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[See larger version]During this time Britain was suffering severely from the effects of the war. The nation was indignant under the disgrace of the complete defeat of its army on the Continent, at the defection of those very Allies who had been so profusely subsidised, at the perfidy by which these despot Powers had made Britain the efficient party in the dismemberment of Poland, and at the heavy taxes imposed in consequence. Political meetings were held in most large towns and in the metropolis, expressing the most decided disapprobation of the policy of Ministers and at the refusal of all reforms. At the end of June a monster meeting had been held in St. George's Fields, and on the 26th of October, another, of fifty thousand people, near Copenhagen House, at which the lately prosecuted but acquitted agitators, Thelwall, Gale Jones, and others, were the speakers. The numbers and tone of these meetings, which were accompanied with loud cries of "Bread! Bread!" and "Down with Pitt!" greatly alarmed Government, and there was a summons of Parliament at the unusually early date of October 29th, only three days after the meeting in Copenhagen Fields. On going to the House to open the session, the king—who had become very unpopular from his eager support of the war, and his going about saying, "The French won't leave a single crowned head in Europe!"—was shot at with an air-gun in Margaret Street, opposite to the Ordnance Office, the ball from which passed through the windows of the carriage, between his Majesty and the Earl of Westmoreland. The king on entering the House, exclaimed to the Lord Chancellor, "My lord, I have been shot at!" As the king returned, he was again furiously hissed; there was the same vociferous shouting of "Bread! Bread!" and "No Pitt!" Stones were thrown at the royal carriage; and, in the haste and confusion to escape into the palace of St. James's, one of the royal grooms was thrown to the ground, and had his thigh broken. The king got into a private coach to regain Buckingham House, where his family was; but he was recognised, and pursued by the same cries of "Bread! Bread!" and "Peace!" That evening the king, who had[449] behaved throughout with great courage, accompanied the queen and three of his daughters to Covent Garden Theatre, where he was received with zealous acclamations; the actors sang "God save the king!" three times over. Some of the people in the gallery were, however, pretty vehement in their hisses, but were attacked and turned out.The approaching coronation of the Queen became, as the season advanced, the prevailing topic of conversation in all circles. The feeling excited by it was so strong, so deep, and so widespread, that a Radical journal pronounced the people to be "coronation mad." The enthusiasm was not confined to the United Kingdom. The contagion was carried to the Continent, and foreigners of various ranks, from all nations, flocked into the metropolis to behold the inauguration of the maiden monarch of the British Empire. There were, however, some dissentients, whose objections disturbed the current of public feeling. As soon as it was understood that, on the score of economy, the time-honoured custom of having the coronation banquet in Westminster Hall would not be observed, the Marquis of Londonderry and others zealously exerted themselves to avert the innovation, but their efforts were fruitless. The coronation took place on the 28th of June. The only novel feature of importance consisted in the substitution of a procession through the streets for a banquet in Westminster Hall. It was certainly an improvement, for it afforded the people an opportunity of enjoying the ceremony. Persons of all ages, ranks, and conditions, embodied visibly in one animated and exalted whole, exultant and joyful, came forth to greet the youthful Sovereign. All the houses in the line of march poured forth their occupants to the windows and balconies. The behaviour of the enormous multitude which lined the streets, and afterwards spread over the metropolis, was admirable. The utmost eagerness was shown to furnish all the accommodation for spectators that the space would allow, and there was scarcely a house or a vacant spot along the whole line, from Hyde Park Corner to the Abbey, that was not occupied with galleries or scaffolding. At dawn the population were astir, roused by a salvo of artillery from the Tower, and towards six o'clock chains of vehicles, of all sorts and sizes, stretched along the leading thoroughfares; while streams of pedestrians, in holiday attire, poured in continuously, so that the suburbs seemed to empty themselves of all their inhabitants at once. At ten o'clock the head of the procession moved from the palace. When the Queen stepped into the State coach a salute was fired from the guns ranged in the enclosure, the bands struck up the National Anthem, a new royal standard was hoisted on the Marble Arch, and the multitude broke forth in loud and hearty cheers. The foreign ambassadors extraordinary looked superb in their new carriages and splendid uniforms. Among them shone conspicuous the state coach of Marshal Soult, and the old hero was received with vast enthusiasm by the populace.

[162]The miscellaneous literature of this reign was immense, consisting of travels, biographies, essays on all subjects, and treatises in every department of science and letters. Prominent amongst these are the "Letters of Junius," who, in the early part of the reign, kept the leading statesmen, judges, and the king himself, in terror by the relentlessness of his scarifying criticisms. These letters, which are the perfection of political writing, have been ascribed to many authors, but most generally to Sir Philip Francis; though it is hard to speak on the subject with certainty. The writings of Dr. Johnson furnish many items to this department. His "Dictionary of the English Language" (1755) was a gigantic labour; his "Lives of the Poets," his "Tour to the Western Isles," would of themselves have made a reputation, had he never written his poetry, his periodical essays, or edited Shakespeare. Burke, too, besides his Speeches, added largely to general literature. He wrote his "Inquiry into the Origin of the Sublime and Beautiful;" assisted in the composition of the Annual Register for several years; and, in 1790, published his most famous work, "Reflections on the French Revolution." Besides these he wrote political letters and essays. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu produced her celebrated Letters about the middle of the century, and many other women were popular writers at this period: Sophia and Harriett Lee, Anna Maria Williams, Mrs. Lennox, Mrs. Catherine Talbot, Elizabeth Carter, the translator of Epictetus, Mrs. Montagu, an essayist on Shakespeare, Mrs. Chapone, author of "Letters on the Improvement of the Mind," Mrs. Barbauld, and Mrs. Charlotte Smith. In theology, metaphysics, and mental philosophy, the earlier portion of the reign was rich. In rapid succession appeared Reid's "Inquiry into the Human Mind," Campbell's "Answer to Hume on Miracles," Beattie's "Essay on Truth," Wallace's "Essay on the Numbers of Mankind," and Stuart's "Enquiry into the Principles of Political Economy." But nine years after Stuart's work appeared another on the same subject, which raised that department of inquiry into one of the most prominent and influential sciences of the age. This was the famous treatise "On the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," by Adam Smith (1776), which produced a real revolution in the doctrines of the production and accumulation of wealth. In teaching the advantages of free trade and the division of labour it has rendered incalculable services to mankind.With the Elizabeth the Young Pretender lost the greater part of his arms and ammunition. Yet he would not return, but set out in the Doutelle towards Scotland. In two days more the little vessel was pursued by another large English ship, but by dint of superior sailing they escaped, and made the Western Isles. It was only after a fortnight's voyage, however, that they came to anchor off the little islet of Erisca, between Barra and South Uist.

The king attended the theatre one evening, and by his desire the drama of Rob Roy was performed. The theatre was of course crowded to excess, the boxes presenting a dazzling galaxy of rank and beauty. When the approach of the king was announced, there was a pause of deathlike stillness; then an outburst of deep, honest enthusiasm never to be forgotten. "A prolonged and heartfelt shout, which for more than a minute rent the house," a waving of handkerchiefs, tartan scarfs, and plumed bonnets, testified the joy of the assembly and delighted the ears and eyes of the "chief of chiefs." Sir Walter Scott in a letter to his son gives a vivid description of this royal visit. For a fortnight Edinburgh had been a scene of giddy tumult, and considering all that he had to do, he wondered that he had not caught fever in the midst of it. All, however, went off most happily. The Edinburgh populace behaved themselves like so many princes, all in their Sunday clothes; nothing like a mob—no jostling or crowding. "They shouted with great emphasis, but without any running or roaring, each standing as still in his place as if the honour of Scotland had depended on the propriety of his behaviour. This made the scene quite new to all who had witnessed the Irish reception." The king's stay in Scotland was protracted till the 29th of August. On the day before his departure, Mr. Peel, who accompanied him as Home Secretary, wrote the following letter to Sir Walter Scott:—"My dear sir,—The king has commanded me to acquaint you that he cannot bid adieu to Scotland without conveying to you individually his warm personal acknowledgments for the deep interest you have taken in every ceremony and arrangement connected with his Majesty's visit, and for your ample contributions to their complete success. His Majesty well knows how many difficulties have been smoothed, and how much has been effected by your unremitting activity, by your knowledge of your countrymen, and by the just estimation in which they hold you. The king wishes to make you the channel of conveying to the Highland chiefs and their followers, who have given to the varied scenes which we have witnessed so peculiar and romantic a character, his particular thanks for their attendance, and his warm approbation of their uniform deportment. He does justice to the ardent spirit of loyalty by which they are animated, and is convinced that he could offer no recompense for their services so gratifying to them as the assurance which I now convey of the esteem and approbation of their Sovereign."Blucher's headquarters were at Namur, his right extending to Charleroi, near the left of Wellington, and his left and reserves covering Gevil and Liége. His force amounted to eighty thousand men, supplied with two hundred cannon. On the 15th Buonaparte addressed his army, telling them that the enemies arrayed against them were the same that they had so often beaten, and whom they must beat again if they were the men they had been. "Madmen!" he exclaimed, "the moment of prosperity has blinded them. The oppression and humiliation of the French people are beyond their power. If they enter France they will there find their tomb!" This address had such an effect that the French advanced with all the spirit of their former days. They swept the western bank of the Sambre of the Prussian outposts; they advanced to Charleroi, drove out the Prussians under Ziethen, and compelled them to fall back on the village of Gosselies, and thence to Ligny and St. Amand. It was now seen that the object of Buonaparte was to cut off the communication between the Prussians and British, and defeat the Prussians first, instead of having to fight the two armies at once. To complete this Ney had been dispatched to attack and drive back the British advance at Quatre Bras and Frasnes; but, hearing firing in the direction of Charleroi, which was the engagement with Ziethen, he sent a division to support the French there, and thus found his main body too weak to move the British at Quatre Bras. For doing this without orders, Buonaparte reprimanded Ney, as he afterwards did Grouchy for too implicitly following his orders in pursuit of Blucher.

FROM THE PAINTING BY VEREKER M HAMILTON, R.E.Lord Grey declared that when he entered office in November, 1830, he found the counties round London in open insurrection, and that no measures had been taken by the late Government to put down these disturbances. This was true so far as incendiary fires were concerned. A system of outrage commenced in Kent before the harvest was fully gathered in. The disturbers of the peace did not generally assume the form of mobs, nor did they seek any political object. Threatening letters were circulated very freely, demanding higher wages and denouncing machinery, and the attacks of the rioters were directed entirely against private property. In the day armed bands went forth, wrecking mills and destroying machinery, especially threshing-machines. At night, corn-stacks, hayricks, barns, and farm buildings were seen blazing in different parts of the county. Even live stock were cruelly burned[326] to death. In addition to this wholesale destruction the rioters plundered the houses of the farmers as they went along. These disorders extended into Hants, Wilts, Bucks, Sussex, and Surrey, and they continued during the months of October, November, and December. In fact, life and property in those counties were, to a great extent, at the mercy of lawless men. Lord Melbourne lost no time in announcing his determination to punish sternly those disturbers of the peace, and to restore at every cost the dominion of law and order. He would give his most anxious attention to measures for the relief of distress, but it was his determined resolution, wherever outrages were perpetrated or excesses committed, to suppress them with vigour. In pursuance of this determination, two special commissions were issued to try the offenders. They finished their painful duties early in January. On the 9th of that month judgment of death was recorded against twenty-three persons for the destruction of machinery in Buckinghamshire. In Dorset, at Norwich, at Ipswich, at Petworth, at Gloucester, at Oxford, at Winchester, and at Salisbury, large numbers were convicted of various outrages; altogether, upwards of 800 offenders were tried, and a large proportion of them capitally convicted. Only four, however, were executed; the rest were all sentenced to various terms of transportation or imprisonment. The prosecutions were conducted with firmness, but with moderation, and they were decidedly successful in restoring public tranquillity.

In the galaxy of illustrious names that shed light upon this age, not the least conspicuous is that of Mary Somerville, who is known in British[431] science not only as the able commentator of Laplace's "Mécanique Céleste," but as the author of some ingenious experiments on the magnetising power of the violet ray, and on the permeability of different bodies to the chemical rays, similar to those of Melloni on the heating rays; and she found great and seemingly capricious variations in this respect. The beautiful invention of the stereoscope, one of the most interesting contributions made to the theory of vision, was the work of Mr. Wheatstone, who published an account of it in the "Philosophical Transactions" of 1838. In connection with experiments of this class should be mentioned the invention of the daguerreotype, or the production of permanent pictures on plated copper, in 1825, which was brought to perfection in 1839 by Daguerre, whose name it bears. About the same time Henry Fox Talbot applied himself to similar experiments, and invented the calotype, or the production of permanent pictures on paper; and by a subsequent invention he obtained what he justly called "an instantaneous process." The science of photography was, however, in its infancy.

On the 19th Collingwood signalled Nelson that the French fleet was coming out of Cadiz. On the morning of the 21st, when the British fleet lay about seven leagues north-west of Cape Trafalgar, the hostile fleet was discovered about seven miles to the eastward. Nelson ordered the fleet to bear down on the enemy. As Villeneuve approached, he veered so as to bring Cadiz under his lee, and thus secure a retreat into it. This compelled Nelson to shift his course a little more northward. Villeneuve had preconcerted a plan of action which he boasted would prevent Nelson from cutting his line, as was his custom. He determined to advance in two lines, with each alternate ship about a cable's length to the windward of her second ahead and astern, so that his fleet would represent the chequers of a draft-board. This plan, however, did not succeed. Nelson found now the shoals of San Pedro and Trafalgar under the lee of both fleets, and, dreading that he might be carried upon them at the end of the battle, he signalled, from the Victory, for the fleet to anchor at the close of the day. He then told Blackwood that he should not be satisfied unless he took twenty of the enemy's ships, and asked him whether he thought a general signal of action were not wanting. Blackwood replied that he thought the fleet all understood what they were about. But Nelson hoisted on his mizen top-mast his last signal—"England expects every Man to do his Duty." It was seen, and responded to with loud hurrahs.

When the Bourbons had entered Paris in 1814 they had shown the utmost liberality towards those who had driven them from France and had murdered those of their family on the throne and nearest to it. They did not imitate the summary vengeance of Napoleon, whose Government, in 1812, had put to death not only General Mallet, who had endeavoured to restore the Bourbons, but also thirteen of his accomplices, on the plain of Grenelle. When Louis XVIII. returned, there were numbers of the bloody Revolutionists who had voted for, and some who had acted in, the frightful atrocities of the Revolution—many who had urged on the sufferings, the indignities, and the death of Louis XVI., Marie Antoinette, the Princess Elizabeth, the Princess Lamballe, and the worst form of death of the unhappy Dauphin. Yet no vengeance was taken, and numbers of these people were allowed to reside unharmed in Paris. Having been now again driven forth, and seen the readiness with which those who had sworn to maintain their Government had taken their oaths and betrayed them, it might have been expected that there would have been some severe punishments. But the natural mildness of Louis XVIII., and the wise counsels of Wellington and Talleyrand, produced a very different scene. Never, after such provocations, and especially to the sensitive natures of Frenchmen, was so much lenity shown. In the proclamation of Louis XVIII. of the 24th of July, nineteen persons only were ordered for trial, and thirty-eight were ordered to quit Paris, and to reside in particular parts of France, under the observation of the police, till their fate should be decided by the Chambers. Of the nineteen threatened with capital punishment, with trial before a military tribunal, only Ney and Labédoyère suffered; another, Lavalette, was condemned, but escaped by changing dresses with his wife in prison. It was also stated that such individuals as should be condemned to exile should be allowed to sell their property in France, and carry the proceeds with them. Yet more clamour was raised by the Buonapartists about the deaths of Ney and Labédoyère than had been made in any executions by the Imperial or the Revolutionary parties over whole hecatombs of innocent persons. As for Ney and Labédoyère, their treason had been so barefaced and outrageous that no reasonable person could expect anything but summary punishment for them. Ney had declared to Louis XVIII. that he would bring Buonaparte to him in a cage, and then carried over his whole army at once to the Emperor. Labédoyère had been equally perjured after the most generous forgiveness of his former treasons, and he had been particularly active in stimulating the Parisians to make a useless resistance to the Allies approaching Paris, by stating that the Bourbons were preparing a most sanguinary proscription. Both officers knew that they had no hope of life, no plea of protection, and they fled in disguise. Yet vehement reproaches were cast on the Duke of Wellington for having, as the Buonapartists asserted, broken the 12th article of the Convention of Paris, by which the city was surrendered to the Allied armies. Madame Ney, after the seizure and condemnation of her husband, went to the Duke, and demanded his interference on the Marshal's behalf, as a right on the ground of this article, which she interpreted as guaranteeing all the inhabitants, of whatever political creed or conduct, from prosecution by the restored Government. It was in vain that Wellington explained to her that this article, and indeed the whole Convention, related solely to the military surrender, and not to the political measures of the Government of Louis, with which the Duke had[115] publicly and repeatedly declared that he had no concern, and in which he would not interfere. When the Commissioners from the Provisional Government had waited on him, so early as the 2nd of July, at Estrées, and claimed exemption for political offenders, he showed them the proclamation of Louis, dated Cambray, the 28th of June, making exceptions to the general amnesty, and distinctly told them that he had no orders to interfere with the measures of the Bourbon Government. To this the Commissioners had nothing to object, and they thus clearly understood that the British commander would not take any part in political, but merely in military measures. Nevertheless, when Ney was executed, the clamour was renewed that Wellington had betrayed him. We now anticipate, somewhat, to dispose of this calumny, for there never was a party so recklessly addicted to charging their enemies with breach of faith as that of Buonaparte and his followers. The foul charge was so industriously disseminated over Europe, that Wellington, at Paris, on the 19th of November, 1815, issued a memorial on the subject, which he first caused to be sent to all the Allied Powers and then to be published. In this most decisive document he stated that the Convention of Paris related exclusively to the military occupation of the place, and was never intended, and could not be intended, to prevent either the existing French Government, the Provisional, or any French Government that might succeed it, from acting towards political offenders as it might deem proper. He had refused before to enter into a question of settling the Government. To make this clear, he quoted the 11th article, providing for the non-interference of the Allied army with property; and the 12th:—"Seront pareillement respectées les personnes et les propriétés particulières; les habitants, et en général tous les individus qui se trouvent dans la capitale, continueront à jouir de leur droits et libertés sans pouvoir être inquiétés, ou recherchés en rein, relativement aux fonctions qu'ils occupent ou avaient occupées, à leur conduite, et à leur opinions politiques." Labédoyère was shot on the 19th of August, 1815, and Ney on the 7th of December.

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On the 20th of June, when the Bill was in committee of the Peers, the Lord Chancellor urged his objection to the retrospective clause, as unsettling the rights of property. The report being brought up on the 25th, he repeated his objections, and moved that the retrospective clause should be omitted. The motion was negatived. On the 2nd of July, the day fixed for the third reading, his brother, Lord Stowell, made a similar motion, which was also defeated. The Lord Chancellor moved the insertion of a clause for giving validity to deeds, assignments and settlements made by persons having claims on any property affected by the Bill. The Marquis of Lansdowne opposed this clause, which, he said, would give the Bill the effect of declaring children legitimate and yet disinheriting them—"of peopling the House of Lords with titled beggars." This clause having been negatived on a division, the Lord Chancellor proposed another to the same effect, with the addition of the words, "for good and valuable consideration." This also was rejected by a majority. This was too much for the temper of Lord Eldon, so long accustomed to have his way in that House. Irritated at being repeatedly thwarted in his efforts, on declaring the numbers he exclaimed with vehemence, "My lords, ten days ago I believed this House possessed the good opinion of the public, as the mediator between them and the laws of the country; if this Bill pass to-night, I hope in God that this House may still have that good opinion ten days hence. But to say the best of this measure, I consider it neither more nor less than a legal robbery, so help me God! I have but a short time to remain with you, but I trust it will be hereafter known that I used every means in my power to prevent its passing into law." Thenceforth the Lord Chancellor became sulky with his colleagues, feeling himself dragged on by their too rapid progress. He was very reluctant to attend their Cabinet meetings, and absented himself whenever he could make any excuse. In reply to a summons from Mr. Peel, the Home Secretary, to attend a meeting on the Alien Act, he answered that he could not possibly attend, adding, "My absence, however, can be of little, and possibly of no consequence." The Session ended on the 6th of August; the Parliament being prorogued by the king in person.Sir Robert Walpole was not a man, with his huge standing majority, to be readily frightened from his purpose. On the 14th of March, 1733, he brought forward his project in a speech in which he put forth all his ability, and that under a well-maintained air of moderation. He took advantage of the alarm that the tax was to be general, by representing the falsity of that declaration, and the very slight and limited nature of his real proposal. Adverting to what he called the common slander of his having intended to propose a general excise, he said: "I do most unequivocally assert that no such scheme ever entered my head, or, for what I know, the head of any man I am acquainted with. My thoughts have been confined solely to the duties on wine and tobacco; and it was the frequent advices I had of the shameful frauds committed in these two branches that turned my attention to a remedy for this growing evil. I shall for the present confine myself to the tobacco trade." He then detailed the various frauds on the revenue in tobacco, which he stated were of such extent and frequency, that the gross average produce of the tax was seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds.[63] but the nett average only a hundred and sixty thousand pounds. The remedy which he proposed was to transfer this revenue from the Customs to the Excise. That the same might afterwards be applied to wine, a system of warehousing for re-exportation or placing in bond was proposed, which, he said, "would tend to make London a free port, and, by consequence, the market of the world." He held out the expectation that the success of this plan would render the land tax unnecessary, and thus enable the Government to dispense with it entirely.




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