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Carleton being, by the beginning of June, reinforced by still more troops from England, determined to follow the Americans. They had reached the Three Rivers, about midway between Quebec and Montreal, and about thirty miles from the American headquarters on the Sorel, when General Sullivan, who had succeeded Thomas, sent two thousand men under General Thompson. They got across the river and hoped to surprise the English; but it was daylight before they drew near the Three Rivers. Landing with confusion, they sought a place where they could form and defend themselves; but they found themselves entangled in a labyrinth of streams and morasses. Then they were attacked, front and rear, by Generals Fraser and Nesbit. In the suddenness of the surprise, no precaution had been taken to secure or destroy their boats; the remainder of the Americans, therefore, getting into them, pulled away and crossed. Sullivan, who had hastened to support them, now, accompanied by St. Clair, made the best of his way back to Fort Chambly. Carleton pursued, but coming to the Sorel, instead of sailing up it, by which he might have reached Chambly nearly a day earlier than Sullivan, with a strange neglect he continued lying at the mouth of the river for a couple of days. Had he not done this, Arnold would have been intercepted at Montreal, and Ticonderoga, now defenceless, would have fallen into his hands. By this false step much damage to the king's cause ensued. Carleton, however, determined to seek out Arnold himself, and sent on General Burgoyne in pursuit of Sullivan. Burgoyne made quick pursuit; but the Americans were too nimble for both himself and Carleton. Arnold hastily evacuated Montreal, and, crossing the river, joined Sullivan at St. John's, on the Sorel. There Sullivan proposed to make a stand, but his troops would not support him, for the whole army was in a state of insubordination. Burgoyne marched rapidly after them; but, on reaching the head of the Sorel, he found they had escaped him by embarking on the lake. Sullivan and Arnold had encamped on the Isle aux Noix, a swampy place, where their men perished, many of them, of fever, and Burgoyne was obliged to satisfy himself with the thought that they were driven out of Canada.

After the Painting by BIRKET FOSTER, R.W.S.

"I well know that there are those upon whom such considerations as these to which I have been adverting will make but a faint impression. Their answer to all such appeals is the short, in their opinion the conclusive, declaration—'The Protestant Constitution in Church and State must be maintained at all hazards, and by any means; the maintenance of it is a question of principle, and every concession or compromise is the sacrifice of principle to a low and vulgar expediency.' This is easily said; but how was Ireland to be governed? How was the Protestant Constitution in Church and State to be maintained in that part of the empire? Again I can anticipate the reply—'By the overwhelming sense of the people of Great Britain; by the application, if necessary, of physical force for the maintenance of authority; by the employment of the organised strength of Government, the police and the military, to enforce obedience to the law.'"

Gustavus Adolphus IV. of Sweden—with all the military ardour of Charles XII., but without his military talent; with all the chivalry of an ancient knight, but at the head of a kingdom diminished and impoverished—had resisted Buonaparte as proudly as if he were monarch of a nation of the first magnitude. He refused to fawn on Napoleon; he did not hesitate to denounce him as the curse of all Europe. He was the only king in Europe, except that of Great Britain, who withstood the marauder. He was at peace with Great Britain, but Alexander of Russia, who had for his own purposes made an alliance with Napoleon, called on him to shut out the British vessels from the Baltic. Gustavus indignantly refused, though he was at the same time threatened with invasion by France, whose troops, under Bernadotte, already occupied Denmark. At once he found Finland invaded by sixty thousand Russians, without any previous declaration of war. Finland was lost, and Alexander saw his treachery rewarded with the possession of a country larger than Great Britain, and with the whole eastern coast of the Baltic, from Tornea to Memel; the ?land Isles were also conquered and appropriated at this time. The unfortunate Gustavus, whose high honour and integrity of principle stood in noble contrast to those of most of the crowned heads of Europe, was not only deposed for his misfortunes, but his line deprived of the crown for ever. This took place in March, 1809. The unfortunate monarch was long confined in the castle of Gripsholm, where he was said to have been visited by the apparition of King Eric XIV. He was then permitted to retire into Germany, where, disdainfully refusing a pension, he divorced his wife, the sister of the Empress of Russia, assumed the name of Colonel Gustavson, and went, in proud poverty, to live in Switzerland. These events led to the last of Sweden's great transactions on the field of Europe, and by far the most extraordinary of all.

Progress was again shown in a speech of Lord John Russell in the debate on the condition of the people on the 26th of May. Still clinging to his idea of a fixed duty, he said, "If I had a proposition to make, it would not be the 8s. duty which was proposed in 1841." An exclamation of "How much, then?" from Sir James Graham drew forth the further remark—"No one, I suppose, would propose any duty that would be less than 4s.; and 4s., 5s., or 6s., if I had a proposition to make, would be the duty that I should propose." The awkward anomalies of Sir Robert Peel's position were the frequent subject of the attacks of his enemies at this time; but the country felt that there was a littleness in the Whig leader's paltry and vacillating style of dealing with a great question, beside which, at least, the position of the Minister exhibited a favourable contrast.

Burgoyne was now in a condition which demanded all the talents of a great general. His forces were heavily reduced, those of the enemy much increased, and he was amongst bogs and wildernesses, which Barrington and Barré had from the first declared would be fatal to any army. He had sent express after express to Howe to urge a movement in co-operation, but no news of it arrived, and every day he was becoming more and more cut off from advance or retreat. Whilst these circumstances were operating against him, Burgoyne collected his artillery and provisions for about a month, and, forming a bridge of boats, passed his army, on the 13th and 14th of September, over the Hudson, and encamped on the heights and plains of Saratoga. Just at this juncture Schuyler had been superseded by his successor Gates, yet he himself remained to give his assistance in the campaign. The day after Gates assumed the command, Morgan had marched in with his rifle corps, five hundred strong, and Major Dearborn with two hundred and fifty other picked men. Arnold, too, had returned from pursuit of St. Leger, with two thousand men. The Americans numbered, with militia continually flocking in, nearly eight thousand, whilst Burgoyne's force did not exceed half that number. To approach the Americans it was necessary to cross the low ground, seamed with watercourses and rugged with scrub and stones, and to lay down bridges and causeways. This being completed, on the 19th the British army took position at Bemus's Heights in front of the American left. Gates, stimulated by the presence of Arnold, began the attack by sending out a detachment to turn Burgoyne's right flank, but they soon perceived the covering division of Fraser, and retreated. Gates then put Arnold at the head of a still stronger detachment to fall directly on Burgoyne's position, and a severe fight commenced about three o'clock in the afternoon, which lasted until sunset. Arnold made the most impetuous[243] assaults on the British line to break it, but everywhere in vain, although the whole weight of the attack fell on three or four of our regiments, the rest being posted on some hills, and the Germans on the left at a greater distance. Whenever they advanced into the open field, the fire of the American marksmen from their concealment drove them back in disorder; but whenever the Americans ventured out, the British rushed forward and committed havoc amongst them; so the contest continued till night. The British remained in the field and claimed the victory; but it was a victory severely won, and far from decisive. The losses on both sides had been from five hundred to six hundred killed and wounded.The very day that Lord Cornwallis had marched from Wilmington, Lord Rawdon was bravely fighting with Greene at Hobkirk's Hill, in South Carolina. Greene had not ventured to attack Lord Cornwallis; but he thought he might, by diverting his course into South Carolina, induce him to follow, and thus leave exposed all North Carolina to Wayne and Lafayette, as well as all his important posts in the upper part of North Carolina. Greene failed to draw after him Cornwallis, but he sat down at Hobkirk's Hill, about two miles from the outposts of Lord Rawdon's camp at Camden. Lord Rawdon, hearing that Greene was waiting to be reinforced by troops under Lieutenant-Colonel Lee, did not give him time for that. He marched out of Camden, at nine o'clock in the morning, on the 25th of April, and quietly making a circuit through some woods, he came upon Greene's flank, and drove in his pickets before he was perceived. Startled from his repose, Greene sought to return the surprise by sending Colonel Washington, a nephew of the American commander-in-chief, with a body of cavalry, to fall on Rawdon's rear, as he was passing up the hill. But Rawdon was aware of this man?uvre, and prevented it, still pressing up Hobkirk's Hill, in the face of the artillery, charged with grape-shot. Greene's militia fled[281] with all speed, and Rawdon stood triumphant on the summit of the hill, in the centre of Greene's camp. But the success was not followed up, owing to the insufficiency of the English troops, and Greene was able, without risking another engagement, to compel Rawdon to retire to Charleston. The American general encamped on the Santee Hills until September, when he descended on Colonel Stewart, who had succeeded Rawdon. After a severe struggle at Eutaw Springs on the 8th of September, Stewart retired to Charleston Neck, and all Georgia and South Carolina were lost to the English, with the exception of Charleston and Savannah. Meanwhile, Lord Cornwallis only allowed himself three days' rest at Presburg; he marched thence, on the 24th of May, in quest of Lafayette, who was encamped on the James River. Cornwallis crossed that river at Westover, about thirty miles below Lafayette's camp, and that nimble officer retreated in all haste to join General Wayne, who was marching through Maryland with a small force of eight hundred Pennsylvanians. Lafayette and Wayne retreated up the James River, and Cornwallis pursued his march to Portsmouth. There he received an order from Sir Henry Clinton, desiring him to look out for a position where he could fortify himself, and at the same time protect such shipping as might be sent to the Chesapeake to prevent the entrance of the French. Cornwallis fixed on York Town, on York River, and there, and at Gloucester, in its vicinity, he was settled with his troops by the 22nd of August. Sir Henry Clinton wrote, intimating that he should probably send more troops to the Chesapeake, as there was a probability that Washington and Rochambeau, giving up the attack of New York, would make a united descent on York Town. Wayne and Lafayette were already continually increasing their forces above York Town; but any such reinforcements by Sir Henry were prevented by the entrance of the Comte de Grasse, with twenty-eight sail of the line and several frigates, into the Chesapeake, having on board three thousand two hundred troops, which he had brought from the West Indies. These troops he landed, and sent, under the Marquis de St Simon, to join Lafayette, much to his delight.

When the news of this distractedly hopeless condition of the Council in Calcutta reached London, Lord North called upon the Court of Directors to send up to the Crown an address for the recall of Hastings, without which, according to the new Indian Act, he could not be removed till the end of his five years. The Directors put the matter to the vote, and the address was negatived by a single vote. The minority then appealed to the Court of Proprietors, at the general election in the spring of 1776, but there it was negatived by ballot by a majority of one hundred, notwithstanding that all the Court party and Parliamentary Ministerialists who had votes attended to overthrow him. This defeat so enraged Lord North that he resolved to pass a special Bill for the removal of the Governor-General. This alarmed Colonel Maclean, a friend of Hastings, to whom he had written, on the 27th of March.[328] 1775, desiring him, in his disgust with the conduct of Francis, Clavering, and Monson, and the support of them by the Directors, to tender his resignation. Thinking better of it, however, he had, on the 18th of the following May, written to him, recalling the proposal of resignation. But Maclean, to save his friend from a Parliamentary dismissal, which he apprehended, now handed the letter containing the resignation to the Directors. Delighted to be thus liberated from their embarrassment, the Directors accepted the resignation at once, and elected Mr. Edward Wheler to the vacant place in the Council.[See larger version]Sir Robert Peel then rose. He said that the immediate cause which had led to the dissolution of the Government was "that great and mysterious calamity which caused a lamentable failure in an article of food on which great numbers of the people in this part of the United Kingdom and still larger numbers in the sister kingdom depended mainly for their subsistence." But he added, "I will not assign to that cause too much weight. I will not withhold the homage which is due to the progress of reason, and to truth, by denying that my opinions on the subject of Protection have undergone a change." This announcement was received in profound silence from the Ministerial benches, but with triumphant cheering from the Opposition. Protection, he said, was not a labourer's question. High prices did not produce high wages, nor vice versa. In the last three years, with low prices and abundance of food, wages were comparatively high, and labour was in demand. In the three years preceding, with high[522] prices and scarcity, wages were low and employment was scarce. Experience thus proved that wages were ruled by abundance of capital and demand for labour, and did not vary with the price of provisions. Again, increased freedom of trade was favourable to the prosperity of our commerce. In three scarce and dear years, namely, from 1839 to 1841, our foreign exports fell off from £53,000,000 in value to £47,000,000. But in three years of reduction of duties and low prices, namely, from 1842 to 1844, the value of our exports rose from £47,000,000 to £58,000,000. Even deducting the amount of the China trade, a similar result was shown. Nor was the reduction in the customs duties unfavourable to the revenue. In 1842 there was an estimated loss of £1,500,000; in 1843 a smaller one of £273,000; but in 1845 there was a reduction at an estimated loss to the revenue of no less than £2,500,000. The total amount of the various reductions effected in three years exceeded £4,000,000; and many of the duties were totally abolished; the loss, therefore, not being compensated by any increased consumption. Had £4,000,000 been lost to the revenue? He believed that on the 5th of April next the revenue would be found to be more buoyant than ever. Sir Robert Peel referred to other proofs of prosperity resulting from reduced import duties, and then adverted to his own position, and declared that "he would not hold office on a servile tenure."

Various inquiries had been instituted from time to time by royal commissions and Parliamentary committees into the state of education in Ireland. One commission, appointed in 1806, laboured for six years, and published fourteen reports. It included the Primate, two bishops, the Provost of Trinity College, and Mr. R. Lovell Edgeworth. They recommended a system in which the children of all denominations should be educated together, without interfering with the peculiar tenets of any; and that there should be a Board of Commissioners, with extensive powers, to carry out the plan. Subsequent commissions and committees adopted the same principle of united secular education, particularly a select committee of the House of Commons appointed in 1824. These important reports prepared the way for Mr. Stanley's plan, which he announced in the House of Commons in July, 1832. His speech on that occasion showed that he had thoroughly mastered the difficult question which he undertook to elucidate. It was remarkable for the clearness of its statements, the power of its arguments, and for the eloquence with which it enforced sound and comprehensive principles. Mr. Spring-Rice having moved that a sum of £30,000 be granted for enabling the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland to assist in the education of the people, and the House having agreed to the motion without a division, Mr. Stanley, in the following month, wrote a letter to the Duke of Leinster, in which he explained "the plan of national education," which afterwards bore his name. The first Commissioners were the Duke of Leinster, Archbishop Whately, Archbishop Murray, the Rev. Dr. Sadleir, Rev. James Carlile (Presbyterian), A. R. Blake (Chief Remembrancer, a Roman Catholic), and Robert Holmes, a Unitarian barrister. Mr. Carlile, minister of Mary's Abbey congregation in Dublin, was the only paid commissioner, and to him, during seven years, was committed a principal share in working the system. He selected the Scripture lessons, directed the compilation of the schoolbooks, aided in obtaining the recognition of parental rights, apart from clerical authority; in arranging the machinery and putting it in working order.Opinions of the Irish Government on the Catholic Question—Renewal of the Catholic Claims by Burdett—Vesey Fitzgerald accepts the Board of Trade—O'Connell opposes him for Clare—His Reputation—His Backers—Father Murphy's Speech—O'Connell to the Front—The Nomination—O'Connell's Speech—The Election—Return of O'Connell—Anglesey's Precautions—Peel's Reflections on the Clare Election—Anglesey describes the State of Ireland—Peel wishes to resign—The Duke wavers—Anglesey urges Concession—Insurrection probable—Wellington determines on Retreat—Why he and Peel did not resign—The Viceroy's Opinion—Military Organisation of the Peasantry—The Brunswick Clubs—Perplexity of the Government—O'Connell's "Moral Force"—The Liberator Clubs—Dawson's Speech—"No Popery" in England—The Morpeth Banquet—The Leinster Declaration—Wellington's Letter to Dr. Curtis—Anglesey's Correspondence with O'Connell—The Premier Censures the Viceroy—Anglesey dismissed—He is succeeded by Northumberland—Difficulties with the King and the English Bishops—Peel determines to remain—His Views communicated to the King—The King yields—Opening of the Session—Peel defeated at Oxford University—Suppression of the Catholic Association—The Announcement in the King's Speech—Peel introduces the Relief Bill—Arguments of the Opposition—The Bill passes the Commons—The Duke's Speech—It passes the Lords by large Majorities—The King withdraws his Consent—He again yields—His Communication to Eldon—Numbers of the Catholics in Britain—The Duke's Duel with Winchilsea—Bill for the disfranchisement of "the Forties"—O'Connell presents himself to be sworn—He refuses to take the Oaths—He is heard at the Bar—Fresh Election for Clare—O'Connell's new Agitation—The Roman Catholic Hierarchy—Riots in the Manufacturing Districts—Attempt to mitigate the Game Laws—Affairs of Portugal—Negotiations with the Canningites—Pitched Battles in Ireland—Meeting of Parliament—Debate on the Address—Burdett's Attack on Wellington—The Opposition proposes Retrenchments—The Duke's Economies—Prosecution of Mr. Alexander—Illness and Death of George IV.

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Amid this melancholy manifestation of a convicted, yet dogged, treason against the people on the part of their rulers, many motions for reform and improvements in our laws were brought forward. On the part of Mr. Sturges Bourne, a committee brought in a report recommending three Bills for the improvement of the Poor Law: one for the establishment of select vestries, one for a general reform of the Poor Law, and one for revising the Law of Settlement. On the part of Henry Brougham, a Bill was introduced for appointment of commissioners to inquire into the condition of the charities in England for the education of the poor. There were many attempts to reform the Criminal Law, in which Sir Samuel Romilly especially exerted himself. One of these was to take away the penalty of death from the offence of stealing from a shop to the value of five shillings, another was to prevent arrests for libel before indictment was found, and another, by Sir James Mackintosh, to inquire into the forgery of Bank of England notes. There was a Bill brought in by Mr. Wynn to amend the Election Laws; and one for alterations in the Law of Tithes, by Mr. Curwen; another by Sir Robert Peel, father of the great statesman, for limiting the hours of labour in cotton and other factories; a Bill to amend the Law of Bankruptcy, and a Bill to amend the Copyright Act, by Sir Egerton Brydges; and finally a Bill for Parliamentary Reform, introduced by Sir Francis Burdett, and supported by Lord Cochrane, subsequently the Earl of Dundonald. All of these were thrown out, except the select Vestries Bill, Brougham's Bill to inquire into the public charities, a Bill for rewarding apprehenders of highway robbers and other offenders, and a Bill granting a million of money to build new churches. The cause of Reform found little encouragement from the Parliamentary majorities of the Sidmouths, Liverpools, and Castlereaghs. This list of rejections of projects of reform was far from complete; a long succession followed. The Scots came with a vigorous demand, made on their behalf by Lord Archibald Hamilton, for a sweeping reform of their burghs. Municipal reform was equally needed, both in Scotland and England. The whole system was flagrantly corrupt. Many boroughs were sinking into bankruptcy; and the elections of their officers were conducted on the most arbitrary and exclusive principles. The Scots had agitated this question before the outbreak of the French Revolution, but that and the great war issuing out of it had swamped the agitation altogether. It was now revived, but only to meet with a defeat like a score of other measures quite as needful. Lord Archibald Hamilton asked for the abolition of the Scottish Commissary Courts in conformity with the recommendation of a commission of inquiry in 1808; General Thornton called for the repeal of certain religious declarations to be made on taking office; and Dr. Phillimore for amendment of the Marriage Act of 1753; and numerous demands for the repeal of taxes of one kind or another all met the same fate of refusal.

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