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      To examine and distinguish all the different sorts[120] of crimes and the manner of punishing them would now be our natural task, were it not that their nature, which varies with the different circumstances of times and places, would compel us to enter upon too vast and wearisome a mass of detail. But it will suffice to indicate the most general principles and the most pernicious and common errors, in order to undeceive no less those who, from a mistaken love of liberty, would introduce anarchy, than those who would be glad to reduce their fellow-men to the uniform regularity of a convent.[See larger version]


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      The weary night at length passed. The dull sun of a December day (the 22nd) rose upon the ghastly scenes of that gory battlefield. The soldiers, many of whom were without food from the morning of the previous day, were again marshalled in order of battle. The artillery commenced the work, but with little effect. "But why waste time and ammunition thus?" said Gough. "We must try the bayonet once more." Then was made a tremendous charge for life. At first, part of the line reeled under the storm from the enemy's guns; but still the whole army pressed on with desperate shouts, the two wings closing in upon the village, driving everything before them, and still pressing onward till they captured the whole of the enemy's guns on the works. The two generals, waving the captured banners, rode in triumph before the victorious army, and were hailed with enthusiastic applause. The whole of the enemy's military stores and camp furniture, with seventy-three guns and seventeen standards, remained in possession of the British. One Sikh army was now defeated; but there was another to come on, 30,000 strong, most of whom were perfectly fresh. The spirit of the Commander-in-Chief seemed now to fail him, and he so despaired of the issue that he confessed in a letter to his friend, that for a moment he felt regret as each passing shot left him still on horseback. Most of our cavalry were hardly able to move from the exhaustion of the horses; our ammunition was nearly spent, while the fire from the enemy's guns was rapid. At this critical moment, owing to a misconception of orders, our cavalry and artillery moved off from the flanks, which they protected, taking the road towards Ferozepore. It was a blunder that seemed ordered by Providence to save our army from annihilation; for the Sikhsnot knowing our weakness, and conceiving that the design was to take possession of the fords, and prevent their crossing the riverimmediately began to retreat. Our infantry pursued; and such was the consternation and confusion of the enemy, that they never stopped running till they got to the other side of the Sutlej. In these terrible battles the British lost, in killed and wounded, 2,415 men, being a sixth of the whole number engaged. Among the killed were Major Broadfoot, political agent in the North-West Provinces, Colonel Wallace, and Major Somerset.THE "NOTTINGHAM CAPTAIN" AND THE AGITATORS AT THE "WHITE HORSE." (See p. 126.)

      Judgment must be nothing but the precise text of the law, and the office of the judge is only to pronounce whether the action is contrary or conformable to it.

      There is a general theorem which is most useful for calculating the certainty of a fact, as, for instance, the force of the proofs in the case of a given crime:


      The new Parliament met on the 14th of November. Mr. Manners Sutton was re-elected Speaker. A week was spent in the swearing-in of members, and on the 21st the Session was opened by the king in person. In the Royal Speech allusion was made to the throwing open of the ports for the admission of foreign grain, and the distress that had visited the manufacturing districts. The Address was carried in the Upper House without a division, and in the Lower House an amendment, moved by Mr. Hume, found only twenty-four supporters. On the 5th of December Alderman Waithman moved for a committee of inquiry with reference to the part taken by members of Parliament in the Joint Stock mania of 1824-5-6. He stated that within the last three years six hundred joint-stock companies had been formed, most of them for dishonest purposes. The directors of these fraudulent schemes worked with the market as they pleased, forcing up the prices of shares to sell, and depressing them to buy, pocketing the difference. He dwelt particularly on the Arignon Mining Company, of which the late chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, Mr. Brogden, had been a director. The directors of this company, besides an allowance of three guineas per day for the use of their names, had divided between them a large surplus, arising from traffic in shares. Other members of the House, he alleged, had enriched themselves by bubble companies, particularly Sir William Congreve. At the suggestion of Mr. Canning, the inquiry was restricted to the Arignon Company. A vast amount of loss and suffering had been inflicted by these bubble companies. A check was given to the steady and wholesome progress of the country by the fever of excitement, followed by a sudden and terrible collapse. Healthful commerce was blighted, and one of the worst results of the revulsion was that it not only swept away the delusive projects of adventurers, but paralysed for a season the operations of legitimate enterprise. The commercial atmosphere, however, had been cleared by the monetary crisis of 1825-6. An extensive decomposition of commercial elements was effected. Masses of fictitious property were dispersed, and much of the real capital of the country was distributed in new and safe channels, which caused the year 1827 to open with more cheering prospects.

      These three eventsthe death of the Duke of York, the appointment of Mr. Canning as Prime Minister, and the entire remodelling of the Cabinet on Liberal principlessucceeding one another so rapidly in the early months of 1827, were regarded as the turning-points in the modern history of England, and fraught with most momentous consequences. The first changed the Heir-Apparent to the Throne, and for an obstinate bigot substituted a prince of popular sympathies. The second represented the triumph of intellect and public opinion over rank and monopoly. "Changes so vast," writes Sir Archibald Alison, "could not fail to exercise a powerful influence on the course of events in future times. The magnitude of the change appeared in the most decided manner when the Ministerial explanations usual in such cases took place in Parliament. Both Houses were crowded to excess, both in the highest degree excited, but the excitement in the two was as different as the poles are asunder: in the Commons it was the triumph of victory, in the Peers the consternation of defeat. So clearly was this evinced that it obliterated for a time the deep lines of party distinction, and brought the two Houses, almost as hostile bodies united under different standards, into the presence of each other. The Commons rang with acclamations when the new Premier made his triumphant explanation from the head of the Ministerial bench; but they were still louder when Mr. Peel, from the cross benches, out of office, said, 'They may call me illiberal and Tory, but it will be found that some of the most necessary measures of useful legislation of late years are inscribed with my name.' The tide of reform had become so strong that even the avowed Tory leaders in the Lower House were fain to take credit by sailing along with it. In the House of Lords, on the other hand, the feeling of the majority was decidedly hostile to the new Administration, and that not merely on the Tory benches, where it might naturally have been looked for, but among the old Whig nobility, who had long considered Government as an appendage of their estates. It was hard to say whether the old peers on both sides responded more strongly to the Duke of Wellington's and Lord Eldon's explanation of their reasons for declining to hold office, or to Earl Grey's powerful and impassioned attack on the new Premier. The division of the two Houses was clearly pronounced; the one presaged its approaching triumph, the other its coming downfall. The secret sense of coming change had raised their numbers in unwonted combinations, and the vital distinction of interest and order had for the time superseded the old divisions of party."On the 8th of February was fought the great and decisive battle of Sobraon, the name of the tte du pont, at the entrenched camp of the Sikhs, where all the forces of the enemy were now concentrated. The camps extended along both sides of the river, and were defended by 130 pieces of artillery, of which nearly half were of heavy calibre, and which were all served by excellent gunners. The British troops formed a vast semicircle, each end of which touched the river, the village of Sobraon being in the centre, where the enemy were defended by a triple line of works, one within another, flanked by the most formidable redoubts. The battle commenced by the discharge of artillery on both sides, which played with terrific force for three hours. After this the British guns went up at a gallop till they came within 300 yards of the works, where it was intended the assault should be delivered. Halting there, they poured a concentrated fire upon the position for some time. After this the assault was made by the infantry, running. The regiment which led the way was the 10th, supported by the 53rd Queen's and the 43rd and 59th Native Infantry. They were repulsed with dreadful slaughter. The post of honour and of danger was now taken by the Ghoorkas. A desperate struggle with the bayonet ensued; the Sikhs were overpowered by the brigades of Stacey and Wilkinson; but, as the fire of the enemy was now concentrated upon this point, the brave assailants were in danger of being overwhelmed and destroyed. The British Commander-in-Chief seeing this, sent forward the brigades of Ashburnham, as well as Smith's division, against the right of the enemy, while his artillery played furiously upon their whole line. The Sikhs fought with no less valour and determination than the British. Not one of their gunners flinched till he was struck down at his post. Into every gap opened by the artillery they rushed with desperate resolution, repelling the assaulting columns of the British. At length the cavalry, which has so often decided the fate of the day in great battles, were instrumental in achieving the victory. The Sappers and Miners having succeeded in opening a passage through which the horses could enter in single file, the 3rd Queen's Dragoons, under Sir Joseph Thackwell, got inside the works, quickly formed, and galloping along in the rear of the batteries, cut down the gunners as they passed. General Gough promptly followed up this advantage by ordering forward the whole three divisions of the centre and the right. It was then that the fighting may be said to have commenced in earnest. The struggle was long, bloody, and relentless. No quarter was given or asked; the Sikhs fighting like men for whom death had no terrors, and for whom death in battle was the happiest as well as the most glorious exit from life. But they encountered men with hearts as stout and stronger muscle, and they were at length gradually forced back upon the river by the irresistible British bayonet. The bridge at length gave way under the enormous weight, and thousands were precipitated into the water and drowned. But even in the midst of this catastrophe the drowning fanatics would accept no mercy from the Feringhees. Our losses amounted to 320 killed and 2,063 wounded. Of the European officers, thirteen were killed and 101 wounded. The loss of the Sikhs in the battle of Sobraon was estimated at from 10,000 to 13,000 men, the greater number being shot down or drowned in the attempt to cross the bridge. They left in the hands of the victors sixty-seven guns, 200 camel swivels, nineteen standards, and a great quantity of ammunition.

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      Sir John Malcolm and Captain Grant pursued the fugitives along the banks of the Seepra, killing numbers, and seizing immense booty, including elephants and numerous camels. He left them no time to reassemble, but advanced rapidly on the capital of Holkar, joined by reinforcements from the Bombay army under Major-General Sir William Keir. Alarmed at this vigorous action, the Holkar Mahrattas hastily concluded peace, gave up all their forts, and placed their territories under British protection. Some Pathan chiefs attempted to resist, trusting to the defences of Rampoora; but General Brown soon stormed that place, and the whole country of the Holkar Mahrattas was reduced to obedience. No respite was granted to the Pindarrees. Cheetoo was followed from place to place by the Gujerat army under Sir William Keir, and sought refuge in vain amongst the hills and jungles of Malwa and along the Nerbudda. At length, in January, 1818, Cheetoo's last camp was surprised and cut to pieces. After seeking refuge amongst various tribes, Cheetoo was ultimately found in the jungle near the fort of Aseerghur, torn to pieces by a tiger, his horse grazing not far off, safe, and a bag on his saddle containing his remaining jewels and two hundred and fifty rupees. And thus ended the existence of the long formidable hosts of the Pindarrees.While stirring events were in progress on the Continent, public attention was naturally distracted from home politics; nor were these in themselves of a nature to command enthusiasm. The Russell Government was weak, but the Opposition was weaker. Sir Robert Peel with his little band gave, on the whole, his support to the Ministry, and Mr. Disraeli, on the retirement of Lord George Bentinck, had only just begun to rally the Conservatives, who had been utterly dispirited and crushed by the carrying of Free Trade. Finance was always a weak point with the Whigs, and that of 1848 was no exception to the rule. Urged by the Duke of Wellington's letter to Sir John Burgoyne on the state of the defences, the Chancellor of the Exchequer determined on increasing the naval and military establishments. The result was a deficit of three millions, and no less than three withdrawals and alterations of the Budget had to be made before his proposals could be so shaped as to be acceptable to the House. The next Session was mainly devoted to Irish affairs, the Rate in Aid producing a collision between the two Houses, which was decided in favour of the Lords. In the same year, however, the most important measure of the Russell Ministry became law; the repeal, namely, of the Navigation Act, by which the carrying monopoly was abolished after the retaliation of foreign nations had reduced the principle of reciprocity, upon which Mr. Huskisson's Act had been framed, to a dead letter. Supported by the Canadian demand for liberation from the restrictions of the Navigation Act, Ministers courageously faced the clamour raised by the Protectionists, and carried their Bill through the Commons by large majorities. In the Upper House, however, they snatched a bare majority of ten through the circumstance that they had more proxies than their opponents.

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      The meeting of the Westminster electors the next day, held in Palace Yard, under the very walls of Parliament, was attended by vast crowds, and the tone of the speakers was most indignant. They justified the letter of their representative to themselves; denounced the conduct of the Commons as oppressive, arbitrary, and illegal, tending to destroy the popular liberties; and they approved highly of the baronet's spirited resistance to the forcing of his house. They called for his liberation, and for that of the unjustly incarcerated Mr. Gale Jones. They drew up a letter to Sir Francis to this effect, to be presented to him in the Tower by the high bailiff of Westminster; and they prepared a petition and remonstrance to the House of Commons in equally spirited terms, which was presented the same evening by Lord Cochrane. The Honourable J. W. Ward, afterwards Lord Dudley and Ward, opposed the reception of the petition as highly indecorous, and as violating the dignity of the House; but Whitbread defended it, and even Canning and Perceval excused, in some degree, the tone of the petition in the circumstances. It was ordered, therefore, to be laid on the table.


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