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The year 1804 opened by an announcement that his Majesty was suffering under a return of his old malady. On the 14th of February an official bulletin was issued at St. James's Palace, informing the public of the royal indisposition; and the repetition of it from day to day, without specifying the nature of the illness, left no doubt of its real character. Still, on the 29th, Addington assured the House that there was no necessary suspension of the royal functions, and the bulletins grew more favourable; but it was well known that he was not really in a condition to transact business till the following September, though at times, as on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of May, he drove about in public, in company with the queen and princesses. Probably his advisers thought that the hearty cheers with which he was received might have a bracing effect on his mind, which had been cruelly harassed by the separation of the Prince of Wales from his wife, the king's niece, amid grave public scandals. Such a circumstance was exactly calculated to throw the royal mind off the balance; but besides this, the unsatisfactory state of his Cabinet and of parties in Parliament was such as greatly to aggravate his anxiety.

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In the meanwhile her Majesty was pleased to communicate to the members of the Privy Council assembled at Buckingham Palace on the 23rd of[467] November, her intention of contracting an alliance with a Prince of the family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The story of her affection for her cousin is well known through Sir Theodore Martin's admirable "Life of the Prince Consort." The declaration was made by her Majesty in the following terms:鈥"I have caused you to be summoned at the present time in order that I may acquaint you with my resolution in a matter which deeply concerns the welfare of my people and the happiness of my future life. It is my intention to ally myself in marriage with the Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Deeply impressed with the solemnity of the engagement which I am about to contract, I have not come to this decision without mature consideration, nor without feeling a strong assurance that, with the blessing of Almighty God, it will at once secure my domestic felicity, and serve the interests of my country. I have thought fit to make this resolution known to you at the earliest period, in order that you may be fully apprised of a matter so highly important to me and to my kingdom, and which, I persuade myself, will be most acceptable to all my loving subjects." Upon this announcement the Council humbly requested that her Majesty's most gracious declaration might be made public, which her Majesty was pleased to order accordingly..
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We have the accounts of what took place from both sides鈥攆rom the magistrates and the people. Mr Hulton, the chairman of the bench of magistrates, made the following statements in evidence, on the trial of Hunt, at York. He said that the warrants for the apprehension of the leaders of this movement were not given to Nadin, the chief constable, till after the meeting had assembled, and that he immediately declared that it was impossible for him to execute them without the protection of the military; that orders were at once issued to the commander of the Manchester Yeomanry, and to Colonel L'Estrange, to come to the house where the magistrates sat. The yeomanry arrived first, coming at a quick trot, and so soon as the people saw them they set up a great shout. The yeomanry advanced with drawn swords, and drew up in line before the inn where the magistrates were. They were ordered to advance with the chief constable to the hustings, and support him in executing the warrants. They attempted to do this, but were soon separated one from another in the dense mob, and brought to a stand. In this condition, Sir William Jolliffe also giving evidence, said that he then, for the first time, saw the Manchester troop of yeomanry.[151] They were scattered, singly or in small groups, all over the field, literally hemmed in and wedged into the mob, so that they were powerless either to make an impression, or to escape; and it required only a glance to discover their helpless condition, and the necessity of the hussars being brought to their rescue. The hussars now coming up, were, accordingly, ordered to ride in and disperse the mob. The word "Forward" was given, and the charge was sounded, and the troop dashed in amongst the unarmed crowd. Such a crowd never yet stood a charge of horse. There was a general attempt to fly, but their own numbers prevented them, and a scene of terrible confusion ensued. "People, yeomen, constables," says Sir William Jolliffe, one of these hussars, "in their confused attempts to escape, ran one over another, so that by the time we had arrived at the midst of the field, the fugitives were literally piled up to a considerable elevation above the level of the ground.".
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In the Bill which was founded on the resolutions the term of apprenticeship was limited to six years for the plantation negroes, and four for all others. The Bill passed the House of Lords with slight opposition; and on the 28th of August, 1833, it received the Royal Assent. It does not appear that William IV. urged any plea of conscience against signing this Act of Emancipation, although in his early days he had been, in common with all the Royal Family, except the Duke of Gloucester, opposed to the abolition of the slave trade. The Act was to take effect on the 1st day of August, 1834, on which day slavery was to cease throughout the British colonies. All slaves who at that date should appear to be six years old and upwards were to be registered as "apprentice labourers" to those who had been their owners. All slaves who happened to be brought into the United Kingdom, and all apprentice labourers who might be brought into it with the consent of their owners, were to be absolutely free. The apprentices were divided into three classes. The first class consisted of "predial apprentice labourers," usually employed in agriculture, or the manufacture of colonial produce, on lands belonging to their owners, and these were declared to be attached to the soil. The second class, consisting of the same kind of labourers, who worked on lands not belonging to their owners, were not attached to the soil. The third class consisted of "non-predial apprenticed labourers," and embraced mechanics, artisans, domestic servants, and all slaves not included in the other two classes. The apprenticeship of the first was to terminate on the 1st of August, 1840; and of the "non-predial" on the same day in 1838. The apprentices were not obliged to labour for their employers more than forty-five hours in any one week. Voluntary discharges were permitted; but, in that case, a provision was made for the support of old and infirm apprentices. An apprentice could free himself before the expiration of the term, against the will of his master, by getting himself appraised, and paying the price. No apprentices were to be removed from the colony to which they belonged, nor from one plantation to another in the same colony, except on a certificate from a justice of the peace that the removal would not injure their health or welfare,[368] or separate the members of the same family. Under these conditions the apprentices were transferable with the estates to which they were attached. Their masters were bound to furnish them with food, clothing, lodging, and other necessaries, according to the existing laws of the several colonies, and to allow them sufficient provision ground, and time for cultivating it, where that mode of maintenance was adopted. All children under six years of age when the Act came into operation, and all that should be born during the apprenticeship, were declared free; but if any children were found destitute, they could be apprenticed, and subjected to the same regulations as the others. The Act allowed governors of colonies to appoint stipendiary magistrates, with salaries not exceeding 锟300 a year, to carry the provisions of the law into effect. Corporal punishment was not absolutely abolished, but it could be inflicted only by the special justices, who were authorised to punish the apprentices by whipping, beating, imprisonment, or addition to the hours of labour. The corporal punishment of females was absolutely forbidden in all circumstances. The quantity of punishment was restricted, and the hours of additional labour imposed were not to exceed fifteen in the week..
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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21 August, 2019 - 13:08
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