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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.
NIAGARA FALLS.On the opening of the Session, the king called the attention of Parliament to the state of Canada. That colony had flourished since it had come into the possession of Britain, especially since the passing of the Bill of 1774, which had given freedom to the Roman Catholic church there, the church of the French inhabitants. But one part of the colony was still inhabited by the descendants of the French, and another by those of the English and Americans. It was, therefore, found desirable to put an end to the competition which still existed, from differences of faith and of national sentiments and customs, between the two races, by dividing the colony into two provinces, the one inhabited by the French to be called Lower Canada, and the other, inhabited by the British, to be called Upper Canada. On the 25th of February the king sent a message to Parliament, proposing to carry out this division; and on the 4th of March Pitt moved to bring in a Bill for that purpose, and stated the intended plan of arrangement. Besides an elective assembly, each province was to have a Council, the members of which were to be appointed for life, with hereditary succession to the descendants of such as should be honoured with hereditary titles, which titles were to confer on an inhabitant of either province the dignity of a member of the Council. Landed property was to be held according to English law, in soccage tenure; the Habeas Corpus was to be established in both provinces. An allotment of lands was to be made for the Protestant clergy; but, as the majority of the inhabitants in the Lower Province would be Catholic, the Council and Assembly were empowered to allot lands also to their clergy, which allotment, on sanction of the Crown, was to be valid without intervention of Parliament. No taxes were to be imposed by the British Government except such as were necessary for the regulation of commerce, and these were to be levied by the provincial legislature to prevent any heartburnings like those which had occurred in the American States.
The defeated party, however, did not give up the idea of the Treaty of Commerce. Another Bill was introduced to modify, or, as it was called, to render the commercial treaty more effectual; but such a host of petitions was presented against it, that it was abandoned. Sir Thomas Hanmer, however, proposed and carried an address to the queen, which was intended to cover, in some degree, the defeat of the Ministers; and, as he had got rid of the Bill itself, he did not hesitate to move for what appeared inconsistent with his proceedings, namely, thanks to her Majesty for the care she had taken of the security and honour of the kingdom by the Treaty of Peace, and also by her anxiety for a Treaty of Commerce; and, further, recommending her to appoint Commissioners to meet those of France, and endeavour to arrange such terms of commerce as should be for the good and welfare of her people. This was laid hold of, as was no doubt intended, in the queen's reply, which assumed this to be a declaration of a full approbation of the Treaty of Commerce, as well as that of Peace; and she thanked them in the warmest terms for their address.
The preparations for invasion turned the attention of the British Government to ports where it was supposed the troops would be embarked. Ostend was regarded with particular suspicion, and Sir Home Popham was sent in May with a small squadron, conveying a thousand men, under Colonel Coote, to destroy the ships and sluices of the Bruges canal there. The troops were landed, and did their work, but found themselves unable to regain the ships from the violence of the wind and the surf, and were surrounded and compelled to surrender. In the autumn of this year Admiral Duckworth sailed for Minorca, and landed eight hundred men, under Sir Charles Stuart, who readily made themselves masters of the island.
It was a luxurious place. As much for his own artistic satisfaction as for her, Cairness had planned the interior of the house to be a background in keeping with Felipa, a fit setting for her, and she led the life of an Orient queen behind the walls of sun-baked clay. There was a wide couch almost in front of the roaring fire. She sank down in a heap of cushions, and taking up a book that lay open where her husband had put it down the night before, she tried to read by the flickering of the flame light over the pages.The fame of Sir Thomas Lawrence (b. 1769) had attained to its meridian in this period. In portrait painting he was one of the most distinguished artists of the day, and he attained proficiency in it without having gone to Italy or studied the old masters. It has been said of him, as well as of Sir Joshua Reynolds, that he painted three generations of beauties. He went to Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, by invitation, to take the likenesses of the most distinguished statesmen who were there assembled for diplomatic purposes. During his residence on the Continent he was received by the Sovereigns of the different countries he visited, and entertained with marked distinction; and the propriety and elegance of his deportment, we are told, made an impression highly favourable to his character. On his return he found that he had been unanimously elected to succeed West as the President of the Royal Academy, and this office he continued to hold till his death, which took place on the 7th of January, 1830.