He first published an engraving of "The Small Masquerade Ticket, or Burlington Gate," in ridicule of Lord Burlington's architecture, and of Pope's eulogiums on Burlington and satire of the Duke of Chandos. He illustrated "Hudibras," and produced a satirical plate, "The Taste of the Times," in 1724; and, some years after, "The Midnight Conversation" and "Southwark Fair." Not content with the fame which this vein, so peculiarly his own, was bringing him, he had the ambition to attempt the historical style, but this was a decided failure. In 1734, however, he came out in his full and peculiar strength in "The Harlot's Progress." The melancholy truth of this startling drama, mingled with touches of genuine humour, seized at once on the minds of all classes. It became at once immensely popular; it was put on the stage, and twelve hundred subscriptions for the engravings produced a rich harvest of profit. In the following year he produced "The Rake's Progress," which, though equally clever, had not the same recommendation of novelty. In 1744 he offered for sale the original paintings of these subjects, as well as "The Four Times of the Day," and "The Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn;" but here he felt the effects of the sturdy English expression of his sentiments on art, and his distributing of an engraving of "The Battle of the Pictures," as a ticket of admission, gave great offence to painters and their patrons. The whole sum received was only four hundred and twenty-seven pounds. Undaunted by his self-injuring avowal of his opinions, he offered in 1750 the pictures of "Marriage la Mode" for sale, but put forth an advertisement in such caustic terms, as he reflected on the result of his former auction, that he effectually kept away purchasers, and obtained only a hundred and twenty pounds for what Mr. Angerstein afterwards gave a thousand pounds for. His "March to Finchley" being sent for the royal inspection, so impressed George II. with the idea that it was a caricature of his Guards, that, though the engraving of it was dedicated to him, he ordered the picture out of his sight, with expressions of great indignation. Hogarth quietly substituted the name of the King of Prussia in the dedication, as "an encourager of the arts."

The Ministry were now involved in a transaction which produced them a plentiful crop of unpopularity. The country was already highly disappointed by the character of the financial measures, and now saw them engaged in an attempt to gratify the domestic resentments of the Prince of Wales. We have already alluded to the[520] disreputable circumstances attending his marriage with the Princess Caroline of Brunswick. After little more than a year's cohabitation they separated, but not before a daughter was born. So long as the Pitt Administration continued, all offensive measures of a public nature were warded from the unfortunate princess. The king had always been her decided protector; but now the Whigs came in, who had ever been in alliance with the Prince of Wales, and that exemplary gentleman conceived hopes that he might rid himself of her. The public had been for some time scandalised by disputes between the prince and princess as to a proper separate allowance for her, and concerning the prince's endeavours to deprive her of the company of her own child; but, as he had not succeeded in taking away the infant, rumours were soon industriously spread that the princess, at Blackheath, was leading a very disreputable life. All that they could gather up or construe to the princess's disadvantage was duly communicated to the Duke of Sussex, and by the duke to his brother, the prince. In 1805 they had supplied their employer or employers with a most startling story of the princess's having been delivered of a son, whom she was openly keeping in her house, under pretence that it was the child of a poor woman of the name of Austin, which she had adopted. Immediate steps were taken privately to get up a case. On the 24th of May Lord Chancellor Erskine read the written statements to the king, who decided that a private inquiry should take place; that the house of Lord Grenville should be selected as the proper scene, and that Lords Erskine, Spencer, Grenville, and Ellenborough should undertake the inquiry and report to him upon it. This meeting and inquiry took place, accordingly, on the 1st of June. Romilly attended. The servants were examined, and appear, according to Romilly's diary, to have uniformly given the most favourable testimony to the conduct of the princess. Further: the reputed mother of the child, Sophia Austin, was examined, and proved that the child was veritably her own; had been born at the Brownlow Street Hospital on the 11th of July, 1802, and had been taken to the princess's house on the 15th of November, adopted by her, and had remained there ever since. "The result," says Romilly, "was a perfect conviction on my mind, and, I believe, on the minds of the four lords, that the child was the child of Sophia Austin." This affair of the Princess of Wales was not terminated till the end of January, 1807. When the report was laid before the king, he referred it to the Cabinet, and they advised him to send a written message to the princess, acquitting her of the main charge, but observing that he saw in the depositions of the witnesses, and even in her own letter to him, defending her conduct, evidence of a deportment unbecoming her station. The odium excited against the Ministry by these un-English proceedings was intense, especially amongst women, all over the country.

There is no doubt that his great object was through life to inspire his Roman Catholic countrymen with a consciousness of their physical power, supplanting the slavish spirit that had been inspired by the penal code. He was accustomed to say that for every shilling of "rent" there was a man, and the man could grasp a weapon, and put forth a power that slumbered in his right arm. In fact, this mighty political conjurer produced all his spells by invoking this phantom of physical force; nor did he invoke it in vain, for it was that phantom that ultimately terrified the most determined supporters of the Protestant ascendency into surrender to the principle of civil equality. The Catholic Association, in its origin, was treated with contempt, and even Catholics themselves spoke of it with derision; but as it proceeded in its operations, the speeches that were weekly delivered produced an effect which daily increased. The Catholic aristocrat was made to feel that his ancient blood, which slavery had made stagnant in his veins, was of no avail; the Catholic merchant was taught that his coffers filled with gold could not impart to him any substantial importance, when every needy corporator looked down upon him from the pedestal of his aristocratic religion; the Catholic priest was informed that he had much occasion to put the lessons of humility inculcated by the Gospel into practice, when every coxcomb minister of the Establishment could, with impunity, put some sacerdotal affront upon him. In short, from the proudest nobleman down to the meanest serf, the whole body of Roman Catholics were rendered sensible of their inferior place in the State. The stigma was pointed atmen became exasperated at their grievances when they were roused to their perception; a mirror was held up to Ireland, and when she beheld the brand upon her forehead, she began to burn. Reviled as the Catholic demagogues have been, still did they not accomplish great things when they succeeded in marshalling and bringing the whole population of the country into array? The English people had been previously taught to hold the Irish Catholics in contempt; but when they saw that such an immense population was actuated by one indignant sentiment, and was combined in an impassioned, but not the less effectual, organisation, and, above all, when they perceived 1,000 a week pouring into the exchequer, their alarm was excited, and, although their pride was wounded, they ceased to despise where they had begun to fear. The wonders which were achieved in Waterford, in Armagh, in Monaghan, and in Louth, may be referred to the system of energy which had been adopted.

The removal of this popular and "chivalrous" Viceroy caused universal expressions of grief among the Roman Catholic party. In the Association, O'Connell and Sheil spoke in the most glowing terms of his character and his administration. He quitted Ireland on the 19th of January, 1829, followed from the Castle gates to the pier at Kingstown by an immense concourse of people. In a letter to Dr. Curtis Lord Anglesey gave an extraordinary parting advice for a chief ruler of Ireland, "Agitateagitateagitate!" He was succeeded by the Duke of Northumberland, a man not at all likely to trouble his chief with controversy about anything. His appointment, however, brought back the Conservative aristocracy to the Castle, and had a soothing effect on the Protestant mind, while his administration was mild towards the other party.

On the 9th of January, a month after their arrival, Lord Derwentwater was impeached of high treason by Mr. Lechmere in a bitter speech in the Commons. Other members, with equal acrimony, followed with impeachments against the Lords Widdrington, Nithsdale, Wintoun, Carnwath, Kenmure, and Nairn. The impeachments were carried up to the House of Lords on the same day, and on the 19th the accused noblemen were brought before the Peers, where they knelt at the bar until they were desired to rise by the Lord Chancellor, when, with the exception of Lord Wintoun, they confessed their guilt, and threw themselves on the mercy of the king. Sentence of death was immediately pronounced on those who had pleaded guilty; and Lord Wintoun was condemned after trial, but several months later he effected his escape from the Tower. Every effort was made to save the prisoners, and they were all reprieved, with the exception of Derwentwater, Kenmure, and Nithsdale. The first two were executed; but the Countess of Nithsdale, being about to take her leave of her husband, contrived, by introducing some friends, to secure his escape in female attire.

The number of Railway Acts passed during the first half of the century was more than 1,000; and the sums which Parliament authorised the various companies to expend in the construction of railways from 1826 to 1849 amounted to the enormous total of 348,012,188, the yearly average being 14,500,508. The Liverpool and Manchester Company was the first that contemplated the conveyance of passengers, which, however, was regarded as a sort of subsidiary traffic, that might produce some 20,000 a year, the main reliance being on the conveyance of raw cotton, manufactured goods, coals, and cattle. It need not be remarked how widely the result differed from their anticipation. The receipts from passengers in 1840 amounted to 343,910, and it was estimated that the saving to the public on that line[421] alone was nearly a quarter of a million annually. But as yet the system was in its infancy, though the broad gauge had been introduced by Brunel in 1833.

Accordingly, Charles could do nothing but maintain his position for the present in Scotland, and send off a messenger to France to announce his wonderful success, and to urge that now was the moment to hasten over troops and supplies, and secure the Crown and friendship of England for ever. He sent over Mr. Kelly to the French Court and to his father, and for a moment there was a lively disposition at Versailles to strike the blow. The king immediately despatched some supplies of money and arms, some of which were seized by English cruisers, and some of which arrived safely. There was also a talk of sending over Charles's brother, Henry, Duke of York, at the head of the Irish regiments and of others, and active preparations were made for the purpose at Dunkirk. But again this flash of enthusiasm died out, and Charles, three weeks after Kelly, sent over Sir James Stewart to aid him in his solicitations. But all was in vain. The French again seemed to weigh the peril of the expedition, and on their part complained that the Jacobites showed no zeal in England, without which the invasion would be madness. Thus the time went by, till the Dutch and English troops landed in England, and the opportunity was lost.

When the House met again, Pitt moved for leave to bring in his Bill for the better government and management of the affairs of the East India Company. He was aware, he said, how certain men would triumph when he informed them that he had based his intended measures on the resolutions of the proprietors of India stock. He was so miserably irresolute, he said, as not to venture on a Bill founded on violence and disfranchisement. He was so weak as to pay respect to chartered rights; and he had not disdained, in proposing a new system of government, to consult those who had the greatest interest in the matter, as well as the most experience in it. These were all hard hits at Fox and his party. In his Bill he went on the principle of placing the commerce of India chiefly under the control of the Company itself; but the civil and military government, he admitted, required some other control than that of the Company, yet even this, in his opinion, ought to be established in accordance with the convictions of the Company. In truth, it was a Bill rather calculated to win the good will of the East India Company than to reform the abuses of that body and to protect the interests of the natives. Fox, with as much truth as personal feeling, designated the Bill as the wisdom of an individual opposed to the collective wisdom of the Commons of England.


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