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At the very time that Washington was flying before the British army, Congress, putting a firm face on the matter, went on legislating as boldly as ever. It established Articles of Confederation and perpetual union between the several States. These Articles were a supplement to and extension of the Declaration of Independence, and were sixteen in number:1st. That the thirteen States thus confederating should take the title of the United States. 2nd. That each and all were engaged in a reciprocal treaty of alliance and friendship for their common defence, and for their general advantage; obliging themselves to assist each other against all violence that might threaten all or any of them on account of religion, sovereignty, commerce, or under any other pretext whatever. 3rd. That each State reserved to itself alone the exclusive right of regulating its internal government. 4th. That no State in particular should either send or receive embassies, begin any negotiations, contract any engagements, form any alliances, or conclude any treaties with any king, prince, or power whatsoever, without the consent of the United States assembled in Congress; that no person invested with any post in the United States should be allowed to accept any presents, emoluments, office, or title, from any king, prince, or foreign Power; and that neither the General Congress, nor any State in particular, should ever confer any title of nobility. 5th. That none of the said States should have power to form alliances, or confederations, even amongst themselves, without the consent of the General Congress. 6th. That no State should lay on any imposts, or establish any duties, which might affect treaties to be hereafter concluded by Congress with foreign Powers. 7th. That no State in particular should keep up ships of war, or land troops beyond the amount regulated by Congress. 8th. That when any of the States raised troops for the common defence, the officers of the rank of colonel and under should be appointed by the legislature of the State, and the superior officers by Congress. 9th. That all the expenses of the war, etc., should be paid out of a common treasury. Other clauses defined the functions and powers of Congress, and the 14th offered to Canada admission to all the privileges of the other States, should she desire it; but no other colony was to be admitted without the formal consent of nine of the States composing the union.

Before entering Washington, General Ross sent in a flag of truceor, rather, he carried one himself, for he accompanied itto see that all was done that could be done to arrange terms, without further mischief or bloodshed. He demanded that all military stores should be delivered up, and that the other public property should be ransomed at a certain sum. But scarcely had they entered the place, with the flag of truce displayed, whenwith total disregard of all such customs established by civilised nations in warthe party was fired upon, and the horse of General Ross killed under him. There was nothing for it but to order the troops forward. The city was taken possession of, under strict orders to respect private property, and to destroy only that of the State. Under these orders, the Capitol, the President's house, the Senate-house, the House of Representatives, the Treasury, the War-office, the arsenal, the dockyard, and the ropewalk were given to the flames; the bridge over the Potomac, and some other public works, were blown up; a frigate on the stocks and some smaller craft were burnt. All was done that could be done by General Ross, and the officers under him, to protect private property; but the soldiers were so incensed at the treachery by which the Americans had sought to blow up the seamen, by the firing on the flag of truce, and the unprincipled manner in which the Americans had carried on the war in Canada, as well as by the insults and gasconading of the Americans on all occasions, that they could not be restrained from committing some excesses. Yet it may be said that never was the capital of a nation so easily taken, and never did the capital of a nation which had given so much irritating provocation escape with so little scathe. The following evening it was evacuated in perfect order, and without any enemy appearing to molest the retreat. On the 30th the troops were safely re-embarked.

"The prosperous state of the revenue, the increased demand for labour, and the general improvement which has taken place in the internal condition of the country are strong testimonies in favour of the course you have pursued. Sir John Blaquiere, created Lord de Blaquiere, with offices and pensions.

After passing a Factory Act of some importance, which, however, was only the forerunner of much subsequent legislation, the House of Commons engaged in Poor Law Reform. In the winter of 1832-3 a very startling state of things was disclosed. In a period of great general prosperity, that portion of England in which the Poor Laws had their most extensive operation, and in which by much the largest expenditure of poor-rates had been made, was the scene of daily riot and nightly incendiarism. There were ninety-three parishes in four counties of which the population was 113,147 and the Poor-Law expenditure 81,978, or fourteen shillings and fivepence per head; and there were eighty parishes in three other counties the population of which was 105,728 and the Poor-Law expenditure 30,820, or five shillings and ninepence a head. In the counties in which the Poor-Law expenditure was large the industry and skill of the labourers were passing away, the connection between the master and servant had become precarious, the unmarried were defrauded of their fair earnings, and riots and incendiarism prevailed. In the counties where the expenditure was comparatively small, there was scarcely any instance of disorder; mutual attachment existed between the workman and his employer; the intelligence, skill, and good conduct of the labourers were unimpaired, or increased. This striking social contrast was but a specimen of what prevailed throughout large districts, and generally throughout the south and north of England, and it proved that either through the inherent vice of the system, or gross maladministration[362] in the southern counties, the Poor Law had a most demoralising effect upon the working classes, while it was rapidly eating up the capital upon which the employment of labour depended. This fact was placed beyond question by a commission of inquiry, which was composed of individuals distinguished by their interest in the subject and their intimate knowledge of its principles and details. Its labours were continued incessantly for two years. Witnesses most competent to give information were summoned from different parts of the country. The Commissioners had before them documentary evidence of every kind calculated to throw light on the subject. They personally visited localities, and examined the actual operation of the system on the spot; and when they could not go themselves, they called to their aid assistant commissioners, some of whom extended their inquiries into Scotland, Guernsey, France, and Flanders; while they also collected a vast mass of interesting evidence from our ambassadors and diplomatic agents in different countries of Europe and America. It was upon the report of this commission of inquiry that the Act was founded for the Amendment and Better Administration of the Laws relating to the Poor in England and Wales (4 and 5 William IV., cap. 76). A more solid foundation for a legislative enactment could scarcely be found, and the importance of the subject fully warranted all the expense and labour by which it was obtained.

He was advised to try Westminster, where Mr. John Churchill, the brother of his coadjutor, the satirist, and others, were in his interest, but he boldly struck for the City of London. There were seven candidates at the poll. Wilkes received one thousand two hundred and forty-seven votes, but he was still lowest on the poll. His friends, the mob, had no franchise.

If Pitt had possessed the far-seeing genius of his father Chatham, it was at this moment in his power, as the ally of Turkey, to have stepped in and given a blow to the ambitious designs of Russia which would have saved a far more arduous and costly effort for that very purpose afterwards. Russia had spared no pains to insult Britain, especially since the unfortunate contest on account of America. It was certain that if she once obtained Turkey she would become a most troublesome power in the Mediterranean; and it now required only the dispatch of a tolerable fleet to the Baltic, and of another to the Black Sea, to annihilate in a few days every vestige of her maritime force. Such a check would have caused her to recoil from her Eastern aggressions for the purpose of defending her very existence at home. Holland was bound to us by the re-establishment of the Prince of Orange, our fast friend, whom Pitt, with the assistance of Prussia, had restored to the throne, whence he had been driven by his democratic subjects, in spite of the assistance given to the rebels by France; we were at peace with Prussia; France was engrossed inextricably with her own affairs; Denmark was in terror of us; and Sweden longed for nothing so much as to take vengeance for Russian insults and invasions. Catherine's fleets destroyed, Sweden would have full opportunity to ravage her coasts, and to seek the recovery of her Finnish dominions. But Pitt contented himself with diplomacy. Instead of destroying the Russian fleet in the Baltic, or of attacking it in the Mediterranean the moment it commenced its operations on the Turkish dependencies, and then clearing the Black Sea of their ships, he contented himself with issuing a proclamation in the London Gazette, forbidding English seamen to enter any foreign service, and commanding the owners of the vessels engaged by Russia to renounce their contracts. Thus the fleet before Oczakoff was left to operate against the Turks, and the fleet in the Baltic was detained there.

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VIRGINIA WATER.