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Another council was immediately summoned to determine on the choice of a new Empress. All had been arranged before between the House of Austria and Napoleon, and the cue was given to the council to suggest accordingly. Eugene Beauharnais was again strangely appointed to propose to Prince Schwarzenberg for the hand of the archduchess, and, having his instructions, his proposal was accepted, and the whole of this formality was concluded in four-and-twenty hours. Josephine set out for her new estate in Navarre, and Marshal Berthier was appointed to act as proxy for his master in the espousals of the bride at Vienna. There were difficulties in the case which, strictly Catholic as the Hapsburg family is, it is surprising that they could be so easily got over, and which show how much that Imperial family was under the control of "the Upstart," as they familiarly styled him amongst themselves. The Pope had been too grievously insulted and persecuted by Buonaparte for it to be possible for him to pronounce the former marriage invalid; had it not been also contrary to the canons of the Church to abrogate marriage, which it regards as an entirely sacred and indissoluble ceremony. To remove this difficulty, it was stated to the Austrian family that Buonaparte's marriage with Josephine had been merely a revolutionary marriage before a magistrate, and therefore no marriage at allthe fact being originally true, but it had ceased to be so some days previous to Buonaparte's coronation, when, to remove the Pope's objection, they had been privately married by Buonaparte's uncle, Cardinal Fesch. The wedding took place at Vienna, on the 11th of March, 1810, and a few days afterwards the young Empress set out for France, accompanied by the Queen of Naples. Buonaparte, who maintained the strictest etiquette at his Court, had had all the ceremonies which were to attend his marriage in Paris arranged with the most minute exactness. He then set out himself to meet his Austrian bride, very much in the manner that he had gone to meet the Pope. Near Soissonsriding alone, and in an ordinary dressBuonaparte met the carriage of his new wife, got in, and went on with her to Soissons and thence to the old chateau of Compigne. The impression among the Roman Catholics after the Clare election was that Emancipation was virtually won. So strong was the feeling of exultation that immediately after, the Catholic rent reached the sum of 2,704 in one week; the next week it was 1,427; and though it soon after sank to 500 a week, it showed the strength of the popular enthusiasm. Liberator Clubs were established in every part of the country. They were branches of the Association; but each had its own peculiar organisation, its internal management, and its working committees. By means of this machinery the whole population of the country could be moved at any moment, and in[287] any direction. This is a very remarkable fact, taken in connection with the theory of the impulsive and fickle character of the Celtic race, their averseness from order and method, and the difficulty of getting them to pursue any course systematically. O'Connell, a man of Celtic blood, was one of the greatest methodisers of his day; and there is scarcely an example in history of any popular leader having wrought an oppressed race, consisting of six millions of people, always prone to division, into an organisation so compact that he could wield the fierce democracy at his will, and bid defiance to the most powerful state in the world to suppress the voluntary system of government he had established. This is, perhaps, the most singular and instructive fact in the whole career of the great agitator.

The affair was now becoming serious, and Hastings demanded to be heard at the bar, where he appeared on the 1st of May, and read a long and wearisome defence, which did not go to a denial of the charges, but a justification of them, from the need of money to save India, and from the approbation awarded to these actions both in India and at the India House. On the 1st of June Burke brought forward his first chargethe Rohilla war. The debate was not finished till seven o'clock on the morning of the 3rd. The motion was rejected by one hundred and nineteen against sixty-seven, and it was fondly hoped that the proceedings against Hastings were altogether crushed. Lord Thurlow advised the king to carry out his intention to make Hastings Baron Daylesford, and the talk in the clubs and West End assemblies was the triumph of Hastings. But the rejoicing was premature. On the 13th of June Fox took up the second chargethe treatment of Cheyte Sing and Francis, with all the bitterness of his character, and of his hatred of Hastings, supported it. So black were the facts now produced that Pitt was compelled to give way. He defended the Governor-General for calling on Cheyte Sing to contribute men and money for the war against Mysore; he lauded the firmness, decision and ability of Hastings, but he was forced to admit that he had been excessive in his demands, and must support the charge.

Under the operation of the Corn Laws the price of wheat rose to one hundred and fifty-six shillings a quarter in 1801, and the enclosure of waste lands kept pace accordingly; and upwards of a million of acres were enclosed every ten years. From 1800 the amount of enclosure in ten years was a million and a half of acres. The rapid increase of population, through the growth of manufactures, and the introduction of canals, as well as the fact that the people at large began to abandon the use of oats and rye in bread, and to use wheat, promoted the growth of that grain immensely. In 1793 Sir John Sinclair established the Board of Agriculture, which was incorporated, and received an annual grant from Parliament. The indefatigable Arthur Young was elected its secretary, and agricultural surveys of the kingdom were made. The reports of these were published, adding greatly to a comprehension of the real state of cultivation. In 1784 Young had commenced the publication of the "Annals of Agriculture," by which invaluable information was diffused, and new prizes were offered by the Board for improvements, and great annual sheep-shearings were held at Woburn and Holkham, by the Duke of Bedford and Mr. Coke, afterwards Lord Leicester, which tended to stimulate the breed of better sheep. The king himself had his model farms, and introduced merino sheep from Spain. It was long, however, before the better modes of ploughing could be introduced amongst the farmers. The Scots were the first to reduce the number of the horses which drew the plough, using only two, whilst in England might still be seen a heavy, clumsy machine drawn by from four to six horses, doing less work, and that work less perfectly.

[See larger version] The first Reform Parliament was dissolved by proclamation on the 30th of December, after an existence of only one year and eleven months. This proceeding was regarded by the Reformers as a sort of political sacrilege; a manifest flying in the face of the people; a clear declaration of an intention to destroy popular rights. But the care bestowed on the registries told strongly in favour of the Conservatives at the English elections. The exertions they made to secure a majority were immense. It was believed at the time that the Carlton Club had expended nearly a million sterling in securing the success of their candidates in every possible way in which money could be made available. In the counties and boroughs the Whigs and Radicals lost about 100 seats, but after all the Conservatives could muster only 302 members; against 356. The contests were unusually numerous and severe, but the Reform Act machinery worked so well that the elections were for the most part conducted in a very orderly manner. In many places the closeness of the poll was remarkable. It was a neck and neck race between the rival candidates. In the metropolitan boroughs the Ministerialists were everywhere defeated. Not one of the sixteen seats in this vast centre of influence could the Government, with all its lavish expenditure, obtain. In some of the provincial towns, howeverBristol, Exeter, Newcastle, Hull, York, Leeds, Halifax, and Warringtona Tory supplanted a Whig. At Liverpool the contest was intensely exciting. During the last hour of polling were seen in every direction vans, gigs, and flies in rapid motion, and the price of a vote rose from 15 to 25. The result was the return of Lord Sandon, a moderate Tory; Sir Howard Douglas, the other Conservative candidate, being defeated by Mr. Ewart. In Lancashire and Hampshire both the Liberal candidates were defeated. Manchester, Birmingham, Bolton, Sheffield, Preston, and most of the manufacturing towns, returned Liberals. On the whole, the Government had a small majority of the five hundred English members. In Scotland, however, the Reform Act had wrought a complete revolution, and the mass of the electors so long excluded from political power used the privileges they had obtained with great zeal in favour of the party to which they were indebted for their enfranchisement. The whole of the burghs, twenty in number, returned Liberal members. Five of the counties were gained by the Tories and three by the Whigs, where respectively they had formerly failed. Glasgow, whose voice had been neutralised by returning one representative of each party, now returned two Liberals. Serious disturbances took place at Jedburgh when Lord John Scott, the Tory candidate, made his appearance. At Hawick, in the same county, the rioting was still worse. The persons who came to vote for him were spit upon, pelted with stones, and severely struck. In some cases they were thrown into the stream that runs through the town, and subjected to the most shocking indignities, which the judges who afterwards tried the cases declared to be "worse than death itself."