Such were the means employed by the British Government in 1817 to quiet the country under its distress—a distress the inevitable result of the long and stupendous war. The only idea was to tighten the reins of Government—to stimulate the sufferers into overt acts, and then crush them. Fortunately, with the exception of the Derby juries, the juries in general saw through the miserable farce of rebellion, and discharged the greater part of Oliver's and Lord Sidmouth's victims. Watson was acquitted of high treason in London on the 16th of June, less than a week after the Derbyshire insurrection. His son had eluded the pursuit of the police. Seventeen prisoners on the like charges were liberated in July in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and were paid seven shillings each to carry them home. On the 22nd of August, of the twenty-four persons that Oliver had entrapped in Yorkshire, twenty-two were discharged—against eleven of them no bills being found by the grand jury—and the two left in prison were detained there because, under the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, they were not brought up for trial. The Manchester Blanketeers were, in like manner, all discharged, though the Duke of Northumberland did his utmost to stimulate Lord Sidmouth to get them punished. On the country at large the impression was that the Government had propagated a most needless alarm, and that those who had fallen on the scaffold had been exalted by them from poor, ignorant labourers into burlesque traitors, through the execrable agency of their incendiaries, Oliver, Castles, Mitchell, and others.
SCENE IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: BREACH BETWEEN BURKE AND FOX. (See p. 379.)
Louis XVIII., having raised an army of thirty thousand men, thought that he could protect himself, and was anxious that France might be spared the expense of supporting the one hundred and fifty thousand men. Accordingly, one-fifth of the army was withdrawn in 1817. In the following year a Congress was held, in the month of September, at Aix-la-Chapelle, at which the Emperors of Russia and Austria and the King of Prussia attended; on the part of France, the Duke of Richelieu; and of Great Britain, the Duke of Wellington and Lord Castlereagh, when it was determined that a complete evacuation of France might and should take place by the 20th of November, when the three years terminated. At this Congress it was determined also that, besides the seven hundred million francs for the charges incurred by the Allied armies, another seven hundred millions should be paid in indemnification of damages to private individuals in the different countries overrun by France. These and other items raised the total to be paid by France for Napoleon's outbreak of the Hundred Days to about sixty million pounds sterling.[See larger version]
Accession of George III.—His Conduct—Ascendency of Bute—Meeting of Parliament—Enthusiastic Reception of the King's Speech—Bute's Cabals—Hostility to Pitt—Ministerial Changes—Marriage of the King—Queen Charlotte—Misfortunes of Frederick—Ferdinand of Brunswick's Campaign—Defeat of the French in the East and West Indies—Negotiations for Peace—Pitt's large Demands—Obstinacy of Choiseul—The Family Compact suspected—Resignation of Pitt—Bute's Ministry—War with Spain—Abandonment of Frederick—Policy of the new Czar—Resignation of Newcastle—Bute at the head of the Treasury—Successes in the West Indies—Capture of Manila—Bute's Eagerness for Peace—The Terms—Bute's Unpopularity—Close of the Seven Years' War—Successes of Clive—Defeat of the Dutch in India—Final Overthrow of the French in India—Fate of the Count de Lally—Bute and the Princess of Wales—The Cider Tax—Bute's Vengeance—His Resignation—George Grenville in Office—No. 45 of the North Briton—Arrest of Wilkes—His Acquittal—Vengeance against him—The King negotiates with Pitt—Wilkes's Affairs in Parliament—The Wilkes Riots—The Question of Privilege—The Illegality of General Warrants declared—Wilkes expelled the House—Debates on General Warrants—Rejoicing in the City of London.Well had it been for Murat could he have made up his mind to seek the same asylum; for it appears clear that it would have been granted him, for he was no longer dangerous. But he clung convulsively to the fortunes of Napoleon, and making his way in a small coasting vessel, he followed him to France, and reached the port of Fréjus on the 28th or 29th of May, where Buonaparte had landed on his return from Elba. From this place Murat wrote to Buonaparte through Fouché, offering his services to him; but Buonaparte, who would have been duly sensible of the services of Murat had he succeeded in holding Italy against the Austrians, and thus acting as an important divider of the efforts of the Austrians, was equally sensible of the little value of Murat as a mere individual, defeated, and having lost Italy. He refused to give him a word of reply. Murat accordingly lay in concealment with his followers, vainly hoping for a word of encouragement, till the news of the utter defeat of Buonaparte at Waterloo came upon him like the shock of an earthquake. The south of France was no longer a place for any who had been prominent amongst the retainers of Buonaparte; some of Murat's followers made haste to escape from the search and the vengeance of the Royalists. As for Murat himself, he wrote again to Fouché, imploring his good offices with the Allies to obtain him a passport for England. Receiving no response to this, Murat condescended to write a most imploring letter to Louis XVIII., but he had no time to wait for the slow progress of diplomatic life—he fled and, after many adventures, reached Corsica. There he was allowed to remain, and a few weeks would have brought him the assurance of entire freedom from enmity on the part of the Allies. But, unfortunately, by this time the shock of the utter overthrow and captivity of Buonaparte following on his own misfortunes, had overturned his intellect. He conceived the insane idea of recovering Naples by the same means that Buonaparte had for a while recovered Paris. A large number of Neapolitan and Corsican refugees encouraged him in the mad project.
From the Picture by DANIEL MACLISE R.A., in the Walker Art Gallery.[See larger version]
This was to send a part of Lincoln's militia, under Colonel Brown, to endeavour to surprise Fort Ticonderoga, Mount Independence, and Fort George, to capture or destroy all the stores there, to hold them in strong force, and thus completely to cut off Burgoyne's retreat by the lakes to Canada. Brown, being joined by another body of militia under Colonel Johnson, invested Ticonderoga. Being repulsed there, he sailed through Lake George in the vessels he had taken; made a fresh attempt upon Diamond Island, and, being also repulsed there, he set fire to the captured vessels, and returned to the American camp in the rear of Burgoyne. Partial as his success had been, he had, however, opened the route, and whilst he and the rest of the militia were watching Burgoyne, other bodies of Americans were mustering in his track, and the retreat of Burgoyne became an impossibility. He could stay where he was no longer. His provisions were exhausted; his horses were dying for lack of forage, and his situation was most deplorable.During this Session, also, an important Bill was passed for the relief of Roman Catholics. The Bill was introduced by Mr. Mitford and seconded by Mr. Windham. Mr. Mitford showed that the enactments still in force against them occupied, by mere recital of their penalties, seventy pages of "Burn's Ecclesiastical Law." Priests were still guilty of high treason and liable to death for endeavouring to convert people to the tenets they deemed essential to salvation; and the laity were liable to heavy penalties for not going to church, and for hearing Mass at their own chapels. The Bill was supported by Pitt and Fox, by Lord Rawdon, by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Moore), and by Dr. Horsley, Bishop of St. David's. It passed. By this Act all the severe restrictions and penalties were removed from those Roman Catholics who would comply with its requisitions, to appear at one of the courts of Westminster, or at quarter sessions, and make and subscribe a declaration that they professed the Roman Catholic religion, and also an oath exactly similar to that required by the Statute of 1778. On this declaration and oath being duly made, they were enabled to profess and perform the offices of their religion, to keep schools, to exercise parochial or other offices in person or by deputy, and the ministers of that religion were exempt from serving on juries and from parochial offices. Their congregations were protected from disturbance; but their priests were restrained from officiating in places consecrated to the burial of Protestants, and from wearing their habits anywhere but in their own places of worship. They were also restrained from establishing religious orders; and the endowment of schools and colleges was still to be deemed unlawful. No person could in future be summoned to take the Oath of Supremacy and the declaration against Transubstantiation; nor were Roman Catholics who had qualified removable from London and Westminster, or punishable for coming into the presence or palace of the king or queen. They were no longer obliged to register their names and estates, or enrol their deeds and wills; and every Roman Catholic who had duly qualified might act as barrister, attorney, or notary.
In the meanwhile her Majesty was pleased to communicate to the members of the Privy Council assembled at Buckingham Palace on the 23rd of November, her intention of contracting an alliance with a Prince of the family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The story of her affection for her cousin is well known through Sir Theodore Martin's admirable "Life of the Prince Consort." The declaration was made by her Majesty in the following terms:—"I have caused you to be summoned at the present time in order that I may acquaint you with my resolution in a matter which deeply concerns the welfare of my people and the happiness of my future life. It is my intention to ally myself in marriage with the Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Deeply impressed with the solemnity of the engagement which I am about to contract, I have not come to this decision without mature consideration, nor without feeling a strong assurance that, with the blessing of Almighty God, it will at once secure my domestic felicity, and serve the interests of my country. I have thought fit to make this resolution known to you at the earliest period, in order that you may be fully apprised of a matter so highly important to me and to my kingdom, and which, I persuade myself, will be most acceptable to all my loving subjects." Upon this announcement the Council humbly requested that her Majesty's most gracious declaration might be made public, which her Majesty was pleased to order accordingly.
[See larger version]Whilst these contentions were going on, Wren had entered fairly on his profession of architect. He built the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford, begun in 1663, and completed in 1669; and the fine library of Trinity College, Cambridge, and the beautiful square, Neville's Court, to the same college. He also built the chapels of Pembroke and Emmanuel Colleges, in the same university. In the erection of these, he suffered, from the conceit and conflicting opinions of parties concerned, a foretaste of the squabbles and contradictions which rendered the whole period of the building of St. Paul's miserable. In 1665 he found leisure to visit Paris, and study the magnificent palaces and churches with which Louis XIV. was embellishing his capital. There he got a glimpse of the design for the Louvre, which Bernini, the architect, showed him, but only for a moment; and he was in communication with Mansard, Le Vau, and Le Pautre.
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