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In May the gingham-weavers of Carlisle and that neighbourhood held a similar gathering, and in June meetings were held on Hunslet Common, near Leeds, at Glasgow, Ashton-under-Lyne, and other places. The meeting at Glasgow, on the 16th of June, was held on the Green, and amounted to thirty or forty thousand people. They complained of the low wages for cotton-weaving, and proposed a petition to the Prince Regent, praying that he would enable them to get over to Canada, promising that all such as received that favour should repay the outlay by yearly instalments. But the bulk of the assembly protested against emigration, asserting that the remedy for their distresses lay in annual parliaments, universal suffrage, and the consequent reduction of taxation; and they proposed that they should march up to London in a body, and present their petition to the Prince Regent in person. At Ashton the chair was taken by the Rev. Joseph Harrison, and the strange creature called Dr. Healey, of whom Bamford gives an extraordinary account in his "Life of a Radical," made a most wild and seditious harangue. At a great meeting at Stockport, on the 28th of the same month, a very different personage presided. This was Sir Charles Wolseley, of Wolseley Park, in Staffordshire. Sir Charles said that he had been engaged in the outbreak of the French Revolution, and had assisted in the taking of the Bastille, and that he would spend his last drop of blood, if it were necessary, in destroying the Bastilles of his own country. The acquisition of such an advocate of Reform was not likely to be received with apathy. Sir Charles was invited to preside at a similar meeting at New Hall, near Birmingham, on the 12th of July. At this meeting he was elected "legislatorial attorney and representative" for that town. This was a circumstance that excited the alarm of Government. They immediately issued warrants for the apprehension both of Sir Charles and of Dr. Harrison for seditious expressions used at the Stockport meeting. Sir Charles was arrested at his own house, at Wolseley Park; and Harrison was taken on the platform of a public meeting, at Smithfield, in London, on the 21st of July, at which Hunt was presiding. On conveying Harrison to Stockport, the constable who arrested him was attacked by the mob, and a pistol was fired at him, the ball of which lodged in his body.In 1823 we behold the starting-point of the liberal system of commercial policy, for which not only England, but all the world, is so much indebtedthe rivulet which gradually expanded into a mighty river bearing incalculable blessings upon its bosom to every nation under heaven. The appointment of Mr. Huskisson as a member of the Government was an immense advantage to the nation. He was a man of great abilities, which he had perseveringly devoted to the study of political economy. He was a complete master of all subjects in which statistics were involved, and was universally looked up to as the highest authority on all financial and commercial questions. As President of the Board of Trade he had ample opportunities of turning his knowledge to account, and to him is mainly due the initiation and direction of the course of commercial policy which a quarter of a century later issued in the complete triumph of Free Trade. Mr. Huskisson was not only intimately acquainted with the whole range of economic, financial, and mercantile subjects, in their details as well as in their principles, he was also a powerful debater, a sound reasoner, and was animated in all he did by a spirit of generous philanthropy. At the same time it is only just to point out that he did but carry out the policy of Mr. Wallace, the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, a statesman whose name is almost forgotten.Shortly after the king arrived, on the 12th of May, pursued to his palace gates by a multitude of his angry and insurgent subjects, he was waited upon by the Duke of Wellington, who remained in conference with him about twenty minutes, and then departed amidst the most astounding yells of the populace. "A week since," said the Sun of that day, "only a short week since, the king was in full possession of the greatest popularity any earthly monarch could enjoy; and now behold the change!" Among the means resorted to for the purpose of coercing the Peers, was a run upon the banks. The cry was raised, "To stop the Duke, go for gold!" The advice was acted upon, and in three days no less than 1,800,000 was drawn out of the Bank of England in specie.

At the time that Tippoo heard of the death of his father, he was, assisted by the French, eagerly pressing on the most inferior force of Colonel Mackenzie, not very far from Seringapatam. Mackenzie being obliged to retire, was suddenly set upon, before daylight, near Paniany, about thirty-five miles from Calicut, by the whole force; but he repulsed them with great slaughter. Tippoo then fell back and made the best of his way to his capital to secure his throne and the treasures of Hyder Ali. He found himself at the age of thirty master of the throne, of an army of nearly one hundred thousand men, and of immense wealth. With these advantages, and the alliance of the French, Tippoo did not doubt of being able to drive the British out of all the south of India. Yet, with his vast army, accompanied by nine hundred French, two thousand Sepoys, and nearly three hundred Kafirs, Tippoo retreated, or appeared to be retreating, before General Stuart, with a force of only fourteen thousand men, of whom three thousand alone were British. He was, in fact, however, hastening to defend the north-west districts of Mysore from another British force on the coast of Canara. This force was that of Colonel Mackenzie, joined by another from Bombay, under General Matthews, who took the chief command in that quarter.

CAPTURE OF MURAT. (See p. 117.)Delay was demanded, to hear what was the feeling of merchants and manufacturers in England, and these soon poured in petitions against these concessions, from Liverpool, Manchester, and other places; one of them, from the Lancashire manufacturers, being signed by eighty thousand persons. After two months had been spent in receiving these petitions, hearing evidence and counsel, Mr. Pitt introduced his propositions on the 12th of May. It was then found that British interests, as usual, had triumphed over the Ministerial intentions of benefiting Ireland. Not only was Ireland to be bound to furnish, in return for these concessions, a fixed contribution out of the surplus of the hereditary revenue towards defraying the expenses of protecting the general commerce, but to adopt whatever navigation laws the British Parliament might hereafter enact. Lord North and Fox opposed these propositions, on the ground that the cheapness of labour in Ireland would give that country an advantage over the manufacturers in this. The[312] resolutions were at length carried both in the Committee and in the House at large on the 25th of July.[See larger version]

[See larger version]The various triumphs in the direction of liberty of conscience evidence a sense of civil right in the community, which forced itself on the Government, rather than a sense of religion. But religion, too, was in steady growth. The Dissenters had greatly increased during this period, and amongst them the names of some of their ministers had acquired a general reputation. Robert Hall, of Leicester, and afterwards of Bristol, threw a new lustre on the Baptist community. He was the son of a Baptist minister, was at first educated by Dr. Ryland, the learned Baptist pastor of Northampton, and afterwards took his degree of M.A. at King's College, Aberdeen. He commenced his ministerial career in Bristol, and subsequently resided as minister at Leicester for twenty years. On the death of his old tutor, Dr. Ryland, he became the president of the Baptist Academy at Bristol, and pastor of Broadmead Chapel, in that town. Robert Hall was not inferior to any of the clergy of the Establishment in learning or eloquence. He was for eleven years the Baptist minister in Cambridge before removing to Leicester. In Cambridge he succeeded to a man nearly as remarkable, the celebrated Robert Robinson. At this university town he attracted the notice of some of the leading Established clergy and professors, and of the world at large, by his "Vindication of the Freedom of the Press," and his splendid sermon "On Modern Infidelity." Dr. Parr has left a testimony to the merits of Robert Hall in his will, which does honour to his liberality:"Mr. Hall has, like Jeremy Taylor, the eloquence of an orator, the fancy of a poet, the subtlety of a schoolman, the profoundness of a philosopher, and the piety of a saint." To the same body belonged the celebrated author of "Essays on the Formation of Character," John Foster, also of Bristol.

The inhabitants, men, women, and children, fled in terror from their splendid villas, around the city, into the fort of St. George. A fast-sailing vessel was dispatched to Calcutta, to implore the Governor-General to send them speedy aid of men and money. The forces were called together from different quarters, and Sir Hector Munro at the head of one body, and Colonel Baillie at the head of another, were ordered to combine, and intercept Hyder. First one place of rendezvous and then another was named, but, before the junction could take place, Baillie had managed to allow himself to be surrounded by the whole host of Hyder, and after a brave defence was compelled to surrender, one half of his troops being cut to pieces. The insults and cruelties of the troops of Hyder to their captives were something demoniac. Munro had sent to demand troops from the Nabob of Arcot, for whom the British were always fighting, and received a message of compliments, but no soldiers. On the defeat of Baillie he made a hasty retreat to Mount St. Thomas. Meanwhile, the call for aid had reached Calcutta, and Hastings instantly responded to it with all his indomitable energy. He called together the Council, and demanded that peace should be made at once with the Mahrattas; that every soldier should be shipped off at once to Madras; that fifteen lacs of rupees should be sent without a moment's delay to the Council there; that the incompetent governor, Whitehill, should be removed; and Sir Eyre Coote sent to perform this necessary office, and take the command of the troops. Francis, who was just departing for England, raised as usual his voice in opposition. But Hastings' proposals were all carried. The troops, under Sir Eyre Coote, were hurried off, and messengers dispatched in flying haste to raise money at Moorshedabad, Patna, Benares, Lucknowin short, wherever the authority of Hastings could extort it. At the same time, other officers were sent to negotiate with the Mahrattas for peace."On account of the gravity of the question," says Sir Robert Peel, "and the smallness of the minority assenting to my views, I might perhaps have been justified in at once relinquishing office; but after mature reflection, considering that the rejection of my proposals was not a peremptory one by all of those who for the present declined to adopt them, that additional information might materially abate the objections of many, and that the dissolution of a Government on account of differences on such a matter as that under consideration must cause great excitement in the public mind, I determined to retain office until there should be the opportunity of reconsideration of the whole subject. That opportunity would necessarily recur at the latter end of this current month (November), when it was agreed that the Cabinet should again assemble. In determining to retain office for the present, I determined also not to recede from the position which I had taken, and ultimately to resign office if I should find on the reassembling of the Cabinet that the opinions I had expressed did not meet with general concurrence. I determined also, in order to guard against the mischievous consequences of failure in such an undertaking, not to attempt the adjustment of the question at issue unless there should be a moral assurance of ultimate success. It was most painful to me to differ from colleagues with whom I had hitherto acted in uninterrupted harmony, for whom I had sincere personal regard, and cordial esteem and respect founded on an intimate knowledge of their motives and conduct in the discharge of their respective duties."Buonaparte had arrived in Rochefort on the 3rd of Julyonly fifteen days after the battle of Waterloo. The two frigates provided by the Provisional Government to convey him to Americathe Saale and the Medusa, accompanied by the corvette Balladire and the large brig Epervierlay in the Aix roads; but Buonaparte was very sure that the British Government would not permit them to sail. That Government, anticipating such an event as the endeavour of Napoleon to make his escape to Americawhence he might watch his opportunity of once more renewing the troubles of the worldhad, immediately after the battle of Waterloo, placed no less than thirty vessels of different descriptions along the whole coast of France, from Ushant to Cape Finisterre, thus making it impossible for any vessel to pass out of a French port without undergoing the severest search. Napoleon thereupon embarking in a British frigate, the Bellerophon, wrote a theatrical letter, claiming the hospitality of the Prince Regent:

From the moment that Russia was called in, under the pretext of maintaining order, she became, or aimed to become, the dominant power there. She pressed on the whole line of the Polish frontier with her armies, inundated the kingdom with her troops, and levied contributions for their support as if she had been in a conquered country. From that hour, too, the kings were elected rather by foreign armies than by the Poles themselves.[207] Stanislaus Poniatowski, the present king, was the nominee of Catherine of Russia, whose lover he had been till superseded by Orloff. She had placed him on the throne by force of arms, and he was incapable of doing anything except through her power.

The Directory began its campaigns of 1796 with much spirit and ability. The plans which had been repeatedly pointed out by Dumouriez, Pichegru, Moreau, and more recently by Buonaparte, of attacking the Austrians in Germany and Italy simultaneously, and then, on the conquest of Italy, combining their armies and marching them direct on the Austrian capital, were now adopted. Pichegru, who had lost the favour of the Directory, was superseded by Moreau, and that general and Jourdain were sent to the Rhine. Jourdain took the command of sixty-three thousand foot and eleven thousand horse, at Coblenz, and immediately invested the famous fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, on the opposite bank of the river. Moreau was sent to lead the army at Strasburg, consisting of seventy-two thousand foot and nearly seven thousand horse. Jourdain found himself soon menaced by the Archduke Charles, the Emperor's brother, the ablest and most alert general that the Austrians possessed at that period. He advanced rapidly on Jourdain's position with seventy thousand foot and twenty thousand horse, defeated a division of Jourdain's army under General Lefebvre, and compelled Jourdain himself to raise the siege. But the archduke, out of too much anxiety for Wurmser, who was opposed to[452] Moreau with much inferior forces, ascended the Rhine to support him, and Jourdain immediately availed himself of his absence to advance and seize Frankfort on the Main, Würzburg, and other towns. Moreau advanced to drive back Wurmser and the archduke, till a union with Jourdain would enable them to fall conjointly on the Austrians. But the archduke perceived that, in consequence of the orders of the Directory, Moreau was spreading his army too wide, and he retreated so as to enable Wurmser to join him. This retrograde movement was mistaken, both by friends and enemies, for a sign of weakness; and whilst Moreau advanced with increased confidence, many of the raw contingents of the archduke's army deserted, and several of the petty States of Germany sued to the Directory for peace. But the moment for the action of the archduke had now arrived. Whilst Moreau was extending his lines into Bavaria, and had seized Ulm and Donauw?rth, and was preparing to occupy the defiles of the Tyrol, the Archduke Charles made a rapid detour, and, on the 24th of August, fell on Jourdain, and completely defeated him. He then followed him to Würzburg, and on the 3rd of September routed him again. With a velocity extraordinary in an Austrian, the archduke pushed on after Jourdain's flying battalions, and on the 16th of September gave him a third beating at Aschaffenburg, and drove his army over the Rhine. Moreauleft in a critical position, so far from the frontiers of France, and hopeless of any aid from Jourdain, who had lost twenty thousand men and nearly all his artillery and baggagemade haste to retrace his steps. Thus both of the French armies were beaten back to the left bank of the Rhine, and Germany was saved.[See larger version]



(After the Portrait by Dance, in Greenwich Hospital.)Gloomy as was the Pretender's fortune, it was, nevertheless, infinitely better than that of thousands who had ventured their lives and fortunes in his cause. There were not many prisoners in Scotland, but the clans which had sided with the English Government were hounded on to hunt down those who had been out with the Pretender amongst their hills, and they were hunted about by the English troops under the guidance of these hostile clans; and where they themselves were not to be found, their estates suffered by troops being quartered in their houses and on their lands. In England the prisons of Chester, Liverpool, and other northern towns were crowded by the inferior class of prisoners from the surrender of Preston. Some half-pay officers were singled out as deserters, and shot by order of a court-martial; but the common soldiers were eventually acquitted or let off with light sentences.The war was scarcely begun when it was discovered that we had proclaimed hostilities much before we were prepared to carry them out. Our ships were badly manned, and therefore slow to put to sea, and the more alert Spaniards were busy picking up our merchant vessels. Not they only, but the French, Dutch, and other nations who had hoisted Spanish colours, were making wide devastation amongst our trading vessels. Walpole was compelled to issue letters of marque and licences to swarms of privateers, which issued forth to make reprisals. The Lords of the Admiralty, on the 1st of February, 1740, had ordered an embargo on all shipping except coasters, so as at once to keep them out of reach of the enemy, and to induce seamen to enter the navy; but on the 28th of March a petition from merchants and owners of shipping was presented, complaining of the hardships and the destruction of trade by it. The Lords of the Admiralty contended that such had been the complaints of injuries done at sea to our traders, that they had been compelled to impose the embargo in the absence of sufficient hands for men-of-war. They now took the embargo off foreign ships, and gave notice to English owners that they would take it off altogether, on condition that the owners and masters of vessels would enter into an engagement to furnish a certain number of men to the navy in proportion to the number of hands in each trader. This also was denounced as a most oppressive measure, and the Opposition represented it as intended to make the mercantile community sick of the war. Driven, however, to extremities, Ministers would not listen to these arguments; a motion was carried sanctioning this plan, and then the merchants came into it.

THE PETERLOO MASSACRE: HUSSARS CHARGING THE PEOPLE. (See p. 151.)In the Commons, Mr. Spencer Compton, the Ministerial nominee, was elected Speaker. The king opened his first Parliament in person, but, being unable to speak English, he handed his speech to Lord Chancellor Cowper to read. In the Commons the Address condemned in strong language the shameful peace which had been made after a war carried on at such vast expense, and attended with such unparalleled successes; but expressed a hope that, as this dishonour could not with justice be imputed to the nation, through his Majesty's wisdom and the faithful endeavours of the Commons the reputation of the kingdom might in due time be vindicated and restored. This was the first announcement of the Ministers' intention to call their predecessors to account, and Secretary Stanhope, in the course of the debate, confirmed it, observing that it had been industriously circulated that the present Ministers never designed to bring the late Ministers to trial, but only to pass a general censure on them; but he assured the House that, though active efforts had been used to prevent[27] a discovery of the late treasonable proceedings, by conveying away papers from the Secretaries' offices, yet Government had sufficient evidence to enable them to bring to justice the most corrupt Ministry that ever sat at the helm. Before three weeks were over a secret committee was appointed to consider the Treaty of Utrecht.



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