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In the opening of the reign the gentlemen retained the full-skirted coat, with huge cuffs, the cocked-hats and knee-breeches of the former period. Pigtails were universal, and the more foppish set up their hair in a high peak, like the women. The ladies had their hair turned up on frames half a yard high, and this hairy mountain was ornamented with strings of pearls or diamonds, or surmounted with a huge cap edged with lace. They wore their waists as long as possible, with a peaked stomacher, and hanging sleeves of Mecklenburg lace. Their gowns were of the richest silks, satins, and brocades, their skirts flowing; and the fan was an indispensable article.

The court-house on the day of nomination presented a striking scene. On the left hand of the sheriff stood a Cabinet Minister, attended by the whole body of the aristocracy and gentry, Protestant and Catholic, of the county Clare. On the right stood Mr. O'Connell, with scarcely a single gentleman by his side. But he was "the man of the people" and of the priests, and so he was master of the situation. Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald was proposed by Sir Edward O'Brien, and seconded by Sir A. Fitzgerald. The Ministerial candidate first addressed the freeholders. He was an accomplished gentleman and an excellent speaker. Mr. Sheil, who was present, remarked that he delivered one of the most effective and dexterous speeches it had ever been his fortune to hear. His venerable father, who had voted against the union in the Irish Parliament, was now on his death-bed, and the knowledge of the[274] contest had been kept from him, lest the excitement should hasten his departure. In alluding to him, and to his own services to the county, Mr. Fitzgerald's eyes filled with tears, and there were few amongst his opponents, excited as they were against him, who did not give the same evidence of emotion; and when he sat down, although the great majority of the audience were strongly opposed to him, and were enthusiasts in favour of the rival candidate, a loud and unanimous burst of acclamation shook the court-house.

Whilst Chatham was heading the Opposition in a determined onslaught on the Government, the latter were also compelled to face the awkward American question. Great hopes had been entertained that the people of Boston would be much calmer after the departure of Governor Bernard. Hutchinson, the Deputy-Governor, was not only an American, but a man of a mild temper. But the temper of the Bostonians was now so much excited, that the leaders of the non-importation Act were more vehement than ever. The English merchants presented a petition to Parliament showing that, in consequence of the import duties and the combinations of the colonists to resist them, the exports from England to these colonies had fallen off in 1769 by the amount of seven hundred and forty thousand pounds; that the revenue received from duties paid in America had fallen off from one hundred and ten thousand pounds per annum to thirty thousand pounds. BRITISH LINE-OF-BATTLE SHIPS (1836).

At this moment Meer Jaffier found it impossible to retain his seat without the support of the English. Shah Allum, the eldest son of the Great Mogul, was coming against him with a large army. Clive met and defeated him, and for this service he received from his puppet a jaghire, or domain worth twenty-seven thousand pounds a year.

At this juncture, when the eyes of all Europe were turned on the new Republic of America, Congress gave a proof of its utter contempt of those principles of honour which are regarded as the distinguishing characteristics of civilised nations. The convention on which General Burgoyne's army had surrendered was deliberately violated. It had been stipulated that his troops should be conveyed to Boston, and there suffered to embark for England in British transports to be admitted to the port for that purpose. But no sooner did Congress learn this stipulation than it showed the utmost reluctance to comply with it. It was contended that these five thousand men would liberate other five thousand in England to proceed to America. It was therefore determined to find some plea for evading the convention. An article of the convention provided that the English officers should be quartered according to their rank; but they complained that six or seven of them were crowded into one small room, without regard either to rank or comfort. But Burgoyne, finding remonstrance useless at Boston, wrote to Gates reminding him of his engagements in the convention, and declaring such treatment a breach of public faith. This was just one of those expressions that Congress was watching for, and they seized upon it with avidity. "Here," they said, "is a deep and crafty schemea previous notice put in by the British General to justify his future conduct; for, beyond all doubt, he will think himself absolved from his obligation whenever released from his captivity, and go with all his troops to reinforce the army of Howe." Burgoyne offered at once to give Congress any security against such imagined perfidy. But this did not suit Congressits only object was to fasten some imputation on the English as an excuse for detaining them contrary to the convention, and they went on to raise fresh obstacles.