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The unfortunate king was obliged to submit, and retain his present incompetent Ministers. These incompetent Ministers, on their part, now believing themselves indispensable, became at once proportionably assuming, and even insolent, in their demands. Grenville and Bedford put several direct demands to the king as the conditions even of their condescending to serve him: that he would promise to have no further communications with Lord Bute, nor to allow him the slightest share in his councils; that he would dismiss Bute's brother, Mr. Mackenzie, from the office of Privy Seal of Scotland, and from the management of Scottish affairs; that he would dismiss Lord Holland from being Paymaster of the Forces, and appoint Lord Granby Commander-in-Chief. The king, after some demur, submitted to all these conditions, except the appointment of Lord Granby, and escaped that only by Granby himself declining the post. George submitted, because he could not help it, to these imperious conditions; but he inly resented them, and did not avoid showing it by his coldness towards both Bedford and Grenville. At this, the haughty Bedford took fire, and read the king a severe lecture before leaving town for Woburn. He complained of the king showing kindness to the enemies of the administration; and demanded whether the king had kept his promise not to consult Lord Bute.After the lapse of a week the House of Commons met again on the 13th of May, when Lord John Russell immediately rose and stated that since he had last addressed them Sir Robert Peel had received authority from her Majesty to form a new Administration; and the right hon. baronet having failed, her Majesty had been graciously pleased to permit that gentleman to state the circumstances which led to the failure. Sir Robert Peel then proceeded to detail all the facts necessary for the explanation of his position to the country. He had waited upon the Queen according to her desire, conveyed at the suggestion of the Duke of Wellington, who had been sent for by her Majesty in the first instance. The Queen candidly avowed to him that she had parted with her late Administration with great regret, as they had given her entire satisfaction. No one, he said, could have expressed feelings more natural and more becoming than her Majesty did on this[462] occasion, and at the same time principles more strictly constitutional with respect to the formation of a new Government. He stated his sense of the difficulties a new Government would have to encounter; but having been a party to the vote that led to those difficulties, nothing should prevent him from tendering to her Majesty every assistance in his power. He accordingly, the next day, submitted the following list for her approval in the formation of a new Ministry:—The Duke of Wellington, Lord Lyndhurst, Earl of Aberdeen, Lord Ellenborough, Lord Stanley, Sir James Graham, Sir Henry Hardinge, and Mr. Goulburn. It was not until Thursday that any difficulty or misconception arose to lead to his relinquishing his attempt to form an Administration. His difficulty related to the Ladies of the Household. With reference to all the subordinate appointments below the rank of a Lady of the Bedchamber he proposed no change; and he had hoped that all above that rank would have relieved him of any difficulty by at once relinquishing their offices. This not having been done, he had a verbal communication with her Majesty on the subject, to which he received next day a written answer as follows:—

Sir W. G. Newcomen, a peerage for his wife, etc.[See larger version]

General Schuyler was hastening to support Ticonderoga, when, on reaching Saratoga, he was met by the news of this succession of defeats. He had, when joined by St. Clair and Long, who had been left to defend St. John's in vain, about five thousand men, the whole now of the northern army; but many of these were militia hastily called together—many of them without arms—more, destitute of ammunition, and still more, of discipline. But Schuyler depended much more on the nature of the country which the British would have to traverse from this point than on his men. The whole region between Skenesborough and the Hudson was an almost unbroken wilderness. Wood Creek was navigable as far as Fort Anne; from Fort Anne to the Hudson, over an exceedingly rough country, covered with thick woods, and intersected by numerous streams and morasses, extended a single military road. Whilst Burgoyne halted a few days at Skenesborough to bring up the necessary supplies, Schuyler seized the opportunity to destroy the navigation of Wood Creek, by sinking impediments in its channel, and breaking up the bridges and causeways, of which there were fifty or more on the road from Fort Anne to Fort Edward. Had[241] Burgoyne been well informed, he would have fallen back on Ticonderoga, have embarked on Lake George, and proceeded to Fort George, whence there was a waggon-road to Fort Edward, the place he was aiming at. Instead of this, he determined on separating himself from his baggage and artillery, sending these, under General Philips, to Fort George, and proceeding with the main portion of the army across the rugged country that lay between himself and Fort Edward. On this route they had not only to contend with swamps swarming with mosquitoes, deep gullies, ravines, and rivulets, but to make temporary bridges to supply the place of those destroyed by Schuyler, and remove the trees felled by him. The weather, to add to their stupendous labour, was intensely hot; yet, surmounting everything, on the 30th of July Burgoyne and his army hailed with enthusiasm the sight of the Hudson, which they had thus reached through a series of brilliant successes.

Mr. Roebuck, the next day, moved a counter-resolution in the following terms:—"That the principles which have hitherto regulated the foreign policy of her Majesty's Government are such as were required to preserve untarnished the honour and dignity of this country, and, in times of unexampled difficulty, the best calculated to maintain peace between England and the various nations of the world." He supported this position in an able and lengthened speech. The chief ground of dispute was the demand of Palmerston for compensation to a person named Don Pacifico, a Jew, and by birth a British subject, who resided at Athens, and whose house had been attacked on a Sunday, his property destroyed, and his family beaten by a mob headed by young noblemen. The Greek Government refused him reparation, and he sought protection from England. There was also the case of Mr. Finlay, whose land was seized in order that it might be converted into a garden for the King of Greece, the owner being refused payment; Lord Aberdeen, when Foreign Secretary, having applied in vain for redress. There was also the case of H.M.S. Fant?me, whose boat's crew had been arrested by Greek soldiers; also other outrages equally serious. Lord Palmerston defended his policy with his wonted spirit and ability, and with triumphant success in a speech which, said Mr. Gladstone, lasted "from the dusk of one day to the dawn of another." Mr. Gladstone arraigned the conduct of the first Minister in sitting down contentedly under the censure of the House of Lords, by sheltering himself under precedents which were in fact no precedents at all. He charged Lord Palmerston with violating international law, by making reprisals upon Greek property to the extent of £80,000 to satisfy the exorbitant demands of Don Pacifico; the fruit of this policy being humiliation, in regard to France, and a lesson received without reply from the autocrat of all the Russia's. Mr. Cobden also assailed the policy of Lord Palmerston, and asked if there was no other way of settling such trifling matters than by sending fifteen ships of war into Greek waters, which had seized several gunboats, and more than forty merchantmen. Lord John Russell defended the policy of the Government, and concluded by declaring that by the verdict of that House and the people of England he was prepared to abide, fully convinced that the Government had preserved at the same time the honour of the country and the blessings of peace. Mr. Disraeli, on the other hand, maintained that the House of Lords had exercised a solemn duty in pronouncing a censure upon the policy which had led to such terrible results. This debate will[607] be rendered for ever memorable in our annals by the speech of Sir Robert Peel. It was one of the best speeches he ever delivered in that House, and it was his last. He argued strongly against intermeddling with the affairs of foreign nations in order to procure for them free institutions, and concluded with the expression of his belief that the cause of constitutional liberty would only be encumbered by our help; whilst by intruding it we should involve Great Britain in incalculable difficulties. When the hour for the division came the House was very full—Ayes—310; Noes, 264; giving the Government a majority of 46.It was not only in the wild and dreary west, always the most neglected part of Ireland, without resident gentry, without a middle class, without manufacturers, and almost without towns, that the desolating effects of the famine were felt. In Ulster, even in the best counties and most thriving manufacturing districts, where the people were intensely industrious, orderly, and thrifty, some of its worst horrors were endured. In the county of Armagh, where the very small farmers kept themselves in comfort by weaving linen in their own houses, they were obliged to work their looms by night as well as by day in order to keep hunger from their homes. They worked till, by exhaustion and want of sleep, they were compelled to lie down. Many of them were obliged to sell or pawn all their clothes. In many cases, and as a last resource, those stout-hearted Presbyterians had to sell their Bibles in order to purchase a meal of food for their children. A clergyman of the Church of England in that county wrote to the Committee of the Society of Friends that he had seen the living lying on straw by the side of the unburied dead, who had died three days before. Not only the aged and infirm, not only women and children, but strong men, he had known to pine away till they died of actual starvation. Strong, healthy girls became so emaciated that they could not stand or move a limb. He visited[540] houses, once comfortable homes, in which not an article of furniture remained. The poor-house of Lurgan was shut. Seventy-five persons died there in one day. In Armagh poor-house forty-five died weekly. The poor-houses became pest-houses, which sent forth the miasma of death into every parish, already full of dysentery and fever. The congregations in the various churches were reduced to almost nothing. Deaths occurred so rapidly that the Roman Catholic priest ceased to attend funerals in his graveyard. The most deplorable accounts came from Cork, and especially from Skibbereen, a remote district of that county. In December, 1846, Father Mathew wrote to Mr. Trevelyan, then Secretary of the Treasury, that men, women, and children were gradually wasting away. They filled their stomachs with cabbage-leaves, turnip-tops, etc., to appease the cravings of hunger. There were then more than 5,000 half-starved wretches from the country begging in the streets of Cork. When utterly exhausted they crawled to the workhouse to die. The average of deaths in that union were then over 100 a week. At Crookhaven the daily average of deaths was from ten to twelve; and as early as the first Sunday in September a collection was made to purchase a public bier, on which to take the coffinless dead to the grave, the means to procure coffins being utterly exhausted in that locality. Earlier still in Skibbereen numerous cases had occurred of the dead being kept for several days above ground for want of coffins. In some cases they were buried in the rags in which they died. Throughout the entire west of the county of Cork it was a common occurrence to see from ten to a dozen funerals in the course of the day during the close of 1846.The introduction of the steam-engine, railroads, and canals enabled the coal-miners during this reign to extend the supply of coals enormously. In 1792 the coal-mines of Durham and Northumberland alone maintained twenty-six thousand two hundred and fifty persons, and employed a capital of three million one hundred and thirty thousand pounds—a very small amount of both people and money as compared with the workers and capital engaged in the trade since the expansion of the manufacturing and steam systems. The coal-fields of Durham and Northumberland extend to nearly eight hundred square miles, but the beds in Northumberland, Durham, Yorkshire, the Midland Counties, South of Scotland, and Ireland, are still immense and not yet fully explored. Fresh strata are discovered as steam power enables us to go deeper. In 1817 Sir Humphry Davy perfected his safety-lamp, which, by means of a simple wire gauze, enabled the miner to work amid the most explosive gases. These lamps, however, were not able to protect the colliers from their own carelessness, and most horrible destruction, from time to time, took place amongst them from neglect.

On the 22nd of January, 1801, the first Imperial Parliament met, and Addington was re-elected Speaker. The king did not meet this Parliament till the whole of its members had been sworn; his opening of it for business took place on the 2nd of February, and his speech had no cheering topics to give spirit to its first proceedings; on the Continent there had been nothing but defeat on the part of the Allies, of triumph on that of France. Our late ally, Paul, had not only seized our merchant vessels in the ports of the Baltic, and the property of our merchants in the Russian towns, but he had entered into a league with Sweden and Denmark to close the Baltic altogether to us, and to compel us to relinquish the right of search. This confederacy, by stopping the supplies of corn from the North, threatened us with great aggravation of the distresses at home; and some members advocated the surrender of the right of search, or the acceptance of the principles of an armed neutrality, such as Catherine of Russia had endeavoured to establish. But Pitt plainly showed that to allow neutral vessels to carry arms, ammunition, and commodities of life into the ports of our enemies would render all blockades of their forts useless, and enormously increase our difficulties during war. Orders were immediately issued to send a powerful fleet into the Baltic to chastise the insane Czar.The ships being got afloat again, on the 12th of April Parker sailed away with the main body of the fleet, leaving the St. George (with Nelson) and a few other ships to repair their damages. Sir Hyde Parker went in quest of the Swedish fleet, which consisted only of six ships, and which had taken refuge behind the forts of Karlskrona. Parker sent in a flag of truce, informing them of the armistice with Denmark, and demanding an answer as to the intentions of Sweden. Gustavus, the King of Sweden, hastened to Karlskrona, and on the 22nd informed the English admiral that he was ready to treat with an envoy accredited to the Northern Powers. Admiral Parker then proceeded towards the Gulf of Finland to attack the Russian fleet, but was soon overtaken by a dispatch boat from the Russian ambassador at Copenhagen, announcing that the Emperor Paul had been murdered by his courtiers, and that his son, Alexander, had accepted the proposals of Britain to treat. Parker considered the news of Paul's death as tantamount to the conclusion of peace, and proposed sailing down the Baltic again; but Nelson, who had joined him at Karlskrona, thought very differently. He had blamed Parker's slowness and easiness all through the affair of Copenhagen, and he now wanted to push on to Revel, and destroy the Russian fleet before the ice allowed it to retire into Cronstadt. Sir Hyde Parker refused; and the fleet was on its way down the Baltic when an order came recalling Parker and giving the command to Nelson. He immediately put about and proceeded to Revel, but the thaw had allowed the Russian fleet to get into Cronstadt. Nelson, however, opened communications with the Emperor Alexander, and proposed to land and terminate a convention with him at once. Alexander, not liking to have Nelson's fleet too near, declined the proposal in terms of courtesy, and Nelson took his leave in no complimentary mood. The emperor thought it best to send after him Admiral Tchitchagoff, to assure him that Alexander regretted that any misunderstanding had ever taken place between Russia and Britain; that all the British subjects seized by Paul should be immediately liberated, all their property restored, and that the Czar would be glad to see Nelson at St. Petersburg in any style which he liked to assume. But Nelson had now resolved to return at once to Britain, his shattered health ill bearing the severity of the northern climate; nor was his presence necessary, for on the 17th of June, two days before Nelson went on board the brig which took him to Britain, Lord St. Helens, who had proceeded to St. Petersburg as ambassador, had signed a convention, by which all subjects of dispute between the two countries were ended. Denmark and Sweden came into the convention as a matter of course.The repetition of these infamous outrages excited great public indignation, and led to a general demand that something effectual should be done to put a stop to them by rendering the law more prompt and effective, and the punishment more disgraceful. In compliance with this demand, Sir Robert Peel brought in a Bill upon the subject, which was unanimously accepted by both Houses, and rapidly passed into law. Sir Robert Peel in his Bill proposed to extend the provisions of the Act of the year 1800, passed after the attempt of Hatfield on the life of George III., to cases where the object was not compassing the life, but "compassing the wounding of the Sovereign." "I propose," he said, "that, after the passing of this Act, if any person or persons shall wilfully discharge or attempt to discharge, or point, aim, or present at or near the person of the Queen any gun, pistol, or other description of firearms whatsoever, although the same shall not contain explosive or destructive substance or material, or shall discharge or attempt to discharge any explosive or destructive substance or material, or if any person shall strike, or attempt to strike the person of the Queen, with any offensive weapons, or in any manner whatever; or, if any persons shall throw or attempt to throw any substance whatever at or on the person of the Queen, with intent in any of the cases aforesaid to break the public peace, or to excite the alarm of the Queen, etc., that the punishment in all such cases shall be the same as that in cases of larceny—namely, transportation for a term not exceeding seven years." But a more effective punishment was added, namely, public whipping, concerning which Sir Robert Peel remarked, "I think this punishment will make known to the miscreants capable of harbouring such designs, that, instead of exciting misplaced and stupid sympathy, their base and malignant motives in depriving her Majesty of that relaxation which she must naturally need after the cares and public anxieties of her station, will lead to a punishment proportioned to their detestable acts."

On the 17th of March, a few nights after Mr. Cobden's motion, Mr. Miles brought forward a motion for relief to the agricultural interest in the reduction or remission of taxation. He complained that there had been an importation of wheat during the last thirty-two months seven or eight times greater in amount than in the thirty-six months immediately subsequent to the introduction of the Corn Law of 1828. The abundance of meat in Leadenhall, Smithfield, and Newgate Markets, through the importation of foreign cattle, was also made a subject of reproach against the Ministry, and he told the House, as the spokesman of the agricultural party, "that they had no confidence in the measures which the Government proposed." They thought that anything would be better than their present position. They saw that the tariff which was passed three years ago was now going to be revised again, and that the shield of protection which was thrown over some of the productions of their industry was about to be removed still farther from them. In such circumstances they could not refrain from asking themselves what there was to prevent the Corn Laws from going next? Mr. Disraeli then, in a strain of sarcasm which is stated to have elicited cheers and laughter from the House, assailed the consistency of the Premier, and the tone in which he rebuked the mutinous and rebellious members of his party. He believed, he said, Protection to be in the same condition now as Protestantism had been in 1828, and he, who honoured genius, would rather see the abolition of all Protection proposed by Mr. Cobden than by any right honourable gentleman or by any noble lord on either side of the House. It might be necessary, before such an abolition was accomplished, for the Premier to dissolve the Parliament for the benefit of the party which he had betrayed, and to appeal to the country, which universally mistrusted him. His solemn and deliberate conviction was that a Conservative Government was an organised hypocrisy.But the condition of Canada was very tempting to the cupidity of Madison and his colleagues. We had very few troops there, and the defences had been neglected in the tremendous struggle going on in Europe. At this moment it appeared especially opportune for invading the Canadas from the States, as Britain was engaged not only in the arduous struggle in Spain, but its attention was occupied in watching and promoting the measures that were being prepared in Russia, in Sweden, and throughout Germany, against the general oppressor. At such a moment the Americans—professed zealots for liberty and independence—thought it a worthy object to filch the colonies of the country which, above all others, was maintaining the contest against the universal despot. They thought the French Canadians would rise and join the allies of France against Great Britain. The American Government had accordingly, so early as in 1811, and nearly a year previous to the declaration of war, mustered ten thousand men at Boston, ready for this expedition; and long before the note of war was sounded they had called out fifty thousand volunteers. Still, up to the very moment of declaring war, Madison had continually assured our envoy that there was nothing that he so much wished as the continuance of amicable connections between the two countries.

Buonaparte had not a sufficient French force in Germany under Davoust and Oudinot, but he called on the Confederacy of the Rhine to furnish their stipulated quotas to fight for the subjugation of their common fatherland. Bavaria, Würtemberg, Saxony, and the smaller States were summoned to this unholy work. His numbers, after all, were far inferior to those of the enemy, and, besides the renegade Germans, consisted of a medley of other tributary nations—Italians, Poles, Dutch, Belgians, and others. It is amazing how, in all his later wars, he used the nations he had conquered to put down the rest. Even in his fatal campaign in Russia—yet to come—a vast part of his army consisted of the troops of these subjugated nations.Such was the peace abroad and the prosperity of the country at this time, that there occur few events worthy of record. Of those which took place in 1731, the most remarkable was an Act abolishing the use of Latin in all proceedings of the Courts of Justice, and the next the renewal of the charter of the East India Company. If the country was peaceful and prosperous, however, it was neither free from corruption nor from the need of extensive reform. The very system of Walpole which produced such a show of prosperity that an old Scottish Secretary of State asked the Minister what he had done to make the Almighty so much his friend, was built on the most wholesale bribery and corruption. It was, in fact, a purchased domestic peace. In social life the example of the Government produced the like dishonesty. There was a fearful revelation of the proceedings of a charitable corporation for lending small sums of money to the industrious poor at legal interest; and Sir Robert Sutton, the late Ambassador at Paris, was found so deeply implicated in the frauds and extortions practised on those they were employed to benefit, that he was expelled from the House. There was also an inquiry into the state of the public prisons of London, which opened up a most amazing scene of horrors. It was found to be a common practice of the warders to connive at the escape of rich prisoners for a sufficient bribe, and to inflict the most oppressive cruelties on those who were too poor to pay heavy fees.CHAPTER X. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century the state of mathematical science was very low in England. The commencement of a better era originated with Woodhouse at Cambridge and Playfair in Edinburgh, by both of whom the Continental methods were introduced into the studies of their respective Universities. About 1820 the translation of La Croix's "Differential Calculus," superintended by Sir John Herschel and Dean Peacock, came into use as a text-book. Soon afterwards the writings of Laplace and Poisson were generally read in the Universities; and a few men of active and daring minds, chiefly of the Cambridge school, such as Professor Airy and Sir John Lubbock, grappled with the outstanding difficulties of physical astronomy; whilst a larger number applied themselves to the most difficult parts of pure analysis, and acquired great dexterity in its use, in the solution of geometrical and mechanical problems.


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This was followed by a memorial, signed by most of the chief officers, including Lord George Murray, Lochiel, Keppoch, Clanranald, and Simon Fraser, Master of Lovat. This was sent by Lord George to Charles, and represented that so many men were gone home, and more still going, in spite of all the endeavours of their chiefs, that if the siege were continued they saw nothing but absolute destruction to the whole army. The prince sent Sir Thomas Sheridan to remonstrate with the chiefs, but they would not give way, and Charles, it is said, sullenly acquiesced in the retreat.



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