by his famous parodies. Hone was a poor bookseller in the Old Bailey, who had spent his life in the quest after curious books, and in the accumulation of more knowledge than wealth. His parodies had first brought him into notice, and it did not appear a very formidable thing for the Government to try a secluded bookworm not even able to fee counsel for his defence. His trial did not come on at the Guildhall till the 18th of December, and then it was evident that the man of satirical fun meant to make a stout fight. The judge, Mr. Justice Abbott, and the Attorney-General, Sir Samuel Shepherd, from their manner of surveying the accused, did not apprehend much difficulty in obtaining a verdict against him. But they very soon discovered their mistake. The charge against Hone was for having published a profane and impious libel upon the Catechism, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, thereby bringing into contempt the Christian religion. The special indictment was for the publication of John Wilkes's catechism. The Attorney-General did not very judiciously commence his charge, for he admitted that he did not believe that Hone meant to ridicule religion, but to produce a telling political squib. This let out the whole gist of the prosecution, though that was very well perceived by most people before; and it was in vain that he went on to argue that the mischief was just the same. Hone opened his own defence with the awkwardness and timidity natural to a man who had passed his life amid books, and not in courts; but he managed to complain of his imprisonment, his harsh treatment, of his poverty in not being able to fee counsel, of the expense of copies of the informations against him, and of the haste, at last, with which he had been called to plead. The judge repeatedly interrupted him, with a mild sort of severity, and the spectators were expecting him to make a short and ineffective defence. Hone, on the contrary, began to show more boldness and pertinacity. He began to open his books, and to read parody after parody of former times. In vain Mr. Justice Abbott and the Attorney-General stopped him, and told him that he was not to be allowed to add to his offence by producing other instances of the crime in other persons. But Hone told them that he was accused of putting parodies on sacred things into his books, and it was out of his books he must defend himself. The poor, pale, threadbare retailer of old books was now warmed into eloquence, and stood in the most unquestionable ascendency on the floor of the court, reading and commenting as though he would go on for ever; and he did go on for six hours. He declared that the editor of Blackwood's Magazine was a parodisthe parodied a chapter of Ezekiel; Martin Luther was a parodisthe parodied the first Psalm; Bishop Latimer was a parodist; so was Dr. Boys, Dean of Canterbury; so was the author of the "Rolliad;" so was Mr. Canning. He proved all that he said by reading passages from the authors, and he concluded by saying that he did not believe that any of these writers meant to ridicule the Scriptures, and that he could not, therefore, see why he should be supposed to do so more than they. Nay, he had done what they never did: as soon as he was aware that his parodies had given offence he suppressed themand that long ago, not waiting till he was prosecuted. They, in fact, were prosecuting him for what he had voluntarily and long ago suppressed. The Attorney-General, in reply, asserted that it would not save the defendant that he had quoted Martin Luther and Dr. Boys, for he must pronounce them both libellous. The judge charged the jury as if it were their sacred duty to find the defendant guilty; but, after only a quarter of an hour's deliberation, they acquitted him.