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During the year 1750 the French evinced a hostile disposition. They laid claim to part of Nova Scotia, and refused to surrender the islands of St. Lucia and St. Vincent, as they were bound to do by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. They continued to stir up bad feeling towards us both in Spain and Germany. The Empress listened with eagerness to the suggestions of France, and co-operated with that country in endeavouring to influence Spain against us. Fortunately, the good disposition of the Queen of Spain, and the able management of Mr. Keene, our Ambassador, foiled all these efforts, and completed a commercial treaty with that country. This treaty was signed on the 5th of October, 1750, and placed us at once on the same footing in commercial relations with Spain as the most favoured nations. We abandoned the remaining term of the Assiento, and obtained one hundred thousand pounds as compensation for the claims of the South Sea Company. The right of search, however, was passed over in silence, and we continued to cut logwood[115] in Campeachy Bay and to smuggle on the Spanish Main, winked at by the Spanish authorities, but liable to interruption whenever jealousy or ill-will might be in the ascendant. In various directions our commerce flourished at this time, and many injurious restrictions were removed, such as those that hampered the whale fishery of Spitzbergen, the white herring and coast fisheries, the trade to the coast of Guinea, the import of iron from the American plantations and of raw silk from China. Our manufactures also grew apace, in spite of the internal jarrings of the Ministry and the deadness of Parliament.CHAPTER VI. REIGN OF GEORGE IV. (continued).Charles, on his part, had determined to occupy Corriarrick. For that purpose he had made a forced march, disencumbered himself of all possible encumbrances by burning his own baggage, and encouraging his followers to do the same. On the morning of the 27th he stood on the north side of Corriarrick, and, as he put on his brogues, he is said to have exclaimed, with exultation, "Before these are unloosed, I shall be up with Mr. Cope." To his great astonishment, however, when he reached the summit all was one wild solitude—not a man was visible. At length they discerned some soldiers ascending, whom they set down for part of Lord Loudon's regiment, forming the English vanguard. They turned out to be only some deserters, who informed them of the change in Cope's route.

The case of Spain was the most perplexing of all. The British Cabinet expressed the opinion that no foreign Power had any right whatever to interfere with any form of government which she had established for herself, and that her king and people were to be left to settle their own differences as best they could. The representative of Great Britain was directed to urge this point with all his influence upon the Allies, and especially upon France. But the case of her revolted colonies was different. It was evident, from the course of events, that their recognition as independent States was become a mere question of time. Over by far the greater portion of them Spain had lost all hold, and it had been found necessary, in order to admit their merchant vessels into British ports, to alter the navigation laws both of Britain and Spain. The letter of instructions accordingly directed the British plenipotentiary to advocate a removal of the difficulty on this principle: that every province which had actually established its independence should be recognised; that with provinces in which the war still went on no relation should be established; there was to be no concert with France, or Russia, or any extraneous power, in establishing relations with the new States. "The policy projected was exclusively English and Spanish, and between England and Spain alone its course was to be settled. Other nations might or might not come into the views which England entertained; but upon their approval or disapproval of her views England was not in any way to shape her conduct."As for the queen, she was a far superior person. She had been well brought up on the second marriage of her mother after the death of her father, by the Queen of Prussia, Sophia Charlotte, the sister of George I. She had been handsome till she grew corpulent and suffered from the smallpox, and still she was much admired for her impressive countenance, her fine voice, penetrating eye, and the grace and sweetness of her manner. She was still more admired for the striking contrast which she presented to her husband in her love of literature and literary men, extending her interest and inquiries into philosophy, theology, and metaphysics. Those who are disposed to ridicule her pretence to such knowledge admit that she was equally distinguished by prudence and[58] good sense. She combined in her manners royal dignity and unassuming grace, and was more popular with the nation than any one of the Hanover family had ever yet been. She delighted to engage theologians in discussing knotty points of doctrine, and in perplexing them with questions on the various articles of faith in different churches, and corresponded with them on these subjects through her bedchamber woman, Mrs. Clayton, afterwards Lady Sundon. But the best proofs of Queen Caroline's superiority were shown in her pure moral character, which was free from the slightest stain, and in her quick discernment and substantial promotion of the most able men in the Church.

It was now expected by the Whigs, and by a[10] great part of the public, that they should come into office. At first the conduct of the Prince Regent favoured this supposition. He applied to Grey and Grenville to draw up the answer that he should return to the two Houses on their addresses on his appointment. But he did not quite like this answer, and got Sheridan to make some alterations in it. He then returned the paper to Grey and Grenville, as in the form that he approved. But these noblemen declared that they would have nothing more to do with the paper so altered; and Sheridan, on his part, suggested to the prince that he would find such men as Ministers very domineering and impracticable. Nor was this all—Lord Grenville and his family held enormous patronage. Like all the Whigs, the Grenvilles, however they might study the interests of the country, studied emphatically their own. Grenville had long held, by a patent for life, the office of Auditor to the Exchequer; and in accepting office in "All the Talents" Ministry, he managed to obtain also the office of First Lord of the Treasury. The Auditorship of the Exchequer was instituted as a check on the Treasury, but neither Lord Grenville nor his friends saw any impropriety in destroying this check by putting both offices into the same hands. They declared this union was very safe and compatible, and a Bill was brought in for the purpose. But when the King had become both blind and insane, and no Regent was yet appointed, Lord Grenville, being no longer First Lord of the Treasury, but Perceval, he suddenly discovered that he could not obey the order of the Treasury for the issues of money to the different services. It was strictly necessary that the Great Seal, or the Privy Seal, or the Sign Manual, should be attached to the Treasury orders, or, failing these, that they should be sanctioned by an express Act of Parliament. As neither Great nor Privy Seal, nor Sign Manual was possible until a regent was appointed, Lord Grenville's conscience would not let him pass the orders of the Treasury, and all payments of army, navy, and civil service were brought to a stand. Perceval, after in vain striving hard to overcome the scruples, or rather the party obstinacy of Grenville, was compelled to go to the House of Parliament, and get the obstacle removed by a resolution of both Houses. The notice of the public being thus turned by Grenville to his holding of this office, and his readiness to unite the two offices in his own person, which his pretended scruples of conscience now invested with so much danger, produced a prejudice against him and his party, which was hostile to their coming into power. Besides this, the Opposition were greatly divided in their notions of foreign policy. Grey and his immediate section of the party felt bound, by their advocacy of Fox's principles, to oppose the war; Grenville and his friends were for a merely defensive war, and for leaving Portugal and Spain, and the other Continental nations, to fight their own battles; whilst Lord Holland, who had travelled in Spain, and was deeply interested in its language and literature, was enthusiastic for the cause of the Peninsula, and the progress which Wellington was making there. It was utterly impossible that, with such divided views, they could make an energetic Ministry at this moment, and it was equally certain that they could not again form an "All the Talents" by coalition with the Conservatives. And, beyond all this, it does not appear that the Regent was anxious to try them. Like all heirs-apparent of the house of Hanover, he had united with the Opposition during his youth, but his friendship appeared now anything but ardent. Sheridan still possessed something of his favour, and the Earl of Moira was high in it; but for the rest, the prince seemed quite as much disposed to take the Tories into his favour; and he, as well as the royal dukes, his brothers, was as much bent on the vigorous prosecution of the war as the Tories themselves. No Ministry which would have carried that on languidly, still less which would have opposed it, would have suited him any more than it would have done his father. The King, too, was not so deeply sunk in his unhappy condition but that he had intervals lucid enough to leave him alive to these questions, and he showed so much anxiety respecting the possible change of the Ministry, and fresh measures regarding the war, that his physicians declared that such a change would plunge him into hopeless madness and probably end his life. The Queen wrote to the prince, saying how much satisfaction his conduct in regard to these matters had given to his father, and he wrote to Mr. Perceval, declaring that this consideration determined him not to change the Ministry at all. At the same time he expressed to the Minister his dissatisfaction with the restrictions which had been imposed upon him. Perceval, even at the risk of offending the prince, justified the conduct of Ministers and Parliament. In this he might be the more bold, as it was clear that there was no longer any danger of a Whig Government.The condition of the Prussian camp was daily growing worse; the troops were compelled to kill their horses for food; they were drenched with heavy rains and decimated by dysentery. The King of Prussia and the Duke of Brunswick were full of resentment at the false representations of the Emigrants, who had assured them that they would have little to do but to march to Paris, loaded with the welcomes and supplies of the people. Europe was surprised at the easy repulse of the Prussians; with their reputation, it was expected that they would march rapidly on Paris, and disperse the Republican troops with scarcely an effort. But they were no longer commanded by old Frederick; and even he would have found it difficult to make his way through a country which refused the barest food for an army, and which almost to a man was in arms to resist the foe. On the 24th of September overtures were made by the Prussians for an exchange of prisoners, to which Dumouriez agreed, refusing, however, to give up a single Emigrant captive. This led to discussions on the general question, and having bargained for a safe retreat, the Allies hurried homeward with all speed. Oppressed by famine and disease, and disgusted with the Emigrants, who had led them to suffering and disgrace, they made the best of their way to the Rhine, and, at the end of October, reached Coblenz, a sorry spectacle, reduced from eighty thousand, who had entered France three months before confident of victory and fame, to fifty thousand humbled and emaciated men. If Dumouriez had had unity and subordination amongst his generals he would have been able by a forced march to outstrip the Allies, cut them off from the Rhine, and scarcely a thousand of them would have escaped. The blame thrown upon him for not thus inflicting a terrible chastisement appears unmerited.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[116] 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.

When the new Parliament met, on the 18th of May, it was seen how completely Fox and North had destroyed their prestige by their late factious conduct, and how entirely Pitt had made himself master of the situation. His patience and cool policy under the tempestuous assaults of the Opposition had given the country a wonderful confidence in him. One party extolled him as the staunch defender of the prerogative, another as the champion of reform and enemy of aristocratic influence. Not less than one hundred and sixty of the supporters of the late Coalition Ministry had been rejected at the elections, and they were held up to ridicule as "Fox's Martyrs."Unsettled Condition of Europe—Machinations of Russia and Austria against Turkey—Disasters of the Austrians—Capture of Oczakoff—Further Designs of Catherine—Intervention of Pitt—Gustavus of Sweden invades Russia—His Temporary Check—He remodels the Diet and pursues the War—Joseph renews the War—Disaffection in Hungary—Revolution in the Austrian Netherlands—Abolition of the Joyeuse Entrée—The Emperor declared to have forfeited the Crown—The Austrian Troops retired to Luxembourg—Death of Joseph—Outbreak of the French Revolution—Efforts of Turgot and his Successors to introduce Reforms—Loménie de Brienne—Recall of Necker—Assembly of the States General—The Third Estate becomes the National Assembly—The Meeting in the Tennis Court—Contemplated Coup d'état—Project of a City Guard—Dismissal of Necker—Insurrection in Paris—The City Guard—Capture of the Bastille—The Noblesse renounce their Privileges—Bankruptcy and Famine—"O Richard, O Mon Roi!"—The Women and the National Guard march on Versailles—The King brought to Paris—Effect of the Revolution in England—Different Views of Burke and Fox—Rejection of Flood's Reform Bill—The Nootka Sound Affair—Satisfaction obtained from Spain—Motions of Reform in the Irish Parliament—Convention of Reichenbach—Continuance of the War between Sweden and Russia—Renewal of the War with Tippoo Sahib—Debates in Parliament—Discussions on the Eastern Question—The Canada Bill—It is made the occasion of speeches on the French Revolution—Breach between Fox and Burke—Abuse of Burke by the Whigs—Wilberforce's Notice for Immediate Emancipation—Colonisation of Sierra Leone—Bill for the Relief of Roman Catholics—Fox's Libel Bill—Burke's "Reflections on the French Revolution"—Replies of Mackintosh and Paine—Dr. Price—Dr. Priestley—The Anniversary of the taking of the Bastille—The Birmingham Riots—Destruction of Priestley's Library—Suppression of the Riots—Mildness of the Sentences.

[89]Lord Rawdon again attempted to mitigate the condition of debtors imprisoned by their creditors, but did not succeed; and after Dundas had drawn a very flattering picture of the condition of India in presenting his annual statement of Indian finance, and had procured some regulations for insuring the payment of seamen's wages to themselves or their families, the king prorogued Parliament on the 15th of June, still congratulating the country on the prospect of peace and of reducing substantially the National Debt.

Amid these angry feelings Admiral Byng was brought to trial. The court-martial was held at Plymouth. It commenced in December, 1756, and lasted the greater part of the month of January of the following year. After a long and[125] patient examination, the Court came to the decision that Byng had not done his utmost to defeat the French fleet or relieve the castle of St. Philip. The Court, however, sent to the Admiralty in London to know whether they were at liberty to mitigate the twelfth Article of War, which had been established by an Act of Parliament of the twenty-second year of the present reign, making neglect of duty as much deserving death as treason or cowardice. They were answered in the negative, and therefore they passed sentence on Byng to be shot on board such of his Majesty's ships of war and at such time as the Lords of the Admiralty should decide.The sum of twenty millions was divided into nineteen shares, one for each of the colonies, proportioned to the number of its registered slaves, taken in connection with the market price of slaves in that colony, on an average of eight years, ending with 1830. But no money was payable in any colony until it should have been declared by an Order in Council that satisfactory provision had been made by law in such colony for giving effect to the Emancipation Act. Two of them were so perverse as to decline for several years to qualify for the reception of the money; but others acted in a different spirit. Believing that the system of apprenticeship was impolitic, they declined to take advantage of it, and manumitted their slaves at once. Antigua was the first to adopt this wise course. Its slaves were all promptly emancipated, and their conduct fully justified the policy; for on Christmas Day, 1834, for the first time during thirty years, martial law was not proclaimed in that island. Thus, the effect of liberty was peace, quietness, and confidence. Bermuda followed this good example, as did also the smaller islands, and afterwards the large island of Barbadoes; and their emancipation was hailed by the negroes with religious services, followed by festive gatherings. Jamaica, and some other islands, endeavoured to thwart the operation of the new law, as far as possible, and took every advantage in making the apprentices miserable, and wreaking upon them their spite and malice. They met with harsher treatment than ever, being in many instances either savagely ill-used or inhumanly neglected. Considering their provocations, it was generally admitted that they behaved on the whole very well, enduring with patience and resignation the afflictions which they knew must come to an end in a few years. The total number of slaves converted into apprentices on the 1st of August, 1834, was 800,000. The apprenticeship did not last beyond the shorter time prescribed, and on the 1st of August, 1838, there was not a slave in existence under the British Crown, save only in the island of Mauritius, which was soon required by instructions from the Home Government to carry the Act into effect.At this news the Highlanders were filled with exuberant joy. They demanded permission to pursue and attack Cope's soldiers; but the chiefs saw too clearly the grand advantage offered them of descending suddenly into the Lowlands by the road thus left open. Whilst Sir John was making a forced march to Inverness, which he reached on the 29th of August, the Highlanders were descending like one of their own torrents southwards. In two days they traversed the mountains of Badenoch; on the third they reached the Vale of Athol.

Caulaincourt, who had been sent by Buonaparte from Fontainebleau to the Allied sovereigns to treat on his behalf, returned, and informed Buonaparte of all these events. He declared that he would march on Paris; and the next day, the 4th of April, he reviewed his troops, and told them that some vile persons had insulted the tricolour cockade in Paris, and they would march there at[83] once and punish them. The soldiers shouted, "Paris, Paris!" but, after the review, the marshals produced the Moniteur, told him what had taken place, and that it was necessary that he should submit. He appeared greatly agitated, and asked them what they wished. Lefebvre said, bluntly, that he had been advised by his best friends to make peace in time, when he would have saved everything; there was nothing for it now but to abdicate. Napoleon then called for a pen, and abdicated in favour of his son. Caulaincourt and Ney were to carry this to the Allied sovereigns. They inquired what terms they should ask for himself. He replied—"None: I ask nothing." Yet, the moment the commissioners were gone, he started up and vowed that he would fight with Marmont's corps and the Guards, and would be in Paris on the morrow.

On the 27th of May Mr. Ward brought forward a motion upon this subject. In an able speech he reviewed the state of Ireland, and remarked that since 1819 it had been necessary to maintain there an army of 22,000 men, at a cost of a million sterling per annum, exclusive of a police[372] force that cost £300,000 a year. All this enormous expense and trouble in governing Ireland he ascribed to the existence of a religious establishment hostile to the majority of the people; he therefore moved that "the Protestant episcopal establishment in Ireland exceeds the spiritual wants of the Protestant population; and that, it being the right of the State to regulate the distribution of Church property in such a manner as Parliament may determine, it is the opinion of this House that the temporal possessions of the Church of Ireland, as now established by law, ought to be reduced."In Wales, such was the neglect of religion by the Establishment, that, previous to 1804, there was scarcely a clergyman of the Church of England in the principality who was a native, or could preach in Welsh. The capability of a minister to make himself understood by his parishioners had been totally disregarded by those who had the presentation to livings; the exercise of patronage had alone been cared for; the souls of people went for nothing. About that time the Rev. Mr. Charles was engaged as curate in a Welsh parish. He found not a single Bible in the parish, and on extending his inquiries he scarcely found a Bible in Wales. He made this fact known to the public, in an appeal for Welsh Bibles, and for this appeal and the attendant exposure of the clerical neglect he was dismissed from his cure, and could find no bishop who would license him to preach in any other parish. But his truly Christian act had excited the attention of the religious public, and had the effect of establishing the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804.In the lives of English painters the story of Benjamin Robert Haydon is perhaps the saddest. In youth he devoted himself with such zeal to the study of art that people wondered how he ever found time to eat. He was one of those men of genius who may be called "unlucky." He was always in pecuniary difficulties, though his father allowed him £200 per annum in the earlier part of his career. He applied for admission into the Academy, but did not obtain a single vote; and he got involved in controversies, which continued to embitter his life. He succeeded at last, however, by his energy, in commanding public attention and winning fame. For the "Judgment of Solomon" he received £700, with £100 voted to him by the directors of the British Institution, and the freedom of Plymouth. His pictures were, however, very unequal; here and there was a powerful piece of work, but the whole was generally rough and unfinished. He committed suicide in 1846. Sculpture, which was then at its lowest ebb, was relieved alone from vacuity by the works of Chantrey, Flaxman, and Gibson.

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43 Elizabeth, c. 2 {89 parishes (including theBut this improvement produced no sensible effect upon the mass of labouring people. However brightly the sun of prosperity might gild the eminences of society, the darkness of misery and despair settled upon the masses below. The Commissioners proceed:—"A reference to the evidence of most of the witnesses will show that the agricultural labourer of Ireland continues to suffer the greatest privations and hardships; that he continues to depend upon casual and precarious employment for subsistence; that he is still badly housed, badly fed, badly clothed, and badly paid for his labour. Our personal experience and observation during our inquiry have afforded us a melancholy confirmation of these statements; and we cannot forbear expressing our strong sense of the patient endurance which the labouring classes have generally exhibited under sufferings greater, we believe, than the people of any other country in Europe have to sustain."

GREAT SEAL OF GEORGE I.

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