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Before he withdrew, the king, who retained his high opinion of his political wisdom, consulted him on the constitution of the new Cabinet. Walpole recommended that the post of First Lord of the Treasury, including the Premiership, should be offered to Pulteney, as the man of the most undoubted talent. If he should refuse it, then that it should be given to Lord Wilmington, who, though by no means capable of directing affairs by his own energy, was of a disposition which might allow them to be conducted by the joint counsel of his abler colleagues. The king consented that the Premiership should be offered to Pulteney, though he hated the man, but only on this condition, that he pledged himself to resist any prosecution of the ex-Minister. Pulteney declined the overture on such a condition, for though he said he had no desire to punish Walpole, he might not be able to defend him from the attacks of his colleagues, for, he observed, "the heads of parties, like those of snakes, are carried on by their tails." The king then sent Newcastle to Pulteney, and it was agreed to allow Wilmington to take the post of First Lord of the Treasury. Carteret thought that this office was more due to him, but Pulteney declared that if Wilmington were not permitted to take the Premiership he would occupy it himself, and Carteret gave way, accepting the place of Secretary of State, with the promise that he should manage in reality the foreign affairs. In[80] all these arrangements the king still took the advice of Walpole, and Newcastle was instructed to again endeavour to draw from Pulteney a promise that he would at least keep himself clear of any prosecution of the late Minister. Pulteney evaded the question by saying that he was not a bloody or revengeful man; that he had always aimed at the destruction of the power of Walpole, and not of his person, but that he still thought he ought not to escape without some censure, and could not engage himself without his party.

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At first the course of affairs was not eventful. On the 7th of May Pitt moved a series of resolutions as the basis of a Bill for reform of Parliament. The main features of this scheme were those of taking measures against bribery and corruption; the disfranchisement of boroughs when a majority of the electors was proved corrupt; and the addition of a hundred new members to the House of Commons, nearly all of them from the counties, except an additional member or two from the metropolis.Sir John F. W. Herschel, son of Sir William Herschel, conversant with almost every branch of science, also devoted himself with remarkable success to the cultivation of sidereal astronomy. He evinced very early a taste for mathematics, but did not devote himself to astronomy until after his father's death in 1822. He then gave himself up to it without reserve. At that period the Southern Hemisphere was to astronomers little more than an unknown region. For the purpose of exploring it, he visited the Cape of Good Hope in 1834, where, making use of his father's method, he continued his observations for more than four years, examining with great care, among other things, the nebul? and double stars. On his return to Europe, he gave the results of his labours to the world in a work of deep interest, and of the highest importance; and the value of the services he had rendered to science was recognised, not only by the scientific world, but by his Sovereign also, who created him a baronet. After he was appointed Master of the Mint, in 1850, he took no further part in practical astronomy, but he published many excellent works, not only on that subject, but on science generally; and he displayed a thorough acquaintance with natural history, the belles-lettres, and the fine arts, and translated a portion of the "Iliad." This great astronomer and mathematician died in May, 1871. Lord Rosse's labours to improve the telescope commenced about 1828, and continued unremittingly until 1844. His masterpiece was of six feet aperture and 54 feet in focal length.[See larger version]

Lord William Bentinck, after having retired to Alicante, once more returned to Tarragona, and made himself master of that place. Attempting further advantages in this country, he was compelled to fall back on Tarragona with considerable loss. He then returned to Sicily, and General Clinton took the command of the forces, and strengthened the defences of the post. At the same time news arrived of the retreat of Buonaparte from Russia and the rising of Germany, which compelled Suchet to disarm his German regiments, and march them into France under guard. He had also to send some of his best French troops to recruit Buonaparte's decimated army, and the Italian ones to resist the Austrians in Italy, who were once more in motion through the Alps. In these circumstances the campaign in the south-east of Spain closed for the year.

The only attempts at reform were in the commissariat and discipline of the army. The soldiers were allowed an extra quantity of bread and meat, and the militia regiments were permitted to have artillery, and to increase their force and improve their staffs. But even these reforms were made unconstitutionally by the dictum of the Ministers, without the authority of Parliament, and occasioned smart but ineffectual remonstrances from the House. Every motion for inquiry or censure was borne down by the Ministerial majority.

On the day after this division a deputation of nearly ninety members of the House of Commons, headed by Lord James Stuart, waited upon Lady Palmerston, and presented her with a full-length portrait of her husband, representing him in evening dress and wearing the ribbon of the Order of the Bath. They requested her Ladyship to accept of that testimony of their high sense of Viscount Palmerston's public and private character, and of the independent policy by which he maintained the honour and interests of the country. What made this presentation singularly opportune was the fact that on the same day a telegraphic despatch had been received from Paris, announcing the settlement of the Greek question. The Government was undoubtedly strengthened by Lord Palmerston's display, at a moment when its fall seemed inevitable.The debate on Mr. Villiers's annual motion, on June 10, produced still further evidences of the decline of Protectionist principles. On that occasion Sir James Graham, who was currently believed to be better acquainted with the feelings of the Premier than any other of the Ministers, said, "He would not deny that it was his opinion, that by a gradual and cautious policy it was expedient to bring our system of Corn Laws into a nearer approximation to those wholesome principles which governed legislation with respect to other industrial departments. But it was his conviction that suddenly and at once to throw open the trade in corn would be inconsistent with the well-being of the community, and would give such a shock to the agricultural interest as would throw many other interests into a state of convulsion. The object of every Government, without distinction of party, for the last twenty years, had been to substitute protecting duties for prohibitory duties, and to reduce gradually protecting duties, where it had them to deal with. He approved of this as a safe principle, and showed that it was the keystone of the policy of Sir Robert Peel.... If they could show him that Free Trade with open ports would produce a more abundant supply to the labourer, they would make him [Sir James] a convert to the doctrine of Free Trade in corn. He confessed that he placed no value on the fixed duty of four shillings lately proposed; it would be of no avail as a protection, whilst it would be liable to all the obloquy of a protecting duty; and he therefore thought that if they got rid of the present Corn Law, they had better assent to a total repeal." Sir Robert Peel spoke more cautiously; but he began by striking away a favourite maxim of his party, in observing that experience proved that the high price of corn was not accompanied by a high rate of wages, and that wages did not vary with the price of corn. He said that he "must proceed, in pursuance of his own policy, to reconcile the gradual approach of our legislation to sound principle on this subject, with the interests which had grown up under a different state of things;" but he admitted that it would be "impossible to maintain any law on the ground that it was intended to keep up rents."

The state of parties in the House of Commons at the opening of the Session of 1837 was so evenly balanced, that Government had a very narrow majority. The number of Whigs was calculated at 150, of Liberals 100, and of Radicals 80, making the total number of Ministerialists 330. On the other side, the Tories counted 139, the Ultra-Tories 100, and the Conservatives, belonging to the new school which Sir[414] Robert Peel had constituted, 80. Parliament was opened by commission on the last day of January. The Royal Speech announced the continuance of friendly relations with Foreign Powers, alluded to the affairs of Spain and Portugal, and directed the attention of Parliament to the state of Lower Canada. It recommended a renewal of the inquiry into the operation of joint-stock banks; also measures for the improvement of civil and criminal jurisprudence, and for giving increased stability to the Established Church. Special attention was directed to the state of Ireland, with reference to its municipal corporations and the collection of tithes, and to "the difficult and pressing question of a legal provision for the poor." Animated debates on the Address took place in both Houses. The Radicals, led on by Mr. Roebuck, strongly condemned the want of earnest purpose on the part of Ministers, whom he represented as "worse than the Tories." He accused them of pandering to popular passions on one side, and to patrician feelings on the other. But, situated as they were, what could they do? Their majority was small and uncertain in the Commons, while the Opposition in the Lords was powerful and determined. Lord Lyndhurst mutilated measure after measure, and then at the end of each Session taunted Ministers with their failure. They were trying to get on with a House of Commons elected under the influence of a Conservative Administration. Of course, Lord Melbourne could have dissolved Parliament and appealed to the country, in the hope of getting a working majority; but the king was decidedly averse from a dissolution; and it would have been an exceedingly unwise course to adopt, at a time when the precarious state of his health plainly indicated that the reign was fast drawing to a close, and its termination would necessitate another general election. It was unreasonable to expect that in consequence of weakness proceeding from such causes a Liberal Cabinet should surrender the reins of power to the Tory party, on the eve of a new reign, and with all the bright prospects that would be opened by the accession of a youthful queen to the Throne. At the close of the Session of 1836 they had, indeed, contemplated resignation, but eventually determined to go on.To acquire popularity, the Rockingham administration made a further restriction on the import of foreign silks; they made a modification of the Cider Bill, but this only extended to taking the duty off cider belonging to private persons, and was regarded as a bribe to the country gentlemen. They induced the House of Commons to pass a resolution on the 25th of April, declaring general warrants illegal, and, if for seizing any member of the House, a breach of privilege. But when they passed this in the form of a bill, the Lords threw it out; and a second bill for the same purpose failed in the Commons. Still, these conciliatory measures did not procure them confidence. Colonel Barré refused them his support; General Conway was sick of his post, and longed to be out of it; and Henley, Lord Northington, as Chancellor, was found actually intriguing against his colleagues. With the Court they grew into no favour, because the king thought them backward in procuring from Parliament suitable provision for his younger brother. It was clear that this could not last. To cap the climax of weakness, the Rockingham Cabinet came to open issue amongst themselves on the plan of government for Canada. Northington informed the king that they could not go on; and the king, on the 7th of July, gave the Chancellor a letter to Pitt, inviting him to form a new Ministry. The same day his Majesty also informed the existing Cabinet of the change which he contemplated. Conway[190] said frankly, it was the best thing the king could do; but Lord Rockingham and the Duke of Newcastle were deeply offended.Tillotson and South were the great authors of sermons of this period. Tillotson was one of the most popular preachers of the time, but may be said to have done more good by his liberal and amiable influence at the head of the Church than by his preaching. There is a solid and genuinely pious character about the sermons of Tillotson which suited the better-trained class of mind of his age, but which would now be deemed rather heavy. South has more life and a more popular style; he was therefore more attractive to the courtiers of his day than to the sober citizens, and he has larded his text with what were then deemed sprightly sallies and dashing phrases, but which are now felt as vulgarisms. Both divines, however, furnished succeeding preachers with much gleaning.

Lord George Murray then said that, as they needs must go, he proposed that they should enter England on the Cumberland side, so as to harass Wade's troops, if he marched across to meet them. The idea was adopted as a great improvement; it was kept a profound secret. Still further to mislead the English, Lord George proposed another plan, which was also adopted—to divide the army into two columns, to march by two different routes, but to unite at Carlisle. One of these was to be led by the prince himself by Kelso, as if intending to march straight into Northumberland; the other to take the direct road through Moffat. It was resolved to leave Lord Strathallan to command in Scotland, to take up his headquarters at Perth, receive the expected succours from France, and all such reinforcements from the Highlands as should come in.Meanwhile, Frederick of Prussia was waging a tremendous war with France, Russia, and Austria. To disable Austria before her allies could come up to her aid, he suddenly, in April, made an eruption into Bohemia. His army threaded the defiles of the mountains of the Bohemian frontier in different divisions, and united before Prague, where Marshal Braun and Prince Charles of Lorraine met him with eighty thousand men, his own forces amounting to about seventy thousand. A most obstinate and sanguinary conflict took place, which continued from nine in the morning till eight at night, in which twenty-four thousand Austrians were killed, wounded, or taken prisoners, and eighteen thousand Prussians. The Prussians were destitute of pontoons to cross the Moldau, or their writers contend that not an Austrian would have escaped. But Marshal Daun advancing out of Moravia with another[128] strong army, to which sixteen thousand of the fugitives from Prague had united themselves, Frederick was compelled to abandon the siege of Prague, and march to near Kolin, where he was thoroughly defeated by Daun, with a loss of thirteen thousand of his bravest troops.

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In the meantime, General Lake had made a march on Delhi, continuing, as he went, his correspondence with M. Perron. As General Lake approached the fortress of Allyghur, the stronghold of Perron, the Frenchman came out with fifteen thousand men, but again retreated into the fortress. This was on the 29th of August. Perron made a strong resistance, and held out till the 4th of September, when the place was stormed by a party headed by Colonel Monson and Major Macleod. The success was somewhat clouded by the surprise[492] and surrender of five companies of General Lake's sepoys, who had been left behind to guard an important position, but with only one gun. This accident, however, was far more than counterbalanced by the withdrawal of Perron from the service of the Mahrattas. He had found so much insubordination amongst his French officers, and saw so clearly that there was no chance of competing with the British, that he had at length closed with General Lake's offers, and, abandoning his command, had obtained a passport for himself, family, suite, and effects, and retired to Lucknow. This being accomplished, General Lake continued his march on Delhi, in order to release Shah Allum, the Mogul, and drew near it on the 11th of September. He there found that the army previously commanded by Perron, but now by Louis Bourquien, nineteen thousand strong, had crossed the Jumna and was posted between him and the city. Bourquien had posted his army on a rising ground, flanked on both sides by swamps, and defended in front by strong entrenchments and about seventy pieces of cannon. As Lake had only four thousand five hundred men, to attack them in that position appeared madness. The British were briskly assailed before they could pitch their tents, and General Lake, feigning a retreat, succeeded in drawing the enemy down from their commanding situation and out of their entrenchments; he then suddenly wheeled, fired a destructive volley into the incautious foe, and followed this rapidly by a charge with the bayonet. The enemy fled, and endeavoured to regain their guns and entrenchments; but Lake did not leave them time—another volley and another bayonet charge completely disorganised them, and they fled for the Jumna and the road by which they had come. The troops of Scindiah, which had held the Mogul prisoner, evacuated the city, and on the 16th General Lake made a visit of state to the aged Shah Allum, who expressed himself as delighted at being delivered from his oppressors and received under the protection of the British.

Meeting of Parliament—Eugene's Visit to England—Ministerial Attacks on the Dutch—Meeting of the Negotiators at Utrecht—The Question of the Spanish Throne—Sham Fighting against the French—Debates on the Peace in Parliament—Withdrawal of the English Troops—Consequent Triumph of the French—Bolingbroke's Visit to Paris—Break-up of the Grand Alliance—More Negotiations with the Pretender—Death of Godolphin—Marlborough retires to the Continent—Signature of the Peace—The Treaty of Commerce—Its Rejection by the Commons—The Whereabouts of the Pretender—Dissolution of Parliament—The General Election—Intrigues with St. Germains—Bolingbroke's Activity—His Friends in Office—The Empire and Spain make Peace—The Pretender declines Overtures to Change his Religion—Illness of the Queen—Tax on Newspapers—Attack upon the "Public Spirit of the Whigs"—Steele expelled the House—Proposals against the Pretender and for bringing over the Electoral Prince—Counter-scheme for bringing over the Pretender—Obstacles to the Scheme—The Queen's Letter to the Elector—Death of the Electress Sophia—The Schism Bill—Its Progress through the Houses—Reward for the Apprehension of the Pretender—Fall of Oxford—Bolingbroke's Jacobite Cabinet—Illness of the Queen—The Whig Coup d'état—Ruin and Desperation of the Jacobites—Death of Anne—Proclamation of George I.The House of Lords did not sit on that day; but on the following day the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord Stanley, Lord Brougham, and the Duke of Wellington gave earnest expression to the feelings of their lordships upon the subject of this national bereavement. The Duke of Wellington in particular, as might be expected, was deeply moved while expressing his great gratification at what had been said as to the character of Sir Robert Peel. He added his testimony as to what he believed to be its strongest feature—his truthfulness. "In all the course of my acquaintance[608] with Sir Robert Peel," said the Duke, "I never knew a man in whose truth and justice I had a more lively confidence; or in whom I saw a more invariable desire to promote the public service. In the whole course of my communication with him, I never knew an instance in which he did not show the strongest attachment to truth; and I never saw in the whole course of my life the smallest reason for suspecting that he stated anything which he did not firmly believe to be the fact." Lord John Russell, who had been absent on the previous day, spoke in the warmest terms of admiration of the late statesman, and avowed his conviction that the harmony which had prevailed for the last two years, and the safety which Great Britain had enjoyed during a period when other nations were visited by the calamity of revolution, had been owing to the course which Sir Robert Peel had thought it his duty to adopt. He concluded by offering, in the name of the Crown, funeral honours similar to those accorded on the death of Pitt or Grattan. But Mr. Goulburn stated that Sir Robert had recorded his desire to be interred in a vault in the parish church of Drayton Bassett without funeral pomp. On the 12th of July, pursuant to a motion made by the Prime Minister, the House of Commons went into committee for the purpose of adopting an address to the Queen, praying her Majesty to order the erection of a monument in Westminster Abbey to the memory of Sir Robert Peel, which was unanimously voted. He stated that the Queen, anxious to show the sense which she entertained of the services rendered to the Crown, had directed him to inform Lady Peel that she desired to bestow upon her the same rank that was bestowed upon the widow of Mr. Canning. Lady Peel answered that her wish was to bear no other name than that by which her husband was known to the world.

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