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      XVIII. 102.



      * Doll du Montral, a.d. 1665, 1666.

      the sufferers, describes the scene with horrible minuteness.Whatever impression this curious effort of Jesuit rhetoric may have produced upon the hearers, it did not prevent them from stripping the royal arms from the post to which they were nailed, as soon as Saint-Lusson and his men had left the Saut; probably, not because they understood the import of the symbol, but because they feared it as a charm. Saint-Lusson [Pg 56] proceeded to Lake Superior, where, however, he accomplished nothing, except, perhaps, a traffic with the Indians on his own account; and he soon after returned to Quebec. Talon was resolved to find the Mississippi, the most interesting object of search, and seemingly the most attainable, in the wild and vague domain which he had just claimed for the King. The Indians had described it; the Jesuits were eager to discover it; and La Salle, if he had not reached it, had explored two several avenues by which it might be approached. Talon looked about him for a fit agent of the enterprise, and made choice of Louis Joliet, who had returned from Lake Superior.[45] But the intendant was not to see the fulfilment of his design. His busy and useful career in Canada was drawing to an end. A misunderstanding had arisen between him and the governor, Courcelle. Both were faithful servants of the King; but the relations between the two chiefs of the colony were of a nature necessarily so critical, that a conflict of authority was scarcely to be avoided. Each thought his functions encroached upon, and both asked for recall. Another governor succeeded; one who was to stamp his mark, broad, bold, and ineffaceable, on the most memorable page of French-American History,Louis de Buade, Count of Palluau and Frontenac.


      The Jesuits at St. Joseph knew not what course to take. The doom of their flock seemed inevitable. When dismay and despondency were at 414 their height, two of the principal Huron chiefs came to the fort, and asked an interview with Ragueneau and his companions. They told them that the Indians had held a council the night before, and resolved to abandon the island. Some would disperse in the most remote and inaccessible forests; others would take refuge in a distant spot, apparently the Grand Manitoulin Island; others would try to reach the Andastes; and others would seek safety in adoption and incorporation with the Iroquois themselves.

      [3] Le Mercier, Relation, 1654, 9.

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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.[Pg 122]

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      This appeal did something to strengthen them, but not permanently. The fact that Parliament might terminate any day from the death of the king did much to keep members in remembrance of their constituents; but the great cause of Ministerial decay of popularity was that the circumstance and spirit of the times demanded more liberal legislation than such men as Liverpool, Sidmouth, and Eldon could comprehend, much less originate. The manufacturing districts were especially in a depressed condition. The efforts which had been made to force a trade had failed. The excessive exportation of manufactured goods had resulted exactly as Brougham had prognosticated: the foreign markets had been glutted before the people were capable of buying, and the fall in prices had been ruinous. The equally great importation of raw material to continue the supply of fabrics for which the demand was inadequate, had made matters worse. The bankruptcies during the first half of this year were double the average number, credit was severely shaken, and numbers of workmen were thrown out of employment or reduced to very low wages. Wheat, though not so high as a year or two ago, averaged eighty shillings per quarter. The consequence was a renewed political action, and meetings were called by the workmen in various parts of the manufacturing districts to consider both their unsatisfactory position and the governmental as well as commercial causes of it. The Corn Laws were justly denounced as one potent cause of their sufferings, and the popular leaders of Reform were called upon to assist them in getting rid of it. So early as the 18th of January a meeting of this character was held at Manchester. Application had been made to the borough-reeve to summon a meeting to petition Parliament for this object, but he declined, the Manchester authorities of that day standing strangely aloof from the people in their endeavours for relief from this enactment, which was as inimical to their own interests as manufacturers, as it was to the comfort of their work-people.

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      substitute for a French wife.The councillors refused to acknowledge Dumesnils powers as controller, intendant, and judge, and declared his proceedings null. He retorted by charging them with usurpation. The excitement increased, and Dumesnils life was threatened.


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