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was at that time unbounded, and their direct political power was very great. A protest on their part, and that of the newly arrived bishop, who was in their interest, could not have failed of effect. The truth was, they did not care to prevent the torture of prisoners of war, not solely out of that spirit of compliance with the savage humor of Indian allies which stains so often the pages of French American history, but also, and perhaps chiefly, from motives purely religious. Torture, in their eyes, seems to have been a blessing in disguise. They thought it good for the soul, and in case of obduracy the surest way of salvation. We have very rarely indeed, writes one of them, seen the burning of an Iroquois without feeling sure that he was on the path to Paradise; and we never knew one of them to be surely on the path to Paradise without seeing him pass through this fiery punishment. * So they let the Wolf burn; but first, having instructed him after their fashion, they baptized him, and his savage soul flew to heaven out of the fire. "Is it not, pursues the same writer, a marvel to see a wolf changed at one stroke into a lamb, and enter into the fold of Christ, which he came to ravage? *** Papiers dArgenson.
When the governor, La Barre, visited Montreal, he found there some two hundred reprobates gambling, drinking, and stealing. If hard pressed by justice, they had only to cross the river and place themselves beyond the seigniorial jurisdiction. The military settlements of the Richelieufor a blessed half hour with bread and milk and prune pudding.
Immediately after this, Fox encouraged the formation of a Society of Friends of the Liberty of the Press, of which Erskine and Horne Tooke were members. As several French emissaries were traversing the country disseminating their opinions, Lord Grenville, on the 19th of December, 1792, introduced a bill into the House of Lords, subjecting aliens to certain regulations not included in the ordinary Alien Bill. All foreigners were to announce themselves on their arrival, and surrender any arms brought with them; they were to take out passports, and to have them visd on every fresh removal through the country, so that their movements might be known to the authorities; those who had arrived during the year 1792 to be particularly observed, and the motives for their coming ascertained; all such foreigners as received allowances from the British Government to be distributed into particular districts, under the eye of the authorities. With some opposition, this Bill was carried. The Marquis of Lansdowne forthwith moved that a negotiation should be immediately opened with the French Government, requiring it to receive back the numerous Frenchmen driven into exile, or to provide for their support, and at the same time to endeavour to save Louis XVI. from the terrible fate which threatened him. This was negatived on the declaration of other lords, who said that both propositions would be useless; the latter one would in all probability hasten, rather than avert, the fate of the French king. In the Commons, Fox and Sheridan strenuously resisted the new Alien Bill, and Burke as vehemently supported it. He declared that no measures of precaution could be too strict; that thousands of daggers had been manufactured in Birmingham for France, and intending to produce a startling effect he drew an actual dagger from his bosom, and flinging it on the floor of the House exclaimed, "That is what you are to obtain from an alliance with France. You must equally proscribe their tenets and their persons; you must keep their principles from your minds, and their daggers from your hearts!" In the French Convention such an action would have created a sensation, but in the matter-of-fact British Parliament it produced only surprise followed by laughter. Fox endeavoured as much as possible to weaken the sense of danger of French principles, though he expressed his abhorrence of the September massacres. The Bill was passed, and was succeeded by one prohibiting the circulation of French assignats, bonds, promissory notes, etc., and another, prohibiting the exportation of naval stores, saltpetre, arms, and ammunition.Though she rarely permitted herself to speak, yet some oracular utterance of the sainted recluse would now and then escape to the outer world. One of these was to the effect that teaching poor girls to read, unless they wanted to be nuns, was robbing them of their time. Nor was she far wrong, for in Canada there was very little to read except formulas of devotion and lives of saints. The dangerous innovation of a printing-press had not invaded the colony, ** and the first Canadian newspaper dates from the British conquest.
his seigniory of Beauport. Before 1663, when the king tookBut besides nascent war, the Anti-Slavery movement of Wilberforce, Pitt's friend, was decidedly adverse to the expected increase of income. The Abolitionists had now begun to abandon the use of slave-grown sugar, and they proposed to extend this to all the produce of the West India islands, till the slave trade should be extirpated. This alarmed Pitt, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and he prevailed on Wilberforce to discourage this project for awhile. The Abolition cause received serious injury from the frightful insurrection which had broken out in St. Domingo, and from the outrages which the insurgent blacks had perpetrated on the whites. Such were held up by the friends of slavery as the natural consequences of novel doctrines of philanthropy. What made the matter more serious was, that Brissot and the worst of the Jacobins were the authors of these bloody tragedies, by their violent advocacy of the universal adoption of the Rights of Man. All these men were enthusiastic applauders of the English Abolitionists. Paine was a prominent Abolitionist; and Clarkson, the right hand of Wilberforce, was an equal admirer of the French Revolution, and gave serious offence by attending a dinner at the "Crown and Anchor," to celebrate the taking of the Bastille. These circumstances had a great effect when Wilberforce, on the 2nd of April, brought in his annual motion for the immediate abolition of the slave trade. Fox and Pitt eloquently supported him; but Dundas, now become Secretary of State, prevailed to introduce into the motion the words "gradual abolition." The Wilberforce party managed to carry a motion in the Commons, for the abolition of the trade to the West Indies, on the 1st of January, 1796; but this was thrown out in the Lords, where it was opposed by the Duke of Clarence, who had been in the West Indies, and thought the descriptions of the condition of the slaves overdrawn. It was also opposed by Thurlow, by Horsley, Bishop of St. Davids, and a considerable majority.
Nor were the fears of Cobbett imaginary. The Ministry at this time were such fanatics in tyranny, that they would have rejoiced to have thus caged the great political lion, and kept him in silence. At this very moment they had pounced upon one who was equally clever in his way, and who had, perhaps, annoyed them still more, but whom they did not so much fear to bring into a court of justice. This was William Hone, who had for some time been making them the laughing-stock of the whole nation by his famous parodies. Hone was a poor bookseller in the Old Bailey, who had spent his life in the quest after curious books, and in the accumulation of more knowledge than wealth. His parodies had first brought him into notice, and it did not appear a very formidable thing for the Government to try a secluded bookworm not even able to fee counsel for his defence. His trial did not come on at the Guildhall till the 18th of December, and then it was evident that the man of satirical fun meant to make a stout fight. The judge, Mr. Justice Abbott, and the Attorney-General, Sir Samuel Shepherd, from their manner of surveying the accused, did not apprehend much difficulty in obtaining a verdict against him. But they very soon discovered their mistake. The charge against Hone was for having published a profane and impious libel upon the Catechism, the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, thereby bringing into contempt the Christian religion. The special indictment was for the publication of John Wilkes's catechism. The Attorney-General did not very judiciously commence his charge, for he admitted that he did not believe that Hone meant to ridicule religion, but to produce a telling political squib. This let out the whole gist of the prosecution, though that was very well perceived by most people before; and it was in vain that he went on to argue that the mischief was just the same. Hone opened his own defence with the awkwardness and timidity natural to a man who had passed his life amid books, and not in courts; but he managed to complain of his imprisonment, his harsh treatment, of his poverty in not being able to fee counsel, of the expense of copies of the informations against him, and of the haste, at last, with which he had been called to plead. The judge repeatedly interrupted him, with a mild sort of severity, and the spectators were expecting him to make a short and ineffective defence. Hone, on the contrary, began to show more boldness and pertinacity. He began to open his books, and to read parody after parody of former times. In vain Mr. Justice Abbott and the Attorney-General stopped him, and told him that he was not to be allowed to add to his offence by producing other instances of the crime in other persons. But Hone told them that he was accused of putting parodies on sacred things into his books, and it was out of his books he must defend himself. The poor, pale, threadbare retailer of old books was now warmed into eloquence, and stood in the most unquestionable ascendency on the floor of the court, reading and commenting as though he would go on for ever; and he did go on for six hours. He declared that the editor of Blackwood's Magazine was a parodisthe parodied a chapter of Ezekiel; Martin Luther was a parodisthe parodied the first Psalm; Bishop Latimer was a parodist; so was Dr. Boys, Dean of Canterbury; so was the author of the "Rolliad;" so was Mr. Canning. He proved all that he said by reading passages from the authors, and he concluded by saying that he did not believe that any of these writers meant to ridicule the Scriptures, and that he could not, therefore, see why he should be supposed to do so more than they. Nay, he had done what they never did: as soon as he was aware that his parodies had given offence he suppressed themand that long ago, not waiting till he was prosecuted. They, in fact, were prosecuting him for what he had voluntarily and long ago suppressed. The Attorney-General, in reply, asserted that it would not save the defendant that he had quoted Martin Luther and Dr. Boys, for he must pronounce them both libellous. The judge charged the jury as if it were their sacred duty to find the defendant guilty; but, after only a quarter of an hour's deliberation, they acquitted him.