The Government of Spain was sunk into the very deepest degradation and imbecility. Charles IV. was one of the weakest of Bourbon kings. He was ruled by his licentious wife, Maria Luiza, and she by Manuel de Godoy, a young and handsome man, who, about the year 1784, had attracted her eye as a private in the Royal Guards. By her means he was rapidly promoted, and at the age of twenty-four was already a general. He was soon created a Grandee of Spain, and the queen married him to a niece of the king. He was made Generalissimo of all the Spanish Forces, and, in fact, became the sole ruling power in the country. He was styled the Prince of the Peacea title acquired by his having effected the pacification of Basle, which terminated the Revolutionary War between France and Spain. By the subsequent Treaty of St. Ildefonso he established an offensive and defensive alliance with France, which, in truth, made Spain entirely subservient to Napoleon. The Fte de la Concorde took place on Sunday, the 21st of May, and passed off without any attempt at disturbance. On the contrary, the people were in excellent humour, and everything upon the surface of society seemed in keeping with the object of the festivity. On the 26th the Assembly decreed the perpetual banishment of Louis Philippe and his family, by a majority of 695 to 63. But the ex-king was not the only pretender who occupied the attention of the new Government; a far more dangerous one was Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the Emperor and then an exile in London. He had gone over to Paris when the Republic was proclaimed, but acting on the advice of the Government, he quietly retired from the country. So potent, however, was still the charm that attached to the name of Napoleon, that his heir was elected a member of the National Assembly by no less than four constituencies. It was moreover discovered that money had been distributed in Paris by his partisans; that placards in his favour were posted upon the walls, and cries of "Vive Napoleon!" resounded through the city. Within four days, three journals had been established in Paris preparing the way for the candidature of Louis[553] Napoleon as President. After a violent debate, it was resolved by a large majority that he should be permitted to take his seat as a representative. On the Monday following Paris was excited by a rumour that Louis Napoleon had arrived, and while Lamartine was speaking in the Assembly several shots were fired, one at the Commandant of the National Guard, another at an officer of the army, and this was done to the cry of "Vive l'Empereur Napoleon!" "This," said Lamartine, "is the first drop of blood that has stained our revolution; and if blood has now been shed, it has not been for liberty, but by military fanaticism, and in the name of an ambition sadly, if not voluntarily, mixed up with guilty man?uvres. When conspiracy is taken in flagrante delicto, with its hand dyed in French blood, the law should be voted by acclamation." He then proposed a decree, causing the law of banishment of 1832 against Louis Napoleon to be executed. It was voted by acclamation, the Assembly rising in a body, and shouting, "Vive la Rpublique!"

In the valley of Glen Tronian, on the 19th of August, they proceeded to erect the standard. The Marquis of Tullibardine, as highest in rank, though feeble and tottering with age, was appointed to unfurl the banner, supported on each hand by a stout Highlander. The colours were of blue and red silk, with a white centre, on which, some weeks later, the words Tandem triumphans were embroidered. Tullibardine held the staff till the manifesto of James, dated Rome, 1743, appointing his son Regent, was read; and as the banner floated in the breeze the multitude shouted lustily, and the hurrahs were boisterously renewed when Charles made them a short address in English, which few of the common class understood. The memorable 17th of August arrived, and the curtain was raised on a new act in the great drama, on which the whole nation gazed with the deepest interest, and with feverish anxiety. The queen left her residence in St. James's Square, and proceeded to the House of Lords in her new state carriage, which the people were with difficulty dissuaded from unyoking, that they might draw it themselves. As she passed Carlton House, the crowd gave three cheers, and also at the Treasury. The soldiers on guard at the former place, and at the House of Lords, presented arms when she arrived. The queen's carriage was preceded by Alderman Wood's, and followed by one of her Majesty's travelling carriages, in which were the Hon. Keppel Craven and Sir William Gell, her chamberlains. The way from Charing Cross to Westminster Abbey was crowded, and all the windows of the houses on each side were filled with people, particularly with ladies. Such was the enthusiasm of the people, that the barrier erected at St. Margaret's Church was insufficient to keep them back, and the dense mass forced their way through, and reached Palace Yard shortly after the queen. Sir T. Tyrwhitt, as Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, attended by the officers of the House, received the queen at the private entrance which had been prepared for her. She entered at the door near the throne, supported by Lord A. Hamilton, and attended by Lady A. Hamilton. She was dressed in white, but wore a black lace shawl. Her demeanour was in the highest degree dignified. On her entrance the peers all rose, and she was pleased to salute them in return.

The great car which bore Feargus O'Connor and his fortunes was of course the central object of attraction. Everything about it indicated that some great thing was going to happen, and all who could get within hearing of the speakers were anxiously waiting for the commencement of the proceedings. But there was something almost ludicrous in the mode of communication between the tremendous military power which occupied the metropolis, waiting the course of events, in the consciousness of irresistible strength, and the principal leader of the Chartist convention. Immediately after the two cars had taken their position, a police inspector, of gigantic proportions, with a jolly and good-humoured expression of countenance, was seen pressing through the crowd toward Mr. O'Connor. He was the bearer of a message from the Police Commissioners, politely desiring Mr. O'Connor's attendance for a few minutes at the Horns Tavern. Mr. O'Connor immediately alighted and followed the inspector, whose burly form made a lane through the mass of people as if he were passing through a field of tall wheat. Murmurs were heard through the crowd. What could this mean? Was their leader deserting, or was he a prisoner? A rush was made in the direction which they had taken, and it was said that their faces were blanched with fear, and that at one time they were almost fainting. Protected by those who were near them, they reached Mr. Commissioner Mayne in safety. The commissioner informed Mr. O'Connor that the Government did not intend to interfere with the right of petitioning, properly exercised, nor with the right of public meeting; therefore they did not prevent the assemblage on the Common; but if they attempted to return in procession, they would be stopped at all hazards; and that there were ample forces awaiting orders for the purpose. The meeting would be allowed to proceed, if Mr. O'Connor pledged himself that it would be conducted peaceably. He gave the pledge, shook hands with the commissioner, and returned to his place on the car. He immediately announced to his colleagues the result of his interview, and the whole demonstration collapsed as suddenly as a pierced balloon. Some brief, fiery harangues were delivered to knots of puzzled listeners; but the meeting soon broke up in confusion. Banners and flags were pulled down, and the monster petition was taken from the triumphal car, and packed up in three cabs, which were to convey it quietly to the House of Commons. The masses then rolled back towards the Thames, by no means pleased with the turn things had taken. At every bridge[558] they were stopped by the serried ranks of the police and the special constables. There was much pressing and struggling to force a passage, but all in vain. They were obliged to move off, but after a while they were permitted to pass in detached parties of not more than ten each. About three o'clock the flood of people had completely subsided. Had the movement been successful to any extent, it would have been followed by insurrections in the provincial towns. Early on the morning of the 10th the walls of the city of Glasgow were found covered with a placard, calling upon the people, on receipt of the news from London, "to rise in their thousands and tens of thousands, and put an end to the vile government of the oligarchy which had so long oppressed the country." Another placard was issued there, addressed to soldiers, and offering 10 and four acres of land to every one of them who should join the insurgents. Strange to say, the printers' names were attached to both these treasonable proclamations. They were arrested, but not punished.

Whilst these affairs had been taking place in England, the Emperor had been finding himself less and less able to contend against France and Spain. He had in vain exerted himself to engage the Dutch and English in his quarrel. He called upon them as bound by the faith of treaties; he represented the balance of power for which both Holland and England had made such sacrifices, as more in danger than ever; but none of these pleas moving Walpole or the Dutch, he threatened to withdraw his troops from the Netherlands, and make over that country to France. The threat of the Emperor did not move Walpole; he knew too well that it was but a threat. The Emperor, therefore, was now compelled to come to terms. A treaty was to be entered into under the mediation of the maritime Powers. As Fleury and Walpole, too, were bent on peace, they submitted to all the delays and punctilios of the diplomatists, and finally were rewarded by a peace being concluded between the different parties on these terms:Don Carlos was to retain Naples and Sicily, but he was to resign the possession of Parma and the reversion of Tuscany; of the claimants to the Polish Crown, Augustus was to remain King of Poland, and Stanislaus was to receive, as an equivalent, the Duchy of Lorraine, which, after his decease, was to devolve to the Crown of France. This was an aim which France had had in view for ages, but which neither the genius of Richelieu nor of Mazarin could[66] accomplish. It was rendered comparatively easy now, as the young Duke of Lorraine was about to marry the Empress's only child, the Princess Maria Theresa, and thus to succeed through her to the Empire. Yet the Duke ceded his patrimonial territory with extreme regret, and not till he had received in return the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and a pension from France. The regnant Grand Duke of Tuscany, the last of the Medicis, was on the verge of death, and his decease took place in less than two years, when the Duke of Lorraine was put in possession. France and Sardinia gave their guarantee to the Pragmatic Sanction, and Sardinia obtained, in consequence, Novara, Tortona, and some adjoining districts. England appears to have looked on with strange apathy at this aggrandisement of France by the acquisition of Lorraine, but it was impossible to prevent it, except by a great war, and Walpole was not disposed for even a little one. This treaty is known as the Definitive Peace of Vienna (Nov. 8, 1738).

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THE CORONATION OF QUEEN VICTORIA. (After the Picture by Sir George Hayter.)

The spirit of Choiseul having departed from the French administration, and the king having so unequivocally expressed his intention not to go to war, the Spanish Court hastened to lower its tone and offer conciliatory terms. In December they had proposed, through Prince de Masserano, to disavow the expedition of Buccarelli, if the English Court would disown the menaces of Captain Hunt. This was promptly refused, and orders were sent to Mr. Harris to quit the capital of Spain. He set out in January, 1771, but was speedily recalled; the expedition of Buccarelli was disavowed; the settlement of Port Egmont was conceded, whilst the main question as to the right of either party to the Falklands at large was left to future discussion. So little value, however, did Britain attach to the Falkland Isles, that it abandoned them voluntarily two years afterwards. For many years they were forsaken by both nations; but in 1826 the Republic of Buenos Ayres adopted them as a penal colony, and in 1833 the British finally took possession of them.

Long quotations are then given from the several reports of the Assistant Commissioners, showing that the feelings of the suffering labourers in Ireland are also decidedly in favour of emigration. They do not desire workhouses, it is said, but they do desire a free passage to a colony where they may have the means of living by their own industry. The Commissioners then declare that, upon the best consideration they have been able to give to the whole subject, they think that a legal provision should be made and rates levied for the relief and support of curable as well as incurable lunatics, of idiots, epileptic persons, cripples, deaf and dumb, and blind poor, and all who labour under permanent bodily infirmities; such relief and support to be afforded within the walls of public institutions; also for the relief of the sick poor in hospitals and infirmaries, and convalescent establishments; or by external attendance, and a supply of food as well as medicine, where the persons to be relieved are not in a state to be removed from home; also for the purpose of emigration, for the support of penitentiariesto which vagrants may be sentand for the maintenance of deserted children; also towards the relief of aged and infirm persons, of orphans, of helpless widows, and young children, of the families of sick persons, and of casual destitution. This report was not signed by all the Commissioners. Three of them set forth their reasons, in thirteen propositions, for dissenting from the principle of the voluntary system, as recommended by the report.

The same scenes, but on a still larger scale, were exhibiting in the capital. The Reign of Terror was fully inaugurated, and rapidly extending itself. At first, on the expulsion of the Girondists from the Conventionthat is, in Junethe guillotinings were only fourteen. In July the number was about the same; but in August Robespierre became a member of the Committee of Public Safety, which carried on the machinery of government, and then the work went on swimmingly. From the moment that Robespierre took his place on the Committee, the stream of blood flowed freely and steadily. His friendif such monsters can be said to have any friendsBarrre, who belonged to the timid Plain till the Girondists were[424] overthrown, now became his active agent. He proposed, on the 7th of August, that William Pitt should be proclaimed the enemy of the whole human race, and that a decree should be passed that every man had a right to assassinate him. On the 9th it was announced that the Republic was completed; that Hrault de Schelles had produced a new and perfect constitution, which was at once adopted by the Convention. It was a constitution containing all the doctrines of the Mountain, in the bombast of that truculent faction. As it was quickly set aside, we need not detail its principles. Then this constitution was celebrated on the 10th of August, the anniversary sacred to the downfall of monarchy. Next followed fresh executions, among the most notable victims being Marie Antoinette (October 16) and Madame Roland (November 9), while most of the prominent Girondists were hunted down and killed.

[584]

Leinster 1,973,731 4,624,542 450,606 308,068

After contending with such difficultiesfor the Committee was, in truth, combating with all the powers of the Crownit was not likely that it would produce a very effective report. In fact, desirable as it was that a deep and searching inquiry should have been made, and the mysteries of that long reign of corruption thrown open, the fact that the Monarch and the Minister had gone hand in hand through the whole of it was, on the very surface, fatal to any hope of a successful issue, and what rendered this fatality greater was, that the Committee too obviously went into the question hotly to crush an old antagonist who had defeated and humiliated them for a long course of years, rather than to serve the nation. When, therefore, on the 30th of June, they presented their report, the feeling, on its perusal, was one of intense disappointment. It alleged that, during an election at Weymouth, a place had been promised to the Mayor if he would use his influence in obtaining the nomination of a retiring officer, and that a church living had been promised to the Mayor's brother-in-law for the same purpose; that some revenue officers, who refused to vote for the ministerial nominees, were dismissed; that a fraudulent contract had been given to Peter Burrell and John Bristow, two members of the House of Commons, for furnishing money in Jamaica for the payment of the troops, by which they had pocketed upwards of fourteen per cent. But what were these few trifling and isolated cases to that great system of corruption which the public were satisfied had spread through all Walpole's administration, and which abounded with far more wonderful instances than these? The very mention of them, and them alone, was a proclamation of defeat.