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But the event which, far more than the battle of Baylen, showed Buonaparte and the world the sort of war he had provoked, was the siege of Saragossa. This ancient city, the capital of Aragon, stands on the right bank of the Ebro, with a suburb on the left bank connected with it by a bridge. Another river, a small one, called the Cozo, flowed into the Ebro, close under the city walls. The immediate neighbourhood of Saragossa is flat, and, on one side of the river, marshy; its walls were of brick, about ten feet high, old and ruinous, but in places they were only of mud. It might seem that no strong defence of such a place could be made against an army of thirteen thousand men—veterans who had served in Germany and Poland, and who were furnished with battering trains and every means of assault. But the streets of the city were narrow and crooked, the houses strong and lofty, the rooms being almost all vaulted, and therefore almost impervious to shell. The inhabitants were sixty thousand. Saragossa raised the flag of resistance the moment that Murat issued his proclamation on the 20th of May, informing the Spanish people of the abdication of Charles and Ferdinand, and calling on the Spaniards to submit to the new government. On the 16th of June General Lefebvre commenced the attack by driving in the outposts of Palafox, the Spanish General, and establishing strong guards before the gates, but the Spaniards fought him street by street. As fast as they knocked down the walls and scattered the sandbags, they were repaired again by the Spaniards. At this stage of the siege, Augustina, "the Maid of Saragossa," a handsome woman of the lower class, of about twenty-two years of age, arrived on one of the batteries with refreshments, and found every man who had defended it lying slain. The fire was so tremendous that the citizens hesitated to re-man the guns. Augustina sprang forward over the bodies of the dead and dying, snatched a match from the hand of a dead artilleryman, and fired off a six-and-twenty-pounder. She then jumped upon the gun, and vowed never to quit it alive during the siege. Such an example added new courage to the defenders; and the siege proceeded with incessant fury. At this juncture Buonaparte withdrew a part of the troops, ordering Lefebvre to join Bessières with them, and Verdier was left to continue the siege with about ten thousand men. The Saragossans, encouraged by this, and assisted by some regular troops, not only defended the town more vigorously than ever, but sent out detachments to cut off Verdier's supplies. After several determined assaults he raised the siege on the 13th of August.TRIAL OF LOUIS XVI. (See p. 409.)Parliament was opened by commission on the 5th of February, 1829. The state of Ireland was the chief topic of the Royal Speech. The existence of the Catholic Association was referred to as inimical to the public peace; and its suppression was recommended, as a necessary preliminary to the consideration of the disabilities affecting the Roman Catholics. This part of the Speech excited much interest, as preluding the great contest of the Session. On the 4th Mr. Peel had written to the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford, resigning his seat for the University, which he had won from Canning on the strength of his anti-Catholic principles. He need not have resigned, but he acted the more honourable part. Having offered himself for re-election, he was opposed by Sir Robert Inglis, who, after a contest which lasted three days, during which 1,364 votes were polled, was elected by a majority of 146. As one of the most numerous convocations ever held in Oxford had, in the previous year, by a majority of three to one, voted against concession to the Roman Catholics, it was a matter of surprise that the Home Secretary was not defeated by a larger majority. He secured a seat with some difficulty at Westbury. On the 10th, Mr. Peel, while still member for Oxford, introduced the first of the three measures intended for the pacification of Ireland—a Bill for the suppression of the Catholic Association. As it was known to be an essential condition of granting Emancipation, there was little opposition to it either in Parliament or in Ireland. By it the Lord-Lieutenant was empowered to disperse the meetings of any association he thought dangerous to the public peace. The Bill quickly passed both Houses, and in a few days received the Royal Assent. Anticipating the action of the executive, the Association, on the 12th of February, dissolved itself, with the unanimous concurrence of the bishops, Mr. Sheil stating at the meeting that he was authorised to throw twenty-two mitres into the scale.

In the report drawn up by Mr. Wyse, the chairman of the select Committee of the House of Commons appointed to inquire into the Foundation Schools in Ireland, in 1837, an interesting history is given of the origin, progress, and working of those obnoxious schools, and of other educational societies which followed. The Incorporated Society for Promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland was established by Royal Charter in 1733, the avowed object being the education of the poor in the principles of the Established Church. It is sufficient to remark that the annual grants which were made to the schools in connection with it (well known as the Charter Schools) were, in consequence of the report of the Commissioners of 1824, gradually reduced, and finally withdrawn. In 1824 there were of those schools 32; the number of children in them amounted to 2,255. The grant for 1825 was £21,615. The grant was gradually reduced to £5,750 in 1832, when it was finally withdrawn. During nineteen years this system cost the country £1,612,138, of which £1,027,715 consisted of Parliamentary grants. The total number of children apprenticed from the beginning till the end of 1824 was only 12,745; and of these but a small number received the portion of £5 each, allotted to those who served out their apprenticeship, and married Protestants. The Association for Discountenancing Vice was incorporated in 1800. It required that the masters and mistresses in its schools should be of the Established Church; that the Scriptures should[358] be read by all who had attained sufficient proficiency; and that no catechism be taught except that of the Established Church. The schools of the Association amounted in 1824 to 226, and the number of children to 12,769; of whom it was stated that 7,803 were Protestants, and 4,804 were Roman Catholics; but the Rev. William Lee, who had inspected 104 of these schools in 1819 and 1820, stated before the Commissioners of 1824 that he had found the catechism of the Church of Rome in many of them. The Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor was founded on the 2nd of December, 1811, and was managed by a committee of various religious persuasions. The principles which they had prescribed to themselves for their conduct were, to promote the establishment and assist in the support of schools in which the appointment of governors and teachers, and the admission of scholars, should be uninfluenced by religious distinctions, and in which the Bible or Testament, without note or comment, should be read by all the scholars who had attained a suitable proficiency in reading, excluding catechisms and books of religious controversy; at the same time it was to be distinctly understood that the Bible or Testament should not be used as a school book from which children should be taught to spell or read. A grant was accordingly made to the society of £6,980, Irish currency, in the Session of 1814-15. The system of this society was manifestly the same as that which was formerly called the Lancastrian system in England, and which, although adopted by the great body of the Protestant Dissenters there, was so much opposed by the bishops and clergy of the Established Church in general, that they completely prevented its application to schools for children of their communion. The Roman Catholic prelates and clergy set themselves with equal resolution against it in Ireland and with equal success. It was accordingly found in 1824, that of 400,348 children whose parents paid for their education in the general schools of the country, and whose religion was ascertained, there were 81,060 Protestants, and 319,288 Roman Catholics; while of 56,201 children educated under the Kildare Place Society—although theirs were schools for the poor, and the Roman Catholics bear a much greater proportion to Protestants in the poorer classes than in the higher—there were 26,237 Protestants, and only 29,964 Roman Catholics.[See larger version]

[See larger version]But if Great Britain was prosperous, the affairs of Canada got into a very disturbed state, and became a source of trouble for some time to the Government in the mother country. To the conflicting elements of race and religion were added the discontents arising from misgovernment by a distant Power not always sufficiently mindful of the interests of the colony. For many years after Lower Canada, a French province, had come into the possession of Britain, a large portion of the country westward—lying along the great lakes—now known as Upper Canada, nearly double the extent of England, was one vast forest, constituting the Indian hunting-ground. In 1791, when by an Act of the Imperial Parliament the colony received a constitution, and was divided into Upper and Lower Canada, with separate legislatures, the amount of the white population in Upper Canada was estimated at 50,000. Twenty years later it had increased to 77,000, and in 1825 emigration had swelled its numbers to 158,000, which in 1830 was increased to 210,000, and in 1834 the population exceeded 320,000, the emigration for the last five years having proceeded at the rate of 12,000 a year. The disturbances which arose in 1834 caused a check to emigration; but when tranquillity was restored it went on rapidly increasing, till, in 1852, it was nearly a million. The increase[397] of wealth was not less remarkable. The total amount of assessable property, in 1830, was £1,854,965; 1835, £3,407,618; 1840, £4,608,843; 1845, £6,393,630.

The military transactions of the Continent this year had been of the most remarkable kind. Buonaparte, after his repulse at Pultusk, had retired to Warsaw, which he entered on the first day of the year 1807. He calculated on remaining there till the return of spring. But Benningsen, the Russian general, was determined to interrupt this pleasant sojourn. He had an army of eighty thousand or ninety thousand men, with a very bad commissariat, and equally badly defended from the severity of the winter. The King of Prussia was cooped up in K?nigsberg, with an army of a very few thousand men, and his situation was every day rendered more critical by the approach of the divisions of Ney and Bernadotte, whom the treacherous surrender of the Prussian fortresses by their commanders had set at liberty. But Benningsen hastened to relieve the King of Prussia at K?nigsberg; his Cossacks spread themselves over the country with great adroitness, surprising the French convoys of provisions. More Cossacks were streaming down to their support out of the wintry wilds of Russia, and the French were forced from their pleasant quarters[543] in Warsaw, to preserve the means of their existence. Buonaparte, alarmed at these advances, determined to turn out and force the Russians eastward, towards the Vistula, as he had forced the Prussians at Jena with their rear turned to the Rhine. To take the Russians thus in the rear, he ordered Bernadotte to engage the attention of Benningsen on the right whilst he made this man?uvre on the left. But Benningsen, fortunately, learned their stratagem, by the seizure of the young French officer who was carrying Buonaparte's dispatches to Bernadotte. Benningsen was therefore enabled to defeat Buonaparte's object. He concentrated his troops on Preuss-Eylau, where he determined to risk a battle. But he was not allowed to occupy this position without several brisk encounters, in which the Russians lost upwards of three thousand men. The battle of Eylau took place on the 7th of February. It was such a check as Buonaparte had never yet experienced. He had been beaten at every point; Augereau's division was nearly destroyed; that of Davoust, nearly twenty thousand in number, had been repulsed by a much inferior body of Prussians. Fifty thousand men are said to have been killed and wounded, of whom thirty thousand were French. Twelve eagles had been captured, and remained trophies in the hands of the Russians.PAMPELUNA.There was also a vast deal of decorations of ceilings and staircases still going on, and foreign artists flocked over to execute it. Laguerre, a Frenchman, succeeded Verrio in this department, and his works yet remain at Hampton Court, Burleigh, Blenheim, and other places. Laguerre was appointed to paint the cupola of St. Paul's, designs having been offered also by Antonio Pellegrini, who had thus embellished Castle Howard; but their claims were overruled in favour of Sir James Thornhill. Besides these, there were Lafosse, who had decorated Montagu House, Amiconi, a Venetian, and others, who executed many hundred square yards of such work in England. Such was the fashion for these foreign decorators, that when a native artist appeared equal to any one of them in skill and talent, and superior to most, he found himself paid at a very inferior and invidious rate.

The English now began to contemplate taking the Cape of Good Hope from the Dutch. General Johnstone was dispatched in April with five ships of the line, some frigates, and smaller vessels, having on board General Medows and three regiments for this purpose; but encountering Admiral Suffren in the way, after an indecisive action, Johnstone fell in with and took a Dutch East Indiaman of great value, and learned through it that Suffren had managed to reach the Cape and give the alarm, and that the Cape was put into strong defence. Johnstone, therefore, made for Saldanha Bay, where he learned that a number of other Dutch East Indiamen were lying. Four of these he secured; the rest were run ashore by their commanders and burnt. During the autumn both Dutch and French suffered much from the British on the coasts of Coromandel and the island of Sumatra. They also took from the Dutch Negapatam, Penang, and other places.Mr. Baring, who represented the Duke in the House of Commons, seemed to regard this declaration from the high-minded member for Oxford University as fatal to the Tory scheme for recovering power. They came at length to understand that the new Premier would be equally unacceptable to the country, whether he appeared with a Reform Bill or a gagging Bill. Both Baring and Sutton, the late Speaker, sent in their resignations. The Duke at length confessed that he had failed in his attempt to form an Administration; and the king had no other resource but to submit to the humiliation of again putting himself in the hands of his late Ministers. He had before him only the terrible alternative of a creation of peers or civil war. Earl Grey was determined not to resume office, "except with a sufficient security that he would possess the power of passing the present Bill unimpaired in its principles and its essential provisions." The consequence was, that on the 17th of May the following circular was sent to the hostile Lords by Sir Henry Taylor:—"My dear lord, I am honoured with his Majesty's commands to acquaint your lordship that all difficulties to the arrangements in progress will be obviated by a declaration in the House of Peers to-night from a sufficient number of peers, that in consequence of the present state of affairs they have come to the resolution of dropping their further opposition to the Reform Bill, so that it may pass without delay as nearly as possible in its present shape." Wellington, as usual, obeyed and withdrew from the House, but his seceding comrades prefaced their departure by defiant speeches in which they reserved to themselves the right of resuming their position. Then the Cabinet insisted on obtaining the royal[352] consent to an unlimited creation; and it was given on condition that they, in the first instance, called to the House of Lords the eldest sons of peers or the collateral heirs of childless noblemen. But Sir Henry Taylor's circular had done its work, and the extreme step was unnecessary.

Warren Hastings had saved Madras and the Carnatic, but only at the cost of extortion. To obtain the necessary money, he began a system of robbery and coercion on the different princes of Bengal and Oude. The first experiment was made on Cheyte Sing, the Rajah of Benares, who had been allowed to remain as a tributary prince when that province was made over to the British by the Nabob of Oude. The tribute had been paid with a regularity unexampled in the history of India; but when the war broke out with France, Hastings suddenly demanded an extraordinary addition of fifty thousand pounds a year, and as it was not immediately paid, the Rajah was heavily fined into the bargain. This was rendered still more stringent in 1780, when the difficulties in Madras began. Cheyte Sing sent a confidential agent to Calcutta, to assure Hastings that it was not in his power to pay so heavy a sum, and he sent him two lacs of rupees (twenty thousand pounds), as a private present to conciliate him. Hastings accepted the money, but no doubt feeling the absolute need of large sums for the public purse, he, after awhile, paid this into the treasury, and then said to Cheyte Sing that he must pay the contribution all the same. He compelled the Rajah to pay the annual sum of fifty thousand pounds, and ten thousand pounds more as a fine, and then demanded two thousand cavalry. After some bargaining and protesting, Cheyte Sing sent five hundred horsemen and five hundred foot. Hastings made no acknowledgment of these, but began to muster troops, threatening to take vengeance on the Rajah. In terror, Cheyte Sing then sent, in one round sum, twenty lacs of rupees (two hundred thousand pounds) for the service of the State; but the only answer he obtained for the munificent offering was, that he must send thirty lacs more, that is, altogether, half a million.This was the case with Sir James Thornhill, of Thornhill, near Weymouth. His father, however, had spent his fortune and sold the estate, and Sir James, being fond of art, determined to make it his profession to regain his property. His uncle, the celebrated Dr. Sydenham, assisted him in the scheme. He studied in London, and then travelled through Flanders, Holland, and France. On his return he was appointed by Queen Anne to paint the history of St. Paul in the dome of the new cathedral of St. Paul, in eight pictures in chiaroscuro, with the lights hatched in gold. So much was the work approved, that he was made historical painter to the queen. The chief works of the kind by Sir James were the Princess's apartment at Hampton Court, the gallery and several ceilings in Kensington Palace, a hall at Blenheim, a chapel at Lord Oxford's, at Wimpole, a saloon of Mr. Styles's, at Moorpark, and the ceilings of the great hall at Greenwich Hospital. On the ceiling of the lower hall appear, amid much allegorical scenery, the portraits of William and Mary, of Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, Newton, and others; on that of the upper hall appear the portraits of Queen Anne and her husband, the Prince of Denmark; and paintings of the landing of William at Torbay, and the arrival of George I. There are, in addition, portraits of George I., and two generations of his family. Sir James also painted the altar-piece of All Souls', Oxford, and one presented to his native town, Weymouth.

On the 26th Blucher had nearly annihilated the division of Macdonald. No sooner did he learn the return of Buonaparte to Dresden than he wheeled round upon Macdonald, taking him by surprise, and driving his troops into the rivers[70] Katzbach and Neisse, swollen by the rains. The battle raged the most fiercely near Wahlstadt, and, on the subsidence of the floods, hundreds of corpses were seen sticking in the mud. A part of the French fled for a couple of days in terrible disorder along the right bank of the Neisse, and were captured, with their general, by the Russian commander, Langeron.[See larger version]



[See larger version]Parliament, which had been prorogued for a few days on account of the demise of the king, assembled on the 18th of November. The king delivered a speech, composed by Lord Hardwicke, and revised by Pitt, and containing a passage, said to be inserted by himself, as follows:—"Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton!" In the addresses these words produced the most enthusiastic responses. "What a lustre," exclaimed the Lords, "doth it cast upon the name of Briton, when you, sir, are pleased to esteem it amongst your glories!" For the rest, the speech expressed the royal determination to prosecute the war with all vigour; praised the magnanimity and perseverance of his good brother, the King of Prussia; and recommended unanimity of action and opinion in Parliament. Nothing could appear more unanimous or more liberal than Parliament.

Notwithstanding these checks at Emsdorf and Warburg, the French obtained possession of G?ttingen and Cassel. Ferdinand attempted, but in vain, to dislodge them from G?ttingen, and the hereditary Prince, attempting to surprise the Marquis de Castries at Wesel, was repulsed with a loss of one thousand two hundred men at Closter-Campen, near that town, and was compelled to retreat. This closed the campaign, and the French took up their winter quarters at G?ttingen and Cassel.The Premier was at this time subjected to a great mortification in being compelled by the House of Commons, and public opinion out of doors, to cancel the appointment of the Marquis of Londonderry as ambassador to St. Petersburg. A deep sympathy with the oppressed Poles, and an abhorrence of the unrelenting despotism of Russia pervaded the public mind in the United Kingdom. The Marquis of Londonderry had distinguished himself by sympathies of an opposite kind, and had characterised the Poles as the Czar's rebellious subjects. It was generally felt that England could not be fairly represented at the Court of St. Petersburg by a man of such well-known sentiments. The press was loud in its condemnation of the appointment, and Mr. Sheil brought the subject before the House of Commons by moving that an Address be presented to his Majesty for a copy of the appointment. As Lord Stanley declared emphatically against the selection of the noble marquis for such a mission, it was evident that if Government had gone to a division they would have been defeated. Sir Robert Peel therefore gave way with a good grace, stating that the appointment had not been formally made out; and though the House seemed to be interfering unduly with the Royal Prerogative, he would not advise his Majesty to persist in it. The motion was then withdrawn, and when Lord Londonderry read the report of the debate in the papers next day, he immediately sent in his resignation. In announcing this in the House of Peers, he said: "Having but one object, and that to serve the king honestly and to the best of my ability, were I to depart from this country after what has passed in the House of Commons, I should feel myself, as a representative of his Majesty, placed in a new, false, and improper position. My efficiency would be impaired, and it would be impossible for me to fill the office to which I have been called with proper dignity or effect. Upon these grounds, I have now to announce that no consideration will induce me to accept the office which his Majesty has been graciously pleased to confer on me."From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step. A scene followed the king's departure which seems almost incredible. After the service of the second course, the numerous attendants, singers, and even ladies and gentlemen began to press round the royal table, as if prepared for a scramble to possess its contents. The crowd of spectators pressed nearer and nearer. For a moment only covetous eyes were cast on the spoils, as if each were afraid to begin the plunder; but, at last, a rude hand having been thrust through the first ranks, and a golden fork having been seized, this operated as a signal to all, and was followed by a "general snatch." In a short time all the small portable articles were transferred to the pockets of the multitude. The Lord High Chamberlain, hearing of the attack, hastened to the rescue, and[216] with the greatest difficulty saved the more important articles of plate, and had them conveyed to Carlton Garden. Then followed a scene unparalleled in the annals of coronations. The crowds in the galleries had beheld with envy the operations at the banquet. They were very hungry, and very thirsty, and seeing now that Westminster Hall was "liberty hall," they rushed down different stairs and passages, and attacked the viands and the wine. A raging thirst was the first thing to be satisfied, and in a few minutes every bottle on the table was emptied. A fresh supply was soon obtained from the cellarettes. When the ravening selfishness of the hungry crowd was satisfied, the gentlemen recovered their politeness, and began to think of the ladies. Groups of beautiful women then found their way to the tables, and every effort was made to afford them the refreshment of which they stood so much in need. In the meantime, the plunderers took advantage of the confusion to enrich themselves with trophies, breaking and destroying the table ornaments to obtain fragments of things too cumbrous to carry away. Thus, baskets, flowerpots, vases, and figures were everywhere disappearing, and these were followed by glasses, knives, forks, salt-spoons, and, finally, the plates and dishes. The last were engraved with the royal arms and the letters "Geo. IV.," and were therefore specially coveted as memorials. The dirty state of the articles, however, was rather out of keeping with the costly dresses; but the ladies and gentlemen got over the difficulty by wrapping up the articles in their pocket-handkerchiefs. Having thus secured all the spoils they could, they made all possible haste to their carriages. At a subsequent period, it was with the greatest difficulty that the royal plate could be kept from being carried away by the multitude outside when the barriers were removed.



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