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The force left to keep possession of Cabul and guard the protg of the Indian Government[495] was so situated as to tempt the aggression of a treacherous enemy. Sir William Macnaghten, the British Resident, and his suite, resided in the Mission Compound, which was badly defended, and commanded by a number of small forts, while the commissariat stores were placed in an old fort, detached from the cantonment and in such a state as to be wholly indefensible. Moreover, General Elphinstone, the commander of the troops, was old and inefficient. A conspiracy had been formed by the friends of Akbar Khan, son of the deposed sovereign, Dost Mahomed, who forged a document, and had it circulated amongst the principal men of Cabul, to the effect that it was the design of the British envoy to send them all to London, and that the king had issued an order to put the infidels all to death. The insurrection commenced by an attack on the dwellings of Sir Alexander Burnes, who was about to succeed Macnaghten, and Captain Johnson, who resided in the city. Sir Alexander addressed the party from the gallery of his house, thinking that it was a mere riot. The insurgents, however, broke in, killed him with his brother, Lieutenant Burnes, and Lieutenant Broadfoot, and set the house on fire. The Afghans then surrounded the cantonments, and poured in a constant fire upon them from every position they could occupy. They quickly seized the ill-defended commissariat stores, upon which the existence of the British depended. The garrison bravely defended itself with such precarious supplies as could be had from the country; but at length these supplies were exhausted. Winter set in, snow fell, and there was nothing before them but the prospect of starvation. They therefore listened to overtures for negotiation, and the British envoy was compelled to consent to these humiliating terms on the 11th of December, 1841:That the British should evacuate the whole of Afghanistan, including Candahar, Ghuznee, and Jelalabad; that they should be permitted to return unmolested to India, and have supplies granted on their road thither; that means of transport should be furnished to the troops; that Dost Mahomed Khan, his family, and every Afghan then detained within our territories should be allowed to return to their own country; that Shah Sujah and his family should receive from the Afghan Government one lac of rupees per annum; that all prisoners should be released; that a general amnesty should be proclaimed; and that no British force should ever be sent into Afghanistan without being invited by the Afghan Government. These terms having been agreed to, the chiefs took with them Captain Trevor as a hostage; but nothing was done to carry the agreement into effect, and Macnaghten and Elphinstone remained irresolutely at Cabul. Some of their staff attempted to bribe the Afghans, and Akbar Khan thereupon determined to withhold supplies. It soon became evident that the object was to starve out the garrison, and compel them to surrender unconditionally. At length, on the 22nd of December, they sent two persons into the cantonment, who made a proposal in the name of Akbar Khan, that the Shah should continue king, that Akbar should become his Prime Minister, and that one of the principal chiefs should be delivered up to the British as a prisoner. This was a mere trap, into which Sir William Macnaghten unfortunately fell with fatal credulity. On the 23rd of December the envoy, attended by Captains Lawrence, Trevor, and M'Kenzie, left the Mission Compound, to hold a conference with Akbar Khan in the plain towards Serah Sung. Crowds of armed Afghans hovering near soon excited suspicions of treachery. Captain Lawrence begged that the armed men might be ordered off; but Akbar Khan exclaimed, "No, they are all in the secret." At that instant Sir William and the three officers were seized from behind and disarmed. Sir W. Macnaghten was last seen on the ground struggling violently with Akbar Khan, consternation and terror depicted on his countenance. "His look of wondering horror, says Kaye, "will never be forgotten by those who saw it, to their dying day." The other three officers were placed on horses, each behind a Ghilzai chief, who galloped off with them to a fort in the neighbourhood. Captain Trevor fell off his horse, and was instantly murdered. The others were assailed with knives by the infuriated Afghans, and barely escaped to the fort with their lives. Meanwhile the head of the British Minister was cut off and paraded through the streets, while the bleeding and mangled trunk was exposed to the insults of the populace in the principal bazaar.It was in these grave circumstances that Lord North, on the 5th of March, 1770, brought forward his bill, based on the terms of Lord Hillsborough's letter to the American governors, to repeal all the import duties except that on tea. This was one of those half-and-half measures which never succeed; it abandoned the bulk of the duties, but retained the really obnoxious thingthe principle. Grenville very truly told them that they should retain the whole, or repeal the whole. Lord Barrington and Welbore Ellis, in their dogged Toryism, protested against repealing a single item of them; and the Opposition, Barr, Conway, Meredith, Pownall, etc., as earnestly entreated them to remove the duties altogether, and with them all cause of irritation. The motion for leave to bring in the bill was carried by two hundred and four votes to one hundred and forty-two. During the debates it was shown that, during the financial year, the American tea duties had producednot the calculated ten or twelve thousand, but less than three hundred pounds! For such a sum did our legislators risk a civil war. As a last effort on this question at this time, the Opposition, on the 1st of May, called for the correspondence with America; and, on the 9th, Burke moved nine resolutions on the general topic. They were not only negatived, but a similar motion, introduced into the Peers by the Duke of Richmond, met the same fate.

As he left the hall he turned and said, "Farewell, my lords; we shall never meet again in the same place." And with this tragi-comedy closed the strange, romantic, and melancholy rebellion of 1745 and 1746, for in a few weeks an act of indemnity was passed, disfigured, however, with eighty omissions. It was followed by other measures for subduing the spirit of the vanquished Highlandersthe disarming act, the abolition of heritable jurisdiction, and the prohibition of the Highland costume.The number of distinguished authors on miscellaneous subjects was very great at this time. In jurisprudence and political economy there were Jeremy Bentham, whose life ended in 1832; his eminent disciples, John Stuart Mill, Dr. Bowring, and Dr. Hill Burton; Archbishop Whately, Mr. M'Culloch, Mr. Sadler, and Mr. N. W. Senior. De Quincey began his brilliant career as an author in 1822, by the publication of "The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater."

To insure a powerful diversion, the Sultan had engaged the military co-operation of Sweden. Sweden had been forcibly deprived of Finland by Peter the Great, and she longed to recover it. She had a brave army, but no money. The Grand Turk, to enable her to commence the enterprise, had sent her a present of about four hundred thousand pounds sterling. Sweden put her fleet in preparation in all haste, and had Pitt merely allowed the Russian fleet to quit the Baltic, there was nothing to prevent the execution of the Swedish design on Finland, nor, indeed, of marching directly on St. Petersburg in the absence of the army.Lord William Bentinck, after having retired to Alicante, once more returned to Tarragona, and made himself master of that place. Attempting further advantages in this country, he was compelled to fall back on Tarragona with considerable loss. He then returned to Sicily, and General Clinton took the command of the forces, and strengthened the defences of the post. At the same time news arrived of the retreat of Buonaparte from Russia and the rising of Germany, which compelled Suchet to disarm his German regiments, and march them into France under guard. He had also to send some of his best French troops to recruit Buonaparte's decimated army, and the Italian ones to resist the Austrians in Italy, who were once more in motion through the Alps. In these circumstances the campaign in the south-east of Spain closed for the year.

[See larger version]The main subject for consideration at that moment was the policy of continuing the Act for the suppression of the Catholic Association, which was to expire at the end of the Session of 1828. In connection with this subject a letter from Lord Anglesey came under the Ministry's consideration. "Do keep matters quiet in Parliament," he said, "if possible. The less that is said of Catholic and Protestant the better. It would be presumptuous to form an opinion, or even a sanguine hope, in so short a time, yet I cannot but think there is much reciprocal inclination to get rid of the bugbear, and soften down asperities. I am by no means sure that even the most violent would not be glad of an excuse for being less violent. Even at the Association they are at a loss to keep up the extreme irritation they had accomplished; and if they find they are not violently opposed, and that there is no disposition on the part of Government to coercion, I do believe they will dwindle into moderation. If, however, we have a mind to have a good blaze again, we may at once command it by re-enacting the expiring Bill, and when we have improved it and rendered it perfect, we shall find that it will not be acted upon. In short, I shall back Messrs. O'Connell's and Sheil's, and others' evasions against the Crown lawyers' laws."


"Child, is thy father dead?"On the 26th Blucher had nearly annihilated the division of Macdonald. No sooner did he learn the return of Buonaparte to Dresden than he wheeled round upon Macdonald, taking him by surprise, and driving his troops into the rivers[70] Katzbach and Neisse, swollen by the rains. The battle raged the most fiercely near Wahlstadt, and, on the subsidence of the floods, hundreds of corpses were seen sticking in the mud. A part of the French fled for a couple of days in terrible disorder along the right bank of the Neisse, and were captured, with their general, by the Russian commander, Langeron."When corn is at 59s., and under 60s., the duty at present is 27s. 8d. When corn is between those prices, the duty I propose is 13s. When the price of corn is at 50s. the existing duty is 36s. 8d., increasing as the price falls; instead of which I propose, when corn is at 50s. that the duty shall only be 20s., and that that duty shall in no case be exceeded. At 56s. the existing duty is 30s. 8d.; the duty I propose at that price is 16s. At 60s. the existing duty is 26s. 8d.; the duty I propose at that price is 12s. At 63s. the existing duty is 23s. 8d.; the duty I propose is 9s. At 64s. the existing duty is 22s. 8d.; the duty I propose is 8s. At 70s. the existing duty is 10s. 8d.; the duty I propose is 5s. Therefore it is impossible to deny, on comparing the duty which I propose with that which exists at present, that it will cause a very considerable decrease of the protection which the present duty affords to the home grower, a decrease, however, which in my opinion can be made consistently with justice to all the interests concerned."

But though Pitt protested against thanking the king for bringing over Hanoverian troops, he found it necessary to support the king's German treaties and alliances, which were avowedly for the defence of Hanover. Fox reminded him of his favourite phrase, that Hanover was a millstone round the neck of England; but it was not the first time that Pitt had had to stand the taunt of eating his own words, and he braved it out, especially voting two hundred thousand pounds to Frederick of Prussia. A wonderful revolution in Continental politics had now converted this long-hostile nephew of George II. into an ally, if not a friend.Before passing to the momentous history of the Irish famine we must notice some isolated facts connected with the Peel Administration, which our connected view of the triumph of Free Trade has prevented our mentioning under their proper dates. Among the many measures of the time which were fiercely discussed, the most complicated were the Bank Charter Act of 1844, and the Act dealing with the Irish and Scottish Banks of 1845, whereby the Premier placed the whole banking system of the kingdom upon an entirely new basis, in particular by the separation of the issue and banking business of the Bank of England, and by the determination of the issues by the amount of bullion in reserve. Under the Act the Bank was at liberty to issue 14,000,000 of notes on the security of Exchequer Bills and the debt due to it from the Government, but all issues above this amount were to be based on bullion. Still hotter were the passions roused by the Maynooth Bill, by which 30,000 were devoted to the improvement of the college founded at Maynooth for the education of Roman Catholic priests. The language used during the debates by the Protestant party has few parallels in the history of the British Parliament, and Sir Robert Peel's difficulties were increased by the resignation of Mr. Gladstone, who found his present support of the Bill incompatible with the opinions expressed in his famous essay on Church and State. Lord Aberdeen's foreign policy was completely the reverse of the bold, if hazardous, line adopted by Lord Palmerston. We have seen how the Ashburton mission composed the critical questions at issue with the United States, and in similar fashion a dispute about the Oregon boundary, which had been pending for thirty years, was terminated on sound principles of give-and-take by fixing the line at the 49th parallel, while Vancouver Island was reserved for Britain, and the commerce of the Columbia was made free. With France our relations were of the most pacific character; so close, indeed, was the entente cordiale that it was a commonplace of Tory oratory that M. Guizot was Foreign Minister of England. This was certainly not the case; on the contrary, when the Society Islands, over which Pomare was queen, were forcibly annexed by a roving French admiral, Lord Aberdeen behaved with very proper spirit, and obtained an indemnity for the missionary Pritchard, who had been forcibly placed under arrest. In other respects the friendship of Great Britain with France continued unimpaired, and there was an interchange of visits between the Queen and King Louis Philippe. It was a sign of a harmony of views between the two nations. Unfortunately, owing to a variety of causes, it was not to be of long continuance.

But of all the parties which remembered their wrongs and indignities, the Roman Catholic clergy were the most uncomplying and formidable. They had seen the Pope seized in his own palace at Rome, and forced away out of Italy and brought to Fontainebleau. But there the resolute old man disdained to comply with what he deemed the sacrilegious demands of the tyrant. Numbers of bishoprics had fallen vacant, and the Pontiff refused, whilst he was held captive, to institute successors. None but the most abandoned priests would fill the vacant sees without the papal institution. At length Buonaparte declared that he would separate France altogether from the Holy See, and would set the Protestant up as a rival Church to the Papal one. "Sire," said the Count of Narbonne, who had now become one of Buonaparte's chamberlains, "I fear there is not religion enough in all France to stand a division." But in the month of June Buonaparte determined to carry into execution his scheme of instituting bishops by the sanction of an ecclesiastical council. He summoned together more than a hundred prelates and dignitaries at Paris, and they went in procession to Notre Dame, with the Archbishop Maury at their head. They took an oath of obedience to the Emperor, and then Buonaparte's Minister of Public Worship proposed to them, in a message from the Emperor, to pass an ordinance enabling the archbishop to institute prelates without reference to the Pope. A committee of bishops was found complying enough to recommend such an ordinance, but the council at large declared that it could not have the slightest value. Enraged at this defiance of his authority, Buonaparte immediately ordered the dismissal of the council and the arrest of the bishops of Tournay, Troyes, and Ghent, who had been extremely determined in their conduct. He shut them up in the Castle of Vincennes, and summoned a smaller assembly of bishops as a commission to determine the same question. But they were equally uncomplying, in defiance of the violent menaces of the man who had prostrated so many kings but could not bend a few bishops to his will. The old Pope encouraged the clergy, from his cell in Fontainebleau, to maintain the rights of the Church against his and its oppressor, and thus Buonaparte found himself completely foiled.Sanguine though the Dissenters had been respecting the growth of the principles of civil and religious liberty, of which the seeds had been sown in tears by the early Puritan confessors, they did not anticipate that the harvest was at hand. As their claims were not embarrassed by any question of divided allegiance or party politics, many members of Parliament who had not supported the relief of the Roman Catholics found themselves at liberty to advocate the cause of the Protestant Nonconformists; while almost all who had supported the greater measure of Emancipation felt themselves bound by consistency to vote for the abolition of the sacramental test. Yet the victory was not achieved without a struggle. Lord John Russell said:"The Government took a clear, open, and decided part against us. They summoned their followers from every part of the empire. Nay, they issued a sort of 'hatti-sheriff' for the purpose; they called upon every one within their influence who possessed the faith of a true Mussulman to follow them in opposing the measure. But, notwithstanding their opposition in the debate, their arguments were found so weak, and in the division their numbers were found so deficient, that nothing could be more decided than our triumph."



But Sir John Duckworth was to play a leading part in a still more abortive enterprise. There was a rumour that Buonaparte had promised the Grand Turk to aid him in recovering the provinces which Russia had reft from Turkey on the Danube, in the Crimea, and around the Black Sea, on condition that Egypt was given up to him. To prevent this, an expedition was fitted out to seize on this country. Between four and five thousand men were sent from our army in Sicily, under Major-General Mackenzie Frazer. They embarked on the 5th of May, and anchored off Alexandria on the 16th. The following morning General Frazer summoned the town to surrender, but the governor of the Viceroy Mehemet Ali replied that he would defend the place to the last man. On that day and the following a thousand soldiers and about sixty sailors were landed, and, moving forward, carried the advanced works with trifling loss. Some of the transports which had parted company on the voyage now arrived, the rest of the troops were landed; and, having secured the castle of Aboukir, Frazer marched on Alexandria, taking the forts of Caffarelli and Cretin on the way. On the 22nd Sir John Duckworth arrived with his squadron; the British army expected to hear that he had taken Constantinople, and his ill news created a just gloom amongst both officers and men. The people of Alexandria appeared friendly; but the place was, or seemed to be, destitute of provisions; and the transports had been so badly supplied that the men were nearly starved before they got there. The Alexandrians assured General Frazer that, in order to obtain provisions, he must take possession of Rosetta and Rahmanieh. Frazer, therefore, with the concurrence of Sir John Duckworth, dispatched Major-General Wauchope and Brigadier-General Mead to Rosetta, with one thousand two hundred men. The troops were entangled in the streets and shot down. A subsequent effort was made to besiege Rosetta in form. The troops reached Rosetta on the 9th of April, and posted themselves on the heights above it. They summoned the town formally to surrender, and received an answer of defiance. Instead of proceeding to bombard the town at once, Major-General Stewart waited for the arrival of a body of Mamelukes. The Mamelukes had been in deadly civil strife with Mehemet Ali, and had promised to co-operate with the British; and this was one of the causes which led the British Government to imagine that they could make themselves masters of Egypt with so minute a force. But the Mamelukes did not appear. Whilst waiting for them, Colonel Macleod was sent to occupy the village of El Hammed, to keep open the way for the expected succour; but Mehemet Ali had mustered a great force at Cairo, which kept back the Mamelukes; and, at the same time, he was reinforcing both Rosetta, and Rahmanieh. Instead of the Mamelukes, therefore, on the morning of the 22nd of April a fleet of vessels was seen descending the Nile, carrying a strong Egyptian force. Orders were sent to recall Colonel Macleod from El Hammed; but too late; his detachment was surrounded and completely cut off. The besieging forcescattered over a wide area, instead of being in a compact bodywere attacked by overwhelming[539] numbers; and, having no entrenched camp, were compelled to fight their way back to Alexandria as well as they could. When Stewart arrived there he had lost one half of his men. Mehemet Ali, in proportion as he saw the British force diminished, augmented his own. He collected and posted a vast army between Cairo and Alexandria, and then the Alexandrians threw off the mask and joined their countrymen in cutting off the supplies of the British, and murdering them on every possible occasion at their outposts. Frazer held out, in the vain hope of aid from the Mamelukes or from home, till the 22nd of August, when, surrounded by the swarming hosts of Mehemet Ali, and his supplies all exhausted, he sent out a flag of truce, offering to retire on condition that all the British prisoners taken at Rosetta, at El Hammed, and elsewhere, should be delivered up to him. This was accepted, and on the 23rd of September the ill-fated remains of this army were re-embarked and returned to Sicily.

[See larger version]CADIZ.The warder silent on the hill."



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