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Governor. Tell him to go on.From this time forward the state of affairs in Acadia was a peculiar one. By the Treaty of Utrecht it was a British province, and the nominal sovereignty[Pg 198] resided at Annapolis, in the keeping of the miserable little fort and the puny garrison, which as late as 1743 consisted of but five companies, counting, when the ranks were full, thirty-one men each. More troops were often asked for, and once or twice were promised; but they were never sent. "This has been hitherto no more than a mock government, its authority never yet having extended beyond cannon-shot of the fort," wrote Governor Philipps in 1720. "It would be more for the honour of the Crown, and profit also, to give back the country to the French, than to be contented with the name only of government." Philipps repaired the fort, which, as the engineer Mascarene says, "had lain tumbling down" before his arrival; but Annapolis and the whole province remained totally neglected and almost forgotten by England till the middle of the century. At one time the soldiers were in so ragged a plight that Lieutenant-Colonel Armstrong was forced to clothe them at his own expense.
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Washington seems not to have hesitated a moment. Fearing a stratagem to surprise his camp, 147
This coalition was considered a matter of great importance, not as giving strength to the Administration of Lord Liverpool, to which it brought only a few votes in the House of Commons, but as indicating a radical change of policy towards Ireland. Lord Eldon was by no means satisfied with the changes. "This coalition," he writes, "I think, will have consequences very different from those expected by the members of administration who have brought it about. I hate coalitions." No doubt they ill suited his uncompromising spirit; and any connection with Liberal opinions must have been in the highest degree repugnant to the feelings of one who believed that the granting of Catholic Emancipation would involve the ruin of the Constitution.152
It certainly should moderate our reverence for ancestral wisdom to find even a man like Fielding, the novelist, speaking, in his Charge to the Grand Jury of Middlesex, of the pillory and the loss of a mans ears as an extremely mild punishment for a bad case of libel, or declaring our punishments of that time to be the mildest and most void of terror of any other in the known world. Yet Fielding recognised several of the true principles of punishment. He attributed the increase of crime to the great abuse of pardons, which, he said, had brought many more men to the gallows than they had saved from it. He also advocated the diminution of the number of executions, their greater privacy and solemnity, whilst he recommended their following as closely as possible on conviction, that pity for the criminal might be lost in detestation for his crime.