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"Rochefort, July 13th, 1815.

In the meantime the nation began to form itself rapidly into two partiesReformers and Anti-Reformers. The Tories were all reunited, driven together by the sense of a common danger; divisions occasioned by the currency and agricultural distress were all forgottenall merged in one mighty current of Conservative feeling. The whole strength of that party rallied under the leadership of Sir Robert Peel. His bitterest opponents, such as Lord Winchilsea and Sir Edward Knatchbull, were among the most ardent and cordial of his allies. On the other hand, the Reformers were in transports of joy and exultation. "I honestly confess," said Mr. John Smith, "that when I first heard the Ministerial proposal, it had the effect of taking away my breath, so surprised and delighted was I to find the Ministers so much in earnest." This was the almost universal feeling among Reformers, who comprised the mass of the middle and working classes. No Bill in the Parliamentary annals of Britain was ever honoured like this. It was accepted by universal suffrage as the Charter of Reform. Every clause, every sentence, every word in it was held sacred; and the watchword at every meeting was, "The Bill, the whole Bill, and nothing but the Bill." Petitions were got up in every town, and almost every parish, some of them bearing twenty thousand or thirty thousand signatures, demanding the passing of the Bill untouched and unimpaired.

Ministers were soon compelled to pursue the policy which Pitt had so successfully inaugurated. With all the determination of Lord Bute and his colleagues to make a speedy peace, they found it impossible. The Family Compact between France and Spain was already signed; and in various quarters of the world Pitt's plans were so far in progress that they must go on. In East and West, his plans for the conquest of Havana, of the Philippine Isles, and for other objects, were not to be abruptly abandoned; and Ministers were compelled to carry out his objects, in many particulars, in spite of themselves. And now the unpleasant truth was forced on the attention of Ministers, that the war which Pitt declared to be inevitable was so, and that he had recommended the only wise measure. The country was now destined to pay the penalty of their folly and stupidity in rejecting Pitt's proposal to declare war against Spain at once, and strip her of the means of offence, her treasure ships. Lord Bristol, our ambassador at Madrid, announced to Lord Bute, in a despatch of the 2nd of November, that these ships had arrived, and that all the wealth which Spain expected from her American colonies for the next year was safe at home. And he had to add that with this, Wall, the Minister, had thrown off the mask, and had assumed the most haughty and insolent language towards Great Britain. This was a confession on the part of Lord Bristol that he had suffered Wall to throw dust in his eyes till his object was accomplished, and it made patent the fact that Pitt had been too sagacious to be deceived; but that the new Ministers, whilst insulting Pitt and forcing him to resign, had been themselves completely duped. Spain now, in the most peremptory terms, demanded redress for all her grievances; and, before the year had closed, the Bute Cabinet was compelled to recall Lord Bristol from Madrid, and to order Fuentes, the Spanish ambassador in London, to quit the kingdom. On the 4th of January, 1762, declaration of war was issued against Spain. Neither king nor Ministers, seeing the wisdom of Pitt's policy and the folly of their own, were prevented from committing another such absurdity. They abandoned Frederick of Prussia at his greatest need. They refused to vote his usual subsidy. By this execrable proceedingfor we not only abandoned Frederick, but made overtures to Austria, with which he was engaged in a mortal strugglewe thus threw him into the arms and close alliance of Russia, and were, by this, the indirect means of that guilty confederation by which Poland was afterwards rent in pieces by these powers. On the 5th of January, 1762, died the Czarina Elizabeth. She was succeeded by her nephew, the Duke of Holstein, under the title of Peter III. Peter was an enthusiastic admirer of the Prussian king; he was extravagant and incessant in his praises of him. He accepted the commission of a colonel in the Prussian service, wore its uniform, and was bent on clothing his own troops in it. It was clear that he was not quite sane, for he immediately recalled the Russian army which was acting against Frederick, hastened to make peace with him, and offered to restore all that had been won from him in the war, even to Prussia proper, which the Russians had possession of. His example was eagerly seized upon by Sweden, which was tired of the war. Both Russia and Sweden signed treaties of peace with Frederick in May, and Peter went farther: he dispatched an army into Silesia, where it had so lately been fighting against him, to fight against Austria. Elated by this extraordinary turn of affairs, the Prussian ambassador renewed his applications for money, urging that, now Russia had joined Frederick, it would be easy to subdue Austria and terminate the war. This was an opportunity for Bute to retrace with credit his steps; but he argued, on the contrary, that, having the aid of Russia, Frederick did not want that of England; and he[173] is even accused of endeavouring to persuade Russia to continue its hostilities against Prussia; and thus he totally alienated a power which might have hereafter rendered us essential service, without gaining a single point. The Duke of Newcastle, man of mediocre merit as he was, saw farther than Bute into the disgraceful nature of thus abandoning a powerful ally at an extremity, as well as the impolicy of converting such a man into a mortal enemy; and, finding all remonstrances vain, resigned. Bute was glad to be rid of him; and Newcastle, finding both his remonstrance and resignation taken very coolly, had the meanness to seek to regain a situation in the Cabinet, but without effect, and threw himself into the Opposition. In America Lord Amherst took the chief command, with Wolfe as his second; Abercrombie being despatched to reduce the French forts on[130] Lakes George and Champlain, and thus open the way into Canada. On the 2nd of June the British fleet, commanded by Admiral Boscawen, and carrying Lord Amherst and twelve thousand men, anchored before Louisburg, the capital of Cape Breton. The French had six thousand men, soldiers and marines, and five ships of the line were drawn up in the harbour. The landing was therefore effected with difficulty; but Wolfe, who led the way in person, showed such spirit and activity, and the Admiral and General, unlike the usual conduct on such occasions, acted together with such unanimity and zeal, that the French were compelled, towards the end of July, to capitulate, and the soldiers of the garrison were sent to England, prisoners of war. The whole island of Cape Breton submitted to the conquerors, and the island of St. John was also reduced by Colonel Lord Rollo. St. John's was afterwards named Prince Edward's Island, in compliment to the royal family.

We left Wellington occupying his impregnable lines at Torres Vedras during the winter, and Massena occupying Santarem. Buonaparte thought he could suggest a mode of putting down the provoking English general which Massena did not seem able to conceive. After studying the relative situations of the belligerents, he sent word to Soult to make a junction with Massena by crossing the Tagus, and then, as he would be much superior in strength, to continually attack Wellington, and cause him, from time to time, to lose some of his men. He observed that the British army was small, and that the people at home were anxious about their army in Portugal, and were not likely to increase it much. Having thus weakened Wellington, as soon as the weather became favourable they were to make an attack from the south bank of the Tagus. But there were two difficulties to overcome of no trivial character in this plan. Wellington was not the man to be drawn into the repeated loss of his men, and the Tagus was too well guarded by our fleet and by batteries for any chance of taking him in the rear. However, Napoleon sent Massena a reinforcement, under General Drouet, who carried along with him a great supply of provisions: he assembled an army in the north of Spain, under Bessires, of seventy thousand men, and Soult moved from Cadiz, leaving Sebastiani to continue the blockade, and advanced to make the ordered junction with Massena. But he deemed it necessary, before crossing into southern Portugal, to take possession of Badajoz. In his advance, at the head of twenty thousand men, he defeated several Spanish corps, and sat down before Badajoz towards the end of February. Could Massena have maintained himself at Santarem, this junction might have been made; but, notwithstanding the provisions brought by Drouet, he found that he had no more than would serve him on a retreat into Spain. He had ten thousand of his army sick, and therefore, not waiting for Soult, he evacuated Santarem on the 5th of March, and commenced his march Spain-ward. Wellington was immediately after him, and the flight and pursuit continued for a fortnight. To prevent Massena from finding a temporary refuge in Coimbra, Wellington ordered Sir Robert Wilson and Colonel Trant to destroy an arch of the bridge over the Mondego, and thus detain him on the left bank of that river[14] till he came up. But Massena did not wait; he proceeded along a very bad road on the left bank of the river to Miranda, on the river Coira. Along this track Massena's army was sharply and repeatedly attacked by the British van under Picton, and suffered severely. Ney commanded the rear-division of the enemy, and, to check the advance of the British, he set fire to the towns and villages as he proceeded, and, escaping over the bridge on the Coira, he blew it up. But before this could be effected, Picton was upon him, accompanied by Pack's brigade and a strong body of horse, and drove numbers of the French into the river, and took much baggage. Five hundred French were left on the ground, and to facilitate their flight from Miranda, which they also burnt, they destroyed a great deal more of their baggage and ammunition. Lord Wellington was detained at the Coira, both from want of means of crossing and from want of supplies; for the French had left the country a black and burning desert. The atrocities committed by the army of Massena on this retreat were never exceeded by any host of men or devils. The soldiers seemed inspired with an infernal spirit of vengeance towards the Portuguese, and committed every horror and outrage for which language has a name. The Portuguese, on the other hand, driven to madness, pursued them like so many demons, cutting off and destroying all stragglers, and shooting down the flying files as they hurried through the woods and hills. The whole way was scattered with the carcases of the fugitives. Mr. Manners Sutton was again chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, having already presided over four successive Parliaments, occupying a period of fourteen years, during which he performed the onerous duties of his high position to the satisfaction of all parties. A week was occupied in the swearing-in of members. All the preliminary formalities having been gone through, the Parliament was opened by the king in person on the 2nd of November. The Royal Speech, which was of unusual length, excited the deepest interest, and was listened to with breathless attention and intense anxiety. The concluding paragraph of the Speech, while expressing the strongest confidence in the loyalty of the people, intimated the determination of the Government to resist Parliamentary Reform. This attitude was regarded as a defiance to the Opposition; and it roused into excitement the spirit of hostility, which might have been disarmed by a tone of conciliation, and by a disposition to make moderate concessions. Nothing, therefore, could have been more favourable to the aims of the Whig leaders than the course taken by the Administration; and if they wanted an excuse for breaking forth into open war, it was supplied by the imprudent speech of the Duke of Wellington. The Royal Speech, indeed, suggested revolutionary topics to the Reformers, by its allusion to Continental politics. The king observed that the elder branch of the House of Bourbon no longer reigned in France, and that the Duke of Orleans had been called to the throne. The state of affairs in the Low Countriesnamely, the separation of Belgium from Hollandwas viewed with deep regret; and "his Majesty lamented that the enlightened administration of the King of the Netherlands" should not have preserved his dominions from revolt; stating that he was endeavouring, in concert with his allies, to devise such means of restoring tranquillity as might be compatible with the welfare and good government of the Netherlands, and with the future security of other States.

Meanwhile, Frederick of Prussia was waging a tremendous war with France, Russia, and Austria. To disable Austria before her allies could come up to her aid, he suddenly, in April, made an eruption into Bohemia. His army threaded the defiles of the mountains of the Bohemian frontier in different divisions, and united before Prague, where Marshal Braun and Prince Charles of Lorraine met him with eighty thousand men, his own forces amounting to about seventy thousand. A most obstinate and sanguinary conflict took place, which continued from nine in the morning till eight at night, in which twenty-four thousand Austrians were killed, wounded, or taken prisoners, and eighteen thousand Prussians. The Prussians were destitute of pontoons to cross the Moldau, or their writers contend that not an Austrian would have escaped. But Marshal Daun advancing out of Moravia with another[128] strong army, to which sixteen thousand of the fugitives from Prague had united themselves, Frederick was compelled to abandon the siege of Prague, and march to near Kolin, where he was thoroughly defeated by Daun, with a loss of thirteen thousand of his bravest troops.

"London, December 28, 1828.

With these inglorious events closed the long reign of George III. Indeed, he had passed away before they were brought to their conclusion. He died on the 29th of January, 1820, in the eighty-second year of his age, and the sixtieth of his reign. Only six days previously had died his fourth son, the Duke of Kent, in his fifty-third year. But the duke had not departed without leaving an heir to the Throne in the Princess Victoria, who was born on the 24th of May, 1819. Could the old king have been made sensible of these events, there were others which showed that his line, which of late had appeared likely to die out in one generation, notwithstanding his numerous family, was again giving signs of perpetuation. On the 26th of March, 1819, a son had also been born to the Duke of Cambridge, and a son to the Duke of Cumberland on May 27th of the same year, afterwards King of Hanover.

Buonaparte apparently lost no time, after his return to Paris from Sch?nbrunn, in communicating to Josephine the fact that the business of the divorce and the new marriage was settled. On the 30th of November, 1809, he opened the unpleasant reality to her in a private interview, and she fell into such violent agitation, and finally into so deep a swoon, as to alarm Napoleon. He blamed Hortense for not having broken the matter to her three days before, as he had desired. But however much Napoleon might be affected at this rude disruption of an old and endeared tie, his feelings never stood in the way of his ambitious plans. The preparations for the divorce went on, and on the 15th of December a grand council was held in the Tuileries on the subject. At this important council all the family of Napoleon, his brothers and sisters, now all kings and queens, were summoned from their kingdoms to attend, and did attend, except Joseph from Spain, Madame Bacciochithat is, Eliseand Lucien, who had refused to be made a king. Cambacrs, now Duke of Parma and arch-chancellor of the Empire, and St. Jean d'Angly, the Minister of State, attended to take the depositions. Napoleon then said a few words expressive of his grief at this sad but necessary act, of affection for and admiration of the wife he was about to put away, and of his hope of a posterity to fill his throne, saying he was yet but forty, and might reasonably expect to live to train up children who should prove a blessing to the empire. Josephine, with a voice choked with tears, arose, and, in a short speech, made the act a voluntary one on her part. After this the arch-chancellor presented the written instrument of divorce, which they signed, and to which all the family appended their signatures. This act was presented to the Senate the very next day by St. Jean d'Angly, and,[3] strangely enough, Eugene Beauharnais, Josephine's son, was chosen to second it, which he did in a speech of some length. The Senate passed the necessary Senatus Consultum, certifying the divorce, and conferring on Josephine the title of empress-queen, with the estate of Navarre and two millions of francs per annum. They also voted addresses to both Napoleon and Josephine of the most complimentary character. This being done, Napoleon went off to St. Cloud, and Josephine retired to the beautiful abode of Malmaison, near St. Germains, where she continued to reside for the remainder of her life, and made herself beloved for her acts of kindness and benevolence, of which the English dtenus, of whom there were several at St. Germains, were participants.

When the news of this distractedly hopeless condition of the Council in Calcutta reached London, Lord North called upon the Court of Directors to send up to the Crown an address for the recall of Hastings, without which, according to the new Indian Act, he could not be removed till the end of his five years. The Directors put the matter to the vote, and the address was negatived by a single vote. The minority then appealed to the Court of Proprietors, at the general election in the spring of 1776, but there it was negatived by ballot by a majority of one hundred, notwithstanding that all the Court party and Parliamentary Ministerialists who had votes attended to overthrow him. This defeat so enraged Lord North that he resolved to pass a special Bill for the removal of the Governor-General. This alarmed Colonel Maclean, a friend of Hastings, to whom he had written, on the 27th of March.[328] 1775, desiring him, in his disgust with the conduct of Francis, Clavering, and Monson, and the support of them by the Directors, to tender his resignation. Thinking better of it, however, he had, on the 18th of the following May, written to him, recalling the proposal of resignation. But Maclean, to save his friend from a Parliamentary dismissal, which he apprehended, now handed the letter containing the resignation to the Directors. Delighted to be thus liberated from their embarrassment, the Directors accepted the resignation at once, and elected Mr. Edward Wheler to the vacant place in the Council.

Though the Duke of Wellington defended him-self against the persevering attacks of the financial reformers, he was busy making retrenchments in every department of the Public Service. So effectually did he employ the pruning-hook, that although the income of the previous year had fallen short of the estimate of the Chancellor of the Exchequer by 560,000, he was able to present to the House this year a surplus of 3,400,000 available for the reduction of taxation, still leaving an excess of income over expenditure of 2,667,000 applicable to the reduction of debt. There was, consequently, a large remission of taxation, the principal item of which was the beer duty, estimated[310] at 3,000,000. At the same time, in order to enable the Chancellor of the Exchequer to meet these reductions, an addition of one shilling a gallon was made to the duty on English spirits and of twopence on Irish and Scottish spirits. This Budget helped to clear the political atmosphere and brought a brief gleam of popularity to the Government. The Duke got full credit for an earnest desire to economise, and it was acknowledged by the Liberal party that he had given the most important financial relief that the nation had experienced since the establishment of peace. Notwithstanding, however, the general satisfaction, and the loud popular applause, the pressure of distress was not sensibly alleviated. The burden indeed was somewhat lightened, but what the nation wanted was greater strength to bear financial burdens, a revival of its industrial energies, and facilities for putting them forth with profit to themselves and to the country. Remissions of taxation were but the weight of a feather, compared to the losses sustained by the action of the currency. For while the reductions only relieved the nation to the extent of three or four millions, it was estimated that the monetary laws, by cutting off at least fifty per cent. from the remuneration of all branches of industry, commercial and agricultural, had reduced the incomes of the industrial classes to the extent of a hundred and fifty millions yearly.

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