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But a very different spirit displayed itself in America on the arrival of the news of the passing of the Act. Franklin's friend, Thompson, replied to him, that, instead of lighting candles, there would be works of darkness. The rage of the American public burst forth in unequivocal vigour. At New York, the odious Stamp Act was represented surmounted with a death's head instead of the royal arms, and was hawked through the streets with the title of "the folly of England and the ruin of America." At Boston the colours of the shipping were lowered half-mast high, and the bells of the city were muffled and tolled funeral knells. Everywhere there was a frenzied excitement, and the provincial Assemblies resounded with the clamour of indignant patriotism. It was the fortune of that of Virginia to give the leading idea of union and co-operative resistance, which led to the grand conflict, and to eventual victory over the infatuated mother country. There Patrick Henry, a very different man to Franklin, started up, and kindled by his fiery breath the torch of confederate resistance. But it was at once seen that, to acquire their full weight, the colonies must unite. Speeches, pamphlets, articles in newspapers, all called for co-operation. A print was published exhibiting a snake cut into a number of pieces, each piece inscribed with the name of a colony, and with the motto, "Join or die." In consequence, several of the states sent representatives to a general congress, to be held at New York in the month of October, to take measures for a general resistance to the Stamp Act.The conduct of Vernon, though he had been the Idol of the Opposition, and not of the Ministry, as it became known, increased enormously the unpopularity of Walpole. Though he had literally been forced into the war by the Opposition, the whole of its disasters were charged, not on them, but on him; and they did not hesitate to throw from themselves upon him the odium of all its failures. The general election which now came on was seized upon to load Walpole with all the weight of the unsuccessful war. The Duchess of Marlborough, Pulteney, and the Prince of Wales raised funds to outbribe the master of corruption himself. They incurred heavy debts to complete his ruin, and as the news of the miserable issue of the expedition to the Spanish settlements came in, numbers of those who had been returned to Parliament as friends of the Ministry turned round and joined the Opposition in violent denunciations of the mismanagement of the war. Lord Chesterfield, whilst these transactions had been progressing, had hastened on to Avignon, and, taking up his quarters with the Duke of Ormonde, obtained from the Pretender letters to nearly a hundred Jacobites in England and Scotland, engaging them to put out all their power and influence against Walpole.The force left to keep possession of Cabul and guard the protégé of the Indian Government[495] was so situated as to tempt the aggression of a treacherous enemy. Sir William Macnaghten, the British Resident, and his suite, resided in the Mission Compound, which was badly defended, and commanded by a number of small forts, while the commissariat stores were placed in an old fort, detached from the cantonment and in such a state as to be wholly indefensible. Moreover, General Elphinstone, the commander of the troops, was old and inefficient. A conspiracy had been formed by the friends of Akbar Khan, son of the deposed sovereign, Dost Mahomed, who forged a document, and had it circulated amongst the principal men of Cabul, to the effect that it was the design of the British envoy to send them all to London, and that the king had issued an order to put the infidels all to death. The insurrection commenced by an attack on the dwellings of Sir Alexander Burnes, who was about to succeed Macnaghten, and Captain Johnson, who resided in the city. Sir Alexander addressed the party from the gallery of his house, thinking that it was a mere riot. The insurgents, however, broke in, killed him with his brother, Lieutenant Burnes, and Lieutenant Broadfoot, and set the house on fire. The Afghans then surrounded the cantonments, and poured in a constant fire upon them from every position they could occupy. They quickly seized the ill-defended commissariat stores, upon which the existence of the British depended. The garrison bravely defended itself with such precarious supplies as could be had from the country; but at length these supplies were exhausted. Winter set in, snow fell, and there was nothing before them but the prospect of starvation. They therefore listened to overtures for negotiation, and the British envoy was compelled to consent to these humiliating terms on the 11th of December, 1841:—That the British should evacuate the whole of Afghanistan, including Candahar, Ghuznee, and Jelalabad; that they should be permitted to return unmolested to India, and have supplies granted on their road thither; that means of transport should be furnished to the troops; that Dost Mahomed Khan, his family, and every Afghan then detained within our territories should be allowed to return to their own country; that Shah Sujah and his family should receive from the Afghan Government one lac of rupees per annum; that all prisoners should be released; that a general amnesty should be proclaimed; and that no British force should ever be sent into Afghanistan without being invited by the Afghan Government. These terms having been agreed to, the chiefs took with them Captain Trevor as a hostage; but nothing was done to carry the agreement into effect, and Macnaghten and Elphinstone remained irresolutely at Cabul. Some of their staff attempted to bribe the Afghans, and Akbar Khan thereupon determined to withhold supplies. It soon became evident that the object was to starve out the garrison, and compel them to surrender unconditionally. At length, on the 22nd of December, they sent two persons into the cantonment, who made a proposal in the name of Akbar Khan, that the Shah should continue king, that Akbar should become his Prime Minister, and that one of the principal chiefs should be delivered up to the British as a prisoner. This was a mere trap, into which Sir William Macnaghten unfortunately fell with fatal credulity. On the 23rd of December the envoy, attended by Captains Lawrence, Trevor, and M'Kenzie, left the Mission Compound, to hold a conference with Akbar Khan in the plain towards Serah Sung. Crowds of armed Afghans hovering near soon excited suspicions of treachery. Captain Lawrence begged that the armed men might be ordered off; but Akbar Khan exclaimed, "No, they are all in the secret." At that instant Sir William and the three officers were seized from behind and disarmed. Sir W. Macnaghten was last seen on the ground struggling violently with Akbar Khan, consternation and terror depicted on his countenance. "His look of wondering horror, says Kaye, "will never be forgotten by those who saw it, to their dying day." The other three officers were placed on horses, each behind a Ghilzai chief, who galloped off with them to a fort in the neighbourhood. Captain Trevor fell off his horse, and was instantly murdered. The others were assailed with knives by the infuriated Afghans, and barely escaped to the fort with their lives. Meanwhile the head of the British Minister was cut off and paraded through the streets, while the bleeding and mangled trunk was exposed to the insults of the populace in the principal bazaar.

Hardly had they arrived, when a discharge of cannon was heard. The Assembly was horror-struck; and the king exclaimed, "I assure you I have forbidden the Swiss to fire!" But he was interrupted by fresh reports of cannon, showing that a fierce conflict was taking place at the Tuileries. No sooner was the royal family gone than the gensdarmes and the National Guard fraternised with the people, and breaking open the chief gate with hatchets rushed into the court. They then formed in column, and turning the guns which had been left in the court on the palace, they called out to the Swiss within to give up the place to them, and they would be friends. The Swiss, to show their amicable disposition, threw cartridges out of the windows, but remained firm to their duty. Some of the mob, with long poles and hooks at the end, then dragged some of the Swiss out of the vestibule and murdered them. They next fired three of the cannon right into the palace, and the Swiss thereupon returned a smart fire of musketry. Those of the servants and courtiers that still remained in the palace now made haste to escape, if possible. Cléry, one of the king's valets-de-chambre, who has left a vivid narrative of these events, escaped by dropping from a window upon the terrace. At the same moment the mob was breaking in at the grand entrance. They found a stout piece of timber placed as a barrier across the staircase, and the Swiss and some of the National Guard entrenched behind it; then commenced a fierce struggle; the barrier was forced, and the throng pushed back the Swiss up the staircase. These now fired a sharp volley, and the crowd fled, crying that they were betrayed. They were struck by another volley in their retreat, and the Swiss then descended into the court, made themselves masters of the cannon, and, firing, killed a great number. Had the Swiss followed their advantage and scoured the streets of the city, they would have completely trodden out this insurrection, releasing the royal family, and, had there been any one in command capable of it, he would have ended the Revolution as promptly as Buonaparte did afterwards. Buonaparte, then a poor lieutenant of artillery, was himself a spectator of the scene; and it was his opinion that the Swiss only wanted an adequate commander to crush the whole rebellion. But, by that fatality which attended all Louis XVI.'s affairs, at this moment arrived M. d'Hervilly from the Assembly with the king's order not to fire on the people, but to follow d'Hervilly to the Assembly. This was, in fact, to leave the palace at the mercy of the mob. Such as were in the court did follow d'Hervilly to the Assembly, where he promised them their lives and security under the protection of that body. At this sight the populace recovered their courage. The palace was attacked on both sides; the crowds every moment became greater, and the Swiss poured successive volleys upon them from the windows. Numbers fell dead before they forced an entrance; but this once effected, the crowd not only rushed in a dense mass up the great staircase, but dragged up cannon by main force to blow open the interior doors. For some time the Swiss made a stout stand against this raging mob; but being few against tens of thousands, and having exhausted their cartridges, they grounded their arms and called for quarter. They called in vain; the bloodthirsty sansculottes commenced a relentless massacre of them; women and children, armed with knives, assisted in their slaughter. The unhappy men, fixing their bayonets, drove the furious mass before them, resolving to cut their way through the Champs Elysées to Courbevoie, where was another detachment of their countrymen in barracks; but no sooner were they outside than they were surrounded and shot and cut down without mercy. Vainly did they cry for quarter; none was given. They then broke and fled in small parties, one of them seeking to gain the Assembly for protection; but they were butchered, nearly to a man, their heads stuck on pikes and paraded through the city.

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The temper of Townshend was warm, though his nature was upright; and in this mood, a discussion taking place on foreign affairs at the house of Colonel Selwyn, the dispute became so heated that Walpole declared that he did not believe what Townshend was saying. The indignant Townshend seized Walpole by the collar, and they both grasped their swords. Mrs. Selwyn shrieked for assistance, and the incensed relatives were parted; but they never could be reconciled, and, after making another effort to obtain the dismissal of Newcastle, and to maintain his own position against the overbearing Walpole, Townshend resigned on the 16th of May. He retired to Reynham, and passed the remainder of his life in rural pursuits. One of the greatest benefits which he conferred on this country he conferred after his retirement—that of introducing the turnip from Germany.At the time that Tippoo heard of the death of his father, he was, assisted by the French, eagerly pressing on the most inferior force of Colonel Mackenzie, not very far from Seringapatam. Mackenzie being obliged to retire, was suddenly set upon, before daylight, near Paniany, about thirty-five miles from Calicut, by the whole force; but he repulsed them with great slaughter. Tippoo then fell back and made the best of his way to his capital to secure his throne and the treasures of Hyder Ali. He found himself at the age of thirty master of the throne, of an army of nearly one hundred thousand men, and of immense wealth. With these advantages, and the alliance of the French, Tippoo did not doubt of being able to drive the British out of all the south of India. Yet, with his vast army, accompanied by nine hundred French, two thousand Sepoys, and nearly three hundred Kafirs, Tippoo retreated, or appeared to be retreating, before General Stuart, with a force of only fourteen thousand men, of whom three thousand alone were British. He was, in fact, however, hastening to defend the north-west districts of Mysore from another British force on the coast of Canara. This force was that of Colonel Mackenzie, joined by another from Bombay, under General Matthews, who took the chief command in that quarter.

But the Queen's Bench was by no means disposed to surrender its own privileges, even to the House of Commons. On the 24th of January Sir William Gossett, Serjeant-at-Arms, appeared at the bar of the House, and said that he had last[470] evening been served with a writ of Habeas Corpus, commanding him to bring up the bodies of the sheriffs, William Evans, Esq., and John Wheelton, Esq., then in his custody. The Attorney-General rose, and said he had no hesitation in advising the House to direct the Serjeant-at-Arms to return answer to the Court of Queen's Bench that he held these two individuals in custody by the warrant of the Speaker. He then moved a resolution to that effect, which was adopted, and the Court of Queen's Bench acquiesced.To any one viewing the situation of Buonaparte at this moment, it can appear nothing but an act of madness to invade Russia. The British, in Spain, were now defeating his best generals, and this would at an earlier period have caused him to hasten to that country and endeavour to settle the war in person. It is remarkable that he was not desirous to cope with Wellington himself, all his ablest generals having failed. But to leave such an enemy in his rear when he proceeded to the North, impresses us with the idea that his enormous success had now turned his head, and that the term of his career had been reached. Besides Spain, too, there were Prussia and Austria, with whom it was only politic to enter into some terms of security; for assuredly, if his arms suffered a reverse in Russia, all these would rise and join his enemies.

[301]These debates were immediately followed by the opening of the Budget on the 23rd of February—an opening which was enough to have made any men but such as were then at the head of British affairs pause in their ruinous career. There was a call for one hundred thousand seamen, for one hundred and sixty thousand regulars, and fifty-six thousand militia—total, two hundred and sixteen thousand soldiers, besides volunteers, fencibles, and foreign troops in British pay, amounting, by land and sea, to at least four hundred thousand men! For their support there were demanded sixteen million and twenty-seven thousand pounds, in addition to other taxes to make up deficiencies and interest on the Debt; the whole revenue demanded was twenty-seven million five hundred thousand pounds. Besides this there was an annual subsidy to the King of Sardinia of two hundred thousand pounds, although there was no prospect whatever of saving him. To raise all this, new duties had to be laid on tea, coffee, raisins, foreign groceries and fruits, foreign timber, insurances, writs, affidavits, hair-powder, licences, etc., and the revenue from the Post Office, while the privilege of franking had to be abridged. The only tax that the compliant aristocracy protested against was that on the powdered pates of their menials; but the country cried lustily and in vain against the increase of taxation, which, gross as it was, was but the beginning of their burdens and of the burden of posterity.

Whilst affairs with Holland were in this position, Count Florida Blanca, the Spanish Minister, had adopted the system of seizing all neutral vessels, of whatever nation, that were found carrying British goods, and conveying them into Spanish ports as lawful prizes. This, as he calculated, raised the resentment of all the neutral Powers—Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, Holland, and the trading States of Italy—who denounced these outrages on their flag. But Florida Blanca replied, that so long as England was suffered to pursue this system, Spain must continue to make reprisals; that it was, however, in the power of the neutral nations to combine and defend their flags, by compelling England to desist. The result was as he had hoped. Catherine of Russia, who had hitherto considered herself an ally of England—who had, at one time, contemplated furnishing soldiers to assist in reducing the American rebels, and who protested against the monstrosity of France encouraging the colonies of England to throw off their allegiance—was suddenly induced to change her tone. On the 26th of February she issued her famous proclamation, "that free ships should make free goods." This meant that all neutral nations should continue to carry all kinds of articles to Powers at war with one another, without search or question, except such goods as were expressly specified in treaties. Sweden, Denmark, Prussia, France, and Spain, all readily entered into this league, which assumed the name of the "Armed Neutrality," the object of which, though ostensibly to control all belligerent Powers, was really to suppress the naval power of England. Holland eulogised this league, but did not yet venture to join it; but prohibited the exportation of stores to our garrison in Gibraltar, whilst her ships were busy carrying supplies to the Spanish besiegers. Sir Joseph Yorke, therefore, on the 21st of March, 1780, informed the States that, unless the stipulated help was furnished within three weeks, England would suspend, pro tempore, the regulations in favour of the Dutch commerce. The States still refused to furnish the succours, and at the specified time the privileges in question were suspended, though Count Welderen still continued in London, and Sir Joseph Yorke at the Hague. It was evident that Holland could not[273] long continue in this position, and Frederick of Prussia was soliciting Catherine of Russia to enter into an engagement to protect the Dutch commerce in every quarter of the globe. If Frederick could have prevailed, he would have stirred up a universal crusade against England; but Catherine was not rash enough for this quixotism.At the period at which we have now arrived France was in a state of the wildest and most awful convulsion. A revolution had broken out, more terrible and furious than had ever yet appeared in the history of nations. The French people, so long trodden down by their princes, their aristocracy, and their clergy, and reduced to a condition of wretchedness and of ignorant brutality, almost unparalleled, seizing the opportunity of the distresses of the impoverished Government, and encouraged by a new race of philosophers who preached up the equality of the human race, had broken through their ancient subserviency, and were pulling down all the old constituted powers, ranks, and distinctions, with a rapidity which electrified the whole world.It was now proposed that as the Orange leaders had violated the law as much as the Dorsetshire labourers, they should be dealt with in the same manner, and that if evidence could be obtained, the Duke of Cumberland, Lord Kenyon, the Bishop of Salisbury, Colonel Fairman, and the rest should be prosecuted in the Central Criminal Court. There was an Orangeman, named Heywood, who had betrayed his confederates, and was about to be prosecuted by them for libel. The opponents of the Orangemen, believing his allegations to be borne out by the evidence given before the committee, resolved to have him defended by able counsel, retaining for the purpose Serjeant Wilde, Mr. Charles Austen, and Mr. Charles Buller. All the necessary preparations were made for the trial, when Heywood suddenly died, having broken a blood-vessel through agitation of mind, and alarm lest he should somehow become the victim of an association so powerful, whose vengeance he had excited by what they denounced as treachery and calumny. The criminal proceedings, therefore, were abandoned. Almost immediately after the opening of Parliament in February, 1836, Mr. Finn and Mr. Hume again made a statement in the House of Commons of the whole case against the Duke of Cumberland and the Orange Society, and proposed a resolution which seemed but a just consequence of their terrible indictment. The resolution declared the abhorrence of Parliament of all such secret political associations, and proposed an Address to the king requesting him to cause the dismissal of all Orangemen and members of any other secret political association from all offices civil and military, unless they ceased to be members of such societies within one month after the issuing of a proclamation to that effect. Lord John Russell proposed a middle course, and moved, as an amendment, an Address to the king praying that his Majesty would take such measures as should be effectual for the suppression of the societies in question. Mr. Hume having withdrawn his resolution, the amendment was adopted unanimously. The king expressed concurrence with the Commons; a copy of his reply was sent to the Duke of Cumberland, as Grand Master, by the Home Secretary. The duke immediately sent an intimation that before the last debate in the Commons he had recommended the dissolution of the Orange societies in Ireland, and that he would immediately proceed to dissolve all such societies elsewhere. "In a few days," Harriet Martineau remarked, "the thing was done, and Orangeism became a matter of history."

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The confederates endeavoured to keep their plans profoundly secret till they were ready to burst at once on the devoted King of Prussia; but Frederick was the last man alive to be taken by surprise. The secret was soon betrayed to him, and, at once waiving his dislike of the King of England, he concluded a convention with him in January, 1756, and bound himself, during the disturbances in America, not to allow any foreign troops to pass through any part of Germany to those colonies, where he could prevent it. Having his treasury well supplied, he put his army in order, and in August of that year sent a peremptory demand to Vienna as to the designs of Austria, stating, at the same time, that he would not accept any evasive reply; but the reply being evasive, he at once rushed into Saxony at the head of sixty thousand men, blockaded the King of Saxony in Pirna, and secured the queen in Dresden. By this decisive action Frederick commenced what the Germans style "The Seven Years' War." In the palace of Dresden Frederick made himself master of the secret correspondence and treaties with France, Russia, and Austria, detailing all their designs, which he immediately published, and thus fully justified his proceedings to the world.

On the 8th of May, 1777, Ministers moved for more money for the insatiable Landgrave of Hesse, whose troops were at this very time exhibiting the most scandalous state of defiance of discipline, of consequent inefficiency, and of plunder of the inhabitants of America. This grant, though violently opposed, was carried, but only by a majority of eight. All parties now began to denounce the shameless rapacity of these German princes. Nor did Chatham, ill as he was, allow the Session to pass without making one more energetic protest against the continuance of the war with America. On the 30th of May he moved an address to his Majesty for the immediate cessation of hostilities. Notwithstanding all that had been said on our successes over the Americans, Chatham contended as positively as ever that we could never conquer them. "You have," he said, "ransacked every corner of Lower Saxony, but forty thousand German boors never can conquer ten times the number of British freemen. You may ravage, you cannot conquer—it is impossible—you cannot conquer America. You talk of your numerous funds to annihilate the Congress, and your powerful forces to disperse their army; I might as well talk of driving them before me with my crutch! But what would you conquer? The map of America? I am ready to meet any general officer on the subject" (looking at Lord Amherst)—"What will you do out of the protection of your fleet? In the winter, if together, they are starved; and if dispersed, they are taken off in detail. I am experienced in spring hopes and vernal promises. I know what Ministers throw out; but at last will come your equinoctial disappointment. You have got nothing in America but stations. You have been three years teaching them the art of war. They are apt scholars; and I will venture to tell your lordships that the American gentry will make officers enough fit to command the troops of all the European Powers." Chatham's motion was rejected by ninety-nine votes against twenty-eight. Parliament was prorogued by the king on the 6th of June, in a speech in which he indulged the fallacious hope that the American insurrection would be terminated in the present campaign. But Chatham's prophecies were at the very time realising themselves. Had the Howes had the necessary qualities of commanders in such an important cause—had they pursued and dispersed[235] the American army, as they ought to have done on defeating it, and as they might readily have done; and had the British Government instantly, whilst in this favourable position, repealed all the obnoxious statutes, they would have thrown Congress and Washington so completely into the wrong, that it would have been impossible for them to have made head again. But neither the Generals nor the Government of that day had the capacity for such strategic and statesmanlike policy. The Generals went comfortably into winter quarters, leaving the embers of war to rekindle and spread; and Government, deaf to the warnings of Chatham, still stolidly refused justice whilst rigorously enforcing their injustice. And, indeed, when Chatham gave his last Cassandra-like remonstrance, it was already too late. We had indeed taught the Americans the art of war. Washington was no longer contented to stand on the defensive, happy if he could preserve his soldiers from running off without fighting at all. His circumstances were desperate, and the energy which springs from despair now urged him to measures of daring and wakefulness just as the English Generals, like northern bears, were entering on their winter's sleep. Benedict Arnold had paid him a visit in his wretched camp beyond the Delaware, and probably from their united counsels sprang a new style of movement, which confounded his unsuspecting enemies.[See larger version]


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