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On the very next day took place what Burke had foreseen. A deputation from the two Irish Houses of Parliament arrived in London, with an address to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, requesting him to assume the regency as his right. Though the English Bill was now certain to be abandoned, this address was presented on the 26th of February, the day after the arrival, and was received by the prince in a manner likely to mark his sense of his treatment by Pitt and his party. The deputies were entertained at a splendid banquet; the walls of the dining-room at Carlton House were adorned with Irish harps, the shamrock, and other Irish emblems; the arms of Ireland, encircled by a glory, blazed in the centre of the table, and the richest wines flowed in torrents. But these banquetings had not been confined to this more auspicious day. Whilst the great contest had been going on in Parliament, dinners had been given on the Saturdays and Sundays of every week at Carlton House, to which about thirty of the members of both Houses had been invited, and at which the prince and the Duke of York had presided. Besides these, the attractions and persuasive powers of the great ladies on both sides had been enthusiastically called into play. The fascinating Duchess of Devonshire, who, in 1784, had so successfully canvassed for Charles James Fox in Westminster, had now thrown open her house, and employed all her amiabilities to win supporters to the prince's party. On the other hand, the more bold and vigorous Duchess of Gordon had feasted, entreated, and almost commanded adherence to Pitt, through whom it was said her husband had obtained the Great Seal of Scotland, and his brother, Lord William Gordon, the sinecure Rangerships of St. James's and Hyde Parks. The rivalries of these parties had been carried on in the most public manner, by[348] caricatures, lampoons, ballads, and popular jests. Westminster was pre-eminently Whig; but London, which had formerly been so democratic, had become essentially loyal. The Coalition had given the first shock to the popularity of the Whigs in the City, and the sympathy for the calamity of the king, combined with disgust at the prince's levity and heartlessness, had produced a wonderful degree of loyalty there.At the approach of the new French levies, Eugene Beauharnais retreated from Magdeburg, and joined them on the Saale. The Allies and Napoleon now lay face to face, the Allies cutting off his advance towards Leipsic and thence to Dresden. He resolved to make a determined attack upon them, and demoralise them by a blow which should make him master of Leipsic, Dresden, and Berlin at once, and give its impression to the whole campaign. In the skirmishes which took place previous to the general engagement at Weissenfels and Poserna on the 29th of April and the 1st of May, Buonaparte gained some advantages; but in the latter action his old commander of the Imperial Guard, Marshal Bessières, was killed. His death was deeply lamented, both by his men, who had served under him from the very commencement of Buonaparte's career, and by Buonaparte himself.[See larger version]

COSTUMES OF THE PERIOD OF GEORGE II.The Assembly had not paid him the respect to wait on him; but, at the last moment, they passed a resolution that the Assembly was inseparable from the person of the king, and appointed one hundred deputies to attend him. Amongst them was Mirabeau. It was about one o'clock when the king quitted Versailles amid a general discharge of musketry, falsely, on this occasion, termed a feu-de-joie. The king and queen, the dauphin, and the little daughter, Monsieur, the king's brother, and Madame Elizabeth, the king's sister, went all in one great State coach. Others of the royal household, with the ladies of honour, and the one hundred deputies, followed in about a hundred vehicles of one kind or other. The Mayor, Bailly, received them at the barrier of Paris, and conducted them to the H?tel de Ville. So soon as they had passed the barrier, the numerous procession were joined by the whole leviathan mob of Paris, calculated at two hundred thousand men! It was night, and the crushing and shouting throngs prevented the royal carriage from more than merely moving all the way from the barrier to the Place de Grève. At the H?tel de Ville, Moreau de St. Mery addressed the king in a long speech, congratulating him on his happy arrival amongst his people—his "loving children of the capital." The poor tired and dispirited king replied that he always came with confidence amongst his people. Bailly repeated the words in a loud tone to the people, but omitted the words "with confidence," whereupon the queen said, with much spirit, "Sir, add 'with confidence';" so Bailly replied, "Gentlemen, in hearing it from the lips of the queen you are happier than if I had not made that mistake." The king was then exhibited on the balcony to the mob, with a huge tricolour cockade in his hat, at which sight, in French fashion, the people hugged and kissed each other and danced for joy. It was eleven o'clock at night before the miserable royal captives were conducted by Lafayette to their appointed prison—for such it was, in fact—the great palace of their ancestors, the Tuileries, which had been uninhabited for a century, and had not been prepared[370] for their reception. The Assembly followed, and proceeded to work under the eyes of the Paris commune and the people. Power was fast slipping from their hands.

LORD NORTH.Grenville, chagrined as he was, still clung to the Government, and called in the Duke of Bedford as President of the Council, Lord Sandwich as Secretary of State. Lord Hillsborough succeeded Lord Shelburne at the Board of Trade. Such was the Government which was to supersede the necessity of Pitt; Lord Chesterfield declaring that they could not meet the Parliament, for that they had not a man in the Commons who had either abilities or words enough to call a coach.

But though Pitt protested against thanking the king for bringing over Hanoverian troops, he found it necessary to support the king's German treaties and alliances, which were avowedly for the defence of Hanover. Fox reminded him of his favourite phrase, that Hanover was a millstone round the neck of England; but it was not the first time that Pitt had had to stand the taunt of eating his own words, and he braved it out, especially voting two hundred thousand pounds to Frederick of Prussia. A wonderful revolution in Continental politics had now converted this long-hostile nephew of George II. into an ally, if not a friend.Some faint endeavours were made to shake off the yoke. Encouraged by France, they summoned the Turks to their aid and cut to pieces several detachments of the Russians. They proclaimed Poniatowski deposed, and called on the people to aid them to drive out the invaders. But the people, long used to oppression from their own lords, did not answer to the call. In France, Choiseul had been hurled from power, and France left the Poles to their fate. It was now that Frederick of Prussia proposed to Austria to combine with Russia and share Poland between them. At this robber proposition, so in character with Frederick, who had all his life been creating a kingdom by plundering his neighbours, Maria Theresa at first exclaimed in horror. But she was now old and failing, and she gave way, declaring that, long after she was dead and gone, people would see what would happen from their having broken through everything which had, till then, been deemed just and holy. Frederick of Prussia took the surest way to compel the Austrians to come in for a share of the spoils of Poland. He marched a body of soldiers out of Silesia—the territory which he had rent from Austria—into Posen, and Austria, not to be behind, had marched another army into the Carpathian Mountains.

[129]In the comments with which he concluded his speech there were some signs of progress in the development of Free Trade ideas in the mind of the perplexed and trammelled Minister, which are interesting to read by the light of his later career. He still maintained, in deference to the views of those who surrounded him, that it was the duty of the Legislature to take precautions to ensure that the main source of our supply of food should be derived from domestic agriculture; but he admitted that any protection, beyond what would compensate for the alleged special burdens upon agriculture, could only be vindicated on the ground that it was for the interest of all classes of the community. Mr. Cobden, who in the autumn of the previous year had been returned for Stockport, said a few words after the speech. He declared himself not surprised at the position, constituted as the Government was; for he had not, he said, expected to gather grapes of thistles; but he denounced the sliding scale as an insult to a suffering people. Following him, Lord John Russell gave notice that he should move a resolution to the effect that it was not advisable in any alteration of the Corn Laws to adopt the principle of a graduated sliding scale; and Mr. Villiers gave notice that, on going into committee, he should take the sense of the House on the policy of imposing any duty whatever on the foreign corn or food imported into the country. The debate on Sir Robert Peel's proposition began on Monday, the 14th of February, and reached the close of its first stage on Wednesday, when Lord John Russell's motion was negatived by a majority of 123, in a House of 575. Mr. Villiers's motion was debated for five nights more, and finally negatived by a majority of 393 to 90. The Whigs now gave the people to understand that the eight shilling duty of the year before was abandoned, and that if they were again in power they would propose a lower sum. In Parliament the position of the Minister was by no means an enviable one. The Free Traders pressed him closely with questions which must have made him feel still more strongly the embarrassing part which he was compelled to play. In the House of Lords the Corn Importation Bill was passed with slight opposition. Lord Brougham proposed a resolution in favour of a perfectly free trade in corn, which was negatived. A resolution, moved by Lord Melbourne, in favour of a fixed duty, was also negatived by a majority of 117 to 49.

Jellacic, the Ban, or Governor, of Croatia, resolved to hold a Slavonic Diet at Agram on the 5th of June; but it was forbidden as illegal by the Austrian Government, and the Ban was summoned to Innsbruck to explain his conduct to the emperor. He disobeyed the summons. The Diet was held, and one of its principal acts was to confer upon Jellacic the title of Ban, which he had held under the now repudiated authority of the emperor. He was consequently denounced as a rebel, and divested of all his titles and offices. The emperor proceeded to restore his authority by force of arms. Carlowitz was bombarded, and converted into a heap of ruins; and other cities surrendered to escape a similar fate. It was not, however, from disloyalty to the imperial throne, but from hostility to the ascendency of Hungary, that the Ban had taken up arms. He therefore went to Innsbruck early in July, and having obtained an interview with the emperor, he declared his loyalty to the Sovereign, and made known the grievances which his nation endured under the Hungarian Government. His demands were security and equality of rights with the Hungarians, both in the Hungarian Diet and in[579] the administration. These conditions were profoundly resented by the Magyars, who, headed by Count Batthyány and Louis Kossuth, had in 1847 extorted a Constitution from the emperor. It was the unfortunate antipathy of races, excited by the Germanic and Pan-Slavonic movements, that enabled the emperor to divide and conquer. The Archduke Stephen in opening the Hungarian Diet indignantly repelled the insinuation that either the king or any of the royal family could give the slightest encouragement to the Ban of Croatia in his hostile proceedings against Hungary. Yet, on the 30th of September following, letters which had been intercepted by the Hungarians were published at Vienna, completely compromising the emperor, and revealing a disgraceful conspiracy which he appears to have entered into with Jellacic, when they met at Innsbruck. Not only were the barbarous Croatians, in their devastating aggression on Hungary, encouraged by the emperor while professing to deplore and condemn them, but the Imperial Government were secretly supplying the Ban with money for carrying on the war. Early in August the Croatian troops laid siege to several of the most important cities in Hungary, and laid waste some of the richest districts in that country. In these circumstances the Diet voted that a deputation of twenty-five members should proceed at once to Vienna, and make an appeal to the National Assembly for aid against the Croats, who were now rapidly overrunning the country under Jellacic, who proclaimed that he was about to rid Hungary "from the yoke of an incapable, odious, and rebel Government." The deputation went to Vienna, and the Assembly, by a majority of 186 to 108, resolved to refuse it a hearing. Deeply mortified at this insult, the Hungarians resolved to break completely with Austria. They invested Kossuth with full powers as Dictator, whereupon the Archduke resigned his vice-royalty on the 25th of September, and retired to Moravia.

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INVASION OF CANADA: RED MEN ON THE WAR PATH. (See p. 35.)Buonaparte continued the pursuit of the Allies as far as Pirna, whence, owing to indisposition, he returned to Dresden; but Vandamme, Murat, Marmont, and St. Cyr pushed forward by different ways to cut off the route of the fugitives into the mountains of Bohemia. Vandamme, however, having passed Peterswald, beyond which he had orders not to proceed, was tempted to try for T?plitz, where the Allied sovereigns lay, and take it. In doing this he was enclosed, in a deep valley near Kulm, by Ostermann and other bodies of the Allies, completely routed, and taken prisoner, with Generals Haxo and Guyot, the loss of two eagles, and seven thousand prisoners. This was on the 29th of August.In America, the belligerents were early afoot this year; but the attention and the forces of the English were drawn from the States to the West Indies by the determined attempts of the French to make themselves masters of our islands there. D'Estaing, who was joined by another French squadron under the Marquis de Vaudreuil, was early opposed by Admiral Byron, who arrived at St. Lucia from the American coast on the 6th of January. This Admiral Vaudreuil, on his way, had visited our settlements on the coast of Africa, and taken from us Senegal; but Sir Edward Hughes soon arrived there, and took their settlement of Goree, so that it was a mere exchange of territory. In June Admiral Byron was obliged to escort our merchant fleet to a certain distance, and D'Estaing seized that opportunity to make himself master of St. Vincent and Grenada, where the garrisons were weak. On the return of Byron, on the 5th of July, he came to an engagement with D'Estaing off Grenada; but the French admiral, after an indecisive action, took advantage of the night to sail away, boasting of a great victory. He now made for Georgia and Carolina, to assist the Americans in endeavouring to wrest from us our recent conquest of Savannah, in Georgia.

This was a broad indication of the French seizing, under the pretence of propagating liberty, on what had been called the natural boundaries of France in the time of Louis XIV.,—namely, the Rhine and the Alps, thus including Belgium, part of Holland, Nice, and Savoy. They dispatched emissaries to Victor Amadeus, the King of Sardinia, offering to drive the Austrians out of Italy, and give Italy to the Italians. As they had, however, previously sent numbers of their Jacobin propagandists to inoculate his people with Republicanism, the king refused their offers, and forbade General Semonville to enter the country. On this, the Convention proclaimed war against him, and ordered Montesquieu to invade Nice and Savoy. With an army of fifteen thousand men[408] and twenty pieces of artillery, Montesquieu entered Savoy, and the few Savoyard troops being unable to compete with him, the people, moreover, being already prepared by French Republicans, he overran the country, entered Chambéry in triumph, and occupied the province to the foot of Mont Cenis. Elated by the successes of these campaigns, the French Convention passed a decree, declaring that it would grant succour and fraternity to all peoples desirous of recovering their liberty; it ordered its generals to give such aid to all citizens who were, or might be, harshly treated on account of their desire for liberty; and the generals were instructed to post this decree in all public places to which they should carry the arms of the Republic. Two days afterwards Savoy was formed into a new department as the Department of Mont Blanc.CHAPTER IV. PROGRESS OF THE NATION DURING THE REIGN OF GEORGE III.



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