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Through all these arrangements Lord North continued to persist in his resignation. If the king had had any glimmering of what was necessary to save the colonies, he would himself have removed North long ago. But the only man who could take the place with any probability of success, or with any of the confidence of the public, was Lord Chatham, whom the king regarded with increasing aversion. Chatham's pride, which would not stoop an inch to mere outside royalty, feeling the higher royalty of his own mind, so far from seeking office, must himself be sought, and this deeply offended the monarch. Lord North could point to no other efficient successor, and George angrily replied that, as regarded "Lord Chatham and his crew," he would not condescend to send for "that perfidious man" as Prime Minister; he would only do it to offer him and his friends places in the Ministry of Lord North.

The next morning, by daybreak, the French were in full retreat over the river Alberche, and Sir Arthur employed the two following days in getting his wounded into hospital in Talavera, and in procuring provisions for his victorious but starving army. Sir Arthur complains that, though he had thus repulsed the French for them, neither the Spanish authorities nor the Spanish people did anything to assist him in this respect. They were very willing that the British should fight their battles, but they must provide for themselves, or starve. The state of our own Commissariat aggravated this evil. It had long been a Department of the most corrupt kind, the duties of which were neglected, and little was thought of by its officers but the enriching of themselves at the expense of our Government and our soldiers. These swindlers, long after this, continued to pay the contractors and muleteers in notes payable at Lisbon, or at headquarters; these the receivers[578] had often to get changed into coin at a monstrous discount, and Jews and jobbers flocked after the army for this purpose. To add to the mischief, some of these villains introduced loads of counterfeit dollars, merely copper-plated, so that, after losing enormously on the exchange of the paper, the receivers found themselves utterly defrauded of their payment. It was no wonder that the trading part of the Spanish population should feel shy of supplying us, more especially as Sir John Moorefrom the money which should have been in his chest having been, by Mr. Frere, carelessly handed over to the Spanish Juntahad had to pay in paper which the British Government had not yet redeemed. The reform of such abuses as these was one of the great things which Wellesley did for the British army, but at present he was suffering the extremest difficulties from them. He wrote sternly to Mr. Frere, who had not yet been superseded by the arrival of Lord Wellesley, that he (Sir Arthur) was blamed by the Junta for not doing more, whilst they were allowing his army, which had beaten twice their own number in the service of Spain, to starve. "It is positively a fact," he wrote, "that during the last seven days the British army have not received one-third of their provisions; that, at this moment, there are nearly four thousand wounded soldiers dying in the hospitals in this town from want of common assistance and necessaries, which any other country in the world would have given even to its enemies; and that I can get no assistance of any description from this country. I cannot prevail on them to even bury the dead carcases in the neighbourhood, the stench of which will destroy themselves as well as us." All this while, he added, Don Martin de Garay was urging him to push on, and drive the French over the Pyrenees; "but," added Sir Arthur, "I positively will not move; nay, more, I will disperse my army till I am supplied with provisions and means of transport as I ought to be."

Whilst the fate of Louis XVI. was drawing to a crisis, the question of danger menaced by the French revolution had been warmly discussed in the British Parliament. The Government had already called out the militia when Parliament met on the 13th of December, 1792. The speech from the throne attributed this to the attempts of French incendiaries to create disturbance in the country, coupled with the doctrines of aggression promulgated by the French Convention, and their invasion of Germany and the Netherlands, which had already taken place. The latter country was overrun with French armies, and Holland, our ally, was threatened. The Address to the Speech, in the Commons, was moved by Mr. Wallace and seconded by Lord Fielding in the same tone. Fox, on the other hand, strongly opposed the warlike spirit of the speech. He declared that he believed every statement in the royal speech was unfounded, though the invasion of Germany and of the Netherlands was no myth. Fox had not yet, despite the horrors perpetrated by the French revolutionists, given up his professed persuasion of the good intentions of that peoplea wonderful blindnessand he recommended that we should send a fresh ambassador to treat with the French executive. Grey and Sheridan argued on the same side; Windham and Dundas defended the measures of Government, declaring that not only had the French forced open the navigation of the Scheldt, the protection of which was guaranteed by Britain, but that they were preparing for the regular subjugation of Holland. Burke declared that the counsels of Fox would be the ruin of England, if they could possibly prevail. He remarked that nothing was so notorious as the fact that swarms of Jacobin propagandists were actively engaged in disseminating their levelling principles in Great Britain, and were in close co-operation with Republican factions. These factions had sent over deputations to Paris, who had been received by the Jacobin society and by the Convention. He read the addresses of Englishmen and Irishmen resident in Paris, and of Joel Barlow and John Frost, deputies of the Constitutional Society of London. Burke said the question was, if they permitted the fraternising of these parties with the French Jacobins, not whether they should address the throne, but whether they should long have a throne to address, for the French Government had declared war against all kings and all thrones. Erskine replied, ridiculing the fears of Burke, and denouncing the prosecution of Paine's "Rights of Man" by Government. The Address was carried by a large majority. Fox, however, on the 14th of December, moved an amendment on the Report; and in his speech he rejoiced in the triumph of the French arms over what he called the coalition of despots, Prussia and Austria. He declared the people of Flanders had received the French with open arms; that Ireland was too disaffected for us to think of going to war; and that it was useless to attempt to defend the Dutch, for the people there would go over to France too. He again pressed on the House the necessity of our acknowledging the present French Government, and entering into alliance with it. He said France had readily acknowledged the Revolution in England, and entered into treaty with[411] Cromwell. Burke again replied to Fox, declaring that France had no real Government at all to enter into terms with. It was in a condition of anarchy, one party being in the ascendency one day, another the next; that such was not the condition of England under Cromwell. There was a decided and settled Republican Government, but a Government which did not menace or overthrow all monarchies around it, any more than Switzerland or the United States of America did now. Dundas reminded the House that we were bound by treaties to defend Holland if attacked, and that we must be prepared for it. Whigs, who had hitherto voted with Fox, now demanded to whom we were to send an ambassadorto the imprisoned king, to the Convention, or to the clubs who ruled the Convention? Fox's amendment was rejected without a division.

But during these transactions France and England had not been idle. A new alliance had been signed at Hanover between England, France, and Prussia, to which soon after were added Denmark and Holland. The real objects of this treaty were to counterbalance that between Spain, Austria, and Russia, to compel the dissolution of the Ostend Company, and to prevent the menaced assistance to the Pretender. This was the celebrated Treaty of Hanover. The death of the Princess Charlotte left the prospect of the succession to the Crown equally serious. Of the numerous sons and daughters of George III. not one had legitimate issue. It might be necessary soon to look abroad in Germany or in Denmark for an heir to the Crown. This consideration led to a number of royal marriages during the earlier part of this year. The first of these marriages was not of this description. It was that of the Princess Elizabeth, his Majesty's third daughter, to the Landgrave and Hereditary Prince of Hesse-Homburg, on the 7th of April. As the princess was already nearly eight-and-forty, no expectation of issue in that quarter was entertained. On the 13th of April Lord Liverpool brought down a message from the Regent to the Peers, and Lord Castlereagh to the Commons, announcing treaties of marriage in progress between the Duke of Clarence and the Princess Adelaide Louisa, of Saxe-Meiningen; and also between the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Augusta Wilhelmina, of Hesse, youngest daughter of the Landgrave of Hesse. The House of Commons was also asked to add an additional ten thousand pounds a year to the allowance of the Duke of Clarence, and six thousand pounds a year each to those of the Dukes of Cumberland and Cambridge, and to that of the Duke of Kent,[136] if he, too, should marry. Ministers intimated that it had been the intention to ask much larger sums, but they found that it was necessary to reduce the sum asked for the Duke of Clarence. It was a matter of notoriety that the duke had already a large family by the actress, Mrs. Jordan, and probably the feeling of the House was influenced by his desertion of that lady; but there was a stout opposition and the sum was reduced to six thousand pounds. Loud acclamations followed the carrying of this amendment, and Lord Castlereagh rose and said, after the refusal of the sum asked, he believed he might say that the negotiation for the marriage might be considered at an end. The next day the duke sent a message declining the sum granted; yet, after all, his marriage took place. The Duke of Cumberland was already married to the Princess Frederica Sophia, the daughter of the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who had been divorced from Frederick Louis, Prince of Prussia. The Duke of Cumberland was one of the most unpopular men in the whole kingdom, for there were rumours of very dark passages in his life, and Parliament had rejected an application for an additional allowance on his marriage; and it now rejected this application amid much applause. The sum asked for the Duke of Cambridge was carried, but not without considerable opposition. The spirit of reform was in the air. Those Highlanders commenced their march into England with no predilection for the adventure. The warfare of Scotland was familiar to them; in all ages they had been accustomed to descend from their mountains and make raids in the Lowlands. But England was to them an unknown region; they knew little of the dangers or the perils before them; they knew that in the Whiggish clans of the West they left powerful enemies behind them. No sooner did they lose sight of Edinburgh than they began to desert. Charles led his division of the army across the Tweed at Kelso, and sent on orders to Wooler to[100] prepare for his reception, thus keeping up the feint of marching eastward; instead of which, he took his way down Liddesdale, and on the 8th of November crossed the Esk, and encamped that night at a place called Reddings, on the Cumberland side.

But, in the autumn of 1781, they resolved on a renewed attack of the most vigorous kind. Elliot received information of this, and determined to anticipate the plan. At midnight of the 26th of November he ordered out all his grenadiers and light infantry, including the two veteran regiments with which he had seen service in Germany so many years ago, the 12th, and the regiment of General Hardenberg. Three hundred sailors volunteered to accompany them, and the brave old general himself could not stay behind. The detachment marched silently through the soft sand, and entered the fourth line almost before the Spanish sentinel was aware of them. In a very few minutes the enemy was in full flight towards the village of Campo, and the English set to work, under direction of the engineer officers, to destroy the works which had cost the Spaniards such enormous labour to erect. The Spaniards for several days appeared so stupefied that they allowed their works to burn without any attempt to check the fire. In the following month of December, however, they slowly resumed their bombardment. Nevertheless, it was not till the spring of 1782 that the Spaniards were cheered by the news that the Duke of Crillon was on his way to join them with the army which had conquered Minorca.

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.

Before entering Washington, General Ross sent in a flag of truceor, rather, he carried one himself, for he accompanied itto see that all was done that could be done to arrange terms, without further mischief or bloodshed. He demanded that all military stores should be delivered up, and that the other public property should be ransomed at a certain sum. But scarcely had they entered the place, with the flag of truce displayed, whenwith total disregard of all such customs established by civilised nations in warthe party was fired upon, and the horse of General Ross killed under him. There was nothing for it but to order the troops forward. The city was taken possession of, under strict orders to respect private property, and to destroy only that of the State. Under these orders, the Capitol, the President's house, the Senate-house, the House of Representatives, the Treasury, the War-office, the arsenal, the dockyard, and the ropewalk were given to the flames; the bridge over the Potomac, and some other public works, were blown up; a frigate on the stocks and some smaller craft were burnt. All was done that could be done by General Ross, and the officers under him, to protect private property; but the soldiers were so incensed at the treachery by which the Americans had sought to blow up the seamen, by the firing on the flag of truce, and the unprincipled manner in which the Americans had carried on the war in Canada, as well as by the insults and gasconading of the Americans on all occasions, that they could not be restrained from committing some excesses. Yet it may be said that never was the capital of a nation so easily taken, and never did the capital of a nation which had given so much irritating provocation escape with so little scathe. The following evening it was evacuated in perfect order, and without any enemy appearing to molest the retreat. On the 30th the troops were safely re-embarked.

In Italy the French had been as unfortunate as they had been fortunate in Flanders. In November of 1746 the Austrians and Sardinians, assisted by a British fleet, had entered Provence and bombarded Antibes. They were recalled, however, by the news that the Genoese had revolted, and thrown off the Austrian yoke. In their retreat they were harassed by Marshal de Belleisle, laid siege to Genoa in vain, and began to quarrel amongst themselves. The French, to complete their own[113] discomfiture, marched another army into Italy under the brother of Belleisle; but they were stopped in the Pass of Exilles, and defeated, with the loss of four thousand men and of their commander, the Chevalier de Belleisle.

The suggestions of Murat had failed to induce Ferdinand to leave his capital and go to meet Napoleon; but a more adroit agent now presented himself in the person of Savary, the delegated murderer of the Duke d'Enghien. Savary paid decided court to Ferdinand. He listened to all his statements of the revolution of Aranjuez and the abdication of the king. He told him that he felt sure Napoleon would see these circumstances in the same favourable light as he did, and persuaded him to go and meet the Emperor at Burgos, and hear him salute him Ferdinand VII., King of Spain and of the Indies.

The General ElectionCrime in IrelandIncreased Powers granted to the ExecutiveIreland on the Verge of RebellionDeath of O'ConnellViceroyalty of Lord ClarendonSpecial Commission in Clare, Limerick, and TipperaryThe Commission at ClonmelRise of the Young Ireland PartyThe NationMeagher and Smith O'BrienThey try to dispense with the ChurchThe Irish ConfederationThe United IrishmanNews of the French RevolutionPanic in DublinLord Clarendon and Mr. BirchThe Deputation to ParisSmith O'Brien in ParliamentPreparations for Civil WarYoung and Old Ireland at blowsArrest and Trial of Mitchel, Smith O'Brien, and MeagherTransportation of MitchelLord Clarendon's Extraordinary PowersSmith O'Brien in the SouthCommencement of the InsurrectionBattle of BallingarryArrest of Smith O'BrienCollapse of the RebellionTrial of the ConspiratorsTrials and SentencesThe Rate in AidThe Encumbered Estates ActThe Queen's Visit to IrelandCove becomes QueenstownA Visit to CorkKingstown and DublinDeparture from DublinAn Affecting IncidentBelfast.