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Immediately on the rejection of his terms Frederick William concluded a treaty with Alexander on the 28th of February, and Austria was invited to join the league. Alexander had joined his army himself on the 22nd of December, and had marched along with it through that horrible winter. On the 1st of March Prussia concluded its alliance with Alexander, offensive and defensive. On the 15th Alexander arrived at Breslau, and there was an affecting meeting of the two sovereigns, who had been placed in outward hostility by the power of Buonaparte, but who had never ceased to be friends at heart. The King of Prussia was moved to tears. "Courage, my brother," said Alexander; "these are the last tears that Napoleon shall cause you."

On the 9th of June, when the House of Commons went into committee on the Bill, a large number of merchants desired to be heard against it. For several days their statements were heard, and the Portuguese Ambassador also presented a memorial declaring that should the duties on French wines be lowered to those of Portugal, his master would renew the woollen and other duties on the products of Great Britain. This seemed to enforce the mercantile opinions; the sense of the whole country was against the treaty, and the speech of Sir Thomas Hanmer, a Tory, made a deep impression. There was, however, a growing rumour, during the latter days of the debate, that Oxford had given the treaty upa rumour probably not without foundation, for Oxford and Bolingbroke were no longer in unity. The latter, ambitious and unprincipled, was intriguing to oust his more slow and dilatory colleague; and, as the Bill was ostensibly the work of Bolingbroke, probably Oxford was by no means unwilling that it should be thrown out to damage him. When the question, therefore, was put on the 18th of June,[11] that the Bill be engrossed, it was negatived by a majority of one hundred and ninety-four to one hundred and eighty-five. Thus the commercial treaty was lost, much to the joy of the nation, and certainly to its immediate benefit.But Catherine's ally, Joseph, was fast sinking, and his mortal sun was going down amid storm clouds, all collected by his reckless disregard of the rights of his subjects, great reformer as he desired to be. He had wantonly invaded the ancient constitution of Hungary; and on this the high-spirited and martial Hungarians had expressed their determination not to submit to it. They insisted that he should restore the regalia of their ancient kingdom, which he had carried off from Buda, the old capital, and where the Austrian emperors, as kings of Hungary, were always expected to be crowned, and to take the oath to observe the constitution. The Turks, already in possession of the banat of Temeswar, invited their alliance, offering to assist them in driving out the Austrians, and establishing their independence. Joseph, alarmed at this prospect, made haste to avert the danger by conceding the restoration of the Hungarian constitution and of the regalia, and the generous Hungarians were at once appeased.

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In 1720 Colin Maclaurin, the successor of James Gregory in the mathematical chair at Edinburgh, published his "Geometrical Organica," a treatise on curves; in 1742 his admirable treatise on Fluxions; and in 1748 his treatise on Algebra. Dr. Robert Simson, professor of mathematics at Glasgow, published a restoration of the "Loci" of Apollonius, and an English translation of Euclid, which continued down to a late period in use, both in Scotland and England. In 1717 James Stirling published a Latin treatise on lines of the third order, and another on Fluxions, called "Methodus Differentialis," in 1730. William Emerson, a mathematician and mechanist, wrote on fluxions, trigonometry, mechanics, navigation, algebra, optics, astronomy, geography, dialling, etc., but a considerable portion was only in part published during this period. Thomas Simpson, a weaver, of Market Bosworth, at the age of seven-and-twenty suddenly discovered himself as an extraordinary mathematician, and went on till his death, in 1761, publishing works on fluxions, the nature and laws of chance, on mixed mathematics, on the doctrine of annuities and reversions, on algebra, elementary geometry, trigonometry, etc. James Ferguson, also, the son of a day-labourer, in Banffshire, studied mathematics whilst tending sheep, and published a number of works on the phenomena of the harvest moon, astronomy, mechanics, hydrostatics,[154] pneumatics, and optics. Ferguson had a remarkably lucid and demonstrative style, both in writing and lecturing, and his example excited a keen spirit of inquiry amongst the working classes, so that he is said to have diffused the knowledge of physical science amongst the class from which he sprang more than any other man.

Thenby a process of argument so close, so logical, as to amount to a demonstrationSir Robert Peel meets this objection, and shows that the proposals of the Conservative party afforded no solution of the real difficulty. Granted that the overwhelming sense of the people of Great Britain was against concession, what aid could they afford in the daily, practical administration of the law in Ireland? If seditious libels were to be punished, or illegal confederacies, dangerous to the public peace, to be suppressed, the offenders could only be corrected and checked through the intervention of an Irish jury, little disposed, if fairly selected, to defer in times of political excitement to the authority of English opinion. But the real difficulty to be surmounted was not the violation of the law; it lay, rather, in the novel exercise of constitutional franchises, in the application of powers recognised and protected by the law, the power of speech, the power of meeting in public assemblies, the systematic and not unlawful application of all these powers to one definite purposenamely, the organisation of a force which professed to be a moral force, but had for its object to encroach, step by step, on the functions of regular government, to paralyse its authority, and to acquire a strength which might ultimately render irresistible the demand for civil equality. If, then, Irish agitation could not be repressed through the action of Irish juries, if the agitators kept strictly within the letter of the law, so that even a conviction by an Irish jury might be pronounced, by the highest legal authorities in England, an Act making trial by jury "a mockery, a delusion, and a snare," how was the public opinion of England and Scotland to be brought to bear in putting down the popular will in Ireland? It could be done only through the Imperial Parliament, by having a law passed to suspend or abolish the Constitution in Ireland. But the existing Parliament could not be got to pass any such measure, for the House of Commons had just voted that the proper way to put down agitation in Ireland was to grant Catholic Emancipation; and that the remedy of establishing civil equality ought to be tried without delay. Was[278] there any hope that a dissolution of Parliament would produce different results? No; for at the general election of 1826, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Middlesex, Surrey, Kent, and Devonshire sent representatives to Parliament, a majority of whom voted against the maintenance of Protestant ascendency in Ireland. The members for London, for Liverpool, for Norwich, for Coventry, for Leicester, were equally divided on the question; while the members for Westminster, Southwark, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Preston, Chester, and Derby voted unanimously for concession. Now, the Parliament which assumed this Liberal complexion had been elected in circumstances calculated to call forth the strongest manifestation of Protestant feeling; for it was only the previous year that, after long discussion and a severe contest, the Commons had sent up to the Lords, by a majority of twenty-one, a Bill for the repeal of Roman Catholic disabilities. Then, with regard to Ireland, what would have been the effect of a general election there? Would not the example of Clare have been imitated in every county and borough where the Roman Catholic electors were the majority? And what would have been the effect of such an attempt on the public peace? Probably, to involve the whole island in the horrors of a civil and religious war; to be followed by another penal code.It was not till between eleven and twelve o'clock on the morning of Sunday, the 18th of June, that this terrible conflict commenced; for the troops of Napoleon had not yet all reached the ground, having suffered from the tempests of wind and rain equally with the Allies. The rain had now ceased, but the morning was gloomy and lowering. The action opened by a brisk cannonade on the house and wood of Hougomont, which were held by the troops of Nassau. These were driven out;[99] but their place was immediately taken by the British Guards under General Byng and Colonels Home and Macdonald. A tremendous cannonade was kept up on Hougomont by Jerome's batteries from the slopes above; and under cover of this fire the French advanced through the wood in front of Hougomont, but were met by a terrible fire from the British, who had the orchard wall as a breastwork from which to assail the enemy. The contest here was continued through the day with dreadful fury, but the British held their ground with bull-dog tenacity. The buildings of the farmyard and an old chapel were set fire to by the French shells; but the British maintained their post amid the flames, and filled the wood in front and a lane running under the orchard wall with mountains of dead.

In one respect the general election happened at an unseasonable time. It was the driest and warmest summer on record. On the 28th of June, the hottest day in the year, the thermometer stood at eighty-nine and a half degrees in the shade. Several deaths were occasioned by sunstroke; among the victims were a son of Earl Grey, and Mr. Butterworth, the eminent law bookseller, a candidate for Dover. The elections were carried on in many places with great spirit. But, though there were exciting contests, the struggles were not for parties, but for measures. There were three great questions at issue before the nation, and with respect to these pledges were exacted. The principal were the Corn Laws, Catholic Emancipation, and the Slave Trade. In England and Wales one hundred and thirty-three members were returned who had never before sat in Parliament. This large infusion of new blood showed that the constituencies were in earnest. In Ireland the contests turned chiefly on the Catholic question. The organisation of the Catholic Association told now with tremendous effect. In every parish the populace were so excited by inflammatory harangues, delivered in the chapel on Sundays, after public worship, both[254] by priests and laymenthe altar being converted into a platformthat irresistible pressure was brought to bear upon the Roman Catholic electors. The "forty-shilling freeholders" had been multiplied to an enormous extent by the landlords for electioneering purposes. Roman Catholic candidates being out of the question, and the Tory interest predominant in Ireland, electioneering contests had been hitherto in reality less political than personal. They had been contests for pre-eminence between great rival families; consequently, farms were cut up into small holdings, because a cabin and a potato garden gave a man who was little better than a pauper an interest which he could swear was to him worth forty shillings a year. The Protestant landlords who pursued this selfish course little dreamt that the political power they thus created would be turned with terrible effect against themselves; and they could scarcely realise their position when, in county after county, they were driven from the representation, which some of them regarded as an inheritance almost as secure as their estates. The most powerful family in Ireland, and the most influential in the Government, was that of the Beresfords, whose principal estates lay in the county Waterford, and where no one would imagine that their candidate could be opposed with the least prospect of success. But on this occasion they suffered a signal defeat. The forty-shilling freeholders, as well as the better class of Roman Catholic farmers, were so excited by the contest that they went almost to a man against their landlords. In many cases they had got their holdings at low rents on the express condition that their vote should be at the disposal of the landlord. But all such obligations were given to the winds. They followed their priests from every parish to the hustings, surrounded and driven forward by a mass of non-electors armed with sticks and shouting for their church and their country. O'Connell was now in his glory, everywhere directing the storm which he had raised. When the contest was over, many of the landlords retaliated by evicting the tenants who had betrayed their trust and forfeited their pledges. They were tauntingly told that they might go for the means of living to O'Connell and the priests. This was a new ingredient in the cauldron of popular discontent, disaffection, and agrarian crime. The gain of the Catholic party in Ireland, however, was more than counterbalanced by the gain of the opposite party in England and Scotland.But long before thisas early, indeed, as the 15th of Aprilnews had reached London of the death of the erratic Emperor Paul, and of the bombardment of Copenhagen by the British fleet. Paul had been won over by Buonaparte to his views, and had been flattered by him by being electedthough irregularly and illegallyGrand-Master of the Knights of Malta. He had been persuaded that the conquest of Malta by the British was an invasion of his rights, and by these and other flatteries Buonaparte had influenced his weak mind to become the agent of his plans in destroying the British ships in the Baltic, and in closing that sea to British commerce. Paul pretended that we had captured Danish convoys, these same convoys being engaged in guarding vessels loaded with materials of war for France, and that thus the independence of the North was menaced by us. On this ground, and on that of the invasion of Malta, he immediately laid an embargo on all British vessels in Russian ports, and as two vessels in the harbour of Narva resisted the attempts to seize them, in consequence of the embargo, he ordered all the British vessels in that port to be burned. In consequence of this sudden and unwarrantable order, contrary to all the laws of nations, about three hundred British vessels were seized, and the officers and crews dragged on shore, put into irons, and sent up the country under menaces of Siberia. Paul next ordered all property of Englishmen in Russia to be seized and sold. Denmarkwith whom we had various rencontres, on account of its men-of-war convoying vessels laden with stores for French portssoon joined Russia. We sent Lord Whitworth to Copenhagen to endeavour to come to some understanding on these matters in 1800, but though a convention was signed, it was not satisfactory. Sweden followed the example of Denmark, and the three Northern Powers entered into a treaty of armed neutrality to resist our search of their vessels in any circumstances. As the consequence of this policy would be to shut us out of all trade with the ports of the Baltic, it was resolved to send a fleet to chastise these Powers and break up their co-operation with France. Mr. Vansittart was despatched to Copenhagen, accompanied by a fleet of eighteen sail of the line, with several frigates and smaller vessels, under command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, with Vice-Admiral Nelson as second. The fleet left the Yarmouth Roads on the 12th of March, 1801, and arriving at the mouth of the Sound, Nelson recommended that they should sail directly up to Copenhagen, and be prepared, on the refusal of our proposals, to bombard the place, as this would not allow them time to get ready their batteries, and thus do all the more damage to our ships and men. But this was deemed too offensive before any attempt at negotiation, and accordingly Mr. Vansittart was sent forward in a frigate with a flag of truce, leaving the fleet at the Scaw. He returned without effecting anything more than what Nelson anticipated. Sir Hyde Parker wasted time in making[481] the needless inquiry by a flag of truce of the Governor of Elsinore, whether the passage of the Sound would be disputed, who replied that it would. It was then proposed to enter by the Belt. Nelson said:"Let it be by the Sound, or the Belt, or anyhowonly don't let us lose an hour."This base and disproportionate sentence startled the people of England. In Scotland then party spirit ran furiously high. As there were clubs for advocating thorough reform, so there were others for discouraging and crushing it. The Tory arbitrary principle was rampant, and Muir was the victim of it.


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This proposal, which, at an earlier stage of the dispute, might have been listened to, was one at this stage which was sure to be rejected, and was only one of those miserable half measures which commonplace minds so frequently put forth only to demonstrate their inability to grasp the amplitude of the occasion. It was supposed that the measure had been intended to be larger, but that the Bedford party had fallen on it in Council, and reduced it to these pitiable dimensions. Yet when it was introduced into the Commons by Lord North, the Bedford party looked at each other in consternation, and soon the tempest broke loose on the Treasury benches.Towards the end of the year Soult had been recalled to Madrid, to take the place of Jourdain, who was remanded to Paris. Soult then determined to make an expedition into the south, to subdue Seville and Cadizthe last places of[601] consequence left to the Spaniards. He took King Joseph with him, or rather, perhaps, King Joseph was afraid to be left in the capital without his protection. The battle of Oca?a, and the destruction of Areizaga's army, left the passes of the Sierra Morena all open, and on the 21st of January Soult was at Baylen, where the army of Dupont had surrendered. Thence he pushed forward for Seville, sending other divisions of the army to traverse Malaga and Granada. Nothing could be more favourable to the visit of Soult than the then condition of Seville. The stupid, proud, ignorant Junta had refused all proffers of aid from the British, and they had, at the same time, worn out the patience of the people, who had risen upon them, and expelled them from the place. They then fled to Cadiz, in the hope of renewing their authority there; but they met with a still fiercer reception from the people of Cadiz, and were compelled formally to resign. As for the inhabitants of Seville, they talked of defending the city against the French, but there was no order amongst them, no authority, and they did nothing. Soult marched on from town to town, collecting a rich spoil everywhere, which the Spaniards had left behind them. They seemed to think of carrying away with them only their money, but a mass of other wealth fell into the hands of the French, and amongst it, as usual, great quantities of British cannon, muskets, and ammunition, which assisted in enabling the French to fight with us. Soult entered Cordova in triumph on the 17th of January, and Seville on the 1st of February, and there King Joseph established his court for some time.

Soon after appeared his twelve plates of "Industry and Idleness," and in 1753 he published a work called "The Analysis of Beauty," in which he attempted to prove that the foundation of beauty and grace consists in a flowing serpentine line. He gave numerous examples of it, and supported his theory with much ingenious argument. The book brought down upon him a perfect tempest of critical abuse from his envious and enraged contemporaries. In 1757 he visited France, and being engaged in sketching in Calais, he was seized and underwent very rough treatment from "the politest nation in the world," under an impression that he was employed by the English government to make drawings of the fortifications. This adventure he has commemorated in his picture of "Calais Gate." In the following year he painted his "Sigismunda."In North America matters were still more unprosperous. Lord Loudon had raised twelve thousand men for the purpose of taking Louisburg and driving the French from our frontiers; but he did nothing, not even preventing the attack of Marshal Montcalm, the Commander-in-Chief in Canada, on Fort William Henry, which he destroyed, thus leaving unprotected the position of New York. At the same time, Admiral Holbourne, who was to have attacked the French squadron off Louisburg, did not venture to do it, because he said they had eighteen ships to his seventeen, and a greater weight of metal.



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