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      "You may easily guess," says Dinwiddie to a London correspondent, "the great fatigue and trouble I have had, which is more than I ever went through in my life." He rested his hopes on the session of his Assembly, which was to take place in August; for he thought that the late disaster would move them to give him money for defending the colony. These meetings of the burgesses were the great social as well as political event of the Old Dominion, and gave a gathering signal to the Virginian gentry scattered far and wide on their lonely plantations. The capital of the province was Williamsburg, a village of about a thousand inhabitants, traversed by a straight and very wide street, and adorned with various public buildings, conspicuous among which was William and Mary College, a respectable structure, unjustly likened by Jefferson to a brick kiln with a roof. The capitol, at the other end of the town, had been burned some years before, and had just risen from its ashes. Not far distant was the so-called Governor's Palace, where Dinwiddie with his wife and two daughters exercised such official hospitality as his moderate salary and Scottish thrift would permit. [162]The winter of 1836-7 was marked by great commercial activity, and a strong tendency to over-trading, chiefly on the part of the banks. The result was a reaction, and considerable monetary embarrassment. In the reckless spirit of enterprise which led to these consequences, the American houses took the lead. The American speculators indulged an inordinate thirst for gain by land jobs, and over-trading in British produce. The most remarkable examples of this were afforded by three great American houses in London, called "the three W.'s." From an account of these firms, published in June, 1837, it appeared that the amount of bills payable by them from June to December, was as follows: Wilson and Co.,[411] 936,300; Wigan and Co., 674,700; Wildes and Co., 505,000; total acceptances, 2,116,000. This was upwards of one-sixth of the aggregate circulation of the private and joint-stock banks of England and Wales, and about one-eighth of the average circulation of the Bank of England. The shipments to America by Wigan and Co. amounted to 1,118,900. The number of joint-stock banks that started into existence at this time was remarkable. From 1825 to 1833 only thirty joint-stock banks had been established. In that year the Charter of the Bank of England being renewed, without many of the exclusive privileges it formerly enjoyed, and the spirit of commercial enterprise being active, joint-stock banks began to increase rapidly. There was an average of ten new companies annually, till 1836, when forty-five of these establishments came into existence in the course of ten months. In Ireland there were ten started in the course of two years. The consequence of this greatly increased banking accommodation produced a wild spirit of commercial adventure, which collapsed first in America, where the monetary confusion was unexampledbankers, importers, merchants, traders, and the Government having been all flung into a chaos of bankruptcy and insolvency. This state of things in America had an immediate effect in England. Discounts were abruptly refused to the largest and hitherto most respectable houses of Liverpool and London. Trade, in consequence, became paralysed; prices suddenly dropped from thirty to forty per cent.; and the numerous share bubblesthe railway projects, the insurance companies, the distillery companies, the cemetery companies, the sperm oil, the cotton twist, zoological gardens, and other speculationswhich had floated on the pecuniary tide, all suddenly collapsed, and there was an end to the career of unprincipled adventurers. It is satisfactory, however, to observe that the sound commerce of the country soon recovered the shock thus given; and in less than two years the pecuniary difficulties had passed away. Commerce had resumed its wonted activity, and flowed steadily in legitimate channels. The American banks resumed payment, and the three great American houses, which had involved themselves to such an enormous extent, were enabled to meet all their liabilities.


      Penal laws are the expression of the moral sentiments of mankind, and either are as variable as the other. In Holland it was once a capital offence to kill a stork, and in England to cut down a mans cherry-tree. For a Roman lady to drink wine was as heinous a sin as adultery, for either of which she incurred the extreme sentence of the law. In Athens idleness was for a long time punishable; though to a Spartan an Athenian fined for idleness seemed to be punished for keeping up his dignity. In Mexico drunkenness was a graver crime than slander; for whilst the slanderer lost his ears or lips, the drunken man or woman was clubbed or stoned to death.Sir Mark Isambard Brunel, a hero of mechanical science, made a great step in advance by the invention of self-acting machinery to supersede the work of artisans, by which a new epoch was created in art. The greatest effort of Brunel was the Thames Tunnel, a structure of perfect firmness and solidity laid on a quicksand, and forced through a quaking mass of mud, which will endure like the cloac? of regal Rome, when the palace and the cathedral have crumbled to dust. He was enabled to accomplish this prodigious work by means of "the shield"a movable vertical frame of cast iron, provided with thirty-six cells, in each of which a man was placed with a pick to excavate the area, this frame or shield being moved bodily forward by powerful screws, while the bricklayers brought up the arched masonry behind, which was then beyond the power of injury. The works, however, were several times "drowned" during their progress by the irruptions of the Thames, but every fresh difficulty was met successfully by the heroic engineer. The tunnel was commenced on the 2nd of March, 1825, and finished on the 25th of March, 1843. Brunel survived the completion of this, his greatest work, above six years, dying on the 12th of December, 1849.


      That is a poem. I don't know who wrote it or what it means. Itacquisitive instinct. The only thing that keeps me from starting

      Quippe ferant rapidi secum verrantque per auras.'

      Whenever I think of it excited little thrills chase up and down25th August


      Is it snowing where you are? All the world that I see from my tower

      Versailles was like a vast and gorgeous theatre, where all were actors and spectators at once; and all played their parts to perfection. Here swarmed by thousands this silken nobility, whose ancestors rode cased in iron. Pageant followed pageant. A picture of the time preserves for us an evening in the great hall of the Chateau, where the King, with piles of louis d'or before him, sits at a large oval green table, throwing the dice, among princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses, ambassadors, marshals of France, and a vast throng of courtiers, like an animated bed of tulips; for men and women alike wear bright and varied colors. Above are the frescos of Le Brun; around are walls of sculptured and inlaid marbles, with mirrors that reflect the restless splendors of the scene and the blaze of chandeliers, sparkling with crystal pendants. Pomp, magnificence, profusion, were a business and a duty at the Court. Versailles was a gulf 12to church. It's a sweet little white frame church with a spire

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      Dinwiddie, jealously watchful of French aggression, had learned through traders and Indians that a strong detachment from Canada had entered the territories of the King of England, and built forts on Lake Erie and on a branch of the Ohio. He wrote to challenge the invasion and summon the invaders to withdraw; and he could find none so fit to bear his message as a young man of twenty-one. It was this rough Scotchman who launched Washington on his illustrious career.

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      You can see with what nicety we have to trim our sails betweenOn the 1st of February, 1831, the Birmingham Political union held its anniversary. It had been established some years, first to denounce the circulation of a metallic currency, and then for the purpose of agitating for Reform, organised somewhat on the principle of the Irish Catholic Association, and exerting a mighty influence on public opinion in the northern counties. Mr. Attwood stated that at this time it had on its books 9,000 members, paying from 4s. to 2 2s. a year each. Other unions of a similar kind were established in many cities and towns throughout the kingdom.

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      In spite of Lord Melbourne's declaration that he would regard the success of the motion as a pure vote of censure, it was carried by a majority of five. In consequence of this result, Lord John Russell announced his intention, next day, of taking the opinion of the House of Commons on the recent government of Ireland, in the first week after the Easter recess. Accordingly, on the 15th of April, he moved"That it is the opinion of this House that it is expedient to persevere in those principles which have guided the Executive[460] Government of late years, and which have tended to the effectual administration of the laws, and the general improvement of that part of the United Kingdom." The debate emphasised the discontent of the Radicals. Mr. Leader was particularly severe on the Government. "In what position is the Government?" he asked. "Why, the right hon. member for Tamworth governs England, the hon. and learned member for Dublin governs Irelandthe Whigs govern nothing but Downing Street. Sir Robert Peel is content with power without place or patronage, and the Whigs are contented with place and patronage without power. Let any honourable man say which is the more honourable position." On a division, the numbers werefor Sir Robert Peel's amendment, 296; against it, 318. Majority for the Ministry, 22.


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