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On the fifth night of the debate Sir Robert Peel rose to speak in defence of his policy against these attacks of his enemies. It was already ten o'clock, and the House listened to him for three hours. He spoke with remarkable warmth and energy, and overpowered his opponents with the unanswerable truths of political economy, and with humorous demonstrations of the fallacies in which the Protectionist speakers had indulged. In concluding he said, "This night is to decide between the policy of continued relaxation of restriction, or the return to restraint and prohibition. This night you will select the motto which is to indicate the commercial policy of England. Shall it be 'Advance!' or 'Recede'?" The division took place on the 27th (or rather on the 28th) of February, at twenty minutes to three in the morning, when the numbers for the motion were—337; against it, 240; leaving a majority for going into committee of 97.When these letters were published in America, their real character was concealed, and every means taken to represent them as official despatches to the officers of Government in England. The public rage was uncontrollable. A committee was formed to wait on Governor Hutchinson, and demand whether he owned the handwriting. Hutchinson freely owned to that, but contended very justly that the letters were of a thoroughly private character, and to an unofficial person. Notwithstanding, the House of Assembly drew up a strong remonstrance to the British Government, charging the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor with giving false and malicious information respecting the colony, and demanding their dismissal. This remonstrance, accompanied by copies of the letters themselves, was immediately dispatched over the colonies, and everywhere produced, as was intended, the most violent inflammation of the public mind against us. The Bostonians had for some time established what was called a Corresponding Committee, whose business it was to prepare and circulate through the whole of the colonies papers calculated to keep alive the indignation against the British Government. This Committee quickly was responded to by other committees in different places, and soon this plan became an organisation extending to every part of the colonies, even the most remote, by which intelligence and arguments were circulated through all America with wonderful celerity.In fact, though the Allies still held out, it was useless. Bolingbroke—for St. John had been called in this year to the Upper House as Viscount Bolingbroke—accompanied by Matthew Prior, had been in Paris since the beginning of August, where they were assisted also by the Abbé Gualtier, determined to close the negotiations for England, whether the Allies objected or not. To make this result obvious to the whole world, the troops which Ormonde had brought home were disbanded with all practicable speed. The ostensible cause of Bolingbroke's and Prior's visit to Paris was to settle the interests of the Duke of Savoy and the Elector of Bavaria; but the real one was to remove any remaining impediment to the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace. France and England were quite agreed; Bolingbroke returned to London, and Prior remained as resident at the Court of France, as if the Articles of Peace were, in fact, already signed. A truce, indeed, for four months longer by land and sea was proclaimed in Paris. It was agreed that the Pretender should return to Lorraine; that all hostilities should cease in Italy in consequence of the arrangement of the affairs of the Duke of Savoy; and that the Austrian troops should be allowed to quit Spain and return to Naples.

The crossing of the Beresina, in the circumstances, was a desperate design, but there was no alternative but surrender. Tchitchagoff was posted with his army on the opposite or left bank; Wittgenstein and Platoff were pressing down to join them; and Kutusoff, with the grand army of Russia, was in the rear, able, if he could have been induced to do it, to drive Buonaparte and his twelve thousand men into the Beresina, and destroy them. After reconnoitring the river Napoleon determined to deceive Tchitchagoff by a feint at passing at Borissov, but really to make the attempt at Studienka, above Borissov. He therefore kept up a show of preparations to cross at Borissov, but got ready two bridges at Studienka, one for the artillery and baggage, the other for the troops and miscellaneous multitude. At this juncture he was joined by Victor and Oudinot with their fifty thousand men well provided with everything. Thus he was now possessed of sixty-two thousand men besides stragglers; and his design of deceiving Tchitchagoff succeeding so completely that the latter withdrew his whole force from opposite to Studienka and concentrated it at Borissov, he began on the 26th of November to cross the river, and had a strong force already over before Tchitchagoff discovered his error and came back to attack him. So far all went so well that Buonaparte again boasted of his star.The South Sea Company, with a folly of which extreme greed only is capable, endeavoured to put down these rival schemes and obtained an order from the Lords Justices and writs of scire facias against several of these new bubbles. It was like raising a wind to blow away the bubbles, forgetting that their own was a bubble too, and would go with them. The moment that the people began to distrust one they distrusted all. The panic became as great as the mania had been. The South Sea stock dropped in less than a month from one thousand to below six hundred. There was a simultaneous rush to sell out, and the shares must have sunk instantly to nil but for the gigantic exertions of the Company to raise money and buy in. The relief, however, was but temporary. The bankers and pawnbrokers who had advanced money on scrip broke and fled; merchants, goldsmiths, and speculators rushed away after them. Walpole was summoned in haste from Haughton to devise some means of staying the panic. He endeavoured to get the Bank of England to circulate three millions of South Sea bonds for a year; but the Bank, seeing that the case was desperate, declined it. This was decisive. The rage and despair of the swarming dupes were indescribable. They heaped[48] execrations not only on the South Sea Company, but on Ministers, the king, his mistresses, and the Royal Family, who had all been deep in the affair, and who had taken good care of themselves. George landed at Margate on the 9th of November, soon after which the South Sea stock fell to one hundred and thirty-five. On the 8th of December Parliament met, and promptly began to investigate the scandal.

Sir John Warren put the two thousand four hundred Chouans on shore near Lorient, and left them to return to their own predatory mode of warfare. He then located himself on two small neighbouring islands, and waited for a fresh squadron carrying four thousand British troops, which arriving in September, he bore away with them for La Vendée, and thus terminated the miserable descent on the coast of Brittany. The descent on the coast of La Vendée was still more unsatisfactory. On arriving there, it was found that fifteen thousand Republicans were in possession of the Isle Noirmoutier, formerly the stronghold of Charette. The British, therefore, disembarked on the little desolate Isle Dieu, about five leagues from Noirmoutier, and there awaited the arrival of Count d'Artois, who did not come till the 10th of October, and then, alarmed at the fusillading of the officers at Quiberon, declined to land. On hearing this, Charette exclaimed—"We are lost! To-day I have fifteen thousand men about me; to-morrow I shall not have five hundred!" And, in fact, chagrined at the pusillanimous conduct of the prince, and the approach of Hoche with his victorious troops from Brittany, his followers rapidly dispersed, and at the end of the year the British armament returned home, having done nothing. From this day may be dated the extinction of the war in La Vendée. Stofflet, in January, 1796, was defeated, and in February was betrayed to the enemy, and on the 26th of that month was executed at Angers with four of his companions. Charette was captured a month afterwards, and was shot at Nantes on the 29th of March. With him died the last Vendéan general of mark. By this time, the spring of 1796, not a fifth part of the male population of La Vendée remained alive; and Hoche himself calculated that the Vendéan war had cost France a hundred thousand men.

The massacre of Savenay had not settled La Vendée. In the spring of 1794 armed parties were again on foot. The largest body was that under Charette, posted on the Isle Noirmoutier, to which many of the fugitives who escaped from the massacre of Savenay betook themselves. Amongst these was the wounded General D'Elbée, with his wife, and a brother of Cathelinau. Charette quitted the isle to make an attack on some of the Republican troops left in small bodies in the country, consigning the care of the sick and wounded to the protection of a garrison of one thousand eight hundred men. This garrison was soon corrupted by the Republican general, Turreau; it surrendered, and D'Elbée and his wife were both shot, and the sick and wounded treated with merciless cruelty. This was about the only place of any strength left the Vendéans; but a worse misfortune was at hand. The young and chivalrous Henri La Roche-Jaquelein, marching, at the head of a body of his own peasantry, between Trementine and Nouaillé, met two Republican soldiers. The count generously offered them quarter; but, instead of accepting it, one of them instantly levelled his musket and shot him through the head. The two soldiers were immediately dispatched by his followers and, supposing that a Republican column must be at hand, they buried the three hastily in one grave and fled. The young count was only in his twenty-first year, and with him died the hopes and confidence of his peasantry. Stofflet succeeded him in the command of his people, but Charette might be considered the Commander-in-Chief of the Vendéans.

One important result of this terrible distress was to force on emigration to a large extent, and thus to people the American States. Emigration at that time was without any guidance, and the result was a vast amount of disappointment and suffering among the emigrants. Consequently, Mr. Wilmot Horton moved for a select committee to inquire into the expediency of encouraging emigration from the United Kingdom. The committee was appointed, and presented its report and evidence before the dissolution of Parliament, with a recommendation that the subject should be pursued without loss of time.But far different was the issue of the troubles with his Flemish subjects, which, with an unaccountable folly and absence of good faith, he had excited. He sent into the Netherlands Count Trautmansdorff as Governor, and General Dalton, a brutal Irishman, as commander. The latter ordered the professors of theology at Louvain to give way to the Emperor's reforms, and, as they refused, Dalton turned them out by force, shut up the colleges, and Joseph sent back again the German professors, who had been before recalled, to appease the popular indignation. But the colleges remained empty; not a student would attend the classes of the Germans. As the volunteer corps had disbanded themselves, in reliance on the Emperor's wish, Trautmansdorff calculated on an easy compulsion of the people, and he called on the Grand Council at Brussels to enforce the decrees of the Emperor. The Council paid no regard to the order.

But, whilst Congress was sitting, the spirit of revolution was every day growing more rife in Massachusetts. Governor Gage had issued writs for a new Assembly, which was to meet at Salem on the 5th of October; but so many of the newly appointed members refused to act, that he issued a proclamation to countermand the writs. The patriots, however, set the proclamation at defiance; and confident, from the resignation of the timid loyalists, that they were in a majority, met at Salem, and formed themselves into a provincial congress, to be joined by such other persons as[214] should be chosen for the consideration of public affairs. They then adjourned to Concord, a town about twenty miles from Boston, and elected John Hancock, the owner of the Liberty sloop, as president. They then adjourned to Cambridge, and constituted Concord the dep?t of arms and ammunition for twelve thousand militia. They enrolled the militia under the name of "Minute Men," or men who were to turn out, at a minute's notice, with musket or rifle. They appointed committees and sub-committees for different purposes, and, in fact, put the province into a perfect attitude of war.When he entered Portugal Massena issued a proclamation, informing the Portuguese that the British were the troublers and mischief-makers of Europe, and that they were there only for their own objects of ambition, and calling on the inhabitants to receive the French as their friends and saviours. Lord Wellington issued a counter-proclamation, remarking that the Portuguese had had too much occasion to learn what sort of friends the French were; that they had learned it by the robbery of their property, their brutality towards the women, and oppression of all classes. He called on them, as the sole means of rescue, to resist to the death; and he ordered them, as the British army retired from Lisbon, to withdraw from their towns and villages, carrying whatever they could with them, so that the enemy might find no means of support. This was part of his great plan; and he assured the Portuguese that those who stayed behind after their magistrates had ordered them to withdraw should receive no assistance from him; and that whoever was found holding any communication with the enemy should be deemed a traitor, and treated accordingly.But the triumph of the insurgents was brief. From Radetzky, triumphant in Italy, from Windischgr?tz at Prague, and from Jellacic in Hungary, came assurances that they were making haste to rally round the emperor's flag, and to cause it to wave in triumph over the vanquished revolution. The last with his Croats moved up by forced marches, availing himself of the Southern Railway, and on the 9th of October he was within two hours' march of Vienna. On the news of the approach of this formidable enemy, consternation seized the Viennese. The reinforcements brought by Windischgr?tz swelled the Imperial forces at Vienna to 70,000 men. In the presence of this host, hanging like an immense thunder-cloud charged with death and ruin over the capital, the citizens relied chiefly upon the Hungarian army. But this was held in check by the Croatian army; and Kossuth, deeming it prudent not to enter into the contest, withdrew his troops within the bounds of Hungarian territory. On the 28th, Prince Windischgr?tz began to bombard the city, and the troops advanced to the assault. The Hungarians at last advanced in aid of the insurgents, but were beaten off, and on the night of the 31st of October the city surrendered, and was in possession of the Imperial troops.

CHAPTER XII. REIGN OF GEORGE III. (continued).

On the 21st of March a Committee which had been appointed early in the Session to inquire into the public income and expenditure, and to suggest what might in future be calculated on as the clear revenue, presented its report through Mr. Grenville, their chairman. On the 29th, Pitt, in a Committee of the whole House, entered upon the subject, and detailed the particulars of a plan to diminish progressively and steadily the further debt. It appeared from the report of the select Committee that there was, at present, a clear surplus revenue of nine hundred thousand pounds sterling, and that this surplus could, without any great additional burthen to the public, be made a million per annum. This he declared to be an unexpected state of financial vigour after so long and unfortunate a war. The plan which he proposed was to pay two hundred and fifty thousand pounds quarterly into the hands of Commissioners appointed for the purpose to purchase stock to that amount, which was under par, or to pay stock above par, and thus cancel so much debt. In addition to this, the annuities for lives, or for limited terms, would gradually cancel another portion. All dividends arising from such purchases were to be similarly applied. Pitt calculated that by this process, and by the compound interest on the savings to the revenue by it, in twenty-eight years no less than four millions sterling per annum of surplus revenue would be similarly applied, or employed for the exigencies of the State. By this halcyon process he contemplated the eventual extinction of that enormous debt, to pay the mere interest of which every nerve had been stretched, and every resource nearly exhausted. In a delightful state of self-gratulation, Pitt declared that he was happy to say that all this was readily accomplishable; that we had nothing to fear, except one thing—the possibility of any Minister in need violating this fund. Had the original Sinking Fund, he said, been kept sacred, we should have had now very little debt. To prevent the recurrence of this fatal facility of Ministers laying their hands on this Fund, he proposed to place it in the hands of Commissioners, and he declared that "no Minister could ever have the confidence to come down to that House and desire the repeal of so beneficial a law, which tended so directly to relieve the people from their burthens." He added that he felt that he had by this measure "raised a firm column, upon which he was proud to flatter himself that his name might be inscribed." He said not a word about the name of Dr. Price being inscribed there, to whom the whole merit of the scheme belonged; he never once mentioned his name at all. On his own part, Dr. Price complained not of this, but that he had submitted three schemes to Pitt, and that he had chosen the worst.TWOPENNY PIECE OF GEORGE III.The first Reform Parliament was dissolved by proclamation on the 30th of December, after an existence of only one year and eleven months. This proceeding was regarded by the Reformers as a sort of political sacrilege; a manifest flying in the face of the people; a clear declaration of an intention to destroy popular rights. But the care bestowed on the registries told strongly in favour of the Conservatives at the English elections. The exertions they made to secure a majority were immense. It was believed at the time that the Carlton Club had expended nearly a million sterling in securing the success of their candidates in every possible way in which money could be made available. In the counties and boroughs the Whigs and Radicals lost about 100 seats, but after all the Conservatives could muster only 302 members; against 356. The contests were unusually numerous and severe, but the Reform Act machinery worked so well that the elections were for the most part conducted in a very orderly manner. In many places the closeness of the poll was remarkable. It was a neck and neck race between the rival candidates. In the metropolitan boroughs the Ministerialists were everywhere defeated. Not one of the sixteen seats in this vast centre of influence could the Government, with all its lavish expenditure, obtain. In some of the provincial towns, however—Bristol, Exeter, Newcastle, Hull, York, Leeds, Halifax, and Warrington—a Tory supplanted a Whig. At Liverpool the contest was intensely exciting. During the last hour of polling were seen in every direction vans, gigs, and flies in rapid motion, and the price of a vote rose from £15 to £25. The result was the return of Lord Sandon, a moderate Tory; Sir Howard Douglas, the other Conservative candidate, being defeated by Mr. Ewart. In Lancashire and Hampshire both the Liberal candidates were defeated. Manchester, Birmingham, Bolton, Sheffield, Preston, and most of the manufacturing towns, returned Liberals. On the whole, the Government had a small majority of the five hundred English members. In Scotland, however, the Reform Act had wrought a complete revolution, and the mass of the electors so long excluded from political power used the privileges they had obtained with great zeal in favour of the party to which they were indebted for their enfranchisement. The whole of the burghs, twenty in number, returned Liberal members. Five of the counties were gained by the Tories and three by the Whigs, where respectively they had formerly failed. Glasgow, whose voice had been neutralised by returning one representative of each party, now returned two Liberals. Serious disturbances took place at Jedburgh when Lord John Scott, the Tory candidate, made his appearance. At Hawick, in the same county, the rioting was still worse. The persons who came to vote for him were spit upon, pelted with stones, and severely struck. In some cases they were thrown into the stream that runs through the town, and subjected to the most shocking indignities, which the judges who afterwards tried the cases declared to be "worse than death itself."

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At the sight of Byng sailing away, the French fired a feu de joie from all their lines, and Blakeney knew that he was left to his fate. He determined still to defend the place, but Richelieu sent in haste to Toulon for fresh reinforcements. The fort was soon surrounded by twenty thousand men, with eighty-five pieces of artillery. In about a week Richelieu carried one of the breaches by storm, though with great loss, and Blakeney capitulated on condition that the English should march out with all the honours of war, and should be conveyed in the French ships to Gibraltar. Thus was Minorca lost to England through the shameful neglect of a miserably incompetent Ministry and a faint-hearted admiral.A new and vigorous campaign was this year carried on in India by General, now Lord, Lake, against the Mahrattas. Holkar had refused to enter into amicable arrangements with the British at the same time as Scindiah and the Rajah of Berar, but had continued to strengthen his army, and now assumed so menacing an attitude, that Lord Lake and General Frazer were sent to bring him to terms or to action. They found him strongly posted near the fortress of Deeg, in the midst of bogs, tanks, and topes, and formidably defended by artillery. On the 13th of November, 1804, General Frazer attacked them, notwithstanding, and defeated them, but was killed himself in the action, and had six hundred and forty-three men killed and wounded; for the fire of round, grape, and chain shot by the Mahrattas was tremendous. On the 17th Lord Lake fell on Holkar's cavalry near Ferruckabad, commanded by Holkar himself, and thoroughly routed it, very nearly making capture of Holkar. He retreated into the Bhurtpore territory, the Rajah of that district having joined him. Lord Lake determined to follow him, and drove him thence, reducing the forts in that country. He had first, however, to make himself master of the fortress of Deeg, and this proved a desperate affair. Still the garrison, consisting of troops partly belonging to Holkar and partly to the Rajah of Bhurtpore, evacuated it on Christmas Day, leaving behind them a great quantity of cannon and ammunition. On the 1st of January, 1805, Lord Lake, accompanied by Colonel Monson, marched into the territory of Bhurtpore, and on the 3rd sat down before its fortress, one of the strongest places in India. On the 18th of January Major-General Smith arrived from Agra with three battalions of Sepoys and a hundred Europeans. But these advantages were counterbalanced by Meer Khan arriving with a strong force from Bundelcund to assist Holkar.These points being all gained, the French were not left long in possession of Vittoria. They were pushed out of the town, and the whole united army joined in chasing them along the road towards Pampeluna. So complete was the rout that, according to Wellington's dispatch, they left behind them all their baggage, ammunition, every gun but one, and a howitzer.

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