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FLIGHT OF KING JOSEPH BUONAPARTE FROM VITTORIA. (See p. 58.)In Ireland the administration of the law was becoming daily more difficult. Mr. Steele and Mr. O'Gorman Mahon were magistrates, and yet they were actively engaged in exciting the people to the very highest pitch, and urging them to defy the constituted authorities. On a day when a riot was expected at Ennis, county Clare, and the high sheriff made preparations to prevent it, both these gentlemen appeared there, decorated with the order of "Liberators," and followed by a mob. Mr. O'Gorman Mahon held very improper language to the high sheriff in presence of the troops. All this was certified to by sixteen magistrates, and by the commanding officer; yet Lord Anglesey, with the advice of the Lord Chancellor, decided on not depriving them of the commission of the peace. This conduct greatly disappointed the Duke of Wellington, and on the 11th of November he wrote a strong letter to him, in which he said: "I cannot express to you adequately the extent of the difficulties which these and other occurrences in Ireland create in all discussions with his Majesty. He feels that in Ireland the public peace is violated every day with impunity by those whose duty it is to preserve it; that a formidable conspiracy exists; and that the supposed conspiratorsthose whose language and conduct point them out as the principal agitators of the countryare admitted to the presence of his Majesty's representative, and equally well received with the king's most loyal subjects." The Duke also, as we have already observed, strongly censured the conduct of the Viceroy and the Lord Chancellor for visiting Lord Cloncurry, a member of the Association, remarking, "The doubts which are entertained respecting the loyalty of the Roman Catholic Association, the language which has been held there respecting the king himself, his Royal Family, the members of his Government, your colleagues in office, and respecting nearly every respectable member of society, and the unanimously expressed detestation of the violence of the Association, might be deemed reasons for omitting to encourage any of its members by the countenance or favour of the king's representative."

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"Buckingham Palace,[See larger version]On the 6th of January there landed at Greenwich an illustrious visitor to the Court on an unwelcome errandnamely, Prince Eugene. The Allies, justly alarmed at the Ministerial revolution which had taken place in England, and at the obvious design of the Tories to render abortive all the efforts of the Whigs and the Allies through the war, from mere party envy and malice, sent over Eugene to convince the queen and the Government of the fatal consequences of such policy. Harley paid obsequious court to the prince as long as he hoped to win him over. He gave a magnificent dinner in his honour, and declared that he looked on that day as the happiest of his life, since he had the honour to see in his house the greatest captain of the age. The prince, who felt that this was a mean blow at Marlborough, replied with a polite but cutting sarcasm, which must have sunk deep in the bosom of the Lord Treasurer, "My lord, if I am the greatest captain of the age, I owe it to your lordship." That was to say, because he had deprived the really greatest captain of his command. The queen, though she was compelled to treat Eugene graciously, and to order the preparation of costly gifts to him as the representative of the Allies, regarded him as a most unwelcome guest, and in her private circle took no pains to conceal it. The whole Tory party soon found that he was not a man to be seduced from his integrity, or brought to acquiesce in a course of policy which he felt and knew to be most disgraceful and disastrous to the peace of Europe; and being fully convinced of this, they let loose on the illustrious stranger all the virulence of the press. Eugene returned to the Continent, his mission being unaccomplished, on the 13th of March.

On the 27th of January Colonel Wardle, a militia officer, rose in his place in the House of Commons and made some startling charges against the Duke of York, as Commander-in-Chief of the army. Wardle had been a zealous Conservative, but had now changed his politics, and was acting with the party of extreme Reformers headed by Sir Francis Burdett, Lord Folkestone, and others. His charge was that the Duke of York was keeping a mistress, named Mary Ann Clarke, a married woman, to the great scandal of the nation, and was allowing her to traffic in commissions and promotions in the army. Nor was this all; he asserted that, not in the army alone, but in the Church, this public adulteress was conferring promotions, through her influence with the Duke, and that she had quite a levee of clergy, who were soliciting and bribing her to procure livings and even bishoprics. These were sufficiently exciting statements, and the Colonel demanded a Committee of Inquiry to enable him to prove his assertions. Sir Francis Burdett seconded the motion; and the proposal was not metas it should have been by Ministers or the Duke's friendsby a denial, but, in general, by a eulogium on the Duke's excellent discharge of his duties as Commander-in-Chief. The House determined that, wherever the infamy was to fall, it should have the full airing of a committee of the whole House, which was appointed to commence its inquiries on Wednesday, the 1st of February, the Duke intimating, through his friends, that he was, on his part, desirous of the fullest investigation of the matter. From the evidence of Mrs. Clarke it appeared very clear that the Duke had permitted her to traffic in the sale of commissions, and both Mrs. Clarke and Mary Ann Taylor, whose brother was married to Mrs. Clarke's sister, asserted that the Duke had received part of the money for some of these bargains. Sums of one thousand pounds, of five hundred pounds, and two hundred pounds had been paid to her for such services.

At length, then, after all his marvellous doublings, O'Connell was hunted into the meshes of the law. He was convicted of sedition, having pleaded guilty, but was not called up for judgment. This was made a charge against the Government; with how little reason may be seen from the account of the matter given by Lord Cloncurry. The time at which he should have been called up for judgment did not arrive till within a month or two of the expiration of the statute under which he was convicted, and which he called the "Algerine Act." In these circumstances, Lord Cloncurry strongly urged upon the Viceroy the prudence of letting him escape altogether, as his incarceration for a few weeks, when he must be liberated with the expiring Act, "would only have the appearance of impotent malice, and, while it might have created dangerous popular excitement, would but have added to his exasperation, and have given him a triumph upon the event of his liberation that must so speedily follow."

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The consequence of the ill-advised despatch of a miserable force of British and Russians to Naples was equally as abortive and as mischievous to the King of Naples as the Northern expedition had proved to the King of Sweden. On the 27th of September of this year, only, a convention had been entered into in Paris between Napoleon and Ferdinand IV., King of Naples, which was ratified by Ferdinand on the 8th of October. By this the French engaged to withdraw their forces from the kingdom of Naples, and Ferdinand to preserve a strict neutrality. The French did, indeed, withdraw, under St. Cyr, to assist Massena in the north of Italy against Austria; and no sooner was this the case than Ferdinand raised his army to the war strength, and the British and Russians came to his support with their united army of twenty thousand men. But the news of the decisive victory of Buonaparte at Austerlitz, which had squandered the Northern coalition, had the same effect here. The Russians and British withdrew, and St. Cyr was ordered by Napoleon to march back into Naples, and punish severely the perfidy of the Court of Naples. He was particularly bitter against the Queen of Naples, to whom he attributed the movement and the total guidance of the king. He declared that she should be precipitated from the throne, should it cost another Thirty Years' War. He sent his brother, Joseph Buonaparte, to take the command of the army, and to assume the government of the country. The king and queen fled, abdicating in favour of their son, the prince royal; but this did not stop the march of the French, who were only too glad of such a plea for possessing themselves of the kingdom of Naples. Pescara, Naples itself, rapidly surrendered to the French. Ga?ta alone, which the governor, the Prince of Hesse Philippsthal, refused to surrender, stood out till the[508] following July. When summoned by the French to yield the fortress, he replied that Ga?ta was not Ulm, nor was he General Mack. But the defence of Ga?ta had no influence on the general fate of Naples, and only precipitated that of its brave defender, who died suddenly, as was asserted, of poison.

Parliament met on the 10th of January, 1765. The resentment of the Americans had reached the ears of the Ministry and the king, yet both continued determined to proceed. In the interviews which Franklin and the other agents had with the Ministers, Grenville begged them to point to any other tax that would be more agreeable to the colonists than the stamp-duty; but they without any real legal grounds drew the line between levying custom and imposing an inland tax. Grenville paid no attention to these representations. Fifty-five resolutions, prepared by a committee of ways and means, were laid by him on the table of the House of Commons at an early day of the Session, imposing on America nearly the same stamp-duties as were already in practical operation in England. These resolutions being adopted, were embodied in a bill; and when it was introduced to the House, it was received with an apathy which betrayed on all hands the profoundest ignorance of its importance. Burke, who was a spectator of the debates in both Houses, in a speech some years afterwards, stated that he never heard a more languid debate than that in the Commons. Only two or three persons spoke against the measure and that with great composure. There was but one division in the whole progress of the Bill, and the minority did not reach to more than thirty-nine or forty. In the Lords, he said, there was, to the best of his recollection, neither division nor debate!

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On the 20th of October, 1848, Chuttur Singh and his son, Shere Singh, raised the standard of revolt in the Punjab, and soon appeared at the head of 30,000 men. In November Lord Gough encountered them with 20,000. At Ramnuggur, in attacking the position of the enemy, his men were led into an ambuscade, and were repulsed with tremendous loss. The contest was again renewed on the 13th of January, 1849, when the Sikhs were also very strongly posted in a jungle with 40,000 men and sixty-two guns. Near the village of Chillianwallah a desperate battle was fought, and had lasted for some time when the 14th Light Dragoons, on being ordered to charge, turned and fled through our Horse Artillery, upsetting several guns, and causing such confusion that the Sikh cavalry, promptly availing themselves of the advantage, made a charge, and cut down seventy of our gunners, capturing six guns and five colours. The result was a drawn battle, but the loss on our side was fearfultwenty-seven officers and 731 men killed, and sixty-six officers and 1,446 men wounded. This terrible reverse produced a profound sensation at home. It was ascribed to bad generalship, and there were loud cries for the recall of Lord Gough. The Duke of[601] Wellington felt that the case was so desperate that he called upon Sir Charles Napier to go out and take the command, though suffering under a mortal disease, using the memorable expression, "If you don't go, I must." Sir Charles went immediately. But before he arrived, Lord Gough, on the 21st of February, had retrieved his reputation, and covered the British arms with fresh glory by winning, in magnificent style, the great battle of Goojerat, with the loss of only ninety-two killed and 682 wounded. Mooltan had been besieged again in December. During the bombardment the principal magazine was blown up. It contained 16,000 lbs. of powder: 800 persons were killed or wounded by the explosion, and many buildings destroyed. But Moolraj, though he saw ruined in a moment a work which it cost him five years to construct, still held out. On the 2nd of January the city was stormed, but the citadel remained. Though of immense strength, it yielded to artillery, and Moolraj, with his garrison of nearly 4,000 men, surrendered at discretion.Meanwhile the coronation had taken place. It was fixed for the 8th of September, and the necessary alterations were made in Westminster Abbey for the occasion. On the morning of the appointed day numerous labourers, in scarlet jackets and white trousers, were busy completing the arrangements. Forty private gentlemen acted as pages of the Earl Marshal, and devised a novelty in the way of costume, clothing themselves in blue frock coats, white breeches and stockings, a crimson silk sash, and a small, ill-shaped hat, with a black ostrich feather, each provided with a gilt staff. Their duty was to conduct persons provided with tickets to their proper places. Three-fourths of the members of the House of Commons were in military uniform, and a few in Highland costume. The equipages produced for the occasion were magnificent, the Lord Chancellor rivalling the Lord Mayor in this display; but neither of them came up to the Austrian ambassador in finery. The street procession commenced on Constitution Hill, and attracted thousands of spectators. Their Majesties' carriage was drawn by eight horses, four grooms being on each side, two footmen at each door, and a yeoman of the guard at each wheel. The crowds were in good humour with the spectacle, and manifested no disposition to dispense with royalty. The presence of the queen offered a contrast to the coronation of George IV. Of the regalia, the ivory rod with the dove was borne by Lord Campbell, the sceptre and the cross by Lord Jersey, and the crown by the Duke of Beaufort. The queen followed, supported by the Bishops of Winchester and Chichester, and attended by five gentleman pensioners on each side, the train borne by the Duchess of Gordon, assisted by six daughters of earls. There was no banquet, Government having the fear of the economists before their eyes, and the nation having too lively a recollection of the coronation folly of George IV.; but the king entertained a large party of the Royal Family and nobility, with the principal officers of his household.

Some of the writers of the last period were still existing in this. Dryden was living, and wrote some of his most perfect works, as his "Fables," and his "Alexander's Feast," as well as translated Virgil after the Revolution. He was still hampered by his miserable but far more successful dramatic rivals, Shadwell and Elkanah Settle. Nathaniel Lee produced in William's time his tragedies, "The Princess of Cleves," and his "Massacre of Paris." Etherege was yet alive; Wycherley still poured out his licentious poems; and Southern wrote the greater part of his plays. His "Oronooko" and his "Fatal Marriage" were produced now, and he received such prices as astonished Dryden. Whilst "Glorious John" never obtained more than a hundred pounds for a play, Southern obtained his six or seven hundred.

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