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The conduct of the trades unions excited a great deal of angry feeling amongst the wealthier classes; and the Government were vehemently condemned for not putting down the combination with a strong hand. It was said that the mischief they created was well known; that though their interference with trade, "their atrocious oaths, impious ceremonies, desperate tyranny, and secret assassinations had been brought under their observation," Ministers could not be stirred to any exhibition of energy for the protection of the manufacturer, the workman, or the public. On the 28th of April the Duke of Newcastle had brought the trades unions under the consideration of the House of Lords, and questioned Ministers as to their neglect respecting the disturbances these combinations occasioned. Lord Grey contented himself with a quiet expression of regret for their existence, and of a hope that they would die out if let alone; meanwhile, the Government were ready to put down disorderly meetings. This apparent indifference called forth indignant protests from the Marquis of Londonderry and Lord Eldon. The Lord Chancellor declared that the meetings were illegal, and that they were likely to produce great mischief; adding, "Of all the worst things, and of all the most pernicious devices that could be imagined for the injury of the interests of the working classes, as well as of the interests of the country at large, nothing was half so bad as their existence." He also stated that there could not remain the shadow of a doubt of the justice of the conviction of the Dorchester labourers. Strikes and combinations, however, continued during the summer. At the Chester Assizes, on the 5th of August, two men were indicted for the murder of a manufacturer during a strike in 1831. It appeared on evidence that the deceased had excited the ill feeling of the trades unions of the place, where he had a mill, in which he gave employment to a great number of people. Two of his own workmen had agreed to assassinate him for the sum of 3 6s. 8d. each, paid by the union. They shot him as he was passing through a lane to his mills. Being found guilty, they were executed. On the 18th of the same month the workmen employed by the builders of London struck to the number of 10,000, including the artisans at the Government works. This course was adopted in consequence of a combined declaration of the master-builders, requiring them to abandon their connection with trades unions.

The coronation was a magnificent ceremonial, and during the proceedings in the Abbey, Westminster Hall was being prepared for the banquet. There were three tables on each side, each table having covers for fifty-six persons, and each person having before him a silver plate. The other plate was entirely of gold. The dishes served up were all cold, consisting of fowls, tongues, pies, and a profusion of sweetmeats, with conserves and fruit of every kind. At twenty minutes to four o'clock the gates were thrown open to admit the procession on its return. Seen from the opposite end of the hall, the effect was magnificent as the procession passed under the triumphal arch. On the entrance of the king he was received with loud and continued acclamations. His Majesty being seated at the banquet, the first course came with a grand procession, which the king seemed to regard with great satisfaction. The Duke of Wellington, as Lord High Constable, the Marquis of Anglesey, as Lord High Steward, and the Deputy Earl Marshal, Lord Howard of Effingham, mounted on horses, and attended by their pages and grooms, advanced to the foot of the platform; the horsemen stopped while the clerks of the kitchen advanced to the royal table, and took the dishes from the gentlemen pensioners. Then the whole procession moved back, the horsemen backing their chargers with the greatest precision, amidst loud applause. The first course having been removed, a flourish of trumpets was heard at the bottom of the hall, the great gates were instantly thrown wide open, and the champion, Mr. Dymoke, made his appearance under the Gothic archway, mounted on his piebald charger, accompanied on the right by the Duke of Wellington, and on the left by Lord Howard of Effingham, and attended by trumpeters and an esquire. The usual challenges were given. Some other ceremonies having been gone through, the king's health was proposed by one of the peers, and drunk with acclamation. The National Anthem was then sung, after which the king rose and said, "The king thanks his peers for drinking his health and does them the honour of drinking their health and that of his good people." Shortly afterwards his Majesty quitted the hall and returned to his palace in his private carriage, attended by his usual body-guard.

This branch of the rebel force was thus completely removed from the field, and on the same day a far more sanguinary conflict had taken place between the chief commanders on the two sides, Argyll and Mar, at Sheriffmuir. Buonaparte very speedily matured his plans for the seizure of Spain, and he began to put them into execution. From Italy, where he was violating the territories of the Pope, and compelling the reluctant Queen of Etruria to give up her kingdom, he wrote to the King of Spain, her father, that he consented to a marriage between the Prince of Asturias and a lady of his family. Whilst he thus gave assurance of his friendship, he ordered his army, lying at Bayonne, to enter Spain at different points, and possess themselves of the strong positions along its frontier. By this means the French were received as friends by the people, and neither the king nor Godoy complained of this gross breach of the Treaty of Fontainebleau. The impudent tricks by which the great fortresses were secured, each of which might have detained an army for years, have scarcely any parallel in history. At Pamplona, on the 9th of February, 1808, the French troops commenced a game of snowballing each other on the esplanade of the citadel, when suddenly they occupied the drawbridge, entered the fortress gate, and admitted a body of their countrymen, who had been placed in readiness, and the fortress was secured. At Barcelona the French gave out that they were about to march. Duchesne, the General, drew up his men before the citadel, on pretence of speaking with the French guard, near the citadel gate, passed suddenly in, followed by an Italian regiment, and the place was their own. St. Sebastian was captured by a number of French being admitted into the hospital, who let in their fellows, and Mountjoy was taken by a like ruse.

Nor did these terms contain anything like the extent of tyranny imposed on the conscience of the nation by these monarchs. By the 29 Elizabeth it was provided that what right or property any person might dispose of, or settle on any of his[162] family, should still be liable to these penalties if the proprietor and disposer of them neglected to go to church. So that a son might be deprived of lands or other property settled upon him at his marriage, or at any other time, if his father ceased to attend church, though he himself went punctually; and by the 21 James I. the informers were stimulated by great rewards to lay complaints against all whom they could discover offending. And, moreover, any person was to be considered an absentee from church, and liable to all the penalties, who did not remain in church during the whole time of the service; and, also, not only on Sundays, "but upon all the other days ordained and used to be kept as holidays." All these odious enactments were left in force by the Toleration Act, except that they did not compel every one to go to church, but to some licensed place of worship.

Whilst these contentions were going on, Wren had entered fairly on his profession of architect. He built the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford, begun in 1663, and completed in 1669; and the fine library of Trinity College, Cambridge, and the beautiful square, Neville's Court, to the same college. He also built the chapels of Pembroke and Emmanuel Colleges, in the same university. In the erection of these, he suffered, from the conceit and conflicting opinions of parties concerned, a foretaste of the squabbles and contradictions which rendered the whole period of the building of St. Paul's miserable. In 1665 he found leisure to visit Paris, and study the magnificent palaces and churches with which Louis XIV. was embellishing his capital. There he got a glimpse of the design for the Louvre, which Bernini, the architect, showed him, but only for a moment; and he was in communication with Mansard, Le Vau, and Le Pautre.