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Newcastle, a man older than his brother Pelham, and of inferior abilities, instead of strengthening himself by the promotion of Pitt and Henry Fox, was only anxious to grasp all the power of the Cabinet, and retain these far abler men as his obedient subordinates. He at once got himself placed at the head of the Treasury, and selected as Chancellor of the Exchequer Henry Legge, a son of the Earl of Dartmouth, a quiet but ordinary man of business, by no means fitted to take the leadership of the House of Commons. The three men calculated for that post were Pitt, Fox, and Murray; but Pitt was still extremely disliked by the king, who did not forget his many years' thunderings against Hanoverian measures, and both George and Newcastle were no little[117] afraid of his towering ambition. Henry Fox was a man of amiable character in private life, but in politics an adventurer.

About the middle of May Wellington entered Spain, leading the centre division himself, the right being commanded by General Hill, and the left by Sir Thomas Graham, the victor of Barrosa. As they advanced, the French hastily retreated towards Valladolid, thence towards Burgos; and by the 12th of June, Wellington being close on that city, they blew up the fortifications of the castle, and retreated beyond the Ebro, which they hoped to be able to defend. But Wellington left them no time to fortify themselves. On the 14th he crossed the Ebro; on the 16th he was in full march after them towards Vittoria, for they found the Ebro no defence, as they had not time to blow up the bridges. On the 16th and 17th Major-General Alten harassed their rear, and dispersed a whole brigade in the mountains, killing considerable numbers, and taking three hundred prisoners. On the 19th they found the French army, commanded by Joseph Buonaparte, with Jourdan as his second and adviser, drawn up under the walls of Vittoria. It was so placed as to command the passages of the river Zadora, and the three great roads from Madrid, Bilbao, and Logro?o. Their left extended to the heights of La Puebla, and behind this, at the village of Gomecha, was posted a reserve. The position was remarkably strong, and commanded by the hills interesting to Englishmen as those where the Black Prince, in his day, had defeated the French army at Najera, commanded by the gallant Duguesclin. Wellington took till the morning of the 21st to reconnoitre the position and to concentrate his army for the attack.[57]Prince Ferdinand this summer had to contend with numerous armies of the French. De Broglie marched from Frankfort into Hesse with a hundred thousand men. On the 10th of July they met the hereditary Prince of Brunswick at Corbach, and defeated him, though he gained a decided advantage over them a few days after at Emsdorf, taking the commander of the division and five battalions prisoners. This was followed by Ferdinand himself, who was at Warburg, where he took ten pieces of artillery, killed one thousand five hundred of the French, and drove them into the Dimel, where many were drowned. The British cavalry had the greatest share in this victory. In fact, the Marquis of Granby led them on all occasions with such spirit and bravery, that Ferdinand placed them continually in the post of danger, where of course they suffered more severely than the other troops.As Sir Francis Burdett had commenced suits, not only against the Speaker, but also against the Sergeant-at-arms, and against Lord Moira, the Governor of the Tower, for his arrest and detention, the House of Commons appointed a select committee to inquire into the proper mode of defence, and it was determined that the Sergeant-at-arms[599] should appear and plead to these indictments, and that the Attorney-General should be directed to defend them. Though these trials did not take place till May and June of the following year, we may here note the result, to close the subject. In the first two, verdicts were obtained favourable to the Government, and in the third the jury, not agreeing, were dismissed. These trials came off before Lord Ellenborough, one of the most steady supporters of Government that ever sat on the judicial bench; and the results probably drew their complexion from this cause, for the feeling of the public continued to be exhibited strongly in favour of the prisoner of the House of Commons. He continued to receive deputations from various parts of the country, expressive of the sympathy of public bodies, and of the necessity of a searching reform of Parliament. Whatever irregularity might have marked the proceedings of the radical baronet, there is no question that the discussions to which they led all over the country produced a decided progress in the cause of a renovation of our dilapidated representation.

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The West India interest in the City held great meetings, and instructed their Parliamentary representatives for the coming contest. The Free Traders argued that the Government proposition was simply that the West India proprietors should receive 10s. per cwt. more for the sugar they sent here than the growers in any other part of the world could get. This was equivalent to a tax of 2,000,000 upon the people of Britain, because the West India landlords were alleged to be in distress, and could not cultivate their estates. It was, indeed, the old question of protection for the landed interest on the ground of peculiar burdens. The white population of the West Indies amounted only to about a tenth of the whole; and it was admitted that the free coloured people, forming the bulk of the community, had no interest in the proposed monopoly. Moreover, it had been shown by repeated experiment that these differential duties always defeated their own objects. The slave-grown sugar was simply exported first to the free country, and then to Britainthe British people paying in the enhanced cost of the article all the cost of this circuitous mode of supply.

Muir and Palmer, on the 19th of December, 1793, had been conveyed on board the hulks at Woolwich, before being shipped off to the Antipodes, and were put in irons; but before they were sent off, the matter was brought before Parliament. It was introduced by Mr. Adams, on the 14th of February, 1794, moving for leave to bring in a bill to alter the enactment for allowing appeals from the Scottish Court of Justiciary in matters of law. This was refused, and he then gave notice of a motion for the revision of the trials of Muir and Palmer. Sheridan, on the 24th, presented a petition from Palmer, complaining of his sentence as unwarranted by law. Pitt protested against the reception of the petition, and Dundas declared that all such motions were too late; the warrant for Palmer's transportation was already signed and issued. Wilberforce moved that Palmer's being sent off should be delayed till the case was reconsidered, but this was also rejected by a large majority. Such was the determined spirit of Pitt and his parliamentary majority against all Reform, or justice to Reformers. On the 10th of March Mr. Adams again moved for a revision of the trials of Muir and Palmer, declaring that "leasing-making" (verbal sedition), their crime by the law of Scotland, was punishable by fine, imprisonment, or banishment, but not by transportation, and that their sentence was illegal. Fox exposed the rancorous spirit with which the trials had been conducted, and to which the judges had most indecently lent themselves; that the Lord Justice Clerk, during Muir's trial, had said, "A government in every country should be just like a corporation; and, in this country, it is made up of the landed interest, which alone has a right to be represented. As for the rabble, who have nothing but personal property, what hold has the nation on them? They may pack up all their property on their backs, and leave the country in the twinkling of an eye!" Lord Swinton said, "If punishment adequate to the crime of sedition were to be sought for, it could not be found in our law, now that torture is happily abolished." The Lord Advocate was in his place to defend his conduct and doctrine, but Pitt and Dundas supported these odious opinions. The House also sanctioned them by a large majority, and Adams's motion was rejected. In the Upper House, similar motions, introduced by Lords Lansdowne and Stanhope, were similarly treated.Soult, indeed, had sixty thousand men and ninety-one guns to deal with the flying and now greatly disorganised army of the British. At first the retreat had been made with much discipline and order, but the miserable weather, the torrents of rain, and heavy falls of snow, the roads rough with rocks, or deep with mud, tried the patience of the men. So long as they were advancing towards the enemy they could bear all this with cheerfulness, but the British are never good-humoured or patient under retreat. Sullen and murmuring, they struggled along in the[569] retreat, suffering not only from the weather, but from want of provisions, and the disgraceful indifference of the people to those who had come to fight their battles. Whenever a halt was made, and an order given to turn and charge the enemy, they instantly cheered up, forgot all their troubles, and were full of life and spirit. But their gloom returned with the retreat; and, not being voluntarily aided by the Spaniards, they broke the ranks, and helped themselves to food and wine wherever they could find them. Such was now the state of the weather and the roads, that many of the sick, and the women and children, who, in spite of orders, had been allowed to follow the army, perished. The French pressed more and more fiercely on the rear of the British, and several times Sir John was compelled to stop and repel them. On one of these occasions the French general, Colbert, was killed, and the six or eight squadrons of horse led by him were, for the most part, cut to pieces. At Lugo, on the 5th of January, Sir E. Paget beat back a very superior force. Again, on the 7th, Sir John Moore halted, and repulsed the advanced line of Soult, killing four or five hundred of the French. The next morning the armies met again in line of battle, but Soult did not attack; and as soon as it was dark Sir John quietly pursued his march, leaving his fires burning to deceive the enemy.

DUNFORD, NEAR MIDHURST, WHERE COBDEN WAS BORN.Thus was O'Connell driven into a new course of agitation. He did not conceal, even in the hour of his triumph, that he regarded Catholic Emancipation as little more than a vantage ground on which he was to plant his artillery for the abolition of the Legislative union. After the passing of the Emancipation Act he appealed as strongly as ever to the feelings of the people. "At Ennis," he said, "I promised you religious freedom, and I kept my word. The Catholics are now free, and the Brunswickers are no longer their masters; and a paltry set they were to be our masters. They would turn up the white of their eyes to heaven, and at the same time slily put their hands into your pockets.... What good did any member ever before in Parliament do for the county of Clare, except to get places for their nephews, cousins, etc.? What did I do? I procured for you Emancipation." "The election for Clare," he said, "is admitted to have been the immediate and irresistible cause of producing the Catholic Relief Bill. You have achieved the religious liberty of Ireland. Another such victory in Clare, and we shall attain the political freedom of our beloved country. That victory is still necessary to prevent Catholic rights and liberties from being sapped and undermined by the insidious policy of those men who, false to their own party, can never be true to us, and who have yielded not to reason, but to necessity, in granting us freedom of conscience. A sober, moral, and religious people cannot continue slavesthey become too powerful for their oppressorstheir moral strength exceeds their physical powersand their progress towards prosperity is in vain opposed by the Peels and Wellingtons of society. These poor strugglers for ancient abuses yield to a necessity which violates no law, and commits no crime; and having once already succeeded by these means, our next success is equally certain, if we adopt the same virtuous and irresistible means." His new programme embraced not only the Repeal of the union, but the restoration of the franchise to the "forties."

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