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      [98] Roma au Ministre, 11 Mars, 1750.


      FATHER MATHEW AND THE FAMINE-STRICKEN POOR. (See p. 537.)


      The Dutch traders of Albany and the importing merchants who supplied them with Indian goods had a strong interest in preventing active hostilities with Canada, which would have spoiled their trade. So, too, and for similar reasons, had influential persons in Canada. The French authorities, moreover, thought it impolitic to harass the frontiers of New York by war parties, since the Five Nations might come to the aid of their Dutch and English allies, and so break the peaceful relations which the French were anxious to maintain with them. Thus it happened that, during the first six or seven years of the eighteenth century, there was a virtual truce between Canada and New York, and the whole burden of the war fell upon New England, or rather upon Massachusetts, with its outlying district of Maine and its small and weak neighbor, New Hampshire.[14]The construction of public roads has been greatly improved in the United Kingdom by the general adoption of the plan of Mr. Macadam, who gave his name to the process of substituting stones broken small for the old rough pavement. We read with astonishment of the state of English roads a century ago, of carriages breaking down and sticking fast in deep ruts, and of days passed in a journey which now only occupies as many hours. Yet in early times England was better off in this respect than other countries. Of all the proofs of social progress which the country now exhibits to such a marvellous extent on every side, there is nothing more decisive or more wonderful than the rapidity with which we have improved and extended our internal communication. From 1818 to 1839 the length of turnpike roads in England and Wales was increased by more than 1,000 miles. In the former year England and Wales contained paved streets and turnpike roads to the extent of 19,725 miles. Scotland also made great progress in the construction of highways from the commencement of the century, and roads were thrown across the wildest districts in Ireland. By the improvement of the common roads, and in the construction of vehicles, stage coaches increased their speed from four to ten miles an hour. Upon the Stamp Office returns for 1834 a calculation was based which showed that the extent of travelling on licensed conveyances in that year would be equal to the conveyance of one person for a distance of 597,159,420 miles, or more than six times the distance between the earth and the sun. There were, in 1837, in England, fifty-four mail coaches drawn by four horses each, and forty-nine by two horses each, drawn at an average speed of nine miles an hour. Ireland had at the same time thirty four-horse mails, and Scotland ten.

      What could have gone wrong, she wondered. Were the sandwichesSunday

      I was feeling terribly lonely and miserable and sore-throaty the night[50] Ordres du Roy et Dpches des Ministres; MM. de la Jonquire et Bigot, 15 Avril, 1750. See Appendix A. for original.


      and ate and ate until they went to her head. For two days she

      I. A silver watch in a leather case to wear on my wrist and get me

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      But at length the Legislature adopted a measure which attempted to go to the root of one of the greatest evils that afflicted Ireland. This was a Bill for facilitating the transfer of encumbered estates, which was passed into law, and is generally known as the Encumbered Estates Act. It was introduced by the Solicitor-General, Sir Samuel Romilly, on the 26th of April. Nothing could be more unsatisfactory than the state of landed property in that country. Many of the estates had been in Chancery for a long series of years, under the management of receivers, and periodically let at rack-rents. Many others which were not in Chancery were so heavily mortgaged that the owners were merely nominal. Others again were so tied up by family settlements, or held by such defective titles, that they could not be transferred. Consequently, a great portion of the landed property of the country was in such a condition that capital could not be invested in it, or expended on it. The course of proceeding in Chancery was so slow, so expensive, so ruinous, and the court was so apparently incapable of reform, that nothing could be expected from that quarter. The Government, therefore, proposed to establish a commission, invested with all the powers of that court, and capable of exercising those powers in a summary manner, without delay and without expense, so that an encumbered estate could be at once sold, either wholly or in part, and a parliamentary title given, which should be good against all the world. This important measure met with general approval in both Houses. Indeed it was hailed with satisfaction by all classes of the community, with the exception of a portion of the Irish landed gentry. There were three commissioners appointed, lawyers of eminence and experience in connection with land. By a subsequent enactment in 1849, it was regulated as a permanent institution, under the title of the Landed Estates Court; the three commissioners were styled judges, ranking with the judges of the Law Courts. The number of petitions or applications for sale made to this court from the 17th of October, 1849, to the 1st of August, 1850, was 1,085, and of this number those by owners amounted to 177nearly one-sixth of the whole. The rental of the estates thus sought to be sold by the nominal proprietors, anxious to be relieved of their burdens, was 195,000 per annum, and the encumbrances affecting them amounted to no less than 3,260,000. The rental of the estates included in 1,085 applications, made by others not owners, amounted to 655,470 per annum, and the debt upon these amounted to the enormous sum of 12,400,348. One of the estates brought before the court had been in Chancery for seventy years, the original bill having been filed by Lord Mansfield in 1781. The estates were broken up into parcels for the convenience of purchasers, many of whom were the occupying tenants, and the great majority were Irishmen. Generally the properties brought their full value, estimated by the poor-law valuation, not by the rack rents which were set down in the agents' books, but never recovered. The amount of capital that lay dormant in Ireland, waiting for investment in land, may be inferred from the fact that in nine yearsfrom 1849 to 1858the sum of twenty-two millions sterling was paid for 2,380 estates. But in the pacification of Ireland the Act accomplished far less than was hoped by Sir Robert Peel, who practically forced the measure upon the Ministry. Men of capital looked for a fair percentage for their investments: many of them were merchants and solicitors, without any of the attachments that subsisted between the old race of landlords and their tenants, and they naturally dealt with land as they did with other mattersin a commercial spiritand evicted wholesale tenants who were unable to pay.

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      I know, but I haven't loved you much this summer--you see I'm

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      There it goes! Lights out. Good night.


      alllittle