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Prussia, it might be supposed, would escape the invasion of Revolutionary principles in 1848. Great hopes had been excited on the accession of Frederick William IV. to his father's throne. Yet it was evident to close observers of the signs of the times that a spirit of sullen discontent was brooding over the population. There was a feeling that their amiable and accomplished Sovereign had disappointed them. He proved to be excessively sensitive to the slightest infringement of his prerogative, and he abhorred the idea of representative bodies, who might oppose constitutional barriers to his own absolute will. Hence, there grew up sensibly a mutual feeling of distrust between him and the people, and the natural effect on his part was a change from the leniency and liberality of his earlier years to a more austere temper, while a tedious, inactive, and undecided course of policy wore out the patience of those who expected a more constitutional system. Consequently, although the administration of the country was free from any taint of corruption, and was, on the whole, moderate and just, the revolutionary earthquake of 1848 shook the kingdom of Prussia to its very foundations.
A strong party, not satisfied with having destroyed Lord Mansfield's town house, set off to burn that at Caen Wood, near Highgate. They were met and turned back by a detachment of cavalry. They were equally disappointed in their intended sack of the Bank of England. They found this mine of wealth guarded by infantry, who had here orders to fire, and did it without scruple, killing and wounding a great many. They were more successful against the prisons. They broke open the King's Bench, the Fleet, the Marshalsea, and all the other prisons except the Poultry Compter, and set at liberty all the prisoners. Before the day had dawned, the whole sky was glaring with the light of conflagrations. The number of separate fires burning at the same time was counted up to thirty-six. Had the weather been stormy, the whole of London must have been laid in ashes; but, providentially, the weather was perfectly calm. The scene of the greatest catastrophe was at the distillery of a Mr. Langdale, on Holborn Bridge. This gentleman was a Catholic, and his stores of spirits were a violent temptation. They broke open his premises in the evening, and destroyed everything. They staved in his hogsheads of spirits, and others collected them in pails and in their hats, and drank voraciously. The kennel ran a mingled river of gin, brandy, and pure alcohol, and men, women, and children were seen on their knees sucking up the stream as it flowed! Fire was set to the premises, and catching the spirits which flooded the floors, the flames shot up to the sky like a volcano. The unhappy wretches, who had stupefied themselves with the fiery fluid, perished like flies in the raging element. No such scene of horror had been seen in all these spectacles of violence and crime. The loss of Mr. Langdale alone was estimated at one hundred thousand pounds.
* Faillon, Vie de Mademoiselle Le Ber, 325. Montreal.
"Now is the stately column broke,
Thus baffled, he returned to Dublin, where he met with an enthusiastic reception. A meeting was held the next day to make arrangements for insuring his return for Clare. On the 1st of June O'Connell started for Ennis. All the towns he passed through turned out to cheer him on, with green boughs and banners suspended from the windows. He arrived at Nenagh in the night, and the town was quickly illuminated. Having travelled all night, he retired to rest at Limerick; and while he slept the streets were thronged with people anxious to get a glance at their "Liberator." A large tree of Liberty was planted before the hotel, with musicians perched on the branches playing national airs. The Limerick trades accompanied him in his progress towards Ennis, where his arrival was hailed with boundless enthusiasm, and where a triumphal car was prepared for him. Thus terminated a progress, during which he made twenty speeches, to nearly a million of persons. On the 30th of July O'Connell was a second time returned for Clare, on this occasion without opposition, and the event was celebrated with the usual demonstrations of joy and triumph. inquiry into the bishops conduct, and with equal secrecy to
Gaigneur, parti la 6 Septembre (1658).