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Mr. Jemison, as commissioner for distributing a million and a half of this compensation money! 1,200But, in spite of the importance of these measures, there was one question which engrossed the attention of both parliament and the public far more than any other. This was the demand by Burke for the impeachment of Warren Hastings, late Governor-General of Bengal, for high crimes and misdemeanours there alleged to have been by him committed. It therefore becomes necessary at this point to resume our narrative of Indian affairs from the year 1760, which our connected view of the events of the American war necessarily suspended.

The Battle of Rosbach raised the fame of Frederick wonderfully all over Europe. He soon roused himself, however, for fresh efforts. Whilst he had been thus engaged on the Saale, the Austrians had again overrun Silesia, defeating the Prussians under the Duke of Bevern, storming the great fortress of Schweidnitz, and making themselves masters of Breslau, the capital. In spite of his reduced numbers and the advancing winter, Frederick immediately directed his march towards Silesia, gathering reinforcements as he went, so that by the 5th of December, just one month from the Battle of Rosbach, he came up with Prince Charles of Lorraine and Marshal Daun at Lissa, a small village near Breslau, and with forty thousand men encountered and defeated nearly seventy thousand Austrians, killing and wounding twenty-seven thousand of them, taking above fifty standards, one hundred cannon, four thousand waggons, and much other spoil. This battle at once freed Silesia from the Austrians, who trooped over the mountains in all haste, and left the victorious king to close this unexampled campaign.GEORGE II. AT DETTINGEN, 1743.

It was quite evident that a Ministry assailed in this manner, and left almost without defenders in Parliament, while the public out of doors were so excited against them that no act of theirs could give satisfaction or inspire confidence, could not long remain in office. Accordingly, they made up their minds to retire on the first opportunity. Three important questions stood for discussion, on any one of which they were sure to be defeated. The Duke selected the question of the Civil List. In the Royal Speech his Majesty surrendered the hereditary revenues of the Crown to the disposal of Parliament. The Opposition could see no merit in that, and Lord Grey contended that those revenues were not private but public property, assigned by the State for the purpose of maintaining the dignity of the Sovereign, and that from this purpose they could not be alienated. The debate came on upon the 12th of November, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer moved that the House do resolve itself into committee on the Civil List, the scheme which he had brought forward fixing the amount to be settled at £970,000. Several of the details in this scheme were objected to, and on the following day Sir H. Parnell moved, as an amendment to the resolutions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that a select committee be appointed to take into consideration the estimates and accounts printed by command of his Majesty regarding the Civil List. After a short debate the House divided, when the numbers were—for the amendment, 233; and against it, 204, giving a majority of twenty-nine against the Government. Mr. Hobhouse immediately asked[324] Sir Robert Peel whether Ministers intended to retain office after this expression of the sentiments of the House. To which he gave no answer at the time; but the next day the Duke in the Upper House, and Sir Robert in the Lower, announced that they held their offices only till their successors were appointed. The defeat was brought about, in a great measure, by the former supporters of the Ministry. The blow was struck, and none recoiled from it more immediately than the section of angry Tories who were mainly instrumental in delivering it. They had achieved their purpose, and stood aghast, for no time was lost with the Duke in placing his resignation in the hands of the king.But there was another topic started in this first Imperial Parliament which was as odious to George III. as the perfidious conduct of his late Russian ally. As one means of bringing about the union with Ireland, Pitt held out to the Irish Catholics the argument that by having Irishmen in the united Parliament they would be most likely to obtain a repeal of the Catholic disabilities. Both he and Lord Cornwallis had sent circulars to this effect, anonymous, it is true, but with a secret avowal of their authorship, amongst the leading Catholics, which had a great effect in procuring their assent to the union. Lord Castlereagh, who as Secretary of State for Ireland had helped to carry the union, claimed the redemption of this pledge. The matter was talked over in the Cabinet during the autumn of 1799, and again in September, 1800. Pitt introduced the subject about the middle of January in the Privy Council. But in the interval the Chancellor, Lord Loughborough, had betrayed the plan to the king, and in conjunction with Lord Auckland had convinced his Majesty that it would involve a violation of the Coronation Oath. George was indignant, and almost furious. At the levee on the 28th of January, when Lord Castlereagh was presented, he said to Dundas, "What is this which this young lord [Castlereagh] has brought over to fling at my head?" He alluded to a plan for Catholic emancipation, and added, "I shall reckon every man my personal enemy who proposes any such measure! This is the most jacobinical thing I ever heard of." Dundas replied that his Majesty would find amongst those friendly to the measure some whom he had never supposed to be his enemies. On the 31st of January Pitt wrote to the king, assuring him that the union with Ireland would render it absolutely necessary that important questions regarding the Catholics and Dissenters should be discussed; but, as he found how extremely such[479] topics were disliked by his Majesty, and yet how just it was that Catholics should be admitted to Parliament as well as Protestant Dissenters, who were already admitted, he begged to be permitted to resign. At the same time, not to inconvenience his Majesty, he was willing to hold office till his Majesty had reconstructed a Cabinet wholly to his mind. George replied, the very next day, that Mr. Pitt's letter had occasioned him the liveliest concern; that, so far from exposing him to the agitation of this question, he had flattered himself that the union, by uniting the Protestants of both kingdoms, would for ever have excluded the question of Catholic emancipation. He expressed his ardent wish that Pitt should continue to be his Minister as long as he lived; and he only required, as a condition, that he should stave off this question. Pitt replied, on the 3rd of February, that his Majesty's determined tone on the subject of Catholic emancipation left him no alternative but to resign, in compliance with his duty; and that, as his Majesty's resolve was taken, it would certainly be best for the country that his retirement should be as early as possible. On the 5th the king wrote, accepting Pitt's resignation, though with expressions of deep regret.

From the moment that Russia was called in, under the pretext of maintaining order, she became, or aimed to become, the dominant power there. She pressed on the whole line of the Polish frontier with her armies, inundated the kingdom with her troops, and levied contributions for their support as if she had been in a conquered country. From that hour, too, the kings were elected rather by foreign armies than by the Poles themselves.[207] Stanislaus Poniatowski, the present king, was the nominee of Catherine of Russia, whose lover he had been till superseded by Orloff. She had placed him on the throne by force of arms, and he was incapable of doing anything except through her power.

The British Government had employed the best portion of the Session of Parliament between the commencement of November and Christmas, 1797, in receiving the report of the insults of the French Commissioners at Lille to our Ambassador, and his summary dismissal from the place of meeting without any chance of peace, and in voting money to carry on the war at our own doors. Pitt called for the grant of twenty-five million five hundred thousand pounds, and for trebling all the assessed taxes. All this was readily granted. In April, 1798, he called for three millions, and that was as freely conceded. In fact, by that time, the Irish were on the very verge of appearing in arms to cast off the yoke of England and accept the boasted fraternity of France. Lord Edward Fitzgerald, brother of the Duke of Leinster, one of the leading members of the Society of United Irishmen, had spent some time in France during the Revolution. He had married Pamela, the daughter of Madame de Genlis. To him, on his return to Ireland, French emissaries of revolution were secretly sent over, and he introduced them to the leading members of the projected revolt. In 1794 a Jacobinised Irishman, the Rev. William Jackson, came over from Paris, at the time of the fiercest raging of the Reign of Terror, to concert with Wolfe Tone and his fellow-conspirators the plans of insurrection. At the very time that some of these—Bond, Simon Butler, and Hamilton Rowan—were[461] tried as accomplices of the Scottish reformers, Muir and the rest, and acquitted as men only seeking reform of Parliament, they were deep in this scheme of French invasion. Jackson was arrested in Dublin, was tried and convicted of high treason, but anticipated his sentence by suicide. The most public display of sympathy with his views and mission was made by a vast attendance of carriages at his funeral, and the features of rebellion became so undisguised that a stop was put to all questions of political concession and amelioration.Wolfe then held a council with his two next in command, the Brigadiers Monckton and Townshend, and they resolved, as a desperate attempt, to move up the river, and thus endeavour to draw Montcalm from his unassailable position. Accordingly, leaving detachments to defend the Isle of Orleans and Point Levi, the rest of the army ascended the St. Lawrence for some miles, and pitched their camp on the right bank. To attract still more attention, Admiral Holmes was ordered to put his vessels in active motion for some days, as if seeking a landing-place higher up the river.[135] This stratagem, however, produced no other result than that of Montcalm sending a detachment of one thousand five hundred men to watch their proceedings. He himself maintained his old ground.

[529]

The General Election—Crime in Ireland—Increased Powers granted to the Executive—Ireland on the Verge of Rebellion—Death of O'Connell—Viceroyalty of Lord Clarendon—Special Commission in Clare, Limerick, and Tipperary—The Commission at Clonmel—Rise of the Young Ireland Party—The Nation—Meagher and Smith O'Brien—They try to dispense with the Church—The Irish Confederation—The United Irishman—News of the French Revolution—Panic in Dublin—Lord Clarendon and Mr. Birch—The Deputation to Paris—Smith O'Brien in Parliament—Preparations for Civil War—Young and Old Ireland at blows—Arrest and Trial of Mitchel, Smith O'Brien, and Meagher—Transportation of Mitchel—Lord Clarendon's Extraordinary Powers—Smith O'Brien in the South—Commencement of the Insurrection—Battle of Ballingarry—Arrest of Smith O'Brien—Collapse of the Rebellion—Trial of the Conspirators—Trials and Sentences—The Rate in Aid—The Encumbered Estates Act—The Queen's Visit to Ireland—Cove becomes Queenstown—A Visit to Cork—Kingstown and Dublin—Departure from Dublin—An Affecting Incident—Belfast.Amongst the most distinguished persons captured were Lords Kilmarnock, Cromarty, Balmerino, Mordington, and Lovat. Cromarty, Balmerino, and Kilmarnock were brought to trial before the peers in Westminster Hall on the 28th of July. "Cromarty," says Horace Walpole, "was a timid man, and shed tears; and Kilmarnock, though behaving with more dignity, pleaded guilty, both expressing remorse for their past conduct, and their fervent good wishes for the person and government of the king." But old Balmerino, the hero of the party, pleaded not guilty, and took exceptions to the indictment. "He is," writes Walpole, "the most natural, brave old fellow I ever saw; the highest intrepidity, even to indifference." All these noblemen were pronounced guilty. Cromarty pleaded piteously the condition of his wife and family: that he left his wife enceinte, and eight innocent children to suffer for his fault. His wife's entreaties and the interest of the Prince of Wales saved him; Kilmarnock and Balmerino were beheaded.

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As to the other changes in the Ministry, Sir Dudley Ryder being advanced to the bench, Murray succeeded him as Attorney-General. Lord Chancellor Hardwicke was made an earl; Sir George Lyttelton and George Grenville, friends of Pitt, had places—one as Treasurer of the Navy, the other as cofferer. Pitt himself, who was suffering from his great enemy, the gout, at Bath, was passed over. No sooner did he meet with Fox in the House of Commons, than he said aloud, "Sir Thomas Robinson lead us! Newcastle might as well send his jack-boot to lead us!" No sooner did the unfortunate Sir Thomas open his mouth, than Pitt fell with crushing sarcasm upon him; and Fox completed his confusion by pretending to excuse him on account of his twenty years' absence abroad, and his consequent utter ignorance of all matters before the House. Soon after, Pitt made a most overwhelming speech, on the occasion of a petition against the return of a Government candidate by bribery, and called on Whigs of all sections to come forward and defend the liberties of the country, unless, he said, "you will degenerate into a little assembly, serving no other purpose than to register the arbitrary edicts of one too powerful subject!" This was a blow at Newcastle, which, coming from a colleague in office, made both him and his puppets in the Commons, Legge and Robinson, tremble. Newcastle saw clearly that he must soon dismount Robinson from his dangerous altitude, and give the place to Fox.Next came the declaration of war by the King of Prussia, which Buonaparte styled a treachery; but, on the contrary, the King of Prussia had only preserved faith towards his oppressor and insulter too long. Not only all Prussia, but all Germany was on fire to throw off the detested yoke of the oppressor, and Frederick William would have been a traitor to his people and to common sense to have hesitated. Yet he proposed terms of a mutual settlement. To place himself in a position of independent treaty, he suddenly left Berlin on the 22nd of January, and made his way to Breslau, where he was out of the reach of French arms, and in certainty of the arrival, at no very distant date, of Russian ones. He invited, however, the French ambassador to follow him, and he there proposed an armistice, on the conditions that the French should evacuate Dantzic and all the other Prussian fortresses on the Oder, and retire behind the Elbe, on which the Czar had promised that he would stop the march of his army beyond the Vistula. But Buonaparte treated the proposition with contempt; he was determined to give up nothing—to recover everything.

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