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    There were some circumstances, however, which came out that created considerable suspicion and displeasure in Ireland. Wood had given a bribe to the king's mistress, the Duchess of Kendal, to procure him the contract, and the Government had ordered the coinage without paying the Irish Privy Council and Lord-Lieutenant the compliment of consulting them on this occasion. Swift saw these errors, and seized on them for his own purposes. He did not stop to inquire whether, after all, the proposed coinage would not, in any circumstances, be much better than the present distressing scarcity of copper money, and whether the farthings and halfpence might not turn out as good, though they were contracted for. It was enough for him that there was a cause of discontent which he could fan into a flame against the British Government. He threw all his spiteful soul into it, and his "Drapier's Letters" inflamed the public mind to such a degree that Walpole was compelled to cancel the patent.
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    The difficulty which Buonaparte had created for himself by the usurpation of the thrones of Spain and Portugal, had the direct result which his wisest counsellors foresaw. Austria immediately began to watch the progress of the Peninsular struggle, and the resistance of the Spanish people; and the stepping of Great Britain into that field induced her to believe that the opportunity was come for throwing off the French yoke, and avenging her past injuries and humiliations. She had made arrangements by which she could call out an immense population, and convert them into soldiers. But in determining to declare open war against Buonaparte, Austria displayed a woful want of sagacity. To compete with a general like Buonaparte, and a power like France, it needed not only that her armies should be numerous but thoroughly disciplined. Nothing could have been lost by a little delay, but much might be gained. If Buonaparte succeeded in putting down the insurrection in Spain, he would then fall on Austria with all his victorious forces; if he did not succeed, but his difficulties increased, then every day that Austria waited was a day of strength to her. Russia, which was nominally at peace with Buonaparte, but which at heart was already determined on breaking the connection, saw, with just alarm, this precipitate movement of Austria. If she rose at once, Alexander was bound by treaty to co-operate in putting her down; if she deferred her enterprise for awhile, there was every probability that they could issue forth together against the common disturber. If Austria made a rash blow and were prostrated, Russia would then be left alone; and Alexander knew well, notwithstanding Napoleon's professions, that he would lose little time in demanding some concession from him.
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    But at length the Legislature adopted a measure which attempted to go to the root of one of the greatest evils that afflicted Ireland. This was a Bill for facilitating the transfer of encumbered estates, which was passed into law, and is generally known as the Encumbered Estates Act. It was introduced by the Solicitor-General, Sir Samuel Romilly, on the 26th of April. Nothing could be more unsatisfactory than the state of landed property in that country. Many of the estates had been in Chancery for a long series of years, under the management of receivers, and periodically let at rack-rents. Many others which were not in Chancery were so heavily mortgaged that the owners were merely nominal. Others again were so tied up by family settlements, or held by such defective titles, that they could not be transferred. Consequently, a great portion of the landed property of the country was in such a condition that capital could not be invested in it, or expended on it. The course of proceeding in Chancery was so slow, so expensive, so ruinous, and the court was so apparently incapable of reform, that nothing could be expected from that quarter. The Government, therefore, proposed to establish a commission, invested with all the powers of that court, and capable of exercising those powers in a summary manner, without delay and without expense, so that an encumbered estate could be at once sold, either wholly or in part, and a parliamentary title given, which should be good against all the world. This important measure met with general approval in both Houses. Indeed it was hailed with satisfaction by all classes of the community, with the exception of a portion of the Irish landed gentry. There were three commissioners appointed, lawyers of eminence and experience in connection with land. By a subsequent enactment in 1849, it was regulated as a permanent institution, under the title of the Landed Estates Court; the three commissioners were styled judges, ranking with the judges of the Law Courts. The number of petitions or applications for sale made to this court from the 17th of October, 1849, to the 1st of August, 1850, was 1,085, and of this number those by owners amounted to 177nearly one-sixth of the whole. The rental of the estates thus sought to be sold by the nominal proprietors, anxious to be relieved of their burdens, was 195,000 per annum, and the encumbrances affecting them amounted to no less than 3,260,000. The rental of the estates included in 1,085 applications, made by others not owners, amounted to 655,470 per annum, and the debt upon these amounted to the enormous sum of 12,400,348. One of the estates brought before the court had been in Chancery for seventy years, the original bill having been filed by Lord Mansfield in 1781. The estates were broken up into parcels for the convenience of purchasers, many of whom were the occupying tenants, and the great majority were Irishmen. Generally the properties brought their full value, estimated by the poor-law valuation, not by the rack rents which were set down in the agents' books, but never recovered. The amount of capital that lay dormant in Ireland, waiting for investment in land, may be inferred from the fact that in nine yearsfrom 1849 to 1858the sum of twenty-two millions sterling was paid for 2,380 estates. But in the pacification of Ireland the Act accomplished far less than was hoped by Sir Robert Peel, who practically forced the measure upon the Ministry. Men of capital looked for a fair percentage for their investments: many of them were merchants and solicitors, without any of the attachments that subsisted between the old race of landlords and their tenants, and they naturally dealt with land as they did with other mattersin a commercial spiritand evicted wholesale tenants who were unable to pay.
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    This was no idle threat; the guards at Dublin castle and at the several barracks were doubled; Alborough House, commanding the road to Clontarf, was garrisoned; the streets on the north side of the city were patrolled by parties of soldiers during the night. Three war steamers were placed in the Liffey, with their guns run out, commanding the ground where the meeting was to be held; while the guns at the Pigeon House fort at the mouth of the river, right opposite Clontarf, were so placed as to sweep the road to it. The village was occupied by the 5th Dragoon Guards, the 60th Rifles, the 11th Hussars, the 54th Regiment of Infantry, and a brigade of Royal Horse Artillery; the infantry being commanded by Colonel Fane, the cavalry by Lord Cardigan, and the artillery by Colonel Higgins. The men and horses were provisioned for twenty-four hours, and each soldier was furnished with sixty rounds of ball cartridge. A crisis had now come; a collision between the troops and O'Connell's army of teetotallers was imminent, and even he could have no doubt of the[531] issue. He seemed to stand appalled on the edge of the precipice to which he had brought his deluded followers, and shrinking from the consequences, he made all possible haste to save them. As soon as the proclamation was issued, he called a special meeting of the Repeal Association, and announced that in consequence of the measures taken by the Government, which he denounced as "the most base and imbecile step ever taken," there would be no meeting at Clontarf the next day. He submitted a counter-proclamation, which was adopted and posted up that evening throughout the city beside the Government proclamation. It was also sent by special messengers to the neighbouring towns and villages. The preventive measures taken on both sides were completely successful. No mounted Repealers came in from the country, and though vast multitudes went out from Dublin to view the military demonstrations, their meeting with the Queen's forces was quite amicable. They were allowed to see the spectacle, but they were compelled to move on along the high road, which they did very good-humouredly.
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    The Lords Justices having met, appointed Joseph Addison, afterwards so celebrated as a writer, and even now very popular, as their secretary, and ordered all despatches addressed to Bolingbroke to be brought to him. This was an intimation that Bolingbroke would be dismissed; and that proud Minister, instead of giving orders, was obliged to receive them, and to wait at the door of the Council-chamber with his bags and papers. As the Lords Justices were apprehending that there might be some disturbances in Ireland, they were about to send over Sunderland as Lord-Lieutenant, and General Stanhope as Commander-in-Chief; but they were speedily relieved of their fears by the intelligence that all had passed off quietly there; that the Lords Justices of Ireland, the Archbishop of Armagh, and Sir Constantine Phipps, who had been more than suspected of Jacobitism, had proclaimed the king on the 6th of August, and, to give evidence of their new zeal, had issued a proclamation for disarming Papists and seizing their horses. The proclamation of George passed with the same quietness in Scotland, and no king, had he been born a native, in the quietest times, could have succeeded to the throne more smoothly. Eighteen lords, chiefly Whigs, were nominated by the new king to act as a Council of Regency, pending his arrival, and the Civil List was voted by Parliament.
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    The progress of Great Britain in commerce during the reign of George III. had been extraordinary. At the beginning of the reign the number of British vessels of all kinds amounted to only 7,075, with a tonnage of 457,316 tons; but at the end of the reign the vessels amounted to 30,000, with a tonnage of upwards of 3,000,000 tons. At the commencement of the reign the exports were 14,500,000, and the imports 9,579,159. At the end of the reign the exports had risen to 43,438,989; and the imports to 30,776,810.
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    THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO. (See p. 99.)
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    Sir J. G. Blackwood, created Lord Dufferin.
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