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Fox, on this occasion, also introduced the subject of the Prince of Wales's allowance, who, he contended, had far less than had been granted to a Prince of Wales since the accession of the House of Hanover, that allowance being one hundred thousand pounds a-year; and the present parsimony towards the prince being grossly aggravated by the royal Civil List having been raised, in this reign, from six hundred thousand pounds to nine hundred thousand pounds, and the Privy Purse from six thousand pounds to sixty thousand pounds. Fox's remarks were rendered all the more telling because, when the House went into committee on the finances, Pitt had made a most flourishing statement of the condition of the Exchequer. He took off the taxes which pressed most on the poorer portion of the populationnamely, on servants, the late augmentations on malt, on waggons, on inhabited houses, etc.,to the amount of two hundred thousand pounds and appropriated four hundred thousand pounds towards the reduction of the National Debt. Still blind to the storm rising across the strait of Dover, he declared that these were mere trifles compared with what he should be able to do shortly, for never was there a time when a more durable peace might be expected!
France ceded Canada, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton, stipulating for the free exercise of their religion by the inhabitants of Canada, and for their leaving the country if they preferred it, carrying away their effects, if done within eighteen months. Nova Scotia and Cape Breton were given up unconditionally. The boundaries of Louisiana were more clearly defined. The French retained the right to fish on part of the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and to retain the two little islets of St. Pierre and Miquelon, as places of shelter for their fishermen, on condition that no batteries should be raised on them, nor more than fifty soldiers keep guard there. Their fishermen were not to approach within fifteen miles of Cape Breton.Chapter 17
This was taking a bold step in defiance of the authorities, and orderly and peaceable conduct was, more than ever, necessary. On the morning of the day proposed there was little appearance of any stir amongst the artisans of the town, and it does not seem that they took any or much part in the assembly, but that it was made up of the parties marching in from the country and towns around. During the forenoon of this day, Monday, the 16th of August, large bodies came marching in from every quarter, so that by twelve o'clock it was calculated that eighty or a hundred thousand such people were congregated in and around the open space designated. Some of them had disregarded the injunctions of the general committee, and had gone extensively armed with sticks. Bamford soon heard that his eccentric friend, called "the quacking" Dr. Healey, of whom his narrative gives some ludicrous recitals, had headed the band from Lees and Saddleworth, with a black flag borne behind him, on which stared out in great white letters, "Equal Representation or Death" on the one side, and on the other, "Love," with a heart and two clasped handsbut all white on their black ground, looking most sepulchral and hideous. Presently loud shouts indicated that Hunt was approaching, who came, preceded by a band of music, seated in an open barouche, with a number of gentlemen, and on the box a woman, who, it appeared, had been hoisted up there by the crowd, as the carriage passed through it.
But Ministers were too sensible of the unconstitutional character of their deeds to rest satisfied with the mere justification of an accepted report. A Bill of Indemnity was introduced to cover "all persons who had in 1817 taken any part in apprehending, imprisoning, or detaining in custody persons suspected of high treason, or treasonable practices, and in the suppression of tumultuous and unlawful assemblies." Thus Ministers were shielded under general terms, and to avoid all appearance of personal movement in this matter by those in the Cabinet the most immediately active, the Bill was introduced by the Duke of Montrose, the Master of the Horse.