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But meanwhile in Italy the French had been completely successful. Buonaparte reached the French headquarters at Nice on the 26th of March, and immediately set himself to organise and inspirit the forces, which were in great disorder; he found the commissariat also in a deplorable condition. The troops amounted to fifty thousand; the Austrians, under the veteran General Beaulieu, to considerably more. The united army of the Sardinians and Austrians, Beaulieu on the left, d'Argenteau in the centre, and Colli with the Piedmontese division on the right, hastened to descend from the Apennines, to which they had retreated at the end of the last campaign. Beaulieu met the French advanced guard at Voltri, near Genoa, on the 11th of April, and drove it back. But d'Argenteau had been stopped in the mountains by the resistance of a body of French, who occupied the old redoubt of Montenotte. Buonaparte, apprised of this, hurried up additional forces to that point, and defeated d'Argenteau before Beaulieu or Colli could succour him. Having now divided the army of the Allies, Buonaparte defeated a strong body of Austrians under General Wukassowich; and having left Colli and the Piedmontese isolated from their Allies, debouched by the valley of Bormida into the plains of Piedmont. Beaulieu retreated to the Po, to stop the way to Milan; and Buonaparte, relieved of his presence, turned against Colli, who was compelled to retreat to Carignano, near Turin. Trembling for his capital, and with his means exhausted, Victor Amadeus made overtures for peace, which were accepted; the terms being the surrender of all the Piedmontese fortresses and the passes of the Alps into the hands of the French, and the perpetual alienation of Nice and Savoy. This humiliation broke the heart of the poor old king, who died on the 16th of October. Buonaparte, however, did not wait for the conclusion of this peace; the truce being signed, he hastened on after Beaulieu whom he defeated and drove across the Po. Beaulieu next posted himself at Lodi, on the Adda; but Buonaparte, after a fierce contest, drove him from the bridge over the Adda on the 10th of May, and with little further opposition pursued him to Milan. Beaulieu still retreated, and threw himself into the fastnesses of the Tyrol. On the 15th Buonaparte made a triumphal entry into Milan, and immediately sent troops to blockade Mantua. Buonaparte then advanced into the Papal States, rifling the Monti de Piet脿 at Bologna and Ferrara. Everywhere contributions were demanded at the point of the bayonet, and French authorities superseded the native ones. Pius VI. made haste to sue for peace, and it was granted on the most exorbitant terms. Fifteen millions of francs must be paid down in cash, six millions in horses and other requisites for the army. A great number of paintings and statues were to be selected from the galleries of art, and five hundred manuscripts from the library of the Vatican. The provinces of Ferrara and Bologna must be ceded; the port and citadel of Ancona, and all the Papal ports, must be closed against the British. This most costly peace was signed on the 23rd of June, and Buonaparte hastened northward to stop the advance of the army of Wurmser, which had been sent through the Tyrol to compete with the rising Corsican.

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Whilst this war was raging in Europe, and carrying its ramifications to the most distant regions of the world, Clive and Eyre Coote were extending the British Empire in India, and, in the case of Clive, with as much ability as Frederick of Prussia showed in enlarging his kingdom in Europe. Clive, in 1757, put down Surajah Dowlah, the Nabob of Bengal, and in June of that year defeated him at Plassey with a mere handful of men against his enormous host. He set up Surajah Dowlah's General-in-chief, Meer Jaffier, and hailed him Nabob of Bengal, Orissa, and Bahar. We claimed from Meer Jaffier two million seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds as the share of the Company, the fleet, and the army. Clive's own share was two hundred and fifty-four thousand pounds, and the shares of the members of the committee ran from twenty thousand to one hundred thousand pounds each. Besides this, it was stipulated that the French factories and effects should be given up to the English, and the French[177] never again allowed to enter Bengal. The territory surrounding Calcutta, within a given distance of the town, was to be granted them on zemindary tenure, the company paying the rent, like the other zemindars or landholders. Thus the British, who were before merely the tenants of a factory, became in reality the rulers of Bengal..
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The Ministers, instead of making rational concessions to the demands of the people for Reform, proceeded without delay to fresh aggressions on their liberties. Not contented with the existing suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and with introducing into the Lords a Bill for the protection of the king's person and Government, they passed a law prohibiting all political meetings, and another to extend the law of treason; they recommenced arrests and prosecutions, and sent out shoals of spies and informers, so that all the safeguards of public liberty were completely annihilated. These despotic measures did not pass without energetic opposition and a good deal of violent language from Fox; but all remonstrance was useless against Pitt's majority. Still the alarm of the Government was not allayed. On the 8th of December the king sent a message to both Houses, reiterating his assurance of an earnest desire to negotiate peace with France. The Opposition very properly pointed out that, so far as France was concerned, victorious in its armies, and as anti-monarchical in its government as ever, there were less hopes of any consent on its part to peace than when the Opposition had so repeatedly urged the same measure. In this unsatisfactory state closed the year 1795.?
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At the opening of the Session of 1836, as we have seen, the king stated in his Speech that a further report of the commission of inquiry into the condition of the poorer classes in Ireland would be speedily laid before Parliament. "You will approach this subject," he said, "with the[404] caution due to its importance and difficulty; and the experience of the salutary effect produced by the Act for the amendment of the laws relating to the poor in England and Wales may in many respects assist your deliberations." On the 9th of February Sir Richard Musgrave moved for leave to bring in a Bill for the relief of the poor in Ireland in certain cases, stating that he himself lived in an atmosphere of misery, and being compelled to witness it daily, he was determined to pursue the subject, to see whether any and what relief could be procured from Parliament. A few days later another motion was made by the member for Stroud for leave to introduce a Bill for the relief and employment of the poor of Ireland; and on the 3rd of March a Bill was submitted by Mr. Smith O'Brien, framed upon the principles of local administration by bodies representing the ratepayers, and a general central supervision and control on the part of a body named by the Government, and responsible to Parliament. On the 4th of May Mr. Poulett Scrope, a gentleman who had given great attention to questions connected with the poor and the working classes, moved a series of resolutions affirming the necessity for some provision for the relief of the Irish poor. Lord Morpeth was then Chief Secretary; and in commenting upon these resolutions in the House of Commons, he admitted "that the hideous nature of the evils which prevailed amongst the poorer classes in Ireland called earnestly for redress, and he thought no duty more urgent on the Government and on Parliament than to devise a remedy for them." On the 9th of June following, on the motion for postponing the consideration of Sir Richard Musgrave's Bill, Lord Morpeth again assured the House that the subject was under the immediate consideration of Government, and that he was not without hope of their being enabled to introduce some preparatory measure in the present Session; but, at all events, they would take the first opportunity in the next Session of introducing what he hoped to be a complete and satisfactory measure. Nothing, however, was done during the Session, Government seeming to be puzzled to know what to do with such conflicting testimony on a subject of enormous difficulty.!
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A combination of circumstances invested the accession on the 20th of June, of the Princess Victoria, with peculiar interest. She was the third female Sovereign called to occupy the throne since the Reformation; and like those of Elizabeth and Anne, her reign has served to mark an era in British history. The novelty of a female Sovereign, especially one so young, had a charm for all classes in society. The superior gifts and the amiable disposition of the Princess, the care with which she had been educated by her mother, and all that had been known of her private life and her favourite pursuits, prepared the nation to hail her accession with sincere acclamations. There was something which could not fail to excite the imagination and touch the heart, in seeing one who in a private station would be regarded as a mere girl, just old enough to come out into society, called upon to assume the sceptre of the greatest empire in the world, and to sit upon one of the oldest thrones, receiving the willing homage of statesmen and warriors who had been historic characters for half a century. We are not surprised, therefore, to read that the mingled majesty and grace with which she assumed her high functions excited universal admiration, and "drew tears from many eyes which had not been wet for half a lifetime;" and that warriors trembled with emotion, who had never known fear in the presence of the enemy. When the ceremony of taking the oath of allegiance had been gone through, her Majesty addressed the Privy Council:鈥"The severe and afflicting loss which the nation has sustained by the death of his Majesty, my beloved uncle, has devolved upon me the duty of administering the government of this empire. This awful responsibility is imposed upon me so suddenly, and at so early a period of my life, that I should feel myself utterly oppressed by the burden, were I not sustained by the hope that Divine Providence, which has called me to this work, will give me strength for the performance of it; and that I shall find in the purity of my intentions, and in my zeal for the public welfare, that support and those resources which usually belong to a more mature age and to long experience. I place my firm reliance upon the wisdom of Parliament, and upon the loyalty and affection of my people."
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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