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[See larger version]The next who took his trial was Horne Tooke. The evidence was much the same, but the man was different. Tooke was one of the keenest intellects of the time, full of wit and causticity, by which he had worsted even Junius. He summoned as witnesses the Prime Minister himself, the Duke of Richmond, Master-General of the Ordnance, and others of the Cabinet, who had all in their time been ardent Reformers, and cross-questioned them in a style which, if he were guilty, showed that they had once been as much so. Tooke's trial was very damaging to the Government, and he was also acquitted after a trial of six days, during the whole of which the jury had not been allowed to separate, that they might not receive any popular impressions from withouta course which was not calculated to put them in a particularly good humour with the prosecutors.It was resolved to bring the matter before Parliament. Wilberforce gave notice of motion on the subject, but falling ill at Bath, Clarkson applied to Pitt and Mr. Grenville, and was strongly supported by Granville Sharp and the London committee. Pitt had not considered the subject till it was forced on his attention by the evidence before the Privy Council; but he had come to the conclusion that the trade was not only inhuman, but really injurious to the interests of the nation. He consented to introduce the question, and, on the 9th of May, gave notice that early in the next Session Parliament would take into consideration the allegations against the slave trade, made in upwards of a hundred petitions presented to it. He recommended this short delay in order that the inquiries before the Privy Council might be fully matured. But both Fox and Burkethe latter of whom had been thinking for eight years of taking up the questiondeclared that the delay would be as cruel as it was useless; that it did not become the House to wait to receive instructions from the Privy Council, as if it were dependent upon it, but that it ought to originate such inquiries itself. Sir William Dolben supported this view of immediate action, contending that at least a Bill should be brought in to restrain the cruelties of the sea-passage, which would otherwise sacrifice ten thousand lives, as hundreds of thousands had been sacrificed before. This was acceded to. Pitt's resolution was carried by a considerable majority; and Sir William Dolben, on the 21st of May, moved to bring in a Bill to regulate the transport of slaves. Sir William stated that there was no law to restrain the avarice and cruelty of the dealers, and that the mortality from the crowding of the slaves on board was frightful.

Louis was succeeded for the time by the Duke of Orleans as Regent, who had other views, and was surrounded by other influences than the old king. He had secured the Regency in opposition to Madame Maintenon and the royal bastards. He changed all the ministers, and was not inclined to risk his government by making enemies of the English abroad, having sufficient of these at home. He had been for some time cultivating the good offices of the present English Government, which had offered to assist him with troops and money, if necessary, to secure the Regency. He had seen a good deal of the new Secretary of State, Stanhope, in Spain, and still maintained a correspondence with him. Lord Stair, the British Ambassador, therefore, was placed in a more influential position with the Regent, and the Pretender and his ministers were but coldly looked on.

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The fall of Robespierre produced a marked change in the policy of the Convention towards the Royalists of this district, and they were promised, on laying down their arms, that they[445] should enjoy their country and their religion in peace. On this assurance, Charette signed a treaty of pacification with the agents of the Government at Nantes, in February, 1795. But scarcely was the peace signed, when Charette received a letter from Monsieurbrother of the late king, and now appointed by the Royalist party Regent to the Dauphin, now styled by them Louis XVII.assuring him of his confidence, declaring him the second founder of the monarchy, and appointing him his Lieutenant-General. Charette wrote back to inform him that he had been compelled to sign a peace, but that his submission was only apparent, and when the Royalist affairs were somewhat reinstated, he should be ready to take up arms and die in the service of his prince. The young General Hoche, who was sent to reduce the insurgents of Brittany, whilst Canclaux reduced those of La Vende, did not for a moment believe in the sincerity of the peace. He was aware that Puisaye, the chief of the insurgents in Brittany, was gone to England, to endeavour to induce Pitt to do what all the efforts and importunities of the Bourbon princes and Emigrant nobles had failed to doto send an expedition to the coast of Brittany, with another to the coast of La Vende, in which the British fleet should support the bodies of Emigrants who had, in England and the Channel Islands, formed themselves into regiments for the purpose. Aware of this, he still did all he could to reconcile the peasantry to the peace, and very soon they would have been pacified by this judicious treatment, and been averse from rising again, with a prospect of re-experiencing their former sufferings; but the Bourbon princes and the tribes of Emigrants now driven from the Rhine did not allow them that chance.

The fire raged with unabated fury from the 14th till the 19thfive days. Then the city lay a heap of burning ashes. All the wealth which was left behind was burnt or melted down. But there could be no stay at Moscow, for all their provisions had to be brought from distant districts by water carriage in summer, and on sledges in winter. But, as the Russian population had fled, the Russians were only too glad to starve out the French. Not a single article of food came near the place. Alexander returned no answer to Buonaparte's letter. The pledge which he might have made some concessions to redeem had been destroyed by his own orders, and Buonaparte had now nothing to offer worthy of his attention. He and his army were awaiting the attack of the wintry elements to join them in the extermination of the invaders. Buonaparte dispatched General Lauriston to Alexander with fresh offers; but Alexander refused to see him, and turned him over to Kutusoff, who flattered him with hopes and professions of desire for peace, in order to put off the time, for every day nearer to winter was a[48] day gained of incalculable importance. But he said that he must send Napoleon's letter to St. Petersburg, to the Czar, and await his reply. This was on the 6th of October, and the reply could not be received before the 26th; there was nothing for it but to wait, and Lauriston waiteda fatal delay for the French!The prisoners were at once sent to Richmond[532] Bridewell, on the South Circular Road, where the Governor did all in his power to make them comfortable. Good apartments were assigned to them. They dined together every day, and they were permitted to receive, without restriction, the visits of their friends and admirers. The Government was the less disposed to interfere with these indulgences, as their object was not so much punishment as prevention, and besides, the traversers had appealed against the sentence. A majority of the twelve English judges affirmed the judgment of the Court of Queen's Bench, while condemning the counts on which the Irish court relied. An appeal was then made to the House of Lords. The decision was left to the five law lordsLyndhurst, Brougham, Cottenham, Denman, and Campbell. The first two were for a confirmation of the judgment, the last three for reversal. Lord Denman, in pronouncing judgment, said, referring to the tampering with the panel, "If such practices as had taken place in the present instance in Ireland should continue, the trial by jury would become a mockery, a delusion, and a snare," a sentence which was hackneyed by repetition for years afterwards. The news of the reversal reached Dublin on the afternoon of the 5th of September. Great crowds had assembled on the pier at Kingstown, and tremendous cheers broke forth from the multitude when the Holyhead packet approached, and they saw held up a white flag, with the inscription, "Judgment reversed by the House of Lords. O'Connell is free!" The news was everywhere received by the Roman Catholics with wild excitement.Great was the joy inspired by these successes. The new Governor-General, Lord Ellenborough, issued a proclamation, in which he stated that he felt assured every subject of the British Government would peruse with the deepest interest and satisfaction the report of the entire defeat of the Afghan troops, under the command of Mahomed Akbar Khan, by the garrison of Jelalabad. These feelings of joy and satisfaction were shared by the Home Government. On the 20th of February, 1843, the Duke of Wellington, in the House of Lords, moved a vote of thanks to Sir George Pollock, Sir William Nott, Sir John M'Caskill, Major-General England, and the other officers of the army, both European and native, for the intrepidity, skill, and perseverance displayed by them in the military operations in Afghanistan, and for their indefatigable zeal and exertions throughout the late campaign. Lord Auckland seconded the motion, which was carried without opposition. Sir Robert Peel brought forward a similar motion in the House of Commons on the same day, following the example of the Duke in giving a succinct narrative of the events of the war, and warmly eulogising, amidst the cheers of the House, the officers who had most distinguished themselves. The resolution passed without opposition, Mr. Hume having withdrawn an amendment which he had proposed.

MR. HUSKISSON.Here, had the Government been wise, they would have stopped; but they were not contented without experiencing a third defeat. The next morning, the 20th of December, they returned to the charge with an indictment against Mr. Hone for publishing a parody on the Athanasian Creed, called "The Sinecurist's Creed." The old Chief Justice was again on the bench, apparently as resolved as ever, and this time the defendant, on entering the court, appeared pale and exhausted, as he well might, for he had put forth exertions and powers of mind which had astonished the whole country and excited the deepest interest. The Attorney-General humanely offered to postpone the trial, but the defendant preferred to go on. He only begged for a few minutes' delay to enable him to put down a few notes on the Attorney-General's address after that was delivered; but the Chief Justice would not allow him this trifling favour, but said, if the defendant would make a formal request for the purpose, he would put off the trial for a day. This would have injured the cause of the defendant, by making it appear that he was in some degree worsted, and, fatigued as he was, he replied, promptly, "No! I make no such request." William Hone, on this third trial, once more seemed to forget his past fatigues, and rose with a strength that completely cowed the old and fiery judge. He did not desist till he had converted his dictatorial manner into a suppliant one. After quoting many eminent Churchmen as dissentients from the Athanasian Creed, and amongst them Warburton and Tillotson, he added, "Even his lordship's father, the Bishop of Carlisle, he believed, took a similar view of this creed." This was coming too near; and the judge said, "Whatever that opinion was, he has gone, many years ago, where he has had to account for his belief and his opinions. For common delicacy, forbear." "O, my lord," replied the satisfied defendant, "I shall certainly forbear." The judge had profited by the lesson to-day: he gave a much more temperate charge to the jury, and they required only twenty minutes to return the third and final victory of Not Guilty. Never had this arbitrary Government suffered so withering a defeat. The sensation throughout the country was immense. The very next day Lord Ellenborough sent in his announcement of retiring from[131] the bench, and in a very short time he retired from this world altogether (December 13, 1818), it being a settled conviction of the public mind that the mortification of such a putting-down, by a man whom he rose from his sick-bed to extinguish, tended materially to hasten that departure.

While the Scottish Bill was passing through committee in the Commons the English Bill was being hotly contested in the Lords, and absorbed so much attention that only a few members comparatively voted in the divisions upon the former measure; seldom more than one hundred, often less. There had previously been no property qualification in Scotland for members of Parliament representing towns. A provision had been inserted in the Bill requiring heritable property to the extent of 600 a year for a county and 300 a year for a borough; but this was expunged on the third reading, on the ground that if the property qualification were rigidly enforced it would exclude some of the brightest ornaments of the House: for example, in past times, it would have excluded Pitt, Sheridan, Burke, and Tierney. The Scottish Bill was passed by the Lords on the 13th of July. It increased the number of members for that country from forty-five to fifty-three, giving two each to Edinburgh and Glasgow, and one each to Paisley, Aberdeen, Perth, and Dundee.[325]

On the 13th of September Charles James Fox died at Chiswick House, the residence of the Duke of Devonshire. He had been for a considerable time suffering from dropsy, and had got as far as Chiswick, in the hope of gathering strength enough to reach St. Anne's Hill, near Chertsey, his own house. But his days were numbered. He was only fifty-eight years of age. During his illness his colleagues and so-called friends, with that strange coldness and selfishness which always distinguished the Whigs, with very few exceptions, never went near him. Those honourable exceptions were the Duke of Devonshire, who had offered him his house, the Prince of Wales, his nephew, Lord Holland, his niece, Miss Fox, and his old friend, General Fitzpatrick. Still, Fox was not deserted by humbler and less known friends. Lords Grenville and Howick, his colleagues, rarely went near him, and all the Ministry were too busy anticipating and preparing for the changes which his decease must make. When this event took place there was a great shifting about, but only one new member of the Cabinet was admitted, Lord Holland, and only one resigned, the Earl Fitzwilliam. Lord Howick took Fox's department, that of Foreign Affairs; Lord Holland became Privy Seal; Grenville, First Lord of the Admiralty; and Tierney, President of the Board of Control. Sidmouth, afterwards so prominent in Tory Cabinets, still sat in this medley one as President of the Council, and Lord Minto[531] was gratified by the Governor-Generalship of India. As Parliament was not sitting at the time of Fox's death, Ministers ordered his interment in Westminster Abbey, and he was carried thither on the 10th of October, the twenty-sixth anniversary of his election for Westminster, and laid almost close to the monument of Chatham, and within a few inches of the grave of his old rival, Pitt.Parliament was suddenly dissolved by the All the Talents Ministry, in the hope of acquiring a better majority, but this hope was not brilliantly realised. The new Parliament assembled on the 19th of December, and, as all now saw that war must go on, both Houses prepared themselves for large votes of supply. According to Windham's statement, we had 125,631 regulars in the army, of whom 79,158 were employed in defending our West India Islands, 25,000 in India, and upwards of 21,000 foreigners in our pay. Besides this, for home defence we had 94,000 militia and fencibles, and 200,000 volunteers; so that altogether we had 419,000 men under arms. It was, therefore, contended, and with reason, that as we had so deeply engaged ourselves in fighting for our Allies on the Continent, with such a force we might have sent 20,000, with good effect, to unite with Alexander of Russia against Buonaparte, and not have let him be repulsed for want of both men and money. This, indeed, was the disgrace of All the Talents, that they put the country to the expense of an enormous war establishment, and did no real service with it. The supplies, however, were freely voted. There were granted, for the navy, 17,400,337; for the regular army, 11,305,387; for militia, fencibles, volunteers, etc., 4,203,327; ordnance, 3,321,216. The number of sailors, including 32,000 marines, was fixed at 130,000.

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QUEEN VICTORIA IN THE CORONATION ROBES, 1838.The earliest martial event of the year 1760 was the landing of Thurot, the French admiral, at Carrickfergus, on the 28th of February. He had been beating about between Scandinavia and Ireland till he had only three ships left, and but six hundred soldiers. But Carrickfergus being negligently garrisoned, Thurot made his way into the town and plundered it, but was soon obliged to abandon it. He was overtaken by Captain Elliot and three frigates before he had got out to sea, his ships were taken, he himself was killed, and his men were carried prisoners to Ramsey, in the Isle of Man.

Parliament met on the 17th of January, 1727. The Royal Speech breathed a decidedly warlike tone. The king informed Parliament that he had received information, on which he could rely, that a secret article of the treaty between Spain and the Emperor bound those parties to place the Pretender on the throne of Great Britain, and that the surrender of Gibraltar and Port Mahon was the price to be paid for this service. He asked whether the public would not regard with indignation the imposition of a Popish Pretender on the nation at such a cost. He added that the King of Spain had ordered his Ambassador to quit the kingdom, leaving behind him a formal demand for the surrender of the above-named places. There was a great ferment in the House. Palm, the Emperor's envoy, wrote to his Imperial master, advising him to disavow any such secret agreement in the treaty at Vienna, and thus allay the excitement in England. But Charles, who owed his throne to the victories of Marlborough, and whose claims on Spain had been prosecuted by Britain at serious cost of men and money, performed this disavowal with as much arrogance as stupidity. He was not contented to say that the King of England was mistaken, but he declared that his speech was false. This gross insult to the head of the nation roused the indignation of all parties, even of the Opposition; and Wyndham, Pulteney, and Shippen denounced it as loudly as any, and supported a motion of Walpole, declaring it an insolent affront. Palm was ordered to quit the kingdom immediately.Lord Advocate Jeffrey, who had introduced the Scottish Reform Bill as early as the 19th of January, moved the second reading on the 21st of May. He had, in the previous Session, proceeded on the principle that the old system was to be regarded as utterly incurable, and not to be patched or mended, but abandoned and destroyed. They could not decimate its abuses, or cut off its vicious excesses; its essence was abuse, and there was nothing that was not vicious about it. He gloried in the avowal that no shred, or jot, or tittle of the old abomination should remain. Indeed, it is a matter of astonishment that the Scottish people could have so long borne a state of things so humiliating to a nation which originally formed a kingdom by itself, which still retained its own laws, religion, interests, feelings, and language; which was full of generally diffused wealth; in which education had for ages been extended throughout the very lowest ranks; and whose people were peaceable, steady, and provident, possessing all the qualities requisite for a safe exercise of the franchise. The Scots had literally no share whatever in the representation of the Imperial Parliament. The qualification for a voter in Parliament was at least thirty or forty times higher than in any other part of the empire, and above a hundred times beyond the general qualification in England. Consequently a vote became a dear article in the Scottish market. Some persons bought votes as a good investment. The average price was about 500, but it frequently rose to double that sum. Shortly before the passing of the Reform Bill six Scottish votes were exposed for sale in one day, and brought 6,000. The electors were, therefore, cut off from the rest of the public, and set aside to exercise a high and invidious privilege, which they regarded not as a trust for the people, but as a privilege to[354] be prized for its pecuniary value or for its influence in procuring Government situations.



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