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[81]These treaties were regarded by Lord Lake, Sir John Malcolmwho had to negotiate themand many men of eminence in Indian affairs, as based[515] on a policy which could not last; that there could be no quiet in Hindostan so long as the restless Mahrattas and Pindarrees were not broken up, nor till the Indus was made the boundary of our Indian empire towards the north-west. We shall see that a few more years justified their foresight. These treaties, however, having, for the present, restored peace to the north, Lord Lake, after giving a grand review of the army on the banks of the Hyphasis, to impress the Sikhs with a sense of our military superiority, commenced his march back to Delhi, and in February, 1807, quitted his command in India, few commanders having rendered more brilliant services in that part of our empire, or left behind them more sincere esteem and admiration.

[See larger version]The select committee of the Commons appointed at the instance of Lord Castlereagh, to inquire into the state of the national income and expenditure, now presented its report on the 3rd of June, and it was agreed to. The Chancellor of the Exchequer stated on its authority that, since 1815, taxation had been reduced eighteen million pounds per annum; that in 1816 the revenue of Great Britain and Ireland had been consolidated, and that, at that time, the interest of the Debt of Ireland, including the Sinking Fund provided for its reduction, exceeded the entire revenue of that part of the United Kingdom by one million nine hundred thousand pounds. He then announced that supplies for the present year would be required to the amount of twenty million five hundred thousand pounds; that the existing revenue would only furnish seven million pounds towards this; and that it would be necessary to have recourse to the Sinking Fund to make up the deficiency of thirteen million five hundred thousand pounds. This Sinking Fund was fifteen million five hundred thousand pounds, so that it would leave only two million pounds; but as it was necessary to have a tolerable surplus in hand to meet exigencies, it was proposed to raise this reserve fund to five million pounds by fresh taxes to the amount of three million pounds.Encouraged by this unwonted success (for the words of the speaker, reminding them of the coming elections, had sunk deep into many hearts). Dunning immediately moved a second proposition, namely, that it was competent to that House to examine into and correct any abuses of the Civil List, as well as of any other branch of the public revenue. The resolution was carried without a division. Immediately on the heels of this, Thomas Pitt moved that it was the duty of the House to redress without delay the grievances enumerated in the petitions of the people. Lord North implored that they would not proceed any further that night; but this resolution was also put and carried, likewise without division. Immediately, though it was past one o'clock in the morning, Fox moved that all these motions should be reported. Lord North, in the utmost consternation, declared this procedure was "violent, arbitrary, and unusual;" but Fox pressed his motion, and it was carried, like the rest, without a division, and the Report was brought up.


[See larger version]On the 15th of April Buonaparte quitted Paris, for the last time as a permanent abode; on the 16th he was at Mainz, and on the 25th at Erfurt. Before quitting Paris he had appointed Maria Louisa regent in his absence. This he deemed a stroke of policy likely to conciliate the Emperor of Austria. But the Empress's power was merely nominal. She could appear at the Council board, but it was only as the instrument of the Emperor; he carried all active power along with him, and ruled France from his camp. He had still upwards of fifty thousand troops in the garrisons of Prussia, commanded by Eugene, the Viceroy of Italy; and he advanced at the head of three hundred thousand men. Eugene Beauharnais had been compelled necessarily to evacuate Dantzic, Berlin, and Dresden as the Russians and Prussians advanced, and to retreat upon the Elbe. In the month of May Bernadotte, according to concert, crossed over to Stralsund with thirty-five thousand men, and awaited the reinforcements of Russians and Germans which were to raise his division to eighty thousand men, with which he was to co-operate with the Allies, and protect Hamburg. The Allies, under Tetterborn, Czernicheff, and Winzengerode, spread along both sides of the Elbe, the Germans rising enthusiastically wherever they came. Hamburg, Lübeck, and other towns threw open their gates to them. The French general, Morand, endeavouring to quell the rising of the people of Lüneburg, was surprised by the Russians, and his detachment of four thousand men was cut to pieces, or taken prisoners. Eugene marched from Magdeburg to surprise Berlin, but was met at M?ckern, defeated, and driven back to Magdeburg. Such was the success of the Allies, and the exulting support of the people, that even Denmark and Saxony began to contemplate going over to the Allies. Blucher entered Dresden on the 27th of March, driving Davoust before him, who blew up an arch of the fine bridge to cover his retreat. The Emperor of Russia and King of Prussia entered the city soon afterwards, and were received by the inhabitants with acclamations. On the 28th of April died the old Russian general, Kutusoff, at Bautzen, and was succeeded by General Wittgenstein.

[See larger version]During the whole of these scenes the attitude of Government was not merely indifferent, but absolutely repulsive. At no time had so cold and narrow-spirited a Ministry existed. The names of Castlereagh, Liverpool, Sidmouth, and Lord Eldon as Lord Chancellor, recall the memory of a callous Cabinet. They were still dreaming of additional taxation when, on the 17th of March, they were thunderstruck by seeing the property-tax repealed by a majority of forty. The Prince Regent had become utterly odious by his reckless extravagance and sensual life. The abolition of the property-tax was immediately followed by other resistance. On the 20th of March a motion of disapprobation of the advance of the salary of the Secretary to the Admiralty, at such a time, from three to four thousand pounds a-year was made, but lost. On this occasion Henry Brougham pronounced a most terrible philippic against the Prince Regent, describing him as devoted, in the secret recesses of his palace, to the most vicious pleasures, and callous to the distresses and sufferings of others! Mr. Wellesley Pole described it as "language such as he had never heard in that House before."

Nothing could exceed the consternation and indignation of the Spanish people when they found their great strongholds guarding the entrances from France into the country thus in the hands of the French. Had there been a king of any ability in Spain, an appeal to the nation would, on this outrage, have roused it to a man, and the plans of Buonaparte might have been defeated. But Godoy, knowing himself to be the object of national detestation, and dreading nothing so much as a rising of the people, by whom he would most certainly be sacrificed, advised the royal family to follow the example of the Court of Portugal, and escape to their trans-Atlantic dominions; which advice could only have been given by a miscreant, and adopted by an idiot. To surrender a kingdom and a people like those of Spain, without a blow, was the extreme of cowardice. But, as if to urge the feeble king to this issue, at this moment came a letter from Buonaparte, upbraiding him with having received his acceptance of the match between their houses coldly. Charles, terrified in the extreme, wrote to declare that nothing lay so near his heart, and at the same time made preparations to be gone. The intention was kept as secret as possible, but the public soon became aware of the Court's proposed removal from Madrid to Cadiz, in order then to be able to embark for America. The Prince of Asturias and his brother protested against the project; the Council of Castile remonstrated; the populace were in a most tumultuous state, regarding the plan as originating with Godoy, and surrounded the palace with cries and gestures of dissatisfaction. The king was in a continual state of terror and irresolution, but Godoy pressed on matters for the flight.

In our time this defeat would, as a matter of course, have turned out the Ministry, but in that day it had no such effect. They continued to hold office, and to command undiminished majorities on other questions. Still more singular was its effect, for it induced them to offer office to their triumphant opponent Walpole, who not only accepted a subordinate post amongst themthe Paymaster of the Forcesbut consented to support the very clauses regarding the Scottish peers which he had so firmly denounced, should they be inclined to bring forward the Bill a third time.The following statement of the numbers receiving rations, and the total expenditure under the Act in each of the four provinces, compared with the amount of population, and the annual value assessed for poor-rate, may serve to illustrate the[546] comparative means and destitution of each province:

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On the 2nd of May, two days only before Buonaparte entered his little capital of Elba, Louis made his public entry into Paris amid quite a gay and joyous-seeming crowd; for the Parisians are always ready for a parade and a sensation; and none are said to have worn gloomy looks on the occasion except the Imperial Guard, now, as they deemed themselves, degraded into the Royal Guardfrom the service of the most brilliant of conquerors to that of the most pacific and unsoldierlike of monarchs, who was too unwieldy even to mount a horse. For a time all appeared agreeable enough; but there were too many hostile interests at work for it to remain long so. In the new constitution, by which the Senate had acknowledged Louis, they had declared him recalled on the condition that he accepted the constitution framed for him; and at the same time they declared the Senate hereditary, and possessed of the rank, honours, and emoluments which Buonaparte had conferred on the members. Louis refused to acknowledge the right of the Senate to dictate a constitution to him. He assumed the throne as by his own proper hereditary descent; and he then gave of his free will a free constitution. This was the first cause of difference between the king and the people. The Royalists condemned the new constitution as making too much concession, and the Republicans resented his giving a charter of freedom, because it made them the slaves of his will. The Royalists soon began to monopolise offices and honours, and to clamour for the recovery of their estates, now in the hands of the people, and these were naturally jealous of their prevailing on the king and his family to favour such reclamations. The clergy, who, like the Noblesse, had been stripped of their property, and had now to subsist on annuities of five hundred livres, or about twenty-six pounds sixteen shillings and eightpence a-year, looked with resentment on those who were in possession of the spoil; and the well-known disposition of the king and his family to restore the status and the substance of the Catholic Church, made those who had this property, and thosethe greater part of the nationwho had no religion whatever, readily believe that ere long they would attempt to recall what the Revolution had distributed. These suspicions were greatly augmented by the folly and bigotry of the clergy. They refused to bury with the rites of the Church a Mademoiselle Raucour, simply because she was an actress. Great tumults arose on the occasion, and the Government was compelled to interfere and ensure the burial in due form. The more regular observance of the Sabbath was treated as bringing back the ancient superstitions; and the taking up of the remains of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette and conveying them to the royal place of sepulture in the Abbey of St. Denis was regarded as a direct censure of the Revolution. It was quite natural that Louis XVIII. should do this, and equally so that he should show some favour to the surviving chiefs of La Vende; but these things had the worst effect on the public mind, as tending to inspire fears of vengeance for the past, or of restoration of all that the past had thrown down. In these circumstances, the Royalists were discontented, because they thought Louis did too little for them, and the rest of the community because he did too much. The Jacobins, who had been suppressed, but not exterminated, by Buonaparte, now again raised their heads, under so mild and easy a monarch, with all their old audacity. They soon, however, despaired of reviving the Republic, and turned to the son of their old partisan, Philip galit, the Duke of Orleans, and solicited him to become their leader, promising to make him king. But the present dukeafterwards King Louis Philippewas too honourable a man for their purpose; he placed the invitation given him in the hands of Louis, and the Jacobins, then enraged, were determined to bring back Napoleon rather than tolerate the much easier yoke of the Bourbons. Carnot and Fouch soon offered themselves as their instruments. Carnot, who had been one of the foremost men of the Reign of Terror, had refused to acknowledge the rule of Buonaparte, who suppressed the Revolution, for a long time, but, so late as the present year, he had given in his adhesion, and was appointed engineer for carrying on the fortifications of Antwerp. He had now the hardihood to address a memorial to Louis XVIII., which, under the form of an apology for the Jacobins during the Revolution, was in truth a direct attack on the Royalists, describing them as a contemptible and small body, who had allowed Louis XVI. to be destroyed by[85] their cowardice, and now had brought back the king by the hands of Englishmen and Cossacks to endeavour to undo all that had been done for the people. He represented kings as naturally prone to despotism, and priests and nobles as inciting them to slaughter and rapine. The pretence was to lead the monarch to rely only on the people; the object was to exasperate the people against kings, nobles, and the Church.There was little for our fleets in various quarters to do but to watch the coasts of Europe where France had dominions for any fugitive French vessel, for the ships of France rarely dared to show themselves out of port. In March, however, Captain William Hoste fell in with five French frigates, with six smaller vessels, carrying five hundred troops up the Adriatic, near the coast of Dalmatia, and with only four frigates he encountered and beat them. Captain Schomberg fell in with three French frigates and a sloop off Madagascar, seized one of them, and followed the[20] rest to the seaport of Tamatave, in the island of Madagascar, of which they had managed to recover possession. Schomberg boldly entered the port, captured all the vessels there, and again expelled the French from Tamatave. On the American coast our ships were compelled to watch for the protection of our merchantmen and our interests, in consequence of the French mania which was prevailing amongst the North Americans, and which was very soon to lead to open conflict with us.The Opposition was in ecstasies: it was the first defeat of Ministers on a financial question since the days of Walpole, and in our time the Chancellor would have resigned. The blow seemed to rouse Chatham. Three days after this event, on the 2nd of March, he arrived in town, though swathed in flannel, and scarcely able to move hand or foot. He declared that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and himself could not hold office together. A few days, and Townshend would have been dismissed from office, and the country might have escaped one of its greatest shocks; but, unfortunately, the malady of Chatham returned with redoubled violence, and in a new and more terrible form. He was obliged to refuse seeing any one on State affairs.

Previous to this, however, Chatham had thought over several decisive measures, and sketched out a scheme of foreign and domestic policy, which marked how far above the intellectual grasp of most of his contemporaries was that of his mind. He determined, if possible, to form an alliance of European states against the Family Compact of the Bourbons in France and Spain; to reform the Government of Ireland, which greatly needed it, and that of India.



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