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CHAPTER XX SANDY TURNS OVER A NEW LEAF
Doesnt it get you excited?Priceless emeraldsdestroyed? You meanrobbers, dont you?
As soon as this news reached France the Pretender hastened to St. Malo in order to embark for Scotland, and Ormonde hastened over from Normandy to Devonshire to join the insurgents, whom he now expected to meet in arms. He took with him only twenty officers and as many troopers from Nugent's regiment. This was the force with which Ormonde landed in England to conquer it for the Pretender. There was, however, no need of even these forty men. The English Government had been beforehand with him; they had arrested all his chief coadjutors, and when he reached the appointed rendezvous there was not a man to meet him. On reaching St. Malo, Ormonde there found the Pretender not yet embarked. After some conference together, Ormonde once more went on board ship to reach the English coast and make one more attempt in the hopeless expedition, but he was soon driven back by a tempest. By this time the port of St. Malo was blockaded by the English, and the Pretender was compelled to travel on land to Dunkirk, where, in the middle of December, he sailed with only a single ship for the conquest of Scotland, and attended only by half a dozen gentlemen, disguised, like himself, as French naval officers.
The year 1747 was opened by measures of restriction. The House of Lords, offended at the publication of the proceedings of the trial of Lord Lovat, summoned the parties to their bar, committed them to prison, and refused to liberate them till they had pledged themselves not to repeat the offence, and had paid very heavy fees. The consequence of this was that the transactions of the Peers were almost entirely suppressed for nearly thirty years from this time, and we draw our knowledge of them chiefly from notes taken by Horace Walpole and Lord Chancellor Hardwicke. What is still more remarkable, the reports of the House of Commons, being taken by stealth, and on the merest sufferance, are of the most meagre kind, sometimes altogether wanting, and the speeches are given uniformly under fictitious names; for to have attributed to Pitt or Pelham their speeches by name would have brought down on the printers the summary vengeance of the House. Many of the members complained bitterly of this breach of the privileges of Parliament, and of "being put into print by low fellows"; but Pelham had the sense to tolerate them, saying, "Let them alone; they make better speeches for us than we can make for ourselves." Altogether, the House of Commons exhibited the most deplorable aspect that can be conceived. The Ministry had pursued Walpole's system of buying up opponents by place, or pension, or secret service money, till there was no life left in the House. Ministers passed their measures without troubling themselves to say much in their behalf; and the opposition dwindled to Sir John Hinde Cotton, now dismissed from office, and a feeble remnant of Jacobites raised but miserable resistance. In vain the Prince of Wales and the secret instigations of Bolingbroke and Doddington stimulated the spirit of discontent; both Houses had degenerated into most silent and insignificant arenas of very commonplace business.