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The only matters of interest debated in Parliament during this year, except that of the discontent in the country, were a long debate on Catholic emancipation, in the month of May, which was negatived by a majority of only twenty-four, showing that that question was progressing towards its goal; and a motion of Lord Castlereagh for the gradual abolition of sinecures. This intimated some slight impression of the necessity to do something to abate the public dissatisfaction, but it was an impression only on the surface. This Ministry was too much determined to maintain the scale of war expenditure to which they had been accustomed to make any real retrenchment. A committee appointed to consider the scheme recommended the abolition of sinecures to the amount of fifty-four thousand pounds per annum, but neutralised the benefit by recommending instead a pension-list of forty-two thousand pounds per annum. The country received the amendment with disgust and derision.Such, then, was the state of affairs at the meeting of Parliament in November, 1768. These events in America claimed immediate attention. The petition of the Convention of Massachusetts, on its arrival, was rejected indignantly. The Opposition called for the production of the correspondence with the civil and military authorities there on the subject, but this demand was negatived. In January, 1769, the House of Lords took up the subject in a lofty tone. They complained of the seditious and treasonable proceedings of the people of Boston and of Massachusetts generally; and the Duke of Bedford, affirming that it was clear that no such acts could be punished by the magistrates or tribunals of the colony, moved an address to the king recommending that the criminals guilty of the late outrages should be brought to England and tried there, according to an Act of the 35th of Henry VIII. On the 26th of January it was introduced to the Commons. There it excited a very spirited opposition. Pownall, who had himself been governor of Massachusetts, and knew the Americans well,[195] accused the Lords of gross ignorance of the charters, usages, and character of the Americans; and Governor Johnstone as strongly condemned the motion, which was carried by one hundred and fifty-five to eighty-nine. On the 14th of March a petition from New York, denying their right to tax America in any way, was rejected, on the motion of Lord North; and, still later in the session, Governor Pownall moved that the revenue acts affecting America should be repealed forthwith. By this time everybody seemed to have become convinced of the folly of the attempt; but Ministers had not the magnanimity to act at once on the certainty that stared them in the face. Parliament was prorogued on the 9th of May, and did not meet again till the following January, as if there were nothing of moment demanding its attention.

Italy, of all the countries on the Continent, was most predisposed for revolution in 1848. In fact, the train had long been laid in that countryrather, a number of trainsdesigned to blow up the despotisms under which the people had been so grievously oppressed. Mazzini, the prince of political conspirators, had been diligently at work, and the Carbonari had been actively engaged in organising their associations, and making preparations for action. The hopes of the Italian people had been greatly excited by the unexpected liberalism of the new Pope, Pius IX., who startled the world by the novelty of his reforming policy. Already partial concessions had been made by the Government, but these proved wholly insufficient. Upon the news of the revolution in Vienna, Venice rose, forced the Governor to release her leaders, Tommaseo and Manin, compelled the Austrians to evacuate the city, and established a Provisional Government. Meanwhile in Milan all was quiet until the news arrived of the flight of Metternich. Then the inhabitants became impatient and clamorous, and assembled in large numbers around the Government House. In order to disperse them, the soldiers fired blank cartridge. At this moment a fiery youth shouted "Viva l'Italia!" and then, apparently, gave the preconcerted signal by firing a pistol at the troops. Instantly the guards were overpowered, the Vice-Governor, O'Donell, was made prisoner, and the success of the movement was quickly signalised by the floating of the tricolour over the palace. That night (March 18) and the next day (Saturday) the people were busily occupied in the erection of barricades. The bells of Milan tolled early on Sunday morning, summoning the population, not to worship, but to battle. An immense tricolour flag floated from the tower of the cathedral, and under that emblem of revolution the unarmed people, men and women, fought fiercely against Marshal Radetzky's Imperial troops, and in spite of his raking cannon, for five days. It was the most terrific scene of street fighting by an enraged people who had broken their chains that had ever occurred in the history of the world. Every stronghold was defended by cannon, and yet one by one they all fell into the hands of the people, till at last the troops remained masters of only the gates of the city. But the walls were scaled by emissaries, who announced to the besieged that Pavia and Brescia were in open insurrection, and that the Archduke, son of the Viceroy, had been taken prisoner. The citizens also communicated with the insurgent population outside by means of small balloons, containing proclamations, requesting them to break down the bridges and destroy the roads, to prevent reinforcements coming to the Austrians. In vain the Austrian cannon thundered from the Tosa and Romagna gates. The undaunted peasantry pressed forward in increasing numbers, and carried the positions. Radetzky was at length compelled to order a retreat. He retired to Crema, within the Quadrilateral fortresses beyond the Mincio. In the meantime a Provisional Government was appointed at Milan, which issued an earnest appeal to all Italians to rise in arms. "We have conquered," they said; "we have compelled the enemy to fly." The proclamation also intimated that Charles Albert of Sardinia was hastening to their assistance, "to secure the fruits of the glorious revolution," to fight the last battle of independence and the Italian union. On the 25th of March the Piedmontese army was ordered across the Ticino.

There arose a second school of mezzotint engravers, the chief of whom were Earlom, Reynolds, Daniell, Sutherland, and Westall. The strange but intellectual Blake was both painter and his own engraver, in a style of his own. Towards the end of the reign flourished, chiefly in architectural illustrations, Le Keux, John and Henry, pupils of Bazire, Roffe, Ransom, and Scott; in landscape, William and George Cooke, William and Edward Finden, Byrne, and Pye; in portrait, Charles and James Heath, John Taylor, Skelton, Burnet, Bromley, Robinson, Warren, and Lewis.On the evening of the 16th of July Casta?os appeared on the Argonilla, directly opposite to Andujar; the river was fordable in many places from the drought, and the different divisions of the Spaniards crossed in the night. Vedel, seeing the critical situation of the French army, made a rapid movement to regain and keep open the mountainous defile by which he had arrived, but Dupont remained at Andujar till the night of the 18th. Vedel remaining at the pass for Dupont, the latter found himself intercepted at Baylen by the Swiss General, Reding, and whilst engaging him his own Swiss troops went over to Reding. He sent expresses to Vedel to return to his aid, but before this could be accomplished he was defeated, and compelled to surrender. He was enormously encumbered by baggage; for the French, as usual, utterly regardless of the necessity of keeping on good terms with a people over whom they wished to rule, had been pillaging churches and houses of all plate and valuables that they could find. In endeavouring to defend the baggage, Dupont had weakened his front, and occasioned his repulse. Casta?os had not perceived the march of the French; but, by the time his van came up with Reding, he found the French army prisoners. The terms proposed by the French were that they should be allowed to retire upon Madrid with all their arms and baggage. But Casta?os was too well acquainted with the necessities of the French through the intercepted letter to Savary. He insisted that they should pile their arms, give up the greater part of their spoil, and be sent down to San Lucar and Rota, where they should be embarked for France. Whilst Dupont was hesitating on these conditions, he received a note from Vedel, proposing that they should make a simultaneous attack on the Spaniards, and thus have a fresh chance of turning the scale in their own favour. But Dupont saw that this was hopeless; and, moreover, it is said that Casta?os insisted that if Vedel himself did not immediately[556] lay down his arms, he would shoot Dupont. Vedel, who now saw little hope of cutting his way through the mountains, was compelled to obey. The French piled their arms on the 22nd of July, the prisoners amounting to between eighteen and nineteen thousand. They gave up also thirty pieces of cannon.

[See larger version]Before Lord Howe advanced farther, he received a deputation from Congress. He had sent the captured American General, Sullivan, on his parole to Philadelphia to endeavour to induce Congress to come to terms, and save the further effusion of blood. He assured them that he was not at liberty to treat with them as a Congress, but he would willingly meet some of them as private gentlemen, having full powers, with his brother, General Howe, to settle the dispute between them and Great Britain, on advantageous terms; that, on finding them disposed to agree to honourable conditions, he would seek for the acknowledgment of their authority to treat with him, so as to make the compact valid. The delegates appointed were sufficiently indicative of the little good that was to be hoped from the interview. They were Dr. Franklin, John Adams, and Edward Rutledge. Franklin had returned a most insulting answer to a private letter sent to him by Lord Howe. It was in vain that Lord Howe assured the deputies that England was disposed to forget all, to pardon all, and to repeal all the obnoxious taxes, and that inexpressible calamities would be avoided by the Colonies simply returning to their allegiance. The deputies replied, that the only terms on which America could make peace was as independent states. This put the matter beyond accommodation.

A Commission had been appointed to inquire into the Department of Naval Affairs. The Commissioners, at whose head was Mr. Whitbread, had extended their researches so far back as to include the time when Lord Melville, as Mr. Dundas, had presided over that Department. They there discovered some very startling transactions. Large sums of money had been drawn out of the Bank of England on the plea of paying accounts due from the Naval Department; these sums had been paid into Coutts's Bank in the name of the Treasurer of the Navy, Mr. Trotter, who, for long periods together, used these sums for his own benefit. Other large sums had been drawn in the name of Dundas, and had been employed for his profit. Other sums had disappeared, and there was no account showing how they had vanished; but these were scored under the name of Secret Service Money, and Melville declared that the money paid into his account had gone in the same way. As much as forty-eight thousand pounds had been paid over to Pitt at once, and no account given of its expenditure. Indeed, as Pitt had nothing to do with that Department, the payment to him was altogether irregular. These discoveries created a great sensation. George Rose, who had begun life without a sixpence, but who, after attracting the attention of Pitt, had rapidly thriven and become extremely wealthy, had confessed to Wilberforce that some strange jobs had come under his notice as a member of that Department. There was a loud outcry for the impeachment of Melville. Melville appears to have been a jovial, hard-drinking Scotsman, of a somewhat infidel turn, according to Scottish philosophy of that period. Amongst Melville's faults, however, it does not appear that he was of an avaricious character, but rather of a loose morale, and ready to fall in with the licence practised by the officers of all departments of Government in the duties entrusted to them.

[See larger version]But if Great Britain was prosperous, the affairs of Canada got into a very disturbed state, and became a source of trouble for some time to the Government in the mother country. To the conflicting elements of race and religion were added the discontents arising from misgovernment by a distant Power not always sufficiently mindful of the interests of the colony. For many years after Lower Canada, a French province, had come into the possession of Britain, a large portion of the country westwardlying along the great lakesnow known as Upper Canada, nearly double the extent of England, was one vast forest, constituting the Indian hunting-ground. In 1791, when by an Act of the Imperial Parliament the colony received a constitution, and was divided into Upper and Lower Canada, with separate legislatures, the amount of the white population in Upper Canada was estimated at 50,000. Twenty years later it had increased to 77,000, and in 1825 emigration had swelled its numbers to 158,000, which in 1830 was increased to 210,000, and in 1834 the population exceeded 320,000, the emigration for the last five years having proceeded at the rate of 12,000 a year. The disturbances which arose in 1834 caused a check to emigration; but when tranquillity was restored it went on rapidly increasing, till, in 1852, it was nearly a million. The increase[397] of wealth was not less remarkable. The total amount of assessable property, in 1830, was 1,854,965; 1835, 3,407,618; 1840, 4,608,843; 1845, 6,393,630.George had arrived in England from his German States on the 11th of November of the preceding year, 1719, and opened Parliament on the 23rd. In his speech he laid stress on the success of his Government in promoting the evacuation of Sicily and Sardinia by Spain, in protecting Sweden, and laying the foundation of a union amongst the great Protestant Powers of Europe. He then recurred to the subject of the Bill for limiting the peerage, which had been rejected in the previous Session. George was animated by the vehement desire to curtail the prerogative of his son, and said that the Bill was necessary to secure that part of the Constitution which was most liable to abuse. Lord Cowper declared, on the other hand, that besides the reasons which had induced him to oppose the measure before, another was now added in the earnestness with which it was recommended. But Cowper was not supported with any zeal by the rest of the House, and the Bill passed on the 30th of November, and was sent down to the House of Commons on the 1st of December. There it was destined to meet with a very different reception. During the recess Walpole had endeavoured to rouse a resistance to it in both Houses. He had convened a meeting of the Opposition Whigs at Devonshire House, and called upon them to oppose the measure; but he found that some of the Whig peers were favourable to it, from the perception that it would increase the importance of their order; others declared that it would be inconsistent in them to oppose a principle which they had so strenuously maintained against a Tory Ministrythat of discountenancing the sudden creation of peers for party purposes; and others, though hostile to the Bill, declared that they should only expose themselves to defeat by resisting it. But Walpole persisted in his opposition, and declared that, if his party deserted him, he would contend against the Bill single-handed. He asserted that it would meet with strong resistance from the country gentlemen who hoped some time or other to reach the peeragea hope which the Bill, if carried, would extinguish for ever.

Great Britain, which had made some show of restoring the legitimate prince, soon became satisfied that Bernadotte would lean to its alliance. Meanwhile Alexander of Russia displayed more and more decided symptoms of an intention to break with France. He hastened to make peace with the Turks, and to pour his sentimental assurances into the ear of Count Stadingk, the Swedish ambassador. As he called God to witness, in 1807, that he had no wish to touch a single Swedish village, so now he professed to be greatly troubled that he had been obliged to seize all Finland. "Let us forget the past," said the Czar. "I find myself in terrible circumstances, and I swear, upon my honour, that I never wished evil to Sweden. But now that unhappy affair of Finland is over, and I wish to show my respect to your king, and my regard for the Crown Prince. Great misfortunes are frequently succeeded by great prosperities. A Gustavus Adolphus issued from Sweden for the salvation of Germany, and who knows what may happen again?" And he began to unveil his disgust at the encroachments of Buonaparte. "What does he mean," he said, "by his attempt to add the north of Germany to his empire, and all its mercantile towns? He might grasp a dozen cities of Germany, but Hamburg, Lübeck, and Bremen'our Holy Trinity,' as Romanoff saysI am weary of his perpetual vexations!" The result was the offer of Norway to Sweden as the price of Bernadotte's adhesion to the proposed alliance. Great Britain also offered to Sweden as a colony, Surinam, Demerara, or Porto Rico.The debate on Mr. Villiers's annual motion, on June 10, produced still further evidences of the decline of Protectionist principles. On that occasion Sir James Graham, who was currently believed to be better acquainted with the feelings of the Premier than any other of the Ministers, said, "He would not deny that it was his opinion, that by a gradual and cautious policy it was expedient to bring our system of Corn Laws into a nearer approximation to those wholesome principles which governed legislation with respect to other industrial departments. But it was his conviction that suddenly and at once to throw open the trade in corn would be inconsistent with the well-being of the community, and would give such a shock to the agricultural interest as would throw many other interests into a state of convulsion. The object of every Government, without distinction of party, for the last twenty years, had been to substitute protecting duties for prohibitory duties, and to reduce gradually protecting duties, where it had them to deal with. He approved of this as a safe principle, and showed that it was the keystone of the policy of Sir Robert Peel.... If they could show him that Free Trade with open ports would produce a more abundant supply to the labourer, they would make him [Sir James] a convert to the doctrine of Free Trade in corn. He confessed that he placed no value on the fixed duty of four shillings lately proposed; it would be of no avail as a protection, whilst it would be liable to all the obloquy of a protecting duty; and he therefore thought that if they got rid of the present Corn Law, they had better assent to a total repeal." Sir Robert Peel spoke more cautiously; but he began by striking away a favourite maxim of his party, in observing that experience proved that the high price of corn was not accompanied by a high rate of wages, and that wages did not vary with the price of corn. He said that he "must proceed, in pursuance of his own policy, to reconcile the gradual approach of our legislation to sound principle on this subject, with the interests which had grown up under a different state of things;" but he admitted that it would be "impossible to maintain any law on the ground that it was intended to keep up rents."Only a week after Sir Robert Peel delivered his memorable speech on the foreign policy of the country, his career was suddenly terminated. On the 22nd of June her Majesty's third son, Arthur William Patrick Albert, had been baptised with the usual ceremonial pomp at Buckingham Palace, and on the 29th Sir Robert Peel had called there and entered his name in her Majesty's visiting-book. Proceeding thence up Constitution Hill, he had arrived nearly opposite the wicket gate leading into the Green Park, when he met Miss Ellis, one of Lady Dover's daughters, on horseback, attended by a groom. Sir Robert had scarcely exchanged salutes with this young lady when his horse became restive, swerved towards the railing of the Green Park, and threw him sideways on his left shoulder. He became unconscious, and remained so till he was placed in a carriage, when he revived and said, "I feel better." On being lifted out of the carriage at Whitehall Gardens, he walked with assistance into the house. The effect of meeting his family, however, caused a reaction. He swooned in the arms of Dr. Foucart, and was placed upon a sofa in the nearest apartment, the dining-room, from which he was never removed till his death. Sir Benjamin Brodie, Mr. C?sar Hawkins, Dr. Seymour, and Mr. Hodgson held a consultation, and attempted to reduce the visible injury, but this caused such agony that, at the patient's earnest request, the attempt was abandoned. He passed a restless night on Saturday, and continued in a very precarious state on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday morning he fell into a sound sleep, after which he felt easier, his mind being quite composed. But at two o'clock on that day symptoms appeared which caused the physicians to abandon all hope. The last rites of the Church were administered by the Bishop of Gibraltar, Dr. Tomlinson, a very old friend. Lady Peel and the members of the family joined in this melancholy communion, Sir Robert being scarcely able to recognise them. Lord Hardinge and Sir James Graham also joined the group of mourners; but the painfully excited feelings of Lady Peel rendered it absolutely necessary to remove her from the apartment. He ceased to breathe about midnight, his great spirit departing peacefully from the earthly tabernacle that had been so suddenly crushed (July 2, 1850). A post-mortem examination showed that the cause of death was a broken rib on the left side pressing upon the lung.



On the 18th of January, 1815, commenced the final retreat of the British to their ships. They were allowed to march away without molestation, taking all their guns and stores with them, except ten old ship guns of no value, which they rendered useless before they abandoned them. Andrew Jackson, afterwards President of the United States, commanded in this defence of New Orleans, and loud were the boastings of his prowess all over the States, when, in fact, he had not risked a man. His merit was to have shown what excellent shots his countrymen were, and how careful they were to keep out of the reach of shot themselves. So far as the British were concerned, they had shown not only their unparalleled bravery, but also, as on many such occasions, their great want of prudence. This sacrifice of life would have been spared by a single and much more effectual blockade, and the most lamentable part of the business was, that all the time peace had been made, though the news of it had not reached them.THE CHARGE OF THE CAVALRY AT MEEANEE. (See p. 592.)


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