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The Russians were seen to be falling back as they advanced, and Buonaparteimpatient to overtake and rout thempushed forward his troops rapidly. On reaching the river Wilna it was found to be swollen by the rain, and the bridges over it were demolished; but Buonaparte ordered a body of Polish lancers to cross it by swimming. They dashed into the torrent, and were swept away by it almost to a man, and drowned before the eyes of the whole army. On the 28th of June, however, Napoleon managed to reach Wilna, which Barclay de Tolly had evacuated at his approach, and there he remained till the 16th of July, for he had outmarched his supplies, few of his waggons having even reached the Niemen, owing to the state of the country through which they had to be dragged, and the Russians had taken care to carry off or destroy all provisions for man and horse as they retreated. His vast host began, therefore, at once to feel all the horrors of famine, and of those other scourges that were soon to destroy them by hundreds of thousands. Meanwhile, the mission of the Abb de Pradt to Poland had failed. The abb, believing in the reality of the promises of Buonaparte, had faithfully executed his mission. The Poles met in diet at Warsaw, and expressed their gratitude to the Emperor for his grand design of restoring their nation. The country was all enthusiasm, and a host of soldiers would soon have appeared to join his standard, when Napoleon returned them an evasive answer, saying that he could not do all that he wished, as he was under engagement to Austria not to deprive her of Galicia. As to the provinces held by Russia, he assured them thatprovided they showed themselves brave in his cause"Providence would crown their good cause with success." This positive information regarding Austriathis vague statement regarding Russia, at once showed the hollow hypocrisy of the man, and from that moment all faith was lost in him in Poland. To have restored Poland was in the power of Buonaparte, and would have been the act of a great man; but Buonaparte was not a great man, morally: he could not form a noble designhe could form only a selfish one. But he immediately felt the consequences of his base deceit. The Poles remained quiet; nor did the people of Lithuania respond to his calls on them to rise in insurrection against Russia. They saw that he had intended to deceive the Poles, and they felt that, should he make peace with Russia, he would at once sacrifice them. They were about to form a guard of honour for him, but they instantly abandoned the design; and thus his miserable policy destroyed all the effect which he contemplated from the action of the nations on the Russian frontiers.

"The Clare election supplied the manifest proof of an abnormal and unhealthy condition of the public mind in Irelandthe manifest proof that the sense of a common grievance and the sympathies of a common interest were beginning to loosen the ties which connect different classes of men in friendly relations to each other, to weaken the force of local and personal attachments, and to unite the scattered elements of society into a homogeneous and disciplined mass, yielding willing obedience to the assumed authority of superior intelligence hostile to the law and to the Government which administered it. There is a wide distinction (though it is not willingly recognised by a heated party) between the hasty concession to unprincipled agitation and provident precaution against the explosion of public feeling gradually acquiring the strength which makes it irresistible. 'Concede nothing to agitation,' is the ready cry of those who are not responsiblethe vigour of whose decisions is often proportionate to their own personal immunity from danger, and imperfect knowledge of the true state of affairs. A prudent Minister, before he determines against all concessionagainst any yielding or compromise of former opinionsmust well consider what it is that he has to resist, and what are his powers of resistance. His task would be an easy one if it were sufficient to resolve that he would yield nothing to violence or to the menace of physical force. In this case of the Clare election, and of its natural consequences, what was the evil to be apprehended? Not force, not violence, not any act of which law could take cognisance. The real danger was in the peaceable and legitimate exercise of a franchise according to the will and conscience of the holder. In such an exercise of that franchise, not merely permitted, but encouraged and approved by constitutional law, was involved a revolution of the electoral system in Irelandthe transfer of political power, so far as it was connected with representation, from one party to another. The actual transfer was the least of the evil; the process by which it was to be effectedthe repetition in each county of the scenes of the Clare electionthe fifty-pound free-holders, the gentry to a man polling one way, their alienated tenantry anotherall the great interests of the county broken down'the universal desertion' (I am quoting the expressions of Mr. Fitzgerald)the agitator and the priest laughing to scorn the baffled landlordthe local heaving and throes of society on every casual vacancy in a countythe universal convulsion at a general electionthis was the danger to be apprehended; those were the evils to be resisted. What was the power of resistance? 'Alter the law, and remodel the franchise,' was the ready, the improvident response. If it had been desired to increase the strength of a formidable confederacy, and, by rallying round it the sympathies of good men and of powerful parties in Great Britain, to insure for it a signal triumph, to extinguish the hope of effecting an amicable adjustment of the Catholic question, and of applying a corrective to the real evils and abuses of elective franchise, the best way to attain these pernicious ends would have been to propose to Parliament, on the part of the Government, the abrupt extinction of the forty-shilling franchise in Ireland, together with the continued maintenance of civil disability."

The army of Lord Cornwallis, which had so triumphantly pursued Washington through the Jerseys, supposing the Americans now put beyond all possibility of action, if not wholly dispersed, lay carelessly in their cantonments on the left bank of the Delaware. The two main outposts, Trenton and Bordentown, were entrusted to bodies of Hessians. At Trenton lay Colonel Rahl, and at Bordentown Count Donop. As the Christmas of 1776 was approaching, they had abandoned all discipline. The British officers, too, had mostly quitted their regiments, and had gone to enjoy the Christmas at New York, where General Howe was keeping up great hospitality, imagining the war to be fast drawing to a close. But if the English paid no attention to Washington, he was paying every attention to them. His plans arranged, he set out on the evening of Christmas day, 1776, and crossed the river at Mackonkey's Ferry, nine miles above Trenton, to attack that fort. The river was so encumbered with ice that he found it a most arduous undertaking, but he accomplished it with the division immediately under his commandtwo thousand four hundred in number. He continued his march through the night on Trenton, and reached it at about eight o'clock in the morning. A trusted spy had informed him over night, that he had seen the soldiers, both British and Hessians, asleep, steeped in drink. When he arrived, the soldiers still lay sunk in their Christmas debauch; and it was only by the first crash of the cannon that they were roused. When they ran to arms Washington had already invested the town. The brave Colonel Rahl, in his endeavour to form his drunken troops, and lead them on, was mortally wounded by an American rifle, almost at the first discharge. The light horse and a portion of the infantry, who fled on the first alarm, escaped to Bordentown. The main body attempted to retreat by the Princeton Road, but found it already occupied by Colonel Hand and his regiment of Pennsylvanian riflemen. Thus cut off, ignorant of the force opposed to them, and without enthusiasm for the cause, they threw down their arms and surrendered. About a thousand prisoners and six cannon were taken. The Americans had two killed, two frozen to death, and a few wounded. As soon as Washington had refreshed his men, he re-crossed the Delaware, carrying with him his prisoners, the stores he had taken, and the six field-pieces that he brought with him.But in the midst of all this strife and turmoil the work of real amelioration steadily proceeded. The tithe proctor system was a great and galling grievance to Protestants as well as Roman Catholics, but especially to the latter, who constituted the mass of the tillers of the soil. Such an odious impost tended to discourage cultivation, and throw the land into pasture. The Tithe Commutation Act was therefore passed in order to enable the tenant to pay a yearly sum, instead of having the tenth of his crop carried away in kind, or its equivalent levied, according to the valuation of the minister's proctor. It was proposed to make the Act compulsory upon all rectors, but this was so vehemently resisted by the Church party that it was left optional. If the measure had been compulsory, the anti-tithe war, which afterwards occurred, accompanied by violence and bloodshed, would have been avoided. It was, however, carried into operation to a large extent, and with the most satisfactory results. Within a few months after the enactment, more than one thousand applications had been made from parishes to carry its requirements into effect. In 1824, on the motion of Mr. Hume for an inquiry into the condition of the Irish Church Establishment, with a view to its reduction, Mr. Leslie Foster furnished statistics from which it appeared that the proportion of Roman Catholics to Protestants was four to one. In Ulster, at that time, the Roman Catholic population was little more than half the number of Protestants.

The king, in his speech on opening Parliament, mentioned the fleets which we had dispatched to the West Indies and South America, and his determination to continue those armaments so as to bring Spain to reason. He professed to rely with confidence on our allies, although we had scarcely one left, whilst in the same breath he admitted the no longer doubtful hostility of France[74] at the very moment that our only allynamely, Austriawas calling on us for assistance, instead of being able to yield us any, should we need it. On the proposal of the address, the Opposition proceeded to condemn the whole management of the war. The Duke of Argyll led the way, and was followed by Chesterfield, Carteret, Bathurst, and others, in a strain of extreme virulence against Walpole, calling him a Minister who for almost twenty years had been demonstrating that he had neither wisdom nor conduct. In the Commons Wyndham was no longer living to carry on the Opposition warfare, but Pitt and Lyttelton more than supplied his place.

DEFEAT OF GENERAL BRADDOCK IN THE INDIAN AMBUSH. (See p. 119.)

At Wilmington Lord Cornwallis remained about three weeks, uncertain as to his plan of operations. His forces amounted to only about one thousand five hundred men; he therefore determined, at length, to march into Virginia, and join the expedition there. He made his march without encountering any opposition, reaching Presburg on the 20th of May. Thereupon Lord Cornwallis found himself at the head of a united force of seven thousand men. Sir Henry Clinton's effective troops at New York amounted only to ten thousand nine hundred and thirty-one men, and the little detachment under Lord Rawdon only to nine hundred.GREAT SEAL OF WILLIAM IV.

The destruction of the French magazines delayed their operations till midsummer, when Broglie advanced from Cassel, and the Prince Soubise from the Rhine, to give Ferdinand battle. On the march they fell in with Sporken, and this time defeated one of his posts, and took nineteen pieces of cannon and eight hundred prisoners. The Allies awaited them in front of the river Lippe, and between that river and the Aest, near the village of Kirch-Denkern. The French were routed at all points, having lost, according to the Allies, five thousand men, whilst they themselves had only lost one thousand five hundred. The effect of the victory, however, was small.

H. D. Massey, 4,000 in cash.On Tuesday, the 20th of June, the Commons entered on the consideration of the great Protestant petition, praying for the repeal of Sir George Savile's Act for the relief of Catholics. On this occasion Burke and Lord North went hand in hand. Burke drew up five resolutions, which North corrected. These resolutions declared that all attempts to seduce the youth of this kingdom from the Established Church to[271] Popery were criminal in the highest degree, but that all attempts to wrest the Act of 1778 beyond its due meaning, and to the unnecessary injury of Catholics, were equally reprehensible. In the course of July the rioters were brought to trial. Those prisoners confined in the City were tried at the regular Old Bailey Sessions; those on the Surrey side of the river by a Special Commission. The Lord Chief Justice De Grey, being in failing health, resigned, and Wedderburn took his place as Lord Chief Justice, under the title of Lord Loughborough. His appointment gave great satisfaction; but this was considerably abated by his speech at the opening of the Commission, in which he indulged in very severe strictures on the rioters, who had to appear before him as judge. Of the one hundred and thirty-five tried, about one half were convicted, of whom twenty-one were executed, and the rest transported for life. Amongst the convicted was Edward Dennis, the common hangman; but he received a reprieve. The trial of Lord George Gordon, who was foolishly accused of high treason, was postponed through a technical cause till the following January, when he was ably defended by Mr. Kenyon and Mr. Erskine; and the public mind having cooled, he was acquitted. Probably the conviction of his insanity tended largely to this result, which became more and more apparent, his last strange freak being that of turning Jew.SMITH O'BRIEN.

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Another measure in this Session marks an epoch in the history of literature and science in Great Britain. Parliament empowered the Crown to raise money by lottery for the purchase of the fine library, consisting of fifty thousand volumes, and the collection of articles of vertu and antiquity, amounting to sixty-nine thousand three hundred and fifty-two in number, bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane to the nation on the condition that twenty thousand pounds should be paid to his daughters for what had cost himself fifty thousand pounds. The same Bill also empowered Government to purchase of the Duchess of Portland, for ten thousand pounds, the collection of MSS. and books, etc., made by her grandfather, Harley, the Lord Treasurer Oxford, and also for the purchase of Montagu House, which was offered for sale in consequence of the death of the Duke of Montagu without heirs, in which to deposit these valuable collections. The antiquarian and literary collections of Sir Robert Cotton, purchased in the reign of Queen Anne, were also removed to Montagu House; and thus was founded the now magnificent institution, the British Museum. It is remarkable that whilst Horace Walpole, professing himself a patron of letters, has recorded all the gossip of his times, he has not deemed this great literary, scientific, and artistic event worthy of the slightest mention.To these, in 1785, the Rev. Dr. Edmund Cartwright introduced a loom for weaving by water or steam power, which soon superseded hand-loom weaving. In 1803 Mr. H. Horrocks greatly improved this, and from this germ has grown up the system of weaving cottons, silks, and woollens by machinery. Add to this the application of similar machinery to calico-printing, and the like to weaving of lace, invented by Robert Frost, of Nottingham, or by a working mechanic of that town named Holmes, which afterwards received many improvements, and we have the varied means by which the manufacturing power of England was raised far above that of all the world; and which, reaching other countries in spite of legislative impediments, soon established similar manufactures in France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and America. In Great Britain alone the importation of raw cotton was increased from 4,764,589 lbs. in 1771 to 151,000,000 lbs. in 1818; and such was the spread of trade of all kinds from the use of machinery, that our exports of manufactured goods in 1800, when the European nations were incapacitated for manufacturing by Napoleon's general embargo, amounted to 116,000,000.The session of Parliament closing on the 26th of May, George took his annual trip to Hanover, leaving, as usual, the queen to act as Regent. She found her duties this year by no means light. Everyone is acquainted with the Porteous Riots, as they are described by the inimitable pen of Sir Walter Scott in "The Heart of Midlothian." The simple historic facts are these:Two noted smugglers from Fife, Wilson and Robertson, were condemned to death for a robbery, and were confined in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. They made a determined effort to effect their escape before the day of execution. Wilson, who would go first, being a man of a corpulent though very powerful build, wedged himself fast in the window, and could neither get out nor draw back again. He was found thus in the morning, and the two prisoners were again secured. Wilson lamented that by his own eagerness he had prevented Robertson from going first, who, from his slenderer person, could easily have escaped. Before execution it was the custom at that period in Scotland to conduct the prisoners about to suffer, under a strong guard, to church. This being done in the case of these two men, just as the service was concluded, Wilson suddenly laid hold of two of the four soldiers who guarded them, called out to Robertson to run for his life, and detained the third soldier by seizing him by the collar with his teeth. He escaped, and was never seen in Edinburgh again. This daring scheme, so cleverly executed, raised the admiration of the bravery and magnanimity of Wilson to the highest pitch. At his execution the soldiers were attacked with stones. Porteous, who commanded the guard, fired upon the mob. For this he was condemned to death, but was reprieved by Queen Caroline after full inquiry. The people in fury attacked the Tolbooth, the magistrates and the[67] commander of the troops were afraid to act, the prison was broken open, and Porteous hanged on a barber's pole. All attempts to discover the perpetrators of the outrage failed.

On the 23rd, only four days after the abdication of the king, Murat entered Madrid with a numerous body of infantry and cuirassiers, attended by a splendid train of artillery. Ferdinand entered the city the same day. He had formed an administration wholly opposed to Godoy and his policy. The Ambassadors of the other Powers presented themselves to offer their congratulations; but Beauharnais, the French Ambassador, preserved a profound silence. Murat, also, though he professed himself friendly to Ferdinand, said not a word implying recognition of his title. Still more ominous, the news arrived that Buonaparte himself was on the way with another powerful army. Murat took up his residence in the Palace of the Prince of the Peace, and greatly alarmed Ferdinand and his courtiers by addressing him, not as "your Majesty," but merely as "your Royal Highness." He counselled him to wait, and do nothing till he could advise with Napoleon, and, in the meantime, to send his brother, Don Carlos, to greet the Emperor on his entrance into Spain. To this Ferdinand consented; but when Murat recommended him also to go, and show this mark of respect to his ally, Ferdinand demurred, and by the advice of Cevallos, one of his wisest counsellors, he declined the suggestion. To complicate matters, Murat opened communication with the king and queen, and, not content with that, with Godoy also, assuring him that his only hope of safety lay in the friendship of the Emperor. By this means Murat learned all the accusations that each party could make against the other, so that these things might serve Buonaparte to base his measures, or, at least, his pretences upon. Encouraged by this, Charles[552] wrote to Napoleon to declare his abdication entirely forced, and to leave everything to the decision of his good friend, the Emperor.The question of Catholic Emancipation was brought forward on the 3rd of May, by Grattan: it was the last time that he did so, but he had the satisfaction of seeing that the question was rapidly advancing, for it was lost by only two votes. A fortnight afterwards Lord Donoughmore introduced a similar motion, in the hope of surmounting this small difference, but, after a long debate, he found the majority increased against it by thirty-nine votes. The closing contest of the Session was for Parliamentary Reform. Sir Francis Burdett brought on his annual motion, on the 1st of July, for the eighteenth time, but was defeated by one hundred and fifty-three votes against fifty-eight. He was seconded by Mr. George Lamb, younger brother of Lord Melbourne, who, however, did not go the length of annual parliaments and universal suffrage. Even at that day, Joseph Hume was for moderate reform, and Lord John Russell was alarmed at anything further than Triennial Parliaments, and the transferring the franchise from certain corrupt boroughs to others not yet represented. Such were the feeble ideas of Reform amongst its self-constituted leaders. Parliament was prorogued, on the 13th of July, by the Prince Regent in person.Napoleon's Designs on SpainThe Continental SystemTreaty of FontainebleauJunot marches on PortugalFlight of the Royal FamilyThe Milan DecreeThe Pope imprisoned in the QuirinalImbecility of the Spanish GovernmentQuarrels of the Spanish Royal FamilyOccupation of the Spanish FortressesThe King's Preparations for FlightRests at MadridAbdication of Charles IV.Murat occupies MadridThe Meeting at BayonneJoseph becomes King of SpainInsurrection in SpainThe Junta communicates with EnglandFerocity of the WarOperations of Bessires, Duchesne, and MonceyDupont surrenders to Casta?osJoseph evacuates MadridSiege of SaragossaNapoleon's Designs on PortugalInsurrection throughout the CountrySir A. Wellesley touches at CorunnaHe lands at FiguerasBattle of Roli?aWellesley is superseded by BurrardBattle of VimieraArrival of DalrympleConvention of CintraInquiry into the ConventionOccupation of LisbonNapoleon's Preparations against SpainWellesley is passed over in favour of MooreMoore's AdvanceDifficulties of the MarchIncompetency of Hookham FrereNapoleon's Position in EuropeThe Meeting at ErfurthNapoleon at VittoriaDestruction of the Spanish ArmiesNapoleon enters MadridMoore is at last undeceivedThe RetreatNapoleon leaves SpainMoore retires before SoultArrival at CorunnaThe BattleDeath of Sir John MooreThe Ministry determine to continue the WarScandal of the Duke of YorkHis ResignationCharges against Lord CastlereaghWellesley arrives in PortugalHe drives Soult from Portugal into SpainHis Junction with CuestaPosition of the French ArmiesFolly of CuestaBattle of TalaveraState of the CommissariatWellesley's RetreatFrench VictoriesThe Lines of Torres VedrasThe Walcheren ExpeditionFlushing takenThe Troops die from MalariaDisastrous Termination of the ExpeditionSir John Stuart in Italy and the Ionian IslandsWar between Russia and TurkeyCollingwood's last ExploitsAttempt of Gambier and Cochrane on La Rochelle.

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