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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 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.
In the report drawn up by Mr. Wyse, the chairman of the select Committee of the House of Commons appointed to inquire into the Foundation Schools in Ireland, in 1837, an interesting history is given of the origin, progress, and working of those obnoxious schools, and of other educational societies which followed. The Incorporated Society for Promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland was established by Royal Charter in 1733, the avowed object being the education of the poor in the principles of the Established Church. It is sufficient to remark that the annual grants which were made to the schools in connection with it (well known as the Charter Schools) were, in consequence of the report of the Commissioners of 1824, gradually reduced, and finally withdrawn. In 1824 there were of those schools 32; the number of children in them amounted to 2,255. The grant for 1825 was 21,615. The grant was gradually reduced to 5,750 in 1832, when it was finally withdrawn. During nineteen years this system cost the country 1,612,138, of which 1,027,715 consisted of Parliamentary grants. The total number of children apprenticed from the beginning till the end of 1824 was only 12,745; and of these but a small number received the portion of 5 each, allotted to those who served out their apprenticeship, and married Protestants. The Association for Discountenancing Vice was incorporated in 1800. It required that the masters and mistresses in its schools should be of the Established Church; that the Scriptures should be read by all who had attained sufficient proficiency; and that no catechism be taught except that of the Established Church. The schools of the Association amounted in 1824 to 226, and the number of children to 12,769; of whom it was stated that 7,803 were Protestants, and 4,804 were Roman Catholics; but the Rev. William Lee, who had inspected 104 of these schools in 1819 and 1820, stated before the Commissioners of 1824 that he had found the catechism of the Church of Rome in many of them. The Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor was founded on the 2nd of December, 1811, and was managed by a committee of various religious persuasions. The principles which they had prescribed to themselves for their conduct were, to promote the establishment and assist in the support of schools in which the appointment of governors and teachers, and the admission of scholars, should be uninfluenced by religious distinctions, and in which the Bible or Testament, without note or comment, should be read by all the scholars who had attained a suitable proficiency in reading, excluding catechisms and books of religious controversy; at the same time it was to be distinctly understood that the Bible or Testament should not be used as a school book from which children should be taught to spell or read. A grant was accordingly made to the society of 6,980, Irish currency, in the Session of 1814-15. The system of this society was manifestly the same as that which was formerly called the Lancastrian system in England, and which, although adopted by the great body of the Protestant Dissenters there, was so much opposed by the bishops and clergy of the Established Church in general, that they completely prevented its application to schools for children of their communion. The Roman Catholic prelates and clergy set themselves with equal resolution against it in Ireland and with equal success. It was accordingly found in 1824, that of 400,348 children whose parents paid for their education in the general schools of the country, and whose religion was ascertained, there were 81,060 Protestants, and 319,288 Roman Catholics; while of 56,201 children educated under the Kildare Place Societyalthough theirs were schools for the poor, and the Roman Catholics bear a much greater proportion to Protestants in the poorer classes than in the higherthere were 26,237 Protestants, and only 29,964 Roman Catholics.
In such very discouraging circumstances the American campaign began. Whilst insurrection was in their camp, Sir Henry Clinton dispatched General Arnold to make a descent upon the coast of Virginia. That general had been dispatched into that quarter, at the close of the year, with one thousand six hundred men, in ships so bad, that they were obliged to fling overboard some of their horses. Arnold, however, first sailed up the river James, and landed at Westover, only twenty-five miles from Richmond, the capital of Virginia. Jefferson, who was Governor of Virginia, was seized with great alarm; for, though the militia of the State were nominally fifty thousand, he could muster only a few hundreds. He therefore hastily collected what property he could, and fled up the country, dreading to fall into the hands of a man so embittered against the Americans as Arnold was, who was himself well aware that they had determined to hang him without mercy if they caught him. Arnold did not allow much time to elapse without action. The next day he was in Richmond, and sent word to Jefferson that, provided British vessels might come up the river to take away the tobacco, he would spare the town. Jefferson rejected the proposal, and Arnold burnt all the tobacco stores and the public buildings, both there and at Westham. After committing other ravages, he returned to Portsmouth, on Elizabeth River, where he entrenched himself. On the 26th of March, General Phillips, having assumed the command, in company with Arnold ascended James River with two thousand five hundred men, took and destroyed much property in Williamsburg and York Town, ravaged the country around, and then sailed to the mouth of the Appomattox, and burnt all the shipping and tobacco in Petersburg. After other depredations, and forcing the Americans to destroy their own flotilla between Warwick and Richmond, Phillips and Arnold descended the James River to Manchester, and proposed to cross over to Richmond. But Lafayette having just reached that place before them with upwards of two thousand men, they re-embarked, and, after destroying much other property, especially shipping and stores, at Warwick and other places, they fell down to Hog Island, where they awaited further orders.Chapter 11
But the minister still refused to see it. He looked him very squarely in the eyes now, however. "See here, I am going to take lemon pop, my friend," he said."Nothing," she answered; "I can't see why it should make any difference to you, when it hasn't with me." She had altogether regained the self-possession she had been surprised out of, with an added note of reserve.
The motion of Fox was negatived by a large majority, and on the 21st of June the king prorogued Parliament.Accordingly, on the 5th of June, the queen proceeded to the House of Lords, and stated in a long speech the terms on which it was proposed to make the peace with Francenamely, that Louis XIV. should acknowledge the Protestant succession and remove the Pretender out of France; that Philip should renounce the Crown of Spain, should that of France devolve on him; and that the kings of both France and Spain should make solemn engagements for themselves and their heirs that the two kingdoms should never be united under one crown; that Newfoundland, with Placentia, Hudson's Bay, Nova Scotia, or Acadia, as it was then termed by the French, as well as Gibraltar, Port Mahon, and the whole island of Minorca, should be ceded to England; that the Spanish Netherlands, Naples, Sardinia, the Duchy of Milan, and the places on the Tuscan coast, formerly belonging to Spain, should be yielded to Austria, the appropriation of Sicily being not so far determined; that France would make the Rhine the barrier of the Empire, yielding up all places beyond it, and razing the fortresses on the German side as well as in the river; that the barriers of Savoy, the Netherlands, and Prussia, should be made satisfactory to the Allies. The Electoral dignity was to be acknowledged in the House of Hanover.