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In the House of Lords on the 24th of January, 1721, five directors who had been called before them were arrested and their papers seized. By what had been drawn from them, it appeared that large sums had been given to people in high places to procure the passing of the South Sea Bill. Lord Stanhope rose and expressed his indignation at such practices, and moved that any transfer of stock for the use of any person in the Administration without a proper consideration was a notorious and dangerous corruption. The motion was seconded by Lord Townshend, and carried unanimously. The examination being continued on the 4th of February, Sir John Blunt refused to answer their lordships, on the plea that he had already given his evidence before the Secret Committee. A vehement debate arose out of this difficulty, during which the Duke of Wharton, a most profligate young nobleman, and president of the Hell-fire Club, made a fierce attack on Stanhope, accused him of fomenting the dissensions between the king and his son, and compared him to Sejanus, who had sown animosities in the family of Tiberius, and rendered his reign hateful to the Romans. Stanhope, in replying to this philippic, was so transported by his rage, that the blood gushed from his nostrils. He was carried from the House, and soon afterwards expired.In January, 1812, Government made another attempt to punish the Catholic delegates, and they obtained a verdict against one of them, Thomas Kirwan; but such was the public feeling, that they did no more than fine him one mark, and discharge him. They also abandoned other contemplated prosecutions. The Catholic committee met, according to appointment, on the 28th of February, addressed the Prince Regent, and then separated. The usual motions for Catholic Emancipation were introduced into both Houses of Parliament, and by both were rejected. It was the settled policy of this Ministry not to listen to the subject, though the Marquis Wellesley, Canning, and others now admitted that the matter must be conceded. The assassination of Mr. Perceval, on the 11th of May, it was hoped, would break up that Ministry, but it was continued, with Lord Liverpool at its head. Though Lord Wellesley this year brought forward the motion in the Lords, and Canning in the Commons, both Houses rejected it, but the Lords by a majority of only one. The question continued to be annually agitated in Parliament during this reign, from the year 1814, with less apparent success than before, Ireland was in a very dislocated state with the Orangemen and Ribbonmen, and other illegal associations and contentions between Catholics and Protestants, and this acted very detrimentally on the question in England. Only one little victory was obtained in favour of the Catholics. This was, in 1813, the granting to Catholics in England of the benefit of the Act passed in Ireland, the 33 George III., repealing the 21 Charles II. And thus the Catholics were left, after all their exertions, at the death of the old king.Lord Howe arrived from England, and cast anchor off Sandy Hook, a few hours after the Declaration of Independence had been read to the army by Washington. He had been expected by his brother, General Howe, who had arrived at the same point on the 29th of June, supposing he should find the admiral there. General Howe found Washington already in New York, and actively engaged in throwing up entrenchments, both there and on Long Island, to close the Hudson against the British fleet. Washington's headquarters were at New York; those of General Sullivan, at the western extremity of Long Island, opposite to New York; and Governor's Island, Paulus Hook, New Rochelle, and other points, were strongly defended to protect the rear of the city. At the time of Admiral Howe's arrival, the army of Washington did not amount to more than seventeen thousand men, of whom three[228] thousand were sick, and but about ten thousand men fit for duty. From his letters to Congress, it is clear that he entertained very little hope of maintaining his ground in case of attack, for the fresh forces brought by Howe from England, being joined by the shattered remains of Sir Peter Parker's squadron, amounted to twenty thousand men. A few days afterwards, however, he was joined by two regiments from Philadelphia, and by large bodies of New York and New England Militia, raising his army to twenty-seven thousand men, but of these a large number were sick. He now posted strong reinforcements in Brooklyn. On this General Howe quitted Sandy Hook, and advanced to Staten Island, where he could watch the operations of the enemy. The Americans abandoned Staten Island, on his approach, without firing a gun.

United Mexican 35 0 0 1,550 0 0The year 1813 opened in Great Britain with high hopes. The defeat of Napoleon in Russia, and the destruction of his army, opened prospects of at length seeing this ambitious and unprincipled man, who had drenched all Europe in blood, brought down and removed from the scene. Lord Liverpool had for some time predicted that one day a British army would march into Paris, and encamp on the Bois de Boulogne, and now it really seemed probable. The nations of the north and centre of Europe were mustering to follow the aggressor home, and Lord Wellington, in Spain, was daily advancing towards the southern frontiers of France by victory after victory. True, there was much yet to be done, and enormous calls on the wealth of Britain had yet to be made; and at this time, whilst Great Britain and all Europe were engaged in this mighty contest, the people of the United States, instead of sympathising with the grand occasion, were doing all they could to divide our attention and weaken our hands. There were warm debates in Parliament on the American question, but Government carried addresses expressing approbation of the course which Great Britain had taken in regard to the United States. But this annoying quarrelsomeness of the Americans tended necessarily to raise the amount of the Budget, already too much swelled by the aids to Russia and our contest in Spain. The supplies demanded were seventy-two million poundsmore than had been granted in any former year. Amongst the ways and means were a fresh loan of twenty-one million pounds, and vote of credit for six million pounds. It was, however, some consolation that the nation at last saw the beginning of the end.

On the 11th of February Lord Althorp brought forward the Budget. Basing his calculations on the revenue of the previous year, he estimated the national income at 50,000,000, and the expenditure at 46,850,000, leaving an anticipated surplus of more than 3,000,000; and it was proposed to take off taxes to the whole of that amount, and to replace it to some extent by other taxes, less burdensome to the people. The principal taxes to be taken off were those on tobacco, sea-borne coal, tallow candles, glass, printed calicoes, and newspapers. The new taxes consisted in an increase of the duties on wine, colonial timber, and raw cotton, a tax on steamboat passengers, and on the transfers of funded property. The proposed new taxes excited violent opposition, which obliged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to modify some of them, and abandon the last two; in fact, the financial scheme was a failure. Equally unsuccessful were his attempts to introduce retrenchments into the Civil and Pension Lists. But the Government was borne up by its great measure, the Reform Bill.On Monday, the 17th, Fox renewed the discussion, supported by Mr. Grey, who complained that at a so-called loyal meeting held at Manchester, the people had been incited to attack the property of those of more liberal views; and that an association had been formed in London, at the "Crown and Anchor" Tavern, which had issued a paper called "A Pennyworth of Truth from Thomas Bull to his Brother John," containing most unfounded censures on the Dissenters, whom it charged as being the authors of the American war. He declared that this paper was far more inflammatory than Paine's "Rights of Man," and he desired that it might be read at the table. Fox severely criticised the conduct of the loyal associations, and the means taken by the subscription papers to mark out those who maintained Liberal opinions; all such marked persons, he said, were in danger, on any excitement, of having their persons or houses attacked. He mentioned one paper concluding with the words, "Destruction to Fox and all his Jacobin crew!" This was, he thought, pretty plainly marking him out for such treatment as Dr. Priestley and Mr. Walker had received. The motion was rejected.

The agitation which the queen underwent on the night of the 27th, when she dismissed Oxford after a long and fierce altercation, produced a marked change in her health. The Council was only terminated, having sat to consider who should be admitted into the new Ministry, by the queen falling into a swoon. Being got to bed, she passed the night, not in sleep, but in weeping. The next day another Council was held, but was again broken up by the illness of the queen, and was prorogued to the 29th of July. To Dr. Arbuthnot, her physician, Anne declared that the disputes of her Ministers had killed her; that she should never survive it. Lady Masham, struck by the queen's heavy and silent manner, apprehended the worst. Bolingbroke and his Jacobite colleagues were thunderstruck by this sudden crisis. They assembled in council at Kensington, in a room not far from that of the dying queen, but they were so stupefied by the blow that they could do nothing. On the other hand, the Whigs had been quite alert. Stanhope had made preparations to seize the Tower; to secure the persons of the Ministers and the leading Jacobites, if necessary, on the demise of the queen; to obtain possession of the outports, and proclaim the king. A proof of this concert was immediately given by the Dukes of Argyll and Somerset, who belonged to the Privy Council, but, of course, had not been summoned, suddenly entering the Council chamber, stating that, hearing of the queen's critical position, they had hastened, though not summoned, to offer their assistance. No sooner had they said this, than the Duke of Shrewsbury rose and thanked them for their courtesy. The Whig dukes immediately demanded that the queen's physicians should be called and examined as to her probable continuance. The physicians in general were of opinion that her Majesty might linger some time; but Dr. Mead declared that she could not live many days, perhaps not many hours; from the apoplectic symptoms she might be gone in one. Argyll and Somerset thereupon declared it absolutely necessary that the post of Lord Treasurer should be filled up, as it was requisite that, at such a moment, there should be a recognised Prime Minister, and proposed that the Duke of Shrewsbury should be nominated to that office. Bolingbroke felt that his power and his plans were at an end, and sat like one in a dream. The members of the Council then proceeded to the queen's apartment, and Bolingbroke followed them, as it were, mechanically. The queen was sensible enough to be made aware of their errand, and expressed her approval of it. Shrewsbury, however, with that singular hesitation which always characterised him, refused to take the White Staff, except from her Majesty's own hand. It was, therefore, handed to her, and she extended it towards Shrewsbury, saying, "For God's sake, use it for the good of my people!" Shrewsbury was already Chamberlain, and he presented the staff of that office in resignation of it; but the queen bade him retain both; and thus he was at once Lord Treasurer, Lord Chamberlain, and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland.A strong garrison was left in Malta, under General Vaubois, and on the 16th the fleet was again under sail. As they were off the coast of Crete, and the savants were gazing on the birthplace of Jupiter, and speculating on the existence of the remains of the celebrated labyrinth, Nelson, who had missed the French fleet, and had sailed in quest of it, was near enough to be perceived by some of the frigates on the look-out, and created a terrible panic. But Nelson, not having frigates to send out as scouts, did not observe them, and suspecting that Egypt was their destination he made all sail for Alexandria. Finding no traces of them there, in his impatience he returned towards Malta. If he had but waited a while they would have come to him; but on reaching Malta and finding that they had taken and manned it, he again put about and made for Alexandria. He had actually been seen by some of the French frigates as he was crossing their track on his return from Alexandria, and Napoleon was impatient to reach land before he could overtake them again. On the 1st of July the French fleet came in sight of Alexandria, and saw before them the city of the Ptolemies and Cleopatra with its pharos and obelisks. The landing was effected at Marabout, about a league and a half from Alexandria.

The second reading was moved on the 14th by Lord Althorp, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Lord Porchester moved that the Bill be read a second time that day six months. His motion was supported by Sir Edward Sugden. Sir Robert Peel had taunted the Government with inconsistency in adopting alterations, every one of which they had resisted when proposed by the Opposition. Mr. Macaulay retaliated with powerful effect, with respect to the conduct of the Tories on the question of Catholic Emancipation. On a division the numbers were, for the second reading, 324; against it, 162majority, 162. The House of Commons having thus carried the Reform[347] measure a third time by an increased majority, which was now two to one, the House was adjourned to the 17th of January, when it resumed its sittings. On the 19th of that month the Irish Reform Bill was brought in by Mr. Stanley, and the Scottish Bill by the Lord Advocate. On the 20th the House resolved itself into a committee on the English Bill, and continued to discuss it daily, clause by clause, and word by word, pertinaciously and bitterly wrangling over each, till the 10th of March, when the committee reported. The third reading was moved on the 19th, when the last, and not the least violent, of the debates took place. The Bill was passed on the 23rd by a majority of 116, the numbers being 355 and 239.

After violent debates on the subject of Catholic emancipation, but with the usual negative result, Parliament was prorogued on the 24th of July. Ministers proceeded to prosecute the war in the Peninsula with increased vigour. Lord Wellington needed all the support they could give him. Notwithstanding his success and the millions of money that Great Britain was sending to Portugal, the Portuguese Government continued to annoy him, and showed itself as ignorant, as meddling and as unthankful as the Spaniards had done. Though he and his army were the sole defence of the country, which would at once have been overrun by the French were he not there, and though he was fighting their battles and defending their persons at the expense of England, they appeared to have not the slightest sense of these obligations, but continued to pester him on every possible occasion. They endeavoured to compel him to maintain the Portuguese army, too, by themselves neglecting to furnish it with pay and provisions. They demanded to have the expenditure of the very money remitted for the needs of the British forces. They raised a vast clamour because the soldiers cut down timber for firewood. To all these disgraceful annoyances Lord Wellington replied with a wonderful command of temper, but with firmness and plain-spokenness. His dispatches abound with complaints of the scurvy treatment of the Portuguese authorities. The aspect of things in Spain was worse. There the Spaniards continued to lose every force that they raised, but nevertheless to criticise all the movements of Wellington as if they knew, or had shown, that they understood the management of campaigns better than he did. In fact, if the interests of Spain and Portugal alone had been concerned, the best thing would have been to have quietly withdrawn, and have left the French to trample on them, as a proper punishment for their stupid and ignorant pride. But the attention which Wellington compelled Buonaparte to give to the Peninsula, and the constant drain which this war was to him of men and money, were enabling Russia, and Sweden, and the north of Germany to prepare for another and decisive struggle with the oppressor.

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 Vende, and thus terminated the miserable descent on the coast of Brittany. The descent on the coast of La Vende 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 Vende. 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 Vendan general of mark. By this time, the spring of 1796, not a fifth part of the male population of La Vende remained alive; and Hoche himself calculated that the Vendan war had cost France a hundred thousand men.



The Budget did not retrieve the popularity of Ministers. Sir Francis Baring proposed to make up for an estimated deficit of 2,421,000 by an alteration of the timber duties producing 600,000 a year, and an alteration of the sugar duties producing 700,000. Both these changes were in the direction of free trade, and a still more significant proposal was the repeal of the existing corn law, and the substitution of a low fixed duty of 8s. a quarter on wheat. The House, however, would not accept such a budget from a Government whose Premier had in the previous year declared that "the responsible advisers of the Crown would not propose any change in the Corn Laws." After a debate of eight nights the Ministry were defeated on the sugar duties by 317 votes to 281. Still they did not resign, and the Opposition in consequence had recourse to a direct vote of censure.[See larger version]

Sir Hercules Langrishe " " 45,000



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