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[See larger version] This branch of the rebel force was thus completely removed from the field, and on the same day a far more sanguinary conflict had taken place between the chief commanders on the two sides, Argyll and Mar, at Sheriffmuir.

Nothing could be more just or more excellent than the sentiments and arguments of this letter; but, unfortunately, circumstances on both sides were such as really precluded any hope of making peace. Great Britain foresaw Italy under the foot of France; Holland and Belgium in the same condition; Bavaria, Baden, Würtemberg, and other smaller German States, allied with France against the other German States. It was impossible for her to conclude a peace without stipulating for the return of these States to the status quo; and was Buonaparte likely to accede to such terms? On the contrary, at this very moment, besides being in possession of Hanover, George III.'s patrimony, he had been exercising the grossest violence towards our Ambassadors in various German States, was contemplating making himself king of Italy, and was forcibly annexing Genoa, contrary to the Treaty of Lunville, to the Cisalpine Republicthat is, to the French State in Italy. Whilst he was thus perpetuating want of confidence in him, on the other hand a league for resistance to his encroachments was already formed between Great Britain, Russia, Sweden, and Austria. Peace, therefore, on diplomatic principles was impossible, and Napoleon must have known it well. True, we had no longer any right to complain of the expulsion of the Bourbons from France, seeing that the nation had ostensibly chosen a new government and a new royal family, any more than France had a right to attack us because we had expelled the Stuarts and adopted the line of Brunswick. But the very nature of Napoleon was incompatible with rest; for, as Lord Byron says, "quiet to quick bosoms is hell." Buonaparte had repeatedly avowed that he must be warlike. "My power," he said, "depends upon my glory; my glory on my victories. My power would fall if I did not support it by fresh glory and new victories. Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest alone can maintain me. A newly-born government, like mine, must dazzle and astonish. When it ceases to do that, it falls." With such an avowal as that, in entire keeping with his character, there must be constant aggressions by him on the Continent which intimately concerned us. Accordingly, the British Government replied to Buonaparte by a polite evasion. As Britain had not recognised Napoleon's new title, the king could not answer his letter himself. It was answered by Lord Mulgrave, the Secretary[500] for Foreign Affairs, addressed to M. Talleyrand, as the Foreign Secretary of France, and simply stated that Britain could not make any proposals regarding peace till she had consulted her Allies, and particularly the Emperor of Russia. The letter of Buonaparte and this curt reply were published in the Moniteur, accompanied with remarks tending to convince the French that the most heartfelt desires of peace by the Emperor were repelled by Great Britain, and that a storm was brewing in the North which would necessitate the Emperor's reappearance in the field.

For this rebuff, to which he did not even venture an answer, Lord Palmerston speedily obtained a dexterous revenge. Kossuth, Bem, Dembinski, and some thousands of the Hungarian leaders, found refuge at Shumla, within the Turkish frontier. A joint and imperative demand was made by Austria and Russia upon the Sultan to deliver them up. This demand was enforced by two envoys from each Court. The pressure was resisted by the Sultan, who refused to yield to a demand which required him to violate his own honour, the national dignity, the dictates of humanity, and the most sacred rights of hospitality. He took this course at the risk of a rupture with Russia, and though he was pledged by treaty to refuse to shelter both Austrian and Russian malcontents. But he was strongly supported by Lord Palmerston and the French Government, who[582] having gained time by the Sultan's despatch of a special mission to St. Petersburg, ordered the British and French fleets to move up to the Dardanelles and Smyrna. Thereupon the autocratic Powers lowered their tone, Russia demanding only the expulsion of the Poles, Austria the internment of some thirty of the refugees. The refugees were removed to Kutaya, in Asia Minor, where they remained till August 22nd, 1851. On the 1st of September in that year Kossuth left Turkey. On his arrival at Marseilles he was refused permission to travel through France; but he was hospitably received at Gibraltar and Lisbon, and on the 28th of October arrived safely in England, where he was welcomed with unbounded enthusiasm. During these negotiations Palmerston had displayed a courage which raised his reputation both at home and abroad.

Meanwhile Lord Howe had been on the look-out some time for the French fleet, which, it was understood, was about to leave Brest, in order to meet a convoy of merchant ships from the West Indies, and aid it in bringing that trade fleet into port. On reaching Brest, however, he discovered that the French fleet had sailed, and it was not till the 28th of May that he caught sight of it out at sea, opposite the coast of Brittany. The French fleet, commanded by Admiral Villaret Joyeuse, was greatly superior to Howe's in ships, number of seamen, and weight of metal. Howe had twenty-five sail of the line and five frigates, carrying two thousand and ninety-eight guns, in weight of metal twenty-one thousand five hundred and nineteen pounds, and sixteen thousand six hundred and forty-seven men. Joyeuse, now joined by Admiral Neilly, had twenty-six line-of-battle ships and smaller vessels, carrying two thousand one hundred and fifty-eight guns, in weight of metal twenty-five thousand five hundred and twenty-one pounds, and nineteen thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight men. After some skirmishing, on the 1st of June"the glorious first"Howe came to close quarters with the enemy, who was compelled to fight by the presence of the Conventional Commissioner Bon St. Andr. He ordered his fleet to follow his ship, the Charlotte, in cutting right through the enemy's line. Only five ships, however, accomplished this so as to engage the French to the leeward, and prevent them from escaping. Howe afterwards complained that some of his captains had not obeyed his orders, and threatened them with a court-martial; but some replied that their ships were in such bad sailing condition that they could not effect this movement, and others that they did not understand the signal. Thus, five vessels fighting to the leeward, and the rest to the windward, the battle raged furiously from nine in the morning till three in the afternoon, when the French admiral sheered off for Brest, leaving behind seven of his finest vessels in the hands of the British. The British lost in the action two hundred and seventy-nine men, and had eight hundred and seventy-seven wounded. The French lost in six of the captured ships alone six hundred and ninety men, and had five hundred and eighty wounded. The seventh, the Vengeur, went down almost as soon as the British flag was hoisted on her, with, it is supposed, three hundred men in her. Altogether, it is likely that the French did not lose less than fifteen hundred men, besides wounded, and two thousand three hundred prisoners. The British lost a number of officers, who were either killed in the battle or died afterwards of their injuries Amongst these were Sir Andrew Douglas, second captain of Howe's own ship; Captains Montagu of the Montagu, Hutt of the Queen, and Harvey of the Brunswick; Rear-Admirals Pasley of the Bellerophon, and Bowyer of the Barfleur. Admiral Graves and Captain Berkeley were severely wounded. Howe made every effort to pursue and bring the French admiral again to action; but, owing to the bad sailing qualities of English ships at that time, and the shattered state of many of them, he could not overtake Villaret, who made the best of his way to Brest. During the remainder of the year there were various engagements between small squadrons in different quarters, in which the advantage generally remained with the British, besides the training thus afforded to the officers and sailors for the mighty victories which awaited them. Still the affairs of Wilkes continued to occupy almost the sole thought and interest of the Session. On the 23rd of November the question of privilege came up; and though he was absent, having been wounded in a duel, it was actively pushed by the Ministers. Mr. Wilbraham protested against the discussion without the presence of Wilkes, and his being heard at the bar in his defence. Pitt attended, though suffering awfully from the gout, propped on crutches, and his very hands wrapped in flannel. He maintained the question of privilege, but took care to separate himself from Wilkes in it. The rest of the debate was violent and personal, and ended in voting, by two hundred and fifty-eight against one hundred and thirty-three, that the privilege of Parliament did not extend to the publication of seditious libels; the resolution ordering the North Briton to be burnt by the hangman was confirmed. These votes being sent up to the Lords, on the 25th they also debated the question, and the Duke of Cumberland, Lord Shelburne, and the Duke of Newcastle, defended the privilege of Parliament as violated in the person of Wilkes. In the end, however, the Ministers obtained a majority of a hundred and fourteen against thirty-eight. Seventeen peers entered a strong protest against the decision. On the 1st of December there was a conference of the two Houses, when they agreed to a loyal address to the king, expressing their detestation of the libels against him.

WELFEN CASTLE, HANOVER. The Queen's AccessionSeparation of Hanover from EnglandThe Civil ListThe General ElectionRebellion in Lower CanadaIts prompt SuppressionSir Francis Head in Upper CanadaThe Affair of the CarolineLord Durham's MissionHis OrdinanceIt is disallowedLord Durham resignsRenewal and Suppression of the Rebellionunion of the CanadasThe Irish Poor Law BillWork of the CommissionersAttack on Lord GlenelgCompromise on Irish QuestionsAcland's ResolutionThe Tithe Bill becomes LawThe Municipal Bill abandonedThe CoronationScene in the AbbeyThe Fair in Hyde ParkRejoicings in the ProvincesDissolution of the Spanish LegionDebate on the Intervention in SpainLord Ashley's Factory BillsProrogation of ParliamentThe Glasgow StrikeReference to Combinations in the Queen's SpeechRemarks of Sir Robert PeelRise of ChartismThe Six PointsMr. Attwood's PetitionLord John Russell's ProclamationThe Birmingham RiotsDissolution of the National ConventionThe Newport RiotsMurder of Lord NorburyMeeting of the MagistratesThe Precursor AssociationDebates in ParliamentLord Normanby's Defence of his AdministrationThe Lords censure the GovernmentThe Vote reversed in the CommonsThe Jamaica BillVirtual Defeat of the MinistryThey resign.

At this juncture, while daily desertions thinned Mar's army at Perth, arrived the Pretender. He landed at Peterhead on the 22nd of December. On the 6th of January, 1716, he made his public entry into Dundee, at the head of his cavalcade, the Earl of Mar riding on his right hand, and the Earl Marshal on his left, and about three hundred gentlemen following. His reception was enthusiastic. The people flocked round him to kiss his hands; and to gratify this loyal desire he remained an hour in the market-place. On the 8th he arrived at Scone, and took up his residence in the ancient palace of his ancestors. There he was only two miles from the army, and having established a council, and issued six proclamations, ordering a public thanksgiving for the "miraculous providence" of his safe arrival, for prayers in the church, for the currency of foreign coin, for a meeting of the Convention of Estates, for all fencible men from sixteen to sixty to repair to his standard, and for his coronation on the 23rd of January, he presented himself before the army. But here the scene was changed. Instead of enthusiasm there was disappointmentdisappointment on both sides. The soldiers, who expected to see a royal-looking, active-looking man, likely to encourage them and lead them on their career, beheld a tall, thin, pale, and dejected sort of person, who evidently took no great interest in them. That the Pretender should not exhibit much vivacity was no wonder. He had been assured by Mar that his army had swelled to sixteen thousand men; that the whole North was in his favour; and that he had only to appear to carry everything before him. On inquiring into the force, it turned out to be so miserably small, that the only desire was to keep it out of sight. The spirits of the Pretender fell, and though not destitute of ability, as is manifest by his letters, he had by no means that strength of resolution demanded by such an enterprise.

An extraordinary scene of confusion was being enacted in the House of Commons at the moment when the king's reluctance was overcome. Sir R. Vivian took occasion to arraign Ministers violently for their intention of dissolving Parliament. Sir Francis Burdett contended that he was out of order. The Speaker ruled that he was in order. The Reformers differed from the Chair. Loud cries of "Sir Robert Peel! Sir Robert Peel!" were answered by counter-cries of "Sir Francis Burdett! Sir Francis Burdett!" and some wiser cries of "Chair! Chair!" The Speaker rose and stilled this unprecedented stormrebuked those who had disputed his authority, and again called on Sir Robert Peel, who proceeded thereupon, in undisguised anger, to address the House. But as the noise of the cannon, which announced the king's approach, boomed into the House, the Reform members loudly cheered, each discharge being greeted with overbearing and triumphant shouts. Suddenly Sir Robert's angry speech, and the loud cheers of the Reformers, were stilled by the three admonitory taps of the Usher of the Black Rod, who came to summon the members to attend his Majesty in the House of Peers. The Speaker at once obeyed, the Commons following. A similar scene of confusion in the Upper House was interrupted by the approach of the king. Lord Londonderry said, "I protest my lords, I will not submit to." Further than this his speech did not proceed, as the Lord Chancellor, who heard the king approaching, clutched the seals, left the woolsack, and darted out of the House. Lord Londonderry, not yet despairing, moved Lord Shaftesbury again to act as Speaker, and Lord Mansfield began a furious harangue in a loud and angry voice. In the meantime the Lord Chancellor met the king entering the House, and proceeding in procession to the robing-room. As the king advanced, the noise in the House became distinctly audible. "What's that, my Lord Chancellor?" said the king. "Only, may it please you, sire, the House of Lords amusing themselves while awaiting your Majesty's coming." The king, knowing what was meant, hastily robed, and as hastily entered the Housecutting short Lord Mansfield's speech, and putting an end to all chance of passing the[333] resolution under debate. The king ascended the throne, and commanded the attendance of the Commons. The bar of the House of Lords was thronged by the mass of members who now entered. The Speaker addressed the king, stating that the House of Commons approached the king with profound respect; and that the Commons had at no time more faithfully responded to the real feelings and interest of his Majesty's affectionate people; "while it has been," he added, "their earnest desire to support the dignity and honour of the Crown, upon which depend the greatness, the happiness, and the prosperity of this country." The Royal Assent being given to the bills that had passed, and, among others, to the Civil List Bill, the Chancellor presented to his Majesty the Speech he was to deliver, and the king, with the high shrill tone he always employed, but with more than wonted energy, read the first, which, indeed, was the really important paragraph of the Speech, and that which alone men cared to listen to or hear.

Everything in Parliament and in Ministerial movements now denoted the near approach of the renewal of war. On the 8th of March a message was received by both Houses of Parliament from his Majesty, stating that great military preparations were going on in Holland and France, and that his Majesty deemed it highly necessary to take measures for the security of his dominions. It added that negotiations were going on with France, the issue of which was uncertain, but it neither stated what these negotiations were, nor the measures called for. The message was taken for what it wasa note of war, and both in the Lords and Commons strong expressions of defiance were used to France. This seemed to have encouraged Ministers to a plainer expression of their intentions, for only two days later another message came down, calling for an increase of the navy. The next day, the 11th, the Commons formed themselves into a committee, and voted an addition of ten thousand seamen to the fifty thousand already voted. The militia were embodied. Sheridan was very zealous for war; Ministers, however, professed to desire the continuance of peace if possible.

When the new Parliament met, on the 18th of May, it was seen how completely Fox and North had destroyed their prestige by their late factious conduct, and how entirely Pitt had made himself master of the situation. His patience and cool policy under the tempestuous assaults of the Opposition had given the country a wonderful confidence in him. One party extolled him as the staunch defender of the prerogative, another as the champion of reform and enemy of aristocratic influence. Not less than one hundred and sixty of the supporters of the late Coalition Ministry had been rejected at the elections, and they were held up to ridicule as "Fox's Martyrs."

An effort was made to decide the long-agitated question of the emancipation of the Jews in the Session of 1849. On the 19th of February Lord John Russell moved that the House of Commons should go into committee for the purpose of considering the oaths taken by members of Parliament, excepting the Roman Catholic oath, settled in 1829. The oath of allegiance, he said, became a mockery when Cardinal York died, there being no descendants of James II. in existence; he therefore proposed to abolish it. The oath of abjuration, which was aimed against Papal aggression, had now no practical effect but to exclude the Jews from Parliament, which it did by the words "on the true faith of a Christian," which were never meant to exclude Jews, but only to give greater solemnity to the oath. He proposed, therefore, to omit these words when the oath was tendered to a Jew, and this he thought would complete the measure of religious liberty. The House resolved by a large majority214 to 111to go into committee on the subject. He then moved a resolution that it was expedient to alter the Parliamentary oaths so as "to make provision in respect of the said oaths for the relief of her Majesty's subjects professing the Jewish religion." A Bill founded on this resolution was brought in by Lord John Russell. The second reading was carried by a majority of 278 to 185. The third reading, after an important debate, was carried by a majority of 66. In the House of Lords the second reading was moved on the 26th of July, by the Earl of Carlisle, in an able speech, in which he observed that the Jews, though admitted to municipal privileges, were the only religious community debarred from political rights; but there was not, as far as he could see, a single valid objection upon which they could be refused. The Earl of Eglinton objected to their admission on religious grounds; so also did the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Exeter. The former argued that our national Christianity, to which we owed our greatness, would be grievously disparaged by the measure. The latter condemned it as a violation of the distinct contract between the Sovereign and the nationthat the Crown should maintain "to the utmost the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel." The Archbishop of Dublin (Whately), always the powerful champion of religious freedom,[603] contended on the other hand that it was inconsistent with the principles and repugnant to the genius of Christianity that civil disqualifications and penalties should be imposed on those who did not conform to it. Their lordships must either retrace their steps, and exclude from office all who did not belong to the Established Church, or they must, in consistency, consent to the abrogation of this last restriction. The Bill was rejected by a majority of 25the numbers being, for the second reading, 70; against it, 95.

It was at the close of 1719, when George I. returned from Hanover, that this Company proposed to Ministers to consolidate all the funds into one. It was strange that both Ministers and merchants could be deluded by the hope of enriching themselves by a share of the trade with the Spanish South American provinces, when Spain herself, in full enjoyment of them, was sunk into indigence and weakness, and presented the most determined resistance to the unfettered intercourse of any other nation with them. Yet Sir John Blunt, a leading director of the South Sea Company, persuaded the Ministers that by granting the Company power to deal with the public funds, and especially to buy up the unredeemable annuities which had been granted in the two preceding reigns, chiefly on terms of ninety-nine years, and which now amounted to about eight hundred thousand pounds a year, they could, in twenty-six years, pay off the entire National Debt. But, to enable them to do this, they must be empowered to reduce all the different public securities to one aggregate fund in their hands, to convert both redeemable and unredeemable debts into stock by such arrangements as they could make with the holders, and to have certain commercial privileges vested in them. Ministers accepted the proposals with great alacrity. Aislabie introduced the scheme to Parliament in the month of February, 1720, declaring that, if it was accepted by the House, the prosperity of the nation would be amazingly enhanced, and all its debts liquidated in a very few years. Craggs seconded the proposal in most sanguine terms, expressing his conviction that every member of the House must be ready to adopt so advantageous an offer. Ministers had already closed with the proposals of the Company, and they were themselves greatly disconcerted by the suggestion of Mr. Thomas Brodrick, the member for Stockbridge, who expressed his entire accordance with Ministers, but thought that the nation should endeavour to obtain the best terms for itself by opening the competition to every other company or association of men as well as that in question. Ministers were confounded by this proposal, and Aislabie endeavoured to get out of it by declaring that to do this would be like putting the nation up to auction, and that such things should be done with spirit. But Jekyll interposed, saying it was this spirit which had ruined the nation, and it was now requisite to consider seriously what was best for the public. A violent debate ensued, in which Walpole eloquently recommended open competition, and was sharply replied to by Lechmere. The question was carried in favour of competition; and then the Bank of England, which before had coolly declined to enter into the proposals, suddenly appeared in a new temper, and made liberal offers for the privilege of thus farming the public debts. But the South Sea Company was not to be outdone; it offered seven millions and a half, and the Bank gave way in despair.