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* Lettre du Roi dArgenson, 14 Mai, 1659. etc. Projets de Rglemens, 1667. This applied to civil and
*** Mmoire de 1757, printed in Margry, Relations Indites.
Ramsay was so far right, that whether a revolution was the only hope for theories like Beccarias or not, the realisation of many of them was one of the first results of that general revolution, which seemed to Ramsay so impossible and undesirable. His letter, as it is a characteristic expression of that common apathy and despair of change which afflict at times even the most sanguine and hopeful, so it is, from its misplaced despair, a good cure for moods of like despondency. For the complete triumph of Beccarias theories about torture, to say nothing of other improvements in law that he lived to witness, is perhaps the most signal instance in history of the conquest of theory over practice. For albeit that his theory was at total variance with the beliefs and ideas of the whole practical school, Beccaria lived to see torture abolished, not only in Lombardy and Tuscany, but in Austria generally, in Portugal and in Sweden, in Russia as well as in France. Yet Ramsays fears at the time were more reasonable than the hopes of Beccaria.
It has been remarked that the "monster meetings" could never have been conducted in the orderly manner for which they were distinguished, but for the Temperance reform which had been effected by Father Mathew, a benevolent, tolerant, and single-minded friar from Cork, who was known as the Apostle of Temperance, and who had induced vast numbers from all parts of the country to take the pledge, which the majority religiously kept for some years. The monster meetings, of which forty-five were held during the year, were vast assemblages whose numbers it was difficult to calculate, but they varied from 20,000 to 100,000 each. The people, generally well-dressed, came crowding to the appointed place from every direction, some on horseback, some on jaunting cars and carts, generally preceded by bands with immense banners, and sometimes marching in military order. O'Connell, the "uncrowned monarch," as his followers called him, arrived from Dublin, sitting on the dickey of a coach, usually drawn by four horses. He was always accompanied by his devoted friend, Tom Steel, the "head pacificator," one of the most ardent of hero-worshippers, who looked up to his chief as a sort of demi-god. The first of the monster meetings was held at Trim, in the county Meath, on the 19th of March, and was said to have been attended by about 30,000 persons. A dinner took place in the evening, at which Mr. O'Connell delivered an exciting speech. Referring to the bright eyes and hardy look of the multitudes that surrounded him that day, he asked, would they be everlasting slaves? They would answer "No," and he would join in the response, and say, "I shall be either in my grave or be a free man. Idle sentiments will not do. It will not do to say you like to be free. The man who thinks and does not act upon his thoughts is a scoundrel who does not deserve to be free." The monster meeting held at Mullingar on the 14th of May (Sunday) was attended by Dr. Cantwell and Dr. Higgins, two Roman Catholic bishops, and a great number of priests. This was one of the largest of the meetings, and was remarkable for the declaration made by Dr. Higgins, to the effect that "every Roman Catholic bishop in Ireland, without exception, was a Repealer. He defied all the Ministers of England to put down the agitation. If they prevented them from assembling in the open fields, they would retire to their chapels, and suspend all other instruction, in order to devote all their time to teaching the people to be Repealers. They were even ready to go to the scaffold for the cause of their country, and bequeath its wrongs to their successors." This outburst excited tumultuous applause, the whole assembly rising and cheering for a considerable time.
A still more signal victory was won by Admiral Duncan in the autumn. On the 11th of October, the Admiral, who had been watching the Dutch fleet in the Texel, found that during a storm it had stolen out, and was on its way to join the French fleet at Brest. There were eleven sail of the line, and four fifty-six gun ships, commanded by Admiral de Winter. Duncan had sixteen sail of the line. Notwithstanding our superiority of numbers, the Dutch fought with their accustomed valour, but Duncan ran his ships between them and the dangerous coast, to prevent their regaining the Texel, and so battered them that they were compelled to strike. Eight sail of the line, two fifty-six gun ships, and two frigates remained in our hands; but the Dutch had stood it out so stoutly, that the vessels were few of them capable of being again made serviceable. The loss in killed and wounded on both sides was great. Duncan was elevated to the peerage for this victory of Camperdown, and the danger of immediate invasion was at an end.On the 10th of September the Prussians began to examine the passes of the forest; and finding them defended, they attacked the French entrenchments but were everywhere repulsed. On the 11th, they concentrated their efforts on the pass of Grand-Pr, defended by Dumouriez himself, and were again repulsed by General Miranda at Mortaume, and by General Stengel at St. Jouvion. The Allies, thus unexpectedly brought to a check, for they had been led by the Emigrants to expect a disorganised or as yet undisciplined army, determined to skirt the forest and endeavour to turn it near Sedan. Whilst engaged in this plan, the Austrians discovered the weakness of the force in the defile of Croix-aux-Bois, where only two battalions and two squadrons of volunteers were posted, for Dumouriez had not examined the pass himself and was assured that this force was amply sufficient. Once aware of this mistake, the Austrians, under the Duke de Ligne, briskly attacked the position and drove the French before them. Dumouriez, informed of this disorder, ordered forward General Chasot with a strong force, who defeated the Austrians, killed De Ligne, and recovered the pass. But the advantage was but momentary; the Austrians returned to the charge with a far superior force, and again cleared the pass and remained in possession of it. Thus Dumouriez saw his grand plan of defence broken up; and finding that Chasot, who had fallen back on Vouziers, was cut off from him on his left along with Dubouquet, he saw the necessity of falling back himself into the rear of Dillon, on his right, who was yet master of the Islettes and the road to St. Menehould. He then sent messages to Chasot, Dubouquet, and to Kellermann, to direct their march so as to meet him at St. Menehould.
From political morality, unless founded on the immutable sentiments of mankind, no lasting advantage can be hoped. Whatever law deviates from these sentiments will encounter a resistance which will ultimately prevail over it, just in the same way as a force, however slight, if constantly applied, will prevail over a violent motion applied to any physical body.