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Fox introduced his first Bill on the 20th of November. All went smoothly, and the second reading was ordered for that day week. Then the storm burst. Mr. Grenville (afterwards Lord Grenville) described the Bill as a scheme to put the Company into the hands of Ministers, and to annihilate the prerogatives of the Crown at the same time. He denounced it as one of the most daring and dangerous attempts that had ever been brought into that House. He moved that it should lie over till after Christmas, and there was a strong phalanx ready to support him. Grenville did not press the motion to a division, and the Bill was read a second time on the 27th, when a vehement and long debate took place. Pitt put forth his whole strength against it, Fox for it, and it was carried by two hundred and twenty-nine votes against one hundred and twenty. On the 1st of December it was moved that the Bill be committed, when the Opposition was equally determined. On this occasion Burke, who had made himself profoundly acquainted with Indian affairs, took the lead, and delivered one of his very finest speeches, full of information and eloquence. Pitt resisted the going into Committee with all his power, and pledged himself, if the House would throw out the Bill, to bring in another just as efficacious, and at the same time devoid of its danger. The debate, like the former one, did not close till half-past four in the morning, and then it was with a triumphant majority of two hundred and seventeen against one hundred and three. The Bill, thus carried by such majorities through the Commons, was carried up to the Lords, on the 9th of December, by Fox, accompanied by a numerous body of the Commoners, and it was considered as certain of passing there; but the king and his party, exasperated at the resolute conduct of the Commons, had gone to such lengths to quash the Bill in the Lords as are rarely resorted to by the Crown. As in the Lower House, so here, it was allowed to be read the first time without dividing; but it was attacked with an ominous solemnity by Thurlow, the Duke of Richmond, and Lord Temple, who, since his recall from the Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland, had thrown himself into the Opposition with peculiar vivacity. It was known that he had been frequently closeted with the king of late, and he bluntly declared the Bill infamous. As a matter of fact, he had urged the king to use his personal influence with the House of Lords. Thurlow went further, and, fixing one of his most solemn glances on the Prince of Wales, who was sitting in the House to vote for the Bill, declared that if this measure passed, the crown of England would not be worth wearing;[303] and that if the king allowed it to become law, he would, in fact, have taken it from his head and put it on that of Mr. Fox. On the 15th, when the Bill was proposed for the second reading, the royal proceedings against it were brought at once to light. The Duke of Portland rose and said, before going into the question, he was bound to notice a report which was confidently in circulation, and which, if true, vitally affected the constitution of the country. This was no less than that the king had written a note to Lord Temple, stating that "his Majesty would deem those who voted for the Bill not only not his friends, but his enemies; and that if Lord Temple could put this into still stronger language, he had full authority to do so."

Munster 2,396,161 3,777,103 1,013,826 671,554 He next marched to St. Jean d'Acre, and summoned it to surrender. The pacha, named, from his fierce cruelties, Djezzaar, or the Butcher, instead of returning an answer, cut off the head of the messenger. Buonaparte vowed an awful revenge. But the pacha had warned Sir Sidney Smith, who was off the coast ready to convey the Turkish army to Egypt, of the appearance of the French before Acre; and Sir Sidney, so famous already for his exploits at Toulon, where he and Buonaparte had met, sailed into the port with two ships of the line, the Tigre and the Theseus. Scarcely had Sir Sidney arrived, when he heard of the approach of a French frigate flotilla bringing to Buonaparte artillery, ammunition, and machines for the siege. He captured seven vessels out of the nine, and turned the artillery on the walls against the French themselves. A French royalist officer, General Phillippeaux, took charge of these cannon. The siege began on the 17th of March, and ended on the 21st of Maya period of sixty-five days, during which eight desperate assaults had been made, and eleven as desperate sallies. At one time Buonaparte had to march to Mount Tabor to disperse an army of Moslems; at another, he succeeded in making himself master of a tower which commanded the rest of the fortifications; but Sir Sidney Smith, himself leading on a body of his seamen armed with pikes, drove the French, in a hand-to-hand fight, from the tower. Buonaparte, one day walking on the hill still called C?ur de Lion's Mount, pointing to Acre, said to Murat, "The fate of the East depends upon yonder petty tower." Buonaparte had now, however, lost several of his best generals, and retreat was inevitable; but he endeavoured to cover the disgrace of it by asserting that it was the plague raging at Acre that drove him from it. On the march he proposed to Desgenettes, the surgeon, to end the lives of some of the wounded who encumbered him, by poisoning them with opium. Desgenettes replied indignantly that his art was employed to save, and not to kill. But the proposal soon grew into a rumour that it had been carried into execution, and that not on a few dozens, but on several hundredsa rumour which continued to be believed for many years, not only by the other European nations, but by Buonaparte's own army. He continued his march back to Cairo, burning the crops and villages by the way, in revenge for the hostility of the natives. He reached Cairo on the 14th of June, his reputation much diminished by his repulse.

It was with this object that Mr. Pierce Mahony got up the celebrated "Leinster declaration," so called from the signature of Ireland's only duke. But the experiment served only to reveal the weakness of the moderate party, for after lying for signature in Latouche's Bank for two months, only forty-two names were attached to it within that period. When, however, the struggle between the two parties was on the point of having a bloody issue, the alarm spread through the ranks of moderate men on both sides, and the document rapidly received signatures. The declaration set forth that the disqualifying laws which affected Roman Catholics were productive of consequences prejudicial in the highest degree to the interests of Irelandthe primary cause of her povertythe source of political discontents and religious animositiesdestructive alike of social happiness and national prosperity. Unless the legislature should speedily apply a remedy to those evils, they must in their rapid progression assume such a character as would, perhaps, render their removal impossible. It was stated, therefore, to be a matter of paramount importance that the whole subject should be taken into immediate consideration by Parliament, "with a view to such a final conciliatory adjustment as may be conducive to the peace and strength of the United Kingdom, to the stability of our national institutions, and to the general satisfaction and concord of all classes of his Majesty's subjects." The only attempts at reform were in the commissariat and discipline of the army. The soldiers were allowed an extra quantity of bread and meat, and the militia regiments were permitted to have artillery, and to increase their force and improve their staffs. But even these reforms were made unconstitutionally by the dictum of the Ministers, without the authority of Parliament, and occasioned smart but ineffectual remonstrances from the House. Every motion for inquiry or censure was borne down by the Ministerial majority. Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow?"