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      [218] Dumas, however, declares that Beaujeu adopted the plan at his suggestion. Dumas au Ministre, 24 Juillet, 1756.At length the Sikhs moved on to meet the British on the 18th of December. When they came in sight, the British bugles sounded, and the wearied soldiers, who had been lying on the ground, started up and stood to their arms. The Governor-General and the Commander-in-Chief rode from regiment to regiment, cheering the spirits of their men, and rousing them to the needful pitch of valour by encouraging exhortations. About two miles from Moodkee, Gough, at the head of the advanced guard, found the enemy encamped behind sandy hillocks and jungle, 20,000 strong, with forty guns, which immediately opened fire as he approached. The battlefield was a sandy plain, on which the view was obstructed by small hills, which prevented the belligerents from seeing one another till they were quite near. For some time the contest was maintained on both sides by the artillery. Then General Gough ordered the advance of a column of cavalrythe 3rd Light Dragoons, the 5th Light Cavalry, and the 4th Lancers. The column was launched like an immense thunderbolt against a mass of Sikh cavalry, and proved so irresistible in its terrific onset that it broke them up into fragments, scattered them about, and swept along the whole line of the enemy, cutting down the gunners, and suspending for a time the roar of their artillery. Soon afterwards the infantry came into action, led on by Sir Harry Smith, General Gilbert, and Sir John M'Caskill. The Sikhs fought bravely and obstinately at every point; but when the steady incessant fire of the artillery had done its work, a general charge was made, with loud, exultant cheers, and the enemy were driven from their ground with tremendous loss. The day had closed upon the battlefield, but the routed enemy were pursued for a mile and a half by the light of the stars.


      and so excited every moment of the time that I can scarcely sleep.

      The party which, under the guidance of Mr. Disraeli, Lord Stanley, and Lord George Bentinck, was destined to present so formidable an opposition to the Minister's policy, and to render his labours in the interests of the people so full of pain and anxiety, as yet only marked its existence by murmurs along the Conservative benches. As usual, the somewhat revived prosperity of the country was the chief pretext for resisting change. People with this view did not see the danger of opposing reforms until a sudden storm compelled the Legislature to face them with mischievous haste. It had again and again been shown that the evils of the old system of restrictions lay chiefly in the fact that they led to violent fluctuations in the circumstances of the people. Nothing, therefore, could be more certain than that, even had the prosperity been tenfold greater, one of those alternations of depression which brought so much misery to the people would not be long in making its appearance. The monopolist party, however, seldom looked beyond the day or the hour. There had been rick-burning in the country, and an agricultural labourer, named Joseph Lankester, had declared that his object in committing this crime was to raise the price of wheat, and so bring about those high wages which the political farmers and landlords were always saying came from good prices in the corn market. The Protectionist lords declared, nevertheless, that the Anti-Corn-Law League, with their mischievous agitation, their models of the big and the little loaf, their lectures and meetings, their music and banners, their poisonous tracts and pamphlets, were at the bottom of these disturbances. In the towns, however, political agitation was comparatively silent. To some agriculturists it appeared a fair compromise to maintain the protective laws in consideration of their being content to put up with the low prices of the day. Any way, the dreaded League seemed to them to be checked.

      No doubt there was justice in the suspicion. Every military movement, and above all the establishment of every new post, was an opportunity to the official thieves with whom the colony swarmed. Some band of favored knaves grew rich; while a much greater number, excluded from sharing the illicit profits, clamored against the undertaking, and wrote charges of corruption to Versailles. Thus the Minister was kept tolerably well informed; but was scarcely the less helpless, for with the Atlantic between, the disorders of Canada defied his control. Duquesne was exasperated by the opposition that met him on all hands, and wrote to the Minister: "There are so many rascals in this country that one is forever the butt of their attacks." [67]


      and grandfathers, but uncles are a step worse; and as for brothers

      on the first name I could think of, and that was Montgomery.

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      We were having lemon jelly for dessert when the question came up.

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      [25] Mmoire adress au Comte de Maurepas, in Margry, v. 138.

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      FRANKFORT. (From a Photograph by Frith & Co., Reigate.)Gage, with his advance-column, had just passed a wide and bushy ravine that crossed their path, and the van of the main column was on the point 215


      alllittle