"My lords," he said, "I rejoice that the grave has not closed upon me; that I am still alive to lift up my voice against the dismemberment of this ancient and most noble monarchy. Pressed down as I am by the hand of infirmity, I am little able to assist my country in this most perilous conjuncture; but, my lords, whilst I have sense and memory, I will never consent to deprive the royal offspring of the House of Brunswick, the heirs of" here he faltered for some moments, whilst striving to recall the name"of the Princess Sophia, of their fairest inheritance. My lords, his Majesty succeeded to an empire as great in extent as its reputation was unsullied. Shall we tarnish the lustre of that empire by an ignominious surrender of its rights and fairest possessions? Shall this great kingdom, which has survived whole and entire the Danish depredations the Scotch inroads, and the Norman conquestthat has stood the threatened invasion of the Spanish Armada, now fall prostrate before the House of Bourbon? Surely, my lords, this nation is no longer what it was! Shall a people that fifteen years ago were the terror of the world now stoop so low as to tell this ancient, inveterate enemy'Take all we have, only give us peace'? It is impossible! I wage war with no man or set of men; I wish for none of their employments; nor would I co-operate with men who persist in unretracted errorwho, instead of acting on a firm, decisive line of conduct, halt between two opinions where there is no middle path. In God's name, if it is absolutely necessary to declare either for peace or war, and the former cannot be preserved with honour, why is not the latter commenced without hesitation? I am not, I confess, well informed of the resources of this kingdom; but I trust it has still sufficient to maintain its just rights, though I know them not. But, my lords, any state is better than despair. Let us, at least, make one effort, and if we must fall, let us fall like men!" It was in these circumstances that Sir James Graham, on the 7th of April, brought forward a series of resolutions on our relations with China, and the Government escaped defeat by a narrow majority of ten. A vote of censure would inevitably have been passed, had not the Duke of Wellington expressed his cordial approval of the Ministerial policy. His followers were furious. "I know it," said the Duke to Charles Greville, "and I do not care one damn. I have no time to do what is not right."

Scarcely had Lord Cornwallis commenced his march into the interior of North Carolina, and scarcely had he dispatched Major Ferguson with a corps of American Royalists, to advance through the country towards the frontiers of Virginia, when this corps received another proof of the wisdom of keeping out of the woods and hills. Major Ferguson was attacked near the pass of King's Mountain by swarms of riflemen, many of them mounted, from Virginia, Kentucky, and the Alleghanies who shot down and exterminated his followers almost to a man, the major falling amongst the rest. The victors gave a prompt proof of their apt adoption of Lord Cornwallis's teaching, by hanging ten of the prisoners. Lord Cornwallis was harassed by similar hordes of flying and creeping skirmishers. Hearing the news of the slaughter of Ferguson's force, he returned to Charlotte, retracing his march through most rainy weather, terrible roads, and almost totally destitute of provisions. Cornwallis fell ill on the road, and Lord Rawdon had to assume the command. It was not till the 29th of October that the army resumed its original position near Camden; and General Leslie, who had been also dispatched to co-operate with Cornwallis in Virginia, was recalled, but was obliged to return by sea.

An attempt was again made on the part of Grey and Grenville to form a Ministry, but without effect. Overtures were then made to Lord Wellesley and Canning, who declined to join the Cabinet, alleging differences of opinion on the Catholic claims and on the scale for carrying on the war in[25] the Peninsula. In the House of Commons, on the 21st of May, Mr. Stuart Wortley, afterwards Lord Wharncliffe, moved and carried a resolution for an address to the Regent, praying him to endeavour to form a Coalition Ministry. During a whole week such endeavours were made, and various audiences had by Lords Moira, Wellesley, Eldon, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, etc., and Moira was authorised to make proposals to Wellesley and Canning, to Grey and Grenville. But all these negotiations fell through. Grey and Grenville refused to come in unless they could have the rearrangement of the Royal Household. This demand was yielded by the Regent, but Sheridan, who hated them, did not deliver the message, and so the attempt failed. But at the same time, apart altogether from this matter, they could not have pursued any effectual policy. It was therefore much better that they should not come in at all. JEDBURGH ABBEY. (After the Painting by Sir George Reid, P.R.S.A.)

The success with Cricklade encouraged William Pitt to bring forward a motion for a general reform of Parliament. This he did on the 7th of May, and was seconded by Wilkes's old ally, Alderman Sawbridge. Pitt did not venture to talk of a Bill, but only to propose a Committee to consider the subject. This was granted; but it was soon apparent that nothing would be done. The Ministers were at variance on the subjectsome went one length, and some another; many of them were as determined against all Parliamentary reform as any Tories. Rockingham, the Prime Minister, especially, held much borough influence. He was utterly opposed, in secret, to all such reforms. Pitt himself would hear nothing of repealing the Septennial Act; but he was for sweeping away rotten boroughs and transferring their votes to the counties; he went for equalising the whole representation, for destroying the influence of the Treasury and the hereditary right assumed by the aristocracy, and, by disfranchising the rotten boroughs, for sweeping the House of the creatures of the India House. He was zealously supported by Fox, Sheridan, Sir George Savile; and the Duke of Richmond, in the Lords, warmly commended the movement; but the motion had the fate that might have been expectedit was negatived, though only by twenty votes.

Admirable as was the character of Caroline, she has been accused of retaining her resentment against her son to the last. Pope and Chesterfield affirm that she died refusing to see or forgive her son; but Ford, though he says she would not see him, states that she "heartily forgave him"; and Horace Walpole says she not only forgave him, but would have seen him, but that she feared to irritate her husband. To Sir Robert Walpole she expressed her earnest hope that he would continue to serve the king as faithfully as he had done, and, curiously enough, recommended the king to him, not him to the king. She died on the 20th of November, perhaps more lamented by Walpole than by her own husband (though, as Lord Hervey tells us, George was bitterly affected), for Walpole well knew how much her strong sense and superior feeling had tended to keep the king right, which he could not hope for when she was gone. The king appeared to lament her loss considerably for a time, that is, till consoled by his mistress, the Countess of Walmoden, whom he had kept for a long time at Hanover, and now soon brought over to England. He sent for her picture when she was dead, shut himself up with it some hours, and declared, on reappearing, that he never knew the woman worthy to buckle her shoe.

On the morning of the 14th the transports, to their great relief, hove in sight, and Sir John hastened to get on board the sick, the horses, and the dismounted cavalry, and to prepare for a fight, for Soult was now close upon the town; the hills were crowded with his troops, and they were already skirmishing with his outposts. In these skirmishes Colonel Mackenzie was killed in endeavouring to seize some of the French cannon, planted on the same spot where the powder had just been blown up. The morning of the 16th passed without any attack from Soult, and Sir John proceeded with his arrangements for embarkation; but about noon the battle began. Soult had erected a powerful battery on some rocks at the extremity of his left, and commanding the village of Elvina, occupied by our troops. Sir David Baird was posted on the British right, opposite to the battery, and at no great distance from the village. The French made a dash at the village, under cover of the battery, and drove our men from it. The fight then became general. Soult had twenty thousand men, Sir John about fourteen thousand five hundred; but Soult had far more and heavier cannon, for Sir John had shipped all his artillery except twelve light guns. It was soon seen that the French cannon did vastly more execution than ours; and as the whole line was engaged, Sir John sent Sir E. Paget, with the whole of his reserve, to turn the left of a column that was outflanking Baird on the right, and to silence the battery, if possible. Another division, under General Frazer, was sent to support Paget, and the battle now raged furiously on the right, and about the village of Elvina, which was lost and taken once or twice. In this conflict Sir David Baird had his arm shattered by a cannon-ball, and was taken off the field. Major Stanhope was killed, and Major, afterwards General Sir Charles, Napier was wounded. But Paget drew back on the British right, and Sir John, seeing the 42nd Highlanders engaged, rode up to them and shouted, "Highlanders! remember Egypt!" and they rushed forward, driving all before them, till they were stopped by a stone wall. The battle, however, still raging, and the French bringing up reserves, the furious contest was renewed around the village of Elvina. Sir John then dispatched Captain, afterwards Lord, Hardinge, to bring up the Guards to support the 42nd Highlanders. Whilst awaiting their arrival, a cannon-ball, which had struck the ground, glanced forward again, and wounded Sir John on the right shoulder and breast. He was dashed from his horse, and was supposed to be killed; but the force of the ball having been partly spent, before Captain Hardinge could reach him he had raised himself, and was gazing earnestly after the 42nd and the other troops engaged. When he had seen his soldiers driving the French before them, he consented to be borne to the rear. He was carried away by a Highland sergeant and three soldiers, in a blanket, his wound bleeding very much, and himself satisfied that his hurt was mortal. As he went, however, he repeatedly made the soldiers halt, that he might have another view of the battle. By night the French were beaten back in every direction; but the British general was dead, having lived only to receive the tidings of victory. During the night the troops were, most of them, got on board, and at midnight Sir John's remains were committed to the groundas he had always wished them to be, should he be killed in battleon the ramparts in the old citadel of Corunna. No coffin was to be procured, for coffins were not a Spanish fashion; but he was buried dressed as he was, and wrapt in his military cloak, literally as described in Wolfe's popular poem on his death. The chaplain read the burial service, and there his officers "left him alone with his glory," to make their own embarkation.

Monster meetings, not unaccompanied by disturbance, were held in various places, the most serious of which occurred at Birmingham. The inhabitants of this town had been kept in a state of almost incessant alarm by the proceedings of disorderly persons calling themselves Chartists. Representations to this effect having been sent to the Home Office, sixty picked men of the metropolitan force were sent down to aid the civil authorities in the preservation of peace. They arrived at Birmingham by the railway on Thursday, July 4th, and speedily mustering, they marched two abreast into the Bull Ring, where about 2,000 Chartists were assembled, at nine o'clock in the evening. They endeavoured, at first, to induce the meeting quietly to disperse, but failed in the attempt. They then seized the flags with which Lord Nelson's monument in the centre of the square was decorated, and among which was one that bore a death's head; but the Chartists, who had at first been disconcerted, recaptured them, after a desperate struggle, and broke their staves into pieces, to be used as clubs. A conflict immediately ensued, in which the police, who were armed only with batons, were seriously injured; and the Chartists were retiring in triumph when the 4th Dragoons charged them, by concert, through all the streets leading to the Bull Ring, and they fled in every direction. Further riots ensued, and on the 15th an organised mob attacked the houses in the High Street and Spiral Street. They broke into the warehouses, flinging their contents into the streets. A large pile of bedding was set on fire in the Bull Ring. Windows and shop-fittings were remorselessly demolished by the infuriated multitude. A few minutes past nine o'clock the cry of "Fire!" was raised. Scarcely had the words been uttered when the rioters carried immense heaps of burning materials from the streets, forcing them into the houses of Mr. Bourne and Mr. Legatt. Within a quarter of an hour the flames burst out with awful violence from both houses, amidst the exulting shouts of the rioters. While this work of destruction was going on they had the streets to themselves. The general cry among the inhabitants was, "Where are the military? Where are the magistrates?" At length, about ten o'clock, sixty of the metropolitan[457] police, with a posse of special constables, made their appearance, and rushed upon the rioters sword in hand, causing them to fly in all directions. The dragoons, under the command of Colonel Chatterton, were now discerned galloping down Moore Street, and another squadron at the same moment down High Street, and in five minutes about 300 of the Rifle Brigade marched to the Bull Ring. The inhabitants, feeling like people sore pressed by a long siege, clapped their hands with joy at the approach of their deliverers. The fire engines also came under escort, having been driven away before, and set about arresting the conflagration. In the meantime the cavalry were scouring and clearing the streets and suburbs, and the police were busily engaged bringing in prisoners. About midnight the roofs of the two houses fell in, and about one o'clock the fire was got under. Next day the shops were nearly all closed, the middle classes full of suspicion, and the populace vowing vengeance against the police and the soldiers. A piece of artillery placed at the head of High Street contributed materially to prevent further disturbance. About twenty prisoners were made, and the evidence produced before the magistrates showed the determined purpose of the rioters. When these outrages were the subject of discussion in the House of Lords, the Duke of Wellington said, "That he had seen as much of war as most men; but he had never seen a town carried by assault subjected to such violence as Birmingham had been during an hour by its own inhabitants."


But this little episode of the war presented one bright spot amid the vast picture of miserable mismanagement, want of concert and of activity, amongst the Allies engaged against France. The campaign of 1794 was most disgraceful and discouraging. The plan still was for the different armies of the Allies to advance from the different frontiers, north, west, east, and south, and concentrate themselves on Paris; but all the activity and concentration were on the side of the French. In the very commencement of it, it was observed that Prussia was not bringing by any means the stipulated amount of forces into the field. The king, thinking much more of securing his Polish robberies than of co-operating against France, remained in Poland, and was even discovered to be secretly negotiating with the French Convention for peace. Britain was alarmed at this symptom of Prussian defection and made strong remonstrances. Frederick William coolly replied that it was impossible for him to go on without a large sum of money. The hint of Prussia was not lost; money was promised, and in April of this year a subsidy of two millions two hundred thousand pounds was paid to Prussia to secure her more active operation, and on condition that she brought into the field sixty thousand men. The bulk of this money was paid by Britain, a small fraction by Holland; and what was the result? The King of Prussia sent very few troops into the field, but employed the money in paying and[433] maintaining armies to keep down the invaded provinces of Poland, and to invade more! Thus Britain was duped into the disgraceful business of riveting the fetters of unhappy Poland; and it would have been well had this taught the British Government wisdom. But it was now intent on that astonishing career of subsidising almost all the nations of Europe against France; of purchasing useless German soldiers at astounding prices; of pouring out the wealth and blood of Britain like water to enable the Germans and Russians to defend their own hearths and homes, and in vain. The results of this subsidy ought to have satisfied Britain, and would have satisfied any other nation; for it did not long retain Prussia as an ally, even in name.

The Convention proceeded to debate the question of Louis's trial. On the 6th of November Valaz, a Girondist, presented to it the report of the Committee of Twenty-Four. This report charged Louis Capet with high treason against the nation, and declared that his punishment ought to be more than simple deposition. The next day Mailh, another Girondist, presented the report of the Committee of Legislation, and accompanied it by a speech, in which he accused Louis of all the crimes which had been committed during the Revolution, and recommended the trial of Charles I. as the model for his trial. The queen, he said, ought to be tried by an ordinary tribunal, observing that the heads of queens were no more inviolable than other women's heads. This was as plainly intimating the wishes of the Girondists for the execution of the king and queen as any Jacobins could do. In fact, so completely did his remarks coincide with the views of the Jacobins, that he was applauded by Jacobins, Girondists, and Plain. It was voted that the report should be printed and circulated through the Departments; that a committee should be appointed to collect the necessary papers and other evidence; that these should be submitted to Louis, or his counsel; that the Convention should fix the day of trial, and should pronounce sentence by every member voting separately, and aloud. It was decreed that Louis should be brought to the bar of the Convention on the 26th of December. The king's demand to be allowed counsel having been conceded, he began to prepare his defence. In the afternoon of the 16th, four commissioners, who had been members of the Committee of Twenty-Four, appeared, and presented him with a copy of his impeachment, and also submitted to him a number of papers that were to be produced against him. At half-past nine in the morning of the 26th all Paris was again under arms, and Chambon, the mayor, appeared at the Temple, attended by Santerre with a strong force. Louis was conducted to the mayor's carriage, and was thus guarded to the Feuillants, the House of the Convention.