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From this episode of fire and fanaticism we recur to the general theme of the war with Spain, France, and America, in which England was every day becoming more deeply engaged. From the moment that Spain had joined France in the war against us, other Powers, trusting to our embarrassments with our colonies and those great European Powers, had found it a lucrative trade to supply, under neutral flags, warlike materials and other articles to the hostile nations; thus, whilst under a nominal alliance, they actually furnished the sinews of war against us. In this particular, Holland, the next great commercial country to Britain, took the lead. She furnished ammunition and stores to the Spaniards, who all this while were engaged in besieging Gibraltar. Spain had also made a treaty with the Barbary States, by which she cut off our supplies from those countries. To relieve Gibraltar, Admiral Sir George Rodney, who was now appointed to the command of our navy in the West Indies, was ordered to touch there on his way out. On the 8th of January 1780, when he had been a few days out at sea, he came in sight of a Spanish fleet, consisting of five armed vessels, convoying fifteen merchantmen, all of which he captured. These vessels were chiefly laden with wheat, flour, and other provisions, badly needed at Gibraltar, and which he carried in with him, sending the men-of-war to England. On the 16th he fell in with another fleet off Cape St. Vincent, of eleven ships of the line, under Don Juan de Langara, who had come out to intercept the provisions which England sent to Gibraltar. Rodney had a much superior fleet, and the Spanish admiral immediately attempted to regain his port. The weather was very tempestuous, and the coast near the shoal of St. Lucar very dangerous; he therefore stood in as close as possible to the shore, but Rodney boldly thrust his vessels between him and the perilous strand, and commenced a running fight. The engagement began about four o'clock in the evening, and it was, therefore, soon dark; but Rodney, despite the imminent danger of darkness, tempest, and a treacherous shore, continued the fight, and the Spaniards for a time defended themselves bravely. The battle continued till two o'clock in the morning; one ship, the San Domingo, of seventy guns, blew up with six hundred men early in the action; four ships of the line, including the admiral's, of eighty guns, struck, and were carried by Rodney safe into port; two seventy-gun ships ran on the shoal and were lost; and of all the Spanish fleet only four ships escaped to Cadiz.

Home we have none!"Such modification to include the admission, at a nominal duty, of Indian corn and of British colonial corn."

INTERIOR OF THE JERUSALEM CHAMBER, WESTMINSTER ABBEY.

"The Queen having considered the proposal made to her yesterday by Sir Robert Peel to remove the Ladies of her Bedchamber, cannot consent to adopt a course which she conceives to be contrary to usage, and which is repugnant to her feelings."

Charles Stanhope, though clearly guilty, escaped, after examination in the House, by a majority of three, out of respect for the memory of his deceased relative, the upright Lord Stanhope. Aislabie's case came next, and was so palpably bad that he was committed to the Tower and expelled the House, amid the ringing of bells, bonfires, and other signs of rejoicing in the City of London. The bulk of his property, moreover, was seized. This was some compensation to the public, which had murmured loudly at the acquittal of Stanhope. Sunderland's case was the next, and he escaped by the evidence against him being chiefly second-hand. He was acquitted by a majority of two hundred and thirty-three against one hundred and seventy-two. As to the king's mistresses, their sins were passed over out of a too conceding loyalty; but no favour was shown to the directors, though some of them were found to be much poorer when the scheme broke up than they were when it began. Amongst them was Mr. Gibbon, the grandfather of the historian, who afterwards exposed the injustice of many of these proceedings, though at the time they were considered as only too merited. The directors were disabled from ever again holding any place, or sitting in Parliament; and their estates, amounting to upwards of two millions, were confiscated for the relief of the sufferers by the scheme.The Directory began its campaigns of 1796 with much spirit and ability. The plans which had been repeatedly pointed out by Dumouriez, Pichegru, Moreau, and more recently by Buonaparte, of attacking the Austrians in Germany and Italy simultaneously, and then, on the conquest of Italy, combining their armies and marching them direct on the Austrian capital, were now adopted. Pichegru, who had lost the favour of the Directory, was superseded by Moreau, and that general and Jourdain were sent to the Rhine. Jourdain took the command of sixty-three thousand foot and eleven thousand horse, at Coblenz, and immediately invested the famous fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, on the opposite bank of the river. Moreau was sent to lead the army at Strasburg, consisting of seventy-two thousand foot and nearly seven thousand horse. Jourdain found himself soon menaced by the Archduke Charles, the Emperor's brother, the ablest and most alert general that the Austrians possessed at that period. He advanced rapidly on Jourdain's position with seventy thousand foot and twenty thousand horse, defeated a division of Jourdain's army under General Lefebvre, and compelled Jourdain himself to raise the siege. But the archduke, out of too much anxiety for Wurmser, who was opposed to[452] Moreau with much inferior forces, ascended the Rhine to support him, and Jourdain immediately availed himself of his absence to advance and seize Frankfort on the Main, Würzburg, and other towns. Moreau advanced to drive back Wurmser and the archduke, till a union with Jourdain would enable them to fall conjointly on the Austrians. But the archduke perceived that, in consequence of the orders of the Directory, Moreau was spreading his army too wide, and he retreated so as to enable Wurmser to join him. This retrograde movement was mistaken, both by friends and enemies, for a sign of weakness; and whilst Moreau advanced with increased confidence, many of the raw contingents of the archduke's army deserted, and several of the petty States of Germany sued to the Directory for peace. But the moment for the action of the archduke had now arrived. Whilst Moreau was extending his lines into Bavaria, and had seized Ulm and Donauw?rth, and was preparing to occupy the defiles of the Tyrol, the Archduke Charles made a rapid detour, and, on the 24th of August, fell on Jourdain, and completely defeated him. He then followed him to Würzburg, and on the 3rd of September routed him again. With a velocity extraordinary in an Austrian, the archduke pushed on after Jourdain's flying battalions, and on the 16th of September gave him a third beating at Aschaffenburg, and drove his army over the Rhine. Moreau—left in a critical position, so far from the frontiers of France, and hopeless of any aid from Jourdain, who had lost twenty thousand men and nearly all his artillery and baggage—made haste to retrace his steps. Thus both of the French armies were beaten back to the left bank of the Rhine, and Germany was saved.

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On the 14th of March Lord North moved to bring in a Bill to take away from Boston the customs, the courts of justice, and government offices, and give them to Salem. This Bill was carried through both Houses with little opposition. Bollan, the agent of the Council of Massachusetts, desired to be heard against the Bill, but was refused. It received the royal assent on the 31st of March, and the trade of Boston was supposed to be annihilated.

Wilberforce, on the 27th of January, had obtained a committee of inquiry into the slave trade. He, Clarkson, and the anti-slavery committees, both in London and the provinces, were labouring with indefatigable industry in collecting and diffusing information on this subject. The Committee of the Commons found strong opposition even in the House, and, on the 23rd of April, Lord Penrhyn moved that no further evidence should be heard by the Committee; but this was overruled, and the hearing of evidence continued through the Session, though no further debate took place on the question.During the summer a French squadron stretched away across the Atlantic with six sail of the line, and finding our Newfoundland coasts almost wholly unprotected, destroyed and plundered the fishermen's huts and fishing stages, as well as their vessels, and then, returning, picked up a considerable number of our merchantmen at sea, and was lucky enough to make a retreat, by favour of a fog, through our watching squadrons, into Brest. After this clever exploit, they joined the great Brest fleet, which sailed for Ireland on the 15th of December. This consisted of no fewer than forty-three sail, seventeen of them of the line, four frigates, six corvettes and brigs, with six transports. On board the transports were twenty-five thousand men, who had been well tried in the war of La Vendée, and abundance of arms and ammunition, as well as extra arms to put into the hands of the disaffected Irish, for to Ireland the armament was bound. General Hoche, who had terminated the Vendéan war, was appointed to terminate all the woes of Ireland, and convert that sacred island into another French paradise. Besides Hoche, Generals Grouchy, Hombert, and Bruix were attached to the expedition. The fleet sailed out and anchored in Camaret Bay, but no British fleet was visible to intercept them. But no sooner did the armament put out to sea again the next day, than it was assailed by a tempest and the ships were driven different ways. One of them was forced immediately on the Grand Stenet rock, and wrecked—out of one thousand four hundred souls on board only sixty were rescued. Seven ships of the line, and ten of the vessels commanded by Rear-Admiral Bouvet, managed to reach Bantry Bay on the 24th of December, but there the storms continued to batter them. There being no sign of an insurrection, and no other part of the fleet appearing, they sailed back and reached Brest on the 1st of January, 1797. When they were gone, another portion of the fleet arrived in Bantry Bay, but only to be tossed and driven about without rest, to lose several of the ships, and to put back again. As for Hoche, he never saw Ireland; the greater part of the fleet being driven about and swamped in the Channel. Of the forty-three sail, only thirty-one returned, and thousands of the soldiers were drowned in the foundering transports. Sir Edward Pellew, in the Indefatigable, of forty-four guns, and Captain Reynolds, in the Amazon, of thirty-six guns, fell in with the Droits de l'Homme, of seventy-four guns, and after a severe fight close in Audierne Bay, south of Ushant, left her a wreck aground, where, of the one thousand eight hundred men aboard, scarcely more than three hundred were saved, notwithstanding the greatest exertions of the British seamen to rescue them.

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NAPOLEON AND HIS SUITE AT BOULOGNE. (See p. 490.)

The year 1805 was opened by Buonaparte addressing a second letter to George III. Its tenor may be gathered from the concluding paragraph. "Alas! what a melancholy prospect to cause two nations to fight, merely for the sake of fighting. The world is sufficiently large for our two nations to live in it, and reason is sufficiently powerful to discover means of reconciling everything, when the wish for reconciliation exists on both sides. I have, however, fulfilled a sacred duty, and one which is precious to my heart. I trust your Majesty will believe in the sincerity of my sentiments, and my wish to give you every proof of it.—Napoleon."

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