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    Here he heard his faithful servants, Duroc and Daru, whispering, as they thought he slept, of their critical situation, and caught the words "prisoner of State." On this, he started up, and demanded whether the reports of his Ministers were yet burnt, and being answered in the negative, he had both them and all documents which could give information of his affairs to the enemy put into the fire. Segur says that amongst these were materials for writing his life, for, like C?sar, he had determined to be his own historian. In tracing the map for a passage over the Beresina, his eye caught the word Pultowa, and he said, "Ah! Charles XII.Pultowa!"

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    Scarcely were the elections over when a strike took place amongst the working cotton-spinners in Manchester. Food was dear, and the rate of wages was not in any proportion to the dearness. The men who turned out paraded the streets, and, as is generally too much the spirit of strikes, endeavoured forcibly to compel the workmen of other factories to cease working too. The magistrates, on the 1st of September, issued a proclamation, that they were determined to resist such attempts, and to punish the offenders. Sir John Byng, the same who had favoured the endeavours of Oliver in Yorkshire, commanded the forces there, and every precaution was taken to secure the factories still in work. On the very next day the spinners were joined by a great mob from Stockport, and they endeavoured to break into Gray's mill, in Ancoat's Lane, and force the men to cease. But there was a party of soldiers placed within in expectation of the attack, and they fired on the assailants, and killed one man and wounded two others. The troops then dispersed the mob, which was said to have amounted to at least thirty thousand men. This ended the strike and[138] the rioting for the time. The coroner's jury pronounced the death of the man justifiable homicide, and Ministers congratulated themselves on the speedy end of the disturbance. But the elements of fresh ones were rife in the same districts. The country was by no means in the prosperous condition that they had represented it.

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    Under Sir Joshua Reynolds a perfect revolution in the art of painting, as practised in England, was effected. He threw aside past traditional fashions, and returned to nature; and his portraits at once excited the consternation of the painters of the day, and placed him in the very first rank of artists. In 1768 was established the Royal Academy, and amongst its foreign members were Benjamin West and Angelica Kauffmann. West produced all his great works in England, and, however much they may now be criticised, they showed an advance on past art in England, and had the merit of introducing modern costume for modern heroes, as in the "Death of General Wolfe," contrary to the advice of even Reynolds himself. Barry made a spasmodic attempt to lead the public back to what he deemed the classical, but in vain; and the successive appearance of Wilson, Gainsborough, and Opie, in different styles, but all genuinely English, established the public in its attachment to the true English school. Wilson, during his lifetime, indeed, was neglected, and died in poverty; but the next generation made the amende to his fame, though too late for his own enjoyment of it. To[202] Paul Sandby we owe the origin of the water-colour school, which afterwards grew so extensive and so rich in production. Amongst eminent painters of this portion of the reign we must mention Wright of Derby, Mortimer, Stubbs and Sawrey, animal painters, and Copley, who, though an American by birth, produced most of his works in England.

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    What You Want To Know

    A great portion of the present Session was[143] occupied with discussing the return to cash payments, which, by the Act of Parliament, ought to take place on the 5th of July of this year. It appears that no less than fifty debates and conversations in both Houses took place on this important subject during the Session. Very soon after the meeting of Parliament a secret committee of each House was appointed to inquire into the state of the Bank. These committees were, however, so managed, by delivering to the members lists of suitable persons for such committees, that scarcely any but Ministerial men were voted, though these votes were given by ballot. In the Commons this result was so evident that the Opposition declined to vote at all. The first reports of the committees went rather to close more strictly than to open the issue of gold by the Bank. It had been paying in gold its notes issued previous to January, 1817. This payment it was proposed to stop, as, at present, evidently injurious to the interests of the country. Mr. Peel, on moving for a Bill for this purpose, stated that the gold at the present price was fast finding its way abroad, and was as rapidly absorbed in re-minting a gold coinage for France. It appeared that during the first half of 1818 gold to the value of no less than one hundred and twenty-eight million francs had been coined at the French mint, of which three-fourths were derived from the gold coinage of England. A Bill was accordingly passed to stop payment altogether in gold till the necessary preparations were made by a fresh Bill. Still, the condition of the Bank was represented as flourishing. Its liabilities were stated in January, 1819, as amounting to thirty-three million eight hundred and ninety-four thousand five hundred and eighty pounds; its assets, including the debt due from Government, fifty-three million seven hundred and eighty-three thousand seven hundred pounds. The total Bank surplus appeared to be nineteen million eight hundred and eighty-nine thousand one hundred and twenty pounds; and its surplus, independent of the Government debt, and therefore available for current use, was five million two hundred and two thousand three hundred and twenty pounds. The committees adopted the scheme broached by Mr. Ricardo in his "Proposals for an Economical and Secure Currency," published in 1816. This was that the Bank, in the first instance, should not pay for its notes in gold coin, but in ingots of a certain weight, its fineness being attested by a stamp; and this degree of purity should be regulated from time to time till the gold descended to the Mint price of three pounds seventeen shillings and tenpence-halfpenny per ounce. When the Mint gold at length reached this rate of value, then the payment in coin was to be begun. Resolutions to this effect were moved by the Earl of Harrowby on the 21st of May, and they received the approval, not only of the Ministerial side, but of the leading Opposition members, Lords Grenville, Lansdowne, and King.

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