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Buonaparte apparently lost no time, after his return to Paris from Sch?nbrunn, in communicating to Josephine the fact that the business of the divorce and the new marriage was settled. On the 30th of November, 1809, he opened the unpleasant reality to her in a private interview, and she fell into such violent agitation, and finally into so deep a swoon, as to alarm Napoleon. He blamed Hortense for not having broken the matter to her three days before, as he had desired. But however much Napoleon might be affected at this rude disruption of an old and endeared tie, his feelings never stood in the way of his ambitious plans. The preparations for the divorce went on, and on the 15th of December a grand council was held in the Tuileries on the subject. At this important council all the family of Napoleon, his brothers and sisters, now all kings and queens, were summoned from their kingdoms to attend, and did attend, except Joseph from Spain, Madame Bacciochi鈥攖hat is, Elise鈥攁nd Lucien, who had refused to be made a king. Cambac茅r猫s, now Duke of Parma and arch-chancellor of the Empire, and St. Jean d'Ang茅ly, the Minister of State, attended to take the depositions. Napoleon then said a few words expressive of his grief at this sad but necessary act, of affection for and admiration of the wife he was about to put away, and of his hope of a posterity to fill his throne, saying he was yet but forty, and might reasonably expect to live to train up children who should prove a blessing to the empire. Josephine, with a voice choked with tears, arose, and, in a short speech, made the act a voluntary one on her part. After this the arch-chancellor presented the written instrument of divorce, which they signed, and to which all the family appended their signatures. This act was presented to the Senate the very next day by St. Jean d'Ang茅ly, and,[3] strangely enough, Eugene Beauharnais, Josephine's son, was chosen to second it, which he did in a speech of some length. The Senate passed the necessary Senatus Consultum, certifying the divorce, and conferring on Josephine the title of empress-queen, with the estate of Navarre and two millions of francs per annum. They also voted addresses to both Napoleon and Josephine of the most complimentary character. This being done, Napoleon went off to St. Cloud, and Josephine retired to the beautiful abode of Malmaison, near St. Germains, where she continued to reside for the remainder of her life, and made herself beloved for her acts of kindness and benevolence, of which the English d茅tenus, of whom there were several at St. Germains, were participants.

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On the 21st of June Pitt introduced and carried several resolutions, which formed the basis of his Commutation Act. These went to check smuggling, by reducing the duty on tea from fifty to twelve and a half per cent., and to raise the house and window tax so as to supply the deficiency. A Bill was then passed to make good another deficiency in the Civil List, to the amount of sixty thousand pounds. Early in August Mr. Pitt brought in his India Bill, which differed chiefly from his former one in introducing a Government Board of Commissioners, with power to examine and revise the proceedings of the Court of Directors. This, which afterwards acquired the name of the Board of Control, was opposed by Fox, but passed both Houses with little trouble..
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The two rival Ministers of England became every day more embittered against each other; and Bolingbroke grew more daring in his advances towards the Pretender, and towards measures only befitting a Stuart's reign. In order to please the High Church, whilst he was taking the surest measures to ruin it by introducing a popish prince, he consulted with Atterbury, and they agreed to bring in a Bill which should prevent Dissenters from educating their own children. This measure was sure to please the Hanoverian Tories, who were as averse from the Dissenters as the Whigs. Thus it would conciliate them and obtain their support at the[19] very moment that the chief authors of it were planning the ruin of their party. This Bill was called the Schism Bill, and enjoined that no person in Great Britain should keep any school, or act as tutor, who had not first subscribed the declaration to conform to the Church of England, and obtained a licence of the diocesan. Upon failure of so doing, the party might be committed to prison without bail; and no such licence was to be granted before the party produced a certificate of his having received the Sacrament according to the communion of the English Church within the last year, and of his having also subscribed the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy.?
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Another ground of attack upon the Government at the opening of the Session was their conduct in not bringing up Mr. O'Connell for judgment. It was alleged that they had entered into a corrupt compromise with the great Irish agitator, in order to avert his hostility and secure his support at the elections. This was indignantly denied both by Mr. Stanley and Lord Plunket. They contended that as the Act expired with the Parliament, so did the conviction, and that Mr. O'Connell could not be legally punished. This was the opinion of the law officers of the Crown in Ireland, an opinion in[336] which the English law officers concurred. Mr. Stanley said:鈥"Not only was there no collusion or compromise, but I should have been most glad if Mr. O'Connell could have been brought up for judgment; but then we have been told that we ought not to have dissolved Parliament, because by so doing Mr. O'Connell had escaped. Now, no man can be more sensible than I am of the importance of showing to the people of Ireland that if Mr. O'Connell chooses to go beyond the law, he is not above the law; but, without meaning the slightest disrespect to Mr. O'Connell, I must say that if I put on the one hand the success of a great and important measure like the Reform Bill, and on the other the confinement of Mr. O'Connell in his Majesty's gaol of Kilmainham for three, six, or nine months, I must say that what became of Mr. O'Connell was as dust in the balance. Besides, the impression of the supremacy of the law was made upon the people by the fact of the verdict having been obtained against him, and an immediate change was wrought in the system of agitation, which, indeed, ceased. Such being the case, the question of what might be the personal consequences to any individual by the dissolution became of still less importance than it was before.".
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When these infamous doings were known in England, a feeling of horror and indignation ran through the country. The East India Company was compelled to send out Lord Pigot to Madras to do what Clive had so vigorously done in Bengal鈥攃ontrol and reverse the acts of the Council. Pigot most honourably acquitted himself; liberated the outraged Nabob of Tanjore and his family, and restored them. But Pigot had not the same overawing name as Clive. The Council of Madras seized him and imprisoned him, expelling every member of the Council that had supported him. This most daring proceeding once more astonished and aroused the public feeling of England. An order was sent out to reinstate Lord Pigot, but, before it arrived, his grief and mortification had killed him. Sir Thomas Rumbold, a most avaricious man, was appointed to succeed him, and arrived in Madras in February, 1778, Major-General Hector Munro being Commander-in-Chief, and the army of Hyder, one hundred thousand in number, already again menacing the frontiers..
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Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow?"
On the 29th of November Flood moved for leave to bring in a Bill for the more equal representation of the people. This was the scheme of the Volunteer Parliament, and all the delegates to the Convention who were members of the House, or had procured admittance as spectators, appeared in uniform. The tempest that arose is described as something terrific. The orders of the House, the rules of debate, the very rules of ordinary conduct amongst gentlemen, were utterly disregarded. The fury on both sides was uncontrollable. The motion was indignantly rejected by one hundred and fifty-seven votes against seventy-seven; and the House immediately voted a cordial Address to his Majesty, declaring their perfect satisfaction with the blessings enjoyed[311] under his auspicious reign, and the present happy Constitution, and their determination to support him with their lives and fortunes. On the 13th of March Mr. Flood introduced his Bill once more, for equalising the representation of the people in Parliament. It proposed to abolish the right of boroughs altogether to send members, and to place the franchise in the people at large. Sir John Fitzgibbon, the Attorney-General, stoutly opposed it; Grattan dissented from it, and it was thrown out on the motion to commit it.
These things did not pass without remark by the Opposition. Pulteney and Bolingbroke discussed them with much vigour and acrimony in The Craftsman. It was asserted in the House that the public burthens had increased instead of diminished since 1716; but Walpole contended that there had been a reduction of debt to the amount of two million five hundred thousand pounds; and his statement was supported by a large majority, and it was laid before the king. The Opposition then demanded an explanation of the expenditure of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds for secret service money. It was well understood that Walpole had used the greater part of it in buying up that triumphant majority which enabled him to carry the most[59] obnoxious measures. The demands of the Opposition were so vehement, and the abuse was so glaring, that even Walpole was embarrassed how to get rid of the question. He could only recur to the old plea, that the money had been spent on services highly advantageous to the State, but which could not properly be made public. Suddenly events lifted him out of his difficulty. News arrived that the King of Spain, who declined to ratify the preliminaries of peace entered into at Vienna, on hearing of the death of George I., hoping for a revolution, had now given way, and had issued what was called the Act of Pardo, ratifying the preliminaries, and referring all remaining difficulties to be settled at a congress to be held at Soissons.
21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
The best!