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[See larger version]SEA FIGHT OFF CAPE PASSARO. (See p. 41.)

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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.

Scotland, before the Reform Bill, was ruled by an oligarchy. The population was two millions and a half, the constituency was only 2,500. The power was to be taken from this small junto, and extended to the great middle class of that intelligent and loyal people. In Ireland, a host of rotten boroughs, some without any constituency at all, was to be swept away. The general result would be an increase for the United Kingdom of half a million electors, making the whole number enjoying the franchise 900,000. Of these 50,000 would be found in the new towns, created into Parliamentary boroughs in England, 110,000 additional electors in boroughs already returning members. For instance, London would have[331] 95,000; the English counties, 100,000; Scotland, 60,000; Ireland, 40,000. The House would consist in all of 596 members, being a reduction of sixty-two on the existing number of 658. The number of seats abolished was 168, which reduced the House to 490. Five additional members were given to Scotland, three to Ireland, one to Wales, eight to London, thirty-four to large English towns, and fifty-five to English counties.

[See larger version]Carnot pretended that this memorial had been published during his absence, and without his knowledge, but he did not deny the composition; and it was most industriously circulated throughout Paris from little carts, to avoid the penalties which would have fallen on the booksellers had they issued it. As for Fouch, he endeavoured to persuade Louis to declare himself attached to the Revolutionto assume the tricolour flag and cockade. For Louis to have ruled according to the more liberal ideas introduced by the Revolution would have been wise, without declaring himself formally the disciple of opinions which had sent so many of his family to the guillotine; but to have followed the invidious advice of Fouch would have let loose at once that terrible race of Jacobins which had never ceased to massacre all other parties and then their own so long as they had the power. The cannon of Buonaparte alone had arrested their career; the advice of Fouch would have recalled it in all its horrors. Not prevailing on Louis to do so foolish an act, he wrote to Napoleon, advising him to get away to America, or it would not be long before the Bourbons, in spite of the treaty, would seize and put him to death; and then Fouch entered heart and soul into the plots of the Jacobins for the restoration of Napoleon.

The folly of Ripperda, however, had ruined his credit with his own sovereigns and the nation even more than with foreign Powers. His swaggering and inflated language, in which he imagined that he was enacting Alberoni, had destroyed all faith in him. But his final blow came from his own false representations to each other of the preparations for war made by Austria and Spain. Count K?nigseck was most indignant when he discovered the miserable resources of the Spanish monarchy in comparison with the pompous descriptions made of them by Ripperda at Vienna; and the Spanish Court was equally disappointed by a discovery of the real military status of Austria. Ripperda was suddenly and ignominiously dismissed on the 14th of May.

At this crisis George Grenville brought in and carried through a measure, which showed how useful he might have been, had he never been raised out of his proper element to rule and alienate colonies. He was now fast sinking into the grave, though but fifty-eight years of age. This measure was a bill to transfer the trial of controverted elections from the whole House of Commons to a select Committee of it. Ever since the famous Aylesbury case, the whole House had taken the charge of examining all petitions against the return of candidates and deciding them. This was a great obstruction of business; and Grenville now proposed to leave the inquiry and decision to the select Committee, which was to be composed of fifteen members of the House, thirteen of whom were to be chosen by the contesting claimants for the seat, out of a list of forty-five, elected by ballot from the whole House. The other two were to be named, one each, by the contesting candidates. The Committee was empowered to examine papers, call and swear witnesses, and, in fact, to exercise all the authority previously wielded by the whole House. It was opposed by Welbore Ellis, Rigby, Dyson, and Charles James Fox, not yet broken from his office shell into a full-fledged patriot. It was, however, carried, and being supported in the Lords by Lord Mansfield, who on this occasion manifested an unusual disregard of his party principles, it was passed there too.The triumph of the mob had consummated the triumph of Jacobinism. The Republic was at length established, but not to the benefit of the Girondists. The ruin of royalty, for which they had so zealously laboured, was in reality their own ruin. The Jacobins, and at their head the sanguinary Robespierre, were left without a rival, except in that mob by which they worked, and which was destined to destroy them too. Danton appeared before the Assembly on the morning of the 10th, at the head of a deputation of the Commune, to state what had been done, and said plainly, "The people who send us to you have charged us to declare that they think you worthy of their confidence, but that they recognise no other judge of the extraordinary measures to which necessity has forced them to recur than the French nationour sovereign and yoursconvoked in primary Assemblies." This was announcing without disguise that the Clubs were the supreme authorities. The Assembly felt its weakness and professed to approve of everything. Next, the new Ministers were chosen; Roland, as Minister of the Interior; Servan, as War Minister; and Clavire as Minister of Finance. But to these were added Danton as Minister of Justice, Mong as Minister of the Marine, and Le Brun as Minister of Foreign Affairs. They were to receive instructions, not from Louis, but from the Assembly. And now came into full light the mortal antagonism of the Assembly and the Clubs, and the real ascendency of the latter. The Assembly voted for the education of the Dauphin; the Clubs called for the utter removal of royalty. The Assembly recommended an active campaign against Foreign Powers, but mercy to the vanquished; the Clubs called for instant and universal vengeance on all supporters of royalty, who, they said, had intended to massacre the people and bring in the Prussians. They declared that there was no need of electoral bodies to form a new Assembly, but that every man, and some said every woman, was entitled to vote; and they insisted that the people ought to come in arms to manifest their wishes to the legislative body. This was plainly-avowed mob rule. Marat argued loudly for this and for purging France, as he called it, by cutting off every man, woman, and child that was not for mob rule; and Robespierre demanded the removal of the Assembly as effete and the summoning of a Convention. His advice was adopted, and the National Democratic Convention was convoked for the 21st of September. In the interval the Royalists were murdered in the prisons, and the Revolutionary Commune established at Paris. News of the most alarming character arrived from the frontier, Lafayette had gone over to the enemy, and the Prussians had taken Longwy.



[See larger version]Henry Purcell (b. 1658; d. 1695) produced the bulk of his works in William's reign. He composed the music to "The Tempest," "Dioclesian," "King Arthur," "Don Quixote," "Bonduca," and "Orpheus Britannicus." Many parts of these, and his sonatas, anthems, catches, rounds, glees, etc., are as much enjoyed now as in his own day. The music to Davenant's "Circe," by Banister, of Shadwell's "Psyche," by Lock, and of Dryden's "Albion and Albanius," by Grabut, had increased in England the liking for the lyrical drama; but Purcell's compositions wonderfully strengthened it, and from "King Arthur" may properly be dated the introduction of the English opera. Gay's "Beggar's Opera," six-and-thirty years after, however, was the first complete and avowed opera, and this did not establish that kind of entertainment in England. The wonderful success of this production, which was performed for sixty-two nights (not consecutive), was chiefly derived from the wit and satire of the composition itself, the abundance of popular airs introduced, and the party feeling which it gratified. The airs were selected and adapted by Dr. Pepusch, a German, who settled in London, and became celebrated there. He also furnished the overture, and wrote accompaniments to the airs. Eleven years after, Milton's "Comus" was adapted to the stage by the Rev. Dr. Dalton, with music by Dr. Arne, who afterwards composed the music for "Artaxerxes," and thence derived a high reputation.Yet, looking at Spain from a mere momentary point of view, its condition was sad enough. Saragossa had undergone a second siege, in which the inhabitants had again made a brilliant stand, and caused the French much loss and suffering, though compelled at length to surrender. The battle of Oca?a, in November of 1809, had been lost by Areizaga, and left Spain without a single considerable army. During the latter part of the same year, General Reding, the patriotic Swiss general, had been defeated at Valls. Blake had sustained two heavy defeats near Saragossa and Belchite, with the loss of the greater part of his artillery and men. Gerona had withstood a desperate siege, but was compelled to capitulate on the 10th of December. Tarragona and Tortosa had suffered the same fate. In some of these towns the Spaniards had not yielded till they had killed and eaten their horses and mules.



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