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Meanwhile, in America military intrigues were on foot against Washington. Amongst these endeavours was one for alienating from him Lafayette. For this purpose an expedition was planned against Canada, and Lafayette, as a Frenchman, was appointed to the command, hoping thus to draw to him the Frenchmen of Canada. Not a word was to be breathed of it to Washington; and Conway and Starke, two of the most malicious members of the cabal, were to take command under Lafayette. On the 24th of January, 1778, Washington received a letter from Gates, the President of the Board of War, commanding him to send one of his best regiments to Albany, on the Hudson, for a particular service, and enclosing another to Lafayette, requiring his immediate attendance on Gates. Gates found, however, that Lafayette was not to be seduced from his attachment to Washington. He would not accept the command, otherwise than as acting in subordination to his Commander-in-Chief; and he should send all his despatches and bulletins to him, at the same time that he furnished copies to Congress. The vain Frenchman verily believed that he was going to restore Canada, not to America, but to the French Crowna fear which began to haunt Congress after he had set out; but the fear was needless. When Lafayette reached his invading army, instead of two thousand five hundred men, it amounted to about one thousand two hundred, and the militia were nowhere to be heard of. Clothes, provisions, sledges, were all wanting, and, instead of leading his troops, as he was directed, to Lake Champlain, whence he was to proceed to ?le-aux-Noix to blow up the English flotilla, and thence, crossing the Sorel, to descend the St. Lawrence to Montreal, he gave up the expedition with a sigh, and returned to the camp of Washington.

Stanhope appears to have done his best to break Townshend's fall. He represented to the king the high character of that minister, his real services, and the injustice and impolicy of disgracing him; that he might remove him to another office, and thus answer every purpose. He could take the chief direction of affairs out of his hands, even while appearing to promote him. He therefore advised that Townshend should, without a word of dismissal or disapprobation, be offered the Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland, instead of the Secretaryship of State, and to this the king consented. Accordingly Stanhope was directed to write to Townshend, and also to Secretary Methuen, and he did so on the 14th of December, conveying in most courteous terms the king's desire that he should accept the Lord-Lieutenancy, and this without a syllable of discontent on the part of his Majesty. Townshend at first refused, but on the arrival of George in London he received Townshend very cordially, and so softened him as to induce him to accept the Lord-Lieutenancy, and to do the very thing he had declared it was not[36] common honesty to doaccept the post and still remain in London, acting with the rest of the Cabinet. His political adherents, including Methuen, Pulteney, the Walpoles, Lord Orford, and the Duke of Devonshire, were contented to remain in office. The only change was that Methuen was made one of the two Secretaries along with Stanhope. It was thus imagined that the great schism in the Whig party was closed; but this was far from being the case: the healing was only on the surface. It was during this brief reconciliation that the great Triple Alliance between England, France, and Holland, was concluded.

Such was the state of things in Canada which the Imperial Parliament was called upon to consider in the spring of 1838. The first feeling which the news of the insurrection produced in Britain was one of alarm; the next was that all the forces that could be spared should be immediately dispatched for the purpose of crushing the revolt; and a ship of the line was employed for the first time in carrying a battalion of 800 Guards across the Atlantic. The Duke of Wellington censured the Government for not having had a sufficient military force to preserve the peace in Canada, and used the oft-repeated expression that was stultified on several occasions during the latter portion of Victoria's reign, that a great nation cannot make a little war. On the 22nd of January Lord John Russell moved[447] for leave to bring in a Bill suspending the Constitution in Lower Canada for three years, and providing for the future government of that province, with a view to effecting a satisfactory settlement of the affairs of the colony. He stated that her Majesty's Government had resolved to send out an experienced statesman, of high character and position, and of well-known popular sympathies, with ample powers, and that Lord Durham had consented to go. The Government measure was carried in the House of Commons by a majority of 262 to 16, and unanimously in the Lords.

LORD GREY.The invasion of Scotland was again brought under his notice, and strongly recommended by his chief confidant and minister, Baron Gortz. Charles now listened with all his native spirit of resentment, and Gortz immediately set out on a tour of instigation and arrangement of the invasion. He hastened to Holland, where he corresponded with Count Gyllenborg, the Swedish Ambassador at London, and Baron Spaar, the Swedish Minister at Paris. He put himself also into communication with the Pretender and the Duke of Ormonde. The scheme of Gortz was able and comprehensive. A peace was to be established between Charles and his great enemy and rival, Peter of Russia. They both hated George of Hanover and England, and by this union might inflict the severest injuries on him. Next a conspiracy was to be excited against the Regent of France, so as to prevent him aiding England according to the recent Treaty, and all being thus prepared, Charles XII. was himself to conduct the army of twelve thousand veterans destined to invade Scotland, and, if supported by the Jacobites, England.LORD BUTE AND THE LONDONERS. (See p. 175.)

On the 23rd of October Napoleon reached Erfurt, whose fortifications afforded him the means of two days' delay, to collect his scattered forces. As they came straggling in, in a most wretched condition, and without arms, his patience forsook him, and he exclaimed, "They are a set of scoundrels, who are going to the devil! I shall lose[72] eighty thousand before I get to the Rhine!" In fact, he had only eighty thousand men left, besides another eighty thousand in the garrisons in the north of Germanythus also lost to him. Of his two hundred and eighty thousand men, had utterly perished one hundred and twenty thousand. He sent orders to those in the garrisons to form a junction in the valley of the Elbe, and so fight their way home; but this was not practicable; and in a few months they all surrendered, on conditions. He here dismissed such of the Saxons and Baden troops as remained with him, and offered the same freedom to the Poles; but these brave menwith a generosity to which the betrayer of their country had no claimrefused to disband till they had seen him safe over the Rhine. Murat, with less fidelity, took his leave again, on the plea of raising troops on the frontiers of France to facilitate Napoleon's retreat, but in reality to get away to Naples and make terms for himself.Reproduced by Andr & Sleigh, Ltd., Bushey, Herts.

[450]

NAPOLEON AT ROSSBACH. (See p. 527.)

LORD NELSON. (After the Portrait by Sir William Beechey, R.A.)In such circumstances closed the year 1789. The intense excitement which the rapid course of these French events had produced in England had nearly superseded all other topics of interest. At first there was an almost universal jubilation over this wonderful revolution. The dreadful state of misery and oppression to which France had been reduced; the fearful exactions; the system of popular ignorance maintained by priestcraft; the abominable feudal insolence; the abuse of lettres de cachet; and the internal obstructions of customs and barriers between one province and another, made every friend of freedom desirous of seeing all these swept away. The early progress of their destruction was hailed with enthusiasm in England. Even the retired and timid poet, Cowper sang a triumphal note on the fall of the Bastille; but soon the bloody fury of the populace, and the domineering character of the Assembly, which did not deign to stop at the proper constitutional limits, began to create distrust and alarm. Amongst the first to perceive and to denounce this work of anarchy rather than of reform, was Burke. In common with Fox and Pitt, and many other statesmen, he had rejoiced in the fall of the corrupt government of France; but he soon began to perceive that the people were displaying the same ferocious character as in all their former outbreaks. "If," he wrote to M. Menonville, a moderate Member of the Assembly, "any of these horrid deeds were the acts of the rulers, what are we to think of the armed people under such rulers? But if there be no rulers in reality, and the chiefs are driven before the people rather than lead them; and if the armed corps are composed of men who have no fixed principle of obedience, and are moved only by the prevalence of some general inclination, who can repute himself safe amongst a people so furious and so senseless?" As he continued to gaze, he was compelled to confess that he saw no great and wise principles of legislation displayed by the Assembly; but that it went on destroying, without knowing how to rebuild in a manner likely to last or to work any one any good. The whole of the constitution-making, which annihilated the royal power, which erected no second chamber, but absorbed all authority into the Assembly, a mixed and heterogeneous body, he declared to be a bungling and monstrous performance. On the other hand, Dr. Price, Dr. Priestley, and numbers of equally enthusiastic men, saw nothing but what was animating in the progress of the French Revolution. "The Revolution Society," including many of the highest names of the Whig aristocracy, which was accustomed to meet on the 5th of November, to celebrate the anniversary of the landing of William III., and the English Revolution of 1688, this year presented a glowing address of congratulation to the French National Assembly, which was carried over by Lord Stanhope and Dr. Price. Of course, they and the address were received with great acclamation by the Assembly. The admiration of the French Revolution spread over Britain. Clubs were established, both in London and in the country, in sympathy with it, and the press became very Gallican and Republican in its tone, and there was much corresponding with admirers of the revolution in France, especially with Thomas Paine, who had now transferred himself from America, with a political fanatic destined to acquire considerable attention, calling himself Anacharsis Clootz, the "orator of mankind," and with many others.

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On the 20th of August the Appropriation Bill and other measures of routine having been carried through with great triumph by the Ministry, the king prorogued the Parliament, which did not meet again till the 25th of January following. Fox came into the new Parliament in a very remarkable and anomalous position. In the election for Westminster, the candidates had been, besides himself, Admiral Lord Hood and Sir Cecil Wray. The election was of the most violent kind, distinguished by drunkenness, riot, and gross abuses. It continued from April the 1st to[309] the 16th of May, and the numbers on the poll-books, at its termination, stood as follows:For Lord Hood, 6,694; for Fox, 6,233; for Sir Cecil Wray, 5,598. The Prince of Wales had shown himself one of the most ardent partisans of Fox, all the more, no doubt, because Fox was detested by the king. The prince had displayed from his carriage the "Fox favour and laurel," and, at the conclusion of the poll, had given a grand fte at Carlton House to more than six hundred Foxites, all wearing "blue and buff." The Duchess of Devonshire and other lady politicians also gave Fox substantial help. But Fox was not allowed to triumph so easily. The Tory candidate, Sir Cecil Wray, as was well understood, instigated and supported by the Government, demanded a scrutiny; and Corbett, the high bailiff, in the circumstances, could make no return of representatives for Westminster. As a scrutiny in so populous a district, and with the impediments which Government and its secret service money could throw in the way, might drag on for a long period, and thus, as Government intended, keep Fox out of Parliament, he got himself, for the time, returned for a small Scottish borough, to the no small amusement of his enemies.

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