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But amid the discouragements of monetary legislation, which showed that it would require a determined contest to compel Ministers to retrench, there were symptoms of a spirit of legal and social reform amongst Parliamentary men generally which augured the approach of better times. Mr. Sturges Bourne obtained the passing of his long-advocated Poor Law Bill; but Bills for regulating settlements, and for preventing the misapplication of the poor rates, were thrown out. A Bill was passed to regulate the treatment of children in cotton factories, and to limit the hours of their employment. Mr. Brougham's Act for inquiry into the charitable foundations of England was extended, with the support of Government, so as to apply to educational as well as to all kinds of charities, except such as had special visitors, or were maintained by private subscriptions. Sir James Mackintosh also took up the humane track of labour occupied so nobly by the late Sir Samuel Romilly. On the 2nd of March he moved for the appointment of a select committee to take into consideration the subject of capital punishment as regarded felonies. This was eminently needed, for the penal laws during the reign of George III. were truly Draconian. Notwithstanding a strong opposition by Ministers, the motion was carried, amid much cheering, and on the 6th of July Sir James Mackintosh introduced the report, which[146] was ordered to be printed. Government, as if to wipe out their disgrace in resisting so humane a measure, now proposed an inquiry into the condition of gaols and other places of confinement, and into the best method of employing and reforming delinquents during their imprisonment. Some reforms were made in Scottish law. The old rights of trial by battle, and of appeals of murder, felony, or mayhem, were abolished as rendered unnecessary by the full exercise of the institution of jury, and as belonging only to a barbarous age. The severity of the Scottish law against duels was mitigated, that law pronouncing forfeiture of all movable property, and banishment against all persons sending, or even carrying, a challenge to fight a duel. The principle of that law was sound, but its severity was its own defeat. A more questionable Bill was one carried, after much opposition, called the Foreign Enlistment Bill, which was intended to check the aid of Englishmen in assisting the Spanish South American colonists in throwing off the oppressive government of the mother country. Numbers of Englishmen were engaged on the side of independence, and this Bill was vainly intended to put an end to that generous aid.During the eighteen days that Buonaparte halted at Wilna he was actively employed in endeavouring to cut asunder the Russian host. Whilst Barclay de Tolly, under the Czar, commanded the main force, which had now fallen back from Wilna to Drissa, Prince Bagration was lying far to the south-east in Poland, at Volkovisk, with seven thousand Cossacks under Platoff at Grodno, and another body of men under Dorokhoff as far as Lida. Buonaparte ordered Murat, with his cavalry, to drive the rear of the main Russian army in the direction of Drissa. Murat was followed by a division of infantry, under Oudinot and Ney, whilst the King of Westphalia was ordered to advance eastward to cut off Bagration's division from all chance of junction with De Tolly, and Davoust was to attack him in the rear. He[43] himself proposed to push forward between these bodies towards Vitebsk, and thus threaten both St. Petersburg and Moscow. By this arrangement he made himself sure of destroying Bagration's division, or compelling it to surrender. But contrary to his wont, Buonaparte was found not to advance with his usual rapidity; and the fact was that there were sufficient reasons for the delay. His supplies had failed already. The country, already impoverished by a bad harvest in the preceding year, was swept by the Russians of all possible provisions; and the vast horde of French, Germans, and Italians now advanced treading down the unripe corn of the present. Owing to the state of the roads, flooded by torrents of rain, the provision-waggons could not get along. Twenty thousand sick men had to be left behind wherever they could, for they had no good hospitals; and, in crossing Lithuania, one hundred thousand men fell from fatigue, from exhaustion, from surprises by the Cossacks, and from diseases which they brought with them.[See larger version]

Exasperated at the failure of this measure, a furious mob broke into the Irish House of Commons on the 15th of April, but they were soon quelled, and two of the ringleaders seized. The magistrates of Dublin were censured for observing the gathering of the mob and taking no measures to prevent its outbreak. The printer and supposed publisher of the Volunteers' Journal were called before the House and reprimanded, and a Bill was brought in and passed, to render publishers more amenable to the law. The spirit of violence still raged through the country. Tumultuous associations were formed under the name of Aggregate Bodies.NAPOLEON AND HIS SUITE AT BOULOGNE. (See p. 490.)God's will be done!

Bolingbroke was now Prime Minister, and he hastened to arrange his Cabinet entirely on Jacobite principles. So far as he was concerned, the country was to be handed over to the Pretender and popery on the queen's death. He would not run the risk of a new antagonist in the shape of a Lord Treasurer, but put the Treasury in commission, with Sir William Wyndham at its head. The Privy Seal was given to Atterbury; Bromley was continued as the other Secretary of State; and the Earl of Mar, the rankest of Jacobites, was made Secretary of State for Scotland. Ormonde, long engaged in the Pretender's plot, was made Commander-in-Chief—a most significant appointment; Buckingham was made Lord President, and Harcourt Lord Chancellor. As for the inferior posts, he found great difficulty in filling them up. "The sterility of good men," wrote Erasmus Lewis to Swift, "is incredible." Good men, according to the unprincipled Bolingbroke's notions, were not to be found in a hurry. There were plenty of candidates ready, but it may give an impressive notion of the state of that party, that there was scarcely a man beyond those already appointed whom Bolingbroke could trust. The Cabinet never was completed. What his own notions of moral or political honesty were, may be imagined from the fact that he did not hesitate to attempt a coalition with the Whigs. He gave a dinner-party at his house in Golden Square to Stanhope, Walpole, Craggs, General Cadogan, and other leaders; but though Walpole, when Minister himself, boasted that every man had his price, Bolingbroke had not yet discovered Walpole's price nor that of his colleagues. They to a man demanded, as a sine qua non, that the Pretender should be compelled to remove to Rome, or to some place much farther off than Lorraine, and Bolingbroke assured them that the queen would never consent to such a banishment of her brother. Nothing but the lowest opinion of men's principles could have led Bolingbroke to expect any other result from these Whig leaders. Perhaps he only meant to sound their real views; perhaps only to divert public attention from his real designs, which the very names of his coadjutors in the Ministry must have made patent enough to all men of any penetration. The very same day that he thus gave this Whig dinner he assured Gualtier that his sentiments towards "the king" were just the same as ever, provided his Majesty took such measures as would suit the people of England. Time only was wanting for this traitor-Minister to betray the country to its old despotisms and troubles; but such time was not in the plans of Providence. The end of Anne was approaching faster than was visible to human eyes; but the shrewd and selfish Marlborough had a pretty strong instinct of it, and was drawing nearer and nearer to the scene of action, ready to secure himself whichever way[22] the balance inclined. He was at Ostend, prepared to pass over at an hour's notice, and to the last moment keeping up his correspondence with the two Courts of Hanover and Bar-le-duc. Both despised and suspected him, but feared him at the same time. Such was still his influence, especially with the army, that whichever party he adopted was considered pretty sure to succeed. That it was likely to succeed was equally certain before Marlborough did adopt it. Lockhart of Carnwath, one of the most active and sagacious Jacobites, and likely to be in the secrets of the Jacobite party, says that the Pretender, to test the sincerity of Marlborough, asked the loan of one hundred thousand pounds from him, as a proof of his fidelity. He did not abide the test, but soon afterwards offered twenty thousand pounds to the Electoral Prince, to enable him to come over to England. The moment that Marlborough was prepared, with his deep-rooted love of money, to do that, it might be certainly pronounced that he was confident of the success of the Hanoverians.

Mr. Jemison, as commissioner for distributing a million and a half of this compensation money! 1,200

[See larger version]Could this treaty have been carried out, Buonaparte would at once have obtained his one hundred thousand veterans from Spain, and completely paralysed the army of Lord Wellington. The Duke de San Carlos conveyed the treaty to Spain. He was instructed to inquire into the state of the Regency and the Cortes, whether they were really so infected with infidelity and Jacobinism as Napoleon had represented; but, whether so or not, he was to procure the ratification of the treaty by these bodies, and Ferdinand undertook to deal with them himself when once safe upon the throne. San Carlos travelled eastward into Spain, and visited the camp of Suchet, who very soon communicated to General Capons, who was co-operating with General Clinton, that there was peace concluded between Spain and France, and that there was no longer any use for the British. Capons was very ready to act on this information and enter into a separate armistice with Suchet; but fortunately for both Spain and the British, neither the Regency nor the Cortes would sign the treaty so long as the king was in durance in France.In Ireland the magistrates acted on the circular, and on the 23rd of February, 1811, two magistrates proceeded to disperse the Catholic committee in Dublin. They were told by the committee that they were sitting simply for the purpose of petitioning Parliament, and they did not venture to interrupt it. The movement went on all over Ireland, the committees were numerously attended, and, notwithstanding a proclamation from Dublin Castle commanding the magistrates everywhere to disperse all such gatherings, in Dublin the general committee, numbering nearly three hundred persons, met in Fishamble Street on the 19th of October. Police were sent to disperse them, but on arriving they had already signed the petition, and were coming away amid a vast concourse of spectators. Several persons were arrested and tried, but the juries returned verdicts of "Not Guilty."

The business of the session now hastened to its close. Votes were given for forty thousand seamen and eleven thousand marines; for sixteen thousand British troops in Flanders, and twenty-three thousand for guards and garrisons at home. For the year's supplies six millions of pounds were voted, and then Parliament was prorogued on the 21st of April. In doing this, George told the Houses that he had ordered his army to pass the Rhine to support the Queen of Hungary. No sooner had Parliament closed, than George, accompanied by his son, the Duke of Cumberland, and Lord Carteret, hastened off to Germany. The British army, which the king had ordered to march from Flanders to aid the Austrians, had set out at the end of February. They were commanded by Lord Stair, and on their route were joined by several Austrian regiments under the Duke of Aremberg, and the sixteen thousand Hanoverians in British pay, who had wintered at Liége. They marched so slowly that they only crossed the Rhine in the middle of May. They halted at H?chst, between Mayence and Frankfort, awaiting the six thousand Hanoverians in Electoral pay, and an equal number of Hessians, who had been garrisoning the fortresses of Flanders, but who were now relieved by Dutch troops. Stair had now forty thousand men, and might easily have seized the Emperor at Frankfort. All parties had respected, however, the neutrality of Frankfort, and Stair did the same, probably because the Emperor, having no subjects to ransom him, might have proved rather a burden on his hands. De Noailles, on his part, had sixty thousand men, independently of the twelve thousand furnished to Broglie. He kept an active eye on the motions of the allied army, and as Stair encamped on the northern bank of the Main, he also passed the Rhine and encamped on the southern bank of the Main. The two camps lay only four leagues from each other, presenting a most anomalous aspect.

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.[See larger version]This definition of the House of Commons at this time, and for long afterwards, was too happy a definition to escape the wrath of that body. Accordingly, on the 27th of March, Mr. Lethbridge, member for Somersetshire, moved that Sir Francis Burdett should be committed to the Tower for his attack on the House. After some discussion, the question was adjourned to the 5th of April, when, by a majority of thirty-eight, Sir Francis was ordered to be committed as guilty of a libel against the House. But Sir Francis, justly regarding the House as altogether illegally constituted, and as a usurpation by the aristocracy of the functions of the people, determined not to submit to its order. The next day he addressed a letter to the Speaker of the House, declaring his contempt for it as then constituted; that he held its order to be, on that ground, illegal; and that he would resist it to the utmost. He ordered the doors and windows of his house in Piccadilly to be closed, and prepared to yield only to force.

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It would be useless to encumber these pages with a detailed narrative of the desultory conflicts that occurred at Candahar, where General Nott commanded, amidst the greatest difficulties, until General England came to his relief on the 10th of May; or at Khelat-i-Ghilzai, a post entrusted to Captain Lawrence; or in the country about Ghuznee, the garrison of which, commanded by Captain Palmer, was compelled to surrender for want of water. He was an officer in General Nott's division, and by his brother officers the fall of the place was regarded as more disgraceful than the loss of Cabul. At length Generals Pollock and Nott were enabled to overawe the Afghans. They were now at the head of two forces in excellent health and spirits, eager to advance on Cabul and avenge the national honour of Great Britain, which had been so grievously insulted. But Lord Ellenborough had come to the resolution that it was no longer necessary to imperil the armies of Great Britain, and with the armies the Indian Empire, by occupying Afghanistan. All that was now required to be done rested solely upon military considerations, and especially upon regard to the safety of the detached bodies of our troops at Jelalabad, at Ghuznee, at Khelat-i-Ghilzai, and Candahar. He was, therefore, feverishly anxious that the troops should retire at the earliest possible moment, and sent orders to that effect to Pollock at Jelalabad and to Nott at Candahar.The troops of the Convention were equally successful against Lyons. It was speedily invested by numerous troops, under the command of Dubois-Crancé, one of the Commissioners of the Convention. On the 21st of August he summoned the place to surrender, but the Lyonese held out till the 2nd of October, when Couthon, one of the most ruthless of the Jacobin deputies, arrived, with twenty-eight thousand armed peasants, from Auvergne. He demanded that the city should be instantly bombarded, and, if necessary, reduced to ruins. Dubois-Crancé said there was no need for this merciless alternative, as the place must very soon yield from famine. Couthon thereupon obtained an order from the Convention to supersede Dubois-Crancé, as devoid of proper Republican zeal; and on the 7th of October commenced a terrible bombardment. The inhabitants came to a parley with Couthon, and agreed to surrender without conditions. Couthon immediately appointed a committee to try all rebels, and he sent his opinion of the population at large to the Convention, describing the people as of three kinds—the wicked rich, the proud rich, and the ignorant poor, who were too stupid to be good Republicans. He proposed to guillotine the first class, to seize the property of the second, and to remove the last into different quarters of France. The Convention adopted his views cordially, and passed a decree that Lyons should be destroyed; that nothing should be left but the houses of the poor, the manufactories, the hospitals, the school of arts, the public schools, and public monuments; that the name of Lyons should be buried for ever, and that on its ruins should be erected a monument bearing this inscription:—"Lyons made war against liberty: Lyons is no more!" The name of the spot ever afterwards was to be the Liberated Commune. The massacres were carried out by Collot d'Herbois.[See larger version]

The Marquis Wellesley was sent over to Ireland by Lord Liverpool in order to govern Ireland upon this principle; and he might have succeeded better if he had not been checked by Mr. Goulburn, the Chief Secretary, distinguished by his hostility to Catholic Emancipation, who was appointed "viceroy over him." In a letter which the Marquis wrote to the Duke of Buckingham (June 14th, 1824) he refers to some of the difficulties with which he had to contend in carrying out an impartial policy between the extreme parties, which were then very violent. His labours, however, in enforcing respect for the law and effecting improvements were not altogether in vain. "The situation of Ireland," he writes, "although very unsatisfactory, is certainly much improved, and foundations of greater improvement have been firmly laid. The committees of Parliament have done much good; and, if vigorously and fairly pursued, may effect a permanent settlement of this distracted country. The present violent collision of the two ultra parties, or rather factions, Orange and Papist, is a crisis of the disorder which was necessary to their mutual dissolution, an event which I think is fast approaching, and which must be the preliminary of any settlement of peace."[450]

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