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As a rumour of the approaching visit of Lord Howe had reached the Spanish camp, all was in haste to anticipate his arrival, and take the huge fortress before he could succour it. Accordingly the great united fleet of Spain and France, which so lately had paraded in the English Channel, sailed into Algeciras Bay, and on the 13th of September the floating batteries were hauled out by a number of the ships, and anchored at regular distances, within six hundred yards of the English works. Whilst this extraordinary armada was approaching and disposing itself, tremendous fire was kept up from the land, with three hundred long guns and mortars, to divert the attention of the garrison; but old General Elliot was ready with his red-hot balls, and, the moment the floating batteries came within gunshot distance, he poured into them a most destructive fire-hail. The Spaniards, notwithstanding, placed and secured their monster machines in a very short time, and then four hundred cannon from land and sea played on the old rock simultaneously and incessantly. For some time the hot balls appeared to do no damage. The timbers, being of green wood, closed up after the balls, and so prevented their immediate ignition. In other cases, where smoke appeared, the water-engines dashed in deluges, and extinguished the nascent fire. But presently the fire from the batteries slackened; it was discovered that the balls—which had many of them pierced into the timbers three feet deep—were doing their work. The floating battery commanded by the Prince of Nassau, on board of which was also the engineer, D'Arcon, himself, was found smoking on the side facing the rock, at two o'clock in the day. No water could reach the seat of mischief, and by seven o'clock it had become so extensive as to cause the firing to cease, and to turn the thoughts of all to endeavours for escape. Rockets were thrown up as signals for the vessels to come up and take off the crews. But this was found impracticable. The garrison actually rained deluges of fire, and all approach to the monster machines was cut off. No vessel could draw near, except at the penalty of instant destruction. For four more hours the vaunted floating batteries remained exposed to the pitiless pelting of the garrison. Before midnight, the Talla Piedra, the greatest of the monster machines, and the flagship, Pastora, at her side, were in full flame, and by their light the indefatigable Elliot could see, with the more precision, to point his guns. Seven of the ten floating machines were now on fire; the guns aboard them had entirely ceased, and those on land, as if struck with wonder and despair, had become silent too.France and England being already agreed, independently of the consent of the rest of the Allies, the conference began on a basis which was sure to lead to immediate confusion and contention. The Dutch plenipotentiaries were astonished to see the different tone displayed by the French ambassadors. They were no longer the humble personages that they had been at Gertruydenberg. The Abbé Polignac, who was the chief speaker, assumed a high and confident manner. The French envoys, therefore, when the Dutch deputies demanded that the treaty should be carried out on the basis of the terms offered at Gertruydenberg, told them plainly that matters were now quite altered, and that the conditions offered at Gertruydenberg could not be entertained by France at all, but those to which the Queen of England had agreed in London; that unless the Dutch were willing to treat on these conditions, they would find their allies concluding peace without them, and that on the spot. The chief article to which the Allies objected was the concession of Spain to Philip; and they were the more resolute because it had become imminently necessary from changes that had now taken place in France. The Dauphin had died of the smallpox during the last year. The title had been conferred on his son, the Duke of Burgundy; but the Duke of Burgundy had just expired, too, in the sixth year of his age; and of the Dauphin's children there only now remained the Duke of Anjou, a sickly child of two years old. This child was the only remaining obstacle to Philip, the King of Spain, mounting the throne of France. The danger was so obvious of the union of France and Spain in a very few years—to prevent which had been the object of the war—that the English Government was compelled to demand from Philip a distinct renunciation of all claims on the French Crown, and from France as distinct a one in the treaty that any such claim should be resisted. St. John entered into a correspondence with De Torcy, the French minister, on this point; and the answers of De Torcy must have shown the English Government how useless it was to attempt to bind Frenchmen on such matters. He replied that any renunciation on the part of Philip or any French prince would be utterly null and void according to the laws; that on the king's death the next heir male of the royal blood succeeded, independently of any disposition or restriction of the late king, or any will of the people, or of himself, even; that he was, by the laws of France, sovereign by right of succession, and must be so, in spite of any circumstances to the contrary; that neither himself, the throne, nor the people had anything to do with it, but to obey the constitution. Therefore, even if Philip did bind himself to renounce the Crown of France, should the present Dauphin die, he would be king, independently of any circumstances whatever. Another expedient, however, was proposed by the English ministry, who must have seen clearly enough the folly of their treating on such hollow ground. That was, if Philip did not like to renounce the Crown of France, he should at once quit the throne of Spain, and agree that the Duke of Savoy should take it and the Indies, surrendering his own territories to Philip, to which should be added Naples, Sicily, Montserrat, and Mantua, all of which, whenever Philip succeeded to the French Crown, should be annexed to France, with the exception of Sicily, which should be made over to Austria. Louis XIV. professed to be delighted with this arrangement, but Philip would not listen to it, showing plainly that he meant, notwithstanding any renunciation, to retain his claim to both France and Spain.

There was still a fair chance for the Austrians—Britain had furnished them with money—and two fresh armies were descending from the hills. One of these, amounting to thirty thousand, was led by a brave officer, General Alvinzi; the other of twenty thousand, under Davidowich, was marching from the Tyrol to meet Alvinzi near Verona, who was coming from Carinthia by Belluno. Buonaparte did not allow them to meet. He attacked Alvinzi on the 6th of November, and met with a terrible repulse. A detachment of French under Vaubois had been dispatched to impede the march of Davidowich, but was also in retreat. Buonaparte again attacked Alvinzi near Verona, and again was repulsed. Had the Austrians united their two new armies before entering Italy, or had Wurmser marched from Mantua to support Alvinzi, the French must have been utterly annihilated. As it was, Napoleon was dreadfully disheartened, and wrote a despairing letter to the Directory, saying his best officers were killed, and his men exhausted from fighting and severe marches. But his pride and dogged pertinacity came to his aid. He made a rapid march and got into the rear of Alvinzi, but found himself stopped by a narrow bridge over the Alpone at Arcole. The country on each side was a marsh, and the only approach to the bridge was by long narrow causeways. As the French advanced along the causeway on their side to storm the bridge, they were swept down by hundreds by the Austrian cannon. Time after time, Buonaparte drove his columns along the causeway, but only to see them mown down by grape shot. His men fled into the very marshes to save themselves, and he himself was thrown from his horse into the marsh, and had to be dragged from the mire. Bodies of Hungarians and Croats made a final sally along the causeway, cutting down all before them, and it was marvellous that he escaped them. By this time Alvinzi had brought up his main body to the neighbourhood of the bridge, and the battle raged obstinately there for three days. Seeing it impossible to carry the bridge against that solid mass of troops, Buonaparte dispatched General Guyeuse to cross the Adige at the ferry of Albaredo, below the confluence of the Alpone, and take Alvinzi in flank. Guyeuse succeeded in crossing, but was repulsed on the other side by the Austrians. Buonaparte again, on the 16th, made one more desperate rush at the bridge, but only to receive another bloody defeat. The next day he threw a bridge over the Alpone, just above its confluence with the Adige, and sent over Augereau with a powerful force, whilst he again assailed the bridge from his side. These combined operations succeeded. Alvinzi was compelled to retreat to Vicenza and Bassano. Scarcely had he given way, when Davidowich, who ought to have joined him long before, came down the right bank of the stream. He now came only to experience a severe defeat, whereas his timely arrival might have insured a complete victory. He again had recourse to the security of the hills. The belligerents then went into winter quarters, leaving the French victorious.EDMUND BURKE. (After the portrait by George Romney.)This Act, which repealed the Test Act, provided another security in lieu of the tests repealed:—"And whereas the Protestant Episcopal Church of England and Ireland, and the Protestant Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof respectively are by the laws of this realm severally established permanently and inviolably, I., A., B., do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, upon the true faith of a Christian, that I will never exercise any power, authority, or influence which I may possess by virtue of the office of ——, to injure or weaken the Protestant Church, as it is by law established in England, or to disturb the said Church, or the bishops and clergy of the said Church, in the possession of any rights and privileges to which such Church, or the said bishops and clergy, are or may be by law entitled."


The Austrians being again expelled from Italy, Buonaparte, in his all-absorbing cupidity, determined to turn adrift the Pope, and add his little vineyard to his now cumbrously overgrown Ahab's domains. He had begun this spoliation in 1808, seizing on the greater part of the Pontiff's territories; sending away his cardinals, and reducing him to little better than a solitary prisoner in his own palace. This was an ungrateful return to the poor old Pope for making the long journey into France to crown him, and thus to give a sacred sanction to his usurpation of the imperial crown—a sanction of immense effect throughout the Catholic world. Pius VII. had given Buonaparte great offence by refusing to declare war on Great Britain, and thus keeping up a breach in his system of exclusion of British commerce. He had, therefore, already taken military possession of Civita Vecchia and Ancona, but he now resolved to take the whole temporal dominion from the Pope, and abrogate, by virtue of his assumed heirship of Charlemagne's realm, the gift of Charlemagne to the Church. On the 2nd of February, 1809, General Miollis, by order of Buonaparte, took possession of Rome, disarmed and disbanded the Pope's guard, and marched his other soldiers to the north, telling them they should no longer remain under the effeminate rule of a priest. Miollis then gave the Pontiff the alternative to join the French league, offensive and defensive, or to be deposed. The Pope firmly refused to concede his rights to anything but absolute force. On the 17th of May, therefore, Napoleon's decree for the deposition of the Pope from his temporal power was proclaimed. It assumed the heirship of Charlemagne to be in Buonaparte; declared the union of the spiritual and temporal powers to be the source of all scandals and discords in the Catholic Church; that they were, therefore, at an end—the Roman State for ever united to the French Empire. On the 10th of June Pius issued a bull excommunicating Buonaparte and all who aided him in his sacrilegious usurpation of the patrimony of St. Peter; and this was followed, on the 6th of July, by General Radet forcing the gates of the Vatican, taking possession of it with his troops, entering the presence of the Pope, who was amid his priests, and clad in his pontificals, and demanding that he should instantly sign a renunciation of all the temporal estates attached to the see of Rome. Pius declared that he neither could nor would perform any such sacrilegious act. He was then informed that he must quit Rome. Pius was detained at Savona three years, and was then removed to Fontainebleau.Elsewhere, however, Lord Palmerston abstained from interference, particularly in Germany. The immense phlegmatic mass of the Teutonic population—amounting to 43,000,000, spread over 246,000 square miles, and divided into thirty-five sovereign States—was powerfully moved by the shock of the French Revolution. Those States existed under every form of government, from absolutism to democracy. They were all united into a Bund or Confederation, the object of which was the maintenance of the independence of Germany, and of its several States. The Confederation consisted of a Diet, composed of the plenipotentiaries of all the States. This Diet was no bad emblem of the German mind and character—fruitful in speculation, free in thought, boundless in utterance, but without strength of will or power of action. The freer spirits demanded more liberal forms of government, and on these being refused, the Revolution broke out in Baden, Hesse-Cassel, and Bavaria. In Saxony the monarchy was saved by bending before the storm of revolution: a new Administration was appointed, which at once issued a programme of policy so liberal that the people were satisfied. Even the King of Hanover yielded to the revolutionary pressure, and called to his councils M. Hubé, a Liberal deputy, who had been imprisoned several years for resisting an unconstitutional act of the Crown. On the 20th of March he issued a proclamation, in which he stated that, in compliance with the many representations addressed to him, he had abolished the censorship of the press, granted an amnesty and restoration of rights to all who had been condemned for political offences, and was willing to submit to changes in the Constitution, based upon the responsibility of Ministers to the country. It was not without necessity that such appeals were addressed to the German people. At Frankfort, while the Assembly were occupied in framing a brand-new Constitution, the Republican party in the Chamber appealed out of doors to the passions of the multitude, and excited them to such a pitch that barricades were erected, and the red flag planted in the streets. By midnight the struggle was over, and tranquillity everywhere restored through the exertions of the military.

The massacre of Savenay had not settled La Vendée. In the spring of 1794 armed parties were again on foot. The largest body was that under Charette, posted on the Isle Noirmoutier, to which many of the fugitives who escaped from the massacre of Savenay betook themselves. Amongst these was the wounded General D'Elbée, with his wife, and a brother of Cathelinau. Charette quitted the isle to make an attack on some of the Republican troops left in small bodies in the country, consigning the care of the sick and wounded to the protection of a garrison of one thousand eight hundred men. This garrison was soon corrupted by the Republican general, Turreau; it surrendered, and D'Elbée and his wife were both shot, and the sick and wounded treated with merciless cruelty. This was about the only place of any strength left the Vendéans; but a worse misfortune was at hand. The young and chivalrous Henri La Roche-Jaquelein, marching, at the head of a body of his own peasantry, between Trementine and Nouaillé, met two Republican soldiers. The count generously offered them quarter; but, instead of accepting it, one of them instantly levelled his musket and shot him through the head. The two soldiers were immediately dispatched by his followers and, supposing that a Republican column must be at hand, they buried the three hastily in one grave and fled. The young count was only in his twenty-first year, and with him died the hopes and confidence of his peasantry. Stofflet succeeded him in the command of his people, but Charette might be considered the Commander-in-Chief of the Vendéans.

H. F. Prittle, made Lord Dunally.[313]Fox, on this occasion, also introduced the subject of the Prince of Wales's allowance, who, he contended, had far less than had been granted to a Prince of Wales since the accession of the House of Hanover, that allowance being one hundred thousand pounds a-year; and the present parsimony towards the prince being grossly aggravated by the royal Civil List having been raised, in this reign, from six hundred thousand pounds to nine hundred thousand pounds, and the Privy Purse from six thousand pounds to sixty thousand pounds. Fox's remarks were rendered all the more telling because, when the House went into committee on the finances, Pitt had made a most flourishing statement of the condition of the Exchequer. He took off the taxes which pressed most on the poorer portion of the population—namely, on servants, the late augmentations on malt, on waggons, on inhabited houses, etc.,—to the amount of two hundred thousand pounds and appropriated four hundred thousand pounds towards the reduction of the National Debt. Still blind to the storm rising across the strait of Dover, he declared that these were mere trifles compared with what he should be able to do shortly, for never was there a time when a more durable peace might be expected!


The Empress Maria Theresa, never reconciling herself to the seizure of Silesia by Frederick, and not finding England disposed to renew a war for the object of recovering it, applied to her old enemy, France. It required some ability to accomplish this object of detaching France from its ancient policy of hostility to Austria, pursued ever since the days of Henry IV., and in severing the alliance with Prussia; but her Minister, Kaunitz, who had been her ambassador in Paris, contrived to effect it. The temptation was thrown out of the surrender of Belgic provinces to augment France, in return for assistance in recovering German possessions from Prussia. To add fresh stimulus to this change, the vengeance of offended woman was brought into play. Madame Pompadour, Louis XV.'s all-powerful mistress, had sent[124] flattering compliments to Frederick by Voltaire; but the Prussian king only repaid them with sneers. On the other hand, the virtuous Maria Theresa did not blush to write, with her own hand, the most flattering epistles to the Pompadour. By these means, the thirst of revenge raised in the heart of the French mistress worked successfully the breach with Prussia and the alliance with Austria. The same stimulus was tried, and with equal effect, on the Czarina Elizabeth, on whose amorous licence the cynical Prussian monarch had been equally jocose. Kaunitz knew how to make the sting of these ungallant sallies felt at both Paris and St. Petersburg, and the winter of 1755-6 saw the Russian alliance with Prussia and England renounced, the English subsidy, with far more than German probity, renounced too, and Russia pledged to support Austria and France. The Elector of Saxony, Augustus, King of Poland, who amused himself with low pot-house companions and tame bears, and left his affairs to his minister, Count Brühl, was also induced, by the promise of Prussian territory, to join the league; and even Sweden, whose queen, Ulrica, was sister to Frederick, was drawn over to take side against him, in the hope of recovering its ancient province of Pomerania. This confederation of ninety millions of people, leagued against five millions, was pronounced by Pitt "one of the most powerful and malignant ones that ever yet threatened the independence of mankind."To contend against this enormous force, Buonaparte, by the most surprising exertions, had again collected upwards of two hundred thousand men of considerable military practice; but he dared not to name the conscription to a people already sore on that point; and he endeavoured to raise further reinforcements by an enrolment of National Guards all over France. For this purpose commissioners were sent down into the Departments, on the authority of an Imperial decree of April the 5th; and he proposed to raise as many federates, or volunteers of the lower orders—the only class which had raised a cheer for him on his return. But these schemes proved, for the most part, abortive. In the northern Departments, where heretofore the commands of Buonaparte had been most freely obeyed, the inhabitants showed a sullen and dogged resistance, and the same was the case in Brittany. Farther south matters were worse. In the Departments of Gard, Marne, and Nether Loire, the white flag and cockade were openly displayed; and wherever the tree of liberty was planted—for it was now the trick of Buonaparte to associate the sacred name of liberty with his, a name and a thing on which he had so uniformly trampled—it was cut down and burnt. It was in such circumstances that Buonaparte had to put his frontiers into a state of defence against the advancing hosts. He had defended the northern side of Paris with a double line of fortifications; strongly fortified Montmartre, and on the open southern side cast up some field-works, relying, however, on the Seine as the best barrier. Paris he placed under the command of General Haxo; and the fortresses on the side of Alsace, the Vosges, and Lorraine were all strongly garrisoned. Lyons, Guise, Vitry, Soissons, Chateau-Thierry, Langres, and other towns were made as strong as forts, redoubts, field-works, and garrisons could make them; and trusting by these to retard the slow Austrians, and even the Russians, till he could have given a desperate blow to the Allies in the Netherlands, of whom he was most afraid, on the 11th of June he quitted Paris, saying, "I go to measure myself with Wellington!"

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On the 23rd of March the Allied sovereigns, including that of the United Kingdom, signed, by their plenipotentiaries, a new treaty of alliance offensive and defensive, on the same principles as the Treaty of Chaumont, entered into in March, 1814. The Duke of Wellington then hastened away to Belgium to muster his forces there—for Belgium, as it had been so often before, was sure to become the battle-ground on this occasion. So early as the 5th of April he announced that he had placed thirteen thousand four hundred men in the fortresses of Belgium, and had besides twenty-three thousand British and Hanoverian troops, twenty thousand Dutch and Belgian, and sixty pieces of artillery. Unfortunately, the bulk of his victorious army of the Peninsula had been sent to the inglorious contest with America, where a good naval blockade would have been the most effectual kind of warfare. But he observed that Buonaparte would require some time to assemble a strong force, and this time must be employed by Britain to collect a correspondingly powerful army. The Duke, with accustomed energy, not only applied himself with all his strength to this object, but to stimulating, by letters, the Allied sovereigns to hasten up their quotas, some of them notoriously the slowest nations in the world.According to returns made by the bishops in 1807, the number of incumbents in the eleven thousand one hundred and sixty-four parishes of England and Wales was only four thousand four hundred and twelve, or little more than one in every third parish. In 1810 the matter had a little improved, for the whole number of residents was found to be five thousand nine hundred and twenty-five. The duty of the kingdom was chiefly done by curates, and how were these curates paid? Lord Harrowby stated in the House of Peers, in 1810, that the highest scale of salary paid by non-residents to their curates, who did all the work, was fifty, sixty, or at the most seventy pounds a year; but that a far more usual scale of payment was twenty pounds, or even ten pounds, per annum; that this was much less than the wages of day labourers, and that the worst feature of the case was that the non-residents and pluralists were amongst those who had the richest livings, so that men drawing eight hundred or even two thousand pounds a year from their livings were often totally unknown to their parishioners, and that often "all that they knew of the curate was the sound of his voice in the reading-desk, or pulpit, once a week, a fortnight, or a month."[See larger version]

Happily, the prevalence as well as the acerbity of party spirit was restrained by the prosperous state of the country in the winter of 1835-36. There were, indeed, unusual indications of general contentment among the people. Allowing for partial depression in agriculture, all the great branches of national industry were flourishing. The great clothing districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, both woollen and cotton, were all in a thriving condition. Even in the silk trade of Macclesfield, Coventry, and Spitalfields, there were no complaints, nor yet in the hosiery and lace trades of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester, while the potteries of Staffordshire, and the iron trade in all its branches, were unusually flourishing. Of course, the shipping interest profited by the internal activity of the various manufactures and trades. Money was cheap, and speculation was rife. The farmers, it is true, complained, but their agricultural distress to a certain extent was felt to be chronic. Farming was considered a poor trade, its profits, on the average, ranging below those of commerce. Most of the farmers being tenants at will, and their rents being liable to increase with their profits, they were not encouraged to invest much in permanent improvements.



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