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The middle classes at that time, bent on the acquisition of Parliamentary Reform, were anxious that the movement should be conducted strictly within the bounds of legality, and without producing any social disorders. There was, however, a class of agitators who inflamed popular discontent by throwing the blame of the existing distress on machinery, on capitalists, and on the Government. This course of conduct served to encourage mobs of thieves and ruffians both in town and country, who brought disgrace upon the cause of Reform, and gave a pretext for charging the masses of the people with a lawless spirit and revolutionary tendencies. Carlile and Cobbett were the chief incendiaries. Both were brought to trial; Carlile was fined 2,000 and sentenced to two years' imprisonment, but Cobbett was acquitted as the jury were unable to agree.

All being ready, on the 6th of January Wellington suddenly pushed forward to Gallegos, and[26] on the 8th invested Ciudad Rodrigo. Nothing could be more unexpected by Marshal Marmont, who had never suspected any attack in winter, and had placed his army in cantonments, and had, moreover, sent several divisions to distant points. On the very first evening Wellington stormed an external redoubt called the Great Teson, and established his first parallel. On the 13th he also carried the convent of Santa Cruz, and on the 14th that of San Francisco. He then established his second parallel, and planted fresh batteries. On the 19th he made two breaches, and, hearing that Marmont was advancing hastily to the relief of the place, he determined to storm at once, though it would be at a more serious exposure of life. The assault was rapid and successful, but the slaughter on both sides was very severe. A thousand killed and wounded were reckoned on each side, and one thousand seven hundred prisoners were taken by the British. What made the British loss the heavier was that General Mackinnon and many of his brigade were killed by the explosion of a powder magazine on the walls. General Craufurd of the Light Division, was killed, and General Vandeleur, Colonel Colborne, and Major Napier were wounded. Much ammunition and a battering train were found in Ciudad Rodrigo. Marmont was astounded at the fall of the place. The Spanish Cortes, who had been so continually hampering and criticising Wellington, now created him Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo. He was also, in England, advanced to the dignity of an earl, and an annuity of two thousand pounds was voted him by Parliament.

H. F. Prittle, made Lord Dunally.

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The middle classes at that time, bent on the acquisition of Parliamentary Reform, were anxious that the movement should be conducted strictly within the bounds of legality, and without producing any social disorders. There was, however, a class of agitators who inflamed popular discontent by throwing the blame of the existing distress on machinery, on capitalists, and on the Government. This course of conduct served to encourage mobs of thieves and ruffians both in town and country, who brought disgrace upon the cause of Reform, and gave a pretext for charging the masses of the people with a lawless spirit and revolutionary tendencies. Carlile and Cobbett were the chief incendiaries. Both were brought to trial; Carlile was fined 2,000 and sentenced to two years' imprisonment, but Cobbett was acquitted as the jury were unable to agree.

Mr. O'Connell's avowed principle of action was "moral force." He was in the constant habit of asserting that "the man who commits a crime gives strength to the enemy;" and that no political advantages, however great, should be obtained at the expense of "one drop of Christian blood." Nevertheless, the letters which he was in the habit of addressing to "the people of Ireland,"[286] and which were remarkable for their clearness, force, and emphatic tautology, had always prefixed to them, as a standing motto, Byron's couplet

In all those arts which increase the prosperity of a nation England made the most remarkable progress during this reign. A number of men, springing chiefly from its working or manufacturing orders, arose, who introduced inventions and improvements in practical science, which added, in a most wonderful degree, to the industrial resources of the country. Agriculture at the commencement of the reign was in a sluggish and slovenly condition, but the increase of population, and the augmented price of corn and cattle, led to numerous enclosures of waste lands, and to improvements both in agricultural implements and in the breeds of sheep and cattle. During the thirty-three years of the reign of George II. the number of enclosures averaged only seven per annum, but in the first twenty-five years of the reign of George III. they amounted to forty-seven per annum. During that period the number of enclosures was one thousand one hundred and eighty-six, the number each year rapidly increasing. The value of the produce also stimulated the spirit of improvement in tillage as well as enclosure. Many gentlemen, especially in Northumberland, Kent, Norfolk, and Suffolk, devoted themselves to agricultural science. They introduced rotation of crops instead of fallows, and better manuring, and also cultivated various vegetables on a large scale in the fields which before had generally been confined to the garden, as turnips, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, parsnips, etc. Their example began to be followed by the ordinary class of farmers, and the raising of rents greatly quickened this imitation. At the opening of the reign the rental of land did not exceed ten shillings per acre on an[188] average; the rental of the whole kingdom in 1769 being sixteen million pounds, according to Arthur Young, but in a few years it was nearly doubled. This gentleman, who has left us so much knowledge of the agricultural state of the kingdom in his "Tours of Survey," tells us that, northward especially, the old lumbering ploughs and other clumsy instruments were still in use, instead of the improved ones, and that there was, therefore, a great waste of labour, both of man and beast, in consequence. But still improvement was slowly spreading, and already Bakewell was engaged in those experiments which introduced, instead of the old large-headed and ill-shaped sheep, a breed of superior symmetry, which at once consumed less food and yielded a heavier carcase. It was at first contemptuously said by the old race of farmers and graziers, that Bakewell's new herd of sheep was too dear for any one to purchase and too fat for any one to eat. As he was pursuing his improvements in Leicestershire, Culley prosecuted similar ones in Northumberland in both sheep and cattle.

It was very generally understood that it had been definitely arranged that Lord Londonderry should represent England at the Congress of Verona, and it was universally believed, as we have seen, that this fact weighed on his mind and led to his suicide; but Mr. Gleig states that in consequence of the reluctance expressed by Lord Londonderry to undertake the mission, it had for some time been settled that England should be represented there by the Duke of Wellington, and that he had begun to make his preparations, when a severe illness fell upon him, from which he did not sufficiently recover to set out upon his journey till after Lord Londonderry's death. The Duke of Wellington started for his mission when Mr. Canning had been only forty-eight hours in office. Stress has been laid upon the fact that he received his instructions from Mr. Canning, and this has been declared to be the turning-point in our foreign policy, when England began to disengage herself from the Holy Alliance. She was not formally a party to that alliance, but the despots composing it had counted on her aid and influence in keeping down the nations which they oppressed. But Mr. Gleig states that Lord Londonderry himself had compiled a letter of instruction for the representative of England at the Congress, and that this was transferred without a single alteration to the Duke of Wellington. It is, he says, "a very interesting document. It touches upon every point which could be expected to come under consideration at the Congress, and it handles them all so as to guard with scrupulous care not only the honour of Great Britain, but the rights of foreign peoples as well as of their Governments. It assumes that the subjects of general discussion would be three: first, the Turkish question, external and internal; secondly, the Spanish question, European and American; and, thirdly, the affairs of Italy. With this last question the representative of England was directed not to concern himself at all. As England had been no party to the military occupation of Naples and Sardiniaas she had merely acquiesced in it with a view to prevent worse thingsso she felt herself precluded from advising upon the arrangement now that it was complete, lest by so doing she should appear to admit the justice of a proceeding against which from the outset she had protested. The representative of Great Britain was therefore instructed to hold aloof from all meetings at which Italian affairs were to be discussed, and, if possible, to avoid connecting himself with the Congress till these should have been settled."

ARREST OF MAJOR ANDR. (See p. 278.)