Music advanced at an equal rate with its sister arts, and during this period added to its conquests the compositions of Purcell and Handel. William was too much engaged in war to become a patron of music, or of any of the fine arts, and his queen, Mary, does not appear to have possessed much taste for it. She is related by Sir[155] John Hawkins to have sent for Purcell and Mrs. Arabella Hunt, a famous singer, to entertain her. Mrs. Hunt sang some of Purcell's splendid compositions, and Purcell accompanied them on the harpsichord; but Mary soon grew weary of these, and called on Mrs. Hunt to sing the Scottish ballad, "Cold and Raw!"

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.

The effect was immediately shown by a rapid rise of prices, wheat becoming one hundred and three shillings a quarter. But this did not satisfy the land-owners, and Mr. Western, in 1816, introduced no less than fourteen resolutions to make more stringent the exclusion of foreign corn. It was openly declared "that excessive taxation renders it necessary to give protection to all articles, the produce of our own soil, against similar articles, the growth of foreign countries." Mr. Barham declared that "the country must be forced to feed its own population. No partial advantage to be derived from commerce could compensate for any deficiency in this respect. The true principle of national prosperity was an absolute prohibition of the importations of foreign agricultural produce, except in extreme cases;" and on this ground it was proposed to exclude foreign rape-seed, linseed, tallow, butter, cheese, etc. "NAPOLEON."

Napoleon marched triumphantly forwards towards Berlin. In Leipzic he confiscated British merchandise to the value of about three millions sterling. He entered Berlin on the 27th of October. As he traversed the field of Rossbach, where Frederick the Great had annihilated a French army, he ordered his soldiers to destroy the small column that commemorated that event. He took up his residence in the palace of the King of Prussia at Berlin. The wounded and blind Duke of Brunswick entreated of the conqueror that his hereditary State of Brunswick might be left him, but Buonaparte refused in harsh and insulting terms. Moreover, he ordered his troops to march on that territory and town, and the dying duke was compelled to be carried away on a litter by men hired for the purpose, for all his officers and domestics had deserted him. Buonaparte had a particular pleasure in persecuting this unhappy man, because he was brother-in-law to George III. and father-in-law to the heir to the British Crown; but he also wanted his dukedom to add to the kingdom of Westphalia, which he was planning for his brother Jerome. The duke's son requested of Buonaparte leave to lay his body in the tomb of his ancestors, but the ruthless tyrant refused this petition with the same savage bluntness, and the young duke vowed eternal vengeance, and, if he did not quite live to discharge his oath, his black Brunswickers did it at Waterloo. [See larger version]

As Ministers did not resign on being placed in a minority the third time, rumours were industriously circulated by their opponents that they meant to rule the country despotically; that they were about to dissolve Parliament the second time, and had resolved to maintain the army on their[381] own responsibility, without the Mutiny Act. On the 2nd of March Lord John Russell, referring to these rumours, gave notice that he intended to bring forward the Irish Appropriation question, and the question of Municipal Reform. It was for a test of this kind that Sir Robert Peel waited. In the meantime he denied that he had any such intentions as those ascribed to him, and compelled Mr. Hume to withdraw his proposal to limit the supplies to three months. He promised that Government would bring in a Bill on the Irish Church; but it would adhere strictly to the principle that ecclesiastical property should be reserved for ecclesiastical purposes. He declared they would be prepared to remedy all real abuses when the report of the Commissioners appointed for their investigation was received.

On the 22nd the Commons went into committee on this subject, and Mr. Tierney then proposed that both the establishment at Windsor and the salary to the Duke of York should be paid out of the Privy Purse or other private funds of the Crown. There was a private property belonging to the Crown of one hundred and forty thousand pounds a year, and surely this was sufficient to defray the charge of the necessary care of the king's person. He reminded the House also of the sums which had been voted for the royal family since 1811. Besides fifty thousand pounds a year set apart for the debts of the Prince Regent, he had a privy purse of sixty thousand pounds a year, besides an additional grant of ten thousand pounds a year made since. The king had also a privy purse of sixty thousand pounds a year, with an additional revenue of ten thousand pounds from the Duchy of Lancaster. Surely, out of all these sums, there must be ample means of taking care of the king's person. To all these second statements Mr. Peelafterwards the Sir Robert who began his political career in the ranks of high Toryismreplied that the Duke of York would accept no salary which came from the Privy Purse, and he quoted Sheridan and Adam, old friends of the Prince Regent, and staunch Whigs, who had zealously advocated the sacredness of the Privy Purse. When the vote was taken for the disposal of the sum for the Windsor establishment, it was carried by two hundred and eighty against one hundred and eighty-six, a sufficient proof that in the new Parliament the Government possessed a strong majority. On the 25th the proposal to confer on the Duke of York ten thousand pounds per annum, for this charge of his own father's person, was also carried by a still larger majoritytwo hundred and forty-seven against one hundred and thirty-seven. In the debate, Denman and Brougham opposed the vote, and Canning supported it. In the House of Peers Lords Grey, Lansdowne, and other Whig peers opposed the vote of the ten thousand pounds to the Duke of York. And truly, in private life, it would not have seemed very filial conduct for a man, already possessing a large income, to require a great annual payment for discharging the simple duty of seeing that his aged father, a gentleman also of ample means, was well looked after.