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Louis was succeeded for the time by the Duke of Orleans as Regent, who had other views, and was surrounded by other influences than the old king. He had secured the Regency in opposition to Madame Maintenon and the royal bastards. He changed all the ministers, and was not inclined to risk his government by making enemies of the English abroad, having sufficient of these at home. He had been for some time cultivating the good offices of the present English Government, which had offered to assist him with troops and money, if necessary, to secure the Regency. He had seen a good deal of the new Secretary of State, Stanhope, in Spain, and still maintained a correspondence with him. Lord Stair, the British Ambassador, therefore, was placed in a more influential position with the Regent, and the Pretender and his ministers were but coldly looked on.[69]

In literature, and the amount of genius in every branch of it, as well as in mechanical skill, few ages ever transcended that of George III. Though he and his Ministers did their best to repress liberty, they could not restrain the liberty of the mind, and it burst forth on all sides with almost unexampled power. In fact, throughout Europe, during this period, a great revolution in taste took place. The old French influence and French models, which had prevailed in most countries since the days of Louis XIV., were now abandoned, and there was a return to nature and originality. "The Reliques of Ancient English Poetry," collected by Percy, the Bishop of Dromore, and the publication of the old Scottish ballads by Walter Scott, snapped the spell which had bound the intellect since the days of Pope, and opened the sealed eyes of wondering scholars; and they saw, as it were, "a new heaven and a new earth" before them. They once more felt the fresh breath of the air and ocean, smelt the rich odour of the heath and the forest, and the oracles of the heart were reopened, as they listened again to the whispers of the eternal winds. Once more, as of old to prophets and prophetic kings, there was "a sound of going in the tops of the trees." In Great Britain, Scott, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, Byron, Shelley—in Germany, Goethe, Schiller, Wieland, Richter—in Scandinavia, Tegner, Oehlenschl?ger, Stagnelius—with a world of lesser lights around them, stood in the glowing beams of a new morning, casting around them the wondrous wealth of a poetry as fresh as it was overflowing. As in poetry, so in prose invention. The novel and romance came forth in totally new forms, and with a life and scope such as they had never yet attained. From Fielding and Sterne to Godwin and Scott, the list of great writers in this department shed a new glory on the English name. In works of all other kinds the same renewal of mind was conspicuous; history took a prominent place, and science entered on new fields.


But in February the long-expected armament from France arrived on the Coromandel coast. Suffren, the admiral, was one of the ablest sea-commanders of France. On his way he had secured the Cape of Good Hope against the English, and he now landed at Porto Novo two thousand French soldiers to join the army of Hyder Ali. Tippoo, flushed with the recent capture of Colonel Braithwaite, invited the French to join him in an attack on Cuddalore, an important town between Porto Novo and Pondicherry. This was done, and Cuddalore was wrested from the English in April. Whilst these events were taking place on land, repeated engagements occurred with the British fleets on the coasts. That of Admiral Hughes was reinforced by fresh ships from England, and between February, 1782, and June, 1783, the British and French fleets fought five pitched battles with varied success. In none of these was any man-of-war captured by either side, nor any great number of men lost; but, eventually, Suffren succeeded in retaking Trincomalee, in Ceylon, from the British.About the middle of May Wellington entered Spain, leading the centre division himself, the right being commanded by General Hill, and the left by Sir Thomas Graham, the victor of Barrosa. As they advanced, the French hastily retreated towards Valladolid, thence towards Burgos; and by the 12th of June, Wellington being close on that city, they blew up the fortifications of the castle, and retreated beyond the Ebro, which they hoped to be able to defend. But Wellington left them no time to fortify themselves. On the 14th he crossed the Ebro; on the 16th he was in full march after them towards Vittoria, for they found the Ebro no defence, as they had not time to blow up the bridges. On the 16th and 17th Major-General Alten harassed their rear, and dispersed a whole brigade in the mountains, killing considerable numbers, and taking three hundred prisoners. On the 19th they found the French army, commanded by Joseph Buonaparte, with Jourdan as his second and adviser, drawn up under the walls of Vittoria. It was so placed as to command the passages of the river Zadora, and the three great roads from Madrid, Bilbao, and Logro?o. Their left extended to the heights of La Puebla, and behind this, at the village of Gomecha, was posted a reserve. The position was remarkably strong, and commanded by the hills interesting to Englishmen as those where the Black Prince, in his day, had defeated the French army at Najera, commanded by the gallant Duguesclin. Wellington took till the morning of the 21st to reconnoitre the position and to concentrate his army for the attack.[57]APSLEY HOUSE, HYDE PARK CORNER, LONDON.

"Mourir pour la patrie,[See larger version][See larger version]

PIUS IX. QUITTING THE VATICAN IN DISGUISE. (See p. 583.)And, in truth, everything now seemed to run counter to Walpole, and to tend towards war. His colleague, the Duke of Newcastle, who had been one of the most obsequious of subordinates both under Stanhope and Walpole, now thought he should serve himself decidedly by advocating war. The king was naturally of a martial turn; he had won some military repute in his youth, and he was no longer under the exceedingly sensible guidance of the queen. Newcastle, therefore, probably in the hope of supplanting Walpole, fostered this spirit in the king, and took advantage of it to recommend warlike measures in the Cabinet, and to send despatches to the British ambassadors in Spain, which but for the energy and wisdom of Walpole might have done irreparable mischief, and which rendered the negotiations extremely difficult. Lord Chancellor Hardwicke and Lord Harrington arrayed themselves on the same side, and blew the war-note in the House of Lords with unrestrained zeal. There was a time when Walpole would have had[71] these antagonistic colleagues dismissed; but both he and they saw too well that there was such a strong war spirit in both king and people, that no such thing was possible. He therefore pursued his efforts with the Court of Spain for peaceable conclusions, at the same time that he fell in so far with the belligerent spirit as to make active preparations as if for an encounter. This, however, was his last and most powerful argument for peace—an argument meant to tell on the fears, as he could not reach a spirit of conciliation in the Spaniards.

The year, gloomy in itself from the dislocation of trade and the discontent of the people, terminated still more gloomily from another cause—the death of the Princess Charlotte. This event, wholly unexpected, was a startling shock to the whole nation. This amiable and accomplished princess was not yet twenty-two. She had been married only in May, 1816, to Prince Leopold of Coburg, and died on the 6th of November, 1817, a few hours after being delivered of a stillborn child. What rendered the event the more painful was that her death was attributed to neglect by her accoucheur, Sir Richard Croft. Dr. Baillie, who saw her soon after her confinement, refused to join in the issue of a bulletin which the other medical men had prepared, stating that she was going on well, and a few hours proved the fatal correctness of his opinion. Sir Richard, overwhelmed by the public indignation and his own feelings, soon afterwards destroyed himself. No prince or princess had stood so well with the nation for many years. The people saw in her a future queen, with the vigour, unaccompanied by the vices and tyrannies, of Elizabeth. She had taken the part of her mother against the treatment of her father, and this was another cause which drew towards her the affections of the people. All these hopes were extinguished in a moment, and the whole nation was plunged into sorrow and consternation, the more so that, notwithstanding the twelve children of George III., there had only been this single grandchild, and several of his sons remained unmarried.

ARREST OF MAJOR ANDRé. (See p. 278.)Pitt hastened up to town, and was graciously received by the king, who told him that he left the choice of his colleagues entirely to himself. Pitt, as twice before, immediately proposed that his brother-in-law, Lord Temple, should be placed at the head of the Treasury. Temple was summoned from Stowe, but was as haughty and unmanageable as ever. He demanded that all the old Ministers should be dismissed, that Lord Lyttelton should have the Privy Seal, Lord Gower be Secretary of State, etc. Pitt could not accede to these terms. This time he did not throw up the offer of the Premiership to oblige his wrong-headed brother-in-law, who had the overweening idea that he was as great a man as Pitt himself. He stood firm, and, after a long interview at North End, Hampstead, where Pitt had taken a house for the time, Temple set off to Stowe again in high dudgeon, declaring that Pitt had thrown off the mask, and never meant to accept his co-operation at all. Lord Camden advised Pitt to stand fast, throw off the Grenvilles, and save the nation without them. He acted on the advice.The most interesting of all the debates that occurred in the House of Commons during the Session of 1850 was that which took place on the foreign policy of Great Britain, particularly with reference to Greece. The House of Lords had passed a vote of censure upon the Government, by a majority of thirty-seven, on a motion brought forward by Lord Stanley, and folk were anxious to see how the House of Commons would deal with that fact. On the 20th of June Lord John Russell read the resolution, and said, "We are not going in any respect to alter the course of conduct we have thought it right to pursue in respect of foreign Powers, in consequence of that resolution." He concluded his speech with the following bold defiance, which elicited general and protracted cheering:—"So long as we continue the Government of this country, I can answer for my noble friend [Lord Palmerston] that he will act not as a Minister of Austria, or of Russia, or of France, or of any other country, but as the Minister of England. The honour of England and the interests of England—such are the matters that are within our keeping; and it is to that honour and to those interests that our conduct will in future be, as it has hitherto been, directed."

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The marquis answered that he had received his letter, informing him of the king's intention to release him from the Government of Ireland, and that he held himself in readiness to obey his Majesty's commands the moment he received them. He did receive them, on the 10th of January, in a formal letter of recall from the Home Secretary.

Growth of Material Wealth—Condition of the Working Classes—The Charity Schools—Lethargy of the Church—Proposal to abolish Subscription to the Articles—A Bill for the further Relief of Dissenters—The Test and Corporation Acts—The Efforts of Beaufoy and Lord Stanhope—Attempts to relieve the Quakers—Further Effort of Lord Stanhope—The Claims of the Roman Catholics—Failure of the Efforts to obtain Catholic Emancipation—Lay Patronage in Scotland—The Scottish Episcopalians—Illustrious Dissenters—Religion in Wales and Ireland—Literature—The Novelists: Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, and Sterne—Minor and later Novelists—Scott—Historians: Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon—Minor Historians—Miscellaneous Literature—Criticism, Theology, Biography, and Science—Periodical Literature—The Drama and the Dramatists—Poetry: Collins, Shenstone, and Gray—Goldsmith and Churchill—Minor Poets—Percy's "Reliques," and Scott's "Border Minstrelsy"—Chatterton and Ossian—Johnson and Darwin—Crabbe and Cowper—Poetasters and Gifford—The Shakespeare Forgeries—Minor Satires—Burns—The Lake School: Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey—Scott, Campbell, Byron, Shelley, and Keats—Poets at the close of the Period—Improvement of Agricultural Science—Arthur Young—Drainage and Roots—Improvements in Road-making: Telford and Macadam—Brindley's and Telford's Canals—Bridges and Harbours—Iron Railways—Application of the Steam-Engine to Railways and Boats—Improvements in Machinery—Wedgwood—Manufacture of Glass—Collieries—Use of Coal in Iron-works—Improvements in various Manufactures—Scientific Discoveries—Music—Architecture—Painting—Sculpture—Engraving—Coins and Coinage—Manners and Customs.



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