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But whilst some little freedom from restrictions for Dissenters was thus forced from the Church, a stout battle was going on, and continued to go on through the whole reign, for giving to the Roman Catholics the common privileges of citizens. On account of their faith they were excluded from all civil offices, including seats in Parliament. We shall see that some slight concessions of both civil and military privilege were, in the course of this contest, made to them; but to the end of this reign, and, indeed, until 1829, the full claims of the Catholics continued to be resisted. We can only cursorily note the main facts of this long-protracted struggle. In the early part of the reign a degree of relief was afforded which promised well for the cause of the Catholics; but these promises were not fulfilled. In May, 1778, Sir George Savile brought in a Bill to relieve the Catholics from the provisions of the Act of 1699 for preventing the growth of Popery. By this Act Catholic priests were not allowed to enter England, and, if found there, were at the mercy of informers; Roman Catholics were forbidden to educate their own children, or to have them educated by Papists, under penalty of perpetual imprisonment; and they were not allowed to purchase land, or hold it by descent or bequest; but the next of kin who was a Protestant might take it. Sir George's Act passed both Houses, and by it all Roman Catholics were restored to the privileges of performing divine service, if priests, and of holding land, and educating children, on taking an oath of allegiance, of abjuration of the Pretender, and rejection of the doctrine that it was lawful to murder heretics, was right to keep no faith with them, and that the Pope or any foreign prince had any temporal or civil jurisdiction within these realms. The consequence of this degree of indulgence to the Catholics was the famous Gordon Riots in London and similar ones in Edinburgh, which had the effect of frightening[166] the Government out of further concessions. A similar Bill was passed in Ireland in 1782. The Bill of 1778, however, was confirmed and considerably extended by a Bill brought in by Mr. Mitford, afterwards Lord Redesdale, in 1791, and, after a long discussion, was passed by both Houses in June of that year. This Bill legalised Roman Catholic places of worship, provided they were registered and the doors were not locked during service; it recognised the right of Catholics to keep schools, except in Oxford and Cambridge, and provided that no Protestant children were admitted. It permitted Catholic barristers and attorneys to practise on taking the new oath; and it removed the penalties on peers for coming into the presence of the king; in fact, it left little disability upon Catholics except that of not being eligible for places in Parliament, or any other places under Government, unless they took the old oaths.O'CONNELL RETURNING HOME FROM PRISON. (See p. 532.)

Ulster 2,386,373 £3,320,133 346,517 £170,598

BENARES. (From a Photograph by Frith and Co.)Far greater, however, as the wielder of human sympathies by the recital of wrongs and oppression, was William Godwin in his "Caleb Williams" and "St. Leon." "Caleb Williams" is a model for narrative: lively, clear, simple yet strong, moving in a rapid career—in fine contrast to the slow, wire-drawn progress of the later three-volume novel—till it winds up in an intensity of sensation. Then came Miss Burney, better known as Madame D'Arblay, with her "Evelina," "Cecilia," and "Camilla," returning again to the details of social life. Afterwards came Dr. John Moore with "Zeluco," etc.; Mrs. Inchbald with her charming "Simple Story;" Mrs. Opie with "The Father and Daughter" in 1801, followed by various other novels; and in the same year Miss Edgeworth commenced her splendid career with "Belinda," and in the next year "Castle Rackrent." To this period also belongs Lady Morgan with her "Wild Irish Girl," though she continued to live and write long after this reign.

Cleaves the dark air, and asks no star but thee!But the Nabob of Oude held out new temptations of gain to Hastings. The Rohillas, a tribe of Afghans, had, earlier in the century, descended from their mountains and conquered the territory lying between the Ganges and the mountains to the west of Oude. They had given it the name of Rohilcund. These brave warriors would gladly have been allies of the British, and applied to Sujah Dowlah to bring about such an alliance. Dowlah made fair promises, but he had other views. He hoped, by the assistance of the British, to conquer Rohilcund and add it to Oude. He had no hope that his rabble of the plains could stand against this brave mountain race, and he now artfully stated to Hastings that the Mahrattas were at war with the Rohillas. If they conquered them, they would next attack Oude, and, succeeding there, would descend the Ganges and spread over all Bahar and Bengal. He therefore proposed that the British should assist him to conquer Rohilcund for himself, and add it to Oude. For this service he would pay all the expenses of the campaign, the British army would obtain a rich booty, and at the end he would pay the British Government besides the sum of forty lacs of rupees. Hastings had no cause of quarrel with the Rohillas, but for the proffered reward he at once acceded to the proposal. In April, 1774, an English brigade, under Colonel Champion, invaded Rohilcund, and in a hard-fought field defeated the Rohillas. In the whole of this campaign nothing could be more disgraceful in every way than the conduct of the troops of Oude. They took care to keep behind during the fighting, but to rush forward to the plunder. The Nabob and his troops committed such horrors in plundering and massacreing not only the Rohillas, but the native and peaceful Hindoos, that the British officers and soldiers denounced the proceedings with horror. It was now, however, in vain that Hastings called on the Nabob to restrain his soldiers, for, if he did not plunder, how was he to pay the stipulated forty lacs of rupees? and if he ruined and burnt out the natives, how were they, Hastings asked, to pay any taxes to him as his new subjects? All this was disgraceful enough, but this was not all. Shah Allum now appeared upon the scene, and produced a contract between[326] himself and the Nabob, which had been made unknown to Hastings, by which the Nabob of Oude stipulated that, on condition of the Mogul advancing against the Rohillas from the south of Delhi, he should receive a large share of the conquered territory and the plunder. The Nabob now refused to fulfil the agreement, on the plea that the Mogul ought to have come and fought, and Hastings sanctioned that view of the case, and returned to Calcutta with his ill-gotten booty.

The year 1759 is one of the most glorious in our annals. Pitt, by his own spirit, and by selecting brave and able men, had infused such ardour into our service, that our officers no longer seemed the same men. Still, France, stung by the reverses and insults which we had heaped on her, but especially by our ravages of her coast, contemplated a retaliatory descent on ours. Gunboats were accumulated at Le Havre and other ports, and fleets were kept ready at Toulon and Brest, as well as a squadron at Dunkirk, under Admiral Thurot, a brave seaman. The king sent a message to the Commons, demanding the calling out of the militia; and[132] the twenty-four thousand French prisoners who had been left in great destitution by their own Government on our hands, were marched into the interior of the country. In July Admiral Rodney anchored in the roads of Le Havre, bombarded the town, set it on fire in several places, and destroyed many of the gunboats. In August the Toulon fleet, commanded by Admiral De la Clue, on its way to operate against our coast, was pursued by Boscawen, who had recently returned from America, and overtaken off Lagos, in Algarve. De la Clue was mortally wounded, and his ship—reckoned the finest in the French navy—and three others were taken, whilst a fifth was run aground and burnt. At the same time the blockades of Dunkirk and Brest were vigorously kept up.

VIRGINIA WATER.

The coarse manners of the gentlemen were gradually yielding to refining influences, but the society of ladies amongst the upper classes was generally neglected. Husbands spent their days in hunting or other masculine occupations, and their evenings in dining and drinking; the dinner party, which commenced at seven, not breaking up before one in the morning. Four- or five-, or even six-bottle men were not uncommon among the nobility. Lord Eldon and his brother Lord Stowell used to say that they had drunk more bad port than any two men in England. The Italian Opera was then the greatest attraction. It became[441] less exclusive in its arrangements when the Opera House was under the management of Mr. Waters; but the strictest etiquette was still kept up with regard to the dress of gentlemen, who were only admitted with knee-buckles, ruffles, and chapeaux bras. If there happened to be a Drawing Room, the ladies as well as the gentlemen would come to the opera in their Court dresses.

MARSHAL NEY.On the 8th of February was fought the great and decisive battle of Sobraon, the name of the tête du pont, at the entrenched camp of the Sikhs, where all the forces of the enemy were now concentrated. The camps extended along both sides of the river, and were defended by 130 pieces of artillery, of which nearly half were of heavy calibre, and which were all served by excellent gunners. The British troops formed a vast semicircle, each end of which touched the river, the village of Sobraon being in the centre, where the enemy were defended by a triple line of works, one within another, flanked by the most formidable redoubts. The battle commenced by the discharge of artillery on both sides, which played with terrific force for three hours. After this the British guns went up at a gallop till they came within 300 yards of the works, where it was intended the assault should be delivered. Halting there, they poured a concentrated fire upon the position for some time. After this the assault was made by the infantry, running. The regiment which led the way was the 10th, supported by the 53rd Queen's and the 43rd and 59th Native Infantry. They were repulsed with dreadful slaughter. The post of honour and of danger was now taken by the Ghoorkas. A desperate struggle with the bayonet ensued; the Sikhs were overpowered by the brigades of Stacey and Wilkinson; but, as the fire of the enemy was now concentrated upon this point, the brave assailants were in danger of being overwhelmed and destroyed. The British Commander-in-Chief seeing this, sent forward the brigades of Ashburnham, as well as Smith's division, against the right of the enemy, while his artillery played furiously upon their whole line. The Sikhs fought with no less valour and determination than the British. Not one of their gunners flinched till he was struck down at his post. Into every gap opened by the artillery they rushed with desperate resolution, repelling the assaulting columns of the British. At length the cavalry, which has so often decided the fate of the day in great battles, were instrumental in achieving the victory. The Sappers and Miners having succeeded in opening a passage through which the horses could enter in single file, the 3rd Queen's Dragoons, under Sir Joseph Thackwell, got inside the works, quickly formed, and galloping along in the rear of the batteries, cut down the gunners as they passed. General Gough promptly followed up this advantage by ordering forward the whole three divisions of the centre and the right. It was then that the fighting may be said to have commenced in earnest. The struggle was long, bloody, and relentless. No quarter was given or asked; the Sikhs fighting like men for whom death had no terrors, and for whom death in battle was the happiest as well as the most glorious exit from life. But they encountered men with hearts as stout and stronger muscle, and they were at length gradually forced back upon the river by the irresistible British bayonet. The bridge at length gave way under the enormous weight, and thousands were precipitated into the water and drowned. But even in the midst of this catastrophe the drowning fanatics would accept no mercy from the Feringhees. Our losses amounted to 320 killed and 2,063 wounded. Of the European officers, thirteen were killed and 101 wounded. The loss of the Sikhs in the battle of Sobraon was estimated at from 10,000 to 13,000 men, the greater number being shot down or drowned in the attempt to cross the bridge. They left in the hands of the victors sixty-seven guns, 200 camel swivels, nineteen standards, and a great quantity of ammunition.The question of the Canadian boundary had been an open sore for more than half a century. Nominally settled by the treaty of 1783, it had remained in dispute, because that arrangement had been drawn up on defective knowledge. Thus the river St. Croix was fixed as the frontier on the Atlantic sea-board, but there were five or six rivers St. Croix, and at another point a ridge of hills that was not in existence was fixed upon as the dividing line. Numerous diplomatic efforts were made to settle the difficulty; finally it was referred to the King of the Netherlands, who made an award in 1831 which was rejected by the United States. The question became of increasing importance as the population grew thicker. Thus, in 1837, the State of Maine decided on including some of the inhabitants of the disputed territory in its census, but its officer, Mr. Greely, was promptly arrested by the authorities of New Brunswick and thrust into prison. Here was a serious matter, and a still greater source of irritation was the McLeod affair. McLeod was a Canadian who had been a participator in the destruction of the Caroline. Unfortunately his tongue got the better of his prudence during a visit to New York in 1840, and he openly boasted his share in the deed. He was arrested, put into prison, and charged with murder, nor could Lord Palmerston's strenuous representations obtain his release. At one time it seemed as if war was imminent between England and the United States, but, with the acquittal of McLeod, one reason for fighting disappeared.

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On the 5th of December Parliament met, and the king, though not yet able to announce the signing of the provisional treaty with France and America, intimated pretty plainly the approach of that fact. Indeed, Lord Shelburne had addressed a letter to the Lord Mayor of London eight days before the articles with America were actually signed, that this event was so near at hand that Parliament would be prorogued from the time fixed for its meeting, the 26th of November, to the 5th of December. It was, indeed, hoped that by that day the preliminaries with France and Spain would be signed too. This not being so, the king could only declare that conclusion as all but certain.

Napoleon's Desire for an Heir—The Archduchess Maria Louisa—The Divorce determined upon—The Marriage—Napoleon quarrels with his Family—Abdication of Louis Buonaparte—Napoleon's bloated Empire—Affairs of Sweden—Choice of Bernadotte as King—He forms an Alliance with Russia and Britain—His Breach with Napoleon—Insanity of George III.—Preparations for a Regency—Restrictions on the Power of the Regent—Futile Negotiations of the Prince of Wales with Grey and Grenville—Perceval continued in Power—The King's Speech—Reinstatement of the Duke of York—The Currency Question—Its Effect on the Continent—Wellington's Difficulties—Massena's Retreat—His Defeat at Sabugal—Surrender of Badajoz to the French—Battle of Barrosa—Wellington and Massena—Battles of Fuentes d'Onoro and Albuera—Soult's Retreat—End of the Campaign—Our Naval Supremacy continues—Birth of an Heir to Napoleon—Elements of Resistance to his Despotism—Session of 1812—Discussions on the Civil List—Bankes's Bill—Assassination of Perceval—Renewed Overtures to Grey and Grenville—Riots in the Manufacturing Districts—Wellington's Preparations—Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz—Wellington and Marmont—Battle of Salamanca—Wellington enters Madrid—Victor's Retreat—Incapacity of the Spaniards—The Sicilian Expedition—Wellington's Retreat—Its Difficulties—Wellington's Defence of his Tactics—A Pause in the War.The persons now indicted were Thomas Muir and the Rev. Thomas Fyshe Palmer. Muir was a young advocate, only eight-and-twenty years of age. He was brought to trial at Edinburgh, on the 30th of August, 1793. He was charged with inciting people to read the works of Paine, and "A Dialogue between the Governors and the Governed," and with having caused to be received and answered, by the Convention of Delegates, a seditious address from the Society of United Irishmen in Dublin, to the Delegates for promoting Reform in Scotland. He was also charged with having absconded from the pursuit of justice, and with having been over to France, and with having returned in a clandestine manner by way of Ireland. To these charges Muir replied that he had gone to France after publicly avowing his object, both in Edinburgh and London, that object being to endeavour to persuade the French Convention not to execute Louis XVI.; that when in Paris he urged this both on the ground of humanity and good policy, as tending to make constitutional reform easier, as well as the keeping of peace with England; that the sudden declaration of hostilities whilst there had warned him to return, but had closed up the direct way; that that was the reason of his taking a vessel from Havre to Ireland; that he had, however, returned publicly, and surrendered himself for trial at the earliest opportunity.

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