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[See larger version]WILLIAM PITT, EARL OF CHATHAM.

Gustavus Adolphus IV. of Sweden—with all the military ardour of Charles XII., but without his military talent; with all the chivalry of an ancient knight, but at the head of a kingdom diminished and impoverished—had resisted Buonaparte as proudly as if he were monarch of a nation of the first magnitude. He refused to fawn on Napoleon; he did not hesitate to denounce him as the curse of all Europe. He was the only king in Europe, except that of Great Britain, who withstood the marauder. He was at peace with Great Britain, but Alexander of Russia, who had for his own purposes made an alliance with Napoleon, called on him to shut out the British vessels from the Baltic. Gustavus indignantly refused, though he was at the same time threatened with invasion by France, whose troops, under Bernadotte, already occupied Denmark. At once he found Finland invaded by sixty thousand Russians, without any previous declaration of war. Finland was lost, and Alexander saw his treachery rewarded with the possession of a country larger than Great Britain, and with the whole eastern coast of the Baltic, from Tornea to Memel; the ?land Isles were also conquered and appropriated at this time. The unfortunate Gustavus, whose high honour and integrity of principle stood in noble contrast to those of most of the crowned heads of Europe, was not only deposed for his misfortunes, but his line deprived of the crown for ever. This took place in March, 1809. The unfortunate monarch was long confined in the castle of Gripsholm, where he was said to have been visited by the apparition of King Eric XIV. He was then permitted to retire into Germany, where, disdainfully refusing a pension, he divorced his wife, the sister of the Empress of Russia, assumed the name of Colonel Gustavson, and went, in proud poverty, to live in Switzerland. These events led to the last of Sweden's great transactions on the field of Europe, and by far the most extraordinary of all.

Whilst these changes had been passing at home, the effervescence in America had grown most riotous and alarming. Boston took the lead in tumultuous fury. In August, the house of Mr. Oliver, the newly appointed stamp-distributor, was attacked and ransacked; his effigy was hanged on a tree, thenceforward honoured by the name of the Liberty Tree. It was then taken down, paraded about the streets, and committed to the flames. The colonel of the militia was applied to, but sent an evasive answer, showing that there were others above the mob who enjoyed what the mob were doing. With this encouragement they broke out afresh, crying, "Liberty and Property!" which, said a colonial authority, "was their cry when they meant to plunder and pull down a house." This time they gutted and partly demolished the houses of the registrar-deputy of the Admiralty, the comptroller of the customs, and the lieutenant-governor, destroying a great quantity of important papers. In New York, delegates assembled from nine different colonial Assemblies. The governor forbade them to gather, declaring their meetings unprecedented and unlawful, but he took no active measures to prevent their deliberations. The Congress met in October, and sat for three weeks. They appointed Mr. Timothy Ruggles, from Massachusetts, their chairman, and passed fourteen resolutions denying the right of the mother country to tax them without their own consent; and they drew up petitions to the king and Parliament. Everywhere associations were established to resist the importation of British manufactures after the 1st of January next,[188] and it was agreed that they should dissolve themselves as soon as the stamp tax was abolished. But it is well known, from letters addressed to Franklin, that the Republican element was already widely spread through the colonies, and this very first opportunity was seized on by its advocates to encourage the idea of throwing off the allegiance to England without further delay.

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We come now to the rebellion of 1715. The succession of the House of Hanover had raised the Pretender and his Jacobite faction in England to a pitch of excitement which made them ready to rush upon the most desperate measures. In England the destruction of the Tory Ministry, the welcome given to the new Protestant king, and the vigour with which the Whigs and all the supporters of the principles of the Revolution had shown the majority which they were able to return to the new Parliament, were all indications that the spirit of the nation was more firmly than ever rooted in Protestantism and the love of constitutional liberty, and that any endeavours to overturn the new dynasty must be supported by an overwhelming power from without. Without such force the event was certain failure; yet, under existing auspices, it was determined to try the venture. Bolingbroke, on his arrival in France, saw that all was rashness, impatience, and want of preparation in the party on both sides of the Channel. The Highlanders were all eagerness for the Chevalier's arrival, lest he should land in England, and the English should snatch the glory of the restoration from them. From England came the letters of Ormonde, who was down in the West, and sent most glowing representations of the spirit of the people there; that out of every ten persons nine were against King George, and that he had distributed money amongst the disbanded officers, to engage them in the cause of King James. But all these fine words terminated with the damping intelligence that nobody would stir until they saw the Chevalier with a good army at his back. Such an army there was not the smallest hope of obtaining from France. All that Louis would or could do, without engaging in a new war with England, was to prevail on his grandson, Philip of Spain, to[28] advance four hundred thousand crowns for the expedition, and besides this, the Pretender had been able privately to borrow another hundred thousand, and purchase ten thousand stand of arms. At this juncture came two fatal events—the flight of Ormonde and the death of Louis XIV. on September 1st.But these were by no means the total of the royal troubles at this period. The youngest and most beloved of George III.'s sisters, Caroline Matilda, had been married to Christian VII. of Denmark. This young man was little better than an idiot, and the poor princess was married to him at the age of sixteen. The marriage of this young couple, and their ascent to the throne, were nearly simultaneous; and, contrary to the usual custom of a monarch, it was deemed advisable that he should travel. In his tour he fell in with the celebrated Struensee, a young physician of Altona. Christian VII., like all weak monarchs, must have favourites. Struensee speedily became the perfect master of Christian's mind and actions, and on their return to Copenhagen he was raised to the rank of count, and soon after was made Prime Minister. His enemies were of course numerous, and scandal soon connected his name with that of the queen. All this especially favoured the plans of the base queen dowager, who, in league with the hostile nobles, feigned a plot against the king; obtained from him, in his bed at midnight, an order for the arrest of the queen, Struensee, and others. The queen was seized half dressed. Struensee was executed with especial barbarities; but the King of England interfered to save his sister, and to procure the succession to her son. The unhappy young queen, however, was separated for ever from her two children, and conveyed to Zell, in Hanover—the same castle or prison where the unhappy wife of George I. had pined away her life. There she died after a few years, protesting her innocence, though Struensee had confessed his guilt.

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But though the abandonment, for the present, of this enterprise, so fondly cherished by France, was calculated to cast a damp on the country, Buonaparte had another project ready which flattered the French pride of conquest. This was to seize on Egypt, as the preliminary to the fall of Britain. He had for some time entertained this idea, and had written from Italy to the Directory on the subject in the previous September. To insure the real destruction of England, he said, they must make themselves masters of Egypt. Malta and Corfu must be seized first, and for this purpose he conceived eight or ten sail of the line and twenty-five thousand men would suffice. The possession of Egypt, he contended, would draw all the commerce of the East thither, instead of taking the circuitous route by the Cape of Good Hope. He had thoroughly inspired Talleyrand with his scheme. Egypt was imagined to be much more wealthy than it was, and there were monuments of ancient art for Buonaparte and his right-hand bandit, Monge, to lay hands on. The Directory, which was extremely unpopular, uneasy at the presence of so popular and daring a person, were glad to be rid of him anywhere, the farther off the better. There were not wanting counsellors who already advised him to perpetrate a coup d'état, and place himself at the head of affairs; but Buonaparte, not at all averse from the prospect, replied, "The pear is not ripe." He knew that, however popular with his own army, he was looked on with jealousy by the army of the Rhine, which served under, and prided themselves in, Moreau. He knew that the middle classes hated him for sweeping them away with grape-shot in the affair of the Sections. He hoped to make[465] himself yet more popular and more necessary, and that in the meantime the Directory would have completed their full measure of odium. He now therefore plunged into arrangements for this grand conquest of the East.Peaceful Accession of George I.—His Arrival—Triumph of the Whigs—Dissolution and General Election—The Address—Determination to Impeach the late Ministers—Flight of Bolingbroke and Ormonde—Impeachment of Oxford—The Riot Act—The Rebellion of 1715—Policy of the Regent Orleans—Surrender of the Pretender's Ships—The Adventures of Ormonde and Mar—The Highlands declare for the Pretender—Mar and Argyll—Advance of Mackintosh's Detachment—Its Surrender at Preston—Battle of Sheriffmuir—Arrival of the Pretender—Mutual Disappointment—Advance of Argyll—Flight of the Pretender to France—Punishment of the Rebels—Impeachment of the Rebel Lords—The Septennial Act—The King goes to Hanover—Impossibility of Reconstructing the Grand Alliance—Negotiations with France—Danger of Hanover from Charles XII.—And from Russia—Alarm from Townshend—Termination of the Dispute—Fresh Differences between Stanhope and Townshend—Dismissal of the Latter—The Triple Alliance—Project for the Invasion of Scotland—Detection of the Plot—Dismissal of Townshend and Walpole—They go into Opposition—Walpole's Financial Scheme—Attack on Cadogan—Trial of Oxford—Cardinal Alberoni—Outbreak of Hostilities between Austria and Spain—Occupation of Sardinia—Alberoni's Diplomacy—The Quadruple Alliance—Byng in the Mediterranean—Alberoni deserted by Savoy—Death of Charles XII.—Declaration of War with Spain—Repeal of the Schism Act—Rejection of the Peerage Bill—Attempted Invasion of Britain—Dismissal of Alberoni—Spain makes Peace—Pacification of Northern Europe—Final Rejection of the Peerage Bill—The South Sea Company—The South Sea Bill—Opposition of Walpole—Rise of South Sea Stock—Rival Companies—Death of Stanhope—Punishment of Ministry and Directors—Supremacy of Walpole—Atterbury's Plot—His Banishment and the Return of Bolingbroke—Rejection of Bolingbroke's Services—A Palace Intrigue—Fall of Carteret—Wood's Halfpence—Disturbances in Scotland—Punishment of the Lord Chancellor Macclesfield—The Patriot Party—Complications Abroad—Treaty of Vienna—Treaty of Hanover—Activity of the Jacobites—Falls of Ripperda and of Bourbon—English Preparations—Folly of the Emperor—Attack on Gibraltar—Preliminaries of Peace—Intrigues against Walpole—Death of George I.

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But he went on to Smorgony, and there, the remains of the army having come up, he called a council of war on the 5th of December. He told his generals that he had ordered Ney to reorganise the army at Wilna, and had appointed Murat, King of Naples, generalissimo in his absence. He assumed a tone of great confidence, promised his army good winter-quarters beyond the Niemen, and assured them that he was hasting away to present himself directly at the head of one hundred and twenty thousand men to keep the Austrians and Prussians firm to their alliance, and thus to make those he left behind more secure than he could do by staying with them. He then passed through the crowd of his officers, who were drawn up in an avenue as he passed, bidding them adieu with forced and melancholy smiles. He then stepped into a sledge with Caulaincourt and shut themselves in, and Duroc and Lobau followed in another sledge; and thus the man who entered Russia with nearly half a million of men, stole away, leaving the miserable remnant of his vast army to the elements and the Russians![See larger version]Scarcely was the Rockingham Administration formed when they determined to recall England's ablest admiral, Sir George Rodney, and they carried this into execution in May of this year, and appointed Admiral Pigott in his stead. Lord Keppel, who had shown himself so sensitive in his own case, now he was at the head of the Admiralty not only recalled Rodney because he was of another party, but he did it in the coldest and most direct manner, through his secretary, Mr. Stephen. However, before this order of recall was issued—the 1st of May—Rodney had fought one of the greatest and most decisive battles which adorn the history of our navy. He had gone in all haste to the West Indies, with fourteen ships of the line, to join Sir Samuel Hood, who was vainly contending against the fleet of De Grasse and a strong land force at St. Christopher's. But, as De Grasse had landed eight thousand men, under De Bouillé, and Hood had no land troops, he could not save the island. After its capture Rodney fell in with him, and their united fleet amounted to thirty-six ships of the line. It was well, for Hood informed Rodney that De Grasse was intending to join the Spanish general, Galvez, at St. Domingo, where they were to sail for a grand attack on the chief of the British West India Islands, Jamaica, almost the only island, excepting Barbadoes and Antigua, which Britain now owned in that part of the globe. On the 8th of April he was signalled that the French fleet was unmoored and proceeding to sea. Rodney instantly put out, and the next morning discovered this fleet under Dominica. The wind being in favour of De Grasse, he stood away for Guadeloupe; but Rodney gave chase, and Hood's squadron getting far in advance, De Grasse veered round in the hope of beating him before the rest of Rodney's fleet could come up. Hood received the fire of three men-of-war in the Barfleur, his ship, for some time; but he stood bravely to the enemy, and the wind now favouring Rodney, he came up and joined in the engagement. Several ships on each side were so much damaged that they were almost useless, and Captain Bayne, of the Alfred, was killed. The next morning the French were nearly out of sight; but Rodney pressed after them, for he knew that if they succeeded in joining the Spaniards, he should have sixty sail, instead of thirty-six, to contend with.

Peel then shows how, and under what constraining sense of duty, he responded to that claim: "And if the duty which that acknowledged claim imposed upon me were this—that in a crisis of extreme difficulty I should calmly contemplate and compare the dangers with which the Protestant interest was threatened from different quarters—that I should advise a course which I believe to be the least unsafe—that having advised and adopted, I should resolutely adhere to it—that I should disregard every selfish consideration—that I should prefer obloquy and reproach to the aggravation of existing evils, by concealing my real opinion, and by maintaining the false show of personal consistency—if this were the duty imposed upon me, I fearlessly assert that it was most faithfully and scrupulously discharged."The Bedchamber Crisis—Peel's Explanation—The Whigs return to Office—Mr. Shaw Lefevre is elected Speaker—Education Scheme—It is carried in a modified form—Post Office Reform—Rowland Hill's Pamphlet—The Proposal scouted by the Authorities—select Committee appointed—The Scheme becomes Law—Cabinet Changes—Political Demonstrations—Announcement of the Queen's Marriage—Lady Flora Hastings—The Queen's Speech—Insertion of the word "Protestant"—Debate on the Prince's Precedence—His Income fixed by the Commons—Stockdale v. Hansard—Stockdale's second and third Actions—Stockdale and the Sheriffs committed—His fourth and fifth Actions—Russell's Bill settles the Question—Other Events of the Session—The Queen's Marriage—Oxford's Attempt on her Life—His Trial for High Treason—Foreign Affairs; the Opium Traffic—Commissioner Lin confiscates the Opium—Debates in Parliament—Elliot's Convention—It is Disapproved and he is Recalled—Renewal of the War—Capture of the Defences of Canton—Sir Henry Pottinger assumes Command—Conclusion of the War—The Syrian Crisis; Imminent Dissolution of the Turkish Empire—The Quadrilateral Treaty—Lord Palmerston's Difficulties—The Wrath of M. Thiers—Lord Palmerston's Success—Fall of Acre—Termination of the Crisis—Weakness of the Ministry—The Registration Bills—Lord Howick's Amendment—The Budget—Peel's Vote of Censure is carried—The Dissolution—Ministers are defeated in both Houses—Resignation of the Melbourne Ministry.

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