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While these changes were being made in Italy, the British, with their new allies, the Russians, made an abortive attempt to drive the French from Holland. An army of seventeen thousand Russians and thirteen thousand British was assembled on the coast of Kent, and Sir Ralph Abercromby, who was destined to fall on a more memorable field, taking the command of a division of twelve thousand men, Admiral Mitchell put them across to the coast of Holland. Abercromby landed, and took the fort of the Helder, and our fleet, occupying the Texel, compelled the Dutch fleet to surrender and mount the Orange flag. So long as Abercromby commanded, he repelled all the attacks of the French general, Brune, with a force more than double in number; but on the 13th of September the Duke of York arrived with the remainder of the Anglo-Russian army and took the chief command. From that moment all went wrong. The old want of success followed the royal duke, who, whatever his courage, certainly possessed no abilities as a general. By the 17th of October, notwithstanding the bravery of his troops, he was glad to sign a convention by which he was allowed to withdraw his army, on condition of the liberation of eight thousand French and Dutch prisoners of war in England. In Switzerland, too, Massena defeated Korsakoff at Zurich, and Suvaroff, believing himself to have been betrayed by the Austrians, effected a brilliant retreat over the mountains.The Peace of Amiens, instead of turning the attention of Buonaparte to internal improvements, seemed to give it opportunity to range, in imagination, over the whole world with schemes of conquest and of the suppression of British dominion. There was no spot, however remote, that he did not examine on the map with reference to plans of conquest. Louisiana and Guiana, obtained from Spain and Portugal, were viewed as ports whence conquest should advance to Nova Scotia, Canada, the Brazils, Mexico, and Peru. Every station in the West India Isles was calculated as a point for this purpose, and for seizing some day all the British islands there. The Cape of Good Hope, Madagascar, the isles of France and Bourbon, the Dutch spice isles, and their settlements in Java, Sumatra, etc., were regarded as a chain of ports which would enable Buonaparte to become master of India. He sent out expeditions, under different officers, to examine every island and region where the British had a settlement, or where he might plant one, to oppose them. One of these expeditions sailed in a couple of corvettes, commanded by Captain Baudin, who was accompanied by a staff of thirty-three naturalists, geologists, savants, etc., the ostensible object being science and discoverythe real one the ascertaining of the exact possessions of Britain, and of the best means of becoming master of them. The head of the scientific staff was M. Pron. On their return their report was published, and it is singular that in this report St. Helena, destined to be the prison of Napoleon, is described in rapturous terms as an earthly paradise.The impression among the Roman Catholics after the Clare election was that Emancipation was virtually won. So strong was the feeling of exultation that immediately after, the Catholic rent reached the sum of 2,704 in one week; the next week it was 1,427; and though it soon after sank to 500 a week, it showed the strength of the popular enthusiasm. Liberator Clubs were established in every part of the country. They were branches of the Association; but each had its own peculiar organisation, its internal management, and its working committees. By means of this machinery the whole population of the country could be moved at any moment, and in[287] any direction. This is a very remarkable fact, taken in connection with the theory of the impulsive and fickle character of the Celtic race, their averseness from order and method, and the difficulty of getting them to pursue any course systematically. O'Connell, a man of Celtic blood, was one of the greatest methodisers of his day; and there is scarcely an example in history of any popular leader having wrought an oppressed race, consisting of six millions of people, always prone to division, into an organisation so compact that he could wield the fierce democracy at his will, and bid defiance to the most powerful state in the world to suppress the voluntary system of government he had established. This is, perhaps, the most singular and instructive fact in the whole career of the great agitator.

The receipt of such proposals in England produced the utmost consternation in the Cabinet. Townshend, in an "absolutely secret" answer to Stanhope, expressed the concern both of himself and the Prince of Wales at the prospect of a rupture with the Czar, who would seize the British ships and subjects in Russia, and prohibit the supply of naval stores from his kingdom, and that especially at a crisis when England was threatened with an invasion from Sweden and a rising of the Jacobites. He did not deny that there was a great risk of both these kingdoms and the German empire being exposed to imminent danger by the designs of the Czar on the whole coast of the Baltic, a danger which he might, had he dared, truly have attributed to George's own deeds by offending Sweden, instead of uniting with it to counterbalance the Czar's plan of aggrandisement. Fortunately, the Czar was induced, by the combined remonstrances of Austria, Denmark, and Sir John Norris, to abandon his projects for the moment, at least in Germany, and to withdraw his troops from Mecklenburg.But Wellington had no expectation whatever of maintaining his headquarters at that city. His own army was not sufficient to repel any fresh hordes of French who might be poured down upon him; and as for the Spaniards, they had no force that could be relied upon for a moment. The incurable pride of this people rendered them utterly incapable of learning from their allies, who, with a comparatively small force, were every day showing them what discipline and good command could do. They would not condescend to be taught, nor to serve under a foreigner, though that foreigner was everywhere victorious, and they were everywhere beaten. They continued, as they had been from the first, a ragged, disorderly rabble, always on the point of starvation, and always sure to be dispersed, if not destroyed, whenever they were attacked. Only in guerilla fight did they show any skill, or do any good.

In the midst of the excitement at Pesth, Count Lamberg was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial army in Hungary; and a decree appeared at the same time ordering a suspension of hostilities. The Count immediately started for Pesth without a military escort. In the meantime Kossuth had issued a counter-proclamation, in which the appointment of Lamberg was declared to be illegal and null, as it was not countersigned by the Hungarian Minister, according to the Constitution, and all persons obeying him were declared to be guilty of high treason. Unknown assassins, translating this language into action, stabbed the Count to death in the public street (September 28, 1848). The Government of Vienna resolved now to crush the Hungarian insurrection at any cost. A decree was issued by the emperor, who had lately returned to the capital, dissolving the Diet, declaring all its ordinances and acts illegal and void, constituting Jellacic Commander-in-Chief in Hungary and Transylvania, with unlimited powers, and appointing also a new Hungarian Ministry. Kossuth met this by a counter-proclamation, asserting the entire independence of Hungary, and denouncing the Ban and the new Prime Minister as traitors. The power given to Jellacic excited the indignation not only of all Hungarians, but of the citizens of Vienna. They rose the second time, and again forced the Emperor to fly, this time to Olmütz.[See larger version]These resolutions may be taken as expressing the feelings of the landed gentry as a body against the Melbourne Administration and the agitators. But the latter were not idle. O'Connell had then his "Precursor Association" in full operation. It received its name from the idea that it was to be the precursor of the repeal of the union. On the 22nd of January a public dinner was given in honour of the "Liberator" in a building then called the Circus, in Dublin, for which one thousand tickets were issued. Two days later a similar banquet was given to him in Drogheda, and there he made a significant allusion to the murder of Lord Norbury, insinuating that he had met his death at the hands of one who was bound to him by the nearest of natural ties, and had the strongest interest in his removal. Mr. O'Connell volunteered the assertion that the assassin of Lord Norbury had left on the soil where he had posted himself, "not the impress of a rustic brogue [a coarse rough shoe, usually made of half-dressed leather], but the impress of a well-made Dublin boot." There was no ground whatever for the malignant assertion, which was one of those errors of judgment and of taste that too often disfigured the great "Liberator's" leadership.

Gradually, however, a more refined tone was diffusing itself. The example of the head of the nation had not been without its effect. The higher classes abandoned Ranelagh and Vauxhall to the middle and lower classes, if they did not abandon their theatre, opera, and rout. But the theatres, too, became more decorous, and the spread of what had been called Methodism began to reach the higher classes through such men as Wilberforce, and such women as the Countess of Huntingdon and Hannah More. The most palpable drawback to this better state of sentiment and manners was the profligacy of the Prince of Wales and his associates. But towards the end of the reign a decided improvement in both manners and morals had taken place. The momentous events passing over the world, and in which Great Britain had the principal agency, seemed to have rooted out much frivolity, and given a soberer and higher tone to the public mind. The spread of a purer and more humane literature baptised the community with a new and better spirit; art added its refinements, and religion its restraints. The efforts to introduce education amongst the people had begun, and the lowest amusements of dog-fighting, cock-fighting, and bull-baiting were discouraged and put down. The new birth of science, art, literature, and manufactures was accompanied by a new birth of morals, taste, and sentiment, and this, happily, was a true birth; and the growth of what was then born has been proceeding ever since.


As for the poems of Ossian, he made a violent attack upon them in his "Tour to the Western Isles.""Oh! rescue the countrysave the people of whom you are the ornaments, but severed from whom you can no more live than the blossom that is severed from the root and tree on which it grows. Save the country, therefore, that you may continue to adorn it; save the Crown, which is threatened with irreparable injury; save the aristocracy, which is surrounded with danger; save the[212] altar, which is no longer safe when its kindred throne is shaken. You see that when the Church and the Throne would allow of no church solemnity in behalf of the queen, the heartfelt prayers of the people rose to Heaven for her protection. I pray Heaven for her; and here I pour forth my fervent supplications at the Throne of Mercy, that mercies may descend on the people of the country, higher than their rulers have deserved, and that your hearts may be turned to justice."

The success of the Duke of Wellington in carrying Emancipation was fatal to his Government. Almost to a man the Tories fell from him, and he found no compensation in the adhesion of the Whigs. The latter were glad that their opponents had been induced to settle the question, a result which they had long desired, but had not the power to accomplish. Their gratitude, however, for this great service to the public was not sufficiently warm to induce them to enlist under the banner of the Duke of Wellington, though they were ready to come to his assistance, to protect his Government for a time against the violent assaults of the party whose feelings and prejudices he had so grievously outraged. All parties seem, indeed, to have been exhausted by the violence of the struggle, and there was no desire to attempt anything important in the way of legislation during the remainder of the Session. There was nothing extraordinary in the Budget, and it was accepted without much objection. The subject of distress among the operatives gave rise to a debate which occupied two days, and a motion for inquiry into its causes was rejected. The trade which suffered most at the time was the silk trade. It was stated that, in 1824, there were 17,000 looms employed in Spitalfields; now there were only 9,000. At the former period wages averaged seventeen shillings a week, now the average was reduced to nine shillings. By the manufacturers this depression was ascribed to the relaxation of the prohibitory system, and the admission of foreign silks into the home market. On the other hand, Ministers, and the advocates of Free Trade, ascribed the depression to the increase of production, and the rivalry of the provincial towns of Congleton, Macclesfield, and Manchester. That the general trade had increased was shown by the vast increase in the quantity of raw silk imported, and in the number of spindles employed in the silk manufacture. The Government was firm in its hostility to the prohibitory system, and would not listen to any suggestion for relief, except a reduction in the duties on the importation of raw silk, by which the demand for the manufactured article might be augmented. While these discussions were going on in Parliament the silk-weavers were in a state of violent agitation, and their discontent broke forth in acts of lawlessness and destructive outrage. They were undoubtedly in a very miserable condition. It was ascertained that there were at Huddersfield 13,000 persons, occupied in a fancy trade, whose average earnings did not exceed twopence-halfpenny a day, out of which they had to meet the wear and tear of looms, etc. The artisans ascribed this reduction to the avarice of their employers, and they avenged themselves, as was usual in those times, by combination, strikes, and destruction of property. In Spitalfields bands of weavers entered the workshops and cut up the materials belonging to refractory masters. The webs in thirty or forty looms were sometimes thus destroyed in a single night. The same course was pursued at Macclesfield, Coventry, Nuneaton, and Bedworth, in which towns power-looms had been introduced which enabled one man to do the work of four. The reign of terror extended to Yorkshire, and in several places the masters were compelled to succumb, and to accept a list of prices imposed by the operatives. In this way the distress was greatly aggravated by their ignorance. What they demanded was a restrictive system, which it was impossible to restore. The result obtained was simply a reduction of the duties on raw silk.Meanwhile, the publication of Burke's "Reflections on the French Revolution" had caused an immense sensation. It went through edition after edition, and elicited a warm and wide response in hearts already convinced of, or beginning to see, the real tendency of the French outbreak. On[383] the other hand, it greatly exasperated the ultra-admirers of French republicanism, and produced a number of vindications of it by men who, for the most part, were exceedingly bitter against Burke, and denounced him as an apostate, a renegade, and a traitor to liberty. Amongst the most conspicuous of those who took the field against Burke in books were Sir James Mackintosh, Thomas Paine, Dr. Price, and Dr. Priestley, the two latter of whom also made free use of the pulpit for the propagation of their political ideas. Ladies also distinguished themselves in this contest, such as Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mrs. Macaulay, the historian.Napoleon had so far executed his plans with wonderful success. He had rescued Bavaria, reduced the enemy's army and prestige at once by the capture of Ulm and Vienna, and had driven the Austrians simultaneously from Upper Italy and the Tyrol. But still his situation, for any general but himself, was very critical. The defeated army of the Emperor Francis had united itself to that of the young Emperor of Russia, in Moravia; the two archdukes were mustering great bodies of troops on the confines of Hungary, ready to rush forward and swell the Austro-Russian army; and the King of Prussia was watching the movements of the two parties, ready to strike, if France met with a reverse. Napoleon saw that his only security lay in a bold and decisive blow. He therefore crossed the Danube on the 23rd of November, and began a brisk march into the heart of Moravia, to attack the main body of the Allies under their two Emperors. He was soon before Brünn, its little capital, and the Allies retreated, at his approach, as far as Olmütz. This movement was, however, made to form a junction with the twenty-four thousand men under Benningsen. This being effected, they amounted to about eighty thousand men, but of these, many of the Austrians were troops already discouraged by defeat, and many more were raw recruits. The French were in number about equal, but consisting of veteran soldiers flushed with victory. On the 2nd of December Napoleon brought on the battle of Austerlitz, and before the close of the day the forces of the Coalition were completely beaten, losing upon the field some 27,000 killed and wounded, 20,000 prisoners, and 133 pieces of cannon.



The elections for the new Parliament were carried on with much vigour, and there were upwards of a hundred contested ones. In some cases the contest was extremely violent, considering the death of the king was almost daily expected, and that the term of the Parliament must necessarily be a short one. In Westminster there were no less than six candidates. Lord Cochrane was about to depart for Chili to take the command of[137] the naval forces of that state, and therefore did not offer himself again. There were Sir Francis Burdett again, the Honourable Douglas Kinnaird, Sir Murray Maxwell, Sir Samuel Romilly, Major Cartwright, and Mr. Henry Hunt, commonly called Orator Hunt. Of these Sir Murray Maxwell was a Tory, and received severe treatment. Major Cartwright and Hunt obtained very little support, and soon withdrew from the contest. The members returned were Romilly and Burdett, a Whig and a Radical. For London were returned four new members, all Whigs, Wood, Wilson, Waithman, and Thorpe. Brougham patriotically stood for Westmoreland, to break, if possible, the influence of the Lowther family; but he was compelled to retire on the fourth day, and two of the Lowther family were returned. A hundred and ninety new members were returned, and the Opposition gained considerably by the election. An acute observer, well accustomed to party battles, remarked that Government did not appear much beloved, and that they had almost spent all their war popularity; and they were not destined to recover it in the coming year.A strong garrison was left in Malta, under General Vaubois, and on the 16th the fleet was again under sail. As they were off the coast of Crete, and the savants were gazing on the birthplace of Jupiter, and speculating on the existence of the remains of the celebrated labyrinth, Nelson, who had missed the French fleet, and had sailed in quest of it, was near enough to be perceived by some of the frigates on the look-out, and created a terrible panic. But Nelson, not having frigates to send out as scouts, did not observe them, and suspecting that Egypt was their destination he made all sail for Alexandria. Finding no traces of them there, in his impatience he returned towards Malta. If he had but waited a while they would have come to him; but on reaching Malta and finding that they had taken and manned it, he again put about and made for Alexandria. He had actually been seen by some of the French frigates as he was crossing their track on his return from Alexandria, and Napoleon was impatient to reach land before he could overtake them again. On the 1st of July the French fleet came in sight of Alexandria, and saw before them the city of the Ptolemies and Cleopatra with its pharos and obelisks. The landing was effected at Marabout, about a league and a half from Alexandria.

CHAPTER XXI. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).The approaching coronation of the Queen became, as the season advanced, the prevailing topic of conversation in all circles. The feeling excited by it was so strong, so deep, and so widespread, that a Radical journal pronounced the people to be "coronation mad." The enthusiasm was not confined to the United Kingdom. The contagion was carried to the Continent, and foreigners of various ranks, from all nations, flocked into the metropolis to behold the inauguration of the maiden monarch of the British Empire. There were, however, some dissentients, whose objections disturbed the current of public feeling. As soon as it was understood that, on the score of economy, the time-honoured custom of having the coronation banquet in Westminster Hall would not be observed, the Marquis of Londonderry and others zealously exerted themselves to avert the innovation, but their efforts were fruitless. The coronation took place on the 28th of June. The only novel feature of importance consisted in the substitution of a procession through the streets for a banquet in Westminster Hall. It was certainly an improvement, for it afforded the people an opportunity of enjoying the ceremony. Persons of all ages, ranks, and conditions, embodied visibly in one animated and exalted whole, exultant and joyful, came forth to greet the youthful Sovereign. All the houses in the line of march poured forth their occupants to the windows and balconies. The behaviour of the enormous multitude which lined the streets, and afterwards spread over the metropolis, was admirable. The utmost eagerness was shown to furnish all the accommodation for spectators that the space would allow, and there was scarcely a house or a vacant spot along the whole line, from Hyde Park Corner to the Abbey, that was not occupied with galleries or scaffolding. At dawn the population were astir, roused by a salvo of artillery from the Tower, and towards six o'clock chains of vehicles, of all sorts and sizes, stretched along the leading thoroughfares; while streams of pedestrians, in holiday attire, poured in continuously, so that the suburbs seemed to empty themselves of all their inhabitants at once. At ten o'clock the head of the procession moved from the palace. When the Queen stepped into the State coach a salute was fired from the guns ranged in the enclosure, the bands struck up the National Anthem, a new royal standard was hoisted on the Marble Arch, and the multitude broke forth in loud and hearty cheers. The foreign ambassadors extraordinary looked superb in their new carriages and splendid uniforms. Among them shone conspicuous the state coach of Marshal Soult, and the old hero was received with vast enthusiasm by the populace.Notwithstanding the real outbreak of the war, Congress yet professed to entertain hopes of ultimate reconciliation. When the reinforcements had arrived from England, and it was supposed that part of them were destined for New York, it issued orders that, so long as the forces remained quiet in their barracks, they should not be molested; but if they attempted to raise fortifications, or to cut off the town from the country, they should be stoutly opposed. When the news of the surprise of the forts on the Lake Champlain arrived, Congress endeavoured to excuse so direct a breach of the peace by feigning a belief in a design of an invasion of the colonies from Canada, of which there was notoriously no intention, and they gave orders that an exact inventory of the cannon and military stores there captured should be made, in order to their restoration, "when the former harmony between Great Britain and her colonies, so ardently wished for by the latter, should render it consistent with the overruling law of self-preservation." After the battle of Bunker's Hill, Congress still maintained this tone. On the 8th of July they signed a petition to the king, drawn up by John Dickinson, in the mildest terms, who, when to his own surprise the petition was adopted by the Congress, rose, and said that there was not a word in the whole petition that he did not approve of, except the word "Congress." This, however, was far from the feeling of many members; and Benjamin Harrison immediately rose and declared that there was but one word in the whole petition that he did approve of, and that was the word "Congress." The petition to the king expressed an earnest desire for a speedy and permanent reconciliation, declaring that, notwithstanding their sufferings, they retained in their hearts "too tender a regard for the kingdom from which they derived their origin to request such a reconciliation as might be inconsistent with her dignity or welfare." At the[220] same time, they resolved that this appeal, which they called "The Olive Branch," should, if unsuccessful, be their last. They could hardly have expected it to be successful.


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