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The Georges conspiracy, as it is commonly[498] called, was followed by a still more startling act of violence. As the Bourbons still continued to watch for the overthrow of his power, Buonaparte determined to take a deep revenge on the persons of any of that family whom he could by any means get into his hands. Could he have inveigled the Count d'Artois and the Duke of Berry, as he attempted, to leave London and land in Brittany, he would have seized them and put them to death without ceremony or mercy. But there was another member of the family, though the farthest off from succession to the throne, who was living on the French frontiers, within a tempting reach of his soldiers in Alsace, and him he determined to kidnap and kill. This proposed victim of a most lawless and wicked vengeance was Antoine-Henri de Bourbon, Duke d'Enghien, the son of the Prince of Cond. The project was so odious, so certain to cover both Napoleon and France with inextinguishable infamy, that it startled the not very sensitive mind of Talleyrand, who, it is said, gave the duke secret warning of his danger, and advised him to remove farther from the Rhine. In consequence, the duke applied to Sir Charles Stuart to get him a passport from the Austrian Minister, to enable him to cross the Austrian territory to rejoin his grandfather, then at Warsaw with Louis XVIII. Sir Charles Stuart applied to M. de Cobenzl for this purpose, and had the Austrian Court been quicker in its movements, the duke would have been safe enough from the myrmidons of Buonaparte; but, whilst lingering at Ettenheim in Baden for the necessary passport, the duke had so little suspicion of the prompt and deadly nature of the usurper's design against him, that he took no means to conceal himself, or he might still have escaped. But in the middle of the night of the 14th of March he was aroused by the sound of horses' hoofs, and, looking out, saw that the chateau was surrounded by a troop of French cavalry. Buonaparte had despatched his aide-de-camp, Caulaincourt, to Strasburg to effect this capture, and he had sent on Colonel Ordenner to bring the duke away from the heart of a neutral territory. The duke was summarily tried by a military tribunal and shot (March 21, 1804) at Vincennes. The news of this most audacious crime soon transpired, and filled Europe with horror and execration against its perpetrators.Whilst the war of parties had been raging in England, matters abroad had been rapidly assuming a shape which threatened the tranquillity of all Europe. In France the elements of revolution had been fermenting, and had already burst into open fury with a character which, to observant eyes, appeared to bode inevitably their spread into every surrounding country. At the same time, the sovereigns of these countries, instead of discerning the signs of the times, and taking measures to guard their people from the contagious influence, were some of them acting so as certainly to invite the specious anarchy. In others, they were wasting their strength on schemes of conquest which only too much enfeebled them for opposition to the dangers thus preparing. Some of these warlike movements seem, at first sight, to have little connection with the history of England, but, more or less, they all are necessary to our comprehension of our own position in the time of those marvellous subversions which were at hand.

Byng went in pursuit of the Spanish fleet, which was assisting in the conquest of Sicily, and came in sight of twenty-seven sail of the line,[41] with fire-ships, ketches, bombs, and seven galleys, drawn up in line of battle between him and Cape Passaro. So soon as they were clear of the straits, a council was held to determine whether they should fight or retreat. They came to no resolution, but continued to linger about in indecision till Byng was down upon them. Whereupon he utterly destroyed them (August 11, 1718).Music advanced at an equal rate with its sister arts, and during this period added to its conquests the compositions of Purcell and Handel. William was too much engaged in war to become a patron of music, or of any of the fine arts, and his queen, Mary, does not appear to have possessed much taste for it. She is related by Sir[155] John Hawkins to have sent for Purcell and Mrs. Arabella Hunt, a famous singer, to entertain her. Mrs. Hunt sang some of Purcell's splendid compositions, and Purcell accompanied them on the harpsichord; but Mary soon grew weary of these, and called on Mrs. Hunt to sing the Scottish ballad, "Cold and Raw!"

Sheridan marked the opening of the year 1795 by moving, on the 5th of January, for the repeal of the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. He showed that the very grounds on which this suspension had been based had miserably given way on the trials of Tooke, Hardy, and the rest; that the whole amount of arms and money on which the so-called "formidable" conspiracy had rested had been shown to be one pike, nine rusty muskets, and a fund of nine pounds and one bad shilling! He said that the great thing proved was the shameful conspiracy of the Government against the people, and their infamous employment of spies for that end; that eight thousand pounds had been spent on the Crown lawyers, and a hundred witnesses examined, only to expose the guilt of the Ministry. Windham defended the measures of Government, and charged the juries with ignorance and incapacity, for which Erskine severely reprimanded him. But the standing majorities of Pitt were inaccessible to argument, and the continuance of the suspension was voted by a majority of two hundred and thirty-nine against fifty-three. A like result attended the debate in the Lords, where, however, the Dukes of Norfolk and Bedford, the Marquis of Lansdowne, and the Earls of Lauderdale and Guildford strongly opposed the suspension.

In the meantime the preparations for civil war went on steadily on both sides in Dublin, neither party venturing to interfere with the other. Lest the Government should not be able to subdue the rebellion with 10,000 troops in the strong points of the city, and artillery commanding the great thoroughfares, with loopholes for sharpshooters in every public building, an association was formed to provide loyal citizens with arms and combine them in self-defence. The committee of this body ordered six hundred stand of arms from the manufacturer, and also some thousands of knots of blue ribbon to be worn by the loyal on the night of the barricades. It was intimated that the Government would pay for those things, but as it did not, an action for the cost of the muskets was brought against a gentleman who went to inspect them. Circulars were sent round to the principal inhabitants, with directions as to the best means of defending their houses when attacked by the insurgents. There were instances in which the lower parts of houses were furnished with ball-proof shutters, and a month's provisions of salted meat and biscuits actually laid in. The Orange-menregarded with so much coldness by the Government in quiet timeswere now courted; their leaders were confidentially consulted by the Lord-Lieutenant; their addresses were gratefully acknowledged; they were supplied with muskets, and the certificate of the master of an Orange lodge was recognised by the police authorities as a passport for the importation of arms.Napoleon reached Warsaw on the 10th of December, after a narrow escape of being taken at a village named Youpranoui. On the 14th of December he was in Dresden, and had a long conversation with his satrap king there; and, after escaping some endeavours of the Prussians to seize him, he arrived safely in Paris at midnight of the 18th, where the Parisians, who had with some indifference suppressed the conspiracy got up by the Republicans under General Mallet, hastened to overwhelm him with the most fulsome flatteries. The story of his rubbing his hands over the fire on his arrival at the Tuileries, and saying, "This is pleasanter than Moscow," shows an intensity of selfishness which no history on earth can equal. In this one campaign, that magnificent army, the very flower of French, German, and Polish soldieryperhaps the finest army ever assembledhad perished to a mere fraction, and that amid the most unheard of, the most hitherto unconceived horrors. The remnant of these soldiers was still struggling on in their deserted march, through these horrors even still more intensified. Numbers were falling every day all along the frozen desert tracks, exhausted by famine and cold, and the snows immediately buried them. When they approached any place of rest or refreshment, they fought furiously for fragments of firewood or pieces of horse-flesh. When a horse fell under the burdens they had piled upon him, he was torn by them limb from limb, while yet palpitating with life, and devoured raw. Such was the weariness of these miserable fugitives over immeasurable deserts of frost and snow, through cutting, scythe-edged winds, that nothing but the sound of the Cossack drum, and the howls of the Cossack avengers could induce them to rise and pursue their desolate march. And the man who had brought all these terrible calamities upon nearly half a million of menand more than half a million by far, including women, children, and other camp-followers, to say nothing of the invaded Russiansfelt not a pang for these vast human sufferings, but only for his own detestable pride.

ASSASSINATION OF COUNT LAMBERG. (See p. 579.)The name of the prisoner was Edward Oxford. He was about eighteen years of age, and of an[472] unprepossessing countenance. He was a native of Birmingham, which town he had left nine years before. He was last employed at a public-house, "The Hog in the Pond," at the corner of South Molton Street and Oxford Street. His trial for high treason was begun in the Central Criminal Court on Thursday, July 9th, and ended next day. The judges were Lord Denman, Baron Alderson, and Justice Patteson. The jury returned the following special verdict:"We find the prisoner, Edward Oxford, guilty of discharging the contents of two pistols, but whether or not they were loaded with ball has not been satisfactorily proved to us, he being of unsound mind at the time." An argument followed between counsel as to whether this verdict amounted to an absolute acquittal, or an acquittal on the ground of insanity. Lord Denman said that the jury were in a mistake. It was necessary that they should form an opinion as to whether the pistols were loaded with bullets or not; but it appeared they had not applied their minds to that point, and therefore it would be necessary that they should again retire, and say aye or no. Did the prisoner fire a pistol loaded with ball at the Queen? After considerable discussion upon the point, the jury again retired to consider their verdict. During their absence the question was again argued, and it appeared to be the opinion of the judges that the jury were bound to return a verdict of "Guilty" or "Not Guilty" upon the evidence brought before them. After an absence of an hour they returned into court, finding the prisoner "guilty, he being at the same time insane." The sentence was that he should be imprisoned during her Majesty's pleasure, according to the Act 40 George III., providing for cases where crimes were committed by insane persons.

Had Lord Ellenborough rested satisfied with this proclamation, all would have been well; but he issued another proclamation which at once shocked the religious feelings of the people of England by its profanity, and covered him with ridicule by its absurdity. He meant it to be a great stroke of policy; but it was simply a foolish and gratuitous concession to an idolatrous priesthood, while it exasperated the pride and fanaticism of the Mahometans. This was the celebrated Somnath Proclamation. Its authenticity was at first gravely doubted in India, but when, at length, it was placed beyond doubt, there was an outburst of censure and ridicule such as never before overwhelmed a Governor-General of India. "My brothers and my friends," it ran, "Our victorious army bears the gates of the Temple of Somnath in triumph from Afghanistan, and the despoiled tomb of Sultan Mahomed looks upon the ruins of Ghuznee. The insult of 800 years is at last avenged. The gates of the Temple of Somnath, so long the memorial of your humiliation, are become the proudest record of your national glory, the proof of your superiority in arms over the nations beyond the Indus. To you, princes and chiefs of Sirhind, of Rajwarra, of Malwa, and of Guzerat, I shall commit this glorious trophy of successful war. You will yourselves, with all honour, transmit the gates of sandal wood through your respective territories to the restored Temple of Somnath." One might have supposed that the princes, chiefs, and people of India thus addressed by the supreme representative of a Christian nation were all pure Hindoos; and that the temple from which the gates had been carried away, 800 years before, was still in their possession; whereas it was in ruins, and the sacred ground on which it stood was trodden by Mahometans. Even if the temple had been standing and occupied by the ancient idols, the Hindoo priests would have regarded the gates as polluted by being so long in the possession of unbelievers. Viewed as the reversal of a national humiliation the act was equally absurd. It could be no gratification to a subjugated race to have restored to them by a foreign Power a trophy that had been carried away 800 years before. Worst of all, the gates were discovered to be spurious copies of the originals. The Temple of Somnath was never restored, and the gates were consigned to an armoury.

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AMERICAN PROVINCES in 1763 AFTER THE CONTEMPORARY MAP by Peter BellBut the agitation of this question produced a strong sensation on the Continent. Buonaparte, who watched every movement of the British Parliament and Government with the deepest anxiety, immediately seized on the discussion as a proof that Great Britain was fast sinking under his Continental system. That system, indeed, was rapidly prostrating the Continent. From all sides complaints had long been pouring in upon him that the suppression of commerce was ruining the great mercantile citiesHamburg, Bremen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Naples, Genoa, and the other parts of Italy; and that it was diffusing universal poverty and distress. The breach which the Emperor Alexander had made in it, and the determined resistance which the Swedes made to it, had caused him to feel the necessity of relaxing the rigour of his system. But now he took fresh courage. He believed that Great Britain was at her last gasp; that there would speedily be universal rebellion within her from starving citizens; and he held on in his plan, and this proved his ultimate destruction; for it made him all the more determined to coerce Russia, and thus precipitated his fatal campaign against that country.

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