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Title: A History of England, Period III. - Constitutional Monarchy
Author: Bright, Rev. J. Franck
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A History of England, Period III. - Constitutional Monarchy" ***

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_By the_ Rev. J. FRANCK BRIGHT, M.A., _Fellow of University College, and
Historical Lecturer in Balliol, New, and University Colleges, Oxford;
late Master of the Modern School in Marlborough College_.

With numerous Maps and Plans. _New Editions._ Crown 8vo.

This work is divided into three Periods of convenient and handy size,
especially adapted for use in Schools, as well as for Students reading
special portions of History for local and other Examinations.

Period I.--MEDIÆVAL MONARCHY: The Departure of the Romans, to Richard
III. From A.D. 449 to A.D. 1485. 4_s._ 6_d._

Period II.--PERSONAL MONARCHY: Henry VII. to James II. From A.D. 1485 to
A.D. 1688. 5_s._

Period III.--CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY: William and Mary to the Present
Time. From A.D. 1689 to A.D. 1837. 7_s._ 6_d._

[_All rights reserved._]








    William and Mary to William IV.


    With Maps and Plans

    Oxford and Cambridge

    [_Third Edition_]



     Macaulay's _History of England_, 1600-1702. Macaulay's _Essays_.
     Mahon's _History of England_, 1713-1783. Massey's _History of
     England_, 1745-1802. Martineau's _History of the Peace_, 1800-1848.
     Erskine May's _Constitutional History_, 1760-1860. Ralph's _History
     of England_, 1689-1727. Pauli's _Geschichte Englands_, from 1814.


     Cobbett's _Parliamentary History_, to 1803. Hansard's _Debates_,
     from 1803. _The Monthly Mercury_, from 1690. _The Annual Register_,
     from 1758. _State Tracts._ Anderson's _History of Commerce_.
     Maculloch's _Commercial Dictionary_. Eden's _State of the Poor_.
     Howell's _State Trials_. Macpherson's _State Papers_, 1688-1714.
     Hardwicke's _State Papers_, to 1727.


     _Documens inédits sur l'Histoire de France_ (for the Spanish
     succession). Sismondi or Martin's _Histoire de France_, to 1789.
     Von Sybel's _French Revolution_. Lanfrey's _Histoire de Napoleon_.
     Ranke's _History of Prussia_. Bancroft's _History of the United
     States_. Mill's _History of India_. Grant Duff's _History of the
     Mahrattas_. The _Despatches_ of Wellesley and Cornwallis. Froude's
     _The English in Ireland_, to 1800.


     Burnet's _History of his Own Time_, 1660-1713. Kennett's _History
     of England_, vol. iii. Defoe's Works are instructive as to the
     state of England at this time.


     Stanhope's _Reign of Queen Anne_. Coxe's _Life of Marlborough_.
     Marlborough's _Letters and Despatches_, 1702-1712. _Bolingbroke's
     Correspondence._ _Life of Sacheverel._


     Swift's _Drapier's Letters_, etc. _The Stuart Papers_, edited by
     Glover. Coxe's _Life of Walpole_. Boyer's _Political State of Great


     Hervey's _Memoirs of the Reign of George II._, 1727-1742. Horace
     Walpole's _Memoirs of the Reign of George II._, 1751-1760.
     Doddington's _Diary_, 1749-1761. Waldegrave's _Memoirs_, 1754-1758.
     Southey's _Life of Wesley_. Philip's _Life and Times of Whitfield_.
     Johnstone's _Memoirs of the Rebellion of 1745_.


     Horace Walpole's _Memoirs of the Reign of George III._, 1760-1771.
     _The Letters of Junius._ _The Grenville Papers._ _The Bedford
     Correspondence._ Buckingham's _Memoirs of the Court and Cabinet of
     George III._ Russell's _Life of Fox_. Thackeray's _Life of
     Chatham_. Stanhope's _Life of Pitt_. Wilberforce's _Life_.
     Malmesbury's _Diary and Correspondence_. _The Cornwallis
     Correspondence, 1770-1805._ Napier's _Peninsula War_. _Life of
     Bamford the Radical._ Lord Dudley's _Letters_, 1814-1823. Bell and
     Stapleton's _Lives of Canning_.

It is not, however, necessary to give a detailed list of authorities,
which would be little more than a catalogue of the lives, letters, and
memoirs of most of the important men of the time. Of these the number is
constantly being augmented, and it is from them and the contemporary
tracts, monographs, pamphlets, and fugitive writings that the details of
the History must be drawn.


WILLIAM AND MARY. 1689-1702.


    1689 The Declaration of Right,                               806
         =Character of the Revolution=,                          806
         Personal unpopularity of William,                       807
         Discontent of the clergy and the army,                  807
         The Convention turned into a Parliament,                808
         William's difficulties in forming a ministry,           808
         Settlement of the revenue,                              810
         Settlement of the Church,                               810
         Oaths of allegiance and supremacy,                      811
         =The European war breaks out=,                          811
         Devastation of the Palatinate,                          812
         =State of Ireland=,                                     812
         Panic among the Englishry,                              813
         Londonderry and Enniskillen garrisoned,                 813
         Negotiations with Tyrconnel,                            813
         James goes to Ireland,                                  814
         Character of the Irish Jacobites,                       814
         Siege of Londonderry,                                   815
         Wild legislation of the Irish Parliament,               815
         Its effect on the English Jacobites,                    816
         Battle of Newton Butler,                                816
         =Character of the Revolution in Scotland=,              817
         Contrast of the letters from James and William,         818
         Highland politics,                                      819
         Dundee in the Highlands,                                820
         =Battle of Killiecrankie=,                              820
         Mackay concludes the war,                               821
         Factions of the English Parliament,                     821
         =William threatens to leave England=,                   824

    1690 =William dissolves Parliament, and undertakes
           the Irish war=,                                      824
         Tory reaction in the new Parliament,                    824
         Cause of the venality of Parliament,                    824
         Settlement of the revenue,                              825
         The Act of Grace,                                       825
         Discovery of a Jacobite plot,                           825
         =Battle of Beachy Head=,                                826
         =Battle of the Boyne=,                                  827
         James's flight from Ireland,                            828
         Siege of Limerick,                                      828
         William returns to England,                             828

    1691 Siege of Athlone,                                       829
         =Battle of Aghrim=,                                     830
         Second siege of Limerick,                               830
         =End of the Irish war=,                                 830
         The Revolution completed in Scotland,                   830
         Jacobite plots in England,                              831
         =William's successful policy abroad=,                   831
         =First crisis of the war over=,                         832
         James's hopes upheld by the treason of the ministry,    832

    1692 Marlborough, suspected of treason, deprived of his
           offices,                                              833
         The Queen's quarrel with her sister,                    834
         Massacre of Glencoe,                                    834
         =Threatened invasion of England=,                       836
         =Battle of La Hogue=,                                   837
         =Second crisis of the war over=,                        838
         Fall of Namur,                                          838
         Battle of Steinkirk,                                    838
         The discontent of Parliament,                           839

    1693 Montague's financial measures,                          839
         Disastrous campaign,                                    840
         Battle of Landen,                                       841
         Loss of the Smyrna fleet,                               841
         =Factions in Parliament necessitate the gradual formation
           of a united Whig ministry=,                           842

    1694 Establishment of the Bank of England,                   843
         The Triennial Act passed,                               844
         Death of Queen Mary,                                    844

    1695 Expulsion of Trevor and Caermarthen for venality,       845

    1694 =Success abroad=,                                       846
         Treachery of Marlborough at Brest,                      846

    1695 Campaign in Flanders,                                   847
         Surrender of Namur,                                     848
         =William's triumphant return=,                          848
         =New Whig Parliament=,                                  848

    1696 Re-establishment of the currency,                       848
         William's want of money,                                851
         Failure of the Land Bank scheme,                        851
         The Bank of England supplies the money,                 852
         The credit of England restored,                         853
         The Assassination plot,                                 853
         Trial of Sir John Fenwick,                              855

    1697 =Complete triumph of the Whigs=,                        856
         =Treaty of Ryswick=,                                    858
         The Parliament reduces the standing army,               859

    1698 Coalition of the rival East India Companies,            861
         William's attention directed to the Spanish succession, 862
         =First Partition Treaty=,                               863
         =The Country Party in the new Parliament=,              864

    1699 William's grief at the dismissal of the Dutch guards,   864
         Rivalry between the two Houses,                         865
         The Darien scheme,                                      865
         Question of Irish forfeitures,                          868

    1700 The Resumption Bill passed,                             868
         =Second Partition Treaty=,                              869
         Unpopularity of William and the ministry,               870
         =New Tory ministry=,                                    870

    1701 New Parliament,                                         870
         The Succession Act,                                     871
         Impeachments against the Whigs,                         871
         The Kentish Petition,                                   872
         The Legion Memorial,                                    872
         The Grand Alliance,                                     873
         Death of James II.,                                     873
         Louis rouses English patriotism by acknowledging the
           Pretender,                                            873

    1702 New Parliament and changes in the ministry,             874
         =Death of William=,                                     874

ANNE. 1702-1714.

         =Marlborough's power=,                                  875
         Work of the first Parliament,                           876
         Tory ministry,                                          876
         =Beginning of the war=,                                 877
         Marlborough's first campaign,                           878
         Position of Holland,                                    878

    1703 Savoy and Portugal join the coalition,                  880

    1704 Critical position of Austria,                           882
         =Battle of Blenheim=,                                   885
         Progress of the war in Spain, the Cevennes, and Italy,  887

    1705 Failure of Marlborough's plans,                         888
         Peterborough's success in Spain,                        889

    1706 =Battle of Ramillies=,                                  892
         Results of the victory,                                 893
         French disasters make Louis desire peace,               894
         Marlborough rejects his terms,                          894

    1707 The tide of victory turns,                              895

    1708 Threatened invasion of Scotland,                        896
         =Battle of Oudenarde=,                                  898
         Siege of Lille,                                         900
         Capture of Port Mahon,                                  901

    1709 Louis offers to negotiate,                              902
         He rejects the high demands of the allies,              903
         =Battle of Malplaquet=,                                 903

    1702 =Summary of political parties=,                         905
         =Marlborough seeks the support of all parties for
           the war=,                                             905
         Tory Parliament,                                        906

    1703 Dismissal of Rochester,                                 906
         Occasional Conformity Bill rejected,                    906
         The Methuen Treaty,                                     907

    1704 Disputes on the Aylesbury election,                     908
         Dismissal of Nottingham, Jersey, and Seymour,           908

    1705 =Gradual introduction of Whig ministers=,               910

    1707 Weakness of the composite ministry,                     911
         Harley's intrigues against Marlborough,                 911

    1708 Harley and his colleagues resign,                       912
         =A Whig ministry=,                                      913

    1709 Insecurity of Marlborough's position,                   913

    1710 =Fall of the Whigs=,                                    914
         Dr. Sacheverell's sermons,                              914
         Dismissal of Sunderland and Godolphin,                  914
         =Harley's Tory ministry=,                               915
         Conference at Gertruydenberg,                           915
         The war in Spain,                                       915
         Harley's policy,                                        916

    1711 Peace negotiations,                                     917
         Attack on Marlborough in Parliament,                    919

    1712 Ormond given command of the army,                       920

    1713 =Peace of Utrecht=,                                     921
         Conduct of Harley and Bolingbroke on the succession
           question,                                             922

    1714 New Tory Parliament,                                    922
         Jacobite intrigues,                                     923
         The Queen's death,                                      924

    1702 Lengthened negotiations for the Union of England and
           Scotland,                                             924

    1707 =The Union completed=,                                  928

GEORGE I. 1714-1727.

    1714 Probability of a restoration of the Stuarts,            929
         Council of Regency,                                     930
         =Peaceful accession of the King=,                       930
         New Whig ministry,                                      931
         =The Hanoverian succession a Whig triumph=,             931
         Riots in the country,                                   931

    1715 Impeachment of the late ministers,                      932
         =The Jacobite rebellion=,                               932
         Disaffection in Scotland,                               933
         Failure of the Jacobite hopes of French help,           933
         Mar organizes the insurrection in Scotland,             934
         Vigorous measures of the Government,                    935
         Mar's success in the Highlands,                         935
         Forster defeated at Preston,                            936
         Mar defeated at Sheriffmuir,                            937

    1716 The Pretender arrives, but shortly withdraws again,     937
         Punishment of the rebels,                               938
         =The Septennial Act=,                                   938
         =First signs of the disruption of the ministry=,        940
         George goes to Hanover with Stanhope,                   940
         Negotiations with France,                               940
         Hanover threatened by Charles XII.,                     941
         =Dismissal of Townshend=,                               942

    1717 =The Triple Alliance=,                                  942
         =Stanhope's ministry=,                                  942
         =Threatening state of Europe=,                          942
         Danger to England from Charles XII.,                    943
         And from Alberoni,                                      944

    1718 =The Quadruple Alliance=,                               945

    1719 Fall of Alberoni,                                       946

    1720 European peace,                                         946

    1717 =Stanhope's home policy=,                               946
         Constant opposition of Walpole,                         946
         Trial of Oxford,                                        947

    1719 Repeal of the Schism Act,                               947
         Rejection of the Peerage Bill,                          947

    1720 Strength of the ministry. Walpole joins it,             948
         =The South Sea Bubble=,                                 949

    1711 Formation of the South Sea Company,                     950

    1720 The South Sea Scheme,                                   950
         Competition of other companies,                         951
         The rage for stock-jobbing,                             952
         Bursting of the bubble,                                 953

    1721 Punishment of the directors,                            953
         =Supremacy of Walpole=,                                 953
         Revival of Jacobite hopes,                              954

    1722 =Bishop Atterbury's plot=,                              954

    1723 Quarrel between Carteret and Walpole,                   956

    1724 Excitement in Ireland,                                  957

    1725 Disturbances in Scotland,                               957
         =Spanish difficulties=,                                 958
         Intrigues of Ripperda,                                  959
         Treaty of Vienna,                                       960
         The secret treaty,                                      960

    1726 The Treaty of Hanover,                                  961
         Excitement of Europe,                                   961

    1727 =Preliminaries of peace signed at Paris=,               962
         Opposition to Walpole headed by Bolingbroke,            962
         The King's death,                                       963
         Review of the reign,                                    963
         Increased importance of England abroad,                 963
         Private and public immorality,                          963
         Influence of the Hanoverian courtiers,                  964

GEORGE II. 1727-1760.

         =Walpole retains his position=,                         966
         Increase of the Civil List,                             966
         Influence of the Queen,                                 967
         =Character of Walpole's ministry=,                      967
         Character of the Opposition,                            967
         Strength of the Government,                             969
         Depression of the Jacobites,                            969
         =European complications=,                               970

    1729 Congress at Soissons,                                   970
         Treaty of Seville,                                      971
         Disappointment of the Emperor,                          971

    1731 Second Treaty of Vienna,                                971
         Complete supremacy of Walpole,                          972

    1730 Rejection of the Pension Bill,                          972

    1731 =Retirement of Townshend=,                              972
         =Walpole's home government=,                            973

    1733 His financial measures,                                 973
         His pacific foreign policy,                             975

    1734 Refuses to join in the new European war,                975

    1738 Definitive Peace of Vienna,                             976

    1734 Increasing opposition to Walpole,                       976
         Wyndham's speech against him,                           977

    1735 Prince of Wales head of the Opposition,                 978

    1737 Quarrel of George with his son,                         979
         =Death of the Queen=,                                   980
         =Walpole retains his influence with the King=,          980

    1738 The Opposition attacks his pacific policy,              980
         George desires war,                                     981

    1739 Negotiations with Spain,                                982
         =Walpole declares war rather than resign=,              982

    1740 Increased vigour of the Opposition,                     983
         Ill success of the war,                                 984

    1742 =Walpole resigns=,                                      985
         Review of Walpole's ministry,                           985
         =The new ministry under Wilmington=,                    987

    1743 =Pelham succeeds Wilmington=,                           988
         =The question of the Austrian succession=,              989
         Ambition of Prussia,                                    989
         Position of Maria Theresa,                              990
         England supports Austria,                               991
         The English army in Flanders,                           991
         =Battle of Dettingen=,                                  992
         Effect of the victory,                                  994
         Negotiations for peace,                                 994
         Treaty of Worms,                                        995

    1744 League of Frankfort,                                    995
         Threatened invasion of England,                         995
         Progress of the war,                                    996
         Changes in the ministry,                                996

    1745 German subsidies granted,                               997
         Campaign in Flanders,                                   998
         =Battle of Fontenoy=,                                   998
         =Charles Edward lands in Scotland=,                     999
         Cope marches against him,                              1001
         Charles avoids him, and gains Edinburgh,               1001
         Battle of Prestonpans,                                 1002
         Indifference of England,                               1002
         Charles marches to Derby,                              1003
         He retreats to the relief of Government,               1004

    1746 Charles besieges Stirling,                             1005
         Battle of Falkirk,                                     1005
         Cumberland takes command of the army,                  1006
         He defeats Charles at Culloden,                        1007
         He cruelly suppresses the rebellion,                   1008
         Charles escapes to France,                             1008
         Ministerial crisis,                                    1009

    1747 Effect of the rebellion on the continental war,        1010

    1748 =Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle=,                           1011
         Results of the war,                                    1011
         =Pelham's conciliatory government=,                    1012

    1750 His financial measures,                                1012
         Increase of wealth and of trade,                       1013

    1751 Reform of the Calendar,                                1014

    1753 Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act,                         1015
         Decay of the Church,                                   1015

    1730 Rise of the Wesleyans,                                 1016

    1754 =Pelham's death gives the Government to Newcastle=,    1018
         =Approaching danger from India and America=,           1018
         Newcastle tries to confine the war to the colonies,    1019
         George's anxiety for Hanover,                          1020

    1755 His subsidiary treaties against Prussia,               1020

    1756 The French capture Minorca,                            1021
         Newcastle resigns,                                     1021

    1757 =Pitt's vigorous government=,                          1022

    1754 Europe prepares for war,                               1023

    1756 =The Seven Years' War begins=,                         1023
         Alliance between England and Prussia,                  1023
         Frederick's first campaign,                            1023
         Foreign policy of the various parties in England,      1024

    1757 Disasters of the year,                                 1025

    1758 Change of generals,                                    1026
         Success in America,                                    1026
         Victory of Creveld,                                    1027
         Expeditions to Cherbourg and St. Malo,                 1027

    1759 Naval victories of Lagos and Quiberon,                 1028
         Capture of Quebec,                                     1029
         Victory of Minden,                                     1031

    1760 Frederick's campaign,                                  1032
         Battle of Torgau,                                      1033
         Pre-eminence of Pitt,                                  1033
         Death of the King,                                     1033

GEORGE III. 1760-1820.

         =Bute's influence over the young King=,                1035
         George's view of royalty,                              1036

    1761 Signs of a change of ministry,                         1037
         The campaign of 1761 produces a desire for peace,      1037
         Negotiations between France and England,               1038
         Pitt, suspecting the Family Compact, opposes peace,    1038
         =Pitt resigns. Bute becomes Premier=,                  1039

    1762 War with Spain,                                        1039
         Peace with France concluded,                           1040

    1763 =Close of the Seven Years' War=,                       1041
         Attack on the Whigs,                                   1041
         Bute resigns,                                          1041
         =The Triumvirate ministry=,                            1042
         =The Bedford ministry=,                                1042
         =The trial of Wilkes=,                                 1043
         Origin of the American provinces,                      1045
         Restrictions on colonial trade,                        1046

    1764 Suppression of smuggling,                              1047

    1765 =The Stamp Act=,                                       1047

    1765 The King's illness,                                    1048
         The Regency Bill,                                      1048
         Negotiations for a change of ministry,                 1049
         Pitt retires into private life,                        1050
         Ministry of the Whig Houses,                           1050
         The question of American taxation,                     1051

    1766 =Return of Pitt and his declaration of views=,         1051
         The Stamp Act repealed,                                1052
         Weakness of the Government,                            1052
         =Pitt becomes Lord Chatham and Prime Minister=,        1053
         His comprehensive plans,                               1054

    1767 =His illness and mental failure=,                      1054
         Townshend's financial measures,                        1054

    1768 Corruption of Parliament,                              1055
         Wilkes elected for Middlesex,                          1055

    1769 Increase of American difficulties,                     1056
         The Letters of Junius,                                 1057
         Weakness of the ministry,                              1057

    1770 Camden, Granby, and Grafton resign,                    1058
         =North's ministry. Triumph of the King's policy=,      1059
         Grenville's reform of election petitions,              1060
         Increased irritation in America,                       1061
         Affair of the Falkland Islands,                        1062

    1771 The liberty of reporting Parliamentary debates,        1062
         North's ministry gathers strength,                     1063

    1772 Royal Marriage Law,                                    1064
         Fate of the Queen of Denmark,                          1064
         Division of Poland,                                    1065
         Constitution of Poland,                                1065

    1773 =Organized opposition in America=,                     1067

    1774 Dunning's petition rejected,                           1068

    1772 The India Company's difficulties,                      1069

    1774 Boston Port Bill,                                      1070
         Massachusetts Government Bill,                         1070
         Crisis of the quarrel,                                 1070
         Acts of the General Congress,                          1071

    1775 Chatham's motions for reconciliation,                  1071
         Skirmish at Lexington,                                 1072
         The Canada Bill,                                       1072
         =The Congress assumes sovereign authority=,            1073
         Washington commander-in-chief,                         1073
         Battle of Bunker's Hill,                               1073
         The Olive Branch Petition,                             1075
         Attack on Canada,                                      1075

    1776 Howe retires to Halifax,                               1076
         Fresh offers of conciliation rejected,                 1076
         =Declaration of Independence=,                         1077
         Battle of Brooklyn,                                    1077

    1777 Washington recovers New Jersey,                        1079
         Threefold plan of the English,                         1079
         Howe's expedition against Philadelphia,                1080
         Battle of Germanstown,                                 1080
         Washington reorganizes the army,                       1081
         =Burgoyne's disasters=,                                1081

    1776 =Effect of American affairs in Parliament=,            1082

    1777 Increase of the Civil List,                            1082
         =France acknowledges the independence of America=,     1084
         Chatham's energy in Parliament,                        1084

    1778 North's Conciliation Bill,                             1085
         Rupture with France,                                   1085
         Death of Chatham,                                      1086
         Laws against Roman Catholics repealed,                 1087
         =America rejects North's conciliatory offers=,         1087
         Effect of the alliance between America and France,     1088
         Weakness of North's ministry,                          1088

    1779 Difficulties in Ireland,                               1090

    1780 Motions for economical reform,                         1091
         The Lord George Gordon riots,                          1092
         Rodney's victory,                                      1094
         Capture of Charleston,                                 1095
         War with the Dutch,                                    1095
         Armed neutrality of the North,                         1096
         Arnold's treachery,                                    1096
         Death of Major André,                                  1097
         =Campaign in Carolina=,                                1097

    1781 St. Eustatia captured,                                 1098
         Battle of Guildford Courthouse,                        1100
         Battle of Hobkirk's Hill,                              1100
         Battle of Eutaw,                                       1101
         Cornwallis in Virginia,                                1101
         =Surrender of Yorktown. Close of the war=,             1103
         New session of Parliament,                             1103

    1782 =North's resignation. The Rockingham ministry=,        1104
         The agitation in Ireland,                              1105
         Economical reforms,                                    1106
         =Conclusion of the American War=,                      1107
         Exorbitant demands of France,                          1108
         Siege of Gibraltar,                                    1109
         Changed tone of French demands,                        1110

    1783 Terms of the peace,                                    1110

    1782 =Death of Rockingham. The Shelburne ministry=,         1111

    1783 =Shelburne resigns. Return of the Whig ministry=,      1112

           *       *       *       *       *

         =Retrospect of Indian history=,                        1113

    1600 Foundation of the India Company,                       1113

    1640 Foundation of Madras (1640), Bombay (1662),
           and Calcutta (1698),                                 1114
         Decline of Portuguese and Dutch competition,           1114

    1707 Decline of the Mogul Empire,                           1115

    1744 Competition with the French Company,                   1115

    1750 Success of Dupleix,                                    1116

    1752 Dupleix defeated by Clive,                             1117

    1756 The Black Hole of Calcutta,                            1118

    1757 The Battle of Plassey,                                 1119

    1761 =Overthrow of the French power in India=,              1119
         =Contest with the native states=,                      1120

    1763 Massacre of Patna,                                     1121

    1764 Battle of Buxar,                                       1121
         =Maladministration of the India Company=,              1121

    1769 Rise of Hyder Ali,                                     1122

    1770 Famine in Bengal,                                      1123

    1773 =The Regulating Act=,                                  1123

    1774 Death of Clive,                                        1124
         Warren Hastings,                                       1124

    1778 The Mysore war,                                        1127

    1780 Robbery of Cheyte Singh and the Begums,                1128

    1781 Parliamentary inquiry,                                 1129

    1783 Dundas's India Bill,                                   1129
         Fox's India Bill,                                      1129
         The King procures its rejection,                       1131
         =Fall of the Whig ministry. Pitt's first ministry=,    1132

    1784 Pitt's victory over the Opposition,                    1134
         Dissolution of Parliament,                             1134
         Pitt's Budget,                                         1134
         Pitt's India Bill,                                     1135
         Pitt's Irish policy,                                   1136
         Failure of Pitt's Reform Bill,                         1137
         Pitt's financial success,                              1138

    1785 Charges against Warren Hastings,                       1139

    1787 Conduct of the Prince of Wales,                        1140

    1788 Trial of Warren Hastings,                              1141
         First motion against the slave trade,                  1142
         The King's illness. The Regency Bill,                  1142
         =Pre-eminence of Pitt=,                                1143

           *       *       *       *       *

         =Effect of the French Revolution in England=,          1145
         =Pitt's foreign policy=,                               1145
         =Political development of the country=,                1146

    1789 Affair of Nootka Sound,                                1146
         Alliance with Holland,                                 1146
         Pitt's efforts to oppose Russia,                       1147
         Alliance with Prussia, Holland, and Sweden,            1148

    1790 The Convention of Reichenbach,                         1149
         =Industrial development of the country=,               1150

    1789 =The French Revolution=,                               1151
         Assembling of the States-General,                      1153
         Louis XVI. brought to Paris,                           1154
         =Excitement produced in England=,                      1154

    1790 =First reactionary movement=,                          1154
         Rejection of the Abolition of Tests and the
           Reform Bill,                                         1154
         Burke's "Reflections,"                                 1155

    1791 The Canada Bill,                                       1155
         Breach between Fox and Burke,                          1156
         The Birmingham riots,                                  1156
         Pitt's policy as yet unchanged,                        1156
         =Progress of the French Revolution=,                   1157
         The King's flight to Varennes,                         1157

    1792 The Girondin ministry declares war,                    1158
         The King suspended,                                    1158
         Massacres of September,                                1159
         Declaration of the Republic,                           1159
         Revolutionary character of the war,                    1159
         Edict of Fraternity,                                   1159
         =Change of opinion in England as to the Revolution=,   1160
         =Formation of a new Tory party=,                       1161
         Sympathy with the Revolution among the poor,           1161
         Revolutionary societies,                               1162
         Rejection of Grey's Reform Bill,                       1162
         Proclamation against seditious writings,               1163
         Riots in Sheffield and Dundee,                         1164
         The militia called out,                                1164

    1793 Signs of approaching war with France,                  1165
         The Alien Bill,                                        1165
         Death of Louis XVI.,                                   1165
         Pitt's efforts to continue peace,                      1166
         Determination of the French for war,                   1166
         =Declaration of war with France=,                      1167
         French successes on the Continent, and against the
           royalists in France                                  1168
         Pitt's difficulty in keeping up the coalition,         1170

    1795 The French capture Amsterdam,                          1172
         Indirect advantages gained by England,                 1172

    1794 Defeat of the French fleet,                            1173

    1795 Prussia, Spain, and Holland leave the coalition,       1173
         Insurrection of La Vendée,                             1174
         Expedition to Quiberon,                                1176
         =Confidence of the English in Pitt=,                   1177
         =His repressive policy=,                               1178

    1793 The Traitorous Correspondence Bill,                    1178
         Trials for seditious writings,                         1179

    1794 Portland joins the ministry,                           1181
         Desire for peace,                                      1181

    1795 The Prince of Wales' marriage,                         1182
         Sufferings of the lower classes,                       1183
         Assault on the King,                                   1183

    1793 =Retrospect of French affairs=,                        1184
         The Committee of Public Safety,                        1184

    1794 The Reign of Terror,                                   1185
         Fall of Robespierre,                                   1186

    1795 The Directory established,                             1186

    1796 =Pitt's first negotiations for peace=,                 1186
         Napoleon's Italian campaign,                           1187
         Pitt's second negotiations,                            1188
         =Preparations to resist a threatened French invasion=, 1190
         French expeditions to Ireland and Bristol,             1190
         =Critical condition of England=,                       1191
         Monetary crisis; suspension of cash payments,          1192
         Victory of St. Vincent,                                1193

    1797 The mutiny at Spithead,                                1194
         The mutiny at the Nore,                                1195
         Disorganization of the French Government,              1196
         Negotiations at Lisle,                                 1197
         Battle of Camperdown,                                  1198
         =Peace of Campo Formio=,                               1198

           *       *       *       *       *

         =Ireland=,                                             1199
         Complications attending Irish difficulties,            1199
         Necessity for the Union,                               1199
         Irish opposition to Government,                        1200
         Grievances of the peasantry,                           1201
         Weakness of the executive,                             1202

    1789 =Effect of the French Revolution=,                     1202
         Formation of the Society of United Irishmen,           1203

    1791 Disunion among the Catholics,                          1204
         =Mismanagement of the Government=,                     1205

    1793 Catholic Relief Bill passed,                           1206
         Renewed agitation for reform,                          1207

    1794 Failure of Fitzwilliam's efforts,                      1208

    1795 Lord Camden succeeds Fitzwilliam,                      1209
         The character of the rebellion,                        1210

    1796 =Defensive measures of Government=,                    1210
         Arrest of the revolutionary committee,                 1211
         The expedition to Bantry Bay,                          1212

    1797 Lake's success in Ulster and Munster,                  1212

    1798 =Outbreak of the rebellion=,                           1214
         Cornwallis succeeds Camden,                            1215
         Humbert's expedition to Killala,                       1216

    1799 Opposition to the Union,                               1217

    1800 =The Union completed=,                                 1219

           *       *       *       *       *

    1797 Desire of France to invade England,                    1219

    1798 Napoleon's campaign in Egypt,                          1220
         Battle of the Nile,                                    1220
         =Pitt forms a second coalition=,                       1221

    1799 Italy regained by the allies,                          1222
         The allies capture the Dutch fleet,                    1223
         Napoleon defeated at Acre,                             1223
         Jealousies and disasters of the allies,                1224
         Success in India,                                      1224
         Napoleon made First Consul,                            1225

    1800 Napoleon's victories in Italy,                         1226
         Battle of Hohenlinden,                                 1227

    1801 Treaty of Lunéville,                                   1227
         =Dissolution of the coalition=,                        1227

    1800 Internal condition of England,                         1228

    1801 Rejection of the Catholic Relief Bill,                 1229
         =Pitt resigns. Addington made Premier=,                1230
         Illness of the King,                                   1230
         The French army in Egypt,                              1231
         Battle of Alexandria,                                  1232
         Battle of Copenhagen,                                  1232
         Peace between England and Russia,                      1233
         Napoleon appropriates Holland, Switzerland, and Italy, 1235

    1802 =Peace of Amiens=,                                     1236
         Napoleon continues his aggressions,                    1237
         Demands the repression of the English press,           1237
         And the expulsion of the emigrants from England,       1238
         Consequent change of feeling in England,               1238
         Negotiations for Pitt's return,                        1239

    1803 Napoleon examines the resources of Egypt, England,
           and Ireland,                                         1239
         His interview with Lord Whitworth,                     1239
         The militia embodied,                                  1240
         Failure of renewed negotiations for Pitt's return,     1240
         =Declaration of war with France=,                      1241
         Character of the war,                                  1241
         Napoleon arrests the English in France,                1241
         He excites discontent in Ireland,                      1241
         Emmett's Rebellion,                                    1242
         Difficulty of Addington's position,                    1243

    1804 Pitt offers to undertake the Government,               1245
         =Addington resigns. Pitt's Tory ministry=,             1245
         Preparations to resist the French invasion,            1248
         The Additional Force Bill. Increase of the navy,       1248
         Napoleon attempts to form a coalition,                 1250
         His conduct with regard to Georges' conspiracy,        1251
         His murder of the Duc d'Enghien,                       1251
         Napoleon made Emperor,                                 1252
         Harrowby retires. Addington joins the ministry,        1252
         Failure of the Catamaran expedition,                   1253
         =Success in India against the Mahrattas=,              1253

    1802 Wellesley's subsidiary system,                         1254

    1803 The Mahratta war,                                      1255
         Battle of Assye,                                       1256

    1805 Conclusion of the war,                                 1257
         Sad close of Pitt's career,                            1257
         Attack on Melville's administration,                   1258
         Sidmouth resigns,                                      1259
         Treaty of St. Petersburg,                              1261
         =The third coalition formed=,                          1261
         Napoleon prepares to invade England,                   1261
         Nelson's pursuit of Villeneuve,                        1262
         Failure of Napoleon's schemes,                         1263
         He marches against Austria,                            1264
         Capitulation of the Austrian army at Ulm,              1264
         =Battle of Trafalgar=,                                 1265
         =Battle of Austerlitz=,                                1265

    1806 =Death of Pitt. Fox's ministry=,                       1266

    1805 Treaties of Schönbrunn and Presburg,                   1269

    1806 Napoleon erects dependent kingdoms,                    1269
         Fox's negotiations with Napoleon,                      1270
         Death of Fox,                                          1270
         Abolition of the slave trade,                          1271

    1807 Rejection of the Catholic claims,                      1273
         Resignation of the Grenville ministry,                 1274
         =The Perceval ministry=,                               1274

    1806 Prussia declares war with France,                      1276
         Battle of Jena,                                        1276
         The Berlin decree,                                     1277

    1807 The orders in Council,                                 1278
         Battle of Eylau,                                       1280
         Incapacity of the Grenville ministry,                  1280
         Expedition to Buenos Ayres,                            1280
         Expedition to the Dardanelles,                         1281
         Expedition to Alexandria,                              1282

    1806 Expedition to Sicily,                                  1282

    1807 =Dissolution of the third coalition=,                  1282
         =Treaty of Tilsitt=,                                   1283
         Capture of the Danish fleet,                           1285
         War between Russia and Sweden,                         1285
         Continental System acknowledged except in Portugal,    1285
         =Condition of the Peninsula=,                          1286
         Joseph made King of Spain,                             1287
         Napoleon's armies in Spain,                            1288
         Invasion of Portugal,                                  1288

    1808 Enthusiasm in England for the Spanish insurrection,    1289
         Wellesley sent to Portugal,                            1290
         Combat of Rorica,                                      1291
         Battle of Vimiero,                                     1292
         Convention of Cintra,                                  1293
         Sir John Moore's march to Salamanca,                   1294
         Napoleon in Madrid,                                    1295

    1809 =Battle of Corunna=,                                   1297
         Opinion in England concerning the war,                 1298
         Scandal of the Duke of York,                           1299
         Charges against Castlereagh,                           1299
         Opposition to Napoleon in Germany,                     1300
         Battle of Aspern,                                      1300
         Battle of Wagram,                                      1301
         Peace of Vienna,                                       1301
         The Walcheren expedition,                              1301
         Wellesley victorious in Portugal,                      1303
         =Battle of Talavera=,                                  1304

    1810 Wellington fortifies the Lisbon promontory,            1306
         Battle of Busaco,                                      1307

    1811 =Battle of Albuera=,                                   1309
         Critical position of the French,                       1311
         Threatened war between Russia and France,              1313

    1812 Capture of Rodrigo and Badajos,                        1315
         =Battle of Salamanca=,                                 1316
         Wellington in Madrid,                                  1317
         He retreats to Portugal,                               1318

    1813 =Battle of Vittoria=,                                  1319

    1814 =Battle of Toulouse=,                                  1321
         =Long tenure of power by the Tory party=,              1321

    1809 Quarrel of Castlereagh and Canning,                    1322

    1810 Illness of the King,                                   1323

    1811 The Regency Bill,                                      1324

    1812 =Assassination of Perceval. Liverpool made Premier=,   1325
         =War with America=,                                    1325

    1814 Capture of Washington,                                 1327
         =Abdication of Napoleon=,                              1328
         =Character of the Tory Government=,                    1329

    1810 Depression of trade,                                   1331

    1811 The Luddite riots,                                     1332
         Misery of the agricultural labourer,                   1333

    1814 =Difficulties attending the settlement of Europe=,     1333
         First Treaty of Paris,                                 1334
         Visit of the monarchs to England,                      1335
         =Congress at Vienna=,                                  1335

    1815 Compromise agreed upon,                                1338
         =Escape of Napoleon from Elba=,                        1339
         Military preparations against Napoleon,                1339
         Battle of Ligny,                                       1340
         Battle of Quatre Bras,                                 1341
         =Battle of Waterloo=,                                  1342
         The allies enter Paris,                                1346
         =Napoleon banished to St. Helena=,                     1346
         The second Treaty of Paris,                            1346

    1816 Battle of Algiers,                                     1347
         Opposition in Parliament,                              1348
         Extravagance of the Government,                        1349
         =Agricultural and commercial depression=,              1350
         =Riots and political meetings=,                        1351
         Meeting in Spa Fields,                                 1352
         Petition from the Corporation of London,               1353

    1817 Attack on the Regent,                                  1353
         =Repressive measures of the Government=,               1354
         Secret political meetings,                             1354
         Suppression of seditious writings,                     1355
         Mr. Hone's trial,                                      1355
         Strength of the Opposition,                            1356

    1818 Condition of the royal family,                         1357
         Dissolution of Parliament,                             1358
         Evacuation of France by the allies,                    1359

    1819 Resumption of cash payments,                           1359
         Rejection of Catholic emancipation,                    1360
         Reform of Scotch burghs,                               1360
         The Manchester Massacre,                               1362
         The Six Acts,                                          1363

    1820 Death of George III.,                                  1363

GEORGE IV. 1820-1830.

    1820 Precarious position of the ministry,                   1364
         Cato Street conspiracy,                                1365
         =The Queen's trial=,                                   1366

    1821 Consequent alienation between ministry and people,     1368

    1822 Peel and Wellesley join the ministry,                  1369
         =Death of Castlereagh. Canning Foreign Secretary=,     1369
         Retrospect of the affairs of Europe,                   1370

    1816 Position of England abroad,                            1370
         Effect of Castlereagh's policy,                        1371

    1820 Insurrections in Spain, Portugal, Naples,              1371
         Arbitrary action of the Holy Alliance,                 1372
         England refuses to join the Congress at Troppau,       1373

    1821 Popular anger at Castlereagh's weak policy,            1373
         Insurrection in Greece,                                1374
         Complications between France and Spain,                1374

    1822 Congress at Verona,                                    1375
         =Canning's policy=,                                    1375
         Partial success of his diplomacy in Spain,             1375

    1823 =Changes in commercial policy effected by Huskisson=,  1376
         Change of the Navigation Act,                          1379

    1824 Improvement in the silk trade,                         1380
         Improvement in the wool trade,                         1381

    1823 Discussion on slavery,                                 1382
         Effect of Canning's circular in Jamaica,               1382

    1824 Persecution of Mr. Smith,                              1383

    1825 Disastrous effects of wild speculations,               1383
         Success of the healing measures of Government,         1384

    1826 Temporary change in the corn laws,                     1385
         Canning's vigorous policy in Portugal,                 1386
         Division in the ministry,                              1387

    1827 =Illness of Lord Liverpool=,                           1388
         =Difficulties attending the formation of a new
           ministry=,                                           1388
         Disturbances in Ireland,                               1389
         Wellesley's administration,                            1389

    1823 The Catholic Association,                              1390

    1826 Rejection of the Catholic Relief Bill,                 1390

    1827 Rejection of Burdett's resolution,                     1391
         =Canning Prime Minister=,                              1391
         Canning's death,                                       1393
         His character and policy,                              1393
         =Goderich's ministry=,                                 1394

    1828 =Wellington's ministry=,                               1395
         =Difficulty of the Turkish question=,                  1395

    1824 Canning's diplomacy on the subject,                    1396

    1826 Protocol between England and Russia,                   1397
         Enthusiasm for Greek independence in England,          1397

    1827 Turkey refuses the armistice,                          1398
         The Treaty of London,                                  1398
         Attempt to enforce the armistice,                      1399
         =Battle of Navarino=,                                  1399
         Goderich's inaction renders the victory nugatory,      1400

    1828 Wellington refuses to coerce Turkey by arms,           1400
         =Character of Wellington's Government=,                1401
         Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts,               1401
         The Corn Bill passed,                                  1402
         Huskisson and his friends resign,                      1402
         =The Catholic Emancipation question=,                  1402
         Renewed agitation in Ireland,                          1403
         Election of O'Connell for Clare,                       1403
         Influence of the Association,                          1404

    1829 Resignation of Lord Anglesey,                          1406
         Peel and Wellington see the urgency of Catholic
           emancipation,                                        1406
         Opposition of the King,                                1407
         =The Catholic Emancipation Bill passed=,               1408
         O'Connell's agitation for repeal,                      1409
         =Wellington's foreign policy=,                         1410

    1826 Affairs of Portugal,                                   1410

    1828 Miguel usurps the throne,                              1411
         Maria acknowledged in England,                         1411

    1829 Wellington's neutrality,                               1411
         Non-intervention in the affairs of Greece,             1412
         The Revolution in France,                              1413
         Supposed influence of Wellington in Polignac's
           appointment,                                         1413
         Increasing opposition to the French ministry,          1414

    1830 Abdication of Charles X.,                              1416
         Death of George IV.,                                   1416

WILLIAM IV. 1830-1837.

    1830 Character of the King,                                 1418
         =Effects of the July Revolution=,                      1419
         =Position of Wellington's ministry=,                   1420
         Danger from O'Connell's agitations,                    1421
         And from rick-burning, etc.,                           1421
         Death of Huskisson,                                    1421
         Anxiety felt in Parliament,                            1422
         =Wellington resigns=,                                  1422
         =Grey's ministry=,                                     1423
         Difficulties attending reform,                         1423

    1831 =The first Reform Bill=,                               1425
         The second reading,                                    1426
         Dissolution of Parliament,                             1426
         The Bill passes in the Commons,                        1427
         =The Bill rejected in the Lords=,                      1427
         Consequent riots in the country,                       1428
         Organized action of the political unions,              1428
         Opposition of the King,                                1429

    1832 The second Bill passes second reading in the Lords,    1429
         Preparations during the recess,                        1429
         The Bill again rejected in the Lords,                  1430
         The ministers resign,                                  1430
         They return to office,                                 1430
         =The Reform Bill passes=,                              1430
         Description of the Bill,                               1430
         Importance of the change,                              1432
         Anxiety as to the effect of the change,                1433

    1833 =Character of the reformed Parliament=,                1434
         Critical questions to be settled,                      1434
         Condition of Ireland,                                  1434
         =Position of the Irish Church=,                        1435
         Irish Tithe Composition Bill passed,                   1436
         Althorp's Irish Church Bill,                           1436
         The Coercion Bill,                                     1438
         Changes in the ministry,                               1439
         Weakness of the ministry,                              1440
         Renewal of the Bank charter,                           1441
         Settlement of the East India Company,                  1442
         Emancipation of the Slaves,                            1442
         Condition of trade in the West Indies,                 1443

    1831 Opposition of planters to the orders in Council,       1444

    1833 The Bill passed,                                       1445

    1834 Weakness of the ministry shown in Parliament,          1445
         Split in the Cabinet on Ward's motion on the Irish
           Church,                                              1446
         Resignation of Stanley, Graham, Richmond, and Ripon,   1447
         Difficulties of Grey's position,                       1447
         =Grey resigns. Lord Melbourne's ministry=,             1449
         His Church policy,                                     1450
         =Reform of the Poor Law=,                              1451
         Discontent and misery of the poor,                     1453
         Increase of trades unions,                             1454
         Dispute between Brougham and Durham,                   1455
         =Dismissal of the Melbourne ministry=,                 1455
         =Peel's ministry=,                                     1456

    1835 The Tamworth Manifesto,                                1456
         Irish appropriation clause again introduced,           1457
         =Peel resigns. Melbourne's ministry reconstituted=,    1457
         Condition of municipal corporations,                   1459
         =The Municipal Reform Bill=,                           1460
         =Foreign diplomacy of Palmerston=,                     1461

    1831 Absorption of Poland,                                  1461
         Formation of Belgium,                                  1462
         Affairs of Portugal,                                   1463

    1832 Affairs of Spain,                                      1463

    1834 The Quadruple Alliance,                                1464
         =Retrospect of affairs in India=,                      1465

    1805 Cornwallis Governor-General,                           1466
         Sir George Barlow,                                     1466

    1807 Lord Minto,                                            1466

    1813 Marquis of Hastings,                                   1467

    1814 War with Nepaul,                                       1467

    1815 War with the Pindaries and Mahrattas,                  1468

    1823 Lord Amherst,                                          1471
         War with Burmah,                                       1471

    1826 Capture of Bhurtpore,                                  1472



    2. NORTH AMERICA,                          "    "

    3. SPAIN,                                  "    "

    4. PORTUGAL,                               "    "

    5. EUROPE,                                 "    "

    6. INDIA,                                  "    "

    7. ENGLISH POSSESSIONS IN INDIA,           "    "



                                James I.
                |                                 |
            Charles I.                        Elizabeth = Frederick V.,
                |                                       | Elector Palatine.
        -------------------------------------            \
        |            |                      |             \
    Charles II.      |                      |              \
                     |                      |               \
  2. Mary of = James II. = 1. Anne Hyde Mary = William  Sophia = Ernest
       Modena. |           |                  | of Nassau.     | Augustus,
               |           |                  |                | Elector
               |           |                  |                | of
               |           -------------      |                | Hanover.
               |            |          |      |                |
         James Edward,    Anne,      Mary = William III.    George I.
  the old Pretender.      b. 1665.  b. 1662.  b. 1650.
   b. 1688,    |
   d. 1765.    |
      Charles Edward,
  the young Pretender, born 1721, died 1788.


    _France._       |     _Austria._    |    _Spain._        | _Prussia._
  Louis XIV., 1643. | Leopold I., 1658. | Charles II., 1665. | Frederick
                    |                   | Philip V., 1700.   |  I., 1701.

    _Russia._            |  _Denmark and Norway._ |     _Sweden._
  Peter the Great, 1689. |  Christian V., 1670.   |  Charles XI., 1660.
                         |  Frederick IV., 1699.  |  Charles XII., 1697.

    POPES.--Alexander VIII., 1689. Innocent XII., 1691. Clement XI., 1700.

      _Archbishops._         |     _Chancellors._
    William Sancroft, 1678.  |  (In Commission, 1689.)
    John Tillotson, 1691.    |  Sir John Somers, 1693.
    Thomas Tenison, 1694.    |  Sir Nathan Wright, 1700.

      _First Lord of the Treasury._  |    _Chancellor of the Exchequer._
    1689. Mordaunt.                  |  1689. Delamere.
    1690. Lowther.                   |  1690. Hampden.
    1690. Godolphin.                 |  1694. Montague.
    1697. Montague.                  |  1699. Aaron Smith.
    1699. Tankerville.               |  1701. Henry Boyle.
    1700. Godolphin.                 |
    1702. Carlisle.                  |

                     _Secretaries of State._
    1689 { Nottingham         |    1697 { Shrewsbury
         { Shrewsbury         |         { Vernon
    1690 { Nottingham         |    1699 { Jersey
         { Sidney             |         { Vernon
    1693 { Shrewsbury         |    1700 { Hedges
         { Trenchard          |         { Vernon
    1695 { Shrewsbury         |    1702 { Manchester
         { Trumbal            |         { Vernon

[Sidenote: The Declaration of Right.]

[Sidenote: Crown accepted by William and Mary.]

Before the Crown was absolutely offered to William, the Convention was
eager to reform a number of the most prominent abuses of the last reign.
It was shown by the wiser leaders among them that such reforms would
entail a mass of legislation which, to be done well, must occupy several
years. It was therefore determined that, for the present, a solemn
declaration of principles only should be drawn up. This is known as the
Declaration of Right. In it, after enumerating the evils from which the
country had suffered, the Lords and Commons declared that the dispensing
power does not exist, that without grant or consent of Parliament no
money can be exacted by the sovereign, and no army kept up in time of
peace. They also affirmed the right of petition, the right of free
choice of representatives, the right of Parliament to freedom of debate,
the right of the nation to a pure administration of justice, and the
necessity, in order to secure these things, of frequent Parliaments.
This Declaration having been read to William and Mary, the Crown was
solemnly offered them by Halifax, and by them accepted. They were
immediately proclaimed amid general plaudits.

[Sidenote: Character of the Revolution.]

Thus was consummated, with scarcely any bloodshed, and by what appeared
an almost unanimous action on the part of the nation, a complete
revolution. It was not the less a revolution because it was held that
the whole Constitution of England passed on in its minutest detail
unchanged. By it was overthrown for ever the theory which came into
existence under the Tudors, and was brought to perfection under the
Stuarts; henceforward it was impossible that the King should be regarded
either as the proprietor of the country, or as a ruler by divine right,
the representative of God upon earth. In the place of this theory was
substituted that great Whig theory, which, arising among the Puritans,
had enjoyed a brief triumph in the successes of the Great Rebellion,
and, violently overthrown at the Restoration, had succeeded in making
good its position during the reigns of the two last Stuarts,--the theory
which regarded the King as reigning by the will of the people and in
virtue of an implied contract with them. As a natural consequence of the
position thus taken by the nation as the supreme power in the State,
Parliament, its representative, became in its turn supreme, and although
the change was not yet fully understood, the representatives of the
people were gradually taking to themselves not only the duties of
legislation, but also the executive. The ministry, therefore, however
much they may have been still regarded as the King's ministers, became
by degrees the national ministers, answerable for their conduct in
Parliament, and before long became in fact little else than the
executive Committee of the majority in Parliament.

[Sidenote: Personal unpopularity of William.]

[Sidenote: Discontent of the clergy]

[Sidenote: and the army.]

The unanimity of parties which had secured the triumph of William was of
short duration, nor was his personal popularity long-lived. The apparent
coldness of his demeanour, his carelessness of the pomps of the Court,
his wretched health, which obliged him to withdraw from London and
establish his Court at Kensington, speedily rendered him personally
unpopular; while, as soon as the general danger which had caused their
union was removed, the fundamental differences which divided political
parties at once made themselves obvious. Moreover, the tendency to
reaction, visible after all political excitements, began to show itself.
Two classes were by no means ready to accept kindly the revolution which
had been wrought. These were the clergy and the army. The greater part
of the clergy had spent their lives in inculcating the duty of passive
obedience. Although that theory had broken down in practice when the
attacks of the Crown were directed against themselves, they could not
bring themselves to submit without difficulty to a complete reversal of
their political creed, nor could they help seeing that the success of
William implied nothing short of the substitution of the Whig doctrine
for that of monarchy by divine right. A very large portion of them were
therefore disaffected. The army, though it had disliked the introduction
of Catholics and of Irish among its ranks, and was not prejudiced in
favour of any theory of monarchy, felt its professional honour injured
by the sorry part it had played in the late events. So deep was the
disaffection that one regiment quartered at Ipswich broke out into open
mutiny, marched northward in arms, and was only brought to obedience
after a skirmish with some Dutch troops under Ginkel, which had been
rapidly sent in pursuit. The signs of general disaffection at the same
time were so obvious that it was thought necessary to suspend the Habeas
Corpus Act.

[Sidenote: The Convention changed into a Parliament.]

Before this happened, William had had to form a ministry and to furnish
himself with a Parliament. For this latter purpose, in spite of the
opposition of many of the old Tories, who regarded a Parliament not
summoned by the King's writ as no Parliament at all, the Convention was
changed into a Parliament, and proceeded to act in that capacity. It was
not indeed reasonable that a freely elected body, whose choice of a king
both sides were willing to allow, should still be regarded upon
technical grounds as incapable of settling matters of much less
importance. The choice of ministers was a matter of more difficulty.

[Sidenote: William's difficulties in forming a ministry.]

[Sidenote: Ignorance of the constitutional change.]

[Sidenote: The Whigs' desire for vengeance.]

At the present time the choice of ministers is tolerably simple. The
House of Commons having obtained the position of both legislature and
executive, the administration is placed in the hands of a Committee of
that party which is predominant in the Commons; the Crown, in fact,
having but little choice in the matter. This theory of government, which
is a necessary consequence of the Parliamentary triumph at the
Revolution, was in the years immediately succeeding that event not
understood. The notion of a king whose duties are rather ornamental than
real had scarcely entered men's minds. The King was still expected to
have the direction of the executive, to be, in fact, his own Prime
Minister, and to nominate as heads of departments such statesmen as he
thought best fitted for the employment, without exact regard to their
political views. The effect of this was to make the King responsible for
the Government; and though the right of impeachment, as exercised in the
case of Danby, rested upon the supposition that ministers were
responsible to Parliament, the fact was not yet fully recognized. It was
this responsibility of the king which had produced the disasters of the
Great Rebellion and the late Revolution. The gradual substitution of
Parliamentary ministry, which should serve as an intermediate body
between the Commons and the Crown, and save the Crown from direct
responsibility, is the great constitutional change which was completed
on the accession of the Hanoverian house. Such a change becomes
absolutely necessary when Parliament has once secured a complete control
of the executive; otherwise it is plain that the acts or proposals of
the executive, constantly met by a hostile majority in Parliament,
could never be brought to a completion. It also of necessity implies a
mutual responsibility among the ministers, who upon essential points
must all agree with the Parliamentary majority. These necessary
consequences of the triumph of the Whig theory of the sovereignty of the
people were little understood even by the best English politicians; and
William, able as he was as a foreign statesman, had never a clear
insight into the working of the English Constitution. Nor was his
character such as to fit him to occupy the place of an ornamental king.
Thus he both himself intended and was expected by the nation to exercise
a supreme influence in the Government, at the same time that the newly
won powers of the Parliament were liable constantly to thwart his
schemes. Besides the difficulty which this general ignorance of
constitutional principles caused, peculiar difficulties, arising from
the manner in which he had obtained the Crown, beset William. He had
been brought to the throne by the Whigs. By the Whigs he was expected to
become a party leader. They looked forward, under his guidance, to a
triumphant revenge on the party at whose hands they had suffered so
much. On the other hand, William's own wish was to hush the storm of
faction, to become King of the whole English nation, not of one party,
and to be able to use the resources of England for his great European
measures; he therefore had no intention of becoming a mere party leader.
Again, his view of the duties and responsibilities of a king was a high
one, whereas the Whigs, on whom he might be expected to rely, were
pledged to give greater prominence to the influence of Parliament.
William's natural tendencies, therefore, when once safeguards for a just
Government and personal liberty were secured, inclined him rather to the
Tories, whose view of the prerogative was higher.

[Sidenote: William's ministry.]

It was in the midst of these difficulties that William had to select his
ministry. He attempted to conciliate all parties, with the exception of
the extreme Jacobites, and his ministry was a mixed one. Danby had been
mainly instrumental in bringing William to England. He had indeed in the
Convention thrown some obstacles in the way of the Parliamentary change
of dynasty, but might fairly look for a high reward. He was displeased
at being appointed President of the Council, a post of high honour, but
not of great political activity. Halifax was appointed Privy Seal. His
intellect, which always saw two sides of a question, was not such as to
fit him for decided statesmanship. The places of real importance, the
Secretaryships, were shared between the Tories and the Whigs;
Nottingham, the leader of that class who expressed with perfect honesty
their willingness to acknowledge any King _de facto_, and Shrewsbury, a
young man of great ability and as yet a consistent Whig, were appointed
to those places. Neither Treasury nor Admiralty were intrusted to any
single individual, but were placed in Commission, both Whigs and Tories
sitting at the Boards. At the Treasury, though only third on the
Commission, Godolphin, by his superior skill and knowledge, soon became
pre-eminent. The purity of the judgment-seat was secured by a careful
selection of the ablest lawyers from a list supplied by the Privy
Council, while the great places of the Household, where personal rather
than political influence was wanted, were chiefly given to William's
personal friends from Holland, the most prominent being Overkirk, Master
of the Horse, and Bentinck, subsequently Earl of Portland.

[Sidenote: Settlement of the revenue.]

[Sidenote: Settlement of the Church.]

By the appointment of his ministers, and by the conversion of the
Convention into a Parliament, the apparatus of Government was complete.
The Whigs were for a time triumphant. The revenue was settled on a peace
footing at £1,200,000 a year; the hereditary taxes being given to
William for the support of his Crown (a grant which forms the origin of
the Civil List), while the Parliamentary taxes intended for the support
of Government were granted only for limited periods. The hearth tax, the
most obnoxious and unjust of taxes, as it is at once inquisitorial in
its action and presses with undue severity upon the poor in comparison
with the rich, was abolished. The settlement of the Church, and of the
oaths to be taken by the holders of places, at once rendered obvious the
strength of faction which still existed, and the difficulties which must
beset all attempt at impartial government. Three Bills were produced, a
Toleration Bill, a Comprehension Bill, for the purpose of so changing
the construction of the Church and its Liturgy as to admit numerous
Protestant Dissenters, and a Bill for the removal of the Test Act, for
the purpose of enabling the King to employ, as he was most desirous of
doing, all Protestants in his service. Of these three, one only, the
Toleration Act, was carried. In fact the Comprehension Bill, which was
introduced by Nottingham, was no doubt intended, after admitting a
certain number of Dissenters, to render the exclusion of the rest more
absolute. Fear of this rendered the Dissenters themselves hostile to it,
and William's personal efforts to produce at once comprehension and
relaxation of the Test Act were in vain; both Bills were thrown out.

[Sidenote: Oaths of allegiance and supremacy.]

There yet remained the question of the oaths of allegiance and
supremacy. It was acknowledged on all hands that all lay place-holders
and all newly-appointed holders of ecclesiastical preferments should be
obliged to take these oaths, slightly altered to suit existing
circumstances. The case of the clergy already holding benefices was not
so clear. Many were willing to accept the new Government peaceably, and
it seemed hard that they should be required to take oaths which gave the
lie to all their former political views. With regard to the Bishops too,
the High Church Party advanced the doctrine that the Episcopal
ordination was indelible, and that it was impossible for any Act either
of King or Parliament to prevent a man who had once been a Bishop from
being so always. Against the King's wish the party who were for the most
stringent application of the oaths carried the day. All the clergy were
required to take them by August 1689; if they had not been taken by
February 1690, those clergy and Bishops who refused them were to be
deprived. Between 300 and 400 refused the oath, and there thus sprang up
that section of the clergy known as Nonjurors. The settlement of the
country was completed by the Coronation Oath, which declared that the
King would uphold the Protestant religion as settled by law. It was a
foolish miscomprehension of these words, which obviously did not prevent
a Parliamentary change in the arrangements of religion, which
subsequently led George III. into his obstinate opposition to Catholic
emancipation. When the oath had been arranged, the coronation took place
(April 11), and some new titles were given; thus Danby became Lord
Caermarthen, Churchill Earl of Marlborough, Bentinck Earl of Portland,
and Mordaunt, First Lord of the Treasury, Earl of Monmouth.

[Sidenote: The European war breaks out.]

[Sidenote: Devastation of the Palatinate.]

When the Government of the country was fairly settled it was time for
William to receive his reward. Parliament gratified him by a strong
declaration against the policy of Louis abroad, and assurance of hearty
support should he find it necessary to have recourse to arms. On the
13th of May war with France was therefore declared. William stated that
he had no choice in the matter as France had already begun war upon
England. This was an allusion to the action of France in Ireland; for
Louis, though unable to trust James and his English and Irish friends in
that implicit manner which would have rendered his assistance
irresistible, was yet so far convinced that the real key to success
against the coalition was the neutralization of England, that he had
allowed James some assistance in troops. The other great countries of
the coalition had already declared war with France. Louis found himself
with one ally only, who did him, if possible, more harm than
good,--this was the Porte. He succeeded in inducing that power to
continue its attacks upon Hungary, which was a constant source of
weakness to Austria; but the unnatural alliance between the most
Christian King and the great enemies of Christendom gave an opening for
the invective of his enemies, which received still further point from
his subsequent behaviour. Unable to sustain the forward position which
his armies had assumed in Germany the preceding year, especially when
some of his forces were required in Ireland, he ordered a retreat. What
he could not keep he determined to destroy, and the Palatinate was laid
waste with a reckless, unsparing fury, which enabled each country, as it
declared war with him, to point out that his conduct was more cruel than
even that of his Turkish ally. It had such an effect on the Continent,
that war was declared at intervals of about a month by Austria, the
Empire, Spain, Brandenburg and Holland. William's primary object was
attained; Europe was combined against France. The resources of England
were placed in his hands to support that coalition, but there was yet
much to be done before he was free to act.

[Sidenote: State of Ireland.]

It has been already related that, on his flight, James stated his
intention of finding if possible a new centre of action in Ireland. The
view was a natural one, for he had throughout his reign been preparing
that island as a refuge in case of danger. He had there acted with more
freedom than was possible in England, and gone far to carry out his
plans for re-establishing Catholicism. Talbot, Lord Tyrconnel, a
perfectly unscrupulous man, was at the head of the Government. Almost
all the other important offices were in Romanist hands. Rice, chief
Baron of the Exchequer, made the law courts subserve the same policy; he
openly asserted his intention of assaulting the Act of Settlement; all
who had or thought they had claims against the actual possessors of
land, brought their claims into his court, and no proof was held too
weak, no witness too untrustworthy, for the purpose of re-establishing
the old Catholics in their possession of the soil. From private acts he
proceeded to public. Charter after charter was forfeited; municipal
corporations re-established, with reckless indifference to all forms of
right, on a Roman Catholic basis. While aldermen in the boroughs thus
became Roman Catholic, sheriffs of the same religion were appointed, and
in their hands lay the choice of juries, so that the whole legal
apparatus was directed against Protestantism. The army meanwhile had
been similarly reorganized; 6000 Protestant veterans had been disbanded
and their places occupied by vehement and disorderly Catholics, who
lived, we are told, constantly at free quarters on the Protestant

[Sidenote: Panic among the Englishry.]

[Sidenote: Londonderry and Enniskillen garrisoned.]

The arrival of William in England had brought matters to a crisis. The
Papists thought their time was at length come. The whole country was
full of panic and rumours of a coming massacre. Many of the English
fled. The gentry and yeomen gathered themselves together to the towns
and strong houses, to attempt if possible to make good for themselves
that security which the Government would not give them. The two most
important of these centres were Enniskillen and Londonderry. At the
former, early in 1689, the Protestant population refused admittance to
two companies of Popish infantry which had been ordered to be quartered
on them. The gentry collected, drove the soldiers away, appointed
Gustavus Hamilton governor, garrisoned the houses round Lough Erne, and
held the district for King William. At Londonderry the same process took
place. A regiment of 1200 Papists, under the Earl of Antrim, was sent to
the city, and the mayor and sheriffs, who by the new charters were
Papists, were proceeding to admit them, when thirteen young apprentices
of Scotch birth took upon themselves to close the gates, and the
Protestant gentry were summoned from the neighbouring country to defend
the city. In two days it was strongly garrisoned, and the troops
withdrew. It was in vain that Lord Mountjoy, a Protestant, who still
remained faithful to James, attempted a compromise. Some few troops
under Lundy were indeed admitted, but the country was still held for the
Protestants, and Lundy was obliged, in appearance at all events, to
accept the new Government.

[Sidenote: William's negotiation with Tyrconnel.]

[Sidenote: Tyrconnel's object Irish independence.]

[Sidenote: His temporary success.]

Meanwhile William had attempted to enter into negotiations with
Tyrconnel. For this purpose he had employed as his agent Richard
Hamilton, who had once held a commission in James's army, but who now
professed to have changed his allegiance. Hamilton pledged his word
that, if he failed in his commission, he would come back in three weeks;
but, forfeiting his promise, he returned to his old allegiance, and
became a chief leader on the side of James. But the character of the
quarrel was already changing, the real object of Tyrconnel, in common
with the greater part of the Irish Catholics, was to uphold neither
James nor William, but to destroy for ever the English supremacy. For
this purpose he was willing to use the name of James, trusting in fact
to the assistance of Louis, to whom he opened his real design. He
succeeded in ridding himself of Mountjoy, whose loyal influence was
likely to thwart his plans, by sending him on a mission to St. Germains,
where James now held his Court, and where he was at once apprehended. He
then summoned the Irish to arms. An army of 50,000 Papists was
collected, and many thousands more took arms on their own behalf, and
ravaged the Protestant settlements around them. To complete the Irish
supremacy, Tyrconnel ordered the Protestants to be disarmed. The
destruction wrought is inconceivable. Property which has been estimated
at £5,000,000 was destroyed. Whole herds of cattle were killed and left
to rot in the fields; 50,000 are said to have been thus killed in six
weeks, while about 400,000 sheep were similarly slain. Unable to
withstand this general movement, the Protestants in the south and west
were overpowered, or retreated if possible to the strongholds of
Londonderry and Enniskillen. In those two places the flower of the
English settlers stood at bay, surrounded on all sides by hordes of
liberated serfs now in mutiny against their former masters. An army was
ordered to march northwards under the traitor Richard Hamilton. The
Protestants fled before it; 30,000 of them collected as a last asylum
behind the walls of Londonderry.

[Sidenote: He gets James over.]

The country was in this condition when James, in answer to the messages
which Tyrconnel had sent him, determined, with the assent of Louis, and
with considerable assistance in officers and arms, himself to visit
Ireland. He landed at Cork, and soon appeared in the capital, while
William, unable to act with energy on account of the difficulties which
surrounded him, was assailed by unthinking men with violent abuse for
not taking stronger measures to prevent those disasters which he was
really watching with the greatest dismay.

[Sidenote: Character of Irish Jacobites.]

On his arrival in Dublin it was gradually brought home to James that it
was no feeling of passionate loyalty which was exciting the Irish
population. Among those who attended his Court there were two distinct
factions. Some Englishmen, with the loyal feelings which animated
English Jacobites, were anxious to re-establish James and to retain the
English influence in Ireland. Another party, which included Tyrconnel
and almost all the Irish Papists, were fighting to destroy the English
supremacy, they cared not how, and intriguing to secure the assistance
of France. James would naturally have inclined to the former party, but
soon learnt that the power of his partisans was entirely gone.

[Sidenote: Siege of Londonderry.]

He made a feeble struggle, and, contrary to the wish of the French and
Irish, proceeded himself to the siege of Londonderry. On his march he
found that the Protestants, as they retired, had destroyed all the crops
and houses behind them. He journeyed through a desert, and when he found
that the inhabitants of the city had got rid of their treacherous
governor Lundy, had taken matters into their own hands, and appointed
Walker, a clergyman, and Major Henry Baker, joint governors, he
determined to return instantly to Dublin, there to hold a Parliament.
The prosecution of the siege was intrusted to a French general, Maumont,
and Richard Hamilton. The defence was so vigorous that the siege was
soon turned into a blockade; and while the gallant city was holding out
to the last extremity, the Parliament at Dublin met.

[Sidenote: Wild legislation of the Irish Parliament.]

As a matter of course, considering the circumstances under which it was
collected, it consisted entirely of Catholics. It proceeded to act with
a recklessness which might be expected from an enslaved nation suddenly
called to power, and from men who for years had been unused to public
life. The great Act of Settlement, that compromise which in Charles
II.'s reign had settled the share of land to be held by the Protestant
emigrants who had followed Cromwell's victorious arms, was repealed.
Many thousands of square miles were at a single blow transferred from
English to Celtic landlords. The Act itself may have been unjust, but
for years it had been the basis of society, and men had acted as though
their titles were secure. Its repeal was therefore a violent act of
unjust confiscation. Moreover, as far as James was concerned, nothing
could be more disastrous, nothing could more surely destroy any
influence he might yet keep in England, where it seemed to foreshadow
the justice Protestants might expect from his hands were his reign
re-established. Such slight opposition as James offered (for he had the
wisdom to see some of the disastrous consequences of the measure) had no
effect but to cause profound distrust of himself. Other legislation even
more disastrous met with no opposition at his hands. In his want of
money he issued false coinage of copper and brass, intrinsically worth
perhaps a sixtieth of its nominal value. Thus of course all creditors
and mortgagees, who were pretty certain to be Protestants, were ruined.
The money was rendered current by threats of punishment against those
who refused it. Prices were kept down by law; and to complete this wild
legislation, the great Act of Attainder was passed, containing between
2000 or 3000 names. No inquiry was instituted as to the grounds of
accusation against those who were attainted, and opportunities were
thus afforded for any man who had a personal enemy to introduce his name
in the Bill. A limit of time was set within which all those named were
bound to surrender themselves to justice or be liable to execution
without trial; while, to prevent the King's mercy from interfering with
their vengeance, the Commons passed a law that after November the right
of pardon should cease.

[Sidenote: Its effect on English Jacobites.]

[Sidenote: Londonderry saved.]

Such legislation, sanctioned by James, while it failed to give him real
popularity in Ireland, checked the reaction which was beginning in
England. The feeling there grew constantly stronger against the inaction
of the Government. The fate of Londonderry and Enniskillen were watched
with absorbing interest. A fleet, with some troops under command of
Kirke, was at length despatched, but Kirke refused to risk the passage
of the river which led from Lough Foyle, and which was now guarded by
forts and a boom, and the starving population of Londonderry had the
misery of watching the ships as they lay idly in the Lough. But they
still held out with astonishing constancy. Their friends in Enniskillen
fared somewhat better. They did not confine themselves to defence; but,
issuing from the little island in Lough Erne which surrounded their
city, they collected from their enemies a considerable quantity of
cattle and ammunition, and lived in comparative comfort and security. At
length, in July, the fate of Londonderry seemed sealed. Nearly
everything eatable had been devoured,--horse-flesh, rats, salt hides,
all that could possibly be converted even into the most objectionable
food. It seemed impossible to feed the population in any way for two
days longer. At last a peremptory order reached Kirke to relieve the
city at all hazards. On the 30th of July, three vessels, two transports
and a frigate, sailed up the river, and, after a few minutes of
difficulty, broke the boom, and in the evening, at ten o'clock, were
anchored at the quay. The city was saved after 105 days of siege and

[Sidenote: Battle of Newton Butler.]

The Irish army immediately broke up from its camp and retreated. As it
reached Strabane, on its backward course, it received the news of
another disaster. A great effort had been determined on against
Enniskillen, but Colonel Wolseley had been sent to take the command by
Kirke, and was successful in defeating at Newton Butler the approaching
Irish, of whom nearly 2000 were put to the sword or drowned in a
neighbouring lough. The news of this defeat hastened the steps of the
retreating army as it returned from Londonderry, and it fled in
confusion to Charlemont.

[Sidenote: Violent character of the Revolution in Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Opposition to a union.]

The same week which saw the relief of Londonderry and the battle of
Newton Butler was remarkable also for the great defeat of William's army
at Killiecrankie. In accordance with the character of the Scotch people,
and in some proportion to the cruelty which had been exercised upon
them, the Revolution in Scotland took a more violent form than it had
assumed in England, for in the North James had been able to carry out
more completely those plans which had produced his fall in the southern
kingdom. A Church repugnant to the majority of the people had been
forced upon them by law; in defiance of the opposition of a subservient
Parliament, all the high places had been filled with Papists;
nonconformity had been punished with an arbitrary severity and a
ferocious cruelty of which England showed no counterpart; the electoral
laws also, by requiring from all electors abjuration of the Covenant and
an assertion of the King's ecclesiastical supremacy, excluded all but
Prelatists from the right of election. Before collecting a national
Convention, to consider the state of the nation under the present
circumstances, it was necessary to dispense with the Act which excluded
Presbyterians from the franchise. The Convention consequently consisted
almost exclusively of Whigs, and the change of Government was marked by
grave disorders in many parts of the country; nor, though William
disliked these excesses, was he able to repress them, and the Episcopal
clergy were in many instances most roughly used. There was at first some
talk of a union with England, for the national feeling of the Scotch was
beginning to yield to the increasing belief that in most points,
especially of a financial and commercial character, such a union was
very desirable; while many even of the Whigs in England wished for a
union of the Churches and the establishment of Episcopacy on some broad
and general basis. But the religious feeling of the country was quite
averse to such a course, and William was too tolerant a man to wish to
apply any coercion to men's consciences. He therefore wrote a letter, in
which he did little else than profess his attachment to Protestantism,
and his wish if possible to establish the Union. The arrangements he
left in their own hands.

[Sidenote: Letters from James and William.]

[Sidenote: Dundee tries to secede.]

[Sidenote: Edinburgh arms.]

Unable himself to be present in Scotland, he intrusted the business to
the two Dalrymples, father and son, and to Lord Melville, a prudent man,
who, though he had retired abroad during the storm which succeeded the
Rye-House Plot, had never committed himself warmly to either party.
James's agents were Graham of Claverhouse, now Earl of Dundee, and
Lindsay, Earl of Balcarras. The Castle of Edinburgh, was in the hands of
Gordon, a Jacobite; and James's agents hoped that, by their own vigour
and by means of the dread inspired by the castle which commanded the
town, they might yet obtain a predominant influence in the Convention.
The first trial of strength was the election of a President, and before
long it became evident that the Whigs would certainly have the upper
hand. They elected the Duke of Hamilton, and about the middle of March
the regular sittings of the Convention began. At the first meeting,
letters from both King James and King William were produced; that of
James, the production of Melfort, was fitted, like most of the
productions of that statesman, to injure his master's cause as much as
possible. There was no word of repentance, no word of conciliation;
every line breathed an obstinate determination to continue in the old
course, and threats of vengeance on his enemies. Dundee and Balcarras
felt that all hope of maintaining a majority was lost, and having thus
failed in their first object, determined to pursue, in accordance with a
plan they had already arranged, a second line of policy, to secede with
their adherents to Stirling, and there establish a rival Convention. The
movement was thwarted by the premature retreat of Dundee. Edinburgh was
full of fierce Western Cameronians, and feeling that his life was
endangered, he hastily withdrew. The news that, with a party of his old
troopers, he had set out for Stirling, holding on his way a conference
with the Governor of Edinburgh Castle, excited the fears and hatred of
the Presbyterians in the Convention. They at once proceeded to rouse the
people of Edinburgh to arms, and to place the town in an attitude of
defence, and thus thwart the idea of secession. They then went on to
consider the state of the nation, and declaring that the late King had
forfeited the throne by misconduct, offered the Crown to William and
Mary. The offer was accompanied, as in the case of England, with a
Declaration of Right,--here in Scotland called the Claim of Right,--in
which, without discussing the question, they declared that Episcopacy
was abolished. The Crown was then solemnly offered and accepted.

[Sidenote: The Club.]

[Sidenote: Dundee escapes.]

Yet the difficulties of William were still most severe. The bigoted
Covenanters held aloof from a tolerant King who had not taken the
Covenant; and a number of extreme Whigs, who were attached to a monarchy
so limited as to be really a republic, put themselves at the head of a
factious opposition, forming among themselves an organization known by
the name of the Club. While this powerful opposition was being formed in
the Lowlands, war in behalf of the fugitive King actually broke out in
the Highlands. Dundee, on his flight from Edinburgh, had remained for
some time peaceably in his own house. But letters passing between him
and Melfort, James's minister in Ireland, were intercepted. An order was
issued to arrest him, with his colleague Balcarras. Balcarras was
secured, but Dundee fled towards Inverness, where he found a state of
affairs which he was able to turn to the advantage of James.

[Sidenote: Highland politics.]

The politics of the Highland clans bore little relation to the general
politics of the nation. The Highlanders were as yet a half savage race,
devoted to their patriarchal form of society, and with political
attachments which seldom went beyond the head of their tribe. It
mattered but little to them whether James or William were upon the
Scottish throne. They were equally ready to oppose by violence any
Government which interfered with their wild freedom. But among
themselves they had bitter tribal jealousies and feuds, and the partial
introduction of the feudal system had complicated their relations one
with the other. Great chiefs, combining the character of feudal lords
and clan patriarchs, had contrived to extend their power, and render
other clans besides their own dependent or tributary. The Earl or
Marquis of Argyle, Mac Callum More, as the Highlanders called him, head
of the great clan of Campbell in Argyleshire, had thus extended his
pre-eminence at the expense of his neighbours. The power of this chief
was great. He could bring 5000 men into the field, and his jurisdiction
was so independent as to be hardly second to that of the Crown;
consequently all his neighbours looked upon him with jealousy and
hatred. That the politics of the head of the Campbell clan were
consistently Whig was enough to make all his rivals and enemies
Jacobites. But of late years the power of the Campbells had decayed;
during the triumph of the Stuart Kings the Marquis of Argyle had been
beheaded, and the Earl, his son, had been driven into exile. As the
Campbells sunk, the Macdonalds, the chief rivals of their clan, on whose
property they had encroached, had risen. But the Macdonalds had a
constant feud with the Mackintoshes in the neighbourhood of Inverness,
in pursuance of which Macdonald of Keppoch was at this moment engaged in
the siege of Inverness, which had made common cause with the

[Sidenote: Dundee in the Highlands.]

When therefore Dundee came into that neighbourhood he found the clans
already in arms on quarrels of their own. It occurred to him that, by
taking advantage of the general enmity against the Campbells, he might
form a union of the clans, nominally at all events in favour of King
James. His plan met with a partial success. He could not indeed induce
the Mackintoshes to join with the Macdonalds, but he secured their
neutrality. The eastern clans as a rule followed the same course; but
those of the west, more immediate sufferers from the power and
encroachments of the Campbells, eagerly leapt at the opportunity of
attacking the party of which Argyle was one of the chiefs. Mackay was
sent to take the command of the English troops. With his regular
soldiers he could do nothing against the rapid Highlanders in the
mountains, and urged the plan, subsequently followed, of building a line
of forts across the country. The campaign produced no event of
importance. A cessation of arms occurred in June, spent by Dundee in
obtaining succour from James in Ireland, by Mackay in raising troops
with some difficulty among the Western Cameronians.

[Sidenote: Battle of Killiecrankie. July 27.]

[Sidenote: Mackay concludes the war.]

A fresh dispute among the clans renewed the war. The Murrays, of whom
Athol was the chief, had not as yet declared for either side. The
Marquis of Athol himself withdrew for safety to England, but his eldest
son declared for King William, while his steward, who was believed to be
in his confidence, declared for James. The two sections of the clan
disputed the possession of the castle of Blair Athol, the seat of the
chief. It was felt by both parties that the adhesion of this large clan
was of great importance, and Dundee on one side and Mackay on the other
hurried to support their friends at Blair Athol. The castle lies a
little beyond the northern end of the pass of Killiecrankie, a ravine
through which the river Garry rushes, and which leads from the lowlands
of Perthshire to the mountains. The armies were not ill-matched in
numbers. Mackay's troops were suffered by the Highlanders to get clear
of the difficult pass, and then found themselves in a little valley,
with the Highlanders occupying the hills around. As long as it was an
affair of musketry, the Lowland troops, many of whom were veterans, held
their ground, but when the clans suddenly threw their firelocks from
them and rushed with a wild yell on their lines, they broke and fled,
with the exception of one regiment, and rushed in helpless flight down
the narrow pass. It was the difference in the weapons which caused this
strange victory of undisciplined over disciplined troops. When he had
fired his volley, the Highlander threw away his firelock, and was ready
in an instant to rush forward with his broadsword. The bayonet at that
time in use was so constructed that, when fixed, it filled up the mouth
of the barrel. It took some minutes to arrange the clumsy contrivance
which turned the musket into a pike. While the regulars were still
fumbling with their weapons, the Highlanders were upon them.[1] Mackay
brought off such troops as were left with rare coolness, and the death
of Dundee neutralized the effects of the defeat. The Highland army
passed under the command of General Cannon, who had brought over the
Irish auxiliaries, a man of no particular ability. Mackay succeeded in
rapidly re-establishing his army. He destroyed the prestige of the
Highlanders by defeating a detachment at St. Johnstone's, near Perth;
and when a newly raised regiment of Cameronian recruits beat off the
mountaineers at Dunkeld, no longer held together by a leader of ability,
they broke up and retired to their own glens, and the war was
practically over.

[Sidenote: Factions of the English Parliament.]

[Sidenote: Bill of Indemnity dropped.]

[Sidenote: Attack on Halifax.]

Though William's measures had thus been tolerably successful, although
the Revolution was acknowledged in two portions of the Empire, and
likely soon to become so in the third, his position in London was most
difficult and trying. Success had dissolved the union between the Whigs
and Tories, and the triumphant Whigs had time to remember their
sufferings in the last reign and to form plans of vengeance. The King
desired above all things the cessation of faction and the union of
parties, but on every question which arose the Commons displayed a most
passionate temper. A certain number of attainders were reversed, and
this was well enough; but when a Bill of Indemnity was brought in, so
many exceptions were made to it, that it became in fact rather a Bill of
vengeance than a Bill of oblivion. The discussion of these exceptions
lasted so long that the Bill had to be dropped for that session. But the
intemperate Whig leaders, such men as Howe, Sacheverell, and the younger
Hampden, were not contented to be thus balked of their revenge. Fierce
attacks were brought against the Lord President Caermarthen, and
Halifax, the Privy Seal. The position of Caermarthen was so strong that
his enemies were afraid to divide the House against him. Halifax had
made more enemies, and was not so firmly supported by the King's
influence. The practical mind of William found little to like in the
subtle and questioning intellect of Halifax; and as the affairs in
Ireland had been virtually entirely in that nobleman's control, the
wretched condition of the Protestants, the lengthened misery of
Londonderry, and the temporary success of James and Tyrconnel, were all
laid to his charge. It was said that he even purposely neglected Ireland
in order to render a new Government indispensable. However, he contrived
to escape impeachment by a narrow majority of sixteen; and the relief of
Londonderry, and the immediate despatch of Schomberg at the head of a
considerable body of troops to support the Protestant interest, tended
to check the vehemence of the popular anger which was directed against

[Sidenote: Misery of the English army in Ireland.]

Late in August, the Parliament broke up till October, and all eyes were
turned towards the fate of Schomberg's expedition. His troops consisted
for the most part of raw recruits, scarcely able to discharge their
firelocks. He could not venture to fight with such an army, but
displayed great skill and determination in the manner in which he
overcame overwhelming difficulties; for, while encamped in the
neighbourhood of Dundalk, treason was discovered in the camp of some
French Protestant refugees, some regiments of which accompanied him. The
refugees themselves were trustworthy, but a certain number of other
foreigners had found their way into their regiments, and opened
correspondence with the Irish. Sharp vengeance fell upon the chief
conspirators. But a more terrible enemy than treason attacked the
English troops. A deadly pestilence arose and carried them off by
hundreds: their misery was unspeakable; the ties of morality and decorum
were relaxed, the men got drunk sitting on the corpses of their dead
comrades, and the horror of the time is well shown by the fact, that
several ships lay in Carrickfergus Bay filled with carcases, and not a
live man on board. The blame of the wretched condition of the army was
traceable to the general maladministration which existed in the
Government. The Chief Commissary was a man named Shales, who supplied
the army with quite uneatable food, drew money largely for supplies
which never reached the troops, and let out the troop horses, when
collected, to English farmers. But it was not only in the army that this
maladministration was visible. Admiral Herbert, now Lord Torrington,
sunk in debauchery, allowed the same offences to be perpetrated in the
navy. It would be unfair to lay this to the charge of William. The
deeprooted mismanagement of the last twenty years rendered it almost
impossible for him to introduce reforms with any rapidity, nor, with all
the weight of foreign affairs on his hands, could he personally
supervise every department. His own department was well and
successfully managed, and the English troops abroad won some honour in a
skirmish against the French at Walcourt.

[Sidenote: Parliament meets. Oct. 19, 1689.]

[Sidenote: The violence of the Whigs.]

[Sidenote: The Tories throw out the Corporation Act.]

[Sidenote: William threatens to leave England.]

[Sidenote: Dissolves Parliament, Jan. 27, 1690, and undertakes Irish

Still it was not to be expected that Parliament, on its reassembling,
should be in a better temper than when it separated. It again renewed
its violent courses. The necessary supplies were indeed voted; The Bill
of Rights, by which the Declaration of Right was to be formed into a
statute, and which in the last session had been thrown aside because the
Lords wished to introduce the name of the Electress Sophia in the
succession to the throne, was passed without that amendment; but besides
this scarcely any other work was done. On the other hand, the Whig
majority proceeded on their course of vengeance. The Earls of Salisbury
and Peterborough, Sir Edward Hales and Obadiah Walker were impeached; a
Committee to inquire into the death of Russell and Sidney, known as the
Murder Committee, was appointed, and the attack upon Halifax renewed. At
length the Whigs, conscious that the King was not well pleased with
their vindictive temper, attempted to secure their own permanent
supremacy in Parliament. They introduced a Corporation Bill, for
restoring all the charters which had been forfeited in the reign of
James; and to this, at the suggestion of Sacheverell and Howard, were
appended two clauses, the one providing that all who had taken part in
the surrender of the charters should be incapable of holding office for
seven years, the other adding that all who, in spite of being thus
incapacitated, presumed to hold office should be fined £500, and be
debarred for life from public employment. These clauses, which would
have in fact disfranchized the Tory party in every borough, they
attempted to pass through the House by a surprise, when the greater part
of the Tory party had returned home for Christmas. But so violent and
factious a measure called out all the energies of the Opposition. The
country gentlemen came crowding back to town, and, after a violent
debate, the Whigs were defeated by a small majority. The Tories thought
to improve their triumph by reintroducing the Bill of Indemnity without
the exceptions, but they quite overrated their strength. Their attempt
was defeated by an enormous majority, and a Bill of Pains and Penalties
incorporated with the Indemnity Act, which rendered it a mere measure of
proscription. But this violent measure was not destined to pass the
House. The fierce struggle of parties was so repugnant to the King, any
attempt at firm national government appeared to him so hopeless, that,
having secretly arranged means of retiring to Holland, he sent for his
ministers, and told them it was his intention to withdraw from England,
leaving the Queen upon the throne. The threat stupefied the Whigs. To
whatever excesses their passion may have led them, they felt that their
safety was bound up with the prudent chief they had elected. A
passionate scene ensued, in which the Tory Nottingham and the Whig
Shrewsbury vied with each other in intreating William to forego his
plan. At length he yielded, but determined that he would escape from the
atmosphere of faction which surrounded him, and himself go to carry on
the war in Ireland. Having stated that such was his unalterable
intention, he prorogued and dissolved the factious Parliament which he
had been unable to bring to reason.

[Sidenote: Tory reaction in new Parliament.]

[Sidenote: Venality of Parliament.]

The dissolution brought with it a reaction. The Tories in the New
Parliament were as strong as the Whigs had lately been. Even London
returned four opponents to the obnoxious clauses of the Corporation Act.
As yet the theory of a ministry not having been established, there was
no great change, yet the balance among the ministers was somewhat
altered. Halifax withdrew from the Government; the Board of Treasury and
the Board of Admiralty were both reconstituted, with a larger proportion
of Tories, and Caermarthen attained such an amount of power as to make
him virtually Prime Minister. Sir John Lowther was put at the head of
the Treasury, while the purchase of votes, an art at which Caermarthen
was an adept, and which for many years to come was constantly employed
by the Government, was intrusted to Sir John Trevor, who became Speaker.
William had hitherto tried to act without bribery; he had found his
efforts futile, and his influence in Parliament neutralized by the
passion of faction. He now, against his own feelings, allowed
Caermarthen to have his way. The strange venality of Parliament at this
time, and for many years afterwards, may probably be traced to the fact
that the secrecy with which debates in Parliament were shrouded
prevented the exercise of any wholesome popular opinion upon the vote of
the representatives, while the Crown had lost that power of coercing the
Opposition which it had enjoyed in the time of the Tudors. It became
necessary to purchase what could not be procured by violence, while
there was no pressure from without to restrain the cupidity of
unprincipled members. With his new Parliament William found himself more
free to act.

[Sidenote: The revenue settled.]

Its first duty was the settlement of the revenue. This had hitherto been
chiefly collected under Acts passed for short terms only. It was now put
on a permanent basis. The hereditary revenues, consisting of the rents
of royal domains, fees and fines, post office and ecclesiastical dues,
together with that portion of the excise which had been paid to Charles
II. as the price for the abolition of feudal services, were given to
William and Mary. These revenues amounted to about £400,000 or £500,000
a year. The King had hoped to obtain a grant for life of the other
excise and custom duties which had been granted to James, and had
amounted to £900,000 a year; but the Tory majority felt as distinctly as
their opponents that an income which set the Crown free from the
necessity of consulting Parliament might prove a source of evils similar
to those of the last reign. They therefore gave William for life only
£300,000 a year from the excise, the remaining £600,000, which arose
from customs, they granted for four years only.

[Sidenote: Act of Grace, May 20.]

On other points the Parliament now acted more in accordance with the
King's wishes, although the Whigs produced several embarrassing
measures, and attempted to compel all place-holders to take an oath
abjuring King James. But William was determined to check the course of
vengeance; the known wish of the King enabled the Tories to throw out
the obnoxious measure, and the revenge of the Whigs was finally balked
by an Act of Grace from the Crown, which took the place of the
unfinished Bill of Indemnity. This declared a perfect oblivion for all
political offences up to that moment, excepting from the benefits of the
Act only such of the regicides as were still alive, and about thirty
others; of whom some were either dead or in safety abroad, while the
rest, though in England, were suffered to live unharmed. It is a noble
addition to the glory of William that, through his firmness and
generosity, no blood was shed at the Great Revolution.

[Sidenote: Preparation for war.]

[Sidenote: Jacobite plot discovered.]

Meanwhile the King had been hastening preparations for his war. The
number of the troops in Ireland had been raised to 30,000, at length
well armed and well provisioned; a fleet, with still more provisions and
equipments, was ready to receive the King at Chester. But at that moment
it became very difficult for him to leave the country, for the Jacobites
had determined to seize the opportunity of his absence for a great
effort. Clarendon the Queen's uncle, Dartmouth commander of the fleet
which should have opposed William's landing, and Preston James's last
Secretary of State, were the leaders of the scheme. Fortunately their
secrets were intrusted to a man named Fuller, who at once determined to
turn traitor. He gave over to the Privy Council the despatches from the
Queen in France, which had been sewn into his buttons. His
fellow-messenger was apprehended; when convicted and condemned to death,
he too confessed, and the chiefs of the conspiracy were in the hands of
the Government. Nevertheless it was a terrible time to be absent from
home. An insurrection might break out at any moment, and an invasion was
threatened from France.

[Sidenote: William goes to Ireland.]

[Sidenote: Threatened invasion and insurrection.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Beachy Head.]

[Sidenote: Spirited behaviour of England.]

William was determined that, come what would, he would put an end to the
disgraceful state of affairs in Ireland. He placed the Government in the
hands of the Queen, assisted by a Council of nine, with Danby for her
chief minister, Admiral Russell to advise her on naval, and Marlborough
on military affairs, and then crossed to Belfast. Fortunately the two
objects of the Jacobites proved incompatible; the threatened invasion so
roused the national spirit, that domestic insurrection became
impossible. While William advanced southward, and the Irish army,
reinforced by a considerable number of French under Lauzun, fell back
behind the Boyne, a great French fleet under Tourville appeared off the
Needles. Torrington, the English commander, had been reinforced by a
Dutch squadron, yet shrunk from the encounter, and retreated towards the
Straits of Dover. The Queen and her Council sent peremptory orders to
fight. Jealous of Russell, afraid of risking a great battle with
superior numbers, Torrington unwillingly obeyed. With shameful policy,
he sent the Dutch squadron forward to bear the brunt of the danger, and
left it almost unsupported, till, after exhibiting their usual stubborn
bravery, the Dutch were compelled to fall back with their shattered
ships, and Tourville swept the Channel unopposed. Almost at the same
time as the news of this disgraceful defeat reached London, tidings
arrived that the allies, under the Prince of Waldeck, had been beaten by
Luxemburg at the battle of Fleurus. But the very misfortunes which
seemed falling upon the nation roused its spirit. The Lord Mayor offered
the Queen at once £100,000, 10,000 Londoners, well armed for immediate
purposes, and six regiments of foot and two regiments of horse, to be
raised at once, without cost to the Crown. The same temper was visible
throughout England, and suddenly, after three days of depression, hope
was again raised in the national mind by the news of the battle of the

[Sidenote: Battle of the Boyne. July 1, 1690.]

James had determined to make a stand behind that river, which separates
the counties of Louth and Meath, falling into the sea at Drogheda. The
position was a fairly strong one; the ground rose immediately from the
river, and some of William's generals scarcely liked to venture upon an
attack. But he felt that some great blow was necessary to retrieve the
disasters of the last year, and he gave orders for crossing the river at
once. Early in the morning of the 1st of July the English began to
advance. Young Schomberg was sent some miles up the river, to cross at
the bridge of Slane, and thus turn the left flank of the Irish army. His
success in this movement alarmed Lauzun. There was a narrow passage at
Duleek, four miles south of the Boyne, where two carriages could
scarcely pass between impassable bogs. If Schomberg could secure this
pass the Irish would be enclosed in a trap. It was necessary at any
price to avoid this danger; Lauzun therefore marched to oppose him,
taking with him all the French troops, leaving the Irish alone to hold
the river. William commanded the left wing, formed entirely of horse. He
fought his way across the river not far above Drogheda. In the centre
Schomberg led the main body of the infantry across the fords of Old
Bridge. The Irish infantry which should have opposed him, thoroughly
demoralized by a year spent under lax discipline and in habits of
plunder, fled at the first onset. The cavalry, who had been more
carefully drilled under command of the traitor Richard Hamilton, strove
in vain to restore the day. For half an hour the struggle in the bed of
the river was fierce. The leader of the Protestant refugees was killed,
and Schomberg himself, while rallying these troops, and calling out to
them, "Come on, gentlemen, there are your persecutors," also fell. But
William, having crossed with the left wing, now came up on the flank of
the Irish, and the passage was secured. The Irish cavalry were left
entirely unsupported by the infantry. Fighting bravely, and with
considerable loss, they were slowly driven from the ground. Their leader
Richard Hamilton was taken prisoner. James, whose personal courage it
had been usual to praise, turned early from the fight and fled towards
Dublin. The rout of fugitives hurried through the pass of Duleek,
covered by the French infantry, who had been resisting young Schomberg's
flank attack all the day. William is said to have been slack in the
pursuit; Schomberg's death, and his own exhaustion, after having been
thirty-five hours out of the last forty on horseback, may have been the
cause of this. On neither side was the loss very great. Of the English
about 500 are said to have been killed, of the Irish 1500; but they
were chiefly cavalry, the only trustworthy Irish troops.

[Sidenote: James's final flight.]

James, having reached Dublin, summoned the Lord Mayor and principal
Catholic citizens to the castle. Forgetful of his own speedy flight, he
upbraided the Irish for cowardice, and vowed he would never more command
an Irish army. He then at once took flight again, hurried to Waterford,
and thence by Kinsale to France. Lauzun and Tyrconnel, with the remains
of their army, also thought it desirable to evacuate the capital, which
William entered in triumph. For a short time he thought of returning to
England, for news of the defeat of Beachy Head and of the battle of
Fleurus had reached him, and his presence in London seemed necessary.
But when he heard of the courageous spirit showed by the nation, and
knew that the only use Tourville had made of his victory was to attack
and burn Teignmouth, thus still further exasperating the people, he felt
that the crisis was over, that he might remain to complete his victory.

[Sidenote: Siege of Limerick.]

[Sidenote: William returns to England. Sept. 6.]

[Sidenote: Marlborough's success in the south.]

He gradually conquered the country as far as Limerick. There the Irish
stood at bay. In the eyes of the French commander nothing could be more
useless than the attempt to defend the city. "The walls could be knocked
down with roasted apples," said Lauzun. He consequently withdrew his
troops, and the Irish were left to themselves, under the command of
Sarsfield, the only Irish general who seems to have possessed any
military character, and vain though their hopes seemed to Lauzun, the
defence of the city was successful. The want of artillery at first
checked the proceedings of the besiegers. A daring raid, headed by
Sarsfield, destroyed the convoy which was bringing up the siege train.
The artillery was buried and exploded, and Sarsfield's party returned
unhurt. Then came the heavy rains which occur at this season in Ireland;
the country around the town became a marsh. A final vigorous assault
proved unsuccessful, and the siege was raised. This check was somewhat
balanced by the success of an expedition planned and commanded by
Marlborough, which had landed in the south, and in five weeks had
conquered both Cork and Kinsale. William returned to England in
September, intrusting the government to three Lords Justices, and the
management of the war to Ginkel. But no further military operation of
importance took place till May in the following year.

[Sidenote: St. Ruth comes from France.]

[Sidenote: Siege of Athlone.]

The northern and eastern part of the island was in the hands of the
English, and brought under some sort of government by the Lords
Justices. In that part trade and industry had revived. In the Irish
portion of the island, into which the Celtic inhabitants had crowded,
there was wild confusion and much distress. Gangs of robbers infested
the country, the soldiers were little better themselves than robbers.
The currency of James's brass money entirely ruined trade. As usual in
Ireland, jealousy of race began to show itself. In the Councils of
Regency and of War, to whom the management of James's affairs were
intrusted, men not of Irish blood had considerable influence; they were
therefore involved in constant quarrels with the purely Irish party.
Some order however began to show itself when Tyrconnel returned from
France, accompanied by a French general of ability called St. Ruth. St.
Ruth devoted himself with extreme energy to discipline the crowd of
disorderly bandits whom he had to command, and prepared as well as he
could to oppose the advance of Ginkel, who, seconded by Tollemache and
Mackay, moved in the beginning of June from their headquarters at
Mullingar. The French generals, both now and before, had been of opinion
that Athlone was the right spot for the Irish to make a stand. It lay
almost in the middle of the island, half on one side, half on the other
of the Shannon, separating the provinces of Leinster and Connaught.
Ginkel determined that he would take this place, which seemed to him to
be the key of the Irish frontier. It was a work of no common difficulty.
St. Ruth thought the attempt absolutely hopeless. "His master," he said
of Ginkel, "ought to hang him for attempting to take the town, mine
ought to hang me if I lose it." The half of the town upon the English
side of the river was taken on the 19th, but the real difficulty yet
remained. The narrow bridge which joined the two towns was gallantly
defended. There was a ford lower down, but it was almost impassable.
During the rest of the month the efforts of the besiegers were in vain.
At last want of supplies compelled them either to succeed or to retreat.
A gallant assault on the ford, which was almost up to the necks of the
men, proved successful; to the astonishment and anger of St. Ruth the
town was taken (June 30).

[Sidenote: Battle of Aghrim. July 12, 1691.]

In spite of the advice of Sarsfield and the rest of the Irish generals,
who wisely wished to employ their undisciplined troops in a partisan
warfare, St. Ruth determined to fight. He fell back about thirty miles
from Athlone, to the hill of Aghrim, where his troops occupied rising
ground, covered along its whole front by a deep bog; while along the
bottom of the firm ground ran enclosures, which were turned into
breastworks. Against these difficulties Ginkel marched. But the Irish,
now well posted and well commanded, showed such firmness, that it seemed
probable they would make good their position, and evening was already
drawing on, when at length Mackay, with the English and Huguenot
cavalry, succeeded in passing the bog, and placing his troops on the
flank of the Irish army. At this critical moment St. Ruth was killed.
With singular folly, his friends concealed his death, not only from his
men, but also from his generals. Sarsfield had been ordered to remain
immoveable with reserves till St. Ruth ordered his advance, as the order
did not come Sarsfield did not move, and the victory of the English thus
became complete. The Irish army broke up, and was pursued with
relentless cruelty; 6000 or 7000 Irish are said to have been put to
death as they fled. The plain beyond the field of battle was so studded
with white corpses, that it was described as looking like a pasture
covered with flocks of sheep.

[Sidenote: Second siege and capitulation of Limerick. Oct. 3.]

[Sidenote: End of the Irish war.]

This battle completed the conquest of Ireland. The fall of Galway
immediately followed, and Ginkel proceeded to attack for a second time
the city of Limerick. The chances were now all in favour of the English,
while the Irish were thoroughly disheartened by their late defeat.
Ginkel's army was well supplied, and all hope of succour was cut off
from the besieged by an English squadron which occupied the Shannon.
Under these circumstances a capitulation was granted, the terms of which
were fairly favourable to the Irish. By the military treaty, all
officers and soldiers who desired it were conveyed to France, under
command of their own generals. By the civil treaty, the Roman Catholics
were promised the enjoyment of such privileges as they had enjoyed in
the reign of Charles II. To all who took the oath of allegiance a
perfect amnesty was promised. It is to the disgrace of England that this
treaty with regard to the Catholics was not kept. For the time, however,
Ireland was completely subdued, and the English supremacy established so
firmly, that for more than a century, in spite of the difficulties which
more than once beset the English Government, no outbreak of the Irishry
against the Englishry was even suggested.

[Sidenote: Revolution completed in Scotland.]

In Scotland, at length, the establishment of the Government was equally
complete. The members of the factious Club had gone so far as to make
common cause with the Jacobites. But in the Parliament which met in
1690, under the management of Melville as Lord High Commissioner, the
Government succeeded in obtaining a majority. The union among its
opponents was at once dissolved. A general acquiescence met the
re-establishment of the Presbyterian form of Church government, and no
further difficulties of importance were to be apprehended. William could
now turn his attention to the affairs of England and of the Continent.

[Sidenote: Jacobite plots in England.]

[Sidenote: Preston's plot thwarted.]

In England, from the middle of 1690, the Jacobite intrigues continued.
The lenity shown by William, after the abortive efforts of the Jacobites
during the threatened French invasion, encouraged further conspiracies.
It seemed certain that William's presence would be required abroad, and
that again during his absence an opportunity would be offered for
striking a blow against the Government. In December 1690, a meeting was
held of the leading Jacobites, and it was determined that Preston should
be sent to St. Germains. He was to beg James to return to England,
bringing with him a sufficient French force to secure his success, but
at the same time, in the name of the Jacobites, he was to intreat him to
allow the Protestant religion to remain undisturbed, and to rule in
strict accordance with law. Besides this general letter, separate papers
were intrusted to Preston, especially one from the nonjuring Bishop
Turner, apparently in the name of Sancroft and his brother Bishops. He
also took with him notes as to the most vulnerable points of the coast.
But the captain of the ship which was engaged to take him over thought
it wiser to inform Lord Caermarthen what he was doing, and just as the
messengers thought they were safe out of the river, a vessel of
remarkable swiftness belonging to Lord Caermarthen's son suddenly
appeared alongside, and they were discovered hidden among the gravel
which formed the ballast of their vessel.

[Sidenote: William's successful policy abroad.]

[Sidenote: First crisis of the war over.]

The capture of Preston, and the disclosure of the Jacobite plot, allowed
William to go abroad, leaving the complete investigation of the treason
to his ministers in England. On the Continent his diplomacy had been
singularly successful. He had brought together a great coalition, and
had succeeded in winning the Duke of Savoy, whom the King of France had
reckoned among his allies, and whose territory closed the passage of the
French to the Spanish dominions in Italy. Success would have cemented
the coalition, and induced Denmark and Sweden, which were still
wavering, to join it. But in rapidity of action a coalition is seldom a
match for a single power, and Louis was able to forestall the action of
the allies, and capture the important fortress of Mons, in spite of all
William's efforts to relieve it. But this first success, though damaging
to the coalition, produced no very important military events; the
advantages of the French both in Spain and Italy were counterbalanced by
the disasters which befell their allies the Turks in Hungary, and the
main armies in Flanders under William and Luxemburg were content merely
to watch each other. The first crisis of the war was in fact over. The
centre of the coalition was William; his strength was derived from his
position as King of England; deprived of that position, he would have
lost most of his influence, and the only chance of depriving him of it
had been the success of the Irish. It was in Ireland, therefore, that
the real crisis of the war had arrived. The defeat of James at the Boyne
in 1690, and of St. Ruth at Aghrim almost exactly a year after, had thus
rendered all hopes of destroying William's position futile. Once again,
in the following year, the same critical situation of affairs arose.
With the battle of La Hogue the success of James became hopeless, and
though the war continued for many years, there is no other point in it
which can really be called critical.

[Sidenote: James's hopes upheld by the treason of the ministry]

[Sidenote: and of Marlborough.]

The causes which led James still to cherish hope, and which induced him
to persuade Louis to contemplate that invasion of England to which the
battle of La Hogue put an end, are to be found in the conduct of the
Jacobite party in England: for while William's attention was constantly
turned to the Continent, treason found its way among his own immediate
ministers. Uncertain even yet of the stability of the new Government,
three of the greatest among them determined to be safe on either issue.
Admiral Russell, and Godolphin, head of the Treasury, succeeded in
obtaining written pardons from James; and Marlborough, whose previous
treachery might have been supposed unpardonable, made such a show of
repentance, that he obtained the same favour, promising in exchange,
when he should be in command of the English troops, to bring them over
to the enemy. But even the treachery of Marlborough partook of the
greatness of his character. His views reached far beyond this
commonplace act of treason. He was already devising plans by which the
fate of England and of Europe should be in his own hands. As his schemes
were not yet ready, though the opportunity he had mentioned to James
arose in Flanders, he contrived to excuse himself from performing his
promise. But before long circumstances led him to believe that he might
carry out his treacherous plans in a way more in accordance with his
own wishes. The session of Parliament had been a somewhat stormy one.
The immense emoluments of place-holders had excited the anger of the
Opposition, and although the extreme measures suggested, which went so
far as to cut down all official salaries to £500, had destroyed all
attempts at wholesome reform, there was much continued discontent
against the Court. There had been bitter quarrels also between the Upper
and Lower Houses upon new arrangements of the Treason Law which had been
suggested, and all parties seemed to be combined in mistrust and dislike
of the favours lavished on foreigners. This state of affairs seemed to
open the way for Marlborough's intrigues. In fact, years of rivalry and
several bloody wars, coupled with constant outrages on one side or the
other on distant colonies, had rendered the Dutch at least as hateful to
the English as the French; nor was the feeling diminished by seeing many
of the greater and more lucrative offices in the hands of members of the
hated nation. By working on this feeling, Marlborough hoped to induce
Parliament to petition the King to discharge all foreign troops, a line
of conduct which at a subsequent period was actually followed. Once rid
of these troops (and he thought it impossible that William, situated as
he was, could withstand a formal Parliamentary request), Marlborough
relied on his own ability to induce the English army, which was very
jealous of William's liking for his own Dutch troops, to further his
views. The absolute authority which his wife exercised over the Princess
Anne enabled him to secure her adhesion to his plans. She wrote friendly
and repentant letters to her father. With the army at his command, and
with the Protestant heiress inclined to favour his projects, Marlborough
would declare for James, and secure his return without the danger of
foreign invasion, without the shedding of a drop of blood. Such at least
was the story he told the Jacobites. Men who knew his character
mistrusted him. It was more likely, they thought, and this seems to have
been his real plan, that he would declare not for King James, but for
Princess Anne herself. He would thus become indirectly the ruler of
England, and as such the head of the European coalition, and the arbiter
of Europe.

[Sidenote: Marlborough is deprived of his offices. Jan. 10, 1692.]

[Sidenote: The Queen's quarrel with the Princess Anne.]

Luckily for William, even the Jacobites looked with suspicion on the
scheme; Bentinck received information of Marlborough's treachery. The
King, placed on his guard, stripped him of all his offices; and when
Anne, who knew well the reason of his disgrace, persisted in ignoring it
and in bringing the Duchess of Marlborough to Court, the spirit of the
Queen was roused, and a bitter quarrel broke out between the sisters.
The full details of the plot were not at the time known, and a false
plot, invented and brought to light by a wretched informer of the name
of Fuller, gave Marlborough an opportunity of ostentatiously clearing
his character. He was thus regarded as a martyr to the jealousy of
William, and to an unreasonable dislike of her sister on the part of the

Although for the time the danger of Marlborough's treason seemed to have
been escaped, it was undoubtedly the knowledge of its existence, and of
the feeling prevalent among William's other ministers, that encouraged
James still to retain hopes of success in England.

[Sidenote: Massacre of Glencoe. Feb. 13.]

Before passing to the events to which those hopes gave rise, an incident
must be mentioned which, though it had but little effect at the moment,
has been always considered as a blot on William's character, and added
point to the bitter attacks directed against him towards the close of
his reign. Melville had proved unequal to the task of governing
Scotland, and the management of the affairs of that country had passed
almost entirely into the hands of the Dalrymples, father and son, the
elder of whom was President of the Court of Session, having been lately
raised to the peerage by the title of Viscount Stair. The son, known as
the Master of Stair, was appointed Secretary for Scotland, resident in
London. To him now fell the duty of pacifying the Highlands, where the
civil war continued to smoulder. Unable to give the Highlanders any
effectual support, James had told them that they were at liberty to make
peace with the conqueror. It has been already mentioned that local
politics had more to do with the conduct of the Highlanders than any
question as to the reigning dynasty, and that their hatred directed
against the head of the Campbell clan arose largely from the condition
of dependence to him in which they found themselves, and which was due
in a great degree to unpaid arrears of rent. It was determined now to
adopt a plan which had been formerly suggested, and to expend some
£15,000 in relieving them from their difficulties. The distribution of
this money was unwisely intrusted to Breadalbane, himself a Campbell,
and too much interested in the encroachments of that house not to be
unpopular. He was profoundly and justly mistrusted by the Highlanders,
and the negotiations for the distribution of the money proceeded but
slowly, the chief leader of the opposition to the settlement being
Macdonald of Glencoe, one of that tribe which had suffered most from the
growth of the Campbells. Pressure was put upon the Highlanders to bring
the negotiation to a conclusion. A proclamation was issued, promising
pardon to all who, before the 31st of December 1691, should swear to
live peaceably under the existing Government. All who refused to take
this oath were to be regarded as public enemies. As the Government
appeared to be in earnest, the chiefs yielded, making it a sort of point
of honour to yield as slowly as possible. In this foolish contest of
honour Mac Ian of Glencoe was unfortunately the victor. Not till the
very day named did he appear at Fort William to take the oaths. When he
arrived there he found to his dismay that there was no magistrate to
receive them, and he was compelled forthwith to set out through the
winter snow to Inverary to find a magistrate. The journey was so
difficult that it was not till the 6th of January that he reached
Inverary. Under the circumstances, the sheriff there consented, though
after the prescribed date, to receive the oath, and sent it, with a
certificate stating the circumstances to Edinburgh. The slowness of
Macdonald had played into the hands of his enemies the Campbells.
Breadalbane and Argyle were at one in their determination to use their
advantage, and they found a ready assistant in the Master of Stair,
whose views, free from all local feeling, were of the sternest
description, and who thought the Highlanders should be treated as
uncivilized barbarians. He had been disappointed at the submission of
the clans, and rejoiced at the opportunity of making one example. By his
means the certificate granted by the sheriff appears to have been
suppressed, and an order was drawn up and laid before William, in which,
along with other instructions to the commander of the army in Scotland,
were these words with regard to the clan of Glencoe: "It will be proper,
for the vindication of public justice, to extirpate that set of
thieves." William signed the order, probably without carefully reading
it, almost certainly without understanding what Dalrymple meant by
extirpation. His scheme was one of the utmost barbarity. A detachment of
soldiers was sent into the glen as though on a friendly mission. They
were kindly received and hospitably kept for more than a week. Then, at
a fixed date, when other troops were to have stopped all the passes,
they suddenly fell upon their kindly hosts and cruelly murdered them.
The plan was but partially carried out. The passes had not been stopped,
and not more than thirty-eight of the Highlanders were actually killed.
But the villages were destroyed, the cattle driven off, and it is
unknown how many more perished as they fled in the dead of winter in
the wild mountains which surrounded their glen.

[Sidenote: Threatened invasion of England.]

It was just after this event, in March, that William went abroad to
resume the Continental war. As usual, his absence was the time of danger
for England. An invasion from France had long been planned, and was on
the point of taking place. Excited by the constant untruthful account of
his agents in England, encouraged by the artful and well-planned
treachery of Marlborough and William's other ministers, James had never
ceased to press upon Louis the wisdom of an assault upon England. His
urgent instances had always been met by the opposition of the war
minister Louvois. Conscious that his superiority lay in the organization
of large disciplined armies in the field, and led by the experience of
his life to look to the great operations of regular warfare on the Rhine
and in Italy as the real sources of greatness for France, that minister
had always set his face against little wars. He was moreover jealous of
the influence of Lauzun at the Court of St. Germains, and had repeatedly
pointed out what was very true, the falseness of the Jacobite accounts,
the weak character of James, the total untrustworthiness of his
resources, and the consequent necessity which would be laid upon France
of carrying out such an invasion, in fact, entirely unaided. He had
dwelt also upon the strong national feeling of the English, repeatedly
exhibited when an invasion was threatened, and the uncertainty, even
were the attempt successful, of the continued assistance and alliance of
a Prince so ignorant and selfish as James. Nevertheless, in this
instance James was right, not that all and more than all that Louvois
urged was not true, but that the separation of England from the
coalition, the command of the sea, and the blow which would be dealt to
William's influence, were worth any sacrifice which France might make.
Louvois' arguments, however, had hitherto prevailed; the assistance
given to James had been but slight. But Louvois' death (which took place
on the 16th of July 1691) opened brighter hopes to the exiled King.
Louis was at length persuaded; and a vast plan was made which, had it
been carried out as intended, might well have been successful. An army
was secretly collected during the winter on the coast of Normandy. Two
fleets were assembled at Brest and at Toulon, numbering together 80
ships of the line, and placed under the command of Tourville and
D'Estrées, to convoy this army to England. James, misled by his hopes
and by the double-dealing of Russell, believed, and made Louis believe,
that the English fleet was thoroughly disaffected. Secure in this
belief, it was without much anxiety that the invaders found the spring
far advanced, while still the weather prevented the junction of the

[Sidenote: Battle of La Hogue. May 19.]

But meanwhile all secresy had been lost. The Queen in England, and
William in Holland, had put forth all their energy, and a combined Dutch
and English fleet of 90 ships was in the Channel under command of
Russell. At last one French squadron, that of Tourville, consisting of
44 ships, made its appearance. It was supposed that, weak as it was, it
was sufficient for all necessary purposes; it could probably beat the
Dutch contingent, and the English fleet was of no account, for neither
Russell nor his men were likely to fight. Relying on this false belief,
Louis issued peremptory orders to his admiral to cover the invasion, and
fight the enemy wherever he met them. But James's folly had already gone
far to thwart any hopes based upon the temper of the English. He had
issued a Declaration, the work of his counsellor Melfort, excepting from
all hope of pardon, not only a long list of gentlemen by name, but whole
classes of Englishmen, all judges, jurymen, and lawyers who had been
employed in any of the prosecutions of Jacobites, all magistrates who
did not instantly (regardless of where they might be) make common cause
with him upon his appearance, all spies and informers who had divulged
his secrets, even the insignificant fishermen of Sheerness who had
hindered him on his first attempt to escape from England. So ridiculous,
so ill-judged was the Declaration, that, far from suppressing it, the
English Council reprinted it, and distributed it largely, with a few
pungent criticisms of their own. Even Jacobites had to confess that at
least 500 men were excepted. It is easy to conceive the effect of such a
Declaration, when contrasted with William's noble Act of Grace of the
preceding year. What James's folly had thus half done the Queen's
sagacity completed. Urged on all sides to apprehend known Jacobites,
with the denunciations of a plot, perfectly fictitious indeed, but none
the less very plausible, the creation of a rascal of the name of Young,
just placed in her hands, and fully conscious of the intrigues of
Russell her admiral, she wrote a noble letter, expressing her trust and
reliance on the patriotism of her fleet, and sent it to Russell, with
orders to read it to the captains of his fleet. Russell, at heart a Whig
and a devoted lover of his profession, hesitated no longer. He would
fight, he said, though King James himself were in the hostile fleet. He
went from ship to ship, encouraging the crews, and when Tourville bore
down upon him there was no sign of faint-heartedness in the English
fleet. Overpowered by numbers, the French fleet fled, broke into
fragments, and was destroyed piecemeal. But twelve of the largest ships,
with Tourville himself, took refuge under the Forts of La Hogue, under
the eyes of James and Marshal Bellefonds, commander of the army. There,
as they lay in two divisions in shallow water, they were attacked on two
successive days by a flotilla of English boats, under Admiral Rooke; and
under the guns of the forts, which were supposed to render them quite
secure, they were taken and burnt, while James looked on and saw the
destruction of this his last hope.

[Sidenote: Second crisis of the war over.]

[Sidenote: Subsequent ill success of the fleet.]

This great victory over the French, the first which the nation had won
for many years, drove the people wild with delight. All the more heavy
was their disappointment at the feeble manner in which it was followed
up, and at the ill success of the war in the Netherlands in the latter
part of the year. An expedition against St. Malo failed through the
jealousy of its commanders. The broken fleet of Tourville, unable to
keep the sea, assumed a new form. French cruisers and privateers covered
the ocean, and hundreds of English merchantmen fell a prey to them. The
commercial world suffered more heavily from the individual enterprises
of men such as the privateer captains Jean Bart and Dugouay Trouin than
from the great united fleets of France, and almost regretted the victory
which had called to life such enemies.

[Sidenote: Fall of Namur. June 30.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Steinkirk. Aug. 4.]

The chief incidents of the war in the Netherlands--the fall of the great
fortress of Namur, and the battle of Steinkirk--were very characteristic
of the art of war at this period. It was a time of slow, methodical, and
scientific movement in the field, but of great advance in the art of
attacking and defending fortresses, which in the hands of Vauban and
Cohorn was so far perfected, that for more than a century no important
change was made in the system they advocated. Louis did not press his
advantage; after taking Namur his army was diminished by detachments
sent to other quarters, and William thought he saw an opportunity of
striking a heavy blow against his weakened opponent. A traitor in the
English army had habitually informed Marshal Luxemburg of every movement
of the allied troops. His correspondence was discovered, and with a
pistol at his breast he was forced to write false information which
William dictated. Having thus, as he hoped, misdirected the vigilance of
his enemy, the King determined upon a surprise. The unexpected
difficulties offered by the country prevented its success. Luxemburg
got his troops into order with extraordinary rapidity, and the English
division under Mackay soon found itself hotly engaged. It was successful
in its first efforts, but the household troops of Louis were sent
against it, and Count Solmes withheld the supports which should have
come to its assistance. The division was nearly destroyed, and the anger
of the English blazed up fiercely against the Dutch general, who, set
over the head of the English commanders, thus basely deserted their

[Sidenote: Discontented Parliament. Nov. 4.]

It was thus, with many causes of discontent, that, upon the return of
William to England, the Parliament assembled. Mismanagement had
neutralized the great victory of La Hogue; the discovery of Preston's
plot had not been followed by a single act of justice upon the
Jacobites, a sharp quarrel had broken out between the Queen and her
sister, which, as Marlborough's treachery was unknown, seemed merely
capricious and causeless; the war in the Netherlands had been a mere
disastrous repetition of the last year's campaign; William's chief
misfortune was commonly attributed to the mismanagement, or perhaps the
treachery of the Dutch general; the House of Lords had been alienated by
the apprehension of two of its members, who had been put to their
recognizances, and no further charge brought against them; the harvest
in England had failed, so that corn had doubled its natural price; and
the police had grown so lax that highwaymen in gangs of twenty and
thirty infested the country, and robbed almost within sight of London.
Both Lords and Commons consequently entered warmly upon the
consideration of the state of the nation. But the continued jealousy
which existed between the two Houses brought their inquiries to nothing.
As yet neither Ministry nor Opposition was sufficiently organized to
secure the advantages either of stable government or of thorough reform.
The administration was carried on as before with all the evils of a
Ministry divided against itself, in the presence of a factious and
disorganized Opposition.

[Sidenote: The Land Tax.]

[Sidenote: Origin of the National Debt. Jan. 20, 1693.]

Some important steps were however taken with regard to finance. There
was still a tolerably unanimous feeling in favour of the war, and money
had to be procured. In the arrangements for supplying the necessary
money, the financial talents of Charles Montague, a young and rising
member of the Whig party, first became conspicuous. Early known as a man
of letters, and the author in company with Prior of "The Town and
Country Mouse," he had been introduced to the King by his patron the
Earl of Dorset, and, after strengthening his position by a marriage with
the Dowager Countess of Manchester, had entered political life, and had
been appointed one of the Lords of the Treasury in 1691. The financial
measures recommended consisted of a reorganization of the Land Tax and
of the first establishment of Government loans. The extraordinary
expenses of Government had in early times been met by subsidies. These
subsidies were levied both on moveables and on land, but were chiefly
supported by an assessment on the land at the nominal rate of four
shillings in the pound. Land had increased greatly in value as the
demand for it increased, while gold and silver had fallen greatly in
value after the discovery of America. In the assessment for subsidies
neither of these circumstances was taken into consideration. The four
shilling land tax had come in reality to be less than twopence in the
pound. During the Commonwealth, and subsequently, a different method of
taxation had been followed. The sum to be raised had been first
determined, and each landowner had been called upon to pay a
proportional share. In 1692 the Land Tax was reintroduced and
reorganized. A new valuation was made, and upon this basis a tax was
annually laid upon the land varying from a minimum of one shilling in
time of peace to four shillings in times of emergency. Four shillings on
this new valuation produced about £2,000,000. This sum fell considerably
short of what was required. In addition, therefore, a loan, which is the
origin of the National Debt, was raised. Money was plentiful in the
country, and was so easily obtained, that bubble companies and
stock-jobbing had become rife. Montague determined to turn some of this
superfluous wealth to the use of the country, and to spread the payment
of the debt over several generations. The plan at first adopted in
raising these loans was not exactly the same as our present method of
perpetual funding. The lenders were life annuitants, and the interest of
the loan was secured on new duties on beer and other liquors. As each
annuitant died his annuity was divided among the survivors, till their
number was reduced to seven, who would at that time be naturally in
receipt of an enormous interest on their original loan. After that, on
the death of each of those seven, his annuity lapsed to Government. The
whole debt would therefore be extinguished at the death of the
longest-lived annuitant.

[Sidenote: Disastrous campaign. 1693.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Landen. July 19.]

The money thus collected was soon spent upon another disastrous
campaign. Louis, in spite of the exhausted condition of his country,
made extraordinary efforts in all directions. As far as the English only
were concerned, the two great events of the campaign were the battle of
Landen and the destruction of the Smyrna fleet. Louis, using his late
conquest, Namur, for his point of departure, had formed two armies, one
under Boufflers, the other under Luxemburg, and hoped to repeat the
triumph of former years by the capture of either Liège or Brussels. But
he found it was impossible to take either of those cities without
fighting a pitched battle with William. In spite of the earnest request
of his generals, he withdrew to Versailles, and removed the army of
Boufflers to the Rhine. Though thus weakened, Luxemburg, by a threatened
attack upon Liège, induced William to reduce his forces to save that
town, and then falling upon him at Landen, defeated him after a battle,
the stubbornest and bloodiest of the war. William's skill somewhat
neutralized the effect of his defeat, and Charleroi was the only new
acquisition of the French in the Low Countries.

[Sidenote: Loss of the Smyrna fleet. June.]

The loss of the Smyrna fleet made perhaps even greater impression upon
the English than the defeat of Landen. The fleet, in which was
accumulated more than a year's supply for the Eastern markets, and which
numbered 400 ships, was to be convoyed in safety from London through the
Straits of Gibraltar. After passing the Channel unopposed, the English
admirals, supposing that the danger was over, withdrew towards England
with their ships of war, and the trading fleet passed onward, guarded
only by Rooke with about twenty men of war. Off St. Vincent it fell in
with the whole combined navy of France, for the squadrons of Toulon and
Brest had joined, and were lying in wait for their rich prey off the
coast of Spain. The convoy was completely broken up, many vessels
destroyed, while the others fled for safety in all directions. The loss
of the English was estimated at many millions. The disaster would
certainly have been much worse had not two Dutch ships which formed part
of the convoy gallantly sacrificed themselves, and engaged no less than
eighteen of the enemy's fleet.

In other parts of Europe the armies of France were equally successful.
Catalonia had been invaded and Rosas taken. Catinat had defeated the
Duke of Savoy in the great battle of Marsiglia (Oct. 3). The Turks had
compelled the Germans to raise the siege of Belgrade. Yet, in spite of
these successes, France was so worn out, that hints of a desire for
peace began to reach the English King.

[Sidenote: William's difficulty with regard to his Parliament.]

[Sidenote: He forms a united Whig ministry.]

The possibility of being called upon to settle this great point, and the
necessity of taking speedy advantage of his enemy's weakness, brought
more clearly home to William the great difficulty which had beset his
reign. For the position which was necessary to enable him to engage
authoritatively in the affairs of Europe, for the money required for the
pay of his army, and for the subsidies by which alone the allies were
kept true to their engagements, he was dependent upon Parliament. For at
the Revolution the Parliament had taken upon itself the supreme
authority of the nation. Yet upon that Parliament he was unable to rely;
for the representative body, though conscious of its power, had not yet
learnt to use it advantageously. It was that worst of all forms of
supreme power, a large disorganized assembly. Well aware that, both as
head of a confederacy and as a general, freedom of action was necessary
for him, William had kept as far as possible the management of foreign
affairs in his own hands, and had sought to win the favour of all
parties by a judicious impartiality. In the main he had been well
supported in his foreign policy; but faction was so rife, the increasing
divergence of opinion so great, and the capricious character of the
Lower House so evident, that he could take no important step with
confidence. He could not answer for a year's continuance of the war
spirit, nor be certain that any steps he might take with regard to peace
would be acknowledged even by his own ministers. It became necessary, if
possible, to introduce some order and organization into this uncertain
body. It would be better to risk a formal opposition of a certain
number, and be sure of unanimity in his own administration, than to be
at the caprice of a popular assembly. William therefore listened to the
suggestions of Sunderland, and determined to place himself entirely in
the hands of the Whig party, that party to which he owed his elevation
to the throne, and which was pledged to the continuation of the war.
During the next two years a change in ministry was gradually carried
out, which ended by the establishment in 1696 of the first united
ministry in English history. It was led by the chiefs of the Whig party,
of which the leaders were Somers, Halifax, Russell and Wharton (known
afterwards as the Junto).

[Sidenote: Party struggles.]

Parliament during these years was occupied in financial arrangements to
meet the constant drain of the war, and in perpetual party struggles
which terminated in the complete triumph of the Whigs, and in the
substitution of the leaders of that party for their Tory rivals in all
the chief offices of the administration. The first trial of strength
between the parties arose upon the question of the naval administration
of the former year. The whole nation smarted under the disasters which
had followed on the great victory of La Hogue, which the Whigs had
attributed not only to the maladministration of the two Tory admirals to
whom the fleet had been intrusted, but also to treachery. It was
impossible, they argued, that Louis could have denuded the Channel of
his fleet, and allowed a junction of his admirals so far south as St.
Vincent, unless he had had good reason to believe that the rich prey he
desired would fall into his hands but weakly guarded. The Tories, who
were unable to deny the maladministration, were anxious to exclude the
word "treacherous" from the motion. The Whig party was however
triumphant, and by a considerable majority the word was retained. But
though the general assertion of treason was thus made, the Commons, as
was not unusual, shrunk from fixing the treason upon any particular
person, and each individual accused was acquitted by a small majority.
Enough had been done, however, to give the King a fair opportunity of
re-establishing Russell, the great enemy of Nottingham the Secretary, at
the head of the Admiralty, and thus taking one step towards his Whig
ministry. It was impossible for Nottingham to remain in office with
Russell; he was consequently removed from the Secretaryship, and a fresh
vacancy thus created, which, after some delay, caused by the
conscientious scruples of Shrewsbury, who felt keenly the fault he had
once committed in tampering with the Jacobites, was filled by that
nobleman, one of the Whig chiefs. At the close of the session,
therefore, William found himself with most of his chief officers
belonging to the Whig party. Trenchard and Shrewsbury were Secretaries.
Russell was the head of the Admiralty. Somers was Lord Keeper, and
Montague Chancellor of the Exchequer. The only two Tories of importance
left were Caermarthen, Lord President, and Godolphin, at the head of the
Treasury. But the character of the latter minister led him to devote
himself almost exclusively to his official business, of which he was
master. Caermarthen was therefore, in fact, the only important element
of discord in the administration.

[Sidenote: Establishment of the Bank of England.]

[Sidenote: The Triennial Act passed. Dec. 1694.]

Montague owed his elevation to the continued success of his financial
plans. A fresh loan, known as the Lottery Loan--because though the whole
rate of interest was low, in exceptional cases chosen by lottery it was
very high--was successfully negotiated, and more important than this,
the Bank of England was triumphantly established. Banking with private
goldsmiths had come into fashion within the last two reigns, when the
convenience of cheques in the place of ready-money payments had become
obvious, while the advantage to the banker who had the use of the ready
money was also plain. The fault of the system was its insecurity, which
had been proved by the not unfrequent bankruptcy of one or other of the
banking goldsmiths. A Scotchman of the name of Paterson had some years
previously suggested the plan of a national bank, by which the
Government should obtain some of the advantages of the banker, and the
public, while gaining the convenience of cheques, should have a better
security than private goldsmiths offered. This scheme Montague now
adopted. He borrowed rather upwards of a million, and formed the lenders
into a banking company, allowing them to treat the loan to Government as
part of their capital, the interest of which, secured upon taxes, gave
them the requisite supply of ready money. They were bound to pursue no
other business except banking, yet, even with this restriction, so
desirable did the plan seem, that it was at once triumphantly carried
through. As a contingent advantage to Government, it is to be observed
that the company, which included many of the chiefs of the moneyed
interest, were pledged, for their own preservation, to support the
present settlement of the throne. Their existence depended upon the
regular payment of the interest upon their loan, which it was scarcely
possible that the Jacobites, if successful, would pay. The importance of
this point became very obvious afterwards, when, in more than one
crisis, the credit of Government was saved by advances from the Bank.
One other important measure was carried by this Parliament, and that
also was in accordance with the principles of the Whigs. This was the
Triennial Act, limiting the duration of Parliament to three years. The
King, always jealous of his prerogative, had already once refused his
assent to this Bill; but now, having placed himself in Whig hands, he
withdrew his opposition, and the Bill was passed.

[Sidenote: Death of Queen Mary. Dec. 20.]

He was indeed in no position to enter into a struggle with his
Parliament. A great blow was falling on him, which unhinged him more
than any difficulties or defeats had yet done. This was the death of his
wife, who had sickened of the smallpox, and, after a short illness, died
on the 20th of December 1694. Her death caused universal sorrow in
England and among the Protestant interest on the Continent, while it
raised the hopes of James and his friends, who believed, not without a
show of reason, that William succeeded in holding his place chiefly by
means of the popularity of his Queen. Their hopes proved ill founded,
for though at first the King seemed so broken-hearted that he declared
he could never again lead an army, when once he had conquered his first
grief, he resumed his old energy, and success such as he had never yet
met with attended his efforts both at home and abroad.

[Sidenote: Expulsion of Trevor for venality, March 1695,]

Meanwhile in England there was no cessation in the strife of parties.
The Whigs pursued their triumphant course, and combined to remove the
last of their opponents from the Government. Trevor, a Tory, had in the
early part of the reign been made Speaker of the House, chiefly for the
purpose of carrying out Caermarthen's plans of corruption. Employed in
corrupting others, it was not likely that he should be himself above
corruption. Suspicions of his venality having arisen, the Whigs
proceeded to examine the accounts of the City of London and of the East
India Company, which, after much contest, had obtained a renewal of its
charter. The Committee found that the City had paid Sir John Trevor in
the preceding session 1000 guineas for forwarding a local Bill. The
proof was too clear to be questioned. Trevor from the chair had to put
the question whether he was guilty or not of high crime and
misdemeanour, and to declare before all men that "the Ayes had it." He
saved himself from the unutterable ignominy of announcing his own
expulsion by feigning illness. A new Speaker, Foley, who did not belong
clearly to either party, was elected in his place.

[Sidenote: and of Caermarthen. May.]

The accounts of the East India Company afforded the Whigs even greater
triumph. Sir Thomas Cook, who was the head of the Company, confessed to
having disbursed very large sums to secure the charter, but would give
no particular accounts. The Commons, determined not to be thwarted,
passed a Bill condemning him to refund all the money thus spent, in
addition to a heavy fine, unless he made a full confession. In the Upper
House the Bill was strongly opposed by Lord Caermarthen, now Duke of
Leeds, who, laying his hand upon his heart, solemnly averred that he had
no personal interest in the matter, and was moved by public
considerations only. It was finally arranged that a joint Committee of
the two Houses should inquire into the expenditure of the money that had
been secretly spent, and that if Cook confessed he should be held
guiltless. The joint Committee met; the King and the Duke of Portland,
whose guilt in the matter had been suggested by the Tories, were proved
perfectly innocent. But £5000 were traced, if not to the Duke of Leeds
himself, at all events to his confidential man of business. Articles of
impeachment were made out against him. They could not, however, be
brought forward, because the man of business, who would have supplied
necessary evidence, had made his escape to Holland. The Duke of Leeds
continued to assert his innocence, but confessed that he had allowed
money to be paid to his steward, considering this a very different thing
from taking it himself. It also appeared that the money had been
refunded the very morning of the first sitting of the joint Committee.
Though foiled of their impeachment, the Whigs and the Commons had done
their work. Leeds was obliged to retire from active life, and was never
afterwards employed in the administration. The sole discordant member of
the Government was thus got rid of.

[Sidenote: Success abroad. June 1694.]

Abroad likewise affairs took a turn more favourable to England and the
Whigs. Just before the death of Mary the war had entered into a somewhat
new phase. The navies of the two great powers had transferred the scene
of operations to the Mediterranean. Thither Tourville had gone from
Brest, and thither Russell, with the English fleet, had followed him. He
had found means to keep the French fleet in harbour, and to do good
service to the general cause by the relief of Barcelona, which was on
the point of falling into the hands of the French.

[Sidenote: Treachery of Marlborough.]

The absence of the French fleet from Brest, which led to the supposition
that the harbour must be unguarded, seemed to afford an opportunity for
an attack in that quarter. An expedition was planned; the forces were
intrusted to Talmash, while the Duke of Leeds' son Caermarthen commanded
the fleet. It gave occasion for a new act of villany on the part of
Marlborough; though the plan was kept a profound secret, he contrived to
worm it out, and as had happened once or twice before in his career, he
used his knowledge only to lay the details of the plan before James, and
to secure the destruction of the English expedition. Vauban, the great
French engineer, was sent down to re-fortify the place. Every
vantage-ground was crowned with batteries, and into the trap thus laid
for him Talmash had rushed headlong to meet his death, in company with
700 English soldiers (June 7, 1694). Marlborough's treachery in this
instance was rather personal than political. Talmash alone of the
English generals could in any way compete with him, and he knew that at
his death or failure William, who it must be recollected did not know
the full extent of his treachery, would be obliged to restore him to his
command. His treacherous plan succeeded. He was again employed, though
so thoroughly mistrusted, that William refused when he went abroad to
give the regency to Anne, which he well knew would be but to give it to
Marlborough. But the death of Mary, which occurred at the close of the
year, while it excited the other Jacobites to action, for a time
rendered Marlborough true to William; for it was followed by a
reconciliation between the King and the Princess Anne, and Marlborough
was now content to wait till the King's death for the completion of his
designs. The more earnest Jacobites followed a different course, and it
was in the midst of a conspiracy aimed against his life by Fenwick,
Charnock, and Porter, that William set out for Flanders (May 1695).

[Sidenote: Campaign in Flanders. 1695.]

[Sidenote: Surrender of Namur. Aug. 26.]

In that country he had no longer the same formidable enemy with whom to
contend. Luxemburg was dead, and his place was ill supplied by Villeroy
and Louis' illegitimate son, the Duke of Maine, who was sent to learn
the art of war under him. As Flanders was expected to be the great seat
of war, the bulk of the French army was placed under Villeroy in that
country. Boufflers, with 12,000 men, guarded the Sambre. William,
however, had set his heart upon regaining Namur. Judicious feints
deceived Villeroy as to his intentions, and suddenly his own army, that
of the Brandenburgers and that of the Elector of Bavaria, marched
straight against the city. Boufflers had just time to throw himself with
his troops into the town. A body of troops under the Prince of Vaudemont
had been left to watch Villeroy in Flanders. When that general advanced,
the Prince could not hold his isolated position, and only succeeded in
making good his retreat through the cowardice of the Duke of Maine.
Villeroy advanced almost unopposed. He took the towns of Dixmuyde and
Deynse, the garrisons of which, contrary to the terms of capitulation,
were sent prisoners to France; and hoping by threatening the capital to
draw William from Namur, he approached and ruthlessly and uselessly
bombarded Brussels. But, undisturbed by Villeroy's manœuvres, William
energetically pursued the siege. He was assisted by Cohorn, who had
originally fortified the town, and had seen it taken by the skill of his
great rival Vauban. Vauban had since much increased the fortifications,
and Cohorn was eager to regain his honour by capturing it. At length,
after some fierce assaults, in which the English under Lord Cutts, who
for his bravery under fire got the nickname of "the Salamander," had
greatly distinguished themselves, the town surrendered, but the castle
still held out. It became evident to Villeroy that the actual presence
of his army could alone raise the siege. Drawing troops from all the
neighbouring garrisons, he approached with 80,000 men. But William now
felt himself strong enough to give him battle without withdrawing from
his operations. For three days the armies remained in presence, and
William lay expecting the attack, but Villeroy judged his position too
strong to be taken, and withdrew. The fate of the fortress was now
sealed, but Boufflers thought that his honour demanded that he should
stand an assault; nor was it till the English had succeeded at the cost
of 2000 men in making a lodgment in the place that he consented to
treat, and for the first time in history a French marshal surrendered a
fortress to a victorious enemy. Having gone through the ceremony of
surrender, Boufflers was much surprised and enraged at being arrested on
his road to France. His angry exclamations against the breach of the
terms of capitulation were met by the reply, that William was only
following the example of Louis with regard to the garrisons of Dixmuyde
and Deynse. He was kept in honourable imprisonment till those garrisons
were restored.

[Sidenote: William's triumphant return. Oct. 10.]

[Sidenote: New Whig Parliament. Nov. 22.]

It was thus no longer as a beaten and unfortunate, though skilful
general, that William returned to England. The Triennial Bill having
come into operation, the present Parliament would have come to a natural
conclusion the following year. It had on the whole acted so much in
favour of William and the Whigs, that William, could he have prolonged
it, would probably have been willing to do so. But he wisely judged that
it would be better to call his new Parliament while still popular from
his successes, than to wait the chances of the future year. The event
proved that he was right. A brilliant triumphant progress through
England was followed by the return of a Parliament with an immense
majority favourable to the war and to the Whig interests. Four Whigs
were returned for London. Westminster followed the example of the
neighbouring city, and so great was the enthusiasm that even the great
Tory leader Seymour, whose interest in Devonshire was believed to render
his return for Exeter sure, was defeated in that town. The Parliament
thus assembled had very important work before it, and, acting in unison
with the King, his ministry, and the whole country, carried it through
to a noble conclusion.

[Sidenote: Re-establishment of the currency.]

This important work was the re-establishment of the currency. The
English coin had originally been of hammered metal, it was constantly
liable to inequality in weight, and being left with raw edges, easily
clipped. In Charles II.'s reign this defect had been partially cured by
the use of machinery, and words had been printed round the edges of the
coin; but as the bad hammered coinage was allowed to be current side by
side with the new milled coinage, the better coinage had either been
hoarded or had left the country, as invariably happens, when some part
of the coinage of the country is of less intrinsic value than the rest.
Consequently the evil became worse. Coin was more constantly clipped,
and as it wore out was more easily counterfeited. Its defects at length
became so obvious that shopkeepers refused to take it except by weight;
thus causing heavy suffering to the lower orders, who generally received
their wages by tale, and had to pay by weight, and every little
transaction became the occasion of a dispute. So far had the evil gone,
that when trials were made in different parts of the country, the
coinage had proved on an average to be little more than half its proper
weight. A re-issue of coin became absolutely necessary. The arrangements
fell into the hands of Somers and Montague, of John Locke the
philosopher, and Isaac Newton the mathematician. In devising their plan
two great questions met them. By whom should the expense be borne? How
could the inconvenience of the short supply of coin which must
inevitably follow when the present coinage was called in be best
alleviated? A very large minority wished to avoid the difficulty by
keeping the present money in circulation, but lowering its nominal
value. This plan, which was in fact to perpetrate a fraud upon all
creditors, was not likely to find favour with the four sagacious men
with whom the question rested. Two schemes recommended themselves
chiefly to their attention. Locke proposed that, after a certain fixed
date, the coin should be valued by weight only. This prevented any
deficiency in the circulating medium, as the present money would not be
withdrawn from circulation, but it threw the whole expense of bringing
the nominal and real value of the coin into harmony, not on the
Government, but on the individual possessors of the coin. It was
evidently fairer that, where the evil was a national one, the nation
should bear the expense. Somers suggested that, with extreme secresy, a
proclamation should be prepared, saying that in three days the hammered
coin should pass by weight only, but that those who held it might bring
it in parcels to the mint, where it should be counted and weighed, and
immediately restored, with a written promise of a future payment of the
difference between the nominal and real value of the coin. Thus the
money would be withdrawn from circulation only for the short time
necessary to count it, while the nation would subsequently pay the
difference. But for this plan secresy and suddenness were necessary, or
the intervening period would have given opportunity and temptation for
unlimited mutilation of the coinage. Secresy would have rendered it
impossible to consult Parliament, and Montague, in the existing state of
party feeling, shrank from the responsibility this implied. It was
therefore determined to act in a perfectly honest, simple and
straightforward manner; and immediately on the opening of Parliament, a
Bill was framed in accordance with certain resolutions previously taken.
By these it was declared that the old standard should be kept up, that
milled coin should alone be used, that the loss should fall on the
nation, not on individuals, and that the 4th of May following should be
the last day on which hammered coin should be allowed to be used. The
advantage of the good understanding between the Government and the Bank
now became evident. To meet the expense of the new coinage, £1,200,000
was wanted. The Bank advanced it without difficulty on the security of a
window tax, which took the place of the much hated hearth tax, and which
lasted on almost to our own time. At last the critical day, the 4th of
May, drew near. Fortunately the country was in an enthusiastic mood. Two
great Jacobite plots, closely connected, which had been concocted during
the previous summer, had been discovered. These were Berwick's plot for
a general insurrection of the Jacobites and for an invasion from France;
and a plot concocted at St. Germains, intrusted to Barclay, for the
assassination of William on his road from Kensington to Richmond.
Invasion and assassination are the two forms of conspiracy which the
English people cannot bear; and the full discovery of these schemes,
with the proved certainty that both Louis and James were fully conscious
of all their atrocious details, roused the nation for an instant to an
unusual unanimity of enthusiasm, and enabled Parliament to set on foot a
great association, signed by hundreds of thousands, who pledged
themselves to stand by the King, to support the war, and to pursue with
vengeance any attempt upon his life. Good tempered and loyal though the
people were the crisis was a fearful one. The operations of the mint
were very slow. £4,000,000 of the old coinage lay melted in the treasury
vaults. As yet scarcely any new silver had appeared. Money was not to be
had either for trade or for private payments. Large employers somehow
contrived, with a certain quantity of the old coinage which had not been
clipped, to pay the wages. But the greater part of England lived on
credit; and it is probable that even thus the crisis would scarcely
have been got over, had it not been for an expedient of Montague's, who
issued Government securities, bearing interest at threepence a day on
£100. These are what are known now as Exchequer bills, and form a
floating debt due by Government. They were eagerly used, and with the
paper issues of the Bank and the free use of cheques and credit by all,
the dangerous time was tided over.

[Sidenote: William's want of money.]

But the most alarming feature was not the difficulty in the commercial
world, but the difficulty felt by Government and by the King himself in
provisioning the troops and carrying on the war. In the midst of the
commercial crisis the Bank of England had met with great difficulties;
the goldsmiths, who had always hated their great rival, took the
opportunity of attempting to destroy it by villanous means, they bought
up all the Bank paper on which they could lay hands, and suddenly
bringing it forward, demanded immediate payment. The Bank directors with
great courage gained time by refusing to pay the nefarious claim, and
referring their enemies to the courts of law. By means of calls on their
subscribers they continued to pay by far the greater part of the private
and just claims upon them, but they did not appear to be in a position
to assist the King when he suddenly wrote home to say that £200,000 were
absolutely necessary.

[Sidenote: The Land Bank a failure.]

William had hoped that his wants would have been met by the
establishment, in accordance with a favourite plan of the Tories, of a
Land Bank, as a rival to the Bank of England. This somewhat absurd
scheme had been invented by a projector of the name of Chamberlain, who
supposed that every proprietor of land possessing that security ought to
have the disposal of at least as much money as his land was worth, and
therefore suggested a bank which should lend money entirely upon landed
security, overlooking the difficulty that land is not always at hand and
payable on demand as money is. Harley, the representative of the Tories,
now offered to advance the Government £2,500,000 at 7 per cent. The
payment of his interest was to be secured by a tax upon salt. If half
that sum should be subscribed before August, and half of that half paid
up, the subscribers were to be incorporated as the Land Bank. This Bank
was expressly intended to suit the wants of the country gentry, and to
injure the moneyed interest. The company was therefore bound to lend no
money but on mortgage, and to lend on mortgage at least half a million a
year. It was not allowed to receive more than 3½ per cent. interest on
these mortgages. Now, as the ordinary rate of interest on mortgages was
nearly 7 per cent. it was plain that no capitalist would lend his money
at half of the ordinary profits. It might have been plain also that the
landed gentry whose chief object was to borrow were not likely to lend.
It was not therefore very obvious where the capital was to come from.
The King, however, hoping to obtain money on easy terms, headed the list
of subscribers with £5000. When the Land Bank was called upon to advance
its promised loan, it was found that the whole subscriptions consisted
of no more than £6200. So eager was the Government for money, that it
offered to give the Bank its charter in exchange for a loan of £40,000
only, but the subscriptions never rose beyond £7500, and the scheme
proved completely abortive.

[Sidenote: The Bank of England supplies the money. Aug. 15.]

The King was compelled therefore to apply to the Bank of England, which
by his patronage of the Land Bank he had done his best to injure. True
to their political creed, a full court of subscribers consented to
advance the necessary £200,000, without one dissentient voice. The
Government was saved, and the connection between the Bank of England and
the Whig party sealed for ever. Meanwhile, Newton's efforts as Master of
the Mint had been ultimately successful. Provincial mints had been
established, and from them and from the mint in London £120,000 of coin
was turned out every day. By August the crisis was over, and a period of
unbroken commercial prosperity began.

[Sidenote: Credit of England restored.]

But although marks of commercial prosperity were already visible, the
financial difficulty was not entirely over. When William, who had been
abroad during the worst of the difficulty, opened Parliament upon his
return (Oct. 20), he had to confess that, although the crisis had passed
without disturbance in England or great disaster abroad, there was still
need for some exhibition of continued firmness on the part of
Parliament. In fact, the plan of reducing the standard of the coin was
so plausible, and had impressed itself so deeply on the ignorance of the
masses, that a very large party both in and out of Parliament were still
anxious to have recourse to that step, and till all chance of such a
measure was gone no speculators were willing to put the new money in
circulation, and it was constantly hoarded. Consequently a scarcity of
money still prevailed; and not only in England, but throughout Europe,
there was a very general feeling that England was ruined, that the
source of wealth which had hitherto supplied the European coalition with
the means of war was dried up, and that peace was inevitable. But in the
midst of these difficulties the triumph of the Whigs was complete. The
Parliament stood firm, and carried by a triumphant majority three
resolutions, which destroyed all the hopes of the enemies of England.
First, that the Commons would assist the King to prosecute the war with
vigour; secondly, that under no circumstances should the standard of
money be changed; thirdly, the Parliament pledged itself to make good
the deficiencies in Parliamentary funds established since the King's
accession. The first promise was at once abundantly fulfilled by
munificent grants for the war; the second caused the immediate
production of the hoarded coin; while upon the third was framed
Montague's plan known by the name of the General Mortgage. Taxes set
apart to meet the interest of various loans had proved insufficient. The
deficit was no less than £5,160,000. It was now ordered that, should the
proceeds of the old funds and new taxes now set aside for the purpose
prove insufficient, the general funds of the country should be charged
with the liquidation of the debts. By such means as these the credit of
the country was finally re-established.

[Sidenote: The Assassination plot.]

The discovery of the Assassination plot, and the enthusiasm to which it
gave rise, has been already alluded to. It was one of two Jacobite
conspiracies, matured in the middle of the crisis, when it was a common
belief that the Government would never be able to pass securely through
the dangers which surrounded it. One of these conspiracies was for a
general rising of the Jacobites and a simultaneous invasion of England
from France. The completion of this plot was intrusted to James's
natural son, the Duke of Berwick, and in it, had it been carried out,
would have been involved all the best of the Jacobite gentry of England.
But side by side with it was a baser conspiracy, among the more
unprincipled and desperate friends of James, for the assassination of
the King. The management of this conspiracy, which is known by the name
of the Assassination Plot, was intrusted to Sir George Barclay, a Scotch
refugee. It seems certain that the scheme was sanctioned by James
himself, as Barclay was sent over with a few select followers and a
considerable sum of money, authorised to do any acts of hostility which
might conduce to the service of the King. It was also certainly known to
the Duke of Berwick, who was informed of every step in its progress. He
was too honourable himself to take a declared part in it, but did not
feel called upon in any way to interfere in the matter. His own mission
proved unsuccessful. The English Jacobites were willing to rise, but not
till a French army appeared in the country. On the other hand, Berwick
could only assure them that, after the failures which had already taken
place, no French army would enter the country till the Jacobites were
actually in arms. On this point the negotiations broke down, and
Berwick, unwilling to be mixed up with the darker schemes of Barclay,
hastened to leave England before the fatal day should arrive. This day,
the 15th of February, had been already fixed. Barclay had succeeded in
collecting about forty men, some supplied from France, some English
Jacobites of desperate character. With these it was determined to
assault the King on his return from hunting in Richmond Forest. Every
Saturday he was in the habit of going thither, crossing the Thames by
boat near Turnham Green. The spot chosen was a narrow swampy lane
leading up from the river. But, just before the time fixed, William
received from Portland information that there was a design upon his
life. He was induced to postpone his hunting, although he gave little
faith to the information, which had been received from most
untrustworthy sources. But in the course of the following week fresh
information was brought by a gentleman of the name of Pendergrass, who
was known to be an honourable man. Every precaution was taken to allay
the suspicions of the conspirators, and on the very day when the attempt
should have been made several of the leaders were arrested. The troops
were set in motion, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent repaired to his county,
and Russell hastened to take command of the fleet to oppose the intended
invasion. French troops had been already collected at Calais, and Louis,
who had been informed of the scheme, though he had not actually
authorized it, had determined to take advantage of the opportunity its
success would offer.

[Sidenote: Excitement in the country. Feb. 24.]

[Sidenote: Arrest and execution of the conspirators.]

The measures taken proved sufficient. When the King went in state to
Parliament, and explained what had been done, the enthusiasm of the
House was roused. Two Bills were rapidly passed, the one suspending the
Habeas Corpus Act, the other ordering that the Parliament should not be
dissolved by the death of William, and an association was set on foot by
which the House of Commons bound itself to stand by King William, to
avenge his murder, and to support the order of succession settled by the
Bill of Rights. Throughout the country the feeling excited was very
strong. Means were taken in all the cities of England to search
thoroughly for conspirators, the house of one of them was razed to the
ground by the populace, and one after the other most of them were
captured. Three of them, Charnock, King and Keyes, were brought to
trial. Only a few months before, a Bill which had occupied the public
attention through several sessions had received the royal assent. By
this the procedure in the case of trials for treason had been changed.
Before the passing of that Bill a prisoner charged with treason had not
been allowed to see the indictment before he was brought to the bar. He
could not put his witnesses upon oath, nor compel their attendance, nor
was he allowed the service of counsel, while the Crown enjoyed all the
advantages of which he was deprived. The Bill enacted that all the
above-named disabilities should be removed. The opposition to this Bill
had been grounded chiefly upon the advantage it appeared to give to
traitors at a time when the Government was notoriously open to their
attacks; and Parliament had, by way of compromise, postponed till the
25th of March 1696 (at that time the beginning of the new year) the
operation of the Act. The prisoners claimed, not without some show of
reason, a postponement of the trial till that date. But their request
was overruled, the trial was proceeded with at once, and they were all
condemned and executed (March 24).

[Sidenote: Trial of Sir John Fenwick. Aug.]

[Sidenote: His execution. Jan. 28, 1697.]

But, by the witness of two of the informers, Porter and Goodman, a more
important person had been implicated, if not in the present plot, yet at
least in one of a similar nature which had been set on foot immediately
after the Queen's death. This was Sir John Fenwick, a man highly
connected, who had brought himself prominently forward as a Jacobite
intriguer, and had earned the personal dislike of William by a public
insult to the Queen. By the law of Edward VI. two witnesses were
necessary to prove the guilt of treason, and Fenwick's chief hopes lay
in his being able to bribe either Porter or Goodman to leave the
country. His first attempt on Porter failed. Porter informed the
Government, received the money, and gave up the agent who offered it
him. Fenwick then attempted to gain time by making a confession. This
was drawn up with great art: while none of the real facts were brought
to light, accusations, only too well founded upon fact, were brought
against Marlborough, Godolphin, Russell, and Shrewsbury. It was asserted
that Marlborough had promised to bring over the army, Russell the navy,
while Godolphin only held office by the leave of the exiled King.
William, with great wisdom, although he knew how much truth there was in
these accusations, absolutely ignored them, and ordered the trial of
Fenwick to be proceeded with without delay. But some of the contents of
the confession became known, and the Whigs decided that, for the honour
of the party, it could not be passed over in silence. Godolphin, the
last remaining Tory in the Government, they would have been unwilling to
acquit; he was induced to resign, and the course was now clear. It was
of the highest importance that a real confession should be got from
Fenwick, but this he now refused to give, as he had just received
information that his agents had contrived to get Goodman, the second
witness against him, out of the country. Exasperated by seeing, as they
thought, the enemy, who had tried to undermine the character of their
chiefs, slipping from their grasp, the Whigs brought the question before
the House. The confession was voted false and scandalous, and rather
than let their victim escape, in the heat of their anger, they
determined to have recourse to the dangerous expedient of a Bill of
Attainder (Nov. 13). This attempt, which, as it superseded the law of
the land by an exercise of the power of Parliament, had an
unconstitutional and revengeful appearance, met with the strongest
opposition, but was carried in the Lower House by a small majority. The
question became one of party, and finally, after a long struggle, it
passed the House of Lords by a majority of only seven. Great interest
was made for the prisoner, but William refused to listen to any request
for pardon, and Fenwick was executed. William's inflexibility is better
explained by his desire to shield the Whig party, whom Fenwick would
certainly have accused during his trial, than by the supposed existence
of a personal hostility between himself and his prisoner.

[Sidenote: Complete triumph of the Whigs. April 16.]

This troublesome business having been got rid of, the session closed in
complete triumph for the Whigs, among whose leaders promotions were
freely distributed. Somers was raised to the Peerage and made Lord
Chancellor, Russell became Earl of Orford, and Montague became First
Lord of the Treasury. This triumph of the party reached its climax in
the course of the year, when the war was brought to an end, and the
policy of William and the Whigs vindicated by the signature of the Peace
of Ryswick.

[Sidenote: Louis desires peace.]

[Sidenote: Opposition of the coalition.]

[Sidenote: Terms of peace.]

[Sidenote: Treaty of Ryswick. Sept. 10.]

During the critical year 1696 want of money had paralyzed the action of
both armies in the Netherlands, the destruction of the French magazines
at Givet had rendered it difficult for Louis to maintain his troops,
while William, though England was by no means exhausted as France was,
was as completely hampered by the want of ready money. Louis had indeed
in the course of the year made overtures for peace, but the improvement
in his prospects, caused by the conduct of the Duke of Savoy, who had
deserted the coalition, joined his army to the French under Marshal
Catinat, and successfully insisted that Austria and Spain should declare
the neutralization of Italy, had induced him to recede from one of the
fundamental conditions of peace--the recognition of William as King of
England. The negotiations had been broken off, but succeeding events
induced Louis, in 1697, to renew his proposals. The Assassination Plot
had failed; William was more popular and better supported than he had
ever been; the country had passed successfully through its period of
crisis, had emerged more powerful than ever and more determined to
support the war, and the great French military project for the capture
of Brussels had been thwarted by the rapidity of William's movements.
Louis therefore now, for the first time in his life, offered reasonable
terms, consenting to resign many of the conquests he had made during the
war, to give back Lorraine to its Duke, Luxemburg to Spain, Strasburg to
the Empire, and to acknowledge the King of England. William, who was
never carried away even by his most impetuous feelings, much as he hated
France, at once recognized the justice of these offers and the wisdom of
accepting them. He found however much difficulty in managing the
coalition. The two great powers who had done the least to support the
war now did all in their power to frustrate the pacification. Spain,
moved by a foolish vanity little suitable to its weak condition, made
demands which it was impossible that Louis should grant, while the
Emperor, moved by selfish policy, would have been only too glad to
continue a war, carried on chiefly at the cost of England, till the
death of the Spanish King, which was every day expected. He would then,
he imagined, be able to secure by means of the European coalition his
succession to that monarchy. At length, after many difficulties,
plenipotentiaries from France and the coalition were assembled (March
1697), the one party at the Hague, the other at Delft, and conferences
were held at Ryswick, which lies nearly equidistant between these two
towns. But the ceremonies of diplomacy, the ridiculous details of
precedence, seemed to promise that the negotiations would be dragged out
to an interminable length. William was not to be so treated. Having made
up his mind that peace was desirable and that the terms offered were
fair, he was determined that the peace should be speedily made. While
the plenipotentiaries were wasting their time at Ryswick, a series of
private meetings took place between Portland and Marshal Boufflers,
between the armies, a few miles from Brussels. A few meetings sufficed
to settle the terms, which were reduced to writing on the 6th of July.
Beyond the general terms of treaty already offered by France, some
personal questions between William and Louis had to be settled. A mutual
promise was exchanged that neither king would countenance assaults upon
the other. William was to be acknowledged as King of England, and the
Princess Anne as his successor. Mary of Modena was to receive whatever
sum of money the English Law Courts held to be her due; and though
Louis, with his usual magnanimity, refused to stipulate that James
should leave France, it was understood that he should withdraw either to
Avignon or to Italy. Spain and the Emperor still refused to accept the
proffered terms. Louis declared that, unless they were accepted by the
21st of August, he should no longer hold himself bound by them. The day
passed, and, as was to be expected, the French King raised fresh
demands; he would no longer surrender Strasburg. But the opposition of
Spain had already been crushed. The disasters of the year had brought
that country to reason; Vendome had captured Barcelona, and a French
fleet, joined by the buccaneers of the West Indies, had taken and sacked
Carthagena. William therefore, though much vexed at the obstinacy of the
Emperor, which involved the loss of Strasburg, found himself able to
accept the new terms, in concert with all the great powers of the
coalition, with the exception of the Emperor, and at length, on the 10th
of September, a treaty was concluded between France, Holland, Spain and
England. France surrendered all the conquests made since the Treaty of
Nimeguen, and placed the chief fortresses of the Low Countries in the
hands of Dutch garrisons; William was recognized as King of England,
Anne as his successor, and all assistance was withdrawn from James. A
month later the Emperor also consented to treat. By this second treaty
all the towns acquired since the Peace of Nimeguen, with the exception
of Strasburg, were restored, together with Fribourg, Brissac,
Philipsburg, and all French fortifications on the right bank of the
Rhine. Lorraine was restored to its Duke, Leopold, who granted however a
passage through his dominions for French troops. The Elector of Cologne
was recognized, and the rights of the Duchess of Orleans upon the
Palatinate compromised for money. William and the European coalition
were thus triumphant. Louis had for the first time to withdraw to his
own boundaries, and the succession of England was secured. At the same
time France gained what had now become absolutely necessary, time to
recruit her strength, and leisure to prepare for that great struggle
which all men saw to be imminent, when the death of Charles II. of
Spain, without a direct heir, should leave the succession of that great
monarchy to be disputed among the various claimants.

The joy of England at the conclusion of the war was enthusiastic. The
King made a triumphal entry into London, and was everywhere received
with enthusiasm. The crowning point of his reign had been reached.
Almost without knowing it, he had solved the great constitutional
question of the time, and, supported by a ministry in harmony with the
Commons, and the national representatives in harmony with the people,
had triumphantly brought to conclusion the great objects of his life,
established the Protestant succession in England, and proved to Louis
the necessity of respecting the rights and feelings of the rest of

[Sidenote: The Parliament reduces the standing army.]

On the very day after the rejoicings to celebrate the Peace of Ryswick,
on the 3rd of December 1697, the Parliament, which had hitherto shown
itself so firm in support of the Crown, so unanimous and vigorous in its
action, met for its third and last session. William had every right to
expect a period of peace and prosperity. But, unfortunately, the very
success for which England was rejoicing brought with it the seeds of
faction and division. For at once a question had to be settled, on which
the Whig party was itself divided, and on which the national feeling was
on the whole strongly opposed to the King. The establishment of peace
naturally involved the question of the fate of the great army, numbering
more than 80,000 men, which England had kept up for the last nine years.
The nation, suffering heavily from taxation, was not likely to be
willing to continue in peace the efforts made during war. It was,
moreover, a deeply ingrained feeling among the country gentry of both
parties that a standing army in time of peace was an intolerable evil.
The Tories had indeed already adopted the policy which long marked the
party. They would have wished England to confine itself, even in war, to
the pursuit of success upon the sea, which they regarded as her natural
element, and to have withdrawn as far as possible from all the
complications of Continental policy. But, even setting aside this view,
the experience of both parties led them very naturally to regard an army
in time of peace as the inevitable instrument of tyranny. While the
Tories remembered with horror the triumphant Ironsides of Cromwell, the
Whigs recalled with no less detestation the importation of Irish troops
at the close of the last reign, and London overawed by the great camp at
Hounslow. On the other hand, William, with his eyes fixed abroad, with a
profound mistrust of France, and certain knowledge of the rapid approach
of another great Continental quarrel, could not bring himself to approve
of the breaking up of an army which he had brought to such perfection.
The ministry, under his immediate influence, and guided by the
far-sighted sagacity of Somers, believed, like the King, in the approach
of fresh danger, and thoroughly disbelieved in the efficacy of
half-drilled militia to withstand such well-trained troops as Louis had
always at his disposal. The national feeling was, however, too strong to
be withstood. A resolution was passed that the number of soldiers should
be reduced to the same amount as had been kept on foot after the peace
of Nimeguen, a resolution which was liberally construed by the
Government to mean 10,000. On other points the ministry and the
Parliament remained at one. It was in vain that an attack was directed
against William's lavish grants of Crown lands, in vain that an
accusation of peculation was directed against Montague, it resulted only
in a formal declaration on the part of the Commons of the great services
of that statesman.

[Sidenote: The East Indian trade.]

[Sidenote: Formation of the General East India Company. 1698.]

[Sidenote: The two Companies united. 1708.]

Montague's success as a financier had indeed reached its culminating
point in this session by the temporary settlement of the question with
regard to the Indian trade which had so long excited the commercial
public in England. It has been incidentally mentioned that the renewal
of the charter to the East India Company in 1693 had produced the fall
of Lord Caermarthen. The Company, originally consisting chiefly of Whigs
and incorporated by royal charter, had, in the hands of Sir Josiah
Child, who exerted an almost dictatorial authority in its management,
allied itself closely to the Tories. Its monopoly had also become very
unpopular, as the increase of capital and the great receipts of the
Indian trade had excited a wish among the mercantile community to enter
more largely upon that branch of traffic. As early as 1691 an
association of its enemies had been formed, which, although it was not
chartered, was commonly spoken of as the new Company, and had succeeded
in obtaining a request from the Parliament to the King that he would
give the old Company the three years' notice of the withdrawal of its
charter which was legally required. An accidental illegality had in fact
just then invalidated the charter. It was to procure its restoration
that, in 1693, Cook, to whom Child had now relinquished much of his
authority, had so lavishly expended the secret service money, some of
which had been traced to Caermarthen. His bribery was successful. The
charter was renewed by the King, but the Parliament, at the instigation
of the new Company, took a different view of the question, and declared
that every man had a right to trade, unless debarred by Act of
Parliament. This declaration of the limits of the constitutional power
of the Crown in matters of trade William could not venture to oppose.
From that time onwards, therefore, the trade had been legally free, but
the power of the Company had been so great in the Indian seas, and its
conduct so oppressive, that it had been impossible for free traders to
carry on their business with any success. Again, in 1698, the question
was strongly pressed upon the attention of Parliament, and again the old
Company found strong supporters in the Tory party, while the Whigs
upheld the demands of those who wished to participate in its advantages.
There was a division in the views of the opponents of the Company. Some
were eager for perfect freedom of trade, while others joined in the
general feeling of the nation, that, although the present monopoly was a
bad one, some sort of restriction was still necessary. It was understood
that to advance money to Government was the surest way to obtain its
support, and the old Company offered £700,000, at four per cent., as the
price of the renewal of its charter. But Montague, anxious for money to
relieve the embarrassments of the Government, anxious to establish a
second great Whig society of capitalists, who would support him as the
Bank had already done, believed that he saw his way to gaining those
ends by opposing the Company, and brought forward a plan by which he
hoped to secure the support of both sections of its opponents. He
suggested the formation of a company, to be called the General Company,
and proposed that a loan of £2,000,000, at eight per cent., should be
advanced to Government, and that the subscribers should receive the
monopoly of the Indian trade, but be free from the obligation of trading
as a joint-stock society, unless they should afterwards wish it. He
carried the Bill for its formation through Parliament, and, in spite of
the forebodings of his enemies, found that the immense sum which had
been promised was readily subscribed in two or three days. The Bill was
carried on the 3rd of September, but, on the 5th of the same month, the
greater part of the subscribers declared their desire to become a
joint-stock company, which was therefore chartered by Act of Parliament
by the title of the English Company trading to the East Indies. The
struggle between the companies was found to be so destructive to
English trade, that, in 1702, arrangements for their union were made. A
common court of managers was established, their stocks equalized, and
trade carried on under the name of the United Company of Merchants
trading to the East Indies. But each company still traded with its own
separate stock. Many inconveniences still attended this division of
interests, and at last, in 1708, upon the award of Lord Godolphin, a
final and complete union was made; and, as the separate adventurers who
had not joined either company were bought out, the monopoly again fell
into the hands of the great United Company. But though his plan was thus
ultimately a failure, for the moment Montague had all the credit of
another great financial triumph, and the Whig party might reasonably
expect that, in spite of the one single defeat with regard to the
standing army, their position would be as good in the new Parliament as
it had been in that which was just closing.

[Sidenote: William's attention directed to the Spanish succession.]

[Sidenote: First Partition Treaty.]

Meanwhile the King's personal attention had been as usual directed
rather to foreign than to home politics. The great question which at
once occupied the minds of diplomatists after the Peace of Ryswick was
the succession to the throne of Spain. It seemed very improbable that
Charles II., a miserable hypochondriac, should live much longer. At his
death there threatened to be a general scramble for his vast
possessions. Early in the year, an embassy of unusual grandeur had
attended Portland to France. The question had been there opened, and a
corresponding French embassy under Tallard had subsequently and with the
same object been sent to London. On the dissolution of Parliament the
scene of negotiation was transferred to Holland. The question was one of
great intricacy and difficulty.[2] It was not easy to point out the
legitimate successor, even had it been possible to allow the Spanish
monarchy to pass unbroken into the hands of any of the claimants. The
eldest of Charles's sisters had married Louis XIV., a younger sister had
married Leopold of Germany. Leopold was himself Charles's first cousin,
grandson of Philip III. In direct descent, therefore, the Dauphin stood
next to the Spanish king. Next to him came the offspring of Leopold's
first marriage with the Spanish Princess, namely, the Electress of
Bavaria, but she gave over her right to her son, the Electoral Prince.
The third in order was the Emperor Leopold. But the marriage of the
Infanta with Louis had been accompanied by a formal renunciation of her
rights, sanctioned by the Cortes. The marriage of the second Princess
with Leopold had been attended by a similar renunciation, not sanctioned
by the Cortes. The marriage of Leopold's mother with the Emperor had
been attended by no renunciation at all. Thus, if the renunciations were
valid, the claims in accordance with them came in exactly the opposite
order to the claims by order of descent. But the change in the balance
of Europe involved in the accession to the throne of Spain of a prince
of either the imperial house of Germany or the royal house of France was
of far graver importance than the mere legal rights to the throne. Both
Leopold and the Dauphin, conscious that Europe would not submit to their
acquiring Spain for themselves, had handed on their claims to
representatives, who might be considered as comparatively harmless.
Leopold had substituted for himself the Archduke Charles, his son by a
second marriage, the Dauphin his second son Philip. But, in spite of
this arrangement, France, England and Holland had considered it
dangerous that the Spanish dominions should pass entire into the hands
of either of the claimants, and the negotiations of this year were
directed to forming a plan for dividing them with some sort of equality
among the three. The product of these negotiations was the First
Partition Treaty, definitively signed at the Hague on the 11th of
October. By this the bulk of the Spanish dominions--Spain, the Indies,
and the Netherlands--was to pass to the least powerful of the three
claimants, the Electoral Prince. France was to receive Guipuscoa in the
north of Spain, and the Two Sicilies; the Austrian competitor was to be
satisfied with the Milanese. The treaty had been arranged as quietly as
possible, but the republican institutions of Holland were not favourable
to secresy. Rumours of what had been done reached Spain. The desire of
the King and the Castilians was to preserve at all hazards the integrity
of the Empire. Charles was therefore persuaded to make a will, and to
declare that candidate whom France and England seemed most to favour,
namely, the Electoral Prince, heir to his whole dominions; and thus for
a time the matter rested.

[Sidenote: New Parliament. Tory reaction. Dec. 6, 1698.]

[Sidenote: The Country Party.]

[Sidenote: Dismissal of the Dutch guards.]

Having thus temporarily settled his position abroad, William returned to
England with the hope of a peaceful session. The hope was singularly
falsified by the event. The great Whig party, so noble and united in
adversity, had fallen to pieces, and a Tory reaction begun. The
greatness and success of its measures had left room for faction. The
unpopularity both of William and Montague afforded opportunity for the
attacks of malcontents. On the assembling of Parliament after the new
elections (Dec. 6, 1698), it became evident that a large number of
unknown men who had been elected, although nominally Whigs, intended to
make common cause with the extreme Tories, and that this united faction,
under the title of the Country Party, would form an opposition against
the Crown. The last session had already marked out the lines this
opposition would take. The points at issue would be the maintenance of
the army, the distribution of Crown grants, and the conduct of
individual members of the ministry. On the first of these points the
King did not act wisely. Unable to understand the insular politics in
favour with the English, he insisted that the ministry should propose a
standing army of 20,000 men. Afraid to introduce a Bill which they knew
they could not carry, the ministry suffered the initiative to slip from
their grasp, and a private individual was allowed to propose that the
number of troops should be further lessened to 7000, and that all those
7000 should be born Englishmen. In spite of the efforts of the ministry
the Bill was carried, and William found himself compelled to order the
departure of his favourite Dutch guards. Hurt to the quick, he seriously
formed the intention of quitting England. He even drew up his farewell
speech, and was only moved to remain by the earnest prayers of Somers
and by his own returning wisdom.

[Sidenote: Rivalry between the two Houses.]

Assured of their majority, the Opposition proceeded to attack the late
ministry. Their favourite object was Montague, who had laid himself open
to their assaults by the pride and luxury which he had exhibited in his
good fortune, and still more by the indecent rapacity with which he
seized on the valuable place of the Auditorship of the Exchequer, worth
at least £4000 a year; this he placed in the hands of his brother, to be
held until he should want it. The next victim was Russell, Lord Orford,
whose administration only escaped censure by a single vote. And before
the session closed, the third point, that of grants of Crown lands, was
touched upon in a way which produced much after disaster. The method
used on this occasion illustrates a point deserving of notice. The
Revolution had placed the supreme power in the hands of Parliament; but
Parliament itself consists of two elements, of two Houses drawn from
different classes. Besides the general party struggles, besides the
frequent contests between King and Parliament, and subsequently between
Parliament and people, there was therefore a class rivalry between the
two Houses, which had shown itself already on more than one occasion
during the reign, and was rendered more prominent now by the fact that
the party feeling in the Upper House was on the whole decidedly Whig.
The weapon which the Commons intended to use in this strife was their
exclusive right of introducing money Bills. Those Bills the Upper House
had the power of rejecting entire, but not of amending. The Commons now
"tacked" or appended to the Bill for the Land Tax a clause appointing
seven Commissioners to inquire into the manner in which the forfeited
land in Ireland had been granted out. This obnoxious clause the Lords
were compelled to pass, or to reject the Bill entirely, and thus stop
the supplies. Though keenly feeling the coercion put upon them, by a
plan which would have proved fatal to the Upper House had not the good
feeling of the nation and the strength of popular opinion ultimately
compelled the Commons to abandon it, the Lords passed the Bill, feeling
probably that the present occasion was scarcely important enough for a
great constitutional struggle. The Money Bill having been passed, the
King, in some anger, prorogued the Parliament (May 4).

As usual, when Parliament was not sitting, William withdrew to Holland,
a habit which, now that the war no longer necessitated his presence
there, increased his unpopularity in England, and the session of
Parliament which he returned to meet in November 1699 was still more
stormy than the last.

[Sidenote: The Darien scheme.]

The discontent in England was backed up by more serious discontent in
Scotland. The whole of that nation might be now reckoned among the
enemies of the Court. For, during the recess, on the 5th of October,
certain news had reached England of the failure of the great Darien
scheme, and the complete destruction of those wild hopes of wealth and
greatness which had been for the last four years buoying up the Scotch
nation. Paterson, the same man whose scheme for the Bank of England had
in the hands of Montague proved so successful, was the originator of
this disastrous project. He had persuaded himself that the natural
wealth of a country has nothing to do with its prosperity. The
commercial cities of the ancient world, and Venice and Holland in modern
times, had risen to greatness and wealth without any territorial
possessions of importance. He believed that he could reproduce this
phenomenon in the case of Scotland. The scheme of Columbus had been to
introduce the wealth of the East by a short and direct route into
Europe, and thus to destroy the traffic of the Venetians. He had found
his plan thwarted by the interposition of America; and the discovery of
a passage round the Cape of Good Hope had turned all men's attention in
that direction, and had been the great source of wealth both to the
Dutch and Portuguese. But the plan of Columbus had never been quite
forgotten, and Paterson now thought to renew it by establishing a line
of communication across the Isthmus of Darien. The Scotch were to
colonize and occupy the isthmus, which would become, in the view of the
projector, the great emporium of the whole Eastern trade. Although he
did not explain the details of his scheme, it was listened to with
enthusiasm by his fellow-countrymen; and in 1695, an extraordinary Act
passed the Scotch Parliament, and received the assent of the Lord High
Commissioner, authorising the formation of a Corporation, half the
capital of which was to be held by Scotchmen, with the monopoly of the
trade with Asia, Africa, and America for thirty-one years. With the
exception of foreign sugar and tobacco, all its imports were to be duty
free. Every servant of the Company was free from imprisonment and
arrest. The Company was authorized to take possession of unoccupied
territories and exercise legal rights, and the King promised to obtain
satisfaction at the public charge if foreign powers assaulted it.
Subscriptions to the amount of £200,000 and upwards were speedily
forthcoming, and a branch of the Company established itself in London.
There, however, the absurdities of the plan were at once discovered, and
it met with a very cold reception. Any colony, to be useful, must be
either in America or in the Spice Islands; now interference in America
would not be tolerated by Spain, nor would Holland look on quietly at
the occupation of the Spice Islands; a maritime war was in fact
inevitable; Scotland, singlehanded, could scarcely hope to carry on such
a war, and England would almost infallibly be drawn into it, and this on
behalf of a Company which, by changing Scotland into a free port, would
virtually make it an enormous centre for smuggling to the extreme
detriment of English trade. The attention of the King was drawn to the
subject. He expressed his entire disapprobation of the scheme, and
dismissed the Lord High Commissioner and the Secretary; but the law was
made and could not be rescinded. In 1698, in the midst of wild
enthusiasm, 1200 colonists set out from Leith, with Paterson among them,
and reached Darien in safety, and there established their colony, but
almost immediately came into contact with the neighbouring Spanish
governor, and the inevitable war began. At first, however, the reports
were favourable, and in the following year a new armament of four ships
and 1800 colonists left Scotland for Caledonia, as the new settlement
was called. They had not been gone long before news arrived at New York
that the colony no longer existed, and that the wretched remnant of its
inhabitants had sought refuge in New England. In fact, the climate had
proved eminently unhealthy, in spite of the assertions of Paterson.
Provisions had failed, and, worn out and enfeebled, the colonists,
feeling themselves entirely unable to repell the assaults of Spain,
determined to withdraw. After miserable suffering, a few of them reached
New York, and the second expedition arrived in Caledonia to find only
uninhabited ruins. They determined upon reoccupying these, rebuilt the
fort, and during the few healthy months continued, though with heavy
losses, to carry out their operations. But before long a Spanish fleet
appeared before the town, and an army, marching across the isthmus from
Panama, blockaded it on the land side. Resistance was impossible.
Already 300 of the new-comers had died, the survivors promised to depart
within a fortnight, and on the 11th of April left the colony for ever.
The disaster was regarded by the Scotch as a national injury on the part
of England. The Company had throughout excited great anger in the
Southern kingdom; the colonial governors had done all they could to
discourage the colony when it arrived, and the Scotch were ready to
trace this opposition to national jealousy,--to attribute it even to
William's partiality for his Dutch subjects, whose trade might have been
injured. In truth, the whole business was a proof, as William pointed
out to the House of Lords, of the difficulty of managing two countries
with different interests under one Crown, and the necessity of a closer
union between the nations.

[Sidenote: New Parliament Nov. 16, 1699.]

[Sidenote: Irish forfeitures.]

[Sidenote: Resumption Bill passed. April 10, 1700.]

[Sidenote: Parliament prorogued. April 11, 1700.]

It was thus, supported by the discontent of Scotland, that the
malcontents of Parliament resumed the question of the management of the
royal property. After a fruitless attack upon Somers, who had indeed
received a grant, but one against which no reasonable complaint could be
made, they proceeded to follow up the work of the last session, and to
act upon the recommendation of the seven Commissioners who had been
appointed by the tacked clause of the preceding session. The Crown lands
had been constantly dealt with according to the King's pleasure, without
parliamentary interference. In early times, however, they had been
regarded as a trust. Parliament had frequently demanded that the King
should live upon his own revenues, and Acts for the resumption of grants
had been passed, the last being that immediately following the battle of
Bosworth. Since then the gift of the Crown had been considered a
perfectly sound title. Whatever dislike, therefore, William's lavish
grants to his Dutch favourites had excited, there would have been very
great difficulty in calling in question his right to make them. The use
to which the forfeited lands which had fallen into William's hands after
the Pacification of Limerick had been put was more open to objection. A
Bill ordering them to be applied to the public service had been
interrupted and left incomplete, and the King had promised that the
Commons should have another opportunity of considering the question. As
they had since taken no steps in the matter, he seems to have considered
himself free to act as he pleased. Of the forfeited lands, which
amounted to about 1,700,000 acres, a fourth had been restored to its
ancient possessors, according to the Limerick Pacification. Some of the
rest had been mercifully given back to Irishmen, some to men like Ginkel
and Galway, who had distinguished themselves in the Irish wars, but by
far the larger portion had fallen to the King's personal friends, such
as Woodstock, the eldest son of Portland, and Keppel, Lord Albemarle.
The Commission could not arrive at unanimity, and sent up two reports.
But that of the majority, which was very hostile to Government, was
alone accepted by the Commons. It ridiculously over-estimated the grants
at a sum of, £2,600,000, and at the same time declared that very undue
leniency had been shown to the Irish. Had these grants not been made,
and the confiscations properly exacted, much of the present heavy
taxation, they said, might have been spared. The Commons, longing to be
free from taxes and hating the Dutch favourites, took up the matter with
factious warmth, and the Resumption Bill was passed, vesting all the
forfeited lands in the hands of trustees, and offering large rewards to
informers who would point out lands which ought to have been
confiscated. They even, with palpable injustice, included in their
inquiry lands which had never been forfeited. Expecting opposition from
the Upper House, they again tacked this Bill to the Land Tax Bill. The
Lords now determined upon a struggle. Little as they liked the Dutch
favourites, they could not allow themselves to be thus overridden. Their
opposition was, however, unsuccessful; the nation felt with the Commons,
and foreign affairs had reached a crisis which rendered peace at home
necessary to the King. The quarrel was pressed so far as to threaten a
complete breach between the Houses, and a fatal blow to the
Constitution. By the influence of the King the Lords were induced to
yield, and the triumphant Commons were passing to fresh assaults on the
King's friends, when, having passed the Land Tax Bill and thus supplied
himself with money, William suddenly prorogued the Houses.

[Sidenote: Second Partition Treaty.]

The necessity which had driven him to this step was the reopening of the
question of the Spanish succession. In January 1699 the Electoral Prince
had died. The whole question thus assumed a new shape, and William's
undivided attention was required. For the same reason, probably, and to
allay the opposition in the House, he thought it necessary to remove
Somers from office, and to place the Great Seal in the hands of Sir
Nathan Wright. The Second Partition Treaty, which the King was now
engaged in arranging, was such as was rendered necessary by the death of
the third claimant. The bulk of the Spanish dominions was now to be
given to the Archduke. It was to him that now Spain, the Indies, and the
Netherlands were assigned, while Milan, which had formerly fallen to his
share, was to be transferred to France, to be ultimately exchanged for
Lorraine, a German fief, very important to round off the French
dominions. But again these arrangements were upset. Portocarrero, the
Spanish minister, was in the French interest, and supported by Harcourt,
the ablest French diplomatist. By playing upon national feeling, which
was strong against any partition, these statesmen excited the anger of
the Spaniards against William, who had already incurred their enmity by
his fancied support of the Darien scheme; and Charles was at length
impressed with the absolute necessity of making another will. The events
of the late session had given rise to the belief that William was not
really master of England, while the visible greatness of France seemed
to afford the best chance of keeping the Spanish monarchy undivided; the
will was therefore made in favour of the Dauphin's son Philip, Duke of
Anjou, who was declared heir to the whole of the Spanish dominions. The
treaty was not well received in England. While one party clamoured that
too much was given to France, another complained of the injustice of
forestalling the wishes of the Spanish people, and there was a general
feeling of anger at the secresy with which the treaty had been arranged,
a treaty which might easily draw England into a foreign war, and which
had been concluded entirely without consulting Parliament. This anger
reached its highest point when, in November, the King of Spain died, and
Louis, in defiance of all his treaties, accepted his grandson's great
inheritance. William had determined that the whole responsibility should
lie with himself, trusting in his own diplomatic skill; he had been
beaten at his own arts, and his great treaty was absolutely useless.

[Sidenote: William's unpopularity.]

[Sidenote: New ministry. Dec. 1700.]

[Sidenote: New Parliament. Feb. 1701.]

[Sidenote: Succession Act.]

In fact, there was no time when the King had been so unpopular or his
enemies so strong. Nearly every class, except his own immediate
followers among the Whigs, were alienated from him; the mass of the
people had suffered from heavy taxation, the nobles were sore at the
unwise preference given to foreigners; the whole nation shared in this
feeling, and disliked his constant absences from home; the scandal of
the Irish forfeitures had just been brought to light; the country gentry
remembered with anger the failure of their Land Bank, and saw with envy
the increasing importance of the moneyed interest. One thing was plain,
that nothing could be done with a Parliament so adverse as the last,
with a ministry so powerless as the late holders of power had proved.
William therefore dissolved the Parliament, summoning a new one for the
following February; and, freeing himself from the old ministry, called
to his councils Rochester, the late Queen's uncle and the head of the
High Church Tories, with Godolphin and Sir Charles Hedges. For the
present his only hope lay in the possibility of a general European war;
of this as yet there was but little sign. Austria had indeed refused to
acknowledge the new King of Spain, and withdrawn its ambassador from
Madrid, but in other countries it seemed as if the will of the late
Spanish King would be quietly accepted. William himself could do
nothing, and for the time was compelled to submit. His new ministry
entreated him to acknowledge Philip; his Parliament showed no
disposition to support him in any hostile steps against France. Two
questions which he placed before them in his opening speech were, the
succession of the throne of England, the settlement to which had been
rendered necessary by the late death of the Duke of Gloucester, the
young son of the Princess Anne (July 29, 1700), and the position which
England should assume in the face of the altered aspect of European
politics. It was in vain, upon this latter point, that he attempted to
urge them to energy. The King of France had driven the Dutch to
acknowledge Philip, by suddenly entering the Low Countries, and
capturing 15,000 of their troops who had been intended to garrison the
barrier fortresses. William and the Dutch States had in vain demanded
the withdrawal of the French troops and the surrender of the
strongholds. But even this act of aggression did not arouse the
Parliament to energy. They acknowledged the obligations of England under
the Treaty of 1677, and promised to send succours to the Dutch, but
there seemed no immediate prospect of any grants for the purpose. Nor
was the other point much more vigorously prosecuted. A Bill of
Succession was indeed produced, but nearly every clause seemed evidently
aimed against the King's former conduct. The new sovereign was not to
leave the kingdom without leave of Parliament; no person not a born
Englishman was to be capable of holding any position of trust, or of
receiving any grant from the Crown. England was not to be engaged in war
for the defence of any dominions not belonging to the Crown of England.
All matters relating to the Government were to be transacted in the
Privy Council, and countersigned by such members of that body as should
advise or consent to them. Having thus secured, as they thought, the
insular position of England, the House proceeded to settle the
succession upon the Electress Sophia of Hanover. Thus, though the
Protestant succession was secured, a Bill which William had hoped would
be a singular expression of popular sympathy with his own efforts was in
fact a vote of censure on many of the acts of his reign.

[Sidenote: Impeachments against the Whigs.]

While public business was thus proceeding languidly, the whole energy of
the House was directed against the old Whig leaders and against the
House of Lords. Impeachments were hurried on against Lord Portland, Lord
Orford, Lord Somers, and Montague, who had now become Lord Halifax.
Against each of these the main charge was the share they had taken in
the Partition treaties. But, in the case of Portland and Montague, there
were additional charges in reference to the grants and dilapidations of
the royal revenue, for which they were said to be answerable; while
against Somers and Orford was alleged a ridiculous story concerning
their participation in the notorious exploits of Captain Kidd. This man
had been sent out by private enterprise to destroy piracy in the Indian
Sea, and had there himself turned pirate. Both Somers and Orford had
subscribed to the original enterprise. Somers, as Chancellor, had sealed
Kidd's commission. It was now ridiculously suggested that they had all
along known of his piratical intentions. But, while sending up these
impeachments, the Commons felt absolutely certain that the Whig majority
of the Lords would at once acquit their victims, for it was well
understood that the measure was not one of justice but one of faction;
they therefore passed an unjustifiable address to the King, praying him
to dismiss the four Peers from his Council, even before the impeachments
were heard. The House of Lords produced a counter address. The Commons
demanded longer time to complete their impeachments, but the Peers were
determined to bring a matter on which their judgment was in fact
foregone to a speedy issue, and had now both law and right on their
side. They therefore positively refused to extend the time, and the 17th
of June was fixed for Lord Somers's trial. Westminster Hall was fitted
up with the usual preparations for impeachment. The Lords marched in all
pomp to their judgment-seat. The Commons, declaring they had been denied
justice, refused to appear. There were no accusers, and Somers was
declared acquitted.

[Sidenote: The Kentish Petition.]

[Sidenote: The Legion Memorial.]

But many signs had begun to show themselves in the country which induced
William to believe that the popular opinion was turning, and he ventured
to put an end to the very dangerous fight between the Houses by a
prorogation (June 24). What is known as the Kentish Petition was the
great sign of this changed feeling. This petition had been sent up by
the Grand Jury of Kent. It hinted that public business had been
neglected, and the pursuit of personal vengeance substituted, and humbly
deprecated the least mistrust of the King, and implored the House to
give effect to its loyal addresses by turning them into Bills of supply.
So arbitrary was the House of Commons at this time in the assertion of
its privilege, that it was only by consenting to remain outside the
House, and be personally answerable for their document, that the five
gentlemen who brought up this petition were able to get it presented at
all (May 8). It raised a storm of anger, was voted scandalous, infamous
and seditious, and the five gentlemen were dismissed to prison. But
their cause was taken up by the whole Liberal party, and the desires
expressed in the petition were brought before the public in much more
forcible language in a memorial written by Defoe, and called from its
signature "The Legion Memorial." This expression of opinion could not
but have been gratifying to the King.

[Sidenote: The Grand Alliance.]

Hope was indeed again opening before him. Not only could he feel certain
of some support, however weak, at home, but the persistent retention on
the part of Louis, in spite of all their clamours, of the Dutch barrier
fortresses and the 15,000 troops he had captured had begun to rouse the
war spirit of that people. Left more free to act now that Parliament was
prorogued, William at once despatched 10,000 troops into Holland, under
command of Marlborough, and before long went thither himself, to lay the
foundation of a Grand Alliance between England, Holland, and the
Emperor. This treaty was completed in September. But the terms of it
proved surely how low William's hopes still were. It only declared that
it was desirable that satisfaction should be given to the Emperor on
account of the succession of Spain, and pledges given for the security
of England and her allies. It allowed two months for peaceful
negotiations. After that time the contracting powers pledged themselves
to attempt the recovery by force of arms of Milan for Austria, and of
the barrier fortresses for Holland.

[Sidenote: Death of James II.]

[Sidenote: Louis acknowledging the Pretender. Sept. 16.]

At this moment James II. of England lay dying. With all Europe
submitting with ill-dissembled dislike to the late acquisition of Spain
by the Bourbons, and ready to take any opportunity for disturbing the
newly-appointed King, to acknowledge, in contravention of the Treaty of
Ryswick, the young Prince of Wales as King of England, was a step full
of danger for the French King. It could not have been hidden from Louis,
as it certainly was not hidden from his ministers, that the real
strength of his present position was the depressed condition of William,
thwarted by his factious Parliament; and Louis must have known that
nothing was more likely to change that weakness into strength than a
violation of the Peace of Ryswick,--the destruction of the one great
advantage which England had gained by nine years' expenditure of blood
and treasure. But the influence of Madame de Maintenon, who had been won
over to the interest of the Stuarts, and a certain theatrical
magnanimity which seldom deserted Louis, proved stronger than prudence.
At the deathbed of James he promised to uphold the claims of his son,
and three days afterwards the young Prince was formally acknowledged by
the whole Court as King of England.

[Sidenote: Rouses English patriotism.]

[Sidenote: New Parliament and Ministry.]

No better news could have reached William. Again, as in the time of his
first landing in England, his enemy had done more for him than any skill
or diplomacy of his own could effect. The whole nation burst into a
flame. Patriotic and loyal addresses came pouring in upon him. Public
bodies in all parts of the country passed resolutions full of affection
for him. The conduct of the late majority was denounced as factious
wrangling, and the cause of the great insult which had been laid on the
country; and the connection between the Tory party and Louis seemed to
be rendered plain when the French ambassador was found seated at supper
in a well-known Jacobite tavern surrounded by the most ardent members of
the Tory party. The King seized the moment of excitement, and, though
conscious of the delays it would entail, at once dissolved Parliament. A
struggle such as has seldom been seen excited England from end to end,
and everywhere it became evident that the reckless conduct of Louis had
secured the restoration of the Whigs. London returned four Whig members,
Wharton again won back his supremacy in Buckingham, even the virulent
Howe was defeated and lost his seat in Gloucestershire. The flame of
indignation still blazed high when William met his new Parliament on the
last day of the year, and, in words of unusual fire, bade them drop
their factious disputes, and know no other distinction than that of
those who were for the Protestant religion and the present
Establishment, and of those who meant a Popish prince and a French
government. The ministry was largely changed. Godolphin left the
Treasury to make room for Lord Carlisle; Manchester was made Secretary
instead of Hedges, and other Whig Lords were admitted to the Privy
Council. It is true that the unanimity was by no means perfect. The
Tories were still strong in the House. There was still some fear of the
ultimate return of the Stuarts. But the Government was strong enough to
pass a Bill for attainting the pretended Prince of Wales, and a still
more important Bill abjuring the house of Stuart, and pledging those who
took the oath to uphold in turn each successor named in the Act of
Settlement. The acceptance of this oath was made requisite for every
employment either in Church or State.

[Sidenote: Death of William.]

It was thus in the full flush of a new victory, with hopes high, and
with a well-grounded belief that his life's work of opposition to the
encroachments of the French would not after all be wasted, that William,
broken down by disease and suffering, died. He had long been so ill that
his life had been despaired of, but he was still able to ride. On the
20th of February, his horse, stepping upon a molehill, fell with him,
and his collar-bone was broken. This accident rendered his recovery
hopeless. He lived just long enough to express his strong desire for a
Union with Scotland, and to appoint the Commission which gave the royal
assent to the Abjuration Act. On the 8th of March, surrounded by his
faithful friends, he breathed his last.



Born 1665 = George of Denmark.


        _France._     |    _Austria._      |  _Spain._       |  _Russia._
    Louis XIV., 1643. | Leopold I., 1658.  | Philip V., 1700.| Peter the
                      | Joseph I., 1705.   |                 |  Great,
                      | Charles VI., 1711. |                 |  1689.

     _Prussia._         |  _Sweden._          |  _Denmark and Norway._
    Frederick I., 1701. | Charles XII., 1697. | Frederick IV., 1699.

                             POPE.--Clement XI, 1700.

            _Lord Chancellors._                _Archbishop._

        Sir Nathan Wright, 1700.    |  Thomas Tenison, 1694.
        William Cowper, 1705.       |
        Sir Simon Harcourt, 1710.   |

         _First Lords of the |  _Chancellors of     |   _Secretaries
              Treasury._     |  the Echequer._      |    of State._
                             |                      |
          1702. Godolphin.   |  1702. Henry Boyle.  | 1702 Nottingham.
          1710. Poulett.     |  1708. John Smith.   |      Hedges.
          1711. Harley.      |  1710. Robert Harley.| 1704 Harley.
          1714. Shrewsbury.  |                      |      Hedges.
                             |                      | 1706 Harley.
                             |                      |      Sunderland.
                             |                      | 1708 Boyle.
                             |                      |      Sunderland.
                             |                      | 1710 Boyle.
                             |                      |      Dartmouth.
                             |                      | 1710 St. John.
                             |                      |      Dartmouth.
                             |                      | 1713 St. John.
                             |                      |      Bromley.

[Sidenote: Power of Marlborough.]

In passing to a new reign we pass to no new epoch. No new principles are
at work, no new influences visible. The same constitutional growth which
had been gradually developing itself since the Revolution makes its way
steadily onwards. The sole difference is the difference in the person of
the sovereign. In the yet unfixed state of the Constitution this might
have introduced important changes, and did in fact, by the absence of
the strong personal character of William, tend to easier and more
complete development of parliamentary action. But the importance of the
Queen was much neutralized by the complete mastery exercised over her
mind by the Duke and Duchess of Marlborough. The effect of Marlborough's
supremacy was to reproduce almost exactly the circumstances of the
former reign. Though an immoral politician, a self-seeking and
avaricious man, Marlborough was too great not to appreciate the grandeur
of William's European schemes. Thus, as far as European policy was
concerned, he passed almost completely into that King's place, pledged
both by his natural intellect and by his personal interests to pursue
very much the same course as William had taken. It is scarcely going
beyond the truth to call the earlier part of Anne's reign the reign of
the Duke of Marlborough; and he encountered exactly the same
difficulties, and was reduced to exactly the same straits, as his
predecessor had been in his attempts to carry out a national policy
without regard to party.

[Sidenote: Work of the first Parliament.]

The dissolution of Parliament had followed as a natural consequence upon
the death of the sovereign who had summoned it, and in whom it was
regarded as depending. The new position which the Parliament had
occupied since the Revolution had naturally modified that view. By a law
passed at the beginning of the eighth year of William's reign,
Parliament was allowed to sit for six months after the King's death. It
was therefore with the same Whig Parliament, which had come into
existence just after Louis had acknowledged the Prince of Wales, that
Anne's reign began. The conduct of the Parliament during the few months
of its existence was entirely free from faction. It completed and
applied the Abjuration Bill, on which it had been busy at the end of the
last reign, established an examination of public accounts, and granted
with great unanimity the same revenue as William had enjoyed; and
further, took a first step towards a measure which William had
recommended, and which the failure of the Darien scheme had rendered
almost inevitable, by passing a Bill for appointing Commissioners to
arrange, if possible, for a complete union with Scotland.

[Sidenote: Tory ministry.]

But it soon became evident that both the tendencies of the Queen and
Marlborough's views on home politics would lead to the restoration of
Tory influence. On the Duke himself and on his wife honours and offices
were freely lavished, and the new ministry was drawn almost entirely
from the Tory party. Thus Godolphin, Marlborough's son-in-law, was made
Lord Treasurer; Nottingham and Sir Charles Hedges, Secretaries of
State; Lord Normanby, shortly afterwards Duke of Buckingham, Privy Seal;
Pembroke, Lord President; Jersey was given a place in the Council; while
offices were found for Seymour and Levison Gower in the Privy Council,
from which Somers, Halifax, and Orford were excluded. Yet even already
Marlborough's intention in some degree to disregard party was shown in
the retention of some Whigs in office, among others the Duke of
Devonshire, who kept his place as Lord Steward. More important, with
regard to the future history of the reign, was the division which even
thus early began to show itself among the Tories themselves. Rochester,
who had come over from his post in Ireland, not only desired a much more
complete exclusion of the Whigs from office, but also opposed, in
pursuance of the accepted policy of the High Tories, the declaration of
war. Thus already, before the dissolution which took place on the 25th
of May, two facts, which together form the key to the political history
of the reign, were visible,--Marlborough's determination to rely upon a
mixed Government, and the disinclination of one section of the Tories to
support him in his war policy.

In pursuing the future history of the reign there are three subjects
which require special attention, the European war, the Union with
Scotland, and the parliamentary and ministerial history; and although
the war and the history of the ministry constantly affect one another,
it will probably tend to clearness if, for the first few years at all
events, these three subjects are treated separately.

[Sidenote: Beginning of the war. May 4, 1702.]

The opposition of the Tories to the war had been entirely useless. The
completion of the negotiations set on foot by William had been intrusted
to Marlborough. Immediately, at the beginning of the reign, he had gone
to the Hague, and war was declared in London, at Vienna, and at the
Hague on the 4th of May. Meanwhile so many Princes had joined the
Confederation, originally consisting of England, Holland, and Austria,
that war was declared by the Diet of the Empire. The Elector of
Brandenburg had been induced to join by the promise of the royal title;
the Elector of Hanover and the Elector Palatine had also given in their
adhesion. On the other hand, though the brother Electors of the Bavarian
House, the Elector of Bavaria and the Elector of Cologne, had at first
agreed to remain neutral, Louis felt pretty sure of the course they
would ultimately take, and of the friendship of Victor Amadeus of Savoy,
whose daughter had married the new King of Spain, and the position of
whose dominions rendered his friendship of great value, giving as it
did an access into Italy to the French.

[Sidenote: Marlborough appointed Commander.]

The Queen's love for her husband had induced her to wish that he should
be made Commander-in-chief both of the English and Dutch forces, though
utterly unfit for the post, and Marlborough seems to have honestly
attempted to procure this appointment. But the Dutch would not hear of
it, and ultimately Marlborough took the field in July as
Commander-in-chief, with Overkirk as his Lieutenant commanding the Dutch

[Sidenote: Position of Holland.]

Two points distinguish this war from the preceding one. Hitherto in all
great confederations against the French the Spanish Netherlands had been
in the hands of the confederates, but as Spain was now in close alliance
with France, it became necessary to conquer this part of the
Netherlands. And, secondly, the death of William had been followed by
the complete depression of the house of Nassau in Holland, and the
supremacy of the republican party, which by no means shared in the late
King's hatred to France, and which, from jealousy of all personal
authority, caused the general to be accompanied by field deputies, with
a right of mixing in all councils of war. This was one of the greatest
of Marlborough's difficulties, as the deputies seldom failed to hamper
him, and to throw obstacles in the way of any adventurous plans. Before
Marlborough took the field the campaign had opened. The French had
command of the Spanish Low Countries, of the Duchy of Luxemburg, and,
through the friendship of its Elector, of the territories of the Elector
Clement of Cologne, who was both Archbishop of Cologne and Bishop of
Liège. Both the Rhine and Meuse were thus in their hands and the
fortresses held by their garrisons. The whole southern frontier of
Holland, which left the sea near Ostend, crossed the mouth of the
Scheldt, and cutting off a portion of Brabant, joined the Meuse somewhat
to the north of Venloo, was thus open to them, while by way of the Rhine
they had an opportunity of attacking the Dutch provinces from the east.
While Holland was thus assailable on two sides, the advancing angle of
the French dominions exposed them in a similar manner. The valley of the
Moselle, which leads directly into the heart of Lorraine, could be
attacked either from the north or by a German army coming from the south
by way of Landau. Anxious to secure their frontier towards the Rhine,
the Dutch had early in the year besieged and taken the fortress of
Kaiserwerth, and bent chiefly upon their own security, would have
preferred to retain Marlborough and the army in the neighbourhood of
that river. But the Duke saw that the passage of the Meuse where it
makes the northern frontier of the Dutch Brabant, and an advance
southwards towards the Spanish Netherlands, would necessitate a
concentration of the French troops, and transfer the seat of war to that
province. In spite of the opposition of the Dutch, he therefore crossed
the river at Grave, and proceeded directly south into Spanish Brabant.
As he had expected, his appearance there obliged Boufflers to withdraw
from Guelders to oppose him; and although the opposition of the field
deputies prevented a general engagement, Marlborough was enabled to
secure the eastern frontier of Holland, to take the fortresses of the
Meuse,--Venloo, Ruremond, Stevensweerth, and Liège,--to overrun
Guelders, Cleves, the Electorate of Cologne, with the exception of Bonn,
the whole of the Bishopric of Liège and the Duchy of Limburg, thus
cutting off the French from the Lower Rhine.

Meanwhile an attack had been made upon France from the Upper Rhine. The
Margrave Louis of Baden, having crossed the river with the German
forces, found himself opposed by Catinat, who did not show his usual
ability, and suffered the Margrave to besiege and take Landau and to
overrun Alsace. The success of the German army was marred by the
defection of Bavaria, which, throwing aside its neutrality, declared in
favour of France. Villars was detached from Catinat's army to join the
Elector of Bavaria; and as an access was thus opened to the French into
the heart of Germany, Louis of Baden had to withdraw from his conquests,
and, turning to meet the new danger, suffered a heavy defeat at

[Sidenote: The war in Italy.]

[Sidenote: The war at sea.]

While such was the course of the war in Germany and Flanders, in Italy,
Prince Eugene of Savoy, the general of the allies, had, even in the
winter, been carrying on operations against Marshal Villeroi. That
Marshal had been taken prisoner at Cremona, and had been succeeded by
Vendome. A great but indecisive battle had been fought in August at
Luzara, after which the armies were left facing each other, the French
still occupying the Milanese. The maritime war had been as indecisive as
that upon the Continent; an English expedition under the Duke of Ormond
had been sent against Cadiz; it had failed in its original object, but
on the way home had succeeded in destroying a Spanish treasure fleet in
the Bay of Vigo. In the West Indies, an event occurred almost
unprecedented in English history. The English fleet had been defeated in
a great battle, not by the superiority of the enemy, but by the treason
of its own commanders. Admiral Benbow, who had engaged a superior force
of the enemy, after a fight of several days, was deserted by some of his
captains. Wounded and dying, he was forced to withdraw. He lived long
enough to have his captains condemned to death by court martial.

[Sidenote: Savoy and Portugal join the coalition.]

The campaign of this year was thus wholly indecisive. The English and
Dutch had secured the possession of the Rhine and the Meuse; but the
German army was threatened in front from Alsace, while its rear and
southern flank were exposed to the victorious army of Villars and the
Elector of Bavaria: in Italy the French still held the Milanese against
the attacks of Prince Eugene. But before the next campaign opened the
position of France had changed considerably for the worse. The diplomacy
of Louis had hitherto secured the predominance of French influence in
both Spain and Italy by the adhesion of Savoy and Portugal to his cause.
Victor Amadeus of Savoy had been won by the marriage of his daughter
with the King of Spain; but, situated in the midst of great powers, his
conduct was almost of necessity shifting, and his policy directed rather
to his own advantage and to the interests of Italy than to the more
general interests of Europe; the offer on the part of Austria to give up
to him the districts of Montferrat and Novara induced him to desert
Louis and to declare in favour of the Grand Alliance. The French army in
the Milanese was thus separated from France, and its energy paralyzed.
By similar means the fidelity of Portugal was also undermined. A promise
of a certain portion of the Spanish possessions both in Spain and in
America, and a treaty known as the Methuen Treaty, securing to Portugal
great advantage in her trade with England, induced her to join the Grand
Alliance. The importance of this adhesion was great, as it afforded an
opening for the allied armies to act directly against Spain, the
possession of which country was the real object of the war. Nor were
these defections the only causes of danger which beset France.
Disturbances had broken out in Louis' own dominions. The Protestants of
the Cevennes, driven to despair by the cruel conduct of the Intendant,
Marshal de Baville, and of the Catholic clergy, had broken into open
rebellion, and the irregular efforts of the Camissards, as they were
called, had become formidable under the skilful guidance of Cavalier, a
baker's lad, who showed extraordinary aptitude for partisan warfare.

[Sidenote: Campaign of 1703.]

These misfortunes on the part of France were somewhat balanced by the
defection, already mentioned, of the Elector of Bavaria; and Louis
determined to take advantage of the road to Vienna thus opened to him,
and to throw his chief efforts in that direction. Thither therefore
Villars marched through the Black Forest, having previously captured the
fortress of Kehl opposite Strasbourg. The movement, however, was only
partially successful; while Villars wished to march upon Vienna, already
threatened by an insurrection in Hungary, the Elector insisted upon
moving into the Tyrol. The peasantry of that mountainous district,
deeply attached to Austria, thwarted all his efforts to advance, and
when Louis of Baden, leaving the lines of Stolhofen, appeared in
Bavaria, the Elector was compelled to withdraw and rejoin Villars. Too
weak to defeat the Margrave, the combined generals were obliged to
content themselves with checking the German troops coming against them
from Franconia under Count Stirum at Hochstädt. Villars, who traced the
ruin of the campaign to the rejection of his advice, clamoured to be
recalled, and his place was but badly filled by Marsin.

Meanwhile, Marshal Tallard had been repairing last year's disasters in
Alsace. Brisach had been taken, the Prince of Hesse, with troops from
Stolhofen, had been defeated at Spires while attempting to relieve
Landau, and that city had been retaken by the French (Nov. 17). In
Flanders Marlborough had formed a great plan to conquer Antwerp and
Ostend, but had been thwarted by the slowness of the Dutch, and by the
defeat of their army under Opdam at Echeren. The Duke had to content
himself with the capture of Bonn upon the Rhine, and with further
progress upon the Meuse, where he captured Huy and Limburg.

The following year, 1704, saw a change in the ministry at home. Finding
himself thwarted by the extreme High Tories, Marlborough had obtained
their dismissal, and the admission of Harley and St. John to the
ministry. In the meantime Louis was making vast efforts, and had set on
foot no less than eight armies. There was to be war at once in Flanders,
in Bavaria, in Alsace, in Savoy, in Lombardy, in Spain, and against the
Cevennes. To Villars was intrusted the reduction of the Cevennes, which
had been vainly attempted the preceding year by the Marshal Montreval.
The Duke of Berwick was to subdue Portugal, Vendome to act against
Savoy, Villeroi to stand on the defensive in Flanders, and the great
effort of the year was again to be in Bavaria, where the events of the
preceding year promised fresh success. There a considerable French army
under Marsin had collected, and thither now was proceeding a fresh army
under Tallard, which would raise the forces in the country much beyond
anything the Emperor could bring to meet them. Early in May Marshal
Tallard led 15,000 troops through the Black Forest, and formed his
junction with the Elector. He then hastened back to Alsace, where 30,000
men had been left to oppose the Margrave of Baden.

[Illustration: The march to BLENHEIM. June to August 1704.]

[Sidenote: Critical position of Austria.]

[Sidenote: The march to Blenheim.]

The position of the Emperor seemed indeed almost hopeless. While the
French and Bavarians were advancing directly towards his capital on the
west, the Hungarians, under Prince Ragotski, with constantly increasing
forces, were approaching Vienna from the east, so that in June it became
necessary to throw up works for the defence of the capital. Marlborough
watched the coming crisis with much anxiety, and formed a plan of great
boldness for the Emperor's relief. It was no less than to march the
whole of the troops under his command, and to transfer the seat of war
to Bavaria, interposing between Vienna and the advancing Bavarians.
Previous experience had taught him that there was no hope of persuading
the Dutch to countenance such a plan. To the States he therefore
suggested only a campaign on the Moselle, and co-operation with Louis of
Baden in the south; to Godolphin alone he told his secret. At length a
threat that he would move upon the Moselle with the English alone,
backed up by the influence of Heinsius, the Grand Pensionary, who was
his constant friend, induced the Dutch to give their consent to the part
of the plan he had disclosed to them. Other obstacles were met with from
the other allies, but they were all at length overcome, and early in May
Marlborough set out, ostensibly for the Moselle. To keep up this notion
he went first to Coblenz, and the French proceeded to collect their
armies to meet him. He then went on to Mayence, and it was believed that
he intended to act in Alsace. He was there obliged to disclose his real
object. He left the Rhine, marched up the Neckar, and advanced through
the Duchy of Wurtemberg. On his road to Mondelsheim, he had a meeting
with Eugene, who was commanding the Imperial army on the Rhine. To him
he told his plans; and the intercourse of the two great chiefs ripened
into unbroken friendship. They were there also joined by Louis of Baden,
a punctilious German general of some ability, but belonging to an older
school of tactics. Marlborough and Eugene suggested that the Margrave
should retire to his lines at Stolhofen, and hold them against Tallard,
while Eugene should bring such of the German army as was moveable to
co-operate with the English. The Margrave, however, insisted on the
place of honour. Eugene went back to the Rhine, the Margrave joined
Marlborough; and the difficulty of the chief command was compromised,
the generals were to command on alternate days. After making these
arrangements, the armies proceeded on their march through the rough hill
country of Wurtemberg. Having crossed the Neckar at Laufen, they
followed the course of its tributaries, by Gross Heppach, Ebersbach, and
the difficult pass of Geislingen, and finally emerged upon the plains,
reaching the Danube at Elchingen, a little to the east of Ulm. The
Elector, expecting an attack upon that city, garrisoned it and withdrew,
still on the north bank of the river, to Dillingen, further to the east.
But Marlborough had no intention of attacking Ulm, he continued his
march eastward, determining to pass round and beyond the Elector's army
and to secure Donauwerth, which would supply him with a bridge to cross
the river, and might be turned into a fortified place for his magazines.
With some difficulty he persuaded Louis of Baden to march in this
direction. His intention being at length evident, the Elector of Bavaria
sent 12,000 men to occupy the strong hill of the Schellenberg,
commanding Donauwerth. When the day broke, the English army were at
Amerdingen, still fourteen miles from Donauwerth. It was however the day
of Marlborough's command. At three in the morning he started on his
march, and afraid of allowing the opportunity to slip, though his men
were weary from their long journey, Marlborough determined to assault
the Schellenberg that same afternoon. The battle was a fierce one, but
the allies were entirely successful. The Bavarians fled in disorder.
Some thousands crossed the bridge, but the weight of the fugitives broke
it down, and a vast number were drowned in the river. The Elector of
Bavaria now withdrew to Augsburg, to await the arrival of reinforcements
from France. Marlborough and his army crossed the Lech, and proceeded to
follow him. Bavaria was at his mercy. He offered the Elector terms of
capitulation. They were however refused, and Marlborough was guilty of
the one act which is a blot on his military career, he gave the country
up to military execution.


[Sidenote: Battle of Blenheim. Aug. 13th.]

The two French generals Villeroi and Tallard, outwitted by Marlborough's
march, had meanwhile taken counsel together, and once more Tallard,
leaving Villeroi in Alsace, led a reinforcement of 25,000 men to join
the Bavarians. He was watched and followed by Prince Eugene, who reached
the Danube at Dillingen almost at the moment that Tallard had formed his
junction with the Bavarians at Augsburg. As Eugene's reinforcements were
necessary, Marlborough fell back to meet him, and soon Eugene, leaving
his troops behind him, appeared in person in the camp. Between them they
persuaded the Margrave of Baden that the capture of the fortress of
Ingolstadt was necessary, and that, as it had hitherto never been
taken, it would be much to his honour to reduce it. Thus rid of their
pretentious colleague, Eugene and Marlborough arranged their junction,
which was finally made, without disturbance from the French, on the 11th
of August, a little to the east of Hochstädt, on the north of the
Danube. The combined armies of the French and Bavarians had also betaken
themselves to the same side of the river, and were now advancing from
the west to meet the allied army, should they wish to fight. It was
believed, however, that such was not Marlborough's intention. Tallard
thought he was withdrawing towards Nordlingen, and, as he said after the
battle, had intended to fall upon him and fight him on his way thither.
When it became evident that a battle was to be fought, the French
general, advancing from Hochstädt, took up a strong position in the
neighbourhood of the village of Blenheim. The hills which lie along the
north of the Danube there fall back a little, enclosing a small plain.
Across this runs a brook called the Nebel, at the foot of a spur of
rising land which runs from the foot of the receding hills to the
Danube, where its termination is crowned by the village of Blenheim. The
course of the Nebel is full of morasses difficult to pass, but a gradual
slope of firm ground leads from it to the top of the rising ground.
Along this ridge the French and Bavarians took up their position. The
Elector of Bavaria, with Marshal Marsin, occupied the left, where, in
the midst of woods, the rising ground joins the hills; Marshal Tallard
with the French occupied Blenheim and the right. Considering Blenheim as
the key of the position, Marshal Tallard fortified it with palisades,
and placed in it a considerable portion of his infantry, thus depriving
himself of their assistance upon the battlefield, and weakening the
centre of his army. To the French was opposed Marlborough in person,
while Eugene, in command of the right wing, and with a considerably
smaller number of troops, led the attack against the Elector. The
difficulties he met with prevented Eugene from being early in position,
but news were at length brought that he was ready to begin the battle,
and Marlborough at once proceeded to the attack. The battle began on the
part of the English with an assault upon the intrenched village. It was
too strong to be taken, and the assailants were driven back with some
loss. But the vigour of the opposition his troops had met with showed
Marlborough his enemy's mistake. He determined to direct his chief
assault upon the centre of the line. The infantry which were attacking
Blenheim were ordered to seek shelter behind some rising ground, and to
keep up such a feigned attack upon the place as should give employment
to the troops stationed there. Meanwhile, with considerable difficulty,
the English army was brought across the marshes, and established in
position upon the firm ground beyond. In the French line cavalry and
infantry were interlaced; this arrangement was copied by the assailants.
The first effort of the English to ascend the slope was defeated, but
after a fierce interchange of fire, a second attempt broke the French
cavalry, and destroying the infantry, pierced the centre of the French
line. The battle was in fact won, no help could be sent to Tallard by
the Elector, a decisive charge of cavalry drove the enemy's horse off
the field, and the army fled in two bodies, one towards the river, the
other towards Hochstädt. Both were hotly pursued, and of those who fled
towards the river thousands perished in the stream. Blenheim still held
out, but, cut off from all succour, surrounded by the whole English
army, and threatened by the approaching artillery, the gallant garrison
was compelled to capitulate, and 11,000 men laid down their arms. The
right wing being completely destroyed, the Elector of Bavaria had found
it necessary to withdraw his troops from the battle, although they had
hitherto held their position against the fierce attacks of Eugene. In
the confusion he managed to retire without much loss. The victory,
however, was a very complete one; 60,000 strong in the morning of the
13th, on the 14th the French and Bavarian generals found themselves at
the head of no more than 20,000 men. All their tents and baggage, and
most of their artillery and colours, had fallen into the hands of the
allies. The list of killed and wounded on the side of the allies was
about 12,000. Marshal Tallard himself was among the prisoners. Again,
even after this defeat, the Elector of Bavaria declined all terms, and
his wife, as Regent, had to submit to such conditions as the German
Emperor chose to impose. So great was the blow, that the French
retreated with extreme rapidity; they gave up the strong fortress of
Ulm, and withdrew beyond the Rhine, whither they were pursued by the
allies, who, following separate routes, again assembled at Philipsburg;
nor even there did Villeroi withstand them, but still falling back,
allowed them to recapture Landau, during which operation Marlborough
completed his work by rapidly marching into the valley of the Moselle
and conquering Trèves and Trarbach.

[Sidenote: Progress of the war in Spain, the Cevennes, and Italy.]

Events of some importance had been taking place in three of the other
seats of war. In Spain, Berwick had completely worsted the Portuguese,
who had been so badly succoured by the English under the Duke of
Schomberg that he had been recalled, and Ruvigny, Earl of Galway, a
French refugee, put in his place; while, to balance this, a fleet under
Sir George Rooke, having on board the Prince of Darmstadt, and some
troops, while returning from an unsuccessful attack on Barcelona, made
an easy conquest of Gibraltar, and took possession of it in the name of
the English, to whom it has ever since belonged. In the Cevennes, a
merciful policy had brought the rebellion to an end, and Cavalier having
been offered the commission of colonel in the French army, which he at
first accepted and then declined, had been allowed to leave the country.
He entered the English army, rose to the rank of general, and was
subsequently Governor of Jersey.

Meanwhile affairs in Italy had been assuming a shape which rendered it
probable that the great interest of the war would be transferred thither
in the following year. Vendome had been rapidly reducing the territory
of the Duke of Savoy. One after the other his fortresses had been
captured, and no hope seemed left him but in immediate succour, either
from the Emperor, who was not likely to give it, or from Marlborough

[Sidenote: Marlborough's plans for 1705.]

As was natural after his great successes, Marlborough expected that the
next year would be one of much importance. Seeing the impossibility of
himself assisting Savoy, he had contrived to persuade the King of
Prussia to allow 8000 of his troops to proceed to Italy, and to serve
under Eugene, who had been despatched thither. His own intention was to
follow up his late victory by an invasion of France. He had intended
that this invasion should be by the valley of the Moselle, upon which a
joint attack was to have been made, by himself up the river, and by
Louis of Baden coming from Landau. The plan had been so far foreseen,
that the ablest of the French generals, Marshal Villars, was stationed
on the Moselle, while Flanders was intrusted to Villeroi, and Marsin
continued in Alsace. The weak co-operation of the German Prince rendered
the plan abortive, nor did the death of the Emperor Leopold, nor the
succession of Joseph the young King of the Romans, increase for any
length of time the vigour of the Imperial armies. But while Marlborough
was still waiting for the Margrave's assistance, Villeroi had suddenly
assumed the offensive, had retaken some of the fortresses of the Meuse,
and invested Liège. As usual, on the slightest sign of danger, the Dutch
were clamorous for Marlborough's return. His disappointment on the
Moselle inclined him to listen to them, and his appearance in Flanders
at once re-established affairs. Though disappointed in his main object,
he still intended to fight a great battle; but, as usual, jealousy of
the allied commanders, and the constant slowness and opposition of the
Dutch general, prevented him from bringing on an engagement. He however
succeeded in breaking the great line of French fortifications extending
from Antwerp to Namur upon the Meuse, and in advancing to the attack of
Brussels across the plain of Waterloo, where, but for the opposition he
met with among his own colleagues, a great battle might have been
fought: he writes, that he felt sure that, had he fought such a battle,
it would have been a greater victory than that of Blenheim. However, his
difficulties were more than he could overcome. The year passed away
without great events, and the French began to think that he had owed his
victories to chance. Upon the Rhine, Louis of Baden, though he had been
so backward in his support of Marlborough, showed the ability which he
really possessed by winning a great battle at the end of the year at
Hagenau, unfortunately too late to assist Marlborough in his plans. In
Italy, though Eugene won the battle of Cassano, the position of the
Duke of Savoy became continually more precarious, and the crisis had not

[Sidenote: Peterborough's success in Spain.]

It was in fact not with either of the great regular armies that the
allies this year won any great successes, but with the small and mixed
forces in Spain, which had been placed under the eccentric but vigorous
command of Lord Peterborough. Leaving Galway to prosecute the war in the
west, this general, who held with Sir Cloudesley Shovel a joint command
of the fleet also, drew the Prince of Darmstadt from Gibraltar, and
sailed round the east of Spain. After some successes on the eastern
coast, he was eager to march direct upon Madrid. But the Archduke
Charles, now calling himself Charles III., who was with him, listened in
preference to the suggestions of Darmstadt, who had once been Governor
of Catalonia, and trusted much to his influence in that province. The
plan of an attack upon Madrid was therefore overridden, and the army
proceeded to besiege Barcelona. Serious quarrels occurred between the
leaders, for which Peterborough's want of caution was no doubt much to
blame, and the siege was on the point of being given up. Already the
heavy cannon were withdrawn from the trenches and carried on board ship,
when suddenly Peterborough appeared in the tent of the Prince of
Darmstadt, with whom he was not on speaking terms, and telling him that
he intended to attack the enemy that night, challenged him to follow
him. Laying aside his animosity, the Prince at once accompanied him.
Peterborough's intention was to capture the citadel of Montjuich, a fort
at some little distance from the town itself, and this he trusted to do
by a sudden attack when the enemy were off their guard. The attempt was
perfectly successful. The English troops followed the defenders pell
mell into the walls of the fortress. Scarcely was the stronghold taken
than the Spaniards began to advance from the town to retake it.
Peterborough rode forward to reconnoitre; a panic seized his troops in
his absence, and they were already relinquishing the fort, when he
galloped back and rallied them, and fortunately found that their absence
had been unperceived. The possession of this citadel was followed before
long by the fall of the city, which capitulated on the 9th of October
(1705). The greater portion of the troops in Barcelona, and much of the
open country, at once declared for King Charles. The kingdom of Valencia
followed this example, and in the capital of that province Peterborough
subsequently took up his abode. Nor did his successes end there. In the
following year, the French, under Marshal Tessé and King Philip
himself, attempted to regain Barcelona. The Count of Toulouse, a natural
son of the French King, blockaded it from the sea. Peterborough, moving
from Valencia with but 3000 regular troops, did his best to employ
Tessé's army, which was 20,000 strong. But the siege went forward
uninterruptedly. Already the trenches were within 150 yards of the wall,
and an immediate assault was to be expected, when the English fleet
under Sir John Leake, second in command, approached. Though his numbers
were nearly equal to those of the Count of Toulouse, Leake, a prudent
commander, wished to wait for expected reinforcements under Byng. But
Peterborough, feeling that delay would be ruinous, determined upon a
strange step to compel immediate action. He got on board an open boat
and proceeded in quest of the English fleet. After searching for a whole
day and night in vain, he at length reached the squadron. Having
produced a new commission which had been given him, which gave him full
command over Leake whenever he was himself on board, he at once hoisted
his flag and gave orders for the attack. But meanwhile, hearing of the
arrival of the English, the Count of Toulouse had withdrawn his fleet,
the town could be easily approached from the sea, and Tessé thought it
better to raise the siege. After this brilliant exploit, Peterborough
again wished to march upon Madrid from Valencia, but King Charles, on
the advice of his German council, whom Peterborough speaks of by the
contemptuous name of "the Vienna crew," determined upon advancing
straight through Aragon, and called upon Peterborough to move his troops
from Valencia to join him on the march. Meanwhile the army of the west,
under Galway and Das Minas, had, after considerable delay, moved upon
Madrid also, and had occupied it. They found, however, the feeling there
strongly in favour of King Philip. As Aragon and Catalonia had favoured
Charles, so, in the spirit of hereditary opposition, the Castilians
devoted themselves to the interest of Philip. So strong was the
opposition they met with, that the allies had to leave the capital and
fall back eastward towards the approaching army of Charles, with whom
they formed a junction. But in the combined army there were far too many
commanders for vigorous action. Peterborough, the only man of genius
among them, found himself constantly thwarted: he put no restraint upon
his tongue. Bitter quarrels were the consequence, and he found it
necessary to leave the army and betake himself to Italy, which had been
his original destination, in order to negotiate with the Genoese for a
supply of money.

[Illustration: Battle of Ramillies May 23rd 1706.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Ramillies. May 23, 1706.]

The same year which saw these sudden and unexpected successes in Spain
was marked by still more complete success against the French in other
parts of Europe. Marlborough was determined to wipe out the bad
impression which the inactivity of the last campaign had caused. His own
ardent wish was to march with the army as he had in the Blenheim
campaign, and to throw himself into Italy, where the critical position
of affairs still continued. Finding it impossible to gratify this wish,
he determined that he would at least do something vigorous in Flanders
which might serve as a diversion to his friend Eugene in Italy. Bringing
his army therefore across the lines which he had broken the year before
in the neighbourhood of the sources of the little river Gheet, he came
in sight of Villeroi, with whose army the Elector of Bavaria, having
lost all troops of his own, was now serving. The place where the armies
met was Ramillies. Thither Villeroi had drawn his troops, with the
intention of covering Namur, which Marlborough's advance seemed to
threaten. The French general had received instructions to risk a battle
to save that town, and therefore afforded Marlborough the opportunity he
so much desired. The French army was very strongly posted upon a range
of heights forming a semicircle round the sources of the little Gheet
river. Their right almost touched the Mehaigne river, and was covered by
the villages of Tavière and Ramillies. Across it ran an old road known
as the road of Queen Brunehaud, closely adjoining which, in the highest
part of the position, was a barrow known as the Tomb of Ottomond: from
this point the position swept round till it terminated at the village of
Autre-Eglise, being covered from that point by the Gheet and the marshes
in which it rises. The steepness of the heights at Autre-Eglise, and the
river and marsh in its front, rendered the position almost impregnable,
but at the same time made it difficult for the troops stationed there to
act upon the offensive. Marlborough at once saw that he had the
advantage of occupying the inside of a circle, so that to any given
point the movement of his troops was shorter than that of his enemy's
could be. He saw also that the Tomb of Ottomond was the key of the
position. If this was once in his possession, the whole line of the
enemy could be enfiladed. He ordered therefore a vigorous but false
assault on Autre-Eglise. His feint succeeded; both the French generals
rode to that part of the field, believing it to be the point of danger.
Then Marlborough ordered the real attack to be made in the neighbourhood
of Tavière, Ramillies, and the road of Brunehaud. He was enabled to draw
troops from his right to strengthen his left in their attack, and after
some warm fighting, especially about the village of Ramillies, the
position was forced, the English troops formed at right angles to their
original position, and pressed onward along the high ground occupied by
the enemy. Villeroi and the Elector found it impossible to save the day.
Fresh difficulty was caused by the breaking down of the French baggage
as it was withdrawing northwards towards Judoigne. Thus interrupted, the
retreat became a rout; the enemy were pursued far beyond Judoigne to
within two leagues of Louvain. They did not even rest there; a hurried
consultation was held by torchlight in the market-place, and the flight
immediately continued towards Brussels. The river Dyle, which
Marlborough had failed to pass the preceding year, was thus left open.

The consequences of this victory were unexpectedly great. Brussels
opened its gates to the advancing conquerors; King Charles was
proclaimed King in the capital of the Spanish Netherlands; even the line
of the Scheldt was deserted, and Ghent, Bruges, and Oudenarde, fell into
the hands of the allies; the great naval strongholds, Antwerp and
Ostend, which had before now sustained memorable sieges, surrendered,
the one on account of some quarrel within its walls, the other because
of its inability to withstand the advancing allies. The list of
conquests is concluded by the strongholds of Menin and Ath. In fact the
effect of the battle was to drive the French entirely out of the
Netherlands; Mons and Namur being the only towns of importance still
remaining in their hands.

[Sidenote: Saves Eugene in Italy.]

The battle even influenced affairs in Italy. The complete
disorganization of the French army in Flanders made a change of
commanders imperatively necessary. Vendome, regarded in some ways as the
ablest French general, was summoned from Italy, where he had been acting
successfully against Eugene. He had driven the Imperial army to retreat
behind the Adige; the Milanese had thus been cleared, and Piedmont
conquered with the exception of Turin. Into that last fortress the
unfortunate Duke had withdrawn. For the purpose of taking it, a
well-appointed army, under the Duke de la Feuillade, son-in-law of
Chamillart the war minister, but without other claims to the command,
crossed the Alps and invested the town. It was of the last importance
that it should be relieved, and Eugene determined upon a march, bold
even to rashness, for the purpose. Crossing the Po not far from its
mouth, he followed the river upwards upon its south bank. The obstacles
he encountered were many; but Vendome at this critical moment was
recalled to Flanders, and Marsin and the Duke of Orleans, who took the
command, allowed Eugene to cross river after river without opposition,
contenting themselves with following his movements upon the opposite
bank of the river. At length Eugene approached Turin, formed a junction
with the Duke of Savoy, whom the laxity of the siege had allowed to
leave the city with 10,000 men, and passing beyond Turin, turned his
back upon France, and marched against the investing army. The siege had
been carried on without skill, the lines were of immense length, and
severed into various sections by the numerous rivers which join the Po
in the neighbourhood of Turin. Orleans was eager to lead the troops out
of the trenches and risk a pitched battle, which, as the French had a
considerable advantage in numbers, might easily have resulted in
Eugene's defeat. He was overruled by Marsin, who unexpectedly produced a
commission as commander-in-chief, and the army awaited the assault in
their trenches. Even in this position they were badly commanded. Three
generals, issuing sometimes contradictory orders, prevented the proper
concentration of troops, and when Eugene marched against that section of
the works which lay between the Doria and the Stura, not more than a
third of the French army is said to have been ready to oppose him. The
route of the French was complete, 200 guns, and much stores and money,
fell a prey to the victors (Sept. 7). The effect of the victory was
greater than the victory itself. It was found impossible to lead the
broken troops into the Milanese; they fell back in confusion behind the
Alps, thus leaving the force on the Adige to be surrounded by enemies.
Piedmont returned to its allegiance, and in fact the whole of Italy was
irretrievably lost to France, and compelled to join the Grand Alliance.

[Sidenote: The disasters of the French in 1706]

[Sidenote: make Louis desire peace.]

[Sidenote: Marlborough rejects his terms.]

The disasters of France had been continuous. Blenheim had secured
Germany, and in this year of 1706, Ramillies had been followed by the
conquest of the whole of the Netherlands, Turin by the conquest of the
whole of Italy, the relief of Barcelona by the occupation of Madrid by
the allied forces, although they had subsequently been compelled to fall
back towards Valencia. So great were the French disasters that Louis
began to think of treating, and suggested as terms on which peace might
be made a new Partition Treaty, by which he would consent to acknowledge
Queen Anne in England, to give the Dutch the barrier they demanded, to
grant great commercial advantages to the maritime powers, and to
surrender Spain and the Indies to the Archduke Charles, if only he could
preserve for his grandson Philip a kingdom in Italy consisting of Milan,
Naples, and Sicily. These terms were very attractive to the Dutch, who
thought they had already secured all they required, but were by no means
satisfactory to the Emperor, who saw that the barrier given to the Dutch
must of necessity be taken from the Spanish dominions in the
Netherlands, and therefore from his brother:[3] nor to Marlborough, who,
though he confessed he did not believe that the King of France would
ever make peace without securing some kingdom for his grandson, was
desirous for his own sake to continue the war, and thought the French
demand for the Milanese after the great victories which had been won
unreasonable. With some difficulty he persuaded Heinsius to reject the
terms, and the war proceeded on its course. It might have been better to
have accepted Louis' terms. Never again were the affairs of the allies
in so prosperous a condition, although the continuation of the war
undoubtedly told in their favour by the gradual exhaustion it produced
in France.

[Sidenote: The tide of victory turns.]

[Sidenote: Almanza. April 25, 1707.]

[Sidenote: Stolhofen. May 22.]

[Sidenote: Toulon. Aug. 20.]

It seemed indeed in the course of the next year as if the tide of
victory had wholly turned. Peterborough had returned to Spain, and
viewing the altered state of affairs, was now as eager to act on the
defensive as he had been before to urge an advance upon Madrid. His
advice was again disregarded. The introduction of Sunderland into the
ministry at home was unfavourable to him, and he was recalled, leaving
the command of Spain in the somewhat incompetent hands of Das Minas and
Galway. These generals, determining to act on the offensive, marched out
of Valencia towards Madrid, but were met near Almanza by the lately
reinforced army of Berwick, and suffered a complete defeat. The
consequence was the loss of Valencia and Saragossa, so that Charles was
only able to maintain himself in the province of Catalonia. The battle
of Almanza was fought on the 25th of April. On the 22nd of the following
month, Marshal Villars completely surprised the Margrave of Bareuth, who
had succeeded the late Margrave Louis of Baden in command of the
Imperial troops on the Rhine. The lines of Stolhofen, which had been so
long held against the French, were taken and destroyed. Nor was the
advance of the allied army of Italy into the south of France more
successful. Eugene and the Duke of Savoy reached Toulon and besieged it.
But sickness had much decreased the number of the allies; a considerable
detachment had been sent to complete the conquest of Naples, and the
appearance of Marshal Tessé with a large army, and the threat of an
assault upon their rear, induced them to raise the siege and retire
beyond the Alps. Nor was there anything done in Flanders to redeem the
ill-success which had met the allied arms elsewhere. Marlborough in vain
attempted to bring the French to a pitched battle. The Dutch had lost
confidence after receiving the news of Almanza and Stolhofen, and
renewed their old dilatory policy; the rains also somewhat impeded the
campaign, which was closed without any important event.

[Sidenote: Marlborough diverts Charles XII.]

One valuable diplomatic service, however, Marlborough had performed.
Charles XII. of Sweden was in the midst of his victorious career. Having
defeated the Russians at Narva, he had succeeded in driving Augustus,
Elector of Saxony, from the throne of Poland, and entering Saxony
itself, was now in the neighbourhood of Leipsic. Sweden was the old ally
of France, and Louis did not let Charles forget it. For a moment there
seemed a chance that Charles would follow in the footsteps of Gustavus
Adolphus, throw himself and his victorious army into Germany, and ruin
the cause of the allies. To deter him from this step Marlborough visited
him at his camp, and successfully directed his ambition towards his old
enemies the Russians, against whom he shortly marched to meet his ruin
at the battle of Pultowa.

[Sidenote: Threatened invasion of Scotland. 1708.]

The beginning of the ensuing year was marked by a new incident in the
war. The hopes of Louis were raised by the reports of the general
discontent prevalent in Scotland; a large portion of that nation had
seen with dislike the late completion of the Union, and assurances were
brought to France of the readiness of the Jacobite party to rise in
arms. An invasion was determined on and actually set on foot. The fleet
was all ready to sail, when Prince James Edward, afterwards called the
Old Pretender, but now known by the name of the Chevalier de St. George,
who was to accompany it, was taken ill of the measles. The expedition
was postponed for some weeks, and these weeks were enough to destroy its
chance of success. Byng with a powerful fleet appeared in the Channel,
troops were brought over from the Continent and others collected in
England, and though the little squadron succeeded in eluding the fleet
and reached the Firth of Forth, there was no sign of a general rising of
the Jacobites, and it had to return from its fruitless expedition, glad
to escape with safety.

[Sidenote: Campaign of 1708.]

[Sidenote: Marlborough's plan.]

This threatened invasion had of course retained Marlborough in England.
It was not till somewhat late that he could join the army. With a slight
change of generals the war continued its old course. Villars was
employed to reduce Piedmont, Berwick and the Elector of Bavaria were on
the Rhine, Spain had been intrusted to the Duke of Orleans, while in
Flanders, which was this year selected as the great battlefield, Vendome
was to oppose Marlborough, having with him as nominal commander-in-chief
the Duke of Burgundy, the heir to the French throne. Marlborough had
again formed a great scheme for the campaign. His intention was that the
Elector of Hanover, who after the defeat of Stolhofen had taken command
of the Imperial troops, should remain on the Rhine, and that Eugene,
with whom he again longed to act in co-operation, should form a new army
and assist him on the Moselle. The two generals met in April at the
Hague, and there agreed that they would make an ostensible plan for the
invasion of Lorraine, but that they should in fact join their two
armies, and act rapidly and decisively to complete the conquest of the
Netherlands. Eugene met with infinite difficulties in forming his new
army, and Marlborough was still singlehanded when Vendome began an
offensive movement.

The French army had been concentrated at Mons, on the south-west of the
Netherlands. It thence advanced northward towards Brussels. Fearing for
the capital, Marlborough took up a position to cover it, but suddenly
the French marched off eastward, and threatened Louvain. This was,
however, but a feint. The real intention of the French was to act upon
the western frontier, upon the river Scheldt. The Dutch had made
themselves highly unpopular in the Netherlands since they had had
possession of that province; the disaffected inhabitants of the great
towns on the Scheldt had opened correspondence with Vendome, and were
prepared to surrender their cities to him. Having therefore drawn
Marlborough towards Louvain, he suddenly marched westward to Alost,
across the front of the English army, sending forward on his march
detachments, to which Ghent and Bruges surrendered without a struggle.
As the town of Oudenarde, somewhat higher up the river, would complete
the security of these new acquisitions, it was determined to besiege it.
Marlborough had followed close upon the heels of the French, circling
round Brussels so as to defend the capital. He had not ceased to urge
Eugene to join him with his troops, which, according to agreement,
should have been with him many weeks before. The delay was no fault of
the Prince's; he was already hurrying to join Marlborough, when, hearing
that it was his intention to fight a battle in defence of Oudenarde, and
unable to bring up his troops, he hastened forward alone and joined the
English army. Between Marlborough's army and Oudenarde ran the river
Dender, which the French determined to hold to cover the siege. Alost,
which lies a little to the north of Oudenarde, they already possessed;
at about an equal distance to the south, also on the river Dender, was
the entrenched camp of Lessines. Could they occupy this they would be in
a good position to cover the siege. Marlborough foresaw their intention,
and determined to forestall them. Although the river between Lessines
and Alost makes a considerable curve, and Marlborough, on the convex
side of it, had almost twice the distance to traverse that the French
had, he pushed on with such rapidity that he secured Lessines and the
passage of the river before the French columns appeared in sight. It
was now evident to the French generals that Marlborough intended to
fight. They drew in their detachments, and marched rapidly to cross the
Scheldt at Gavre, to the north of Oudenarde. Marlborough marched direct
upon that city, so that the converging lines of march would speedily
meet. It was known that there was much disputing and ill-feeling between
Vendome and the Duke of Burgundy, and that the latter Prince intended,
if possible, to avoid an engagement. With all speed Marlborough sent
forward General Cadogan to secure the passage of the river, and prepare
bridges for his army. After he had performed this duty, Cadogan rode
forward to reconnoitre, and saw the French troops crossing at Gavre,
and, in ignorance of the immediate vicinity of the English, quietly
sending out foragers. With such troops as he had he drove in the
outlying posts of the enemy, who now, apprised of the approach of
Marlborough, found a battle inevitable.

[Sidenote: Battle of Oudenarde. July 11, 1708.]

A little to the north of Oudenarde the river Norken joins the Scheldt,
after a course almost parallel to that river. Between the Norken and the
Scheldt an irregular semicircle of hills sweeps with the convex side of
one of its arms at Oudenarde, while the other, surmounted by the village
Oycke, overhangs the Norken; it contains in its hollow two little brooks
which fall into the Scheldt just north of Oudenarde. On the other side
of these brooks, closing the opening of the semicircle, is an irregular
mass of rising ground sloping away northward towards the junction of the
Scheldt and Norken. Vendome gave orders to occupy this irregular mass
and the valleys of the brooks, the arm of the semicircle between
Oudenarde and the course of the brooks being occupied by Cadogan. But
the Duke of Burgundy counter-ordered his commands, and arranged his
troops upon what was doubtless a stronger position, the range of hills
beyond the Norken. But though stronger for defence, it was much less
favourable for an offensive battle. These contradictory commands cost
the French their first loss. Seven battalions of their troops having
pushed forward towards Oudenarde as far as Eyne, were fallen upon and
destroyed by Cadogan, who thus crossed the brook and ascended the
irregular high land beyond it. Had Vendome's order been carried out the
position of Cadogan would have been very precarious. He was almost
unsupported, although Marlborough was coming to his assistance with some
cavalry, which he led forward for several miles at a gallop. As it was,
however, the English army came up by degrees, and took position with
their left on the semicircle of hills, and their right supporting
Cadogan beyond the brook. Thwarted in his first schemes, Vendome now
wished to remain beyond the Norken, knowing that the enemy were wearied
with a long march (it was already four in the afternoon), and that he
would have an opportunity of withdrawing quietly in the night towards
France. The Duke of Burgundy again thwarted him. He commanded the right
wing, and insisted upon sending his troops forward across the Norken
into the valleys where the brooks ran. The country was there broken up
with enclosures, and a fierce hand-to-hand battle was fought with the
English right, which Marlborough had intrusted to Eugene. The exhibition
of all the English cavalry upon the high lands beyond the brooks held
the French left entirely in check; and while Eugene and the English were
disputing the hedges and enclosures in the valley, Marlborough, passing
to the left, observed that the extremity of the semicircle, which
overhung the Norken and was occupied by the village of Oycke, was
unguarded by the French. He caused Overkirk with the Dutch reserve to
march round the hills to occupy this point, and thus completely envelop
the French right. The effect was the total annihilation of that part of
the French army, and it was owing to an accident alone that any part of
it escaped. The two extremes of the enveloping English line came so
close together, that in the darkness they fired upon each other. The
mistake was happily soon discovered, but fearing a repetition of the
accident, the general gave orders rather to let the French escape than
to run the risk of renewing such a disaster. Some 9000 men thus broke
through at a gap in the semicircle of hills near the Castle of Bevere,
and made their escape to France. The rest of the beaten army retired
toward Ghent.

[Illustration: Battle of Oudenard. July 11th, 1708.]

[Sidenote: Siege of Lille. Dec. 9, 1708.]

Both armies were speedily reinforced. Eugene's troops arrived from the
Moselle, and joined the English; Berwick, with part of the army of the
Rhine, which had been observing them, reinforced the French, but the
relative numbers of the troops were not much changed. Marlborough and
Eugene had now to settle upon a further plan of action. Before them lay
the great city of Lille, one of the earliest conquests of Louis XIV.,
newly fortified with all the skill of Vauban. That the allies should
cross the frontier and enter France was speedily determined. But while
Marlborough suggested the bold plan of leaving troops to mask Lille,
while the main army marched direct to Paris, Eugene, though by no means
a timid general, urged the more regular course of besieging and
capturing the great fortress which lay in their way before proceeding
further. The arguments in favour of this plan were too plausible to be
disregarded. It was decided that while Eugene in person undertook the
siege, Marlborough should command the covering army. Even to bring the
siege material to the spot was a matter of no small difficulty; the
artillery alone required 16,000 horses, and the progress of the siege
was watched by a French army of 100,000. When these preliminary
difficulties were triumphantly overcome, there still remained the great
fortress itself, occupied by 15,000 men, under the able command of
Boufflers. At one time the Dutch deputies were so alarmed at the
slowness of the progress made that they urged the renunciation of the
project. One of the greatest difficulties experienced by the allied
commanders was the provisioning of the army; the land communication with
Brussels was entirely cut off, all provisions had to be brought from
Ostend, whither they had been conveyed by sea. The French determined to
interrupt this line of communication also, and to destroy one of the
convoys which had been intrusted to General Webb, with a most
insufficient detachment of troops. It has been suggested that
Marlborough was here playing one of his old tricks, that, in his
jealousy of Webb, he wished for his destruction, and had intentionally
exposed him to this danger. If such was the case he was thoroughly
disappointed. When the French troops fell upon the convoy at Wynendale,
Webb made a most gallant defence and beat them off. The very slight
notice taken by Marlborough in his despatches of this gallant action
gives some colour to the rumour. The victory of Wynendale was at all
events the turning-point of the siege; from this time rapid progress was
made. On the 22nd of October Boufflers found it necessary to capitulate
for the town, while retaining the citadel, and on the 9th of December he
marched out of his last stronghold with all the honours of war. The
reconquest of Ghent and Bruges followed upon the fall of Lille.

[Sidenote: Capture of Port Mahon.]

In other directions the war had been languid. In Spain only had anything
been done. There Stanhope had taken the command in conjunction with
Staremberg, the Imperial general, and had succeeded without much
difficulty in capturing Port Mahon in Minorca, a place then regarded as
more valuable than Gibraltar, and of the highest importance as affording
a safe winter harbour for the English fleet in the Mediterranean.

[Sidenote: Exhaustion of France. 1709.]

[Sidenote: Louis offers to treat.]

[Sidenote: High demands of the allies.]

[Sidenote: Rejected by Louis.]

For some years the exhaustion of France had been great. The finance
ministers had been reduced to the most ruinous expedients to maintain
the war, and the whole people were suffering terribly. To crown their
misery, the winter of 1708 was of extraordinary severity and duration.
The corn crops were frozen in the ground, the very apple trees perished
with cold. Famine threatened to destroy what the war had spared. Louis
became very anxious to treat; and as for some years it had been supposed
that the Dutch were inclined to accept a separate pacification, it was
to them that Louis addressed himself. The war party was however for the
present in the ascendant, and Heinsius, who, as Grand Pensionary of
Holland, exercised a predominant influence in the Council of the Dutch,
let it be clearly understood that the Republic would treat only in
conjunction with the allies, and that the allied demands would be very
high. Louis however despatched an ambassador to see what terms could be
made, but he met with a cold reception. The Government in England,
especially the Whig members of it, were indignant at the threatened
invasion of Scotland in the previous year, and induced the Parliament to
vote that the Queen's title and the Protestant succession, the dismissal
of the Pretender from France, and the demolition of the fortifications
of Dunkirk, should be necessary elements in any treaty: while the Dutch
claimed a line of ten fortresses on the Flemish frontier (including some
still in the possession of France), and the restoration of Strasburg and
Luxemburg. Nor, in exchange for these high demands, was any specific
promise of peace given. Such was the position of the French Government,
that even these terms were taken into consideration, and Torcy the
French minister offered, though he could get no proper passport, to go
himself privately and see what could be done to ameliorate them. He
found the allies determined to demand at least the resignation of the
whole Spanish succession, together with the restoration of Newfoundland
to England. This demand put Louis in a difficult position. It was no
longer, he declared, in his power to surrender Spain, for his grandson
King Philip had a will of his own, and, although he might have been
induced to resign Spain for an Italian kingdom, did not choose to become
altogether crownless. Louis now reaped the fruits of his former bad
faith as a negotiator. The allies, believing that this excuse was
fictitious, and alleged merely to gain time, drew up their demands in
accordance with the preliminaries, and would promise in exchange for the
great concessions demanded from Louis only two months' truce. If in that
time Philip could not be induced to resign Spain, the French King was to
pledge himself to join with the allies to expel him by force of arms.
When Torcy returned with these terrible terms, a Council was held at
Versailles, and amidst tears of indignation at the ignominious
propositions, it was determined that, in spite of the necessity of the
moment, it was impossible to accept them. Louis declared, if he had to
fight, he would rather fight against his enemies than against his own
children. And now at length, humbled by reverses, he threw himself on
the patriotism of his people; a stirring proclamation was circulated
through the provinces; the King set the example of patriotism by turning
his plate and costly works of art into money; the whole nation was
touched by his humility, and the war began again with renewed vigour.
The allies had indeed pressed their demands beyond what was either
generous or politic.

[Sidenote: Battle of Malplaquet.]

Villars, the only great French marshal as yet undefeated, was intrusted
with the duty of checking the victorious advance of Eugene and
Marlborough. His name, and the newly roused patriotism of the country,
raised the spirits of the army, though they were in want of many of the
necessaries of life. Villars, determined to act upon the defensive, saw
Tournay fall without moving. Thence the conquerors advanced to Mons, the
capital of Hainault. It seemed necessary, if possible, to prevent the
siege of this town. The rapidity of the movements of the allies
prevented Villars from attaining that object, but the investment was
scarcely formed when he crossed the Scheldt at Valenciennes, and
appeared with his army in the immediate neighbourhood. The corner of the
country between the Haine river on the north, and the Trouille on the
east, in which Mons stands, is crossed by a barrier of high ground,
rendered more difficult by large woods and forests. To approach Mons
from the south and west this ridge has to be crossed, and the only
convenient passage is by the _Trouée_, or open gap, between the woods of
Lanière towards the east, and Taisnière towards the west. Between these
woods the high land falls by several ravines into the plain of Mons. On
the crown of the ridge is the heath and village of Malplaquet.
Marlborough and Eugene, supposing that the object of Villars would be to
pass through this gap and attempt to raise the siege of Mons, brought
their army to the foot of the ascending ravines. But Villars, under whom
Boufflers, though his senior in rank, was serving as a volunteer,
feeling certain that at all events a battle would be fought, determined
to adopt a defensive position, and during the night and day after his
arrival at Malplaquet strongly fortified the flanking woods and the
crown of the hill. Marlborough was anxious to attack before the
fortifications were complete, but Eugene thought it necessary to await
the arrival of troops coming from the siege of Tournay. A day was thus
lost, and time allowed to render the fortifications much stronger. The
battle, which began upon the 11th of September, was the most bloody and
hardly contested of the war. In their first assaults the allies were
repeatedly driven back, but the pressure upon the wood of Taisnière was
so strong, especially when it was outflanked and threatened from the
extreme right of the allies under Withers, that Villars had to weaken
his centre to hold his ground. Marlborough perceived the weakness and
took advantage of it. The entrenchments in the centre of the line were
broken through and captured, and thus the position forced. Villars had
been severely wounded, and the command had devolved upon Boufflers, who
brought off the French army in perfect order, and the fruit of the
hard-earned victory was nothing but the field of battle. The English
encamped the following night upon the French position, having lost in
their disastrous victory 20,000 men. Mons fell, but the campaign had
then to be closed.

[Illustration: Battle of Malplaquet. Sep. 11th, 1709.]

[Sidenote: Summary of political parties from 1702.]

Thus far it has been possible to follow without interruption the general
course of the war, but from this time forward the state of politics in
England exercised so decided an influence upon it, upon the negotiations
which were to bring it to a close, and upon the position and conduct of
Marlborough, that it becomes necessary to turn back and trace the
history of parties since the Queen's accession. Speaking quite
generally, that history consists in the gradual substitution of a Whig
for a Tory Government. Rochester and the extreme high Tories were
disinclined to a great offensive war, and consequently directly opposed
to Marlborough. The Duke, not wishing to break with any great section of
English politicians, attempted, as William had done, to govern by means
of the moderate men of both parties. But there was a second question
which, even after the dismissal of the Tories who disliked the war,
prevented the completion of his plan. The Tories were desirous that
stringent measures should be taken to support the exclusive authority of
the English Church, and in this point were strongly supported by the
feelings of the Queen. The Whigs, on whom Marlborough was induced for
the purposes of the war more and more to rely, were on the other hand
inclined towards more liberal measures. It was upon this point that the
second secession of the Tories took place, leaving Marlborough entirely
in the hands of the Whigs, and in a certain degree in opposition to the
Queen. It was the Whig determination when triumphant to suppress the
expression of High Church feeling that produced the complete overthrow
of Marlborough's ministry. At the same time, as in the former reign,
disputes between the Houses continued, especially when a Tory majority
in the Lower House came into collision with the constant Whig majority
in the House of Lords.

[Sidenote: Tory Parliament. Oct. 1702.]

[Sidenote: Dismissal of Rochester. 1703.]

Already, before the Parliament called by the late King had been
dissolved, Rochester and the extreme high Tories had shown their
disinclination to the war, and had besides given proof of a more
exclusive party spirit than suited the views of Marlborough, to whom, as
to William, the affairs of Europe and the conduct of the war were all in
all, and who had no taste for party conflict. As was to be expected from
the character of the ministry, a strong Tory majority was returned in
October to the first Parliament of the Queen's reign. But Rochester's
views were not shared by the whole of his party; indeed, the strength of
party feeling tended for the time to give Marlborough the support of the
Tories. In their eagerness to throw blame upon the late King, they could
not refrain from contrasting him with the Duke. Marlborough had by this
time begun his successful career by capturing the towns of the Meuse,
and the Commons proceeded to congratulate the Queen, saying, "The
wonderful progress of your Majesty's armies under the conduct of
Marlborough have singularly retrieved the ancient honour of the English
nation." The word _retrieved_, intended to imply censure on the late
King, was, in spite of the opposition of the Whigs, carried by a large
majority. For the present then, if merely out of opposition to William,
the Tories as a whole seemed pledged to support Marlborough, liberal
grants were made, and shortly after the close of the session, the
Government, resting upon the general feeling in its favour, felt itself
strong enough to get rid of Rochester. Displeased at receiving no more
important office than that of Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, he left his
government there, and remained in England. He thus afforded an
opportunity to his enemies to order him to return to his duties. On his
refusing to do so, the command was repeated in a more peremptory manner,
and in his anger he sent in his resignation, which was accepted.

[Sidenote: Occasional Conformity Bill thrown out.]

Before this, however, the question of Church government had been raised
in the House, and the storm it excited had caused a somewhat hasty
prorogation. It had been the habit of dissenting members of corporations
so far to do violence to their conscience as to receive the Sacrament
according to the law of the Church of England upon their appointment to
municipal offices. Having thus duly qualified themselves, they had
continued to hold office, but had gone back to their old forms of
worship. This habit, known as occasional conformity, was viewed with
great jealousy by the Tories. In the first session of the Parliament a
bill was brought in to render occasional conformity illegal, and to
inflict heavy fines upon those who held office on such terms. The chief
supporter of the measure was Henry St. John, afterwards so well known as
Lord Bolingbroke. The Bill passed the House of Commons, but its
amendment by the House of Lords produced such violent altercations, that
the Queen found it necessary to put an end to the session. It was during
this session that the Commissioners for the Union with Scotland first
held their sittings. The progress of the negotiations which produced the
Union in 1706 will be given subsequently.

The Parliament reassembled in November 1703, a month rendered remarkable
by the greatest storm ever known in England; it is calculated that no
less than 8000 lives were lost in it, while 800 houses and 400 windmills
were reduced to ruins. The devastation caused among the forests in the
country may be estimated by the fact that Defoe, travelling through
Kent, counted 17,000 uprooted timber trees, and then desisted from
reckoning them from weariness.

[Sidenote: The Methuen Treaty.]

[Sidenote: Occasional Conformity Bill again thrown out.]

[Sidenote: Disputes on the Aylesbury election.]

The session was again the scene of a great contest between the Houses.
The war was still well supported, and the grants were upon a very
liberal scale, rendered necessary by the additional troops required for
Portugal and Spain, since Portugal had joined the Great Alliance, first
under a treaty with Austria, and subsequently under the well-known
Methuen Treaty with England. This treaty, regarded as a triumph of
diplomacy, was completed by Mr. Methuen, the English minister at Lisbon,
at the close of 1703. It was in exact accordance with the commercial
views of the time, and contained but two articles. By the first English
woollen manufactures were admitted into Portugal, by the second it was
arranged that the duty on Portuguese wines should always be less by
one-third than that on the wines of France. It was supposed that this
would not only secure the friendship of Portugal, but would also bring
much gold and silver, of which the Peninsula was the great emporium,
into England, an object regarded as of the first importance under the
mercantile system. It was when the Bill against occasional conformity,
which had been dropped in the preceding session, was reintroduced that
the contest began. The ministers who had been eager the preceding year
that the Bill should be carried, had, since the resignation of Rochester
and the opposition offered by his friends, grown less eager in their
Tory views. In spite of their very lukewarm support, the Bill again
passed the House of Commons by a large majority. But again it met with
great opposition from the Lords, and was finally thrown out by a
majority of eleven. As no amendments had been proposed, there was no
room for angry conferences between the Houses. But an opportunity for
quarrel was found in questions arising from the Aylesbury election. The
returning officers for that borough had been notoriously guilty of
tampering with the returns in favour of their own friends. At the last
election the vote of Matthew Ashby had been rejected. He brought an
action against the returning officer, and a verdict was found in his
favour. The case was removed into the higher court, and three of the
four judges of the Queen's Bench decided that all decisions with regard
to votes rested entirely with the House of Commons. Upon this Ashby
brought his case by a writ of error before the House of Lords, where the
decision of the Queen's Bench was set aside, and the case finally
settled in favour of Ashby. On this the Commons engaged in the quarrel,
and declared that Ashby, by appealing to the law, was guilty of a breach
of privilege. The Lords replied, declaring that the right of voting,
like any other right, might be maintained by an action at the common
law. There for the present the quarrel was left. It seems tolerably
clear that on this point the Lords were in the right, but the newly won
position of the House of Commons inspired its members with most
overweening views of their own importance. In February of this year
(1704) the Queen celebrated her birthday by surrendering her claim to
the first-fruits of ecclesiastical benefices, which were hereafter to be
employed for the benefit of the Church, and which have since been
administered under the well-known name of Queen Anne's Bounty.

[Sidenote: Dismissal of Nottingham, Jersey and Seymour. May, 1704.]

[Sidenote: Replaced by moderate Tories.]

It was with the knowledge and co-operation of Marlborough--though he had
himself taken the opportunity afforded by the prorogation to go abroad
to fight the great battle of Blenheim--that his friends in the ministry
succeeded in relieving themselves of the rest of the extreme Tories. For
the removal of Rochester in the previous year had by no means cleared
the Government of the party opposed to the active prosecution of the
war. His views were accepted and supported by Nottingham and Jersey in
the Upper House, by Hedges and Seymour in the House of Commons.
Nottingham, true to his principles, had thrown every obstacle in his
power in the way of a plan which had come before the Council for
utilizing for the general purposes of the war the insurrection of the
Cevennes. Thwarted in his opposition, after the close of the session, he
haughtily demanded of the Queen the immediate dismissal of all the Whigs
in the Government, threatening in case of refusal to retire. The Queen,
who loved the Tories, would probably have wished to retain him, but she
was irritated at the tone of his demand. Her irritation was fostered by
Godolphin and the Duchess of Marlborough, and she brought herself to
dismiss both Nottingham and his followers, Jersey and Seymour. The
ministry had to be reconstructed. But Marlborough and Godolphin were by
no means disposed to put themselves into the hands of the Whigs; they
therefore called to office another section of the Tories not adverse to
the war. Harley, the Speaker of the House of Commons, was made Secretary
of State, Mansell replaced Seymour, the Earl of Kent, a moderate Whig,
succeeded Jersey, while the Secretary of War, an unimportant person,
made room for St. John.

[Sidenote: Parliament. Oct. 29, 1704.]

These changes did not improve the position of the ministers, as the Tory
Party had still a strong majority in the House of Commons. Marlborough's
own popularity with the House was shaken, and in the autumn session of
1704, the prevailing feeling showed itself in the form given to the vote
of thanks with which the Commons met the victory at Blenheim; this was
so expressed as to place on a level with the great general who had saved
the Empire the Tory Admiral Rooke, who had fought an indecisive battle
in the Mediterranean, for which many men thought he deserved rather
blame than praise, for though almost as strong as the enemy, he had
withdrawn from the battle without effecting anything. The Tory temper of
the House was again shown by the increased passion with which the
Occasional Conformity Bill was introduced and supported. A considerable
number of the most vehement Tories were eager to adopt their old method,
and to tack it to a Bill for the Land Tax. The Government, and that
section of the Tories who followed the newly-appointed ministers, were
sufficiently strong to defeat this movement, and the Bill met its usual
fate in the House of Lords. As in the preceding session, unable to
quarrel with the House of Lords for exercising their undoubted right,
the Commons found means of attacking them by renewing the question of
the Aylesbury election. Resting upon the decision of the House of Lords,
other inhabitants of Aylesbury had sued the returning officers. The
House of Commons had committed them to Newgate. The Queen's Bench had
refused to interfere; the prisoners demanded a writ of error. The
Commons addressed the Queen against the writ, and put the prisoners into
the custody of their own serjeant-at-arms. The heat of the dispute
rendered a prorogation necessary (March 14).

[Sidenote: Gradual introduction of Whig ministers.]

[Sidenote: Marlborough's composite ministry. 1707.]

But the conduct of the Tory majority had tended still further to incline
the ministry towards the Whigs. Rooke was superseded as
commander-in-chief of the fleet, Sir Cloudesley Shovel, a Whig, put in
his place, and as the three years of the Parliament were now run out,
the Government influence was exercised at the elections against all
those who had voted for tacking the Occasional Conformity Bill. Even
stronger signs were visible of the intention of the Government to form a
junction with the Whigs; the ministers began an intrigue with the Junto,
promising before long to give the Great Seal to William Cowper (a
promise which was shortly after fulfilled), and admitted the Duke of
Newcastle to the ministry as Privy Seal in the place of the Tory Duke of
Buckingham. Nor was it the Government only which was changing its views.
The nation at large, thoroughly interested in the war and disgusted at
the conduct of the Tories, returned at the new elections a large
majority of Whigs. The growing influence of the Whigs was supplemented
by a family tie which connected Marlborough with that party; as
Godolphin, whose son had married one of his daughters, formed a link
with the Tories, so Sunderland, who had married another, connected him
with the Whigs. It seemed as though a bargain advantageous to both sides
might be struck between the Duke and the Whig party. The accession of
Sunderland to the ministry would on the one side strengthen
Marlborough's personal position, and render it more possible for him to
carry on his plan of government without parties; while, on the other, it
would secure to the Whigs a means of at once influencing the character
of the administration. It was determined therefore that Sunderland
should enter the ministry, and as there was then no vacant office, he
was employed at once as extraordinary ambassador to Vienna, and in the
course of the following year (1706) was raised to the office of
Secretary of State. His appointment, and the gradual inclination of the
Government to the Whigs, was followed, at the beginning of the year
1707, by the creation of several Whig Peers, and by a final breach with
the High Tories, when the names of Buckingham, Nottingham, and Rochester
were struck from the list of the Privy Council. Marlborough seemed now
to have gained his object. The administration was a thoroughly
composite one. On the one side were a number of Whigs led by Lord
Sunderland, on the other a section of more moderate Tories headed by
Harley and St. John.

[Sidenote: Harley, seeing its weakness,]

[Sidenote: intrigues against Marlborough.]

But Marlborough underrated the difficulty of managing a coalition. In
his necessary absence abroad this difficult operation was in the hands
of Godolphin, always a timid minister, without any real political
convictions, and ill qualified for a great party struggle. And such a
party struggle was now inevitable. All the ministers were indeed at
present willing to uphold the war. On other points their views were
diametrically opposed, and both sections were anxious for a more
complete admission to power of their own friends. It was the personal
influence of the Churchills alone which could support so strange a
conjunction. That influence depended upon the favour of the Crown, which
by its indirect power of influencing Parliament was practically rather
strengthened than weakened by the Revolution. If that favour could be
withdrawn the ill-assorted ministry must inevitably fall. This truth was
clear to Harley, a man of intriguing character and the leader of the
Tory section of the Cabinet. He perceived that it might be possible to
rise upon the fall of the Churchills, and saw how their power might be
undermined. The Queen was a devoted High Church woman; Marlborough and
his friends, especially since his growing predilection for the Whigs,
were avowedly careless, if they were not Low Church; Harley, on the
other hand, had a great reputation for religion and orthodoxy. Again and
again patronage had been bestowed on what the Queen considered
Latitudinarian principles. Displeased and hurt, she was yet too timid to
stand alone, Harley supplied her with the support she wanted. His
cousin, Mrs. Abigail Hill, who was a cousin and protégée also of the
Duchess of Marlborough, ingratiated herself with the Queen; she was
appointed bedchamber woman, and married with the Queen's influence,
without the knowledge of the Duchess of Marlborough, to Mr. Masham, a
member of Prince George's household. Her quiet, even temper formed a
happy contrast to the termagant violence of the Duchess, and Harley
succeeded in making her his instrument. He roused in the Queen a dread
of the subversion of the Church, and she found courage to make several
Bishops without consulting her ministers.

[Sidenote: Failure of the composite ministry.]

[Sidenote: Harley and his colleagues resign. Feb. 11, 1708.]

The Whig Junto was even more angry than the ministers themselves at this
conduct. They suspected Harley's design, and determined to drive him
from the ministry. Both parties felt that the crisis had arrived. One
or other of them must become predominant. They both determined to make
their power felt, and by a strange manœuvre the extremes of both
sides joined to attack the ministry. The chief points of attack were the
naval administration,--which, as it implicated her husband, was always a
tender point with the Queen,--and the determination of Marlborough to
pursue the course William had marked out, and to carry on the war
chiefly in Flanders. It was in this session of Parliament, which began
on October 23, 1707, that the joint assault upon the Government was
made. The maladministration of the navy was the chief topic, but the
Tories also introduced a motion in the House of Lords, recommending a
change of the seat of war from Flanders to Spain, where the battle of
Almanza had lately proved disastrous to the allied armies. Marlborough
pointed out in vain that this would produce an immediate peace with the
Dutch, who would feel their country open to invasion from France; and
although the Whigs, pledged as they were to support the policy of
William, could not join in such a motion, Somers drew up a declaration,
embodying both the disapprobation felt for the management of the fleet,
and as much of the Tory feeling in favour of a change in the seat of war
as was possible for his party to accept. The declaration stated that "it
is the opinion of this Committee that no peace can be honourable or safe
to her Majesty or her allies, if Spain and the West Indies be suffered
to continue in the power of the house of Bourbon." But the manœuvre
of the Whigs in joining in the assault against Government had been
successful; it was not necessary to press the hostile resolution.
Godolphin had been thoroughly frightened, and recognized the necessity
of breaking up the unnatural friendship and of allying himself with one
or other of the great parties. With the war still continuing he could
not but choose the Whigs. At once entering into negotiations with the
chief of that party, he induced Somers, as President of the Committee
charged with the duty of throwing the late resolutions into the form of
an address, to change the resolutions, by a slight alteration in the
words, from an attack upon Government into a pledge for the continuation
of the war till the French had been entirely broken. The suggested
resolutions mentioned the West Indies, reflecting on the comparative
weakness of our naval efforts, and Spain, implying a change of the scene
of war. The introduction of the words "or any other part of the Spanish
monarchy," entirely destroyed these hostile allusions. The Whigs had
shown their power, it was no longer possible to refuse them their
reward. It became necessary to break with Harley and the moderate
Tories. The discovery that a man of the name of Gregg, a clerk in
Harley's office, was in treasonable correspondence with France, threw
some suspicions on his master's fidelity, and Marlborough and Godolphin
agreed on Harley's dismissal. The Queen was more difficult to move. It
required a threat of resignation on the part of the ministers to induce
her to give up one who, as she believed, thought entirely with her on
Church matters, but she was not yet free from the influence of the
Churchills, and she yielded. With him retired St. John, Harcourt, and
Mansell, whose places were taken by Boyle, a zealous Whig, as Secretary
of State, John Smith as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Robert Walpole
as Secretary of War. Marlborough and Godolphin had apparently triumphed
by means of the Whigs, but their victory was won at the price of the
Queen's favour and of submission to the dictation of the Whig party, who
at once set to work to secure office for themselves; nor were they
scrupulous in the means they used, the threat that they would turn their
assault on the naval administration directly and by name upon her
husband, then on his deathbed, induced the Queen to remove Pembroke and
give the Presidency of the Council to Somers. Sunderland, though himself
a minister, intrigued with the Scotch Jacobites to throw out the
ministerial candidates at the election of Peers held in accordance with
the Union. To all this the General and Treasurer had to submit. The
administration was completed upon a Whig basis, when Orford was forced
upon the Queen as head of the Admiralty.

[Sidenote: Insecurity of Marlborough's position.]

Marlborough was fully alive to the insecurity of his position. It is
often attributed, though perhaps without sufficient reason, to the
desire to keep up his personal ascendancy, that he refused the terms
offered by Louis; and in the following year the disastrous victory of
Malplaquet has also been considered a political battle. A truer view of
the case seems to be that, afraid of taking any decided steps, he chose
to occupy merely the position of an agent of Government, and obey even
against his own convictions the dictation of the Whig party. At the same
time, he made two desperate efforts to obtain a position independent of
home politics--he applied to the Archduke Charles for the office of
Governor of the Low Countries, which would have produced about £60,000 a
year, and he also demanded from Queen Anne the position of Captain
General for life. In both cases his efforts failed. As far as England
was concerned, he probably owed his disappointment chiefly to the
conduct of his wife. Finding herself supplanted by Mrs. Masham, she
lost all command of her temper, and perpetually outraged the feelings of
the Queen by her violent complaints.

[Sidenote: Fall of the Whigs. 1710.]

[Sidenote: Dr. Sacheverell.]

[Sidenote: Dismissal of Sunderland and Godolphin. Aug. 8.]

[Sidenote: Harley's Tory ministry. Nov.]

The triumph of the Whigs, which had seemed so complete, was of very
short duration. Their fall was caused by a fault which had been too
prevalent among them since the Revolution--whenever they had the upper
hand, they became dictatorial and overbearing. Already they had made
themselves distasteful to the Queen by the eagerness with which they had
forced themselves into power, and an unnecessary exhibition of that
power rendered them distasteful to the people. A certain Dr. Henry
Sacheverell, a strong upholder of the doctrine of non-resistance, had
preached two sermons, one at the Assizes of Derby, one before the mayor
and aldermen at St. Paul's. The mayor, who sympathized with his views,
suggested that he should print the sermons, and though the common
council, when consulted, declined to authorize this step, the preacher
acted on the mayor's suggestion and published both. They became a sort
of political manifesto, which was largely circulated through the
country. The Whigs were naturally angry at this semi-official production
of doctrines subversive of all the principles of the Revolution. They
determined to take notice of the sermons, and, foolishly disregarding
the advice of Somers, they proceeded by the extraordinary method of
impeachment instead of the common process of law. This naturally raised
the foolish utterances of a clergyman to the dignity of a party
question; and when they further insisted upon a ceremonious hearing in
Westminster Hall, the trial became the fashionable topic of the day. The
excitement throughout England was very great. All other public business
came to a standstill, and when the Lords, though they found Sacheverell
guilty, took a very moderate view of his guilt, and punished him only
with three years' suspension, the verdict was regarded as a virtual
acquittal, and celebrated as a party triumph. The exhibition of feeling
called forth by this trial proved both to the Queen and to her secret
advisers how great a hold the Tory party had upon the country.
Encouraged by Harley, who loved an underhand intrigue, and by his
creature Mrs. Masham, she proceeded to act upon her new-found knowledge,
and it became evident how formidable the power of the Crown still was.
Without consulting Godolphin, she made the Duke of Shrewsbury Lord
Chamberlain. Godolphin, instead of resigning at this marked act of
distrust, put up with the affront. Still further emboldened by this
weakness, the Queen dismissed Lord Sunderland, whom she had always
disliked, and followed up the blow by the dismissal of Godolphin
himself. The office of Lord Treasurer was for the time kept in abeyance,
but Harley was made Chancellor of the Exchequer, and was virtually Prime
Minister. For a little while Harley attempted negotiations with the
Whigs, who still retained office, but finding them impracticable, he
determined to rest upon the Tories only, induced the Queen to dissolve
Parliament, and formed an entirely Tory ministry, the most important
members of which were Harcourt, who became Lord Chancellor, Rochester,
Lord President, and St. John, who succeeded Boyle as Secretary of State.

[Sidenote: Conference at Gertruydenberg. 1710.]

It was with this ministry that Louis attempted to renew the interrupted
negotiations of 1709. The battle of Malplaquet and the fall of Mons had
forced him to this course, and to consent that a congress should be held
at Gertruydenberg. At first Holland refused to treat except upon the
preliminaries of the preceding year, and they still demanded the
assistance of Louis in ejecting his grandson the King of Spain. Finally,
both English and Dutch seemed to have waived this point, but the
opposition of Austria and Savoy rendered any general negotiation
impossible, and the war was resumed.

[Sidenote: The war in Spain.]

In Flanders it produced nothing beyond the capture of Douay, but in
Spain it was of more importance. There Stanhope succeeded with some
difficulty in inducing his colleague Staremberg and the Archduke Charles
to advance towards Madrid. They defeated the Spaniards, from whom French
assistance was withdrawn during the negotiations, at Almenara and
Saragossa. They pushed on into Castile, and again occupied Madrid. Thus,
inasmuch as the war had been fairly successful, it was in favour of the
Whigs, although the successes having been chiefly in Spain (the
pursuance of the war in which country was a part of the Tory programme),
they were less important politically than they would have been had they
taken place in Flanders. But whatever advantage the Whigs might have
obtained from the war was neutralized when, before the end of the year,
events occurred in Spain which entirely altered the complexion of
affairs in that country. Stanhope's hopes for a successful issue of his
enterprise were based on the active co-operation of the army of
Portugal. Philip, with his Spanish army, having retired northwards,
there was nothing to prevent the junction of the two armies. But, in
spite of the entreaties of the English general, the Portuguese would not
move, and as the hope of any successful issue to the negotiations
dwindled, Louis again allowed assistance to be sent to Spain, and a
considerable army, which the national spirit of the Castilians had
formed round Philip, was placed under the able command of Vendome. He at
once saw the necessity for preventing the proposed union; and his
advance to the Bridge of Almaraz rendered it henceforward impossible.
Stanhope was for wintering in Castile, and the army withdrawing from the
capital amidst the joyful shouts of the inhabitants, took up a position
in accordance with Stanhope's wishes. But the Archduke Charles, who was
as uxorious as his rival, could not bear separation from his wife, and
hurried home with upwards of 2000 cavalry, the arm in which the allied
troops were already overmatched. When it became evident that no hope was
to be expected from Portugal, the general saw that to winter in Castile
was impossible, and withdrew towards Aragon. But Vendome, smarting under
the disgrace he had suffered at Oudenarde, outdid himself. With extreme
rapidity, he pressed upon his enemy, who was retreating in two parallel
armies, one under Staremberg, the other under Stanhope. With vastly
superior forces he came upon the latter general, as he was resting his
troops at Brihuega, without the least notion of the close approach of
Vendome. Stanhope made a most gallant defence, expecting to be relieved
by Staremberg, but hours passed by, and for some unexplained reason,
Staremberg did not appear; thus having continued his defence till
ammunition failed, Stanhope was compelled to capitulate. The surrender
was already completed before Staremberg appeared. His slowness had
ruined his cause, but he did what he could to re-establish it; and at
Villa Viciosa a great battle was fought, in which both parties claimed
the victory. But no fresh victory could have given Vendome more perfect
success. Staremberg was obliged to fall back, and reached Barcelona with
7000 men only, the relics of the army which had been so triumphant in
the earlier part of the year.

[Sidenote: Harley's policy for peace]

[Sidenote: and restoration of the Stuarts.]

The elections, made while the ferment of the trial of Sacheverell was
still unsubdued, produced a strong Tory majority. And it was thus,
strong at home and assisted by disaster abroad, that Harley and his
Government were able to set on foot their change of policy, and in spite
of the failure of the preliminaries at Gertruydenberg, to enter into
negotiations for a final peace. It seems probable that from the first
Harley's policy was directed to the restoration of the Stuarts, as well
as to a return to the main feature of their foreign policy, friendship
with France. It is of course possible that his intercourse with the
Jacobites was merely intended to secure his parliamentary position, but
certainly his conduct was quite in accordance with the belief that he
was in earnest. The tortuous and underhand manner in which the peace was
first set on foot points in this direction, still more so do the letters
of the Abbé Gaultier, written in the year 1710, which declare that the
new ministry had a great consideration for the Pretender, and that some
members of it were working for him only. The restoration of the Stuarts
would be rendered easier by three things. In the first place it was
scarcely possible without the assistance of France. This seems to
explain, better than the mere wish to follow the traditional Tory policy
of peace, the immediate steps taken to put an end to the war, and the
very favourable terms granted to Louis after his disasters. Secondly, it
could not be undertaken without the support of the High Church party,
which was very strong. This explains the constant support given by the
Government to that party. And thirdly, the success of such a scheme
would have been best secured by the assistance of Marlborough, who was
known to have already frequently intrigued with the Court of St.
Germains. On the other hand the Duke would be the most formidable
opponent. Steps were therefore taken to secure his assistance, and when
that was found impossible, his complete ruin became the object to be

[Sidenote: Marlborough only anxious to keep his place.]

On his return from his somewhat unfruitful campaign, Marlborough seemed
inclined, with his usual selfishness, to submit to anything for the
continuation of his personal position. We are told by St. John that he
expressed his sorrow for his former wrong step in joining the Whigs. He
even attempted to soften the angry vehemence of his wife, but her fate
was in fact determined by the personal feelings of the Queen. No
entreaties of the Duke, who even threw himself on his knees before her,
could induce the Queen to go back from her wish to deprive the Duchess
of all her offices. She was compelled to surrender her gold key, and
left her apartments at St. James's, having first gratified her spite by
carrying off the brass locks and marble chimney-pieces. The Duke
himself, though he had suffered many indignities, was permitted to
continue the conduct of the war, being assured that he should be well

[Sidenote: Secret peace negotiations.]

Having thus for the time secured themselves from his opposition, the
Government proceeded to open secret negotiations with the Court of
Versailles. The agent employed was a priest named Gaultier, who had been
Tallard's chaplain, and was a warm friend of the Pretender's cause.
This sudden idea of peace was most unexpected and welcome to the French.
"Asking us whether we wished for peace," says Torcy, "was like asking a
sick man whether he wishes to recover." Gaultier returned with the
message that Louis could not, so soon after the failure of the late
treaty, suggest peace to the Dutch, but he would gladly listen to the
mediation of England; a shrewd answer, which at once tended towards
separating England from her allies. The knowledge that a peace with
France was likely, and that all further help from England was hopeless,
induced a French refugee of the name of Guiscard, who had been prominent
in arranging attacks upon France and assistance to the rebels in the
Cevennes, to turn traitor. His correspondence was discovered, and in
despair, upon being examined in the Council, he determined to revenge
himself upon the authors of his misfortune, and stabbed Harley with a
penknife. Harley's popularity was raised still higher by this attack on
him; he was made Earl of Oxford, and shortly after, on the supposed
success of his financial scheme for incorporating the public creditors
into a company to trade in the South Seas, was made Lord Treasurer. The
High Church temper of the time was further illustrated by the passage of
a Bill for erecting fifty new churches in London, and of the Occasional
Conformity Act, now proposed in the House of Lords which had always
previously obstructed it.

[Sidenote: Marlborough's plans for the campaign of 1712.]

The negotiations opened by Gaultier were also continued, Prior was sent
to Paris, and a more specific scheme was set on foot than had been
produced by the verbal negotiations of the spring, although, unmoved or
ignorant of the action of the Government, Marlborough was attempting to
continue his great career. He had planned a combined movement with
Eugene against Villars, who had constructed lines near Arras and Cambrai
so strong that he boastfully said he had brought Marlborough to the "non
plus ultra." The vigour of the campaign was checked by the withdrawal of
Eugene, who was required to superintend and guard the Electoral Diet at
Frankfort, which had been summoned to elect the successor to the Emperor
Joseph, who had died on the 17th of April. It was Marlborough's
intention to reduce Bouchain and Le Quesnoy, to winter in France, and in
the spring press forward towards Paris. His schemes were only partially
successful, owing principally to the slowness of the Imperialists. By
some skilful manœuvres he succeeded in passing the formidable lines,
and besieged and took Bouchain, but was unable to carry his great
project further.

[Sidenote: Proposed terms of peace.]

On his arrival in Paris, Prior found that Louis had authority to treat
for Spain as well as for himself, and proceeded to explain the
conditions demanded. England no longer insisted upon the surrender of
the Spanish crown, but would be satisfied with the pledge that the two
crowns should never be united; Gibraltar, Minorca, and Newfoundland must
be secured to England; Dunkirk demolished, and four towns granted for
trade in South America. Great commercial advantages must be granted both
to the English and Dutch, and fortified towns given as barriers for the
Dutch in the Low Countries, and for Austria on the Rhine. All this was
as yet kept profoundly secret. The negotiation was subsequently
transferred to London, and there, in September, eight preliminary
articles were drawn up. Louis was to acknowledge Anne and the Protestant
succession; a new treaty of commerce was to be made; Dunkirk was to be
demolished, some fair equivalent being given; Gibraltar, Minorca, and
Newfoundland, with the exception of some fishing rights, were to be
secured to the English. In addition to this, the Assiento, or grant of
the slave trade with America, was withdrawn by Spain from France and
given to England. A second set of preliminaries was prepared for
Holland, omitting the chief advantages gained by England, but
introducing stipulations to secure a barrier and to prevent the junction
of the crowns of France and Spain. The Dutch, though much dissatisfied
with the desertion of the English, were compelled to give in their
adhesion, and Utrecht was appointed as the place where the conference
was to be held. Austria was even more outspoken in its anger, and the
Imperial minister in London, who was rash enough to express the
indignation of his Court in a published appeal to the people, was
compelled to leave the country.

[Sidenote: Attack on Marlborough on his return.]

[Sidenote: Parliament, Dec. 7.]

Affairs had reached this point when Marlborough returned from his
campaign. Entering into communication with his old friends the Whigs, he
found that they had formed a coalition with a section of the Tories
under Nottingham, who was much displeased at having been excluded from
all the late ministerial arrangements. Marlborough's object was no doubt
to join the strongest side. The present position of the Whig party
seemed to him so promising that he gave it his adhesion. Nor was he
mistaken as things then stood. On the opening of Parliament, Nottingham
moved, as an amendment to the Address, the old Tory resolution that no
peace could be safe or honourable to Great Britain or Europe if Spain or
the West Indies were allotted to any branch of the Bourbons, and after a
hot discussion succeeded in beating the Government by a majority of
eight. In the House of Commons, on the other hand, the Government
commanded a large majority. Harley and St. John had now to consider what
steps to take against this hostile coalition in the Lords. They
determined, in the first place, to strike a heavy blow at Marlborough,
and the report of a Commission which had been issued to examine into the
public accounts afforded them an opportunity of doing so. Basing its
assertion on the deposition of Sir Solomon Medina, who had contracted to
supply the army in Flanders with bread, the Commission reported that the
Duke had received on those contracts large sums of money, amounting on
the whole to £63,000, while his secretary, Cardonnel, had also received
large douceurs. It also declared that Marlborough had received 2½ per
cent. on all subsidies to foreign troops, amounting on the whole to
£177,000. Acting on this report, the ministry stripped Marlborough of
all his offices. Marlborough was so notoriously avaricious, and his
character was so mean, that these charges seemed to the public probable;
but, in fact, his reply was tolerably complete. The bread money had
habitually been received by every commander-in-chief in Flanders, and
had been expended chiefly in obtaining information as to the enemies'
plans. The percentage on the subsidies was a free gift from the princes
to whom they were paid, and Marlborough had not accepted them without
the royal warrant. In the state of feeling at the time these excuses
were not much regarded. Having got rid of their most powerful enemy, the
ministry made use of the royal prerogative to neutralize the influence
of the Lords. Twelve new Peers were created, which gave them a permanent

[Sidenote: Command of the army given to Ormond. 1712.]

[Sidenote: The Queen announces the treaty. June 6.]

Having by these strong measures secured their position in Parliament,
Harley and St. John proceeded with their negotiations. There was some
difficulty with regard to the prosecution of the war while the Congress
was sitting. The command had been given to the Duke of Ormond, a man of
strong Jacobite principles; he was privately instructed not to undertake
any offensive operations against the French, and he consequently
informed Villars that he need not be afraid of attacks from the English,
although the pressure which Eugene put upon him was so strong that he
could not refuse to join in the siege of Quesnoy. His strange lukewarm
prosecution of the war, which seemed rather like friendship than
hostility, did not pass unnoticed in England. But all complaints were
answered by the assertion that the Queen would shortly lay before
Parliament the conditions of a peace. In fact, she was only waiting till
Philip of Spain should have made up his mind whether to accept an
equivalent for the Spanish crown, and retain his rights on France, or
remain where he was and renounce those claims. When the answer arrived,
preferring the latter alternative, the Queen went down to the House and
explained the proposed treaty. Though violently opposed, addresses of
confidence were carried.

[Sidenote: Peace of Utrecht. 1713.]

An armistice was at once declared, and the English troops ordered to
separate from Eugene. It was not without a considerable feeling of
disgrace that 12,000 English troops withdrew from their old comrades in
arms; the English stipendiaries refused to obey the command, and
remained with the Prince. A visit of St. John, now Lord Bolingbroke, to
Paris, put the finishing stroke to the negotiation, and peace was
virtually declared. The campaign, completed by Eugene alone, was
unsuccessful. His defeat at Denain, and further successes won over the
allies by Villars, inclined the new Emperor to look more favourably upon
the peace. The treaties were ultimately signed at Utrecht on the 31st of
March 1713. The Emperor's peace, by which the Electors of Cologne and
Bavaria were reinstated, was postponed for a year, and was finally
completed at Rastadt in the following March. It is certain that the
terms gained were infinitely less advantageous than the lengthened and
victorious war might have justified, or than those which could have been
obtained at the negotiations of Gertruydenberg. The desertion of the
Catalans, who had risen in insurrection chiefly at the instigation of
the English, was undoubtedly an act of selfishness; and Government would
even have sacrificed the advantages of the Methuen Treaty, and granted
commercial terms far more in favour of France, had not the moneyed
interest proved too strong for it. At the same time, though the Peace of
Utrecht was not a glorious one, there is much to be said in its favour;
the changed position of Europe, by the accession of Charles to the
Imperial crown, had in truth put the questions at issue upon a totally
new footing; it would have been quite as disadvantageous to the general
European balance that Spain and Austria should have been joined in the
hands of the Imperial house as that Spain and France should have been in
the hands of the Bourbon Princes.

[Sidenote: The succession.]

[Sidenote: Harley's conduct.]

[Sidenote: Bolingbroke's views.]

After the close of the great war, the question of succession, rendered
more pressing by the failing health of the Queen, came prominently
forward. In the midst of the negotiations the Pretender had written a
letter to Queen Anne, and Bolingbroke had been throughout in
correspondence with him. It is difficult to determine how far Harley was
really mixed up in the plot of changing the succession. That he had
frequently expressed himself as friendly to the Pretender is certain;
but his indolence in business, his constant difficulty in making up his
mind, and his love of intrigue, prevented him from taking any strong or
definite line in the scheme for the Stuart restoration. With Bolingbroke
the case was different. He was unaffected by any Church views, for he
did not believe in Christianity; he knew that the part he had already
played had rendered him obnoxious to the Elector of Hanover, he had
therefore little hope of office after the Queen's death. On the other
hand, he was certain of being a trusted minister of the new Stuart king.
To help him in the Cabinet he had Brumley, Ormond, and probably
Harcourt. But for the success of his plan extreme care was necessary;
for the general feeling of the country, though Tory and High Church, was
nevertheless Protestant and Hanoverian. An over-hasty declaration of
Jacobitism would probably destroy his ministry.

[Sidenote: New Tory Parliament. 1714.]

[Sidenote: Ormond reorganizes the army.]

A new Parliament assembled in February. It was again Tory in its views;
and it shows the real object of Bolingbroke's tactics, that the
Pretender during the elections wrote to his friends to use their best
efforts in favour of the Government. The new appointments also, which
were made on the occurrence of vacancies by deaths, show the same
Jacobite tendencies. Wyndam became Chancellor of the Exchequer, Athol
and Mar two of the chief officials in Scotland. Nor was the Jacobite
scheme confined to the appointment of ministers, more immediate
practical measures for securing the change of Government were taken. The
Cinque Ports were placed in the hands of Ormond, and the entrance of a
foreign force into England thus rendered easy; the army was remodelled,
and the greater part of those troops which William had organized
disbanded; while a plan was set on foot for obliging officers in the
army known to be friendly to Marlborough to sell their commissions,
which only failed because Harley, either through indolence, or because
he really shrunk from supporting the Jacobites, neglected to have the
funds ready for the purchase. The Whigs, on their side, also organized
themselves for the coming crisis. General Stanhope was regarded as their
leader. They seem to have been ready for all emergencies, intending even
to employ force, if necessary, to secure the throne for the Hanoverian
Elector. In spite of the caution of Bolingbroke, the scope of his plans
began to be discovered, and it became necessary still further to blind
the nation. Pretending to treat as libels all suggestions that he was
aiming at the restoration of the Stuarts, he introduced a resolution
that the Protestant succession was in no danger, but his credit was too
far shaken to allow of a complete victory. The motion was indeed passed,
but the small majority proved how large a section of the Tories were
attached to the Hanoverian house, and were willing on that point to make
common cause with the Whigs. That party were encouraged to take a
further step. Thinking it of the last importance that the Electoral
Prince should be in England to take possession of the inheritance of his
house on Anne's death, they induced the Hanoverian minister to demand
his writ of summons to the House of Lords as an English Peer in virtue
of his title of Duke of Cambridge. The Government was thrown into great
perplexity; to refuse it seemed to confess their Jacobite tendencies, to
grant it was certain to enrage the Queen, who, like other childless
sovereigns, was morbidly touchy about the succession, and it would
moreover deal a heavy blow at their own plans. The writ was given, but
accompanied by a letter from the Queen to the Electress Sophia, couched
in such angry language that it is said to have caused the death of that
princess, now far advanced in years.

But a schism within its own body was gradually undermining the ministry.
Harley, undecided upon all points, and strongly bound by old ties to the
Low Church and dissenting interest, could not throw himself heartily
into the vigorous policy of Bolingbroke; he was, moreover, jealous of
the ever-increasing importance of his energetic colleague. The Schism
Act, a measure conceived in the most exclusive High Church spirit,
brought their rivalry to a crisis. It enacted that no person should keep
a public or private school, or act as tutor, unless a member of the
Church of England, and licensed by his Bishop, thus in fact throwing the
whole education of the country into the hands of the Church. Harley,
bred a dissenter, and always relying much on the support of the
Nonconformist bodies, could not give it his hearty support. With his
usual indecision, he played fast and loose with the Bill. But he had
lost the ear of the Queen, Bolingbroke and Mrs. Masham had supplanted
him, and the favourite so played upon the Queen's High Church
propensities, that, after a hot altercation in the Council before the
eyes of the Queen, she was induced to dismiss the Lord Treasurer.

[Sidenote: The Queen's death.]

In the dismissal of his dilatory rival Bolingbroke saw the removal of
the last obstacle to the completion of his schemes, and he was preparing
to form a ministry wholly in the Jacobite interest, when the Queen's
sudden illness upset all his plans. Had the matter come to the decision
of arms, Marlborough, who had just returned from abroad, might, after
the treatment he had received at the hand of the Tories, have been
trusted to do his best for the Whigs. But, fortunately, the question was
destined to meet with a peaceful solution. The Duke of Shrewsbury, in
his time the leader of the Whigs of the Revolution, and subsequently
guilty of treacherous correspondence with the Stuarts, continued his
vacillating policy. The part he had taken in 1708, in persuading the
Queen to rid herself of the Whigs, had given him the confidence of the
Tory party. But he had never ceased to regret the one false step of his
life, and was firmly attached to the Hanoverian succession. His position
in the ministry enabled him for the time to become really master of the
situation, and to thwart all the schemes of Bolingbroke. With this end
in view he arranged a plan with the Dukes of Argyle and Somerset. As the
Council was sitting to consider what steps to take in consequence of the
Queen's illness, the two Dukes suddenly made their appearance, claimed
their right as Privy Councillors, were by Shrewsbury's advice admitted,
and at once proposed that the Queen, who had for the moment recovered
consciousness, should be requested, in view of the coming crisis, to
make the Duke of Shrewsbury Lord Treasurer. A deputation, of which the
Duke was himself a member, went to her bedside, and persuaded her to
give him the White Staff. Vigorous measures were at once taken. Troops
were collected, the Elector summoned over, and everything was ready to
withstand armed invasion, and to hasten the peaceful acceptance of the
legal heir, when the Queen died on the 1st of August.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: The Union.]

For several sessions the Parliament had been acting under the new title
of the Parliament of Great Britain, the Union with Scotland having been
completed in 1707. Quite at the beginning of the reign, in 1702, leave
having been given both by the Scotch and English Parliaments,
Commissioners had met to make arrangements for the Union, which had
always been a favourite project of William's. Neither party were,
however, much in earnest, and the members of the Commission were lax in
their attendance. There was no difficulty in agreeing upon the main
points, but upon trade and finance the claims advanced by the Scotch,
who seemed to wish on the one hand for equality of duties, and on the
other for exemption from liabilities, were regarded as untenable, and in
February 1703 the Commissioners ceased to meet.

[Sidenote: Scotch Parliament. 1703.]

On the 6th of May in that year the Scotch Parliament met, under the
Presidency of the Duke of Queensberry as Lord Commissioner. Its temper
was anything but conciliatory. The ill feeling excited by the Darien
Scheme had by no means subsided. The late futile efforts of the joint
Commission had still further roused the angry feelings of the people,
and there was an idea afloat, by no means without foundation, that the
High Church Tories, who were just coming into power, would seize the
opportunity for an assault upon the National Church. All these causes
influenced the temper of the Parliament, and instead of taking measures
tending towards the Union, it seemed bent upon doing all that was
possible to render the kingdoms quite separate. The Queen's letter, in
which she recommended toleration, was contemptuously neglected, and a
strong declaration passed, confirming the Presbyterian Church, "as the
only Church of Christ in the Kingdom." Politically, the conduct of the
Parliament was even less conciliatory. Resolutions were passed declaring
that, after the death of the Queen, no King of England should make peace
or war without consent of the Scotch Parliament; though the nation was
in the midst of a great war with France, restrictions on the trade in
French wine were removed; Fletcher of Saltoun introduced what were known
as the Limitations, by which the authority of the Crown was seriously
compromised; its power of appointing to the great offices of Government
was transferred to the Parliament; and finally, a Bill of Security with
regard to the succession was introduced, authorizing Parliament to name
a successor from among the Protestant descendants of the royal line, but
asserting that whoever that successor might be he was not to be the same
as the successor to the Crown of England, unless proper security was
given for the freedom of religion and trade. The nomination of the
Princess Sophia, hazarded by the Earl of Marchmont, was received with
derision and anger. All these Bills, except the last, received the royal
assent. But the refusal to pass the Bill of Security was so unpopular,
that it was found necessary to adjourn the House without securing any

[Sidenote: Scotch Parliament. July 1704.]

In the following year the Parliament again met. It was hoped that a new
Commissioner would manage it more successfully, and the Marquis of
Tweeddale was appointed to succeed Queensberry. The policy of
conciliation was carried to an extreme, and Godolphin, always a timid
minister, allowed Tweeddale to give the royal assent even to the Act of

[Sidenote: English Parliament. Oct. 1704.]

[Sidenote: Scotch Parliament. June 1705.]

The hostile feeling exhibited by the Scotch Parliament only went still
further to prove what the Darien Scheme had made evident, that the Union
was imperatively necessary. Whigs and Tories therefore combined, when
the English Parliament met, in attacking Godolphin for his weakness; and
in December, Somers brought forward, and succeeded in passing through
both Houses, a law which seemed to threaten war between the countries.
After Christmas 1705, all Scotchmen were to be regarded as aliens, the
importation into England of the chief Scotch products--cattle, coal, and
linen--was prohibited; and as a still stronger threat, it was ordered
that the Border towns should be fortified and put into a state of
security, and the militia in the northern counties called out. This
severe threat was not without its effect. But the anger of the Scotch at
the time only grew more vehement. In April of the following year, 1705,
Thomas Green, a captain of a ship belonging to the new East India
Company, had been seized by the agents of the Darien Company, charged
with piracy in the East, and with the murder of a Darien captain. It was
afterwards proved that the captain was alive; nevertheless, in spite of
orders from the English Council, the Scotch ministers were overawed by
the popular feeling, and the unfortunate man, with some others of his
crew, was hanged. But England was now determined that the Union should
be effected. Tweeddale was removed from his commissionership, and
Argyle, assisted by Queensberry, put in his place. This gave Tweeddale
an opportunity of forming a third party in the Parliament, which
attempted to hold the balance between those who were for the Union and
those who opposed it, and was known by the name of the Squadrone
Volante. On the whole, however, this party acted with the Government.
The Queen had instructed the Parliament to consider the question of the
settlement of the succession, and the appointment of Commissioners to
treat. With regard to the first point it proved obstinate, it insisted
on first discussing the condition of trade, and could not be induced to
name any successor. With some slight alterations, it passed again the
Limitations suggested by Fletcher of Saltoun, and added further, that a
Scotch ambassador should be present at all treaties involving the two
nations. But upon the second point, by the aid of the Squadrone Volante,
the Government was successful. The threatened Alien Bill indeed began to
have its effect; and it was ordered that the Commissioners should not
begin to act till that Bill was repealed. As it seemed to have done its
work, this suggestion was attended to, and in November the English
Parliament repealed the Act.

[Sidenote: The Commissioners meet. 1706.]

Thus then, the chief obstacles being removed, in April 1706, the
Commissioners, thirty-one on each side, met. The English Commissioners
at once suggested as the prime object of negotiation, that there should
be one Kingdom, one Parliament, and one Successor. The Scotch seemed
first to desire a Federative Union, but yielded, on condition that their
religion should be free, and that their trade should enjoy a general
equality of advantage. It was the details, especially of taxation and
trade, which gave the greatest trouble. The Scotch insisted on
discussing them in detail. It was finally agreed that they should be
exempt from terminable taxes, and receive an equivalent for any present
loss they might sustain, by taking their share in the public debt of
England, which was larger than their own. The revenue of England was
about £5,700,000, that of Scotland about £160,000. The debts of England
amounted to £17,700,000, those of Scotland, taken roughly, to £160,000;
that is, England owed three and a half, Scotland only one year's
revenue. The equivalent fixed was £398,000, which was employed to pay
off the whole Scotch debt, to dissolve the Darien Company and indemnify
its shareholders, and for other Scotch purposes. The other questions
were easily settled. The title of the United Kingdom was to be Great
Britain, the national flags were to be incorporated in one. The Scotch
taxes amounted to little more than a fortieth of the English. Had this
been observed as a basis of representation, they would have had but
thirteen members of Parliament. But this being held too few, they were
granted forty-five members, which was about a twelfth of the whole House
of Commons. The same proportion was taken for the basis of the
arrangement of the Upper House, and thus of the whole Scottish Peerage
sixteen were to be elected to sit in the united House of Lords.

[Sidenote: Scotch Parliament. Oct. 1706.]

When the Treaty had been settled by the Commissioners, it was brought
before the Scotch Parliament, where it met with violent opposition. In
one way or another it was objectionable to many classes. The Jacobites
saw in it the final destruction of all their hopes of a change of
dynasty. The extreme Presbyterians did not believe in a Union which
would leave their Church untrammelled. The views of the Revolution had
gone further in Scotland than in England, and a considerable body of
active spirits had adopted republican views; to them the establishment
of a monarchy backed by the strength of England was distasteful, as
rendering any fulfilment of their hopes impossible. And the Edinburgh
tradesmen recognized to the full the loss they would sustain by the
removal of Parliament to London. The discussion on the various points
went on throughout the whole of the year. The final effort of the
Opposition was to be a great protest, to be produced at the debate upon
the share Scotland was to have in the national legislature. This protest
was to be presented by Hamilton, as premier Peer, and to be followed by
a secession of the minority. But Hamilton's heart failed him at the
appointed moment, the protest was not presented, and on the 16th of
January 1707 the measure was finally carried by 110 votes to 69.

Having been successfully passed through the Scotch House, the Bill had
now to be ratified by the English Parliament. So many changes had been
made that it was possible there might be much difficulty in securing the
easy passage of the Bill. But as the Whigs and the Government were
determined that at all hazards it should become law, they accepted
without question all the Scotch amendments. When the articles of the
Treaty had thus been carried through the House, there yet remained the
Act of Ratification to complete it. It was still possible for the
opponents of the Bill to reopen discussion upon each article in detail.
The skill of Sir Simon Harcourt, the Attorney-General, thwarted this
disastrous intention, by so wording the Bill that the articles
themselves were not called in question, but their ratification alone
demanded. He induced all parties, who were on the whole agreed that in
some shape or other the Bill had better pass, to accept it. With little
opposition therefore it was carried through both Houses, and became law,
and the succeeding Parliament took the name of the Parliament of Great
Britain. Party feeling was at the time very high, and accusations of
bribery were lavishly flung abroad, but a closer examination appears to
prove that these charges were unfounded.



                  Born 1660 = Sophia of Brunswick.
        |                                    |
    George II.                            Sophia = Frederick William.


        _France._    |     _Germany._    |     _Spain._    |  _Prussia._
                     |                   |                 |
    Louis XIV., 1643.| Charles VI., 1711.| Philip V., 1700.| Frederick
    Louis XV., 1715. |                   |                 | William, 1713.

         _Russia._         |      _Denmark._      |      _Sweden._
                           |                      |
    Peter the Great, 1689. | Frederick IV., 1699. | Charles XII., 1697.
    Catherine I., 1724.    |                      | Frederick I., 1720.

    POPES.--Clement XI., 1700. Innocent XIII., 1721. Benedict XIII., 1724.

       _Archbishops._     |    _Chancellors._
    T. Tenison, 1694.     | William Cowper, 1714.
    W. Wake, 1715.        | Lord Macclesfield, 1718.
                          | Lord King, 1725.

      _First Lords of the | _Chancellors of the | _Secretaries of State._
           Treasury._     |     Exchequer._     |
                          |                     |
       1714. Halifax.     | 1714. R. Walpole.   | 1714 { Stanhope.
       1715. Carlisle.    | 1717. Stanhope.     |      { Townshend.
      1715. R. Walpole.   | 1718. Aislabie.     | 1716 { Stanhope.
      1717. Stanhope.     | 1721. R. Walpole.   |      { Methuen.
      1718. Sunderland.   |                     | 1717 { Sunderland.
      1721. R. Walpole.   |                     |      { Addison.
                                                | 1718 { Stanhope.
                                                |      { Craggs.
                                                | 1721 { Townshend.
                                                |      { Carteret.
                                                | 1724 { Townshend.
                                                |      { Newcastle.

[Sidenote: Probability of a restoration of the Stuarts.]

[Sidenote: Council of Regency.]

England had been slow to accept the principle of succession by
parliamentary instead of hereditary right; since 1688 the struggle had
been continuous, it had reached a crisis in the closing years of Queen
Anne. The triumph of the Whigs, secured to them by the constant
successes of the War of Succession, had rendered them over-confident,
and an act of foolish severity had been followed by their complete
overthrow. The natural inclinations of the Queen, and the weakness of
her character, which rendered her constantly liable to be subjugated by
the influence of those around her; the talents and intriguing ambition
of St. John, and the energy and compactness of the Jacobite body resting
upon the general Conservative feeling of the nation, had rendered the
return of the Stuarts to the throne a very probable event. A few weeks
only were wanting for the completion of the plot, and James Edward would
probably have been received as heir to the throne, and the work of the
Revolution have been undone. The unexpected illness of the Queen, the
rapidity and energy with which the Hanoverian Lords of the Council had
carried out what was virtually a _coup d'état_, had destroyed these
hopes. When the Lord Treasurer's staff was placed in the hands of the
Duke of Shrewsbury, all hope of carrying out this counter-revolution
with the aid of the executive was at an end. Although he had more than
once faltered in his allegiance to the Whig party, it was now well
understood that he was endowed with something not far short of a
dictatorship, for the express purpose of carrying out the enactments of
the Act of Succession. Everything was done as arranged by that Act.
There was no difficulty with regard to the regency; sealed packets
containing the names of those who were to act as the Council of Regency,
chosen by the Protestant successor, were in his hands. On their being
opened, the names of eighteen Lords, almost exclusively of the Whig
party, were found, who, together with the seven great officers named in
the Statute, were to act, under the title of Lords Justices, as an
interim Government until the arrival of the new King. It is to be
observed that the name of the Duke of Marlborough was not among them.

[Sidenote: Peaceful accession of the King.]

[Sidenote: New Whig ministry.]

Parliament was to continue for six months before dissolution, and
everything for the present passed off quietly; the Civil List was voted
as in the preceding reign; and on the 18th of September the King and his
eldest son arrived in England. He was not a man to excite enthusiasm. An
unostentatious man, used to a Court where his will was law, but where
the manners were singularly primitive and plain, he was little suited to
the peculiar position of an English Parliamentary sovereign, from whom,
along with the possession of but little real power, much dignity and
some magnificence were required. Unable therefore to comprehend the
working of that constitution over which he had come to preside, and
without ability sufficient to carry on a policy of his own, he naturally
threw himself into the arms of that party to which he owed his Crown.
The great offices, several of which had been for the last month united
in the hands of Shrewsbury, were therefore distributed among the Whigs.
Townshend was put at the head of the Government, and with him were
Halifax, General Stanhope, Lord Cowper, Nottingham, and Lord Townshend's
brother-in-law, Sir Robert Walpole; while Sunderland was made
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and the Duke of Marlborough (though the King
had already shown his well-founded mistrust of him) reassumed the
offices of Commander-in-chief and Master of the Ordnance. His power,
however, was gone.

[Sidenote: Triumph of the Whigs.]

The establishment of the Hanoverian house had thus very much the
appearance of a triumph of a faction. There were no attempts at
conciliation, such as had been made after the Revolution, no efforts to
give a general and national character to the Government. The King came
forward as the head of the triumphant Whig party. This attitude
naturally at the time excited much ill-feeling, yet on the whole it was
wise. George was not the man to carry out a scheme of comprehensive
government which had already twice failed in the abler hands of William
and of Marlborough. The questions at issue were too vital to admit of
compromise, and the Whig party were wise in their view of the crisis. A
crushing victory was necessary to teach both their conscientious and
factious opponents a lesson,--the one must yield to the force of
circumstances, the other must discover that their only road to office
lay in concession to principles which they were too weak to shake.
Conscientious upholders of the Stuarts must be taught that their choice
lay between submission and the resignation of their claim to be regarded
as Englishmen; those who used the Stuarts as a road to power must be led
to see that they must henceforward limit their opposition to points of
minor importance, that the main principles of government were fixed for

[Sidenote: Riots in the country.]

But the conduct of the King and of the Whigs, though wise, was such as
to drive the Jacobites to extremities, and to render an appeal to arms
sooner or later almost certain. The irritation of the high Tories at
once showed itself. In January, as the six months had elapsed, the House
was dissolved, and on the meeting of the new House in March, it was
found, as was at that time usually the case, that the party in power
commanded a large majority. This however had not been secured without
serious riots. In Manchester and the midland counties the riots assumed
the form of an attack upon the dissenters, and were so serious as to
necessitate the passing of a Riot Act. By this Act, which is still in
force, it is enacted, that "If any twelve persons are unlawfully
assembled to the disturbance of the peace, and any justice of the peace,
sheriff, &c., shall think proper to command them by proclamation to
disperse, if they contemn his orders, and continue together for one hour
afterwards, such contempt shall be felony, without benefit of clergy."

[Sidenote: Impeachment of the late ministers. March.]

Having secured their majority, it became evident that the Whigs intended
to use their regained ascendancy to the uttermost. The Address, both in
the House of Lords and in the Commons, was obviously pointed against the
framers of the Peace of Utrecht, and before three weeks were over a
secret committee was appointed to consider that peace. Bolingbroke had
already fled and taken service with the Pretender. Ormond, who till this
time had remained in England, putting himself ostentatiously forward as
the leader of the Jacobite opposition, followed his example. Oxford
alone awaited his trial. The two fugitives were proceeded against by
bill of attainder. The impeachment of Oxford was after a while dropped;
in fact, it was difficult to substantiate the charge of treason against
him. It was not till long afterwards that any real proof existed of
treasonable correspondence with the Pretender; and it was scarcely
possible to twist the faults and weaknesses of the Peace, the desertion
of the Catalans, even the surrender, unasked, of Tournay, one of our
conquests, into crimes under the law of treason; nor was the doctrine of
the responsibility of ministers as yet sufficiently established to allow
the majority at once to answer Oxford's solemn declaration, that he had
acted distinctly upon the royal authority. It is true that the plea had
been overruled in the case of Danby; but even in the last reign the
Whigs had themselves sought shelter, after the battle of Almanza, behind
the royal authority, and it was not till more than twenty years of
regular party government had intervened that the doctrine was thoroughly
understood and adopted.

[Sidenote: Jacobite conspiracy.]

[Sidenote: Disaffection in Scotland.]

Meanwhile the aggressive policy of the Whigs was hurrying on an outbreak
of the conspiracy which the timely death of the late Queen had checked.
It was widespread. Ormond, until his flight, had been busily engaged in
organizing it in England, while Bolingbroke had taken it in hand in
France: for then, as always, it seems to have been accepted, that any
insurrection would be useless without material help from France. In many
parts of the country, particularly in the west, the feeling against the
Hanoverian succession was strong, and measures had been taken to secure
Bristol and Exeter, and other great western towns. In Scotland the
difficulty was rather to restrain than to urge forward the Jacobite
feeling. Many causes combined to create a widespread discontent in that
country. In the north the feeling of loyalty to an hereditary chief was
part of the national character, inwoven with the whole system of
clanship. The national pride was flattered by the thought of a Stuart, a
Scotchman, sitting upon the throne of England. Moreover, there was one
chief of predominant power whose interests had been always Whig, and
jealousy of the ascendancy of the clan Campbell, and of its head, the
Duke of Argyle, or Mac Callum More, on this, as on several other
occasions, tended to throw all rival clans into the arms of any party of
which he was the declared enemy. In the Lowlands other influences were
at work. The Presbyterians were not likely to forget the unsparing
cruelty of the later Stuarts, and now that they had the upper hand, the
tolerated Episcopalians met with no great courtesy at their hands; a
constant source of quarrel was thus opened, and the Episcopalians and
Catholics might be well expected to seek refuge from the intolerance of
their victorious rivals, and a restoration even of their former
superiority, in the establishment of the exiled dynasty. But more than
that, everything English was unpopular. Two great imaginary injuries
were rankling in the national mind. The nation had never forgiven King
William's treatment of the Darien Scheme, and were still smarting under
the supposed yoke which the Union had laid upon them. Whoever was King
of England was their natural enemy, so that, except in those places
where settled industry had already felt the advantage of the union with
England, there was great readiness to join in any enterprise which would
be injurious to her. There were therefore ready to join the cause of the
Stuarts in the north all the great clans except the Campbells, and in
the south the Episcopalians, and those nationalists who regarded as
righteous any act of antagonism to England.

[Sidenote: Failure of the Jacobite hopes of French assistance.]

But the movement, both in Scotland and in England, was held to depend on
the conduct of France, and it was probable that, under Bolingbroke's
able management, assistance would come from that country. The King was
indeed far different from the Louis of other days. Enslaved by the
religious influence of Madame de Maintenon, and surrounded by bitter
party disputes with regard to the legitimization of his bastards, his
energy was gone, while war and taxes and persecution had much depressed
the power of France. Still, irritated by the Whig assault upon his
friends in England, the champion as he believed himself of legitimacy,
and angry at the opposition raised by the English ministry to his new
fortifications at Mardyke, he had used his influence with Spain to
procure sums of money for the conspirators, had himself supplied arms,
and had allowed a small squadron to be equipped at Havre at the expense
of France. The flight of Ormond, the first blow to the conspiracy, was
followed, on the 1st of September, by the death of Louis. The Government
passed into the hands of the Regent Orleans, whose policy was of a
purely personal character, his chief aim being the exclusion of the
Spanish house from the succession should the young King die. To secure
his plans at home external peace was necessary. Personal friendship,
both for Stair the English ambassador, and for Stanhope the English
secretary, rendered him still more disinclined to break with England.
Hope from France was gone. Bolingbroke saw at once the course affairs
were taking, and despatched a messenger to tell the leaders of the
conspiracy that, as Scotland could not rise without England, and England
could not rise without France, and France had no intention of moving,
all thoughts of insurrection had better be dropped.

[Sidenote: Mar organizes the insurrection in Scotland.]

[Sidenote: Vigorous measures of the English Government.]

His prudent message came too late. The Pretender, weary of waiting, had
taken matters into his own hands, and a leader had already been
despatched to raise the northern counties of Scotland. This leader was
the Earl of Mar. At Anne's death Mar was Secretary for Scotland, a man
of no very great ability, but who, for his skill in trimming his sails
to the wind, had earned the nickname of "Bobbing John." He once more
tried to play his old game, but found himself mistrusted, and had to
give place to the Duke of Montrose. He now hurried to London, sought
favour at Court, took a wife from among the leaders of the Whig party,
and having thus thrown people off the scent, hurried back to Scotland to
organize the insurrection. His chief influence was in Aberdeenshire,
north of the Grampian hills; and there, early in September, he contrived
a meeting of the chief clans of the neighbourhood. He was joined by
Tullibardine, the heir of the Duke of Athol, who brought with him the
Murrays, and by the great clan of the Gordons, with Lord Panmure, from
the north of Perthshire, towards which county he at once began to
march. The Pretender could not refuse to support Mar's open movement on
his behalf. In October he hurried across France, evading an attempt of
Orleans to arrest him, and an attempt on the part of the English
ambassador to assassinate him. He reached St. Malo in safety. Thence an
expedition under Ormond was to have been thrown upon the English coast.
Twice Ormond was thwarted by the weather; his third attempt was too
late, the English fleet lay before the port. Had he succeeded in
landing, no better fortune would have awaited him; the English
Government had already heard of the gathering of the Highland clans, the
Habeas Corpus Act was suspended, the more active Jacobites arrested;
such troops as were then in England, some 8000 in number, were hurried
to the west (for the Scotch outbreak was looked upon only as a feint);
some 6000 troops, due from Holland as a guarantee for the Protestant
succession, were demanded; fresh regiments were rapidly formed; and the
command in Scotland was given to Argyle, the natural opponent of the
Jacobite clans. The vigorous measures of the Government had in fact
already broken the neck of the conspiracy.

[Sidenote: Mar's success in the Highlands.]

[Sidenote: One detachment marches into England,]

[Sidenote: and is defeated at Preston. Nov. 13.]

But there was still real danger in the North, for Mar had an
overwhelming superiority of forces, and before the end of October he had
the complete command of Scotland as far as the Forth. Argyle, desirous
of confining the rebellion as much as possible to the north and east,
attempted to hold the line of that river. Mar, to whom immediate success
was everything, and who overrated the strength of his party in England,
was desirous of crossing the Border as soon as possible, in order to
rally the disaffected round him. He had now about 12,000 men with him,
but these were poorly armed, and even this poor equipment was due to no
care of Mar's, but to a gallant dash by the Master of Sinclair upon an
English ship lying in the Forth. With these troops he would probably
have been unable to have passed Argyle at Stirling, even if he had not
been prevented from moving by the expected arrival of the Pretender. It
was therefore determined that a detachment under Brigadier Mackintosh
should be thrown across the Firth, and marched direct for England, while
the main body should threaten and retain Argyle upon the upper river.
The movement was well executed, and 1500 men passed over at a broad part
of the estuary near North Berwick. They thence, after an ineffectual
march upon Edinburgh, proceeded unopposed directly south to Kelso, as
Argyle was kept from following them by Mar's movements. They were here
joined by some horse under Lord Kenmure, and by a few English horsemen
under Mr. Forster, with whom was Lord Derwentwater. One cause at least
of the insurrection is clearly pointed out by a proclamation which was
here issued, in which the chief stress was laid upon the foreign
domination imposed upon the nation by the late Union. Some difficulty
was found in persuading the Highlanders to cross the Border, and the
march was directed therefore in a more westerly direction, following
along the back of the Cheviots, and crossing into England near Longtown
in the direction of Carlisle. Even in spite of this concession to their
feelings, several hundreds of the Highlanders deserted, and the rest had
to be tempted forward by a promise of pay. From Carlisle they marched up
the valley of the Eden to Penrith, crossed the hills to Lancaster, where
they were well received by the many Catholic families in the
neighbourhood, and, foolishly leaving this strong place behind them,
pushed on for Preston on the Ribble. Since entering England, the
command-in-chief had devolved on Mr. Forster, and the insurgents knew
that they were being followed by General Carpenter with between 2,000
and 3,000 men. Forster--a very inefficient commander--directed his
attention only to the pursuing army, and discipline was much relaxed. On
the 11th of November, General Wills was marching upon Preston northward
from Wigan. To reach Preston he had to cross the Ribble by a bridge, and
then pass upward along a lane which is described by Cromwell, in 1648,
as "very deep and ill," and which it had cost him four hours to clear.
Wills met no opposition till he reached the town, where a gallant
defence was made behind barricades. The neglect of all proper
precautions is somewhat explained by the fact that Mr. Forster was
unable to attend a council of war held that morning, having been
compelled to take to his bed on account of "some damage" which he had
received "at a convivial entertainment." On the 13th, however, Carpenter
joined Wills, the town was completely surrounded, and the insurgents saw
the necessity of a surrender. Much dispute has arisen about the terms of
that surrender. It seems probable that Wills used ambiguous language,
understood by the insurgents to contain a promise of clemency--by
himself, as insisting upon an unconditional surrender. Colonel Oxburgh,
Mr. Forster's negotiator, declared upon the scaffold that the words used
were: "You cannot better entitle yourselves to that clemency than by
surrendering yourselves prisoners at discretion." 1500 rebels gave
themselves up, among them eight noblemen. As however a considerable
number of English Catholics had joined the Scotch since entering
Lancashire, a good many of the rebels must have made good their escape.

[Sidenote: Mar is defeated at Sheriffmuir.]

On the same 13th of November on which Generals Carpenter and Wills had
joined their forces the insurgent operations in the North had also come
to a disastrous conclusion. Mar had moved slowly south and west along
the great valley of Strathmore, which leads direct from Perth to
Stirling. He was approaching Dunblane when he heard that Argyle with
4000 regular troops was already occupying it. On a neighbouring eminence
called Sheriffmuir, a spur of the Ochil hills, the armies encountered.
The royalist left wing was unable to withstand the rush of the clansmen,
and immediately withdrew towards Stirling. The insurgents had held that
their own left wing was secured by some marshy ground, but Argyle
perceived that a light night-frost had rendered the morass passable. He
fell with his cavalry upon the left flank of the Highlanders, and drove
them from the field. The battle was thus equally balanced, the peculiar
curve of the ground rendered any general view of the action impossible,
and Mar, on his return from the pursuit of the right wing, finding his
own left destroyed, determined to retreat, leaving to Argyle the full
advantages of the victory.

[Sidenote: The Pretender appears, but flies before Argyle.]

The battle of Preston had proved the impossibility of relying upon any
formidable insurrection in England. As the royalist troops were
collected and armies strengthened, the chances of success became less
every day. Mar remained quiet at Perth, and Argyle and the English saw
that delay was wholly in their favour. But in January a new colour was
given to the affair by the arrival of the Pretender at Peterhead. He at
once assumed the style of royalty, issuing proclamations and appointing
a day for his coronation. The English ministry could not believe that so
bold a step would have been taken without promised support from France.
Immediate action became therefore necessary, and through villages burnt
by the Pretender's order, and deep snow which Mar believed impassable,
Argyle moved northwards, gradually threatening Perth. From the first
James had shown but little military spirit, and now, although the
clansmen offered to fight for him to the last, on the 30th of January
(1716) the army was withdrawn from Perth across the frozen Tay, and
marched along the coast to Montrose, whence James and Mar withdrew
secretly to France, deserting their followers, who, still retiring
northward, were wholly broken up as an army when Argyle reached Aberdeen
on the 8th of February. Like every man that ever bore the name of
Stuart, with fair abilities, James was selfish and self-seeking to the
last degree. Faithless to his friends, a slave to his sensual passions,
he was respectable only in a certain gift of personal bravery, in a sort
of grandeur of obstinacy, and in the tenacity with which he clung to his
religious creed and his hereditary rights.

[Sidenote: Punishment of the rebels.]

As is always the case on the defeat of a domestic treason, strong
pressure was brought to bear upon the ministers to induce them
to act leniently towards the prisoners. The seven noble
prisoners--Derwentwater, Kenmure, Nithsdale, Wintoun, Widdrington,
Carnwath and Nairn--were impeached by the House of Commons, all but Lord
Wintoun pleaded guilty, and sentence was pronounced. Then every means
was brought to bear upon the King--private petitions from the wives of
the accused noblemen, supported by the influence of all the ladies of
the Court; petitions of ladies to Parliament, and lastly, an address
from the majority of the Lords, urging him to reprieve if possible.
These efforts were so far successful that all were reprieved with the
exception of Derwentwater, Kenmure, and Nithsdale. The two first were
executed, the escape of the last was contrived by the skill of his wife,
who conveyed a woman's dress to her husband, in which he passed safely
out of his prison, personating a lady friend who had accompanied the
Countess on her visit, and who remained in his place. Three other
important prisoners, Mackintosh, Forster, and Lord Wintoun also made
good their escape, which seems to indicate either a strong sympathy on
the part of the gaolers, or perhaps a wish on the part of the Government
to avoid the necessity of more executions. Of the lesser prisoners, many
of the common men were executed or transported; officers who had been in
the King's service were summarily shot; but a very large proportion of
those captured in Scotland being brought for judgment to Carlisle, in
contravention, it was asserted, of the terms of the Union, were punished
lightly or released, for fear of exciting fresh national quarrels.

[Sidenote: The Septennial Act. April 26, 1716.]

It must not be supposed, however, that the excitement on the part of the
Jacobites, or the fear on the part of the Hanoverians, was by any means
allayed, and as by the existing Statute of 6 William and Mary,
Parliament would be dissolved at the close of the year, and a new
election held in the spring of 1717, there seemed great probability of a
renewal of the contest, or at least of very serious riots during the
election time. With this in view, the ministers proposed that the
existing Parliament should be continued for a term of seven instead of
three years. This, which was meant for a temporary measure, has never
been repealed, and is still the law under which Parliaments are held. It
has been often objected to this action of Parliament, that it was acting
arbitrarily in thus increasing its own duration. "It was a direct
usurpation," it has been said, "of the rights of the people, analogous
to the act of the Long Parliament in declaring itself indestructible."
It has been regarded rather as a party measure than as a forward step in
liberal government. We must seek its vindication in the peculiar
conditions of the time. It was useless to look to the constituencies for
the support of the popular liberty. The return of members in the smaller
boroughs was in the hands of corrupt or corruptible freemen; in the
counties, of great landowners; in the larger towns, of small
place-holders under Government. A general election in fact only gave
fresh occasion for the exercise of the influence of the Crown and of the
House of Lords--freedom and independence in the presence of these two
permanent powers could be secured only by the greater permanence of the
third element of the Legislature, the House of Commons. It was thus
that, though no doubt in some degree a party measure for securing a more
lengthened tenure of office to the Whigs, the Septennial Act received,
upon good constitutional grounds, the support and approbation of the
best statesmen of the time. It was upon these grounds that Lord Somers
declared that the measure would be the greatest possible support to the
liberty of the country, and Speaker Onslow, with a clear view of the
tendency of the Act, believed that it would emancipate the House of
Commons from its former dependence on the Crown and the House of Lords.
It was however probably the more far-sighted only who saw the advantages
to which the Septennial Act would lead. It was meant for a temporary
Act, and the reasons for its necessity, as set forth in the preamble,
are the expenses of frequent elections, the constant renewal of party
animosities, and the probability, "at this juncture, when a restless and
Popish faction are designing and endeavouring to renew" the rebellion
within and invasion without, of an election being likely to prove
destructive to the peace and security of the Government. At the same
time it is plain that men's eyes were being opened to the threatened
loss of independence of the Lower House, for a private Bill was
introduced, and subsequently carried through in a modified form by
Government, to forbid the holders of pensions withdrawable at will from
sitting in the House.

No sooner was the great question which had held the Whig party together
settled by the suppression of the insurrection, than certain elements of
disunion which already existed in the Cabinet began to make themselves
felt, and a train of circumstances began, which ended in the disruption
of the ministry. The tumult of pardon and execution had scarcely
subsided, when the King, to the great dislike of his ministers, giving
way to those natural inclinations which were for many years to be the
chief weakness of our Hanoverian Princes, insisted upon the repeal of
the clause of the Act of Settlement which restrained the King from
leaving England, and hurried to his hereditary dominions. Stanhope
accompanied him as representative of the English ministry, Townshend
being left at home. This separation of the ministry of itself afforded
room for intrigue, and the state of affairs both at home and abroad
supplied a more than usually appropriate occasion for it, for the
hereditary family quarrel had already broken out between George and his
eldest son. It was impossible, however, to ignore his claims to the
regency during his father's absence, nor would Townshend permit them to
be overlooked. The King was with difficulty persuaded to put the
Government in his hands, with the inferior title of Guardian of the
Realm and Lieutenant, and under considerable restrictions. The minister
in England was thus at once put, in some sort, in opposition to the
King, and in a position which gave great opening for the intrigues of
his enemies who surrounded the King; for a clique, consisting of the
King's Hanoverian courtiers, Bernsdorf, Bothmar, George's private
Secretary Robethon, and Madame de Schulenberg, Duchess of Kendal, the
royal mistress, were full of animosity to the minister. Like the Scotch
followers of James I., they regarded England as a sort of promised land,
and took umbrage at the attempts of the English ministry to check their
rapacity. The mistrust thus engendered was rapidly increased by
subsequent events, chiefly connected with the affairs of the Continent.

[Sidenote: First signs of the breaking up of the Cabinet.]

[Sidenote: George and Stanhope go to Hanover.]

[Sidenote: Negotiations with France.]

As the King entered Hanover with Stanhope, the minister was met by the
Abbé Dubois, an agent of the Regent Orleans, and negotiations began for
the establishment of friendly relations with France, which mark an
entire change in the politics of Europe. To complete the security of the
new succession, it was regarded as necessary that the Pretender should
be removed beyond the Alps, and that all hope of assistance to his cause
from France should cease. Open hostilities to gain this end seemed out
of the question. Austria was much irritated by the Barrier Treaty, by
which the Dutch were secured a line of fortresses in the Austrian
Netherlands, garrisoned by the Dutch, but paid by Austria. The Emperor,
too, was naturally jealous of the increasing power of the Princes of the
Empire, three of whom had acquired kingdoms; the Elector of Saxony was
King of Poland, the Elector of Brandenburg King of Prussia, the Elector
of Hanover King of England. The temper of Austria thus forbade all hope
of re-establishing the Grand Alliance. The withdrawal of support from
the Pretender had to be sought by peaceful means; and the Regent, intent
on his personal aims, was willing to surrender the cause of the Stuarts,
and to destroy the works at Mardyke as the price of peace with England.
On these terms negotiations for a treaty, in which Holland was to share,
were begun.

[Sidenote: Danger of Hanover from Charles XII.]

The German objects of the King rendered its speedy conclusion an object
of the first importance. After his defeat at Pultowa, Charles XII. had
withdrawn to Bender, where he had vainly attempted to rouse the Turks to
assist him against the Russians. In his absence, Russia, Poland, and
Denmark, the countries which in turn he had conquered, combined against
his deserted country; and the King of Prussia, for his own ends no
doubt, but with some appearance of keeping the balance between the
parties, succeeded in neutralizing Pomerania, and in obtaining the
sequestration into his own hands of the strong town of Stettin. This
arrangement by no means pleased Charles, who hastened home from Bender,
hoping by an alliance with England to keep his enemies at bay. The
accession of the house of Hanover destroyed this hope. The Elector of
Hanover had obtained from Denmark Bremen and Verden, part of the spoils
of Charles, and was pledged by his own interests to oppose him. He
insisted upon an English fleet being sent to the Baltic, though the
question was obviously one of German interest only. Not content with
opposing Sweden, George eagerly desired that the fleet should be used
against Russia, for that country had invaded Mecklenburg, and intended
apparently to appropriate it. Again it was evident that the question was
chiefly of German interest. Townshend placed the English view of the
affair before the King--it did not matter much who possessed
Mecklenburg, but to attack Russia, the chief opponent of Sweden, was to
leave Charles XII. free for dangerous designs in favour of the Stuarts,
in which he was now almost openly engaged. Fortunately diplomacy induced
the Czar to withdraw, and the question was thus solved.

But while eager for war with Sweden and Russia, George was naturally
anxious for the conclusion of the peace with France, and thought himself
purposely thwarted by his minister, when the peculiarities of the Dutch
constitution threw delays in the way of its completion, and Townshend
refused to break faith and conclude the treaty without the accession of
the Dutch. The King's dislike for Townshend, excited by his opposition
to his German plans, was sedulously fomented both by his Hanoverian
courtiers and by the Earl of Sunderland, who, thoroughly discontented
with his subordinate position in the ministry as Lord Lieutenant of
Ireland, had joined the King at Hanover, and had entered busily into the
intrigues going on there. A letter from Townshend, in which, in order to
allow the longer absence of the King, he recommended that additional
powers should be given to the Prince in England, brought matters to a
crisis. Townshend was dismissed from his office, and offered in exchange
the viceroyalty of Ireland. For the sake of the party, and upon some
sort of apology from the King, Townshend accepted his new office, and
the quarrel was temporarily healed.

[Sidenote: Dismissal of Townshend.]

[Sidenote: The Triple Alliance. Jan. 1717.]

During this brief reconciliation, the negotiations which had been
carried on at the Hague and Hanover were completed, and a Triple
Alliance was signed in January 1717, by which the clauses in the Treaty
of Utrecht having reference to the Protestant succession in England, to
the French succession, and to the renunciation of the Spanish King to
his claims on the French throne, were guaranteed.

[Sidenote: Changes in the ministry. April.]

But Walpole and the other friends of Townshend took an early opportunity
of showing their discontent at the treatment of their leader, and it
became necessary to dismiss them. The direction of the Government thus
fell into the hands of Stanhope, as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Sunderland and Addison became Secretaries of State, and James Craggs
Secretary at War. The occasion of the final schism was a demand for a
supply to oppose the intrigues of the King of Sweden. The lukewarmness
of Walpole's support was so marked that his friends and those of
Townshend voted against Government, and the supplies were carried by a
majority of four only. The fraction of the Whigs who thus left office at
once passed into vigorous opposition; yet the crisis was one which
should have overpowered party feeling.

[Sidenote: Danger to England from Charles XII. and Alberoni.]

The state of Europe was such as to threaten difficulty, even danger, to
England. Two statesmen of unusual ability were at work in Europe; to
both of them the fall of the new Government in England was an object,
and when their intrigues for a moment brought them together, there was
a brief interval of real danger. These were Charles XII. of Sweden, and
Alberoni, the Prime Minister of Spain.

[Sidenote: Charles XII.]

Charles had found himself thwarted in his schemes for re-establishing
his power by the opposition of the English King. The same opposition had
checked the Czar in his ambitious schemes on Mecklenburg. In union with
his minister, Görtz, an adventurer who had passed into his service from
that of the Prince of Gotthorp, Charles determined on a new combination
of the North to suit the altered politics of Europe. He allied himself
with his old enemy the Czar, and despatched Görtz to Holland, to see
what he could do in France and England. In each of those countries he
found it possible to enter into communication with a large discontented
minority. In France, the Duke of Maine, irritated at the loss of the
position which the late King's will would have given him, had put
himself at the head of the older and graver statesmen, who clung to the
old policy of enmity with England. In England, the Jacobites were still
looking out for foreign support. To both countries Görtz sent an
agent,--while Spaar was, if possible, to produce a change of government
in France, Gyllenborg was instructed in England to promise the Tories
the assistance of 12,000 men under the personal command of the King of
Sweden. In seeking assistance for his plans, Görtz had come across
another intrigue tending in the same direction. He found in Alberoni a
man whose views were for the time identical with his own, and Spanish
money found its way largely both to the Pretender and to the Swedish
agents. Fortunately the English Government obtained information of what
was going on. Justly holding that his ambassadorial rights were
forfeited by his treason, they apprehended Gyllenborg and seized his
papers, and persuaded Holland to act in the same manner with regard to
Görtz. The papers thus seized afforded full justification for what they
had done. But though thwarted in this scheme, both Charles and the Czar
continued to act in unison with Spain against the interests of England.
It was to meet this plot that the supply was demanded which caused the
final schism in the English ministry. The death of Charles in September
1718, at the siege of Friedrichshalle, whither he had gone in his haste
to secure Norway, the possession of which was a part of his bargain with
Russia, prevented the Northern branch of the intrigue from bearing
fruits, and a revolution in Sweden, which changed it into little more
than an oligarchical republic, removed it for more than sixty years from
the scene of history.

[Sidenote: Alberoni.]

Alberoni's plots were of more importance. He was one of those statesmen
who owe their rise to the democratic character of the Roman Church. The
son of a market gardener, of a singularly undignified exterior, he had
found means to make himself indispensable to the Duke of Vendome during
the war of the Spanish succession, and had subsequently established his
position in Spain by bringing about the marriage of Philip with
Elizabeth of Parma. His object was entirely patriotic; he desired to
replace Spain in the list of great European nations. For this purpose he
set to work with remarkable success to revive the industry and wealth of
the country. But his views reached further than this; he aimed at the
destruction of the Treaty of Utrecht. By that treaty Austria had gained
almost all that Spain had lost. It was therefore against Austria that
his designs were chiefly directed. Knowing of the irritation which
existed between Austria and England with regard to the Barrier Treaty,
and believing that France would be unwilling to do anything to the
disadvantage of a Bourbon kingdom of its own creation, he supposed that
Austria would be without allies. To secure friendship with England, he
even granted her great commercial advantages. The defensive alliance
between England and Austria, in 1716, was the first blow to his plan.
The subsequent conclusion, in 1717, of the Triple Alliance opened his
eyes to the probable policy of France. It was then that he threw himself
into the intrigues of the Jacobites and the party of the Duke of Maine,
and put himself into communication with Charles of Sweden. Alberoni's
chief object was to destroy the Austrian power in Italy. Conscious that
Spain had gained in strength by the loss of her widespread foreign
dependencies, he had no intention of conquering that country. But he
wished to restrict the Austrian power there, firstly, by the
establishment of younger branches of the Spanish house in Sicily (at the
instant belonging by the Treaty of Utrecht to Victor Amadeus of Savoy),
and in the duchies of Parma and Tuscany, where the reigning houses were
drawing towards extinction, and to which Elizabeth Farnese had claims;
and, secondly, by the increase of the territory of Savoy, which he
designed to compensate for the loss of Sicily by the cession of a
portion of Lombardy. The possession of Sicily was therefore of the first
importance to him. But Austria had already been negotiating with the
powers of the Triple Alliance for the exchange of that island for
Sardinia. Alberoni himself desired to wait till Spain had acquired more
power at home, but the apprehension by the Austrians of a newly
appointed Spanish inquisitor roused the anger of Philip V., and,
against his will, Alberoni was hurried into war. To prevent the exchange
of Sicily he at once took possession of Sardinia, and would probably
have proceeded to attack Sicily, when the Powers of the Triple Alliance

[Sidenote: Opposition of the Triple Alliance.]

Their offer of mediation involved the renunciation on the part of
Austria of all claims on the Spanish monarchy, which had never hitherto
been dropped,--on the part of Spain of all claims on the Italian
provinces. The exchange of Sicily for Sardinia was to be carried out,
and Parma and Tuscany to be given to Don Carlos. Enraged at this offer,
the work of men, as he said, "who cut and pared countries as they would
Dutch cheeses," Alberoni at once set to work all the apparatus his
intrigue had prepared. The anger of Savoy was aroused at the loss of
Sicily; the Turks, already at war with Austria, were subsidized and
urged to further exertions; Ragotski, Prince of Transylvania, was
brought forward to demand his hereditary dominions, to hamper Austria on
the east; the Spanish envoy in France busily stirred up faction there;
Charles XII. and the Czar were urged to immediate action; and an
expedition against England, headed by Ormond or the Pretender himself,
was set on foot. The whole of Europe seemed involved. The mediating
Powers found themselves likely to be drawn into war. Stanhope was
removed from his position as First Lord of the Treasury, and made
Secretary of State for the Southern Department, which included foreign
affairs, and on June 4, 1718, Admiral Byng set sail from England for the

[Sidenote: Formation of the Quadruple Alliance. August 1718.]

[Sidenote: Fall of Alberoni. Dec. 1719.]

The crisis was so threatening that the Austrian Emperor, who had refused
to accede to the mediation of the Powers, yielded. England procured for
him the Treaty of Passowitz, which secured him from the Turks, bought
off at the expense of the Venetians, from whom they had conquered the
Morea; and a Quadruple Alliance between England, France, Austria, and
Holland was formed on the basis of the old project of mediation, with
this difference, that Parma and Tuscany were to be held by Don Carlos
only as fiefs of the Empire. Without open declaration of war, France and
England had virtually joined the Austrian alliance. Alberoni, however,
persisted in his schemes, but fortune had turned against him. The
Spanish fleet, not knowing whether it was peace or war, was fallen upon
and destroyed by Byng off Cape Passaro; Savoy, yielding to the pressure
of the Quadruple Alliance, accepted Sardinia in exchange for Sicily; the
death of Charles XII. broke up the Northern Alliance; the conspiracy in
France was discovered when approaching maturity, the Spanish ambassador
and the Duke and Duchess of Maine apprehended; of the Pretender's
expedition, scattered in the Bay of Biscay, two frigates only reached
Loch Alsh in Scotland. A few hundreds of the Highlanders gathered to
their standard, but the appearance of English troops put them to flight;
the chiefs escaped to Spain, the Highlanders were allowed to fly
unmolested to their hills, the Spanish troops were taken prisoners of
war. War having now been regularly declared, the French crossed the
Pyrenees, and again and again defeated the Spanish troops; and at length
Philip was compelled to dismiss his great minister, and on the 19th of
January 1720 acceded to the terms of the Quadruple Alliance.

[Sidenote: European peace. 1720.]

The affairs in the North of Europe were settled in a similar high-handed
fashion. There too a nation, struggling to regain its old preponderance,
had to be crushed. The death of Charles XII., and the revolution which
followed it, put an end to any chance of Sweden's regaining its position
in Europe. The new Government fell back upon the old policy of the
country; Bremen and Verden were allowed to remain in the hands of
George, and an alliance with England and France was entered into. As a
necessary consequence the late allies of Sweden again became its
enemies. But the friendship of France and England drove them to peace.
Orders were even issued to the English Admiral of the Baltic to fall
upon the fleet of the Czar without declaration of war, unless with
Denmark, his ally, he consented to a cessation of hostilities. Too weak
to resist, Denmark accepted a sum of money and retired from the contest;
and the Czar, now standing alone, withdrew, though still in arms, to
await a better opportunity for action. The foreign policy of Stanhope
had thus been successful, and though unjust and domineering, secured for
Europe a peace of twelve years.

[Sidenote: Stanhope's home policy.]

Meanwhile the minister had carried out with consistency the politics of
his party at home. In acting thus he was met with considerable
difficulties. On the one hand he had to manage and repress the
meddlesome and rapacious German coterie which surrounded the King, on
the other he was met by a strong opposition headed by that party of the
Whigs which had left office with Townshend.

[Sidenote: Opposition of Walpole.]

[Sidenote: Trial of Oxford. June 1717.]

[Sidenote: Repeal of the Schism Act. Jan. 1719.]

In all the chief measures of his administration he found an eager and at
times a successful antagonist in Walpole. It was chiefly through his
instrumentality that the impeachment of Oxford came to an untimely end.
The Lords were persuaded to refuse to listen to any evidence in support
of the charge of misdemeanour before they had heard that on the graver
charge of treason. They knew that it was impossible for the Commons to
support the more important charge. A quarrel between the Houses ended in
the refusal of the Lower House to proceed to the impeachment. The Lords
gravely assembled on the appointed day in Westminster Hall, sat there
for a quarter of an hour, and then, as no accusers appeared, declared
the impeachment at an end. Again, Walpole, regardless of party ties,
vehemently upheld the charges of peculation brought against Lord Cadogan
by the Jacobites in the House headed by Shippen. And again, with great
inconsistency, he opposed the repeal of the Schism Act. The Act for
restraining Occasional Conformity passed in the last reign, and the
Schism Act of 1714, by which it had been followed, pressed very heavily
on the Dissenters; and Stanhope, whose views appear in some respects to
have been more liberal than those in vogue at the time, went so far in
his wish to relieve them as even to dream of mitigating the severity of
the Test and Corporation Acts. However, wisely yielding to the advice of
Sunderland, he confined himself to an attempt to get the Schism Act
repealed, and succeeded, after much opposition, in both Houses; but his
narrow majorities show that a more extensive measure would have been
useless. The Test Act continued in force, though rendered practically
nugatory after the beginning of George II.'s reign by a Bill of
Indemnity passed almost every year in favour of those who had evaded it.

[Sidenote: The Peerage Bill rejected. Dec. 1719.]

On the two last named occasions Walpole's opposition had been useless.
On the more important question of the limitation of the power of the
Crown to create Peers by the Peerage Bill, he fortunately proved too
strong for the minister. Like the Septennial Act, the Peerage Bill was
introduced partly on theoretical, partly on party grounds. The
Revolution had been an aristocratic rather than a popular movement. The
power or rather the influence of the Crown had not been destroyed, but
was in abeyance, the Hanoverian monarchs being as it were in a state of
tutelage to the Whig party, whose strength was in the Upper House.
Popular in language, but aristocratic in feeling, this party regarded
political liberty as best secured by its own predominance, rendered
permanent by such institutions as a Septennial Parliament and an
exclusive hereditary nobility. It feared alike the power of the King and
the power of the people, and already the adoption of the Treaty of
Utrecht, carried by the popular will and by a large creation of Peers,
had shown the possibility of a union between King and people which might
sooner or later destroy its influence. To guard against such a danger
was the primary object for which Stanhope introduced his Peerage Bill.
But temporary party interests had as much weight with him as general
theory. Stanhope and his friends, especially Sunderland, were in dread
of the conduct which might be pursued by the Prince of Wales when he
came to the throne. He was on bad terms with his father, and regarded
Sunderland as the chief cause of the royal jealousy. It was generally
believed that his accession would be followed by a creation of peers
from among his own favourites. Thus both on public and party grounds the
ministry thought it desirable to limit the royal prerogative. As was
natural, the Tories, in their dislike to restrictions on the royal
prerogative, and the party of Walpole, who opposed it because it was a
Government measure, made common cause against the Bill. By its
enactments the Crown was to be restrained from the creation of more than
six beyond the existing number of 178 English peerages (the power of
creating a new peerage whenever an old one became extinct being
reserved), no new peerage was to be created with remainders except to
the original recipient and his heirs male; while, to place the Peerage
of Scotland on the same footing, the sixteen representative Peers of
that country were to give way to twenty-five hereditary Peers nominated
by the Crown. The Bill met with little opposition in the House of Lords,
but was thrown out by a large majority in the Lower House, where Walpole
pointed out "that one of the most powerful incentives to virtue would be
taken away, since there would be no arriving at honour but through the
winding-sheet of a decrepit lord, or the grave of an extinct noble

[Sidenote: Strength of the ministry.]

At the present time a defeat on so important a measure must have driven
the ministry from office. But the theory of party government was as yet
so little perfected, that not only did Stanhope retain his place, but
his administration was so strong, that the Whig malcontents thought it
better to renew their old connection with it, and both Walpole and
Townshend re-entered the Government, the one as Paymaster of the Forces,
the other as Lord President. It seemed as if nothing short of some great
convulsion could shake so powerful a Government, and, though little
apprehended, such a convulsion was near at hand.

[Sidenote: The South Sea Scheme.]

It was still early in the history of finance. It was only of late years
that the moneyed interest had become so important in the country as to
admit of the discharge of the public liabilities by means of large and
regular loans. But when once the practice had been begun it had been
largely adopted, and during the wars of the reign of Queen Anne the debt
had risen from sixteen to fifty-two millions. Ignorant of the resources
of the country and of the ease with which such a debt might be
supported, the financiers of the day were in constant terror of its
rapid increase. A member of the House, a certain Mr. Broderick, was
expressing the general feeling when he said, "I agree with the
ministers, that until the National Debt is discharged, or in a fair way
of being so, we cannot properly call ourselves a nation." But besides
the general dread of the amount of the debt, there was a very
well-grounded dislike to the high terms on which much of it had been
contracted. The money having been borrowed in time of war and
difficulty, the terms offered to the lender had been proportionately
favourable. A settled Government, the success of the Hanoverian
succession, and the continued and rapid increase of wealth which had
followed it, had rendered money much cheaper, and Government was paying
seven or eight per cent. upon its loans, when private individuals could
borrow on good security at four per cent. But the manner in which much
of the money had been raised forbad any effort at changing the rate of
interest. The loans had been largely contracted in the form of
annuities, many of them for ninety-nine years; and of these a
considerable portion were irredeemable, that is to say, Government was
pledged to the payment of the interest as originally arranged, unless
some change could be made with the consent of the creditors.

[Sidenote: Formation of the South Sea Company. 1711.]

Financiers had therefore two objects in view,--to lessen the whole
amount of debt, and to lower the interest payable on what remained. The
establishment of the Bank of England had shown the value, in a
mercantile point of view, of the Government credit. It became an
understood principle that money lent to Government, and thus secured
upon the credit of Government, was an excellent form of capital; and
when advances were required, or when it became convenient to substitute
a single great creditor for a number of little ones, this principle had
been brought into use. Two such attempts had been made, the one by
Harley in 1711, the other by Walpole in 1717. Harley, when Lord
Treasurer, had found a floating debt (a debt, that is, payable on demand
of the creditor) of ten millions, and had got rid of the danger of
immediate demand by forming a company of the creditors of this floating
debt. The ten millions were funded, that is, the interest and not the
capital was paid; the interest was secured upon the customs, and the
fund of ten millions became the capital of the company of creditors, who
were induced to allow their claims to be thus funded by the promise of
the monopoly in the mercantile advantage which Spain had granted England
at Utrecht. This came to but little,--the Assiento, or supply of slaves,
and the admission of a yearly ship of 500 tons burden to the American
colonies. Even this advantage was lost in the difficulties which arose
with Alberoni. The first ship did not sail till 1717, and as far as the
South Sea trade went Harley's plan was a failure. But the credit gained
by the Company in the transaction was good, other lines of trade were
opened up, and the Company became great, flourishing and powerful.

[Sidenote: The South Sea Scheme. 1720.]

In 1717 Walpole had been very desirous to diminish the National Debt. He
established the first sinking fund, borrowing £600,000 at only four per
cent., using this money to pay off liabilities bearing a higher
interest, and applying the money thus saved to the extinction of the
debt. He also, taking advantage of the value of Government credit,
induced both the Bank and the South Sea Company to accept a lower rate
of interest for the money they had already advanced, and to advance
between them nearly £5,000,000 more, for the purpose of paying off as
far as possible those holders of redeemable debts who refused to accept
the lowered rate of interest. The great South Sea Scheme of 1720 was in
principle nothing but a repetition of this manœuvre. The South Sea
Company, believing devoutly in the power of credit, was anxious to
extend itself as far as possible. The Government was so eager for the
reduction of the debt that the King had made special mention of it in
the speech with which he opened Parliament in the close of 1719. Under
these circumstances the proposition of Blunt, director of the South Sea
Company, found a ready hearing with the ministers. Between them an
arrangement was devised, perfectly justifiable and harmless as far as
the principle of it went. The bulk of the Government debt consisted in
redeemable and irredeemable annuities, on all of which large interest
was paid, and on which that interest must continue to be paid unless the
holder of the annuity voluntarily reduced it. There is said to have been
about sixteen millions of each class of security. Government wished to
bring the whole mass into one general fund, bearing a lower rate of
interest, and the South Sea Company was so greedy of the Government
credit, that it expressed itself anxious to add the whole of this
enormous amount to its capital. It is plain that any transaction of the
sort, as far as regarded the irredeemable annuities, must have been
entirely voluntary. All that the Government could do was to allow the
Company to persuade the holders to exchange their annuities for shares
in the Company. With regard to the holders of redeemable annuities,
payment in full must be offered, but that payment might be given in
shares of the Company. In other words, those who accepted the exchange
became proprietors in the Joint-stock South Sea Company to the amount of
their claim on the Government. With regard to the Government, the South
Sea Company alone became creditor, instead of a multitude of old
annuitants, and was contented to receive henceforward, instead of the
seven or eight per cent. the annuitants had received, five per cent.
till the year 1727, and after that four per cent. till the capital as
well as the interest should be returned, for the fund was made a
redeemable one. If the transaction were thoroughly successful the
capital of the South Sea Company would be increased by about thirty-two
millions, advanced to Government at five per cent., and Government would
have to pay five per cent. interest instead of seven or eight, besides
having the power of redeeming the capital.

[Sidenote: Competition of other companies.]

So great were the advantages understood to be gained by this accession
of capital in Government hands, that other companies wished to share in
them. It was voted by a large majority that these advantages should be
put up to public competition. The Bank of England and the South Sea
Company set to work outbidding each other, the latter finally proposing
terms which were virtually a payment to Government of seven millions and
a half. This money was to be devoted to the public service, to pay off
debts contracted to the end of the year 1722, and after that as much as
possible of the capital of the South Sea Company itself. It is plain
that for the success of this scheme two things were requisite. In the
first place, a readiness on the part of the public to accept the
Company's shares in exchange for their Government annuities; without
that Government would not be freed, nor would the Company get its
increased capital. But this exchange would of course bring in no ready
money. Secondly, therefore, a large number of new shareholders would be
required to subscribe, paying for their shares in ready money, in order
to meet the demands of those holders of redeemable annuities who refused
all exchange, and to cover the heavy premium of £7,000,000. Now both of
these objects were dependent on the popularity of the Company's shares;
and it was in this that the mistake of the arrangement lay; Government
had in fact made too good a bargain. By an extensive system of bribes
large sums of fictitious capital were invented and distributed gratis
among influential members of the Government, and still more largely
among the hungry Hanoverian courtiers, whose influence it was regarded
as all important to secure. All fear of the success of the scheme was
almost immediately removed. So great was the belief in the vast Company,
backed up by this huge accession of Government credit, so well had the
directors done their business, that a very large majority of the
annuitants pressed with extreme haste to accept the terms offered,
though those terms were very low. The public were then invited to
subscribe the new capital. Five separate subscriptions of upwards of a
million were in succession opened, and all filled, with equal rapidity.

[Sidenote: The rage for stock-jobbing.]

It was however in its secondary effects, rather than in its immediate
consequences, that the scheme exerted the most extraordinary influence.
There was a great deal of money in the country, and there was no
satisfactory way of using it. Much had been hoarded, for there were not
then as now numerous industrial investments in the market in which small
sums could be employed. The apparent success of the South Sea Company,
and the promises which it held out for rapid fortune-making, excited the
spirit of speculation to the highest degree, and companies sprang
into existence with unexampled rapidity. Some were real and
serious--waterworks, paving companies, and companies for the improvement
of all branches of manufacture. Some were mere transparent
impostures--as a company for the importation of Spanish donkeys, for the
fixing of quicksilver, or for wheels of perpetual motion. It did not
matter much what they were, for the rage for stock-jobbing was such that
any hardy promoter of a company might hope to float it at all events
till he had himself realized a handsome fortune. Change Alley became a
scene of the wildest excitement--people in all lines of life hurrying to
buy and sell as during the railway mania of our own time. But among all
the companies the South Sea Company maintained its pre-eminence, and its
shares rose, till in August the £100 share was worth £1000. The Company
continued to promise largely, even fifty per cent. profits. The
absurdity and danger of such reckless proceedings began to become
obvious. The nominal value of all the shares in all the companies then
existing was held to be £500,000,000, or twice the value of all the land
in England. But many of these companies, being unchartered, were
illegal, and had no right to issue shares, and the legitimate
companies, especially the South Sea, looked with jealousy at their
illegal competitors. Apparently unconscious how much their own success
depended upon the universal delusion, they proceeded to prosecute some
companies which had acted illegally. The effect was instantaneous. The
nation began to return to its senses; the bubble burst, and the stocks
of all unchartered companies fell with extreme rapidity. In the
universal ruin they carried with them the South Sea Company. The panic
was as rapid as the eagerness to purchase had been. Before the end of
September South Sea stock was at 175. The difference between that sum
and the £1000 which they had touched will give some measure of the loss
involved. The ruin among all classes was unspeakable.

[Sidenote: Bursting of the bubble.]

So great was the desolation that it was found necessary for Parliament
to intervene. Not that the great Company itself was in any way bankrupt,
its shares were still at a large premium, they never fell below 175; not
that any law of political economy had been broken; Government had never
pledged itself to support the credit of the Company, or to force either
its shares or its engagements on the public; but simply because private
speculation had caused so vast an amount of misery, and because the
nation was exasperated at it, interference became absolutely necessary.
Examination into all the details of the plan no doubt proved a
considerable amount of venality on the part of the ministry, of bribery
and fraud on the part of the directors. But even thus it was freely
acknowledged that under no old law had any crime been committed, and it
required a retrospective Act of Parliament and the creation of a
temporary crime to bring the directors within the reach of punishment.
As Gibbon said, the steps taken were in fact an act of popular vengeance
and contrary to justice. They consisted in the appropriation of the
private property of the directors to the amount of £2,000,000 for
distribution among the sufferers, the remission of the £7,000,000 due by
the Company to Government, the payment of all the just liabilities to
the Company, and a division of the capital that then remained, about
thirty-three per cent., among the proprietors.

[Sidenote: Punishment of the directors.]

[Sidenote: Supremacy of Walpole. 1721.]

These measures are due exclusively to Walpole, the one man specially
fitted from his financial abilities to deal with the present crisis, and
in whose favour it was remembered that he had been out of office when
the plan was set on foot. The official inquiries into the circumstances
of the South Sea Scheme left him indeed in a position of undisputed
supremacy in the House. Several members of the Government were
implicated in the frauds of the Company; Aislabie, the Chancellor of the
Exchequer, was found guilty and expelled the House. The younger Craggs
died of smallpox before the inquiry was completed, and his father
committed suicide. Charles Stanhope was acquitted by a majority of three
only, and although Sunderland was declared innocent by a large majority,
public opinion was so strong against him that he had to leave the
ministry. In the following year he died. During the angry debates which
arose on these matters Lord Stanhope had been attacked with virulence by
the Duke of Wharton, and the anger which he had felt had been such as to
cause a rush of blood to the head, of which he died shortly before his
relative Charles Stanhope was acquitted. There remained no possible
rival to Walpole, who with his brother-in-law Townshend returned to
power as First Lord of the Treasury. Thus, when the new Parliament
assembled, he found himself absolute master of the field, at the head of
an unbroken Whig party, supported by an overwhelming majority, and for
twenty years maintained his position, to the immense advantage of
England and to the lasting security of the reigning house.

[Sidenote: Revival of Jacobite hopes.]

[Sidenote: Bishop Atterbury's plot.]

Not that the Jacobites were as yet extinct, but they were silenced in
Parliament, and had to rely upon conspiracy or foreign assistance. Their
hopes in fact were at this moment in some respects higher than ever, for
the disturbance and discontent caused by the collapse of the South Sea
Scheme, together with the birth of an heir to the House of Stuart in the
person of Prince Charles Edward, seemed to afford them an opportunity
for greater activity. The Stuart papers prove the existence of a
well-organized intrigue, under the management of a Committee of five,
Lord Orrery, the Earl of Arran Lord Orford's brother, Lord North, Lord
Gower, and Atterbury Bishop of Rochester. The letters display in a very
curious manner the false hopes with which the party were constantly
buoyed up. Atterbury indeed showed signs of considerable wisdom, the
reintroduction of Walpole and Townshend to the ministry seemed to him a
great blow to the cause. "The reconciliation," he writes, "is not yet
hearty and sincere, but I apprehend it will by degrees become so. The
Tories have no good foundation on which to stand. Disaffection and
uneasiness will continue everywhere, and probably increase. The bulk of
the nation will be ever in the true interest and on the side of justice.
The present settlement will perhaps be detested every day more and
more, and yet no effectual step will or can be taken to shake it." The
great South Sea Scheme also seemed to him a difficulty. "That body of
men, who have increased their capital by £40,000,000, begin to look
formidable. They cannot but be the governors of the kingdom." He
therefore urged instant action before the Whig settlement had time to
ripen or the financial plans to be brought to successful conclusion.
Even a few years later the Earl of Orrery wrote, "It is not an
extravagant computation that four out of five of the whole nation wish
well to you." Nevertheless all these Jacobite writers were obliged to
confess, even after the failure of the scheme, that the united Whigs
were too powerful, and the general prudence of all classes too great, to
allow of any successful movement without assistance from abroad. It is
plain also that there were numerous sections and much want of discipline
in the Jacobite camp. Atterbury's influence was disapproved of by many;
Gower had a band of followers of his own; and James was so alive to this
source of weakness that he earnestly pressed for the election of a
responsible head, naming the Earl of Oxford as the fittest person for
the purpose. These divisions, and the want of self-reliance in the face
of the powerful Government, constantly prevented the Jacobites from
obtaining success; their agents were perpetually soliciting foreign
countries for help, and the chain of foreign diplomacy which Stanhope
had wrought was so close, that such ill-advised requests could scarcely
fail to reach the ears of the English ministry. Thus a determination to
take advantage of the confusion caused by the South Sea Scheme, by the
death of Stanhope, which was supposed to have broken the link with
France, and by the new election for Parliament, was brought to Walpole's
knowledge. The Regent had been asked to supply 5000 men, but Dubois was
not likely to overthrow the diplomatic edifice he had so carefully built
up. He at once informed the English minister at Paris. And at the
opening of the new Parliament George was able to give a short summary of
the conspiracy, involving an expedition headed by James and Ormond from
Spain and Italy, the seizure of the Tower, the Bank and the Exchequer,
and the declaration in London of King James; and at the same time he
could state that some of the chiefs, especially the Bishop of Rochester,
were already under arrest.

[Sidenote: Failure of the conspiracy.]

[Sidenote: Quarrel between Carteret and Walpole.]

The superiority of the Whig party was now shown in the Bills that were
passed relative to this conspiracy. The Habeas Corpus Act was suspended
for a whole year, the longest time on record; sums were granted for an
increase of the army; a tax of £100,000, to be collected from all
Nonjurors, was enacted; and as the evidence was scarcely sufficient to
go before a Court of Law, Bills of Pains and Penalties were introduced
against some of the subordinate agents, and against Atterbury himself,
who was forced to leave the kingdom. At Calais he met Bolingbroke, who
had just received his pardon and was returning to England. He had been
dismissed by the Pretender after the failure of 1715, and had vowed
never again to serve so ungrateful a master. None the less did he
continue for the rest of his life to hamper by his intrigues the Whig
party. The chief cause of his irritation was that his overtures were
rejected by Walpole, who already began to show that thirst for power and
jealousy of men of great talents which was one of his marked
characteristics, and which was the ultimate cause of his fall. Carteret,
who with Townshend was now Secretary of State, was his first victim--a
man of the most brilliant parts and of unrivalled knowledge of foreign
affairs. He had succeeded to much of the influence as well as to the
views of Stanhope. Abroad he was inclined to plunge England into the
complications of Hanoverian policy. It was in fact natural that with his
great knowledge of foreign affairs he should be led to consider them
more important than other English statesmen, who then as now were
inclined towards a policy of isolation. At home, too, his views were
less exclusively those of a Whig partisan than those of his fellow
ministers. He feared probably less than the occasion demanded the
strength of the Jacobites. He looked upon the sole possession of power
by the Whigs on the Hanoverian succession as a necessary but only
temporary evil. He was desirous of a far larger admission of the Tory
element, and would willingly have admitted Bolingbroke and those Tories
who would have accompanied him among the ranks of the ministry, or at
all events among the ranks of the ministerial supporters. But to Walpole
such views were exceedingly distasteful. He well knew Bolingbroke's
ability and feared him as a personal rival. He felt also that if
Bolingbroke were instrumental in destroying the Tory opposition, the
King could not but feel under considerable obligations to him, and that
his own exclusive influence would be shaken. Bolingbroke's overtures
were therefore most coldly received, and he withdrew again to Paris,
where an intrigue was going on, in which he took a prominent part, and
which ended in the fall of his friend Carteret. The intrigue itself was
of a very despicable character, and was connected with the marriage of
a daughter of Madame de Platen, sister of the King's mistress, the
Countess of Darlington. To counteract Carteret, who was employing the
English ambassador in the Countess's interest, Townshend sent Horace
Walpole as his agent to Paris. The existence of two rival ambassadors,
one only properly accredited, brought matters to a crisis. The King, in
spite of a strong personal friendship for Carteret, was obliged to yield
to the influence of Walpole, and his rival had to withdraw to the Lord
Lieutenancy of Ireland.

[Sidenote: Excitement in Ireland.]

But although the office given to Carteret was regarded as a retirement,
in the present instance it promised to be no sinecure. Ireland was in a
state of wild excitement, lashed to fury by the exceedingly able but
untrue writings of Swift, who in his Drapier's Letters had by
exaggeration and falsehood given an aspect of tyrannical misgovernment
to a commonplace and legitimate financial act. There was great need of a
new small coinage for Ireland, and Walpole had given a patent in 1722 to
a certain William Wood, giving him power to coin farthings and halfpence
to the value of £108,000. The contract and quality had been declared
satisfactory by Sir Isaac Newton, Master of the Mint. The Irish
Parliament declared that the patent would occasion a loss to the nation
of one hundred and fifty per cent., an extraordinary assertion based
upon the fact that a pound of rough copper in Ireland was worth twelve
pence, while a pound of coined fine copper was to be worth thirty pence.
But the mint in London gave eighteenpence a pound for its copper. The
charge of coinage was fourpence, the duties upon copper imported into
Ireland were twenty per cent., and the difference of exchange between
England and Ireland rendered a slight diminution of the weight
reasonable. Of course, however, it is certain that the patentee made
something by the bargain, especially as the voracious Duchess of Kendal
had been bribed to obtain it. But all facts and all reasoning were
useless against the storm raised by Swift's Letters, and it was not till
Walpole had exhibited his usual prudence in accepting inevitable defeat,
and cancelling the patent, that Ireland was quieted.

[Sidenote: Disturbances in Scotland. 1725.]

It was not in Ireland only that the financial measures of Walpole met
with opposition. For years the tax upon malt had been with great
difficulty collected in Scotland. This tax had been changed into a
charge of threepence upon every barrel of ale. Edinburgh was in
commotion, and the brewers refused to brew. Lord Isla, the Duke of
Argyle's brother, was acting as Walpole's agent in the matter. He
prudently declined to interfere, certain that love of profit would
speedily break up the combination. A public meeting, Walpole tells us,
was held, and the question put by the chairman, "Brew or not brew?" He
began by asking the man on his right hand. But he and many who followed
him refused to vote, till at last one bolder than the rest refused to be
bound by the majority and voted "Brew." The assembly broke up in some
confusion, but before morning there were forty brewhouses hard at work
in Edinburgh and ten in Leith.

[Sidenote: Spanish difficulties. 1725.]

The remainder of the reign offers but little of interest in domestic
history, but before Walpole could enter unchecked on that course of
peaceful policy which is the chief characteristic of his long tenure of
office, he had yet one difficulty with Spain to overcome, while at home
there was already springing up that opposition of discontented Whigs
combined with the Tory party, which, under the fostering influence of
Bolingbroke behind the scenes, and led in Parliament by the ability of
Pulteney, formed the formidable opposition to which Walpole ultimately
succumbed. Since the adhesion of Spain to the Quadruple Alliance and the
fall of Alberoni, a Congress had been sitting at Cambrai to arrange the
details of the final settlement of Europe. The chief points at issue
were the renunciation of the title of King of Spain, to which the
Austrian Empire fondly clung, the Grand Mastership of the Order of the
Golden Fleece, which the Emperor also claimed, and the restoration to
their owners of certain Italian provinces of which the Emperor had taken
possession. To gain these ends, Spain, absolutely renouncing the policy
of Alberoni, attached itself closely to France and England, purchased
the favour of the latter country by a treaty of commerce, renewing the
Assiento and the annual ship to the Spanish colonies, and of the former
by a marriage-treaty. This marriage-treaty Orleans was induced to accept
in pursuance of his plan for keeping continual hold of the regency; all
views of ultimate succession were gradually fading from him as the young
King improved in health. It was a threefold arrangement; the Infanta
Mary Anne, then only three years old, was to marry Louis XV., the two
daughters of the Regent were to marry the Prince of Asturias, heir to
the Spanish crown, and Don Carlos, presumptive heir to Parma and
Tuscany. Spain had thus done so much that she awaited with confidence
the meeting of the Congress at Cambrai. But that Congress was very slow
in its operations, and the hasty Queen of Spain and her ambitious
husband began to weary of the ill success of their concessions, and to
think that perhaps after all matters might be brought to a more speedy
termination by direct action, without mediators, at the court of Vienna.
The Spanish Government was the more inclined to this step, because it
had been persuaded that the Austrian court would lend no unwilling ear
to direct negotiations.

[Sidenote: Intrigues of Ripperda.]

This belief had been forced upon the King and Queen by a strange,
adventurous, but very able foreigner, who was rapidly rising into
somewhat the same position in Spain that Alberoni had held. This was the
Baron Ripperda. A Dutchman by origin, a soldier by profession, he was
unusually well versed in the details of business and of political
economy. He had taken up all Alberoni's views as to the possible
expansion of the resources of Spain, and, thinking there was more room
for his ability in that country than in Holland, had had himself
naturalized there. He followed the King during his temporary resignation
of the Spanish throne, and returned with him on his son's death to the
possession of full power. There seems little doubt that throughout
Ripperda had been in the pay of the Austrian court, and it was chiefly
at his instigation that the Congress at Cambrai was deserted and direct
negotiations between the courts opened. He had set before the King and
Queen very plausible reasons not only for a negotiation but for a change
of policy, no less complete than an entire desertion of the mediating
Powers and of the principle of the Quadruple Alliance, and a close
friendship with the House of Austria. Spain would thus be freed from the
constant encroachments of England upon her trade, and the interference
of France, which had been very irksome to the Spaniards since the
Bourbon accession, would be avoided. The old question of the Barrier
Treaty was exciting the animosity of England and Austria; for Austria,
in distinct contravention of the commercial articles of that treaty,
which forbade to the Austrian Netherlands the trade of India, had
established a great Ostend India Company. And there was another object
very dear to the Emperor's heart towards which Spain could lend
important aid. It could guarantee the Pragmatic Sanction, pledge itself,
that is, to preserve the Austrian succession to the daughter of the
Emperor, a pledge which in the case of Spain meant a great deal, as
Spain had fair claims to a considerable portion of the succession on the
extinction of the direct male line of the Austrian house. With these
hopes and with these offers Ripperda set out for Vienna, with the
intention of entirely destroying the present arrangements of Europe, of
breaking the existing marriage-treaty with the Orleans princesses, of
substituting for them the Austrian archduchesses, and of restoring
Europe to its ancient attitude by the close alliance of Austria and
Spain in opposition to France and England.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Vienna. April 30, 1725.]

The success of Ripperda's scheme, the completion of his great act of
treachery, was rapidly secured by an act of a very similar description
on the part of the Duke of Bourbon. That prince had an almost insane
dread of the possible succession of the Orleans house to the French
throne; to preclude its possibility he desired the immediate marriage of
the young king. But his betrothed Spanish bride was but a baby;
regardless therefore of all treaty obligations, the Duke sent her back
almost without explanation to Spain, and married the young King to Maria
Leczinska, daughter of the ex-King of Poland. The rage of the Spanish
king knew no bounds; he sent peremptory orders to Ripperda to bring the
treaty with Austria to a conclusion upon any terms. Under these
circumstances the great Treaty of Vienna was made on the 30th of April
1725. It consisted of three separate treaties, two public and one
private. By the public treaties the Pragmatic Sanction was guaranteed;
the Spanish ports opened to German commerce; the succession of Parma and
Tuscany promised to Don Carlos; and Austria pledged herself to use her
best influence to secure the restoration of Gibraltar and Minorca. Had
this been all it would have been fair enough, somewhat humiliating to
the countries left negotiating uselessly at Cambrai, but not otherwise
than in accordance with the principles of the Quadruple Alliance.

[Sidenote: The secret treaty.]

On the supposition that there was no secret treaty the English
Opposition desired that no notice might be taken of the transaction, and
reprobated the action of the Government in forming a counter treaty as
Hanoverian. But there can be little doubt that there was a secret
treaty. Its tenor was afterwards disclosed by Ripperda. In it the
marriages between the two houses were arranged; Austria and Spain
pledged themselves to assist the restoration of the Stuarts; and to
compel, if necessary by force, the restoration of Gibraltar and Minorca.
The existence of this treaty before long reached the ears of the English
ministers. For some little time the Jacobites had been extremely active.
An envoy had come to rouse the loyalty of the clans, and had found them
not disinclined to revolt; and the Duke of Wharton, one of the Jacobite
leaders, had gone abroad and held ostentatiously secret meetings with
Ripperda. Ripperda's own tongue was none of the quietest, and he
boasted constantly of his great plans. The threat against the power of
England was rendered more dangerous by the attitude of Russia, where the
Empress Catherine, who was receiving large subsidies from the Spanish
court, was eager to win for her son-in-law the Duke of Holstein the
province of Sleswig, which the Danes had taken from him.

[Sidenote: The Treaty of Hanover.]

To meet this threatening alliance therefore, on the 3rd of September,
the counter Treaty of Hanover was signed between England, France and
Prussia, for mutual assistance should either of the countries be
attacked. The real intention was to compel the Emperor to relinquish the
Ostend Company, and to withstand any attempt on the part of the
Pretender. Ripperda had returned in triumph to Madrid; but his success
was shortlived. He found himself unable to fulfil the promises he had
made to the Austrians; the people of Spain hated him; he was driven from
office, and had to seek refuge at the British embassy, where his
confessions completely justified the precautions the Government had
taken in bringing about the Treaty of Hanover. In spite of his fall the
treaty he had arranged still continued effective.

[Sidenote: Excitement of Europe.]

It seemed as if Europe was upon the verge of a great war, divided as of
old into North and South, Protestant and Catholic. The indignation
excited by the Treaty of Vienna in England was very great. As it was
well put in the King's speech, it appeared as if the appropriation of
the English trade was to be given to one country, and Gibraltar and Port
Mahon to another, as a price for assisting the Stuart Pretender to the
English throne. Very large subsidies were granted, and the army and navy
increased. A British squadron blockaded Porto Bello, another squadron
entered the Baltic to overawe the Russians; the Spanish galleons were
seized. The foolish publication of a direct appeal from the Emperor of
Austria to the English people excited the anger even of the Opposition,
and secured the speedy dismissal of Palm, the Austrian ambassador. A
Spanish army proceeded to invest Gibraltar.

But the skilful though selfish policy of Prussia, and the pacific
tendencies of Walpole and of the new French minister Fleury, produced an
arrangement. The Emperor found that his position was becoming dangerous.
Prussia, at once the leader of the princely opposition to the Imperial
house, and yet thoroughly German in its tendencies, determined to be
neutral. It could not assist the Emperor in supporting a treaty which
by its marriage clauses threatened to put a Spanish prince on the
Imperial throne. The King had hopes of gaining from France some portion
of the Juliers succession. But the house of Brandenburg had become of
great importance in European politics; neither party could well act
without it. Its neutrality induced the Emperor to consent to the
signature of preliminaries of peace, signed at Paris on the 31st of May
1727. He agreed to suspend the Ostend Company for seven years, and to
refer other disputes to the general Congress. The pacific policy which
had produced this arrangement was Walpole's. The skill which had formed
the Treaty of Hanover, the dread of which had undoubtedly produced the
peace, belonged to Townshend. And here began the ill-feeling between the
brothers-in-law which ultimately produced the disruption of their

[Sidenote: Preliminaries of peace. May 31, 1727.]

[Sidenote: Opposition to Walpole headed by Bolingbroke.]

The period of this exciting foreign crisis was rendered interesting in
England by the rising power of the Opposition to Walpole. At the back of
that Opposition was constantly Bolingbroke. Enormous bribes had secured
for him the favour of the Duchess of Kendal. Great stress had been
brought to bear on Walpole to consent to his complete restitution. But
Walpole would go no further than to allow a restoration of property, the
attainder and consequent exclusion from the House of Peers was kept
constantly suspended over his head. His anger against the minister who
thus thwarted him knew no bounds. He set himself to work to form an
Opposition. William Pulteney, an old friend of Walpole's, but like
Carteret cast off as too able, lent himself to Bolingbroke's plans, and
became his mouthpiece in the House of Commons. Between them they
established the Opposition paper, the _Craftsman_, and under their
influence every measure of the Government was vigorously attacked by the
Jacobite or Whig members. Underhand intrigue promised to be even more
effectual than overt opposition. The Duchess of Kendal, by dint of
bribing, had grown to be zealous in the cause of the Opposition. She was
constantly at work on the King, urging the full restoration of
Bolingbroke, urging even the admission of him and his friends to the
ministry, and the dismissal of Walpole. George indeed held bravely to
his old minister. He showed him the insidious attacks which the Duchess
put into his hands, and allowed him thus to meet and counteract them.
But Walpole himself felt that the constant importunity of the favourite
would sooner or later have its effect. He was even, it is said,
thinking of withdrawing to the Upper House, when the King's death at
Osnabrück, on his return home from Hanover, put an end for a moment to
the almost successful intrigue.

[Sidenote: The King's death. June 9, 1727.]

[Sidenote: Review of the reign.]

[Sidenote: Increased importance of England abroad.]

England had been singularly fortunate in escaping the dangers which
generally accompany a violent change of dynasty. The attention of the
new Government is usually so constantly directed towards the maintenance
of its position in the face of the eager opposition of its worsted
rivals, that it neglects the external interests of the country, and the
nation sinks for a time into insignificance. In the first days of the
Revolution the nation had fortunately fallen into the hands of a great
statesman, whose wide policy, carried out with consummate ability by the
Duke of Marlborough, had raised it to a very high position. At Utrecht
it had treated as one of the first European nations. The skill of
Stanhope had secured the prestige thus won. It was England which was the
chief power of the Quadruple Alliance, her fleet in the Mediterranean
which gave the first great blow to the plans of Alberoni. Twice the
appearance of her fleet in the Baltic had overawed the North, and when
the new European combination brought about by the Treaty of Vienna had
threatened the existing arrangements of Europe, it was the diplomacy of
England which called into existence the counter Treaty of Hanover.

[Sidenote: Private and public immorality.]

At home the survey of the reign is not so satisfactory. There was deep
depravity in both domestic and public life. The licentiousness which had
marked the whole Stuart period had lost nothing of its wickedness, but a
good deal of its elegance, in its union with the corruption of a small
German court. With a king without wit, without taste for the arts,
without knowledge of literature, without perception of beauty, and
swayed by two ugly, ignorant and rapacious mistresses, we hear with no
surprise tales of the coarseness of the time. If possible, the depravity
of public life was greater than the private immorality. It is enough to
mark the character of the reign that the Lord Chancellor, the Earl of
Macclesfield, was towards its close convicted of disgracing the seat of
justice by receiving bribes, and was removed with ignominy from his
office; that three ministers at least, if not more, were compromised in
the iniquitous transactions of the South Sea Company, and that the
King's mistress amassed an immense fortune from the bribes by which her
favour was purchased. But even worse than this shameless venality was
the political infidelity which universally prevailed. It is this which
is the real danger of a disputed succession. There is an uncertainty as
to which party may ultimately be successful, which engenders a spirit of
political gambling, while for any fancied insults, or any real loss of
power, immediate revenge can be sought by a mere transfer, and
frequently a secret transfer of allegiance. To this may be added the
tendency of compulsory oaths, which men persuade themselves that they
may accept as a matter of form, and which therefore weaken all sense of
conscientious engagements. There was hardly a statesman of note who had
not more or less tampered with the Jacobite party. Even Walpole is not
quite clear of the charge, while the whole body of High Tories were in
constant danger of drifting into Jacobitism.

[Sidenote: Influence of the Hanoverian courtiers.]

Nor was this the only cause leading to low political morality. The
reigning King was a foreigner in all his habits and in all his tastes.
He was surrounded by a Hanoverian court, who regarded England as an
instrument for the aggrandizement of Hanover, and formed a centre for
all intrigues to win the royal favour at the expense of patriotism. It
is strange, indeed, that their influence was less directly felt in
English politics, and it is perhaps owing to those very Hanoverian
predilections of the King, which are so often urged against him, that
their influence was not greater. He was so thoroughly German in language
and in thought, he was so incapable of comprehending the English
Constitution and manners, that his real interests were entirely centred
on his Hanoverian dominions, and in all matters in which they were not
concerned he left England to work out its own revolution, and was
compelled, moreover, to throw himself wholly into the hands of that
party on whom the revolution rested, and with whom it was a matter of
life and death to secure the completion of that revolution, and to
maintain the security of the Parliamentary King. It was fortunate that
that party was guided by the wisdom of Walpole. That jealousy of power
which was his chief weakness was itself an advantage, since it tended to
exclude from power the Tory party, and gave a united character to the
Government, which proved the hopelessness of success to all who did not
accept it.



                        Born 1683=Caroline of Anspach.
       |                |        |           |               |
   Frederick=Augusta  William  Anne=Prince  Mary=Landgrave Louisa=
   d. 1751. of Saxe-  Duke of   of Orange    of Hesse-       Frederick V.
       |    Gotha     Cumberland.            Cassel.         of Denmark.
       |              d. 1765.
   George III.

                      CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

        _France._     |   _Austria._        |   _Spain._          |
      Louis XV., 1715.| Charles VI., 1711.  | Philip V., 1700.    |
                      | Charles VII., 1742. | Ferdinand VI., 1746.|
                      | Maria Theresa, 1745.| Charles III., 1759. |

                           |    _Prussia._
                           | Frederick William, 1713.
                           | Frederick the Great, 1740.

      _Russia._       |    _Denmark._         |   _Sweden._
    Peter II., 1727.  | Frederick IV., 1699.  | Frederick I., 1720.
    Anne, 1730.       | Christian VI., 1730.  | Adolphus, 1751.
    Ivan VI., 1740.   | Frederick V., 1746.   |
    Elizabeth, 1741.  |

  =POPES.--=Benedict XIII., 1724. Clement XII., 1730. Benedict XIV., 1740.
                             Clement XIII., 1758.

      _Archbishops._     |       _Chancellors._
    Wake, 1715.          |     King, 1725.
    Potter, 1737.        |     Talbot, 1733.
    Herring, 1747.       |     Hardwick, 1737.
    Hutton, 1757.        |     Northington, 1757.
    Secker, 1758.        |

  _First Lords of the Treasury._   |  _Chancellors of the Exchequer._
      1727. Walpole.               |      1727. Walpole.
      1742. Wilmington.            |      1742. Sandys.
      1743. Pelham.                |      1743. Pelham.
      1754. Newcastle.             |      1754. Legge.
      1756. Devonshire.            |      1755. Lyttleton.
      1757. Newcastle.             |      1756. Legge.

           _Secretaries of State._
     1727-1757. Newcastle.
          1730. Harrington.
          1742. Carteret.
          1744. Harrington.
          1746. Chesterfield.
          1748. Bedford.
          1751. Holderness.
          1754. Robinson.
          1755. Fox.
          1757. {Pitt.

[Sidenote: Walpole retains his position.]

The ascendancy of Walpole was in great jeopardy on the death of George
I. Bolingbroke's intrigues against him, backed by all the influence of
the Duchess of Kendal, had indeed been thwarted by the straightforward
manner in which George I. had put all complaints against him into the
minister's own hands--a striking instance of that love of justice and
fidelity to old friends which were the redeeming traits of his otherwise
uninteresting character. But Walpole had now to do with a sovereign whom
as Prince of Wales he had always opposed, and who had been known to use
strong expressions of disapprobation with regard to him. George II., a
little, dry man, gifted with the hereditary bravery and obstinacy of his
family, but with very limited abilities, and a mind far more easily
touched by little things than by broad interests, could not be expected
to forget Walpole's opposition, nor to appreciate his calm, tolerant
wisdom. When Walpole brought him the news of his father's death, he was
at once directed to apply to Sir Spencer Compton, a dull, orderly man,
Speaker of the House of Commons and Treasurer to the Prince of Wales.
Walpole was wise enough to profess friendship for the new favourite, who
even employed the ability of his predecessor to draw up the speech which
the King was to deliver to the Council. For some days it was believed
that Walpole's power was gone. His usual throng of followers deserted
him and crowded to Sir Spencer Compton's levée. But before any definite
arrangements had been made, Sir Spencer unwisely gave Walpole
opportunities for personally explaining himself to the King. He was thus
able to remove the bad impression the King had received as to his
foreign policy, and to outbid his rivals in the arrangements he proposed
to make for the Civil List, a point very close to the King's heart. He
completely succeeded in winning the Queen to his interests; and when she
heard that Compton had had to appeal to his assistance in arranging the
speech from the throne, she took the opportunity of impressing upon
George the absurdity of employing a minister who was obliged to lean for
support upon his rival. The Queen's influence, which was very great,
turned the scale in his favour. The ministry continued unchanged.
Compton, feeling his brief importance at an end, withdrew from the
contest, and shortly afterwards accepted the position of President of
the Council as Lord Wilmington.

[Sidenote: Increase of the Civil List.]

The offer which had proved so effective a means for securing Walpole's
power consisted of £130,000 to the Civil List, and a jointure of
£100,000 to Queen Caroline. The Civil List, which had been settled
after the Revolution at £700,000 a year from all sources, had proved
insufficient, saddled as it then was with a variety of expenses, such as
the judges' and ambassadors' salaries, beyond the mere expenses of the
Court. Anne had been £1,200,000 in debt, George I. £1,000,000. Walpole
now offered to induce the House to raise it to £800,000 a year, allowing
the King to claim anything beyond that sum which should arise from the
hereditary revenues.

[Sidenote: The influence of the Queen.]

[Sidenote: Character of Walpole's ministry.]

Before long Walpole won the entire confidence of the King himself, but
it was at first chiefly on the friendship of the Queen that he relied.
She was a woman of very considerable ability. Her intellectual fault
indeed was an attempt to know too much. She collected around her men of
learning of all sorts, dabbled in divinity, dabbled in metaphysics,
patronized poetry, and delighted in listening to theological
discussions, in which she kept the part of strict neutrality, believing
it is thought but little on either side. But her influence in bringing
forward men of ability, especially in the Church, was very great. Her
sense was excellent, and by means of it, in spite of the King's royal
immorality, she contrived to rule him absolutely. She thoroughly
appreciated Walpole, and together they pursued that policy, which was no
doubt the right one for the maintenance of the Hanoverian succession.
This consisted in the pursuit of peace in every direction--peace abroad,
peace at home. If any point was strongly contested it was given up; if
any abuse was unobserved it was suffered to rest untouched; and in
general their object was to let the nation learn by its material
prosperity the advantages of an orderly and settled Government. As a
consequence of this policy the period of Walpole's government was
uneventful, and was occupied rather with the great Parliamentary
struggle between himself and the Opposition under Pulteney than by any
great national affairs.

[Sidenote: Character of the Opposition.]

The chief strength of that Opposition consisted of the discontented
Whigs, most of whom were driven to oppose Walpole by his insatiable love
of power. We have already seen Pulteney and Carteret forced from the
ranks of the Government, and all overtures with Bolingbroke rejected. In
1730, Walpole quarrelled with his old friend and brother-in-law
Townshend, who was only restrained by his patriotism from joining the
Opposition. In 1733, Lord Chesterfield was added to the list. These
leaders had behind them a certain quantity of supporters who took the
name of Patriots, and wished to be regarded as the true old Whigs,
looking upon Walpole with his large majority as seceders from them.
There was much plausibility in this view: for the Whig party under
Walpole seemed to have become closely attached to the Crown, and was
supported principally by Crown influence. As the original principle of
the Whigs had been antagonism to the over-great power of the Crown, it
could be plausibly urged that they had now assumed the position of their
former enemies. The Hanoverian line had ascended the throne with a
parliamentary as contrasted with a hereditary title; it had therefore
naturally found its chief supporters among the Whigs. With the
Hanoverians that party had entered upon power. But the Revolution, while
practically subordinating the power of the King to that of Parliament,
had constitutionally left it untouched. The Hanoverian kings did not
indeed employ it to its full, but placed it in the hands of the
minister, who, by means of the royal influence, practically ruled
England with as unquestioned a sway as any great minister of the
Stuarts. The difference lay in this, that the power of the Crown
consisted in the immense influence it possessed by means of pensions,
places, and the command of the public money, and worked through the
House of Commons, and not in opposition to it. The patriot Whigs were
conscious of the power of the Crown, and were true to their principles
in opposing it. Their error lay in this, that they did not understand
that that power was formidable only so long as there was a venal House
of Commons. Eager as they thought for liberty, they formed a close
connection with the High Tories and Jacobites, the greatest enemies of
liberty; and in their eagerness for office did their best to oppose that
Government, which for the present, at all events, was the only safeguard
against the restoration of the Stuarts, for the events of 1745 render it
plain that danger from the Jacobites was as yet by no means over. In
fact, however, principle had little to do with the matter, it was
personal animosity to the minister, and anger at exclusion from office,
which inspired the Opposition. Even the party names "Whig" and "Tory"
were beginning to lose their meaning. By far the greater portion of the
House was thoroughly attached to the Hanoverian succession. Some fifty
Jacobites sat in it under the guidance of Shippen, and a certain number
of country gentlemen, with Wyndham at their head, still retained the
title of Hanoverian Tories. But the Parliamentary struggle lay in fact
between different sections of the Whigs, either of which, whatever their
pretensions may have been when out of office, would probably have acted
in much the same way had they succeeded in obtaining it. It was not
till the close of this reign and the beginning of the next that the old
party names began again to acquire significance. It had become evident
that the power and influence of the Crown, but little diminished, as has
been said, at the Revolution, had as it were been placed in commission
in the hands of the great leaders of the Whig party, who by means of
their own Parliamentary influence, added to the King's power which they
wielded, had assumed a monopoly of the Government antagonistic at once
to the Crown and to the people. Those who regarded this condition of
things as a disturbance of the old balance of the Constitution began to
rally round the King, and when George III. resumed into his own hands
the power of the Crown and broke with the Whig oligarchy, he found his
support in this new Tory party.

[Sidenote: Strength of the Government.]

To oppose the many able men whom enmity to the ministers had driven into
the ranks of the Patriots, the Government had little more than the inert
strength of an unfailing majority to show. Besides Walpole himself,
whose talents were unquestioned, the Government consisted of somewhat
second-rate men, such as Newcastle, whose fussy silliness was a constant
theme of jest, Stanhope, Lord Harrington, an excellent diplomatist but
no politician, and Lord Harvey, a clever but bitter and effeminate
courtier. But the Government was supported on almost every question of
importance by a vast majority of the House, whose votes the surpassing
skill of Walpole as a manager secured--many of them by small places and
pensions, or other "considerations," as bribes were then called. That
Walpole reduced the purchase of a majority, a practice by no means
unknown, to a system must be allowed. It may be urged in his favour,
that he used, but did not cause, the venality prevalent among all public
men of the time, and employed it so as to secure what was upon the whole
the government most advantageous for England at the time.

[Sidenote: Depression of the Jacobites.]

The folly of the Pretender spared the minister all trouble with regard
to the Jacobites, for James had succeeded in alienating his ablest
partisans. He had quarrelled with Atterbury as he quarrelled with
Bolingbroke, he had excited scandal by his quarrel with his wife, and
had suffered an unworthy favourite, Colonel Hay, or Lord Inverness as he
called himself, to supplant all his better partisans in his favour. And
when the death of Lord Mar was followed by that of the Duke of Wharton
and of Atterbury in 1732, the Jacobite cause fell into the hands of
very inferior agents, whose intrigues, insignificant as they were, seem
to have been thoroughly known by Walpole.

[Sidenote: European complications.]

It was thus with one source of danger practically removed that Walpole
resumed the threads of foreign policy. The last reign had closed before
peace had been concluded with Spain, and while there were still
unsettled difficulties with the court of Vienna, although preliminaries
had been signed both in Paris and in Spain by what is known as the
Convention of the Pardo. It must indeed have been obvious that the
Treaty of Vienna, plausible as it seemed, could not have been a lasting
treaty. The Bourbons were upon the throne of Spain, and the close
junction of the houses of Bourbon and Hapsburg was an impossible
contradiction of all history, especially as the desire which was really
the moving passion of the Spanish court, the establishment, namely, of a
Spanish kingdom in Italy, was fundamentally opposed to the interests of
Austria. At the same time the shadow of the approaching dissolution of
his kingdom at his death was constantly overhanging the Emperor. No
ideas of present greatness, not even the hope of restoring the Empire to
the position it had held under Charles V., appeared in his eyes so
important as to secure the reversion of his own estates for his
daughter, according to the Pragmatic Sanction, by which, in 1713, he had
arranged the succession to his hereditary kingdoms. It was impossible
for him to hurry into a general war, which must of necessity prevent the
acceptance of that arrangement. There was already a strongly expressed
feeling in Germany against the marriages on which the Vienna Treaty
rested, and which might have the effect of placing a Spaniard on the
Imperial throne. The threatened secession of his chief allies, and the
fear of postponing the acceptance of the Pragmatic Sanction, were
sufficient reasons to induce the Emperor to withdraw from his bargain.
He therefore accepted the mediation of France, where Fleury, though he
probably never forgot the old policy of the country which he governed,
always apparently exhibited a love of peace; and it was agreed that
disputed points should be referred to a general Congress to be held at
Aix-la-Chapelle, but subsequently moved to Soissons.

[Sidenote: Congress at Soissons.]

At the Congress the Emperor, afraid of exciting the national prejudices
of the Germans, entirely deserted his Spanish allies, and instead of
hastening a favourable negotiation, perpetually threw obstacles in the
way. As far as England was concerned, the great point at issue was
Gibraltar, which Spain had already besieged in vain. The ministry, both
before and now, seem to have regarded the surrender of it as neither
impossible nor very injurious; the view of the nation was very
different. But as is so often the case, the Congress came to very
little. Spain, finding herself deserted by Austria, and observing that
the Congress was falling to pieces by constant delays, had recourse to a
direct treaty; and on the 9th of November 1729 the celebrated Treaty of
Seville was signed. It was a defensive alliance between England, Spain
and France, to which Holland subsequently acceded. Spain revoked all the
privileges granted to Austrian subjects by the treaties of Vienna,
re-established English trade in America on its former footing, and
restored all captures. The Assiento was confirmed to the South Sea
Company, and arrangements made for securing the succession of Parma and
Tuscany to the Infant Don Carlos, by substituting Spanish troops for the
neutral forces, which since the Preliminaries had been occupying those

[Sidenote: Treaty of Seville. Nov. 9, 1729.]

[Sidenote: Disappointment of the Emperor.]

The Emperor now found that he had outwitted himself. He had clung to the
Treaty of Vienna just long enough to irritate two of the great countries
of Europe, he had put difficulties in the way of its completion, and
hesitated about fulfilling it, just long enough to irritate the third.
Old friends and old foes had made common cause. His hopes for the
Pragmatic Sanction seemed entirely gone. It was not likely that he would
sit down quietly while Spanish troops occupied fortresses in what he
considered his dominions. He broke off all diplomatic relations with
Spain, sent troops into Italy, and on the death of the Duke of Parma
seized his duchy. But all men really knew that the bribe was ready, if
they would only give it, to put an end to all his opposition. And the
impatient Queen of Spain--angry with the shilly-shally policy of her new
allies (who would not insist with sufficient rapidity on the completion
of the Seville treaty), throwing over France, which she regarded as the
chief delinquent in the matter--joined with England and Holland to offer
the long wished for guarantee. Thus at length by the second Treaty of
Vienna all the much vexed questions were decided. Austria was glad to
accept the terms proposed at Seville, agreed to destroy the Ostend
Company, to establish Don Carlos in his duchies, and not again to
threaten the balance of European power. And in 1732, under the escort of
English ships, the Spanish troops took possession of the disputed

[Sidenote: Second Treaty of Vienna. March 16, 1731.]

[Sidenote: Complete supremacy of Walpole.]

[Sidenote: The Pension Bill.]

[Sidenote: Retirement of Townshend. 1731.]

Both these treaties were arranged in accordance with the pacific views
of Walpole. When the second was concluded he was absolute master of
affairs in England; for almost immediately after the Treaty of Seville
the old jealousy which had long smouldered between him and Townshend
burst out, and Townshend had found it necessary to withdraw. Townshend
was a proud, rough man, ill fitted to play the subordinate part which
Walpole was determined to thrust upon his colleagues. Besides general
ill-feeling, several specific grounds of difference existed between
them. The first Treaty of Vienna had greatly irritated Townshend, who
would have wished to avoid all compromise and to proceed to extremities
with the Emperor. The link which had bound the brothers-in-law together
had been broken by the death of Lady Townshend, Walpole's sister; and
Walpole's conduct with regard to the Pension Bill supplied a fresh
ground of quarrel. The Opposition had discovered, without exactly
tracing it to its constitutional source, the power of the royal
influence, and early in 1730 Mr. Sandys introduced the first of those
Bills for restraining it which became from this time onwards one of the
regular weapons of attack against the ministry. He moved for leave to
bring in a Bill to disable all persons from sitting in Parliament who
had any pension direct or indirect from the Crown, and proposed that
every member as he took his seat should swear that he held no such
pension. The attack was exceedingly well judged, for it gave expression
to a very general feeling, and Walpole, who studiously avoided shocking
the feelings of any large section of the nation, was at some loss how to
meet it. But he knew that he could rely upon his great Whig supporters
in the Upper House, and of that House Townshend was the leader. Walpole
therefore suffered the Bill to pass the Lower House without opposition,
so that it was upon Townshend and the Lords that the whole odium fell
when, as a matter of course, they rejected it. On these and various
other grounds such ill blood sprang up between the brothers, that it is
told, though upon doubtful authority, that they nearly came to blows at
an entertainment in the house of Mrs. Selwyn. It was impossible that
both the ministers should remain in office; the influence of the Queen
turned the scale in favour of Walpole, and Townshend resigned,
withdrawing with unusual patriotism from political life, and devoting
himself at Reynham, his house in Norfolk, to the improvement of
agriculture. It is to him that we chiefly owe the cultivation of
turnips. This change, by allowing a proper rotation of crops, and thus
avoiding the necessity of leaving fields to lie fallow, added nearly a
third to the cultivable area of England, while by supplying large
quantities of cattle-food from a comparatively small space of ground, it
enormously increased the food-producing resources of the country.

[Sidenote: Walpole's home government.]

For two years the ascendancy of Walpole was unquestioned. He was enabled
to turn his thoughts to domestic improvements. English was substituted,
certainly most reasonably, for the ancient Law Latin in all legal
proceedings, to the grief it is said of some conservative lawyers, and
against the opposition of most of the judges. There was a Committee of
Inquiry also into the condition of public prisons, which brought many
revolting horrors to light. Both in the Fleet and Marshalsea torture by
thumbscrew and otherwise was constant, and the condition of poor
prisoners who could not bribe the gaolers was inconceivably horrid.
Forty or fifty of them, for instance, were locked up for the night in a
cell not sixteen feet square. Gaol-fever and famine were constantly
destroying them, so that the deaths at one prison were frequently eight
or ten a day.

[Sidenote: His financial measures. 1733.]

But it was as a financier that Walpole was most favourably known, and
somewhat strangely it was a great financial reform in the year 1733 that
almost brought him to ruin. Walpole was desirous of lessening even the
weak opposition by which he was confronted in Parliament; and in the
hope of attracting to himself the country gentlemen, he appealed, in
accordance with his usual principle, to their love of money, and sought
some way to lessen the Land Tax. For this purpose he suggested an excise
upon salt. This must have been contrary to his own convictions. He could
not have been ignorant how important an article salt is in many
manufactures, how necessary an article of purchase even among the
poorest. He was in fact taxing the poor and the manufacturing classes
for the sake of winning the landed interest, which would be called upon
to pay a land tax of one instead of two shillings. The new duty was
carried, but by no large majority. The chief argument against it was
that it was a step towards a general excise, which, because it seemed to
infringe on the rights of the subject by giving revenue officers the
right of entering houses, was much detested, and regarded as a badge of
servitude. Although the tax upon salt was not really intended as a
beginning of a general excise, it was nevertheless true that Walpole had
a scheme of that nature in his mind: for it was found after a year's
experience that the new tax upon salt fell short by two-thirds of the
sum required to admit of the reduction of the Land Tax to one shilling.
It was to a new measure of excise that Walpole looked to supply the
deficiency. The excisable articles at that time were malt, salt, and
distilleries, and the produce of the tax in 1733 was about £3,200,000.
When Walpole's project of extending the excise got wind it proved most
repugnant to the people. Numerous meetings were held, and many members
were instructed to vote against any such attempt. But when the project
was brought before the House, then in Committee, it appeared that
Walpole, disowning all intention of establishing a general excise,
confined himself solely to the duties on wine and tobacco; and even on
those commodities designed no increase of the present duties, but merely
a change in the manner of collecting them. In future the dues were to be
collected after the manner of an excise from the retailers, and not as
heretofore in the form of customs at the ports. Fraud and smuggling were
so prevalent that in tobacco alone the customs, which ought to have
produced £750,000 a year, produced in fact only £160,000. As these
frauds took place chiefly at the ports or along the seaboard, Walpole
hoped by taxing the retail trade, and not the importation, much to
lessen them. In addition to this, he would have established a system of
warehousing without tax for re-exportation, thus making London a free
port. It was undoubtedly an excellent plan. As he pointed out, it was
the shops and warehouses alone which were under supervision, not the
houses of the retailers; liberty was in no way infringed; it enabled him
to remit the Land Tax to the advantage of the country gentlemen; the
scheme was advantageous to the importer, who could re-export free of
duty; the price of the commodity was not raised. But none the less did
it meet with the most violent opposition. Wyndham likened it to the
unjust imposts of Empson and Dudley, and Pulteney derided it as a vast
plan to cure an almost imaginary evil. The people beset the doors of the
House during the debate in great crowds, irritating Walpole till he let
fall the unhappy words--"It may be said that they came hither as humble
suppliants, but I know whom the law calls sturdy beggars;" an expression
which was never forgiven. The resolution was carried, but by an
unusually small majority. On this and subsequent motions a Bill was
founded, and in the course of many discussions a new cry was raised by
Pulteney, that, as most of the seaport boroughs were already in the
hands of one or the other branch of the administration, this was a plan
for bringing inland towns under the same influences; and before the Bill
came to a second reading, the ministerial majority of sixty had
dwindled to sixteen. The excitement became dangerous; even the army was
infected, and Walpole, according to his usual principle, yielded to the
violence of the storm and withdrew the Bill. But though thus thwarted,
he did not forego his revenge on the defaulters of his own party.
Chesterfield, the ablest man in the ministry, Lord-Steward of the
Household, was somewhat rudely dismissed. Lord Clinton, the Earl of
Burlington, the Duke of Montrose, the Earls of Marchmont and Stair, and
by a questionable exercise of prerogative the Duke of Bolton and Lord
Cobham, were deprived of their commission in the army,--an arbitrary act
not lost sight of by the Opposition.

[Sidenote: His pacific foreign policy.]

[Sidenote: Fresh European war.]

As Walpole, true to his principles, had purchased peace at home by
concession, we find him the next year for the same object keeping
entirely aloof from a new war which had broken out in Europe. The Peaces
of Seville and Vienna had apparently completed the arrangements of the
Treaty of Utrecht, and settled all differences between the courts of
Spain and Vienna; but treaties based upon arbitrary territorial
arrangements for the purpose of preserving the balance of power are
always very liable to be broken. Neither party considers itself quite
fairly treated, and is ever on the look-out for some opening to regain
its lost power or to acquire some new influence. The Peace of Utrecht
had closed the War of Succession, undertaken solely to establish the
balance of power in Europe, and had been exactly such a treaty as has
been described. The Peaces of Seville and Vienna had been necessary to
modify in some degree its arrangements. A quarrel as to the election of
a new King of Poland was sufficient to render for the time all three of
them useless. It will be remembered that the French King had married the
daughter of Stanislaus, ex-King of Poland. All French influence
therefore was now employed to secure his re-election, while the Czarina
Anne of Russia and the Emperor strongly upheld the claims of Augustus,
son of the late King. A Russian and a Saxon army were sufficient to
secure the throne for Augustus; but the Emperor's interference, although
indirect, had enabled Fleury to show himself in his true colours, to
listen to that great section of his countrymen who were weary of the
lengthened peace, and to bring on a war which promised to be far more
advantageous to France than any success in Poland could have been. In
his attack upon Austria he was joined at once by Spain: for the Queen,
the real ruler of the Peninsula, was still discontented with the losses
Spain had suffered by the late treaties, and was besides very anxious to
secure a crown for her son Don Carlos, who was already Duke of Parma.
There was a short campaign upon the Rhine, where Berwick commanded the
French, Eugene the Imperial army. Though the French lost their general
before Philipsburg, they were everywhere successful, and when the united
armies of Spain and Sardinia threw themselves on the kingdom of Naples,
they found no great difficulty in conquering the Austrians, and
completing the conquest of that country and of Sicily by the victory of
Bitonto. Don Carlos assumed the kingdom as Charles III.

[Sidenote: Definitive Peace of Vienna. Nov. 8, 1738.]

Nothing could induce Walpole to side with either party in this war,
although he suffered much obloquy for refraining from it; and the
Emperor, unable to secure his assistance, allowed the pacific mediation
of France and England to have its weight. Preliminaries of peace were
set on foot (Oct. 1735), which ripened in three years into the great
treaty called the Definitive Peace of Vienna, by which the Spanish house
was allowed to retain Naples and Sicily. Sardinia was rewarded with some
frontier towns, among others Novara and Tortona, Lorraine was ceded to
France, and the young Duke of Lorraine, Francis, the affianced husband
of Maria Theresa (heiress to the Austrian Empire), was persuaded to
accept Tuscany in exchange. France and Sardinia again ratified the
Pragmatic Sanction. This somewhat trivial war thus completed the
incorporation of France, established the Bourbons in Naples, and was the
cause of the connection between Tuscany and the Austrian house.

[Sidenote: Increasing opposition to Walpole. 1734.]

[Sidenote: Wyndham's speech against Walpole.]

Walpole had been more than usually anxious to keep clear of European
wars, because the time for the dissolution of the Parliament under the
Septennial Act was rapidly approaching, and there seemed every reason to
believe that the struggle at the coming election would be a very fierce
one. The Opposition were already supplied with several very effective
cries. The Excise scheme, the arbitrary punishment of his opponents, and
his determination to keep up a standing army, would all powerfully
excite the people against the minister. Before the dissolution they
added one more cry against him by making a strong attack upon the
Septennial Act. As most of the Opposition Whigs had voted for this Act,
they had always shrunk from demanding its repeal. It required all the
skill of Bolingbroke, the wire-puller of the Opposition, to induce the
two parties to unite in the assault. The debate is interesting, as
showing in a great speech of Wyndham the temper of the Opposition and
the sort of charges to which Walpole was exposed. "Let us suppose,"
said Wyndham, "a man abandoned to all notions of virtue and honour, of
no great family, and of but a mean fortune, raised to be chief Minister
of State by the concurrence of many whimsical events, afraid or
unwilling to trust any but creatures of his own making, and most of them
equally abandoned to all notions of virtue or honour, a man ignorant of
the true history of his country, and consulting nothing but that of
enriching and aggrandizing himself and his favourites; in foreign
affairs trusting none but those whose education makes it impossible for
them to have such knowledge or such qualifications as can either be of
service to their country or give weight or credit to their negotiations.
Let us suppose the true interest of the nation by such means neglected
or misunderstood, her honour and credit lost, her trade insulted, her
merchants plundered, her sailors murdered; and all these things
overlooked only for fear his administration should be endangered.
Suppose him next possessed of great wealth, the plunder of the nation,
with a Parliament of his own choosing, most of their seats purchased,
and their votes bought at the public expense. Let us suppose attempts
made to inquire into his conduct, and the reasonable request rejected by
a corrupt majority of his creatures.... Upon this scandalous victory let
us suppose this chief minister pluming himself in defiances, because he
finds he has a Parliament, like a packed jury, ready to acquit him at
all adventures. Let us suppose him arrived to that degree of insolence
as to domineer over all the men of ancient families, all the men of
sense, figure, or fortune in the nation, and as he has no virtue of his
own, ridiculing it in others, and endeavouring to destroy or corrupt it
in all.... Then let us suppose a prince, ignorant and unacquainted with
the inclinations and interests of his people.... Could there any greater
curse happen to a nation than such a prince on the throne, advised and
solely advised by such a minister, supported by such a Parliament?"
Walpole replied in a speech scarcely less vigorous, unveiling the secret
influence of Bolingbroke, attributing to him the whole management of the
Opposition, and pointing out his vast ambition and unequalled

The election, after a severe struggle, ended by giving Walpole a large
majority, although considerably smaller than he had hitherto commanded.
The depression of the Opposition was great, especially as Bolingbroke,
weary of all exclusion from power, and involved in quarrels with
Pulteney, withdrew to France.

[Sidenote: Prince of Wales head of the Opposition. 1735.]

The leadership which Bolingbroke thus resigned fell in some degree into
the hands of the Prince of Wales, not indeed that he possessed any of
the talents of a leader, but that he formed a rallying-point for all
sections of the Opposition. From his first arrival in England, in 1728,
there had been the usual differences between him and his father. He had
thought himself ill-used in the matter of his intended marriage with
Wilhelmina of Prussia, whom, though he had never seen, he pretended to
adore. The mutual dislike of the fathers of the proposed bride and
bridegroom had broken off that match. He had since married a sensible
wife, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. But it was the parsimony of his father
which had principally excited his displeasure. He held his income of
£50,000 a year entirely at his father's will, whereas his father when
Prince of Wales had £100,000 secured to him. But parsimony was the
ruling passion of George II., and nothing could persuade him to increase
his son's income. Round the Prince had collected all the great leaders
of the Opposition; Pulteney, Chesterfield, Carteret, Wyndham and Cobham
were intimate with him, and Bolingbroke was his political instructor.
Nor was this all. Although the Queen had a love of literature, and in
some ways patronized clever men (especially in the matter of Church
preferment), Walpole had always refused to show them the least favour;
and as a natural consequence, all the better writers allied themselves
closely with the clever men of the Opposition, especially with
Bolingbroke, who had always been their friend. Swift, Pope, Gay, and
Arbuthnot, were constantly writing vigorously against Walpole.
"Gulliver's Travels" are full of strokes of satire against the conduct
of affairs. Some of Pope's sharpest lines refer to the Queen's
implacability towards her son. The "Beggars' Opera" of Gay was regarded
as being directed almost entirely against the Government. The "Quarrels
between Peacham and Lockit" were by some thought to allude to the
quarrel between Townshend and Walpole;[4] and in the Craftsman, the
organ of the Opposition, letters of the most virulent description were
constantly published against Walpole. To this brilliant Court it was
natural that the younger men rising to notoriety should ally themselves.
The intellect of the political world seemed there to be centred, and the
specious name of Patriot was apt to attract enthusiastic youth. Pitt and
Lyttelton began their political career as members of this Opposition.

It was not till the year 1737 that a public outbreak between the King
and Prince took place. In the preceding year an event had happened,
which, though of little historical importance, has been rendered
interesting by Sir Walter Scott in his "Heart of Midlothian." During the
King's absence in Hanover the Queen was left Regent. Two smugglers,
Wilson and Robertson, were imprisoned in the Tolbooth, and tried to
escape. Wilson went first, but being a big man, could not get through
the aperture they had made. Feeling that he had injured Robertson, on
the following Sunday in church he succeeded in grasping one of his
guards in each hand, and a third with his teeth, thus giving Robertson
an opportunity of escape, of which he availed himself. A strong sympathy
was excited for Wilson, and after his execution the soldiers were
attacked with stones. Porteous, who commanded the guard, fired upon the
crowd. For this he was tried and condemned to death, but, in
consideration of the provocation, was reprieved by Queen Caroline. The
people, enraged at this, organized a riot, and though notice was given
to the magistrates, no efficient means were taken for suppressing it.
The gates were locked, and the commander of the troops, frightened by
Porteous' example, refused to act. The Tolbooth was broken open, and
Porteous hanged to a barber's pole, all with the greatest order and
regularity. Having done this, and paid for the rope with which they
hanged Porteous, the crowd dispersed, nor could any of the rioters be
detected. The Queen, regarding the disturbance as a personal insult to
her authority, was extremely angry. It was proposed to abolish the
Edinburgh city guard and the city charter, level the gates, and declare
the provost incapable of holding any office. The opposition of the
Scotch members and of the Scotch nobles was however too great to be
disregarded, and ultimately the city being fined £2000, and the provost
declared incapable of office, no further punishment was inflicted.

[Sidenote: Quarrel of the King and Prince. 1737.]

[Sidenote: Death of the Queen.]

[Sidenote: Walpole retains his influence with the King.]

During this year the Prince of Wales had married. But this by no means
tended, as it was hoped, to the union of the Royal Family, for the
Prince at once renewed his demands for an increase of income. He
determined at length to follow Bolingbroke's advice, and demand that the
sum he received should not depend on the King's will, but be permanent
and fixed by the Parliament. This threat induced the King to make some
overtures, with a promise to give the Princess a jointure. They were
rejected, however, and the battle fought out. The great flaw in the
organization of the Opposition was then made manifest, for the Tories
(forty-five in number) refused to vote in favour of a Hanoverian
prince, and the ministers were victorious. This dispute was followed by
a still more scandalous squabble, the Prince hurried his wife from the
King's residence at Hampton Court to the empty palace of St. James's
when she was on the point of giving birth to her first child, who would
be in the direct line of succession to the throne. This insult was never
forgiven, and the King gave his son a peremptory order to leave the
Court. He withdrew at once to Norfolk House in St. James's Square, which
became the centre of the Opposition. The Queen remained implacable,
refusing to see him even on her deathbed. Her death happened within a
few weeks of this unhappy quarrel, to the great loss of the King, whose
want of intellect she had chiefly supplied, of Walpole, whose staunch
friend she had always been, and indeed of all England, for by seconding
Sir Robert's views she had been mainly instrumental in securing for it
that period of comparative rest which was so much wanted to re-establish
its wellbeing after the troublous time of revolution it had passed
through. It was believed that Walpole's power had rested chiefly on her
influence, and there was a general expectation that her death would be
followed by his downfall. The Opposition were much disappointed when
they found his influence with the King as great as ever. It is said that
with her parting words she had recommended the King to continue to trust
in her favourite minister; and her advice was then as always followed by
him. For though he was not a faithful husband, having had Lady Suffolk
for his mistress during the first years of his reign, and now allying
himself with Sophia de Walmoden, created Countess of Yarmouth, his
mistresses never had any great political influence over him--no
influence at all events comparable to that exercised by the Queen.

[Sidenote: The Opposition attacks his pacific policy.]

[Sidenote: George desires war.]

The Opposition, though disappointed, by no means relaxed its efforts,
and found a favourable point of attack in Walpole's pacific tendencies.
There were still several points of dispute unsettled with Spain. The
limits between Georgia and Florida were undetermined. By the Treaty of
Seville trade was established on its former footing between the two
countries, and the commercial relations between them were therefore
regulated by the somewhat indefinite treaties of 1667 and 1670. By these
the right of search and the right of seizure of contraband goods was
allowed to the respective nations. This right was exercised with varying
severity by the Spaniards according to their relation with England at
the time. But the trade of English America had very much increased, and
would not be restrained from seeking legally or illegally the trade of
South America. There was no doubt abundant smuggling. Even the South Sea
Company, which was allowed to send one ship a year, contrived in fact
much to increase that number by sending tenders with her, which secretly
replenished her cargo as she parted with it. On the other hand, it is
equally certain that the Spanish Guarda-Costas had exercised their
authority roughly, and many tales of the ill-usage of British subjects
were current. These stories were collected and brought up in Parliament
by the Opposition, the best known being that of Jenkin's ear. Jenkin was
a captain, who asserted that his ear had been torn from him, and that he
had been bidden to take it to his king. "Then," said he, "I recommended
my soul to God and my cause to my country." The ear, wrapped in cotton,
he was in the habit of showing to his listeners. This claptrap story was
most effective in rousing the popular indignation. Walpole resisted the
clamour, but met with great difficulties. The King, who was at heart a
soldier, now freed from the peaceful influence of his wife, was urgent
for war; and in the Cabinet itself Newcastle began to bid for increased
power by favouring this desire of the King.

In this eagerness for war, which is frequently represented as a folly on
the part of the nation, the people were probably really wiser than their
rulers. The state of Europe was becoming such that war was necessary for
England, if she was to uphold her position, and to obtain that paramount
situation in commerce and on the sea which her people then as now
regarded as her due. Walpole's peace policy was certainly directed
rather to the aggrandizement of his party than to the general interest
of the nation, and in pursuit of it he had allowed himself to be duped
by the pacific language of Cardinal Fleury. His attention had been
distracted from the broader lines of European politics to the details of
the constantly shifting diplomacy of the time. It is now known that, as
early as 1733, the Family Compact had been entered into between the two
branches of the House of Bourbon, for the express purpose of hampering
the trade of England, and with a stipulation for mutual assistance both
in war-ships and privateers in case of any encroachment on the part of
England. Nor was the agreement a dead letter. M. de Maurepas had been
busily and successfully employed in reorganizing the French navy.

[Sidenote: Negotiations with Spain. 1739.]

Walpole attempted at first to pursue his established policy of peace. He
opened negotiations with Spain, supported by such signs of coming
hostilities as induced that Court to agree to a convention. Many English
prisoners and some English prizes were restored, and compensation was
promised to the amount of £200,000. Against this, however, was set
£60,000 to be paid by England for the destruction of Spanish ships by
Admiral Byng in 1718, and in his eagerness for prompt payment Walpole
suffered it to be further reduced to £95,000. The disputed points were
left for further negotiation. No mention was made of the right of
search; the limits of Georgia were not defined. When this convention
became known the popular indignation was great. It was regarded as a
resignation of our rights. The ridiculously small sum given for
compensation was pointed out, and the payment of £60,000 for what the
people regarded as a glorious victory was naturally much resented. It
was in opposing this convention that Pitt seems first to have shown his
great powers of oratory. The ministerial majority was only twenty-eight.
Believing that they could now safely proceed to extremities, the
Opposition determined upon seceding from the House. With the arguments
all on one side, and the votes upon the other, it was impossible, they
said, for them to continue to do their duty there. It was a foolish
manœuvre, which, though tried more than once, has never been
successful. To the public it invariably appears factious, and as no
Opposition has been found determined enough to keep it up for any length
of time, it has always been made ridiculous by the speedy return of the
seceders. In the present instance Walpole sarcastically thanked the
Opposition for their withdrawal, and proceeded at once to pass several
measures which would otherwise have been sharply opposed; among others,
a subsidy to Denmark for a palpably Hanoverian object--the security,
namely, of the little castle of Steinhorst in Holstein.

[Sidenote: Walpole declares war rather than resign.]

But though he had carried his convention, and although the Opposition
had withdrawn, and Cardinal Fleury had offered the mediation of France,
it became obvious to Walpole that he must either declare war or resign.
His love of power prevented him from taking the latter and more
honourable course, and, to the loss of both power and fame, he suffered
himself to be dragged against his convictions into war, which was
declared on the 19th of October. The joy of England was very great,
although Walpole was full of gloomy forebodings, for, as he himself
said, "no man can prudently give his advice for declaring war without
knowing the whole system of the affairs of Europe as they stand at
present.... It is not the power of Spain and the power of this nation
only that we ought in such a case to know and to compare. We ought also
to know what allies our enemies may have, and what assistance we may
expect from our friends." He felt certain that the area of the war would
soon be extended, for, although he had successfully used his efforts to
maintain friendship with France, he knew that there was an intimate
connection between France and Spain which must sooner or later bring the
former into the field. Moreover, his information as to the plans of the
Jacobites was exceedingly accurate, and while the Opposition were
constantly deriding the notion of any formidable organization of that
party, he never ceased to be on his guard against it. The justice of his
views was at once shown, when the declaration of war called to life the
slumbering energy of the Jacobites. Intrigues were immediately set on
foot; a Committee was appointed in England; overtures were addressed to
Spain; and, as Fleury gradually grew colder and more estranged from
England, proposals were made to him also, to which he listened, and
promised that he would send a body of troops, probably the Irish
Brigade, to support any attempt in favour of the Stuarts; thus would be
fulfilled the condition without which the English Jacobites had always
refused to rise. It was hoped that the Duke of Ormond and the Earl
Marischal might make a simultaneous expedition from Spain.

[Sidenote: Increased vigour of the Opposition. 1740.]

Meanwhile, Walpole, having once yielded, seemed conscious that he no
longer possessed the absolute dominion over Parliament he had so long
enjoyed. Wyndham, his chief enemy, indeed had died: but in the ranks of
the Opposition were still to be found all those men of ability whom
twenty years of exclusive and jealous power had made his enemies; and to
his old foes was now added the exciting eloquence and uncompromising
energy of Pitt. To oppose this formidable body Walpole stood almost
alone in the Commons, supported only by such men as Henry Pelham, a
conscientious and sensible but not first-rate man, Wilmington, and Sir
William Young, whose ready ability scarcely atoned for his damaged
character. In the House of Lords he still counted the Duke of Newcastle,
Lord Hervey, and Lord Hardwicke among his party. But Hardwicke and
Newcastle were both opposed to his peaceful views, and the latter was
already intriguing against his chief. The Duke of Argyle had lately
become hostile to the ministry, and had been deprived of all his
employments. Walpole thus became the single object of all the Opposition
invectives. Every measure for the last twenty years which had either
failed or been unpopular was brought against him. The quarrel had
become personal between him and the Opposition. His efforts to retain
his power were unceasing. He yielded in the Cabinet as to the manner in
which the war was to be carried on; he gave the chief command of the
expedition in the West Indies to his political enemy Vernon; to secure
the Jacobite votes at the next election he even went so far as to enter
into correspondence with the Pretender, although probably without
serious intentions. But this conduct did but encourage his enemies, and
in the last session of Parliament (1741) Mr. Sandys brought forward a
motion, which was repeated in the Upper House, for his removal from the
King's councils. Walpole so far rebutted the charges brought against
him, that, after a defence of great eloquence, he succeeded in throwing
out the motion by a very large majority.

[Sidenote: Ill success of the war.]

[Sidenote: Walpole resigns. 1742.]

Walpole's forebodings were speedily fulfilled. Not only, as we have
seen, was the Jacobite party at once again called to life, but his
expeditions against Spain were by no means great successes. Anson
indeed, although all his other ships were lost, made several successful
attacks upon treasure-ships, captured Paita, and succeeded in bringing
'The Centurion' safe home after a circumnavigation of the globe. But
Vernon, though successful in taking Porto Bello (when his conduct was
vociferously contrasted by the Opposition with that of Hozier in
1726),[5] was repulsed with heavy loss in an assault on Carthagena.
France had become thoroughly hostile, and when, on the 20th of October
1740, the Emperor Charles VI. died, it became evident that the war would
shortly become European. In spite, however, of these proofs of Walpole's
foresight, in spite of his success against Mr. Sandys' motion, the
charges which had been brought against him had such an effect at the
next election that the Opposition found themselves with much increased
strength, and it became pretty plain that the Government would have but
a very small majority. The session opened with a series of close
divisions. The Opposition succeeded in carrying their Chairman of
Committees against the Government candidate, and when he found himself
at last defeated on the Chippenham election petition, Walpole took the
resolution of resigning. A few days later he gave up all his places, and
was made Lord Orford.

[Sidenote: Review of Walpole's ministry.]

Thus closed the career of the statesman who for twenty years had been
the sole guide of English politics. It is remarkable how few great
measures can be traced to him; but he probably displayed true wisdom in
allowing all reforms, however much they may have been required, to
remain for a time in abeyance. The one thing which England required was
rest. The last hundred years had been one continual scene of political
turmoil. During the whole of that period the Revolution had been slowly
working itself out, and the English Constitution had been changing. The
power had gradually shifted from the King to the House of Commons. The
ministry had ceased to be a body of secretaries, to whom was indeed
intrusted the chief management of all national affairs, but who,
inasmuch as they were still in theory, and in a great degree in
practice, merely called upon to execute the King's commands, might be
chosen indiscriminately from all parties. Instead of this it had become,
what it has practically ever since been, a Committee of the majority in
the House of Commons. In a social point of view, during much of the same
period, England had been perplexed by a choice of masters, and in some
degree by a choice of religions. Walpole seems thoroughly to have
understood this position, and to have set himself steadily to work to
complete and give stability to the changes which had been going on. He
had seen, that far more important than any further improvements to the
Constitution was the establishment on a firm footing of what had already
been done. His chief object was therefore to make himself absolute
master of the House of Commons. For this purpose he used means which we
should now consider disgraceful. He is reported to have acted on the
principle that every man had his price. He steadily opposed all efforts
for the exclusion of pensioners, not from a wish to increase the power
of the Crown, but because he wanted to secure the power of the minister,
who he saw must henceforward be the real governor of England. He opposed
the Peerage Bill because it threatened to increase the power of the
Lords as against the Commons. He persistently refused all attempts at
coalition (such as had been contemplated by Stanhope and subsequently
proposed by Bolingbroke), because he wanted the ministry to be the
representatives of the party which had the majority in the House, and of
that party only. He kept a tight hand throughout his administration upon
the Jacobites, conscious that the security of the reigning house was the
only way of calming the uneasiness which all classes felt while they had
any choice of rulers offered them. For similar reasons, with regard to
religion, he refused to listen to any propositions for the relief of
Roman Catholics, which Stanhope had also contemplated; and still further
to calm religious discords by the sense of one strong paramount Church
of England, he also refused all concessions to the Dissenters, although
they systematically supported him. In saying, however, that the power
had passed to the House of Commons, we must be careful not to regard the
House of Commons as a popular assembly. The next phase of our history,
the complement to that part of the Revolution which we have now passed,
is the struggle of the people to get possession of their own House. At
the time of which we are speaking the House of Commons was so filled
with nominees of great lords, the electoral body was so limited, and the
distribution of seats so arbitrary, that the House of Commons could in
no way be regarded as a fair representation of the people, and the great
Whig majority rested not on the liberal feeling of the nation, but upon
an oligarchy of great Whig nobles. In his foreign policy Walpole was
influenced by similar principles. Though the Peace of Utrecht was a Tory
peace, its maintenance, and that of the balance of power it had
established, was his chief object. Anything was better than that England
should be engaged in war. War at once opened the door for Jacobite
hopes. War at once touched that material prosperity which was to be the
surest claim of gratitude to the reigning house. Moreover, as a
financier, Walpole hated war. It was in this capacity, if we set aside
his general ability and skill in management, that Walpole was greatest.
We have seen how prudently he re-established credit after the bursting
of the South Sea bubble, and how wise was his plan in his ill-fated
Excise Bill. If some of his measures (as the Salt Tax) were dictated by
political rather than economical necessities, it is yet certain that he
inspired universal confidence, and owed much of his power to the support
of the moneyed interest. His personal character, like that of most of
his contemporaries, was not good. A large, coarse-looking person did not
belie the coarseness of his tastes. He drank freely, joked coarsely, and
had more than one natural child. Although in one of his speeches he
plumes himself on having never been charged with corruption, his private
fortune was certainly much increased by his ministry, and if we except
his collection of pictures at Houghton, there is no sign that he had any
appreciation of literature or of the arts. His ignorance of literature,
and his contempt for it, is indeed notorious. He spent vast sums of
money in purchasing the services of pamphleteers; scarcely one of them
was worth anything. He seems to have regarded writing like any other
trade, as being capable of being purchased by the piece. Patronage to
literary men he systematically refused; we therefore find all the able
writers of the time ranged on the side of the Opposition; and it is for
the same reason perhaps that the worst points of his character are those
which are more commonly known.

[Sidenote: The new ministry under Wilmington.]

The chief fault of Walpole had been his jealousy of talent; on his fall
there was no one in the ministry of sufficient influence to take up the
reins which had fallen from his hands. Had there been any great
difference of principle between him and the Opposition, a complete
change of ministry would naturally have resulted. But both the
Government and the Opposition had been in the main Whigs. Any man of
commanding intellect might have kept the late ministry together. As it
was, a sort of coalition was made. Pulteney, it is difficult to say why,
avoided the responsibility of the Premiership, and withdrew into
insignificance in the Upper House as Lord Bath. The nominal head of the
new Government was Wilmington, that same dull man who had for a moment
thought to supersede Walpole at the beginning of the reign. Under him
many of the old Cabinet were retained; Newcastle, Hardwicke, and Young
keeping their offices. The new element was represented by Argyle, who
was reinstated as Master of the Ordnance, Carteret, who succeeded Lord
Harrington as Secretary, and Sandys, who became Chancellor of the
Exchequer. Of Tories there appeared none, and Chesterfield and Pitt were
excluded from the arrangement.

[Sidenote: Character of the new ministry.]

So slight a change in the construction of the Government seemed but a
poor termination to the fierce opposition to which Walpole had been
subjected. In fact, the rivalry had been one of persons and not of
principles. The ministry were compelled indeed, by pressure from without
excited by their own clamours, to institute a Committee to inquire into
the conduct of the great Prime Minister. But though it consisted
principally of his personal enemies, too many interests were at stake to
render their task easy; and when their report came, it appeared so
trumpery, when compared with the charges which had been lavished upon
the minister in Parliament, that it was a mere object of ridicule. It
seemed as though the system of Walpole was after all to be continued.
Many of his followers still remained in the Cabinet, as the Pelhams
(Newcastle and his brother Henry Pelham), and Yorke, Lord Hardwicke, and
even the virtual Prime Minister, his enemy Carteret, was obliged by
stress of circumstances to adopt that very Hanoverian policy which had
so often been laid to the charge of the late minister. Carteret was a
man of genius, but of irregular life, and so capricious, and sudden in
his actions, that his administration has been called the drunken
administration. Disregarding home patronage for the higher and more
exciting work of foreign diplomacy, he found his influence gradually and
surely passing into the hands of the Pelhams. It was necessary for him
at all hazards to secure the King's friendship; he therefore allowed
16,000 Hanoverians to be taken into English pay, and it was strange to
hear Lord Bath, and Sandys, the accuser of Walpole, upholding the
Hanoverian connection.

[Sidenote: Pelham succeeds Wilmington. 1743.]

A ministry which showed itself thus inconsistent with its assertions
when out of office, and in which the elements of disunion were so
evident, could not last long. The death of Wilmington (1743), the
nominal Prime Minister, was the signal for its dissolution. The
candidates for the Premiership were Pulteney on the one hand, supported
by the talents of Carteret, and by the favour which this minister's
newly-found interest for Hanover had given him with the King; and on the
other hand Pelham, as representative of the party of Walpole, and backed
by the influence which he still possessed. The question was settled in
favour of Pelham, who, though without commanding abilities and
constitutionally timid, possessed much of his late leader's love of
quiet and power of management. Carteret continued for some time in power
under his new chief; but their union could never be cordial, and before
the close of 1744, Carteret--who had by continual flattery of the King's
weakness so ingratiated himself with his master that the Pelhams thought
their legitimate influence damaged by it--was dismissed. But before the
confusion which arose on Walpole's fall had settled down one great point
in his policy had at all events been reversed--England had thrown itself
vigorously into the Continental war.

[Sidenote: Question of the Austrian succession.]

Such indeed was the position of Europe that it was impossible that
England should hold aloof. But Walpole had at least tried, and with some
effect, the power of diplomacy. The death of the Emperor Charles VI. of
Germany had opened two great questions for which Europe had been long
preparing. One of these was the succession to the Austrian dominions,
which Charles had attempted to secure for his daughter by means of the
Pragmatic Sanction, and the other was the succession to the Empire. The
questions were closely connected. The most dangerous claimant for the
succession to the Austrian dominions was the Elector of Bavaria, who
alone of the powers of Europe had refused the acceptance of the
Pragmatic Sanction; he was also the most influential candidate for the
Imperial dignity. The Elector rested his claim to the Austrian
succession upon an arrangement by which, as long ago as the middle of
the sixteenth century, Ferdinand I. was said to have substituted the
heir of his daughter Anne, from whom the Elector was descended, in the
place of any other female heir. A second claimant was the King of Spain,
who regarded himself as the heir of all the rights of a descendant of
Charles V., who, when he divided his empire with his brother, reserved
the right of succession to his own immediate posterity should the direct
male line of Ferdinand become extinct. Both Bavaria and Spain were close
allies of France, and the possession of the Empire by the Elector, or of
the Austrian dominions either by the Elector or the Spanish King, would
render the influence of France paramount in Europe. It was necessary for
England to oppose such an increase of the power of the Bourbons. For
this purpose it had appeared necessary to Walpole to re-establish
something resembling the Grand Alliance, a union at all events which
should include the maritime powers, Hanover, Prussia (rapidly rising to
a first-rate power), and Austria.

[Sidenote: Ambition of Prussia.]

But Prussia had just fallen into the hands of the ambitious Frederick
II., supplied by his father's care with a magnificent army and with a
full treasury. He saw that the opportunity had arrived for making good
certain long pending claims upon a portion of Silesia, and without
declaration of war, occupied the disputed territory, and marching into
Bohemia, entirely defeated the Austrian troops at Molwitz. He was
however yet so far German at heart, that he was willing to guarantee the
election of Maria Theresa's husband to the Empire, and to support the
Pragmatic Sanction, if his claims in Silesia were satisfied. To induce
the Austrian princess to accept these terms became the object of English
diplomacy. It was thwarted by Maria Theresa herself. A strange
infatuation had taken possession of the Austrian ministers during the
close of the late Emperor's reign; in spite of his action in the Polish
war, they believed in the pacific tendencies of Fleury, and relied upon
the friendship of France. All overtures on the part of Frederick were
therefore disregarded, all appeals from England set at naught. The
foolish dreams of Austria were dispelled when Frederick, thus repulsed,
threw away his last remnant of German feeling and entered into close
alliance with France, offering to renounce the claims which he had upon
the Duchy of Berg, and to give his vote for the election of the Bavarian
Elector to the Empire if his claims on Silesia were guaranteed.

[Sidenote: Position of Maria Theresa.]

Thus Maria Theresa found herself standing alone in Europe, supported by
England only, which indeed supplied her willingly with subsidies, but
still directed its chief efforts to persuading her to purchase
Frederick's friendship by the cession of Silesia. In accordance with the
convention with Prussia, in August 1741, two French armies were poured
across the Rhine, one passing through Swabia to assist the Elector in a
direct advance on Vienna, the second through Westphalia. So little was
England prepared for war, that the King, as Elector of Hanover, was
obliged to declare the neutrality of his Continental dominions for a
year, a step which excited great anger in England, where the war spirit
ran high, and which was a fresh source of complaint against Walpole. At
this crisis of her danger Maria Theresa found assistance in that part of
her dominions where she had least right to expect it. The hand of the
Hapsburgs had been heavy upon Hungary, yet thither she betook herself,
and yielding back to them almost the whole of their constitution,
excited the warlike magnates to enthusiasm by confiding to their charge
her person and that of her child. As they crowded round to kiss the
infant's hand, the hall rang with the shouts, "We will die for our king,
Maria Theresa!" A moment's breathing space would allow time to bring the
levée en masse of Hungary into the field: the opportunity was afforded
by the diplomacy of England, which induced Frederick, who saw with
jealousy the advancing power of France and Germany, to check his
victorious march and sign a secret treaty at Kleinschnellendorf. The
gathering forces of Hungary, the withdrawal of Frederick, and the errors
of the Elector and of the French, who were jealous of each other,
changed the face of the war. The march to Vienna was postponed for the
capture of Prague. The withdrawal of the invaders to Bohemia allowed the
Austrians to make a counter blow. As the Elector Charles Albert hastened
to Frankfort to secure his election as Emperor, Khevenhüller, with the
Austrian troops, was approaching his capital of Munich. Again, at the
earnest entreaties of France, Frederick deserted his late engagements
and renewed the war, but, unable to hold his advanced position at Olmutz
in Moravia, he too fell back upon Bohemia, where the war was now

[Sidenote: England supports Austria.]

The changed aspect of affairs was completed by the conduct of England:
the pride of the country had been touched by Vernon's failure at
Carthagena; the neutrality of Hanover had caused great discontent; and
when, in February 1742, Walpole had been driven from the ministry, the
first act of his successors had been to increase both army and navy, to
vote large subsidies to Maria Theresa, to induce the States-General to
follow the lead of England, and to send an army of 30,000 English and
Hanoverians into the Low Countries. It was understood that, although as
yet but auxiliaries in the main quarrel, it was the rivalry of France
and England which was again to be decided in arms. Both the arms and
diplomacy of England were successful. In the Mediterranean the fleet
under Commodore Matthews forced King Charles of Naples to neutrality,
and allowed Sardinia, driven by the ambition of Spain to side with
Austria, to defeat all the projects of the Bourbons in that country;
while the urgent instances of the ambassador at Vienna at length
prevailed, and Maria Theresa was induced to give the price which Prussia
demanded,--Silesia was conceded by the Treaties of Breslau and Berlin in
June 1742. Frederick once more threw over his allies, and the French and
Bavarians stood alone in Germany. They were unable to make head against
their enemies, their troops were shut up in Prague, and only after a
brilliant but disastrous retreat did a shattered remnant of 14,000 men
reach a place of safety in January 1743.

[Sidenote: The English army in Flanders.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Dettingen.]

[Illustration: Battle of Dettingen. June 27th 1743.]

The tide of victory was then already turned when the English made their
first appearance in Europe, acting in conjunction with some 18,000
subsidized Hanoverians. The command of the English army, which to the
number of 16,000 had been all the last year lying inactive in Flanders,
was given to Lord Stair, and the object of the allies was to drive the
French entirely out of Germany, and if possible invade Alsace and
Lorraine, on which the eyes of the Austrians, who had but lately lost
them, were constantly fixed. To oppose the movement an army under the
Duke de Noailles entered Franconia, and the various divisions of the
British army and their allies from Hanover were set in motion towards
the Maine. With characteristic slowness, Stair proceeded to collect upon
the Maine an army of 40,000 men. Towards the Maine also on the south De
Noailles betook himself with about 60,000. Stair lay idly awaiting his
12,000 Hanoverians and Hessians who had not yet appeared, and thus gave
De Noailles opportunity of securing the south of the river and holding
most of the passages across it. Having waited long enough to be thus
outgeneralled, Stair suddenly changed his plan, and, without receiving
his reinforcements, marched up the river towards Franconia. He passed
Hanau, where he established his chief magazines, and moved towards
Aschaffenberg. Between these two towns branches of the Spessart
mountains approach the Maine, and about half way between the two is the
large village of Dettingen. From Dettingen to Aschaffenberg extends a
narrow plain, entered by a somewhat difficult passage between the
mountains and river at Dettingen. On reaching this plain the English
found themselves outmarched by De Noailles, and thus cut off from
Aschaffenberg. It was while thus entangled that they were joined by the
King and the Duke of Cumberland. The King found the army cut off from
the supplies it had hoped to draw from Franconia, and in danger of being
separated from its magazines at Hanau also. Thither it was determined if
possible to secure a retreat. As the English believed that the enemy was
higher up the river than they were, and that they should be closely
pursued, the King took command of the rear as the post of danger, but De
Noailles had already forestalled them. He had at once moved down the
river so as to put himself between the English and Hanau, taking up his
position at Seligenstadt. He sent some 23,000 men, under his nephew the
Duc de Grammont, across the river to occupy Dettingen. These troops
occupied a very strong position behind a swamp and a ravine made by a
watercourse. De Noailles' main army lay on the southern bank, but
bridges of communication were made between the two divisions, and cannon
placed on the south bank to play upon the flank of the retreating
English. Escape seemed almost impossible, especially as the English were
in entire ignorance of these movements. On finding his advance checked
at Dettingen, George at once left the rear and put himself at the head
of the army. There seemed no course but to cut a way through De
Grammont's forces. This commander, however, believing himself engaged
with the advanced troops of the English army only, and thinking to crush
them, rashly left his strong position and crossed the ravine. He found
himself in front of the whole English army. The King's horse had run
away with him, and he had dismounted and put himself at the head of his
troops, and addressing them a few inspiriting words, led them to the
attack with much gallantry. De Noailles saw the destruction of his plans
and hastened to retrieve the error of his nephew. His efforts however
were useless. The mass of infantry, led by his Majesty in person, broke
through the enemy, whose loss was so great that De Noailles recalled
them beyond the Maine. The retreat towards the bridges became a rout,
and they left more than 6000 dead and wounded upon the field. The King
wisely determined to get out of his dangerous position as soon as
possible, and pushed on that night to Hanau, leaving his wounded to the
mercy of the French commander, who treated them exceedingly well. Stair,
as hasty in the moment of victory as slow in his preliminary movements,
urged immediate pursuit, but was overruled by the King. On receiving
the expected reinforcements he again urged advance, but jealousies had
sprung up between him and the German commanders. He was disgusted at the
rejection of his advice, and talking loudly of Hanoverian influence,
sent in his resignation, which was accepted.

[Sidenote: Effect of the victory.]

The objects of a further advance however were obtained without
bloodshed. The French army in Bavaria had been beaten backwards by
Charles of Loraine,[6] and had retired behind the Lauter into Alsace,
whither De Noailles, finding himself unsupported between two enemies,
also withdrew. The victorious allies pushed on after them, the King to
Worms and Prince Charles to beyond the Rhine opposite Alt Brisach. The
new Emperor was thus left without allies, and concluded (July 1743) a
convention of neutrality with the Austrians, and withdrew to

[Sidenote: Negotiations for peace. July.]

A favourable opportunity for peaceful arrangements seemed to have
arrived. Prussia had gained its object; French intervention had failed;
the Austrian succession was secured; the only open question was what was
to be done with the expelled Emperor. George and his favourite minister
Carteret, who were at Hanover, undertook the negotiations. George, as
Elector of Hanover, and Carteret, from his general interest in foreign
politics, took a German and not an English view of the situation. It was
George's object, as Elector of Hanover, to appear as a paramount power
among the other electors, and to form a strong alliance in the
Empire entirely in his own interests. For this purpose he had
naturally,--considering the antecedents of his second kingdom England,
regarded a close alliance with Austria as of the utmost importance. At
the same time, as a Prince of the Empire, he had no strong wish that the
Imperial dignity should be constantly in Austrian hands, and was quite
willing to allow the validity of the election of the Emperor Charles. In
conjunction with Carteret, he therefore agreed that Charles should
retain the Imperial title upon condition of renouncing all claims on
Austria, of allowing the validity of the vote of Bohemia in all affairs
of the Empire, and of dismissing the French from the fortified places
they still held within the Empire. He even consented to insist upon the
restoration by Austria of Charles's hereditary dominions, Bavaria (now
to be erected into a kingdom), and upon the payment of a large sum to
the Emperor to support his dignity. Had this treaty been completed,
George would have appeared as the mediator of the peace of the Empire,
as the champion of the rights of the princes, as the defender of the
Austrian dominions, and altogether as the chief power in Germany. To a
certain point the interests of the people of England had been the same
as that of their King. But their real enmity was against France, and
under the guidance of a Whig aristocracy, they would have wished to
pursue their traditional policy of opposing the Bourbons chiefly at sea.
The arrangements of the proposed treaty by no means suited them. They
had long been clamouring against the German tendencies of the King, they
had seen with extreme dislike the employment of subsidized Hanoverian
troops, and now positively refused to pay a subsidy to the Emperor--a
Bavarian prince and the hereditary friend of France.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Worms. Sept. 13, 1743.]

[Sidenote: League of Frankfort. April 5, 1744.]

To the astonishment of the negotiating Powers and the shame of Carteret,
the proposed treaty was suddenly broken off. England wanted war with
France, and considered it could be best carried on by close alliance
with Austria, which was only too glad to continue the war, with the hope
of retaining its hold on Bavaria and rewinning Silesia. A treaty known
as the Treaty of Worms therefore took the place of the former pacific
arrangements. England, Holland, Austria, Saxony, and Sardinia, agreed to
assure the Pragmatic Sanction and the European balance, while Sardinia
undertook the armed defence of the Austrian dominions in Italy. It was
met by a counter treaty known as the League of Frankfort, the most
important members of which were France and Prussia; for the elevation of
Hanover implied the degradation of Prussia, and the promise of the King
of Sardinia set free Austrian troops which the Prussian King believed
would be used only for the purpose of reconquering Silesia. The European
contest was thus assuming a more general and intelligible form; England
and France, hitherto auxiliaries, appeared each at the head of a great
league, and it was their interests, and indirectly the supremacy of the
sea, which were now at issue.

[Sidenote: Threatened invasion of England.]

Even yet no declaration of war between England and France had been
issued, but it was natural that the French, aware of the real character
of the war, should use every means for distressing England. Early in the
year it set on foot an attempted invasion of England in favour of the
Stuarts. An army of 15,000 was collected at Dunkirk, and placed under
the command of the best French general, Marshal Saxe, while fleets were
collected at Toulon and Brest for the invasion of England and to support
a Jacobite rising. The Brest fleet came out of harbour and approached
the English coast. The English fleet was drawn into pursuit; and for
the moment the coast of Kent was unguarded. A considerable portion of
the French army was on board the transports and had sailed. Once again
England owed its safety to the weather. A violent storm blowing direct
upon Dunkirk, prevented the movement of the rest of the transports,
scattered those already at sea, and the loss was such that the French
ministry abandoned their design, and Marshal Saxe was appointed to
command the army in Flanders. The naval armaments and this open support
of the Pretender gave rise to warm complaints of breach of treaty on the
part of our envoy at Paris; as his complaints were listened to with
disdain, a formal declaration of war was at length made.

[Sidenote: Progress of the war.]

[Sidenote: Changes in the ministry. Nov. 1744.]

[Sidenote: German subsidies granted. 1745.]

On the Continent the selfish policy of the French, who could think of
nothing but the extension of their own boundaries, ruined the success of
the war. The Netherlands were invaded and rapidly overrun; Savoy and
Piedmont conquered; but these successes on the extremity of the scene of
action did not tend to the conclusion of the war. Frederick of Prussia
advanced through Bohemia and took Prague, and thus saved France from a
threatened invasion of Alsace; but, unsupported by his allies, he fell
back from the Austrian dominions, and upon the death of the Emperor
(Jan. 20, 1745) was unable to prevent the election of the Prince of
Tuscany, husband of Maria Theresa, who ascended the Imperial throne as
Francis I. Maximilian, the son of the late Emperor, had shown himself
willing to accept the views of Austria; by the Treaty of Fuessen (April
22, 1745) he renounced all claims to the Austrian succession, promising
to recall his troops from the French armies, and to give his vote to
Francis, husband of Maria Theresa, who on her side recognized the
election of his late father, and restored all her Bavarian conquests.
Again it appeared that general negotiations might have been possible.
But Carteret had been driven from office, and the Whigs under Pelham
were bent on carrying on their hostility with France. His unpopular
Hanoverian tendencies, and the offhand manner in which he had treated
the Pelhams, secured Carteret's fall. His place was taken by Walpole's
old colleague Harrington. With Carteret withdrew Lord Winchelsea and
several others, thus affording Mr. Pelham an opportunity for carrying
out that form of administration to which his timidity urged him. In
exact contrast to Walpole, he dreaded opposition, and sought to make
friends of all parties, and to establish his ministry on what was then
called a broad bottom. He persuaded Chesterfield and Pitt to give up
their opposition, and the former to accept the Lord Lieutenancy of
Ireland. To the Tory Lord Gower he gave the Privy Seal, and even Sir
John Hind Cotton, an undoubted Jacobite, was given a place about the
Court. This was not done without great opposition from the King, who
disliked Chesterfield and Pitt for their opposition to his Hanoverian
schemes, and had a natural mistrust of Tories and Jacobites. The effect
of these changes was almost to suppress opposition in the House. The
ministry, now including most of the leaders of the Opposition, satisfied
with a change of principles, made but little change in practice. The
reunited Whig party felt that, as they were engaged in an open war with
France, they were, even while subsidizing Germans, carrying out their
true policy. Pitt openly declared that he no longer opposed subsidies in
face of the present state of affairs abroad. He pointed out that the
object of the war was somewhat changed, that, the minister who rested
wholly on his foreign influence being removed, they were no longer
fighting solely in the interests of Austria, but to secure an equitable
peace for themselves and their allies. However this may have been, the
system of German subsidies went further and further. The Hanoverian
troops were for the present dismissed, but their pay was added to the
Austrian subsidy. Saxony was bought, the Elector of Cologne was bought,
and so was the Elector of Mayence; and next year (1746) 18,000
Hanoverians were again taken into English pay. Robert Walpole lived just
long enough to see the dangers he had kept aloof for twenty years
gathering round England. He died in March 1745, leaving England plunged
deep in a Continental war, with constantly increasing grants for
military service, and consequently increased financial difficulties, and
on the eve of the most determined and dangerous effort which the exiled
family ever made for the recovery of their crown.

[Sidenote: Campaign in Flanders.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Fontenoy. May 11, 1745.]

The war still continued under the mistaken conduct of the French. But
neither their successes against England at Fontenoy, nor the invasion of
the young Pretender which they supported, nor their victory over the
Sardinians at Basignano, were the least decisive. As Frederick, who felt
himself deserted, bitterly said, the victories might as well have been
won on the banks of the Scamander. What he could do singlehanded the
Prussian King did. He defeated the Austrians at Friedberg, and again
upon the Sohr. He conquered the Saxons at Kesseldorf and occupied
Dresden. But seeing clearly that his allies were bent upon their own
ends, he again listened to the anti-Bourbon diplomacy of England, made
a separate peace with Austria, and the Treaty of Dresden (Dec. 25, 1745)
closed the second Silesian war. But, in spite of the withdrawal of
Prussia, the general war continued. Early in the spring a French army
under Marshal Saxe invested Tournay. The Netherlands were occupied by an
allied army of English and Dutch. There should have been 28,000 English
and 50,000 Dutch, but, although it was their own country that was
threatened, the Dutch were so dilatory that the allied army numbered
little more than 50,000. These were under the Duke of Cumberland and the
Dutch general the Prince of Waldeck. The Duke, who was young, was
somewhat controlled by the Austrian Marshal Konigsegg, and had with him
as his military guide General Ligonier. With these troops the Duke
advanced to the relief of Tournay. Marshal Saxe, whose forces were much
superior in numbers, could afford to leave 15,000 men to continue the
siege, while, marching southward along the river, he occupied a very
strong position to cover his operations. The position was rendered
almost unassailable. The French faced southward; on their right was the
river Scheldt, with the fortified bridge securing their communication
and retreat, and the village Antoing. A narrow and difficult valley ran
along their front from Antoing to Fontenoy, and their left was covered
by the wood of Barré, on the right of which a redoubt had been
constructed. The whole of this position was fortified with field-works
and abattis, with the exception of a gap between Fontenoy and the wood
of Barré, where the difficulties of the approach were held to be of
themselves sufficient. It was resolved to assault this terribly strong
position. To the Dutch was intrusted the attack of the French right,
with the villages Antoing and Fontenoy; to the English the attack on
their left. The attack of the Dutch was without energy, and failed, and
the Prince of Waldeck, withdrawing his troops to a safe distance, kept
them unemployed the remainder of the day. A similar want of energy was
exhibited by General Ingoldsby, who had been instructed to assault a
redoubt on the left of the French and to clear the wood of Barré.
Finding more opposition than he expected, he withdrew when the enemy
were on the point of abandoning their redoubt, and demanded further
orders. The English and Hanoverians, on the other hand, energetically
assaulted the unfortified gap between Fontenoy and the wood. Regardless
of the flanking fire by which they were decimated, they pushed across
the ravine and up the opposite hill. The space was narrow, and they
advanced, without deploying, in a solid column 10,000 strong with a face
of about forty men. The ground was too rough for their cavalry, which
therefore advanced in their rear. In this solid formation, with
astonishing heroism and determination, they pushed on, crushing all
opposition, and unchecked by frequent cavalry charges. They won the
crown of the position, cut the enemy's centre, and were moving onwards
towards the bridge of Calonne, threatening thus to cut off all retreat
from the broken army. The victory seemed decided, and Voltaire allows
that, had the Dutch only moved, the French must have been inevitably
routed and destroyed. But the Prince of Waldeck never stirred. Fresh
troops could therefore be brought from Antoing and Fontenoy to repel the
victorious column. In this work it was the Irish Brigade which chiefly
distinguished itself, and at last when, by the advice of the Duc de
Richelieu, four cannon were placed right in front of the column so as to
fire down its whole length, finding itself wholly unsupported, the
heroic body began to give ground. It retired as it had come, slowly,
disputing every yard, and entirely without confusion. When it reached
ground where cavalry could act, that arm, hitherto useless, covered the
retreat, and the whole army fell back to Ath. Tournay was treacherously
surrendered, and the allies had to content themselves with covering
Brussels and Antwerp. This wonderful unsupported advance, though useless
for the battle, and purchased with immense loss of life, was for long a
just source of pride to the English soldier.

[Sidenote: Prince Charles Edward lands in Scotland.]

It was the necessity of withdrawing troops for the defence of England
which had rendered the campaign in Flanders after the partial defeat of
Fontenoy so disastrous. Prince Charles Edward, though bitterly
disappointed by the failure of the expedition in the preceding year, did
not leave France; and as the French ministry, occupied with their
continental affairs, refused him further assistance, he determined to go
alone and unsupported to Scotland, and throw himself on the loyalty of
his friends there, although in all his previous negotiations with them
they had refused to think of a rising unsupported by foreign troops and
arms. Scraping together what little money he could, and purchasing a
small supply of firearms, the Prince embarked at Nantes in a privateer.
He was escorted, without the knowledge of the Government, by a French
man-of-war, in which his stores were placed. On the passage to England
they encountered an English vessel, which, though unable to capture the
French man-of-war engaged it so vigorously that it had to withdraw to
France to refit, and it was in the little privateer, 'La Doutelle,' thus
stripped of his supplies and with only seven companions, that the Prince
reached the Hebrides. In this plight he met but a cold reception, and it
was not without considerable persuasion that Macdonald of Clanranald and
other gentlemen of that tribe joined him. Their chief, Sir Alexander
Macdonald, and the head of the Macleods, on whose assistance he had
relied, kept aloof. Of more importance even than the Macdonalds was the
adhesion of Cameron of Lochiel. This chief seems to have been won,
against his better judgment, by the persuasive power of Charles, who
undoubtedly had in an unusual degree the art of attracting adherents.
While still in the extreme west of the mainland Charles was joined by
Murray of Broughton, who had been his chief agent, and whom he appointed
his Secretary of State. The Prince had reached the mainland on the 25th
of July; it was not till the 30th that information was received by the
Government that he had left Nantes, and he had been three weeks in
Scotland before it was known in London. On the 19th of August the
insurrectionary standard was raised in the solitary valley of Glen
Finnan, where the aged Marquis of Tullibardine, the rightful heir to the
dukedom of Athol, read Prince Charles's Commission of Regency. This
ceremony was graced by the presence of a considerable number of English
prisoners, who had been captured a few days previously by Lochiel's
followers as they were marching to reinforce Fort William.

Scotland is cleft in sunder by a great valley running from the Beauley
Firth in the north-east in a south-westerly direction to the salt-water
lake Loch Eil. This valley, at present occupied by the Caledonian Canal,
forms the basin of a chain of lakes, by far the largest of which is Loch
Ness, occupying nearly half of the north-east end of the valley. Between
its northern extremity and the sea lies the town of Inverness; at its
southern end was Fort Augustus, one of the forts established to keep the
Highlands in check, while, where the valley reaches Loch Eil, there was
the still more lonely post of Fort William immediately under Ben Nevis.
It was in the close neighbourhood of this fort that Charles's followers
were first collected, and it was while trying to strengthen it that the
royal troops had first come into collision with the insurgents. The
tribes to the north of Inverness, as well as Sir Alexander Macdonald and
Macleod, were either well-affected or held in neutrality chiefly by the
influence of Duncan Forbes of Culloden, Lord President, who had also
contrived for the present to attach Lord Lovat, head of the Frasers, to
the Government interest, so that it was with the western clans only that
Charles began his expedition.

[Sidenote: Cope marches against him.]

[Sidenote: Charles avoids him, and gains Edinburgh.]

[Sidenote: Cope lands at Dunbar.]

[Sidenote: Is defeated at Prestonpans. Sept. 21.]

The English military commander in Scotland was Sir John Cope, who had
altogether about 3000 men under his command. All this time the King was
absent from England, and orders had to be issued by the Lords Justices.
They approved however of Cope's plan for immediately marching into the
Highlands and crushing the insurgents if possible among the mountains.
With this intention, leaving his dragoons behind him, Cope set out from
Stirling along the direct north road towards Inverness. At Dalwhinnie,
which is now a posting-station on the great north road, the military
road made by Marshal Wade branched off to Fort Augustus, which it was
Cope's object to reach and relieve; the main road passed onwards to
Inverness. The mountain which forms the south-east side of the great
valley in which Fort Augustus lies has to be crossed. It is called in
this place Corrie-Arrack, and to cross it the road winds in steep
zigzags. The Highlanders had got possession of this difficult pass, and
intended to destroy Cope's army while ascending the zigzags. Their
disappointment was great when they found that he had turned aside at
Dalwhinnie, and was in hasty march for Inverness. By this means he
probably hoped to strengthen the loyal clans of the north and to draw
the Prince's army in pursuit. He however left the road towards the
capital quite unguarded. Charles at once pushed on and crossed the
Badenoch mountains to Blair Athol, from whence the great road runs,
without any obstacle, through the Pass of Killiecrankie into the plains
of Perthshire. He rested a few days at Perth, where he was joined by
Drummond, Duke of Perth, and by Lord George Murray, the Duke of Athol's
brother, a man of considerable military experience and capacity. He then
crossed the Forth a little above Stirling, the dragoon regiments which
had been left there retiring before him, and advanced rapidly towards
Edinburgh. The Castle of Edinburgh was secure, but the town had no
adequate fortifications, and the inhabitants doubted long and painfully
as to whether they should open their gates or not. The news that Cope,
on learning his mistake, had taken ship and had already reached Dunbar,
encouraged them to think of resistance, but their determination vanished
away after a skirmish called "the canter of Colt-Brig," when two
regiments of dragoons ran away, and did not stop till they reached
Dunbar. Negotiations were set on foot, but were cut short by the
surprise of the town by the Highlanders. On the 17th of September
Charles took possession of Holyrood House, and it seemed as if the
inhabitants of Edinburgh were by no means sorry to receive him. He could
not rest long, however, as Cope was marching along the Firth from
Dunbar. He expected to meet his enemy between that town and Edinburgh,
but the Prince marched along the hills to the south of the Firth, and
Cope was surprised to find his enemy again beyond him. He was then near
Prestonpans. He changed his face at once, and lay with his back to the
Firth and his face to the hills, as he believed in an unassailable
position, separated from the Highlanders by a morass. But Charles was
bent on fighting, and a narrow pathway through the morass to the
eastward was pointed out to him. Down this he led his forces so as to
gain a position eastward of the English, who had again to change their
face, looking now directly eastward, with their backs to Edinburgh.
Their infantry were in the centre, their cavalry on either flank. The
battle is said to have been decided in six minutes. The rush of the
Highlanders renewed the panic among the dragoons, who all took to their
heels. The infantry stood with their flanks exposed, and as their fire
did not check the Highlanders, they were soon engaged at close quarters,
where the Highland target parried the bayonet thrust, while the right
hand was free to use the claymore. The line was soon broken, and it is
said that not more than 170 escaped death or capture. The cavalry,
taking Cope with them, did not draw bridle till they reached Berwick.

[Sidenote: Indifference of England.]

Some preparations had been made in England to withstand the advance of
the rebels. Marshal Wade was at Newcastle with such troops as he could
collect, the Dutch were called upon to supply, in accordance with their
treaty, 6000 men, and some regiments were recalled from Flanders. But
throughout the population of England there was now, and through the
whole campaign, a strange carelessness as to which side should prove
victorious. The Revolution had been, comparatively speaking, an
aristocratic movement. It had moved the power from the Crown only to put
it in the hands of the nobles. Parliament was so far from being an
adequate representative body, that the disputes carried on in it excited
no very warm interest in the nation at large. At times indeed it was
necessary for the Opposition to excite the people by some national cry;
but that Opposition had uniformly employed the most violent language
against the Hanoverian influence and the minister of the Hanoverian
King. Such partial views therefore as the people had been allowed of
what was going on among their governors had all tended rather to direct
the loyalty, which was then so inherent a characteristic of the English,
towards the exiled house. Except in the matter of religion, the people
at large were able to discover but little difference whether their king
was a Stuart or a Guelph; and on this occasion the assurance had been
carefully spread that the privileges of the Church of England would not
be touched; indeed one of Charles's difficulties arose from the jealousy
of his Protestant followers. The class who had gained by the Revolution
was that class which Walpole and Walpole's policy had chiefly
favoured--the middle class; but as usual the middle class was apathetic
and slow to risk anything unless for some personal object. At first
therefore it was the Government, unaided by the people, which had to
check the insurrection. It will be seen that afterwards the aristocracy
offered, though in a very selfish manner, to come forward, and that some
towns, especially in Scotland, awoke to their responsibilities, but on
the whole it was the Government alone which had to act by means of its
soldiers, and England had been stripped of soldiers for its foreign
wars. On the other hand, the Jacobites had seen the insurrection of 1715
so thoroughly futile, and had during Walpole's long administration so
settled down under the existing Government, that only a few of the more
enthusiastic took a real interest in the quarrel.

[Sidenote: Charles marches into England as far as Derby,]

Had Prince Charles advanced immediately after the battle of Prestonpans
he would have found himself almost unopposed; but by the time he had
collected some money, gathered in his reinforcements, organized his
army, and persuaded the Highlanders to cross the border, Marshal Wade's
army had increased to 10,000; the Dutch and English troops had come from
abroad; there was a second army under the Duke of Cumberland formed in
the centre of England; the guards and trained bands had marched out to
Finchley and formed a third body, which the King declared he would
himself lead. To turn the position of Wade at Newcastle it was
determined, as in 1715, to march along behind the Cheviots and enter
England by Carlisle; and the clans (about 6000 strong) crossed the
Border on the 8th of November. Carlisle yielded without much difficulty,
and on the recommendation of Lord George Murray, who now assumed the
military command of the army, it was determined to advance into the
heart of England. In two bodies they marched up the Eden over Shap Fell
to Lancaster and to Preston; the Prince winning the heart of the
Highlanders by wearing their dress and marching at the head of the
second division, as strong and unwearied as the best among them, for he
was gifted with a fine athletic body, which he had further trained by
constant exercise. His carriage he insisted upon offering to the aged
Lord Pitsligo. His care for his followers, of which this is an instance,
tended much to endear him to them; he was at this part of his life
adorned with many of the best graces of a king; his clemency was the
constant complaint of his sterner counsellors. It is said indeed to have
encouraged more than one attempt at assassination. Towards his enemy,
the Elector as he called him, he was also studiously merciful and
dignified. In all negotiations with his followers or with the French the
safety of the Hanoverian Elector and his family was bargained for; and
even when £30,000 was put upon his head, dead or alive, after entirely
refusing to make a counter proclamation, he insisted on offering only
£30. This was indeed afterwards overruled, and a larger reward offered,
but he even then said he felt sure no follower of his was capable of
winning it, and the proclamation ended: "Should any fatal accident
happen from hence let the blame lie entirely at the door of those who
first set the infamous example."

[Sidenote: but retreats, to the relief of the government.]

The army passed Preston, that ill-omened town to the Stuart cause, in
all haste, entered Manchester, where they met with more recruits than
usual, skilfully deceived the Duke of Cumberland into the idea that they
were marching towards Wales, got past his army, and had nothing between
them and London except the camp at Finchley. They reached Derby, but
there Lord George Murray and all the commanders unanimously advised
retreat. It was true that they had eluded both Wade and Cumberland, but
those commanders with their armies were following them close; the
slightest check before reaching London, and their little army of 5000
would be enveloped by 30,000 men; it would surely be better to fall back
upon their supports in Scotland, where Lord Strathallan had a force of
some 3000 or 4000 men. Charles was unable to hold out against these
arguments, backed by all the men of military weight in his army, and
very sullenly and unwillingly at length gave his consent to a retreat.
It is plain that the Scotch chiefs had been thoroughly disappointed in
the neutrality of the English population, were beginning to fear for
their own heads, and thought it more prudent as well as more practicable
to separate the two kingdoms, and establish Charles at all events at
first as King of Scotland. This determination was an immense relief to
the Government. Whether a further march would have been successful or
not, it is certain that the Government regarded its chances of success
as very great, and London was stricken with panic; the Bank was reduced
to pay in sixpences; the Duke of Newcastle is said to have seriously
thought of declaring for the Pretender; the King sent some of his
valuables to the river ready for embarkation. The camp at Finchley was
by no means completed; Wade and Cumberland were so far behind that they
scarcely hoped to come up with the Highlanders; the occupation of London
would have been the signal for a French invasion, and probably for a
great Jacobite rising in England. The day on which the news of the
advance to Derby was known was called Black Friday.

[Sidenote: Charles besieges Stirling. Jan. 3, 1746.]

[Sidenote: Wins the battle of Falkirk. Jan. 17.]

The retreat was very rapid, and, as was natural, now that the soldiers
were in bad humour, by no means orderly. The insurgents were closely
pursued by the Duke of Cumberland, who came up with them, but was
checked in a skirmish near Penrith, and passing through Carlisle, which
was speedily recaptured by the English, reached Glasgow, where they
established themselves, and by means of large requisitions succeeded in
refreshing and reorganizing themselves after their rapid march. They had
marched 580 miles in 56 days. After a week's rest they advanced to
besiege the Castle of Stirling, which was defended by General Blakeney.
Being joined by the Scotch army under Strathallan, with whom were some
French soldiers, and Lord John Drummond, a general in the French
service, the Pretender's army reached the number of 9000, the largest he
ever commanded. Wade, who had grown slow from age, was superseded by
General Hawley by the advice of the Duke of Cumberland. He was an
officer of some experience, but little talent, and of a ferocious
disposition. He was nicknamed the Lord Chief Justice, and as Horace
Walpole tells us, "was brave and able, with no small bias to the
brutal." He profoundly despised his enemies, and advancing to relieve
Stirling Castle, took up his position at Falkirk without even ordinary
military precaution. He was not even present with his army, but was
enjoying, with some of his officers, the civilities of Callendar House,
where the Countess of Kilmarnock, whose husband was with the Pretender,
was entertaining and delaying them. There are two roads between Stirling
and Falkirk; some troops were sent forward by the straight road to
deceive the English, while the main body under Charles swept round to
the south. They were then separated from the English by a high rugged
heath called Falkirk Muir. When the news of their approach was brought
to Hawley, he hastened to the field, and led his cavalry rapidly
forward to try and secure the crest of this hill. It was a race between
him and the Highlanders, and they succeeded in winning it. Hawley fell
back to lower ground, and arranged his troops, with their right upon a
broken ravine which descended to the plain. His artillery got hopelessly
jammed in a morass. The battle began with a charge of the royal cavalry
on the left, which was met by a steady fire from the Highlanders, from
which the dragoons as usual fled, all but one regiment. The Highlanders,
then rushing forward, entirely broke the centre and left of the royal
army, but their rush was checked by the ravine on the right; the royal
troops there held their own, and being joined by the one steady regiment
of cavalry, were enabled to make an orderly retreat. One of the flying
regiments had fought well at Fontenoy, and Lord John Drummond, who had
been present at that battle, believed that their retreat was a feint,
and by his advice further attack was suspended. Charles had shown
considerable skill in bringing his troops with their back to the wind,
so that the driving storm and cold January wind might beat full in the
faces of the English troops.

[Sidenote: Cumberland takes command of the army.]

[Sidenote: He defeats Charles at Culloden, April 16,]

[Sidenote: and cruelly suppresses the rebellion.]

The Duke of Cumberland, who had been detained in the south of England in
expectation of a French invasion, was indignant at this defeat, and
declaring that he would himself willingly lead the broken remains of
Hawley's army against the Highlanders, got himself appointed commander.
He was a young man of great energy, with the hereditary bravery of his
family, and an active if not a very able general; he had, moreover, won
the confidence of the army at Fontenoy. He was a man however of violent
passions, and at present roused almost to ferocity by the success of the
Highlanders, which touched his pride both as a military man and a prince
of the Hanoverian house. The Pretender did not follow up his success,
but persisted, from a false sense of honour, in the siege of Stirling,
and allowed the broken English army to be reconstituted. He was however
obliged to desist from this project by a memorial signed by all his
chiefs, and presented by Lord George Murray. Some coldness had arisen
between the Prince and his followers ever since the retreat from Derby,
and the present prudent counsel tended still further to widen the
breach. The army was divided into two bodies, and marched rapidly
towards Inverness, where they were to unite. Cumberland hastened in
pursuit. Inverness was easily mastered, and the neighbouring clan, the
Mackintoshes, joined the Prince. But the English, now fully on the
alert, prevented the arrival of any supplies from France, and the army
was suffering from want of provisions and money. Cumberland's army was
meanwhile well supplied from the sea, and marched towards Inverness
along the coast from Aberdeen. The passages of the rivers, Spey,
Findhorn, and Nairn, were but weakly disputed, and on the 14th of April
the royal army entered the town of Nairn. That night Charles slept at
Culloden House, the seat of President Forbes, who had fled on his
approach. Want of provisions, and the habit of the Highlanders of
returning at times to their homes, had reduced his army to about 5000,
and of these many were absent from the standards in Inverness and
elsewhere searching for food. It was determined, at the suggestion of
Charles and Lord George Murray, to attempt a night surprise, but the
darkness of the night and the weariness of the men prevented its
success, and the hour proposed for the attack still found them four
miles from the English posts. They fell back to Culloden Moor. Murray
and some others wanted to retire, but Charles and some of his more
reckless followers from France, in overweening trust in the dash of the
Highlanders, insisted upon fighting. The men of Athol, the Camerons and
the Stuarts, had the right of the line under Lord George Murray, while
the Macdonalds, who claimed that position ever since the battle of
Bannockburn, sulkily received orders to occupy the left. Taught by
former experience, the Duke of Cumberland ranged his army in three
lines, with cannon between every two regiments, the second line being
drawn up three deep, and arranged as men now are when forming square to
receive cavalry. The opening cannonade was wholly in favour of the
English, and observing the loss of his followers, Murray advanced with
the right. Wearied and harassed as they were, the Highlanders broke
through the first line, and captured two cannon, but the firm formation
and scathing fire of the second line threw them into hopeless confusion.
On the left of the Highland line the Macdonalds, aggrieved at their
position, remained immoveable, in spite of the urgent entreaties of
their commander, in spite even of the touching words of Macdonald of
Keppoch, who cried as he fell, "My God, have the children of my tribe
forsaken me!" They afterwards fell back and joined the second line. They
were however now outflanked, and their retreat threatened, and though
there were some thoughts of trying to retrieve the fortunes of the day
with the unbroken left, the more prudent officers regarded the battle as
lost, and compelled Charles to fly. He went first of all to Lord
Lovat's residence, but, finding but a cold reception from that scheming
villain, who was trying to keep well with the Government, while he had
sent his son and clan to join the Prince, he fled onwards till he
reached the Castle of Glengarry, beyond Fort Augustus. The broken
fragments of his army were collected, about 1200 in number, by the skill
of Lord George Murray at Ruthven in Badenoch. But Charles gave up the
struggle, and sent orders that they should look to their own safety. The
insurrection was over: vengeance began. The cruelty with which that
vengeance was executed gained Cumberland the nickname of "The Butcher."
In the pursuit after Culloden but little quarter was given, and acts of
brutal ferocity stained the glory of the day. Some wounded Highlanders
who had crawled to a farm building were deliberately burnt to death in
it. The prisoners were kept in want of the necessaries of life, and many
of the wounded put to death in cold blood. Cumberland fixed his
headquarters at Fort Augustus, and harried the neighbouring country with
every species of military execution. Acts of cruelty and of wild license
were done chiefly at the instigation of General Hawley, but not without
Cumberland's knowledge. The Duke was however, and rightly, hailed as the
saviour of England.

[Sidenote: Charles escapes to France.]

For five months Charles was a solitary fugitive in the Highlands and
Hebrides. He frequently had to trust his secret to the poorest
Highlanders, but the high price set on his head never induced them for a
moment to break their faith. His best known escape took place in South
Uist, whither he had been tracked very shortly after the battle of
Culloden, and where he was surrounded by upwards of 2000 men. Flora
Macdonald, a young lady visiting Clanranald's family, succeeded in
bringing him safely through this difficulty by procuring from her
stepfather, who was an officer in the King's army, a passport for
herself and a female servant. In this disguise she took Charles with her
into Skye, where, making his secret known to the wife of Sir Alexander
Macdonald, who was in the King's interest, she by her means got him put
under the charge of Macdonald of Kingsburgh, who brought him to a place
of safety. We are told that his height and want of grace in the
management of his petticoats, especially in passing the watercourses,
very nearly betrayed him. Flora Macdonald afterwards married the son of
Macdonald of Kingsburgh. At last, on the 20th September, attended by
Lochiel and a considerable number of other fugitives, he set sail for
France from Loch-na-Nuagh, the very spot where he had landed fourteen
months before.

Thus terminated a most romantic piece of military history, astonishing
both in the success which the small body of Highlanders were able to
gain and the rapidity with which their successes were brought to an end.
Had Lord George Murray been a worse general, and had the Scotch chiefs
had less at heart the separation of Scotland from England, the success
of the enterprise might have been different.

At the two critical periods of the war, at Derby and after the battle of
Falkirk, Charles was probably right in disliking any retrograde
movements. No doubt, on purely military grounds, his opinion was wrong;
but a body of half-trained enthusiastic Highlanders are nothing unless
victorious. The marked change visible in their retreat both from Derby
and from Stirling, on both of which occasions great disorder and want of
discipline arose, shows that the moral side of the movement was not
sufficiently considered by the generals. On the other hand, Lord George
Murray showed great skill in hoodwinking and passing the armies both of
Wade and Cumberland, and much good judgment in refusing to introduce
regular drill or arms among the Highland regiments. The Lords Balmerino
and Kilmarnock were beheaded for their share in the conspiracy, and Lord
Lovat, wily though he had been, was convicted on the evidence of the
Prince's Secretary of State, Murray of Broughton, who turned King's
evidence, and executed. Many stringent measures against the Highlanders
were at once passed, such as the Disarming Act, the Act to forbid the
wearing of the Highland dress, and more important, an Act for the
abolition of heritable jurisdictions, by which the arbitrary power of
the chiefs of the clans was destroyed, and regular tribunals under
responsible judges established.

[Sidenote: Ministerial crisis. Feb. 1746.]

At the very time that the Highlanders were still in the country England
had passed through a ministerial crisis. The Pelhams had found
themselves thwarted and in danger of being supplanted by Granville
(Carteret); for although they had succeeded in driving him from the
ministry, he was still the King's favourite--a position which he had
earned by constantly seconding the royal wishes with regard to foreign
politics. The chief opponents of these views were Pitt and Chesterfield,
and the Pelhams now determined upon bringing matters to a crisis by
demanding the admission of Pitt into the ministry. The King, influenced
by Lord Granville and Lord Bath, refused to admit him, and the Pelhams,
their friend Lord Harrington (Stanhope), and their whole party
resigned. The King at once instructed Lord Granville to form a new
Government. He undertook the task, but three days sufficed to show that
the King's favour was no match for the Parliamentary influence of the
great Whig party, of which Newcastle was the acknowledged leader. Much
against his will, the King had to receive back his old ministry upon any
terms they chose to propose, and Pitt became first Vice-Treasurer of
Ireland, and shortly afterwards Paymaster of the Forces. In this
position he was enabled much to increase his popularity, by rejecting
the vast profits which it had been the habit hitherto for the Paymaster
to make. That officer had been in the habit of receiving a large
percentage upon all foreign subsidies, and of using as his own the
interest accruing from the large balance of public money he had
constantly in hand. These profits Pitt rejected, and at once established
a reputation for disinterestedness.

[Sidenote: Effect of the rebellion on the continental war.]

The insurrection in Scotland had had considerable effect upon the
continental war. The campaign in Flanders, where the Austrians had been
deprived of English succour, had been very unfavourable, and after the
battle of Raucoux, the French, under Marshal Saxe, had mastered nearly
the whole of the Austrian Netherlands. But, deprived of their Bavarian
allies by the Treaty of Fuessen, of the Prussians by the Treaty of
Dresden, and all hearty support from Spain by the death of Philip V.,
they began to think of peace, and negotiations were opened at Breda.
Lord Harrington, having fallen under the King's displeasure for his
conduct in the ministerial crisis, had resigned, and Chesterfield was
called from the Lord Lieutenancy of Ireland to become Secretary of
State. He at once began to use his influence, which was very great, both
from his social gifts and from his eloquence, in favour of peace, so
that there seemed some hopes of a cessation of the war. It was pursued
however without check during the whole of the next year. In Holland the
appearance of 20,000 French within the frontier roused the national
spirit, and the people, disgusted with the dilatory conduct of their
republican chiefs, rose in revolution; they again looked for safety to
the house of Nassau, and the young Prince of Orange, a son-in-law of
George II., was made hereditary Stadtholder. In conjunction with the
Duke of Cumberland he took command of the army in Flanders, but was
defeated with much loss to the English at the battle of Laufeldt. The
great fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom was taken, and at length Maestricht, on
the safety of which Holland depended, was itself besieged. To balance
these disasters, the course of the war in Italy had been constantly
disastrous to France. The Austrians, freed from the pressure of
Frederick on the north, were able to act with vigour. They were so
successful that Genoa was taken, and Provence itself invaded; and though
in the following year the Austrians were driven from France and Genoa
regained, the war in that direction closed with a complete victory over
the French at Exiles, and the French troops withdrew to their own
country, not to appear in Italy again till the renewed vigour of the
Revolution plunged them afresh into a career of conquest. Meanwhile,
however, in spite of these disasters upon land, England had been
steadily gaining its real object. Holland, whose political importance
had almost disappeared, and which had become a faithful follower of
England, was still more closely joined to that country by its late
revolution. Upon the sea disaster everywhere met the French. Their
colonial empire was attacked, Cape Breton Island was captured, and the
St. Lawrence and Canada thus laid open to the English. Their navy
gradually dwindled away, till it was represented by three or four ships
only. They were wearied of the war, and alarmed at the immense addition
to their debt. The Dutch were disappointed at the want of success which
had attended their revolution; and the English were satisfied with the
destruction of the French marine. All parties were thus at length ready
to listen to a reasonable peace.

[Sidenote: Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Oct. 1748.]

[Sidenote: Results of the war.]

It was therefore determined to hold a congress at Aix-la-Chapelle.
Moreover, the Pelhams had now resumed in some degree the pacific policy
of Walpole, and the apparent certainty of the fall of Maestricht brought
matters to a crisis. On the 30th of April the preliminaries were signed
between France, England and Holland, without waiting for the agreement
of Austria and Spain. The terms of those preliminaries befitted the
causeless war which they terminated. The chief condition was the
complete mutual restoration of all conquests, and the return of each
party to its position before the war. There were, however, some slight
changes; Parma was to be given to the Infant Don Philip; the cessions of
Austria to both Prussia and Sardinia were to be secured, and Spain was
to restore the Assiento Treaty and the right of a periodical vessel in
the South Seas to the English, while the fortifications of Dunkirk
towards the sea were to be destroyed; in exchange for its losses Austria
received the complete guarantee of the Pragmatic Sanction and the
acknowledgment of the Emperor. The restoration of conquests touched even
India, where the conquest of Madras and the resistance of Pondicherry to
the English arms had raised in the minds of the French well-grounded
hopes of founding a colonial empire. Taking the war as a whole its
results were these: Holland had disappeared from the rank of great
nations; it was evident that it could not defend itself against France.
Austria, though it had lost Silesia, had learnt the strength to be
derived from the military resources of its eastern provinces. Prussia
had proved itself a predominant power in Europe. England had secured its
maritime supremacy. France had exhibited its growing weakness, had lost
its best opportunity of re-establishing itself upon the sea, and under a
show of magnanimous generosity had made plain to the world its total
absence of good government, of good administration, or good diplomacy.

[Sidenote: Pelham's conciliatory government.]

The period of the premiership of Henry Pelham is marked by the absence
of parliamentary contest. Taught by the stormy close of Walpole's
career, he so far deviated from his master's precepts, that, instead of
wishing to stand alone in his government, his chief object was to
conciliate all parties, and the broad ministry over which he presided
included nearly all the men of striking talent in Parliament. There was
no opposition worth mentioning, except a little clique who gathered
round the Prince of Wales, and at whose head was Doddington. It was not
till the death of Mr. Pelham in 1754 that the strife of parties again

[Sidenote: His financial measures. 1750.]

Meanwhile the system of subsidies to foreign powers was quietly carried
on, even Pitt ceasing to raise his voice against them. The lull of party
strife, and the strength of his position, enabled the minister, who was
a good financier, to alleviate what was then considered a very
threatening danger to the country, and at the same time to demonstrate
the firm and constant increase of the national wealth. He determined to
introduce a measure (1750) for the reduction of the debt, which was at
that time about £78,000,000, paying an interest of £3,000,000 a year.
This sum was at that time regarded as very formidable. But Pelham,
rightly thinking that the country could well bear the amount of debt,
directed his attention not to diminishing the capital but to lowering
the rate of interest. This plan had indeed been carried out constantly
since the time of William III., and as the operation had been always
successful, it marks the increased confidence of the nation in the
Government, and the increased wealth of the nation, since money could be
procured at gradually cheapening rates. Under William III. eight per
cent. had been given: under Queen Anne the interest had been reduced to
six: under George I. to five and to four; Pelham now proposed to reduce
it to three per cent. In spite of some natural opposition the Bill was
carried. Those who were unwilling to receive the reduced interest, and
there were few such, received their capital from money borrowed at three
per cent. The rest accepted the terms, which were three and a half, for
the next eight years, and three per cent. after 1758. The annual saving
was more than half a million, and Smollett says that Europe saw with
wonder England reducing the national obligations immediately after a war
which had almost ruined Europe. Three millions was indeed a considerable
charge upon a revenue amounting to about £8,523,540. This was derived
from four principal sources;--more than £3,800,000 from Excise and Malt
Tax, £1,900,000 and over from the customs; £1,637,608 from the Land Tax,
and the rest from the stamp duties and other small sources. The late war
had cost the nation upwards of £30,000,000, and many financiers, not
foreseeing the enormous development of the national resources which the
next half century would produce, took a gloomy view of the financial
position of England. But, as we have seen, the ease with which Pelham
completed the reduction of the interest proved that there was
considerable wealth in the country.

[Sidenote: Increase of wealth and trade.]

Indeed, although the great industrial period had not yet quite arrived,
both commerce and manufactures were making considerable strides, and
that wealth was accumulating which was to find its employment in the
next decade. Several branches of foreign trade had been relieved from
restrictions--whale and herring fisheries, the African trade and the
silk trade had all been relieved, while manufactures had been steadily
increasing. As early as 1715 silk spinning had been introduced at Derby;
and the woollen manufactures, which, with the silk, were heavily
protected, were of great and increasing importance. The use of cotton,
which was to change the whole face of Lancashire, was regarded most
unwisely as injurious, and but little use was made of it except for
mixing with silk and wool, and in a small degree for exportation.
Protection of silk and wool even went so far that penalties were laid on
the wearing and selling of calico goods. Both in Birmingham and
Sheffield metal works were largely established, and silver plated upon
other metals, which was introduced at Sheffield in 1742, was soon widely
used under the title of Sheffield plate. Improvements, too, had also
been made in the stocking-frame, and, in 1738, John Kaye had invented
his shuttle, which doubled the amount of work which could be done. But
while cotton was as yet scarcely thought of, and improvements in the old
manufactures were only introduced by degrees, the second great source of
English wealth was discovered and set to work. The quantity of iron in
the United Kingdom is very large, but keen observers complained that,
while there was plenty for our own supply and for exportation, we still
imported largely from America, where it could be worked cheaper. This
was because it had been thought necessary that iron should be smelted
with charcoal, and as carriage was as yet wholly by land and expensive,
it was only when iron occurred in woody districts, such as Surrey and
Sussex, that it could be worked with advantage. The occurrence of the
termination _Hammer_ in the name of several villages in Surrey marks
this old state of things. The railings round St. Paul's Cathedral were
regarded as the great achievement of the southern ironworks. In 1740
means were discovered of working iron with pit-coal, which at once
opened an almost unbounded sphere for industry. The discovery is
attributed to Dr. John Roebuck of Birmingham, who, in the year 1759,
established the great Carron ironworks in Stirlingshire. It is curious
that a similar plan should have been regarded as one of the bubbles of
the South Sea year. Agriculture was still in a backward condition,
especially with regard to implements. The plough was still a rude
machine, chiefly of wood. Turnips were still crushed with the beetle.
Cultivators, and other means of assisting or saving the trouble of
ploughing, were unknown. But in the east of England, at all events, the
value of frequent manuring was understood;--turnips and other root-crops
had taken the place of fallow, and a limited rotation of crops was in
vogue. The use of the drill, although invented in 1732, was little
known. All these improvements were however gradually getting introduced,
as the waste lands or great common fields were by degrees enclosed.
Suffolk, where this had been early done, was at the head of agricultural

[Sidenote: Reform of the Calendar. 1751.]

During the period of parliamentary quiet which preceded Pelham's death,
two or three measures of permanent interest were passed. In 1751 the
reform of the Calendar was proposed and carried triumphantly through
Parliament, chiefly by the exertions of Chesterfield, Lord Macclesfield,
and Bradley the astronomer. The Julian Calendar, in which the length of
year was slightly miscalculated, had been reformed by Pope Gregory XIII.
in 1582, and this reform had been gradually adopted in all countries in
Europe except England, Russia, and Sweden. England is said to have
rejected it from hatred of the Papacy. The effect was, that while the
year in every other country began upon the 1st of January, in England it
began on the 25th of March; while, as compared with other countries,
there was a difference of eleven days in computing the days of the
month. The change proposed was, that the year 1752 should begin upon the
1st of January, and that eleven days should be suppressed between the
2nd and 14th of September, so that the third of that month should be
called the 14th, and that henceforward such changes should be introduced
as would make the solar and legal year coincident. The chief practical
difficulty was in the matter of payments. It was settled that these
should not be put forward. It is thus that the 5th of April, the 5th of
July, the 10th of October, and the 5th of January, still remain the days
on which the dividends of the public funds are paid. This change met
with a good deal of ignorant opposition. The common Opposition election
cry was, "Give us back our eleven days."

[Sidenote: Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act. 1753.]

[Sidenote: Decay of the Church.]

In 1753 a Marriage Act, usually known as Lord Hardwicke's Act, was
brought in, to decrease the number of the formal acts which constituted
a pre-engagement, in which a man might be entangled by carelessness and
against his own will, and, secondly, to check very rapid marriages. At
this time the facilities given to marriage enabled heirs and heiresses
to marry without consent of their natural guardians--a practice still
further supported by a quantity of broken and disreputable parsons who
hung about the Fleet Prison, and were known as Fleet Parsons, whose
performance of the ceremony was binding, and who could of course always
be procured for money. By the new Act marriages must be performed in the
parish church, after publication of banns, or by special licenses
granted by the Archbishop, and on payment of a heavy sum. Any clergyman
solemnizing a marriage in contravention of these restrictions is liable
to seven years' transportation. A Bill for the naturalization of Jews,
although carried, had to be repealed before the popular uproar. The
Bishops, who had supported the measure, drew upon themselves the larger
share of the popular indignation. They were indeed at this time
unusually liberal in their views. In the earlier part of the reign Queen
Caroline, in whose hands the appointments had chiefly been, had
carefully selected men of good repute and of liberal tendencies; in
opposition to the general feeling of the clergy, she confined her
appointments almost exclusively to Whigs. It is possible that this
conduct, however praiseworthy in itself, may have tended to increase the
general laxity among Churchmen and Dissenters, which had already begun
to be visible before the death of Bishop Burnet. Since that time a
variety of causes had combined to increase it. Thus, the separation of
the Church from the State in their political views, the Church being
chiefly Jacobite while the State was Whig; a similar division between
the Bishops and their clergy, and between the Universities, and the
Government, and the Bishops, all tended, by loosening the bonds of
authority, to the decay of the Church. The falling away of the
Dissenters, and the entire defeat of the Roman Catholics, had also
removed all competition; and while thus unnerved, the Church had been
called upon to answer the requirements of an increasing population and
of growing towns. It had, moreover, to combat the very general growth of
that scepticism which was so rife in France, and which was one of the
remarkable symptoms of the coming revolution.

[Sidenote: Rise of the Wesleyans. 1730.]

It was this state of public morality which induced the Wesleys to begin
their effort at a revival of religion, and to establish and organize the
great body of Wesleyan Methodists. They began their career at Oxford,
where they collected a small band of followers, deeply impressed with
the necessity of heartfelt religion. The most prominent among them was
Whitfield, who, after a youth passed in the humble avocations of a
waiter in the "Bell Inn" at Gloucester, was now struggling to educate
himself for the Church as a servitor at Pembroke College. In his zeal
for religion, Wesley went as a missionary to Georgia. He met with no
great success there; but on his return, in 1738, he found that his
society had grown, and had reached even London. Whitfield had been
ordained, and had become renowned for his eloquence. He it was who,
while working at first among the colliers at Kingswood near Bristol,
introduced that field preaching which became the main instrument in the
spread of Methodism. It was some time before Wesley could bring himself
to adopt this custom; but it afterwards became his constant practice. A
separation soon occurred between Whitfield, who was extreme in his
views, and Wesley, who had separated himself from the Moravians, with
whom he had at first worked, but who in England at least were guilty of
many extravagances. The withdrawal of Whitfield made Wesley undisputed
chief of the new sect, and to him was left its organization. His agents
were for the most part energetic, half-educated laymen, who all looked
to Wesley as their absolute chief. His object was not to separate from
the Church, he himself said, "Our service is not such as supersedes the
Church service: we never designed it should;" and only a very little
while before his death, he said, "I declare once more that I live and
die a member of the Church of England, and that none who regard my
judgment or advice will ever separate from it." What he tried to do was
to bring religion within the reach of those who, either by character or
by the line of life they pursued, were unlikely to be reached by the
ordinary apparatus of the Church, and to excite among his hearers a more
true and enthusiastic religion than the formalism at that time
prevalent. His society was to be not the enemy, but the handmaid of the
Church. Its organization was strict and admirable. The preachers moved
on in constant succession from district to district, so that neither
preacher nor hearer should grow weary of monotonous work. A conference,
consisting of preachers whom he selected, was held every year. The
Methodists were divided into classes, with a leader to each class, and a
weekly class-meeting was held. Love-feasts were also established, and
any grave sin was visited by exclusion from the society. The effect of
this earnest and well-arranged effort at reform was very great; not only
on the Methodists themselves, who were principally among the poorer
classes, especially miners and people out of reach of ordinary Church
influences, and who at his death in England and America numbered nearly
110,000, but also on the Church, by exciting that warmth and emulation
which we have seen was at the time so much wanted. Although its
influence was thus great and excellent, it must not be concealed that,
as was natural, enthusiasm produced some eccentricities which will
explain a good deal of the opposition which Wesley undoubtedly met with
among the higher classes and among careless Churchmen.

[Sidenote: The nation asserts its opinion in opposition to Parliament.]

As in wealth and religion, so in its political tendencies, this period
was one of growth and of preparation for the more important half century
which was to follow. In that period was to begin the second phase of the
political change introduced at the Revolution:--the gradual assertion by
the nation of their right to proper representation in Parliament. There
were signs that the people at large were already growing weary of the
influence of a few great nobles, of the squabbles of aristocratic
parties for their own personal aggrandizement, and of the secresy in
which the conduct of their nominal representatives was veiled. It is
thus that the Opposition could generally rouse an almost irresistible
expression of feeling by appealing from the overwhelming majority of
Parliament to the passions of the nation. It was thus that Pitt,
regarded as a disinterested and patriotic man, without any of the usual
sources of influence, became the most popular and powerful statesman in
the country; and thus when, in 1752, Mr. Murray charged with
interrupting the high bailiff at a Westminster election, refused to
kneel to the House, and was consequently imprisoned during the session,
he was led in triumphal procession by the sheriffs of London and
Middlesex. Indeed, the privileges claimed for the members of the House
might alone have sufficed to excite opposition. We hear that the very
rabbits, fish, and footmen of the members were taken under the august
protection of the House.

[Sidenote: Pelham's death gives the Government to Newcastle. 1754.]

The term of the existing Parliament was just over, and it seemed as if
the same quiet course would be pursued in the following one, when all
such ideas were overthrown by the unexpected death of Henry Pelham. His
death broke the tie which connected so many able men of varying
opinions, and it became evident that parliamentary and party struggles
would again occur. The King is said to have exclaimed, "Now I shall have
no more peace." Upon the Duke of Newcastle fell the task of attempting
to continue the existing Government. He himself took his brother's place
at the head of the Treasury; he appointed Henry Legge as his Chancellor
of the Exchequer. But it was not easy to supply Pelham's place as leader
of the House of Commons. The choice seemed to lie between Henry Fox, who
was Secretary at War, a friend and protégé of the Duke of Cumberland,
Pitt, who was Paymaster, and Murray, who was Attorney-General. Pitt,
personally disagreeable to the King, and moreover at this time in ill
health, was not to be thought of; Murray's ambition was confined to the
law; the Duke therefore applied to Fox. But they quarrelled about the
arrangement of patronage, of which Newcastle was very jealous; and
ultimately Sir Thomas Robinson, a man of no mark, was made Secretary,
and given the management of the House. Pitt and Fox combined to render
his position ridiculous and miserable. "The Duke might as well send his
jackboot to lead us," said Pitt to Fox. Before the new Parliament had
been assembled a month it was found necessary to make terms with Fox,
who was given a seat in the Cabinet, although remaining in his
subordinate place. This caused a permanent estrangement between the two
statesmen. With Fox's assistance Newcastle got through the year.

[Sidenote: Approaching danger from India]

[Sidenote: and America.]

But Newcastle was not the man to uphold a ministry during a time of such
difficulty as was evidently approaching. Everything pointed to a speedy
renewal of war. At the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle the limits of our
American colonies had been left undefined; while in India, where
Dupleix and Labourdonnais had inflicted heavy blows on the English
during the war, although the nations were at peace, the French and
English contrived to continue their rivalry by allying themselves with
native princes, and Clive had already rendered his name famous by the
defence of Arcot and the restoration of English power in the
Carnatic.[7] Thus there were dangers both in the East and in the West.
In America the main object of the French was to secure the valley of the
Mississippi, to connect by this channel their Canadian colonies with
those upon the Gulf of Mexico, and thus to confine the English to the
strip of country between the Alleghany mountains and the sea. The
English would thus be constantly threatened on all sides, cut off from
direct intercourse with the Indians, and from all hope of any extension
of their settlements towards the west. The French began their
encroachments by erecting forts on the Ohio river, which were to secure
the connection between the Mississippi valley and Canada. A colonial
war, in which the name of Washington first becomes prominent, arose from
these encroachments. And this local warfare continued, till it became
necessary for the Government to take the matter up. A force under
General Braddock was therefore despatched against Fort Duquesne on the
Ohio; but his careless stupidity led him into an ambush, where he
himself and a great number of his troops were killed.

[Sidenote: Newcastle tries to confine the war to the colonies.]

In spite of these hostilities, and although the existence of unsettled
questions had caused a very uneasy feeling between them, France and
England were as yet nominally at peace. And Newcastle, wholly unfit to
conduct a great war, and eager to temporize as long as possible, seems
to have tried to confine the war to matters affecting the prosperity of
the American colonies. Thus Admiral Boscawen was sent out with orders to
watch the French fleet, and attack it if it appeared bound for the Gulf
of St. Lawrence. The consequence was an engagement, in which the French
lost two ships. The rest of the fleet, to the disappointment of the
English people, reached its destination. So again, Hawke's fleet in the
Channel received strange and contradictory orders. One party in the
Council wished to act openly and declare war. Newcastle suggested that
no orders should be given to Hawke, but that he should be sent out to
cruise, and that he should be ordered not to attack the French fleet
unless he thought it worth while. Finally, instructions were given him
to attack line of battle ships, but nothing smaller, and to spare
trading vessels. He had not been gone a week when orders reached him to
destroy everything large and small between Cape Ortegal and Cape Clear.
The consequence was a large capture of prizes, and a not unfair outcry
from France and the rest of Europe against the strange conduct of the
English in seizing vessels without a declaration of war.

[Sidenote: George's anxiety for Hanover.]

[Sidenote: He makes subsidiary treaties against Prussia. 1755.]

It was plain that war could not much longer be delayed; and the King's
thoughts turned as usual to his continental dominions. Although the
importance of the crisis was universally felt, he was content to leave
England in the hands of a regency; and as soon as Parliament was over,
just before Boscawen sailed, he hurried to Hanover. Next to France, the
object of George's dread was Prussia. More than one cause of quarrel had
arisen with that country. Frederick had refused to assist in securing
the election of the Archduke Joseph (afterwards Joseph II.) as King of
the Romans, a project which Newcastle and George had deeply at heart,
believing that it would preserve the European balance and strengthen
Austria against the French. Deprived of Frederick's assistance, the plan
came to nothing. In 1753, again, a dispute had arisen about some ships
captured in the late war, and condemned, as Frederick asserted, unjustly
by the English Admiralty courts. To such an extent had the irritation
against Prussia increased, that it was confidently believed that
Frederick intended to assist the Pretender in another attack upon
England, taking advantage of the disturbance to secure Hanover for
himself. Against Prussia, therefore, George began contracting great
subsidiary treaties with the continental princes. The most important of
these were with Hesse and with the Czarina of Russia. A factory, says
Horace Walpole, was opened at Herrnhausen, where every prince that could
muster and clothe a regiment might traffic with it to advantage.

[Sidenote: They are opposed by Pitt.]

It became Newcastle's duty to carry these contracts through Parliament.
He knew the opposition they were certain to meet with, and the necessity
of finding some strong support in the Lower House; but his Cabinet was
there represented by no man of mark. He had recourse to Pitt, who held
the office of Paymaster, but he positively refused to support the
subsidies. His colleague Legge went further, and refused to sign the
warrants which were to open the Treasury. Newcastle had then recourse to
Fox, and succeeded in securing his services by removing Robinson, and
making Fox Secretary of State. But the introduction of the address at
the opening of Parliament in the autumn, when the Russian and Hessian
subsidies were recommended, was the signal for an open mutiny in the
ministerial camp. It was attacked in vehement words by Pitt, who, in a
well-known passage, likened the new coalition to the junction he had
once seen of the Rhone and the Saône; the one a gentle, feeble, languid
stream of no depth, and the other a boisterous, impetuous torrent.
Newcastle had no alternative but to discharge both Pitt and Legge from
their offices.

[Sidenote: The French capture Minorca. May 1756.]

Meanwhile the courage of the nation had sunk very low. There was a dread
of an immediate French invasion; and the Government so thoroughly lost
heart as to request the King to garrison England with Hanoverian troops.
This dread was kept alive by a simulated collection of French troops in
the north. But, under cover of this threat, a fleet was being collected
at Toulon, with the real design of capturing Minorca. The ministry were
at last roused to this danger, and Byng was despatched with ten sail of
the line to prevent it. Three days after he set sail the Duke de
Richelieu, with 16,000 men, slipped across into the island, and
compelled General Blakeney, who was somewhat old and infirm, to withdraw
into the castle of St. Philip, which was at once besieged. On the 19th
of May--much too late to prevent the landing of Richelieu--Byng arrived
within view of St. Philip, which was still in the possession of the
English. The French Admiral, La Galissonnière, sailed out to cover the
siege, and Byng, who apparently felt himself unequally matched--although
West, his second in command, behaved with gallantry and success--called
a council of war, and withdrew. Blakeney, who had defended his position
with great bravery, had to surrender.

[Sidenote: Newcastle resigns. Nov. 1756.]

The failure of Byng, and the general weakness and incapacity of the
ministry, roused the temper of the people to rage; and Newcastle,
trembling for himself, threw all the blame upon the Admiral, hoping by
this means to satisfy the popular cry. But Fox, his chief supporter, was
in no mood to risk anything by fidelity to so weak a chief. He therefore
resigned the Seals; and as Murray insisted upon either resigning or
being made Lord Chief Justice (which office was given him), Newcastle,
without support in the Commons, found himself obliged to resign also.

[Sidenote: Pitt's vigorous government. 1757.]

It was hoped that Fox and Pitt might come in together, but their quarrel
was irreconcilable. After some negotiations, therefore, the Duke of
Devonshire was made First Lord of the Treasury, and Pitt First
Secretary of State and real Prime Minister. The measures of the new
Government were in strict accordance with the principles of the party
which Pitt represented. The Hessians were dismissed, a Bill was passed
for increasing the militia, by which 32,000 men were to be called out;
reinforcements were sent to America; the enterprising and warlike
character of the Highlanders was enlisted on the side of order by the
formation of Highland regiments, a step which did more towards the
pacification of the country than any measures of coercion. Pitt also did
what he could to dissociate himself from the conduct of Newcastle with
regard to Admiral Byng. A court martial held upon that officer had been
bound by strict instructions, and had found itself obliged to bring in a
verdict of guilty, though without casting any imputation on the personal
courage of the Admiral. On his accession to power Pitt was courageous
enough, although he rested on the popular favour, to do his best to get
Byng pardoned, and urged on the King that the House of Commons seemed to
wish the sentence to be mitigated. The King is said to have answered in
words that fairly describe Pitt's position, "Sir, you have taught me to
look for the sense of my subjects in another place than the House of
Commons." The sentence was carried out, and Byng was shot on the
quarter-deck of the 'Monarque' at Portsmouth (March 14, 1757). But the
new ministry was of short duration. Pitt found himself unable to stand
up against the dislike of the King, and the want of that Parliamentary
influence which Newcastle's position as head of the Whigs, and his long
course of corruption, had gained him. He was summarily dismissed. The
King tried to get back Newcastle and his subservient ministry (whom he
used to speak of as "Newcastle's footmen"), and, after a period of
intrigue, Pitt had to consent to a compromise, giving his own talents
and popularity, and accepting in exchange the great Parliamentary
support of Newcastle. To this ministry Fox was persuaded to give his
adhesion, and to accept the lucrative post of Paymaster-General. Thus
was formed that strong Government so gloriously known as Pitt's

[Sidenote: Secret treaties of Maria Theresa.]

[Sidenote: Europe prepares for war.]

While these ministerial changes had been going on in England, our
dispute with France as to the limits of our American colonies had become
blended with a quarrel of quite a different origin, which was to plunge
Europe into a general war for several years. As early as 1745, before
the signature of the Treaty of Dresden, the Courts of Berlin and Dresden
had entered into some sort of arrangement for curtailing what they
regarded as the undue pre-eminence of Prussia. After that treaty the
Empress Queen seems to have been still more anxious for some similar
plan, and almost immediately after the termination of the War of
Succession, had entered into relations with the Czarina Elizabeth of
Russia; a treaty had been agreed to, to which there were added secret
clauses, providing that any movement on the part of Prussia against
either Russia, Austria, or Poland, should be held wholly to invalidate
the Treaty of Dresden; and in the result of a success of their arms, it
was arranged that Prussia should be divided between the three countries.
These arrangements are sometimes spoken of as the Treaties of Warsaw and
of St. Petersburg. To this treaty the Elector of Saxony, who was also
King of Poland, was a party, though without signing. In 1754, magazines
and armies were prepared in Bohemia and Moravia; the Saxon army was
collected at Pirna; and finally, in 1756, adroit flattery addressed to
Madame de Pampadour, the reigning mistress at the French Court, induced
France to join in the alliance. Louis and his ministry, ignoring the
really vital question which was then at issue with England, reversed the
traditional policy of France, rejected the proffered alliance with
Prussia, and threw the country headlong into a European war, in close
alliance with its old enemy the Austrian House.

[Sidenote: Alliance between England and Prussia.]

In accordance with the traditions of European policy it was England, not
France, who should have appeared as the ally of Austria. But a coldness
had been gradually springing up between the Courts. The Barrier Treaty
of Utrecht, by which the Austrian Netherlands were debarred from the
Indian trade, was a constant cause of uneasiness. The part which England
had taken in mediating the Treaties of Breslau and Dresden, which ceded
Silesia to Prussia, had been mistaken by the Austrian Court; although in
fact both wise and friendly, it had excited deep displeasure. Thus, when
an alliance was mentioned, the terms proposed by Austria were so high
that the English Government had no choice but to refuse them. Under
these circumstances, as Hanover could not be left exposed wholly without
friends, England turned to the opposite party and allied itself with

[Sidenote: Frederick's first campaign.]

[Sidenote: Supported by Pitt.]

[Sidenote: Foreign policy of the various parties in England.]

Frederick had already entered upon the war. The appearance of hostile
preparations had aroused his suspicions. He demanded a plain answer as
to the intentions of the Empress Queen, and on receiving an evasive
reply, he determined upon striking the first blow, although he knew that
his nation numbered but 5,000,000, while the number of the allies could
not be estimated at less than 90,000,000. He passed rapidly through
Saxony, blockaded the Saxon army in Pirna, and, collecting all his
forces, defeated the Austrians under Marshal Braun at Lowositz (Oct. 1,
1756). After this victory he rendered the relief of the Saxons
impossible, and the whole army surrendered at Pirna. Frederick occupied
Dresden, and there found and published copies of the secret treaties,
which fully justified his conduct. The French had made a false step in
plunging into the continental war. They were already successful in the
Mediterranean; already the overbearing conduct of the English, in laying
a nominal blockade on all the ports of France, had excited the general
indignation of the Continent. The real policy of that country was to
direct all their energies to the colonial and maritime war with England.
It is probable that they thought to wring from George concessions in the
colonies in exchange for the security of Hanover, which lay exactly
between the contending parties. But Pitt at once apprehended the error
they had made, and saw a great opportunity for raising the power of
England. He knew that when France was busied in the endless difficulties
of the European war, England, while subsidizing foreign troops, could
employ her real power in completing her colonial empire. He therefore
braved the charge of inconsistency, and threw himself heart and soul
into the defence of Hanover and the support of Frederick. To understand
how complete his apparent change of views was, and his courage in openly
avowing them, the principles of the party which he had hitherto
represented must be remembered. Though a section of the great Whig
party, they differed in their views both as to foreign and domestic
policy from the main body of the Whigs. To both the power of France was
an object of dread. But,--while the official Whigs desired to check it
by the preservation of the balance of power in Europe, by close
connection with the continental powers, by money subsidies, and by
occasional assistance of troops,--Pitt and his friends thought that, as
England was an island, its natural policy was to depend upon the navy;
that as trade was our proper business, so the navy was our proper
strength; that we did but weaken ourselves by entangling ourselves with
foreign politics; that our army should be entirely defensive, and that
we need have no fear of invasion while we commanded the sea. Thus while
one party upheld the necessity of subsidies and a considerable standing
army, the other wished for no subsidies, a strong militia, and a
powerful navy. The differences were not less in their respective views
of home policy. The main body of the Whigs were desirous of retaining
quite unchanged the Constitution as settled by the Revolution, and held
that power must be secured by parliamentary influence and the
distribution of patronage. In Pitt's more liberal view, parliamentary
influence should have been unnecessary--a Government pleasing to the
people, which a good Government would naturally be, would want no other
support. Pitt's alliance with Newcastle and his acceptance of his
parliamentary influence was as entirely opposed to this view as his
maintenance of subsidies to the European powers was to all appearance
opposed to his former views of foreign politics. But circumstances had
arisen which to his mind entirely altered the position of England, and
he frankly declared that it was for the sake of England that Hanover was
threatened, and that he would win America for them in Germany.

[Sidenote: Disasters of the year 1757.]

The object Pitt set before him in his new ministry was to raise the
national spirit. For this purpose he threw himself with all his
vehemence into the war, and his energy became visible in every
department. He at once assumed the whole conduct of foreign affairs,
leaving to Newcastle the jobbery he so much liked; it is even said that
the Admiralty had orders to sign his despatches and instructions without
reading them. But he was met with difficulties arising from the bad
Government and the bad appointments which he found on entering office.
It was thus, with wholly inefficient generals, that he set to work to do
what he could in the year 1757. True to his general view of employing
England chiefly on the sea, it was to expeditions to the French coast
that he at first looked for success. Before he was well seated in the
ministry such an expedition had been despatched against Rochefort under
Admiral Hawke and General Mordaunt. The fleet acted well enough, but
Mordaunt and his soldiers brought the expedition to ruin, though Wolfe
volunteered to capture the town if he might be intrusted with 500 men.
In America the same want of success met the English. Lord Loudon was
there commanding in chief, a man who was incessantly busy and never did
anything; he was graphically described by Franklin as resembling a St.
George and the dragon on the sign of an inn, always mounted on a
galloping horse, but never advancing a step. Under such leadership the
attack on Louisburg failed. Worse than this was the disaster which
attended our troops in Germany. The Duke of Cumberland, bold and
active, but no general, allowed himself to be outmanœuvred by
Marshal D'Estrées, suffered the French to cross the Weser unopposed, was
beaten at Hastenbach, and while attempting to cover the fortress of
Stade, was surrounded by the French and compelled to sign the Convention
of Klosterseven, by which it was agreed that his army should be entirely
broken up, the auxiliaries sent to their homes, and the Hanoverian
troops go into cantonments. To complete the misery of the situation,
Frederick had himself suffered a disastrous defeat at Kolin, in Bohemia,
while covering the siege of Prague. The extraordinary campaign which
saved Prussia does not belong to our history; it is enough to
understand, that with extreme rapidity he threw himself towards the
western extremity of his widespread dominions, and filled the gap which
Cumberland had left open. The great victory of Rosbach, in the
neighbourhood of the Saale, over the French and Imperialists, rendered
that flank secure for the present. Suddenly darting back again into
Silesia, where his affairs had not been going prosperously in his
absence, he completely defeated the Austrians at the battle of Lissa,
north of the river Schneidwitz, and thus rendered that flank secure

This year, so disastrous in Europe, had been marked by the signal
success of our arms in India, whither Clive, who had come home after his
brilliant successes in the Carnatic, had again returned as Governor of
Fort St. David. He had been summoned to Bengal to revenge the horrors of
the Black Hole of Calcutta, and had there laid the foundation of the
English power by the brilliant victory of Plassy.[8]

[Sidenote: Change of generals. 1758.]

[Sidenote: Success in America.]

The disasters which had met the English arms in all directions moved the
anger of Pitt, and he determined on a thorough change of generals. In
the place of Cumberland, who had shown his inefficiency in the last
campaign, Ferdinand of Brunswick, a worthy disciple of Frederick's, was
appointed to command the army of Hanover; and as the Convention of
Klosterseven was repudiated by the English, he found the defeated army
at Stade ready to receive him. Loudon gave place to Amherst and Wolfe.
It was in America that the English troops were chiefly employed. The
mouth of the St. Lawrence was guarded by Cape Breton Island and
Louisburg. At New York the Hudson falls into the sea, and from its mouth
there runs northward, nearly into the valley of the St. Lawrence, a
valley and chain of lakes, of which the first is Lake Champlain. The
fortress which holds the road is Ticonderoga. On the Ohio, as already
mentioned, was Fort Duquesne, where Fort Pittsburg now is. The French
possessions were to be attacked by each of these three points. Amherst
and Wolfe, with a fleet under Boscawen, were to capture Louisburg.
Abercrombie was to push up the Hudson and take Ticonderoga, while to
Forbes was intrusted the capture of Fort Duquesne. Working hand in hand,
without jealousy, Amherst and Boscawen succeeded at once in capturing
Louisburg, which had last year been supposed unassailable. Fort Duquesne
was also taken. Ticonderoga, strong from its situation in the midst of
water and marshes, resisted all efforts, but the line of junction
between Canada and the Mississippi was effectually cut.

[Sidenote: Victory of Creveld. June 23, 1758.]

[Sidenote: Expeditions to Cherbourg and St. Malo.]

[Sidenote: Campaign of Frederick.]

In Europe the same energy was visible. The army of Ferdinand was
reinforced by a considerable number of English troops. Prince Ferdinand
was opposed by the Count of Clermont, an unusually incapable general,
who had in fact never before seen troops in the field. He succeeded in
clearing Hanover and driving the French behind the Rhine at Creveld. He
there defeated them with a loss of some 6000 men, but found himself
unable to retain his advanced position, and recrossed the river. Pitt
had often asserted that, much as he wished to uphold the cause of
Frederick, nothing would induce him to send British blood to "the Elbe,
to be lost in that ocean of gore." But this successful campaign induced
him to change his view, and a considerable body of troops, about 12,000
in number, under the Duke of Marlborough and Lord George Sackville, were
sent to join Prince Ferdinand. These same officers had just been
employed in executing one of those joint military and naval expeditions
which Pitt seems at first to have thought the proper means by which
England should assist in a continental war. Like all such isolated
expeditions, it was of little value. St. Malo, against which it was
directed, was found too strong to be taken, but a large quantity of
shipping and naval stores was destroyed. The fleet also approached
Cherbourg, but although the troops were actually in their boats ready to
land, they were ordered to re-embark, and the fleet came home. Another
somewhat similar expedition was sent out later in the year. In July
General Bligh and Commodore Howe took and destroyed Cherbourg, but on
attempting a similar assault on St. Malo, they found it too strong for
them. The army had been landed in the Bay of St. Cast, and, while
engaged in re-embarkation, it was attacked by some French troops which
had been hastily collected, and severely handled. In spite of this
slight check it was plain that the tide of victory had changed. The
campaign of King Frederick had been marked by chequered fortune. He had
found the siege of Olmutz, in Moravia, beyond his strength, but upon the
east of his dominions had won a great victory over the Russians, under
General Fermor, at Zörndorf (August 25); and though he suffered a heavy
defeat by a night surprise at Hofkirchen, he managed his retreat so
ably, that before the end of the year he had rid Saxony of the Austrians
and again secured Silesia.

[Sidenote: Victories of the year 1759.]

The success which had marked the course of the British arms in all parts
of the world continued to attend them, and this year (1759) is one of
the most glorious in our military annals. Horace Walpole remarks, that
"it was necessary to ask every morning what new victory there was for
fear of missing one." In January came the news of the capture of Goree
in Africa, in June the news of the capture of Guadaloupe, in August of
the victory of Minden, in September of Lagos, in October of Quebec, and
in November of Quiberon. The contrast between the England of 1757,
crouching in fear within its own limits and crying for help to Hanover
and Hesse, and the England of 1759 is indeed striking. There was again a
threatened descent of the French upon England, but there was now no
craven fear of such an event. Pitt had raised the temper of the people.
The threat was regarded not only with indifference, but as a means of
acquiring further triumph. England could well defend itself. The militia
was called out and mobilized; the fleet was so large and in such order
that it could efficiently watch all the French ports. Boats for the
expedition were building at Havre; Rodney anchored in the harbour and
bombarded it for fifty hours, destroying most of the boats; Boscawen was
watching De la Clue at Toulon; Hawke was watching Conflans at Brest.
Thurot, in Dunkirk, was also blockaded. This arrangement of fleets
produced in the course of the year two great naval victories.

[Sidenote: Naval victories of Lagos and Quiberon.]

The French desired to connect their scattered squadrons. For this
purpose De la Clue attempted to come out of Toulon and to join the
fleets in the north of France. As he passed round Spain, Boscawen, whose
duty it had been to watch him, fell upon his fleet off Lagos. Three of
his ships were taken and two destroyed, while eight vessels, which had
been separated from him, were lost as they came through the straits; so
that, with the exception of two ships, the whole of his squadron was
annihilated. This was in September. In the following month a still
greater success met the English navy. Sir Edward Hawke attacked the
Brest fleet under Conflans off the point of Quiberon. He had been driven
from his watch by stress of weather, and Conflans had taken the
opportunity to come out of harbour, hoping to destroy a detached
squadron which was off the coast. But Hawke's return was too quick for
him. He made a junction with the detached squadron, and thus, superior
in force to the French, drove them back towards the coast. The French
withdrew among the rocky islets near the mouth of the Vilaine. It was
blowing a gale, and the rocky coast was full of danger. But Hawke
replied to the representations of his pilot by giving him peremptory
orders, that whatever the risk might be, he was to lay his ship
alongside of the French admiral's. "You have done your duty in showing
me the danger, now you are to obey my orders and lay me alongside the
Soleil Royal." The victory was complete: two French ships struck, four
were sunk, and the rest, all damaged, ran for shelter to the Vilaine.
This blow, together with the complete destruction of Thurot's squadron,
which had come out of Dunkirk and made a landing in Ireland, completed
the practical annihilation of the French fleet. The total loss up to
this time of the French navy was sixty-four ships, without counting
Thurot's squadron. During the same time the English had lost but nine.

[Sidenote: Capture of Quebec.]

But the great victory of the year was the capture of Quebec. To secure
Canada was one of Pitt's chief objects. Louisburg and Duquesne had
already fallen, and the country itself was thus open to his attack. The
French army was under the command of an excellent general, the Marquis
de Montcalm, who had his headquarters at Quebec. General Amherst was the
English commander-in-chief, but subordinates of more than usual vigour
were necessary for him, and Pitt, who had kept his eye on Wolfe since
the attack on Rochefort, and had seen his energy at the siege of
Louisburg, disregarding all claims of seniority, intrusted to him the
attack on Quebec. This was originally to be a combined movement. Amherst
was to march up by Lakes Champlain and George, take Ticonderoga and
Crown Point, where Abercrombie had failed last year, and thus reach the
St. Lawrence. Generals Prideaux and Johnson were to take Fort Niagara,
and then, passing down Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence, to join in
the attack on Quebec, securing Montreal on the way. Though both these
latter expeditions were successful, the difficulties met with rendered
them so slow that the combination failed. The plan was Pitt's own, and
was probably too extensive; it may be doubted whether he had sufficient
knowledge of what it is possible for an army to do. Wolfe, with 8000
men, embarked in the squadron of Admiral Saunders, and reached the Isle
of Orleans in the St. Lawrence river on the 13th of June. The expedition
experienced no disasters in the way, having fortunately captured a
vessel with some excellent charts of the river.

Quebec lies on and below the rocky edge of a plateau on the left or
northern bank of the St. Lawrence, just above the junction of the St.
Charles river, which thus covers its eastern side. On the other side of
the St. Charles the ground again rises and continues in a rugged and
difficult mass, till it sinks where the river Montmorency falls into the
St. Lawrence in a lofty waterfall. The ridge between the Montmorency and
the St. Charles is called Beauport. On this Montcalm's army was in
position, precluding the possibility of investing Quebec, to which he
had access by a bridge across the St. Charles. On the other or Quebec
side of the St. Charles, the heights on the edge of which the town is
built extend up the St. Lawrence, and are called the Heights of Abraham.
They were believed to be inaccessible to an army. The Isle of Orleans
lies in the St. Lawrence from the mouth of the Montmorency till almost
opposite Quebec harbour. As long as Montcalm's army occupied the line of
Beauport Quebec could not be invested. In that position the army was
unassailable. To draw him from it therefore was Wolfe's great object.
For this purpose frequent feints were made, but were all unavailing. One
assault indeed near the mouth of the Montmorency was attempted, but the
English were beaten off. Nor were the defenders of the town idle; again
and again were fire-ships sent down, but the skilful vigilance of
Saunders rendered all such efforts unavailing. A battery or two were
erected and the town was bombarded, but this did little or no good. It
seemed plain that from the Isle of Orleans nothing could be done. The
army was moved in succession to two points higher up the river and above
Quebec. But Montcalm would not move; he was content to send an army of
observation up the river, and the besiegers lost all hope of the
succours they had expected from Amherst and Johnson. On the 9th of
September, Wolfe wrote a despatch in which he seemed quite to despair of
success. Within a week Quebec was taken. The bold design occurred to him
of surprising the Heights of Abraham, and thus compelling Montcalm to
fight. He ordered feints to be made both up and down the river while he
quietly collected boats. As it was, they were so few in number that his
army had to cross in two divisions. Very early in the morning of the
13th of September he began his attempt. With immense toil, up a passage
so narrow that at times only one could pass, his soldiers forced their
way, and even dragged up one piece of artillery, and when the morning
came Montcalm found between three and four thousand men in position
opposite to him upon the heights. To cover Quebec it was necessary for
him to withdraw his troops from Beauport and to cross the St. Charles.
This he at once proceeded to do, and the battle began. Early in the day
Wolfe, who was on the right wing, was wounded and carried to the rear,
but before he died he had the gratification of knowing that the victory
was secured. Both armies lost their first and second in command. Five
days afterwards Quebec was surrendered. Wolfe was but thirty-three when
he died; he entered the army at fourteen, and had seen much service; a
shy, retiring, domestic man, of unprepossessing exterior and weak frame,
he owed his promotion entirely to the feeling of confidence which his
sound sense and chivalrous energy inspired. It is much to the credit of
Pitt that he should have found out his merits, and having found them out
have ventured to place so great a responsibility upon so young and
unprepossessing a person.

[Sidenote: Victory of Minden.]

While all the efforts in which the English were engaged singlehanded had
thus been successfully carried out, they had also, in conjunction with
their German allies, won on the 1st of August the great battle of
Minden. The French had early in the year taken possession of Frankfort.
Their army, strongly reinforced--for the new ministry of the Duc de
Choiseul began by being very energetic,--was divided into two; the
northern corps under Marshal Contades, the southern army about Frankfort
under De Broglie. An attempt of Ferdinand to regain Frankfort was
frustrated by De Broglie, who beat him at the battle of Bergen. The two
French armies then joined, and pressed upon the Prince till they drove
him behind Minden, a town on the left or French side of the river Weser.
It became clear to Ferdinand that a battle must be fought to save
Hanover. He therefore advanced southwards up the Weser, carefully
keeping his communications with that river open, while the object of the
French seems to have been chiefly to separate him from it. By spreading
his army so as to give it the appearance of weakness, though it was in
reality capable of rapid concentration, he induced the French to leave
an extremely strong position they had taken up upon Minden Heath, with
their right covered by the town, which was in their possession. A body
of troops, apparently detached, upon the extreme left of the allies, and
close to the Weser, was the bait by which the French were attracted.
They hoped by destroying this ill-supported detachment to cut the Prince
off from the river. But as De Broglie approached what he believed to be
the weak point, he was surprised to find the whole allied army in array
before him. Ferdinand by this clever trap brought his enemy to an
engagement upon his own ground. The battle consisted in great part of a
series of charges of French cavalry on compact bodies of the English and
Hanoverian infantry. Weary with their futile exertions, the cavalry, who
formed the centre of the French line, gave way. The line was broken, and
a charge of cavalry alone was wanted to complete the destruction of the
army. Three aide-de-camps were sent in succession to Lord George
Sackville, bidding him charge. He pretended not to understand the order,
and said he must consult the Prince in person. The same order was given
to the Marquis of Granby, who commanded in the second line, and a
vigorous charge made, but time had been wasted, and it was too late. The
victory was however rendered tolerably complete by a body of 10,000 men,
whom Prince Ferdinand had had the courage and foresight to detach from
his army, although he was already numerically weaker than his enemy, for
the purpose of cutting the enemy's communications. Lord George Sackville
was tried by court martial and dismissed from all his military

The story of the British victories of the year is completed by the
success of their arms in India, where the siege of Madras was raised,
much of the Carnatic secured, and Wandewash taken by Colonel Coote.

[Sidenote: Frederick's fourth campaign.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Torgau. 1760.]

It is necessary to say a few words about the war carried on under
Frederick's own eye. The plan of the campaign was much the same as the
last. The Russians advanced to gain the Oder, and fought and won the
battle of Zullichau over General Wedel, after which they were joined by
an Austrian army under Loudon. Against this united force the King
advanced, leaving Daun's army already threatening Berlin. He met
Saltikow and Loudon at Kunersdorf. The Russian position was forced,
seventy cannon taken, and the victory appeared complete, when suddenly
Loudon advanced with his troops and altered the fate of the day. In
these two last battles the Prussian forces had been weakened by 30,000
men, and the King, feeling certain that he was at the end of his
resources, made every arrangement for committing suicide. Unaccountably
the enemy did not advance, and he had time to collect a few troops. But
fortune was still against him; his general, Fink, with 12,000 men, was
surrounded, and had to surrender at Maxen; Dresden had fallen into the
hands of Daun. After this reinforcements from the army of Prince
Ferdinand enabled the King to continue the campaign, till the extreme
cold of winter made it necessary to go into winter quarters. The
following year Frederick still made head against his gathering enemies.
He was unable indeed to save Berlin from the hands of the Russians, but
he rescued Silesia by the victory which he gained over Loudon at
Liegnitz, and at his approach the Russians fled from his capital. He
then turned his arms against Daun, who was still master of Saxony. The
fearful battle of Torgau was fought, where the victory was secured to
the Prussians, but at the cost of 14,000 men; the Austrians are said to
have lost 20,000. This was the last pitched battle of the war.

[Sidenote: Pre-eminence of Pitt.]

[Sidenote: The King dies. Oct. 25, 1760.]

The constant success of his schemes raised Pitt to the highest eminence
of power. His ministry was unopposed. Year by year he was enabled,
without difficulty, to carry through the House a subsidy of £670,000 to
the Prussian King, and to set his estimates at from twelve to twenty
millions, a sum before this unheard of. His power over the House was
absolute; members were actually afraid of replying to him, and the only
difficulty which met him was the temper of his relative Temple, who
insisted upon receiving the Garter, and almost shipwrecked the ministry
by his selfish claims. It was at this moment of prosperity that the King
suddenly died, and, as had long been expected, a change took place in
the counsels of the Sovereign.



                Born 1738=Sophia-Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
      |        |        |        |                |        |        |    |
  George Frederick, William  Edward = Victoria Ernest Augustus, Adolphus,|
  IV.    Duke of     IV.    Duke of |of Saxe-  King of Duke of  Duke of  |
         York.    (Duke of  Kent.   |Coburg.  Hanover. Sussex. Cambridge.|
        d. 1827. Clarence.) d. 1820.|         d. 1851. d. 1843. d. 1850. |
                                  Victoria.                              |
     |               |          |                |            |       |
  Charlotte=King  Augusta. Elizabeth=Frederick  Mary=Duke  Sophia. Amelia.
  of Wurtemberg.                    of             of
                               Hesse-Homburg.   Gloucester.

                           CONTEMPORARY PRINCES.

      _France._        |     _Germany._        |     _Spain._
    Louis XV., 1715.   | Francis I.,    }1745. | Charles III., 1759.
    Louis XVI., 1774.  | Maria Theresa, }      | Charles IV., 1788.
    Republic, 1793.    | Joseph II., 1765.     | Ferdinand VII., 1808.
    Napoleon, 1804.    | Leopold II., 1790.    |
   Louis XVIII., 1814. | Francis II., 1792.    |

          |   _Prussia._
          | Frederick II., 1740.
          | Frederick William II., 1786.
          | Frederick William III., 1797.

       _Russia._         |     _Denmark._        |    _Sweden._
    Elizabeth, 1741.     | Frederick V., 1746.   | Adolphus, 1751.
    Peter III., 1762.    | Christian VII., 1765. | Gustavus III., 1771.
    Catherine II., 1762. | Frederick VI., 1808.  | Gustavus IV., 1792.
    Paul I., 1796.       |                       | Charles XIII., 1809.
    Alexander, 1801.     |                       | Charles XIV., 1818.

   POPES.--Clement XIII., 1758. Clement XIV., 1769. Pius VI., 1775.
                         Pius VII., 1800.

      _Archbishops._              |    _Lord Chancellors._
    Thomas Secker, 1758.          | Lord Northington, 1757.
    Frederick Cornwallis, 1768.   | Lord Camden, 1766.
    John Moore, 1788.             | Charles Yorke, 1770.
    Charles Manners Sutton, 1805. | In Commission, 1770.
                                  | Lord Bathurst, 1771.
                                  | Lord Thurlow, 1778.
                                  | Lord Loughborough, 1783.
                                  | Lord Thurlow, 1783.
                                  | Lord Loughborough, 1793.
                                  | Lord Eldon, 1801.
                                  | Lord Erskine, 1806.
                                  | Lord Eldon, 1807.

      _First Lords of the Treasury._     _Chancellors of the Exchequer._
    Oct.  1760. Newcastle.             Oct.  1760. Legge.
    May   1762. Bute.                  March 1761. Barrington.
    April 1763. Grenville.             May   1762. Dashwood.
    July  1765. Rockingham.            April 1763. Grenville.
    July  1766. Grafton.               July  1765. Dowdeswell.
    Sept. 1767. Mansfield.             July  1766. C. Townshend.
    Dec.  1767. Grafton.               Sept. 1767. Mansfield.
    Jan.  1770. North.                 Dec.  1767. North.
    March 1782. Rockingham.            March 1782. Cavendish.
    July  1782. Shelburne.             July  1782. Pitt.
    April 1783. Portland.              April 1783. Cavendish.
    Dec.  1783. Pitt.                  Dec.  1783. Pitt.

      _Secretaries of State._
    Oct.  1760 { Pitt.
               { Holderness

    March 1761 { Pitt.
               { Bute.

    Oct.  1761 { Egremont.
               { Bute.

    May   1762 { Egremont.
               { G. Grenville.

    Oct.  1762 { Egremont.
               { Halifax.

    Sept. 1763 { Sandwich.
               { Halifax.

    July  1765 { Conway.
               { Grafton.

    May   1766 { Conway.
               { Richmond.

    Aug.  1766 { Conway.
               { Shelburne.

    Dec.  1767 { Weymouth.
               { Shelburne.

    Oct.  1768 { Weymouth.
               { Rochford.

    Dec.  1770 { Sandwich.
               { Rochford.

          1771 { Suffolk.
               { Rochford.

    Oct.  1775 { Suffolk.
               { Weymouth.

    Nov.  1779 { Hillsborough.
               { Stormont.

    March 1782 { Fox.
               { Shelburne.

    July  1782 { T. Townshend.
               { Grantham.

    April 1783 { Fox.
               { North.

    Dec.  1783 { Carmarthen.
               { Sydney.

[Sidenote: Bute's influence over the young King. 1760.]

[Sidenote: George's view of royalty.]

On the 25th of October news was brought to the Prince of Wales that his
grandfather was dead. It was an event which must have been for some time
expected, and George III. and his friends were prepared for it. His
training had been somewhat peculiar. The Princess of Wales, his mother,
had kept him much secluded, and his education had been chiefly withdrawn
from the hands of the distinguished men whom the King had given him as
governors, and intrusted to sub-preceptors of the Princess's own
choosing. Her constant friend and adviser in this and other family
matters had been Lord Bute, who had thereby acquired the greatest
influence over the young King. It was understood that henceforth his
advice would chiefly regulate the policy of the Crown. His influence and
that of the teachers he had selected, some of them it is believed
nominated by Bolingbroke, had all tended politically in one direction,
so much so that complaints had been made, though uselessly, to the late
King of the unconstitutional precepts which his heir was being taught.
The views with which the young Prince's mind was filled were those which
Bolingbroke had developed in "The Patriot King." The beneficent rule of
a powerful monarch governing his people by his own will, but for their
good, was the ideal he had been taught to set before him. It was pointed
out to him that since 1688 the will of the sovereign had been held
captive by that great Whig party which had produced the Revolution and
secured the Hanoverian succession. And it had been impressed upon him
that it was his duty to free the prerogative from this state of
servitude, and to annihilate party government by restoring to the Crown
its freedom of choice and action. It was with the deliberate intention
of carrying out this plan that the King began his reign. Nor was the
plan, had it been properly executed, either impossible or unjust. It was
felt that the old party divisions were in fact obsolete, that Whig and
Tory, in the sense of Hanoverian and Jacobite, were things of the past;
and that it was highly detrimental to the public service that able and
loyal men should be excluded from all share of the Government because,
very frequently on only hereditary grounds, they belonged to a party
opposed to the great Whig connection. Yet such had been the case.
Parliamentary contests had, till Pitt's accession to power, been nothing
but greedy struggles for place and power between two sections of the
Whig party which had separated in 1716. Had the King made use of his
present popularity, and of that advantage which he possessed over his
predecessors in his English birth, to exercise his prerogative of choice
in selecting eminent men from all parties for his ministry, and had he
taken for his chief minister a man who stood well with the nation, the
feeling of the country would almost certainly have gone with him.
Unfortunately his somewhat narrow intellect and his restricted education
made him unable to take a wide view of his position, filled him with a
vehement prejudice against the whole Whig party, and made him rest for
support on the personal friendship of a second-rate man, who laboured
under the unpopularity attending his Scotch birth and his supposed
favour with the Princess of Wales.

The behaviour of the young King was at first all that could be desired.
In his family relations indeed he was nearly always respectable. He
still further added to his popularity by directing a change in the law
with regard to the judges, so that their commissions no longer
terminated with the death of the King. They henceforward held their
commissions for life, unless deprived of them at the joint petition of
the two Houses of Parliament. They were thus rendered absolutely
independent of Court favour.

[Sidenote: First signs of change. 1761.]

The six months which elapsed before the dissolution of Parliament passed
without any great changes, although there was no lack of indication of
what was coming. The King's name was constantly put forward. Newcastle,
who had kept all patronage in his hands, found places filled without his
knowledge, and complained that he was met with the uniform answer that
it was the King's desire; and Bute openly rebuked Lord Anson for filling
the Admiralty boroughs without consulting the King. With the dissolution
of Parliament the changes in the ministry began. Legge gave place at the
Exchequer to Lord Barrington; Charles Townshend became Secretary at War,
and Dashwood, another follower of Bute's, took the place that Townshend
vacated, while four days afterwards (March 25th) Bute was appointed one
of the Secretaries of State in the place of Lord Holderness, who had
been removed and handsomely compensated. The admission of Bute to the
ministry could hardly fail to produce the dismissal of Pitt, for on
the great question of the day they were in direct antagonism. Bute, in
pursuance of his policy of opposition to all that the Whigs had done,
was determined if possible to break off the English connection with the
Continent; and, unable to see the difference between buying troops from a
Prince of Hesse and assisting the greatest monarch of the time in a war
from which England was reaping nothing but benefit, he intended to refuse
the payment of the King of Prussia's subsidy, and was strongly bent upon

[Sidenote: The campaign of 1761 produces a desire for peace.]

Frederick's own campaign of 1760 had closed, as has been already said,
with the dreadful battle of Torgau, and the same year Prince Ferdinand
had held the French in check, worsting them at Warburg, but had been
unable to keep them out of Göttingen and Cassel; and the hereditary
Prince of Brunswick, detached to the siege of Wesel, had been defeated
at Kloster-Campen. In 1761 the campaign was continued, and the Duke of
Broglie was driven back to the Maine and beaten at Langen-Saltza. But
Prince Ferdinand was not strong enough to keep what he had regained. The
French again advanced, and in June the Prince of Soubise joined the Duke
de Broglie, and they together moved forward to the Lippe. They were
defeated at Kirch-Denkern, but the effect of the victory was small, and
both armies closed the year in much the same position as they began it.
These campaigns, resulting in little but loss of life, and the exertions
which they entailed, and which had brought France to the verge of
bankruptcy, had become intolerable; and early in the year De Choiseul
had induced both Austria and Russia to consent to negotiations at
Augsburg. But as the connection of England with the continental question
was accidental, and her quarrel with France quite separate from it, it
was thought expedient that a separate arrangement should be made between
the two countries. For this purpose M. de Bussy was in June sent to
England and Mr. Hans Stanley to Paris.

[Sidenote: Separate negotiations between France and England. June 1761.]

[Sidenote: Pitt opposes peace.]

[Sidenote: Suspecting the existence of the Family Compact.]

[Sidenote: Pitt resigns. Oct. 5, 1761.]

The terms offered by the French were not unreasonable. The difficulties
lay in Pitt's views as to the rights of England, which were undoubtedly
very high. He had, as he said that he was able to do, raised England
from her degradation. He had done this by means of a successful war, and
had no mind to lose his work or to consent to what would be but a mere
cessation of hostilities. He would have, he said, no new Peace of
Utrecht. Choiseul's first offer (on the 26th of March) was, that each of
the belligerents should keep what they held in Europe on the 1st of May,
in West India and Africa on the 1st of July, and in India on the 1st of
September. Pitt refused this, insisting that the date fixed in all cases
should be that of the signature of the treaty. He was hoping in fact
that fresh victories would improve his position; nor was he
disappointed. Before the end of July Belleisle, an island which must be
considered an integral part of France, Dominique in the West Indies, and
Pondicherry in the East, were added to our conquests. The territorial
arrangements were for the most part easily settled; but three demands of
the French Pitt obstinately refused to grant. These were the restoration
of one of her African settlements and Belleisle in exchange for portions
of Germany then in her possession--these Pitt demanded without exchange;
secondly, compensation for prizes taken before the declaration of war,
and lastly, the withdrawal of all English troops from Germany. As the
first of these demands was not unreasonable, as the second was obviously
just, and the third belonged, and could probably have been transferred,
to the general Congress, Pitt would scarcely have refused them had he
not seen reason for believing that the propositions of the French were
hollow. The fact is, he was already beginning to suspect, and more than
suspect, the existence of a treaty inimical to English interests between
France and Spain. Ever since the accession of Charles III. to the
Spanish throne, in the year 1759, the two Courts had been gradually
approaching one another; and the policy which Marlborough's wars had
been designed to check was gradually winning its object. In July De
Bussy, on presenting the draft of the proposed treaty, appended to it
certain claims on the part of Spain, desiring that these might be
settled at the same time as the French claims. Pitt was naturally
indignant at this, and haughtily replied, that France was "not at any
time to presume a right of intermeddling in such disputes between Great
Britain and Spain." The Spanish minister, General Wall, owned that he
was cognizant of the measure, but expressed peaceful wishes with regard
to England. However, though Bristol, the English minister at Madrid, had
been so completely deceived that he continued to assert the friendly
disposition of the Spanish Court, the correctness of Pitt's surmises
became evident, when in August the arrangement known as the Family
Compact was signed. By this treaty the Bourbon houses of Spain and
France contracted a close and perpetual alliance. Besides France and
Spain the Bourbon Princes of Naples and Parma were to be admitted to it.
There was a secret clause binding Spain to declare war on England if
peace was not made before May 1762. The knowledge of this treaty induced
Pitt not only to break off negotiations, but to determine upon war with
Spain, for which he immediately made preparations, planning a great
expedition against Havannah in the West and Manilla in the East Indies.
With his usual haughtiness, he urged these measures upon the Council,
but Temple alone supported him. He indignantly declared that he would
not be responsible for measures he did not manage, and on the 5th of
October resigned. Thus terminated that splendid administration which had
raised England from the depths of degradation to a position of
first-rate importance in Europe.

[Sidenote: Bute virtual minister.]

[Sidenote: War with Spain. 1762.]

Bute was at once practically supreme in the Council, although he had yet
to rid himself of Newcastle. He was afraid of Pitt's popularity, and did
his best to injure him by persuading him to accept a pension, and the
title of Lady Chatham for his wife, hoping by that means to make it
appear that Pitt was not hostile to his Government, or at all events to
wreck his popularity, which rested largely on the public belief in his
disinterestedness. Lord Egremont became Secretary in his place. Before
the year was over Pitt's wisdom was vindicated. The change of ministry
in England and the safe arrival of the treasure-ships, which Pitt would
have forestalled, changed the tone of the Spanish Government, and even
the pacific Bute found it necessary to declare war in January 1762.
Already the impossibility of Bute's peaceful view was demonstrated, but
he none the less prevented the payment of the Prussian subsidy; although
this looked very like a breach of faith, it could be urged in
extenuation that Frederick's need was much lessened by the death of the
Czarina and the accession of Peter III., a devoted friend and admirer of
the Prussian King. Bute's policy was indeed so completely opposed to
that of his predecessors, that there is reason to believe that he even
used his influence to induce Russia to withdraw from its new alliance.
This change of policy afforded Newcastle, who was conscious that he was
sooner or later to be got rid of, an opportunity of leaving the ministry
with dignity. On his resignation Bute at once named himself Prime
Minister, and proceeded to carry out, in some points at least, his
favourite principles. These were peace at almost any price, and the
abandonment of continental connections, the increase and restoration of
the power of the Crown, and Government without bribery. But these
aspirations degenerated in practice into a war, which was successful
owing to his predecessor's arrangements, a vindictive assault upon the
Whig party, and the most shameless corruption ever practised in England.
The expeditions which Pitt had planned were carried out. Martinique,
held to be impregnable, and with it Granada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent,
were captured by a squadron under Rodney, and this was but a
stepping-stone to the capture of the still greater prize--Havannah. The
expedition against the Philippine Islands was equally successful.

[Sidenote: Terms of the peace. Nov. 3, 1762.]

[Sidenote: Close of the Seven Years' War.]

But Bute, in his eagerness for peace, did not even wait to hear the
result of the expeditions, but at once reopened peace negotiations with
France. Left to himself, he would have taken no account of the last
great conquests. Councillors less anxious for peace succeeded in getting
them exchanged for Florida. In November the peace was signed. The
conditions were much the same as those of the preceding year. America
passed wholly to the English, the French keeping the rights of fishing
round Newfoundland. England kept Tobago, Dominica, St. Vincent, and
Granada, but restored Martinique and St. Lucia. Minorca and Belleisle
were to be exchanged. The French evacuated their conquests in Germany,
but on the other hand--and this was a concession Pitt had refused--Goree
was restored to France, and the English army was withdrawn from Germany.
In India the French were to have no military establishment, but their
factories were restored. All claims on the part of Spain were entirely
rejected. On the whole, the peace, though it did not destroy the House
of Bourbon, as Pitt would have wished, probably gave England as much as
she had a right to expect. The conclusion of the treaty was rendered
easier by Frederick's continued successes in Germany. Although the
Czarina Catherine, who had succeeded Peter, had reverted to the old
policy of Russia, and withdrawn her troops from Frederick's assistance,
he had been able to retain his superiority throughout the campaign.
Prince Ferdinand had gained fresh successes in Westphalia, and had taken
Cassel from the French; while Prince Henry, the King's brother, had won
a victory at Freiberg, which closed the Seven Years' War.

[Sidenote: Attack on the Whigs. Feb. 10, 1763.]

[Sidenote: Bute resigns. April 8, 1763.]

[Sidenote: He names Grenville as his successor.]

Bute, while thus obtaining peace, though in a way so irritating to our
German friends that England stood henceforward absolutely without
allies, had been carrying on his vindictive attack upon the Whigs. The
opportunity selected for this purpose was the passage of the peace
through Parliament. Grenville, a man of firmness, but without commanding
abilities, and deficient in tact, had taken Pitt's place as Leader of
the House of Commons. But he was not regarded as strong enough to make
head against the opposition which was expected, for the Whigs of all
sections, conscious of Bute's designs against them, were beginning to
combine. Bute selected a man of greater powers to assist him. He
bargained with Fox (whose conscience was not scrupulous when money was
to be made) to assume the lead of the House. It was hoped that he might
bring some Whigs with him. This he found himself unable to do, and with
consummate audacity set to work to purchase a majority. The Paymaster's
office became in fact a shop for the purchase of votes, £200 being the
least price given. Against such a majority all efforts were of course
useless, and the peace received the approbation of Parliament. After
this victory vengeance began. The Duke of Devonshire, the head of the
great Whig house of Cavendish, for declining to attend a Cabinet
Council, was rudely deprived of the office of Chamberlain, and the King
with his own hand scratched his name off the list of Privy Councillors.
All placemen who had voted against the peace were dismissed. Newcastle
and Rockingham were removed from their Lord Lieutenancies, and even the
meanest officers of the administration--tax-gatherers and customhouse
officers, who owed their places to Whig patronage, were removed. Bute
appeared triumphant. Even the cider tax, a ridiculously unfair excise
suggested by the ignorance of Dashwood, his Chancellor of the Exchequer,
was carried by a large majority in his venal House. Suddenly Bute
resigned. It is difficult to explain why. Perhaps it was because he was
conscious of the unpopularity he had incurred. His Peace of Paris was
distasteful to the nation; he had driven from office Pitt, the favourite
of the people; he was a Scotchman; the voice of scandal constantly
coupled his name with that of the Princess Dowager of Wales, and the
odious name of favourite was indissolubly attached to him. Whether well
or ill founded, his unpopularity had reached such a pitch, that he was
afraid to leave his house without a bodyguard of prize-fighters. Perhaps
experience had taught him his unfitness to conduct the Government.
Perhaps, and this was the general belief of the time, he preferred the
irresponsible power of the favourite to the dangers and responsibility
of the minister. He named Grenville for his successor, and as he had
always used him as his creature, he probably still hoped to find him a
pliant tool. In this he was disappointed; and though for a few years he
doubtless had much private influence with the King, this part of his
career has been much exaggerated, and he himself complained bitterly of
the King's ingratitude.

[Sidenote: The Triumvirate ministry. 1763.]

[Sidenote: Bedford joins the ministry.]

With Grenville the Secretaries of State, Lord Egremont and Lord Halifax,
were regarded as holding the direction of public affairs. This ministry
has therefore been sometimes called The Triumvirate. Bute found them by
no means ready to accept his interference, and soon began to intrigue
against them. Grenville more than once complained to the King of his
want of confidence. The sudden death of Lord Egremont gave an
opportunity for a change in the ministry, and Bute so far changed his
former policy as to recommend the King to send for Pitt. A long
interview with the King, in which Pitt stated the necessity of bringing
back some of the Whig connection to power, left him with the impression
that he was to be minister, and he wrote to the Whig chiefs accordingly.
But two days after, on a second interview, he found matters changed. The
King wished the Earl of Northumberland, Bute's intended son-in-law, to
be Prime Minister, and desired several of the present ministry to be
retained. This Pitt would not hear of, designating Temple, Devonshire,
and others who had just fallen under the King's displeasure, as his
colleagues. The negotiation was broken off. Probably on the day which
intervened between the two interviews Bute had changed his mind. In
carrying through the peace negotiations he had been assisted by that
section of the Whigs which was under the influence of the Duke of
Bedford. It is to this section that Fox belonged. The Duke, though of a
retiring character, was now induced to accept office by a false rumour,
that Pitt had expressly declared that he would not admit him to any
Government of which he was the chief. A mixed ministry of the followers
of Grenville and Bedford was formed, and is generally known by the name
of the Bedford Ministry. The Secretaries of State were Halifax and Lord
Sandwich, a man of mean character and licentious morals.

[Sidenote: The trial of Wilkes. 1763.]

The new ministry met Parliament on the 15th of November, and both Houses
were at once occupied with questions with regard to Wilkes. The
unpopularity of Bute had found expression in numerous pamphlets. Among
the Opposition writers was Wilkes, member for Aylesbury, who, in
conjunction with an author of the name of Churchill, had established a
paper, _The North Briton_, in which the favourite and his Government had
been very roughly handled, and which won popularity by unreasoning
general assaults upon the Scotch nation. He had so far exceeded the
usual practice of pamphleteers of the time as to write the names of his
opponents at full length, instead of employing initials. When the King
had prorogued Parliament (April 23rd) on Bute's resignation, he had
spoken of the peace as honourable to his crown and beneficial to the
people. This produced an attack in the famous No. 45 of _The North
Briton_. Grenville had at once proceeded against the author. A general
warrant (that is, a warrant in which no individual names are mentioned)
was issued against the authors, printers, and publishers of the paper,
and under it Wilkes was apprehended, his house and papers being also
ransacked. He at once became a political martyr. The chiefs of the
Opposition, Temple and Grafton, visited him in his prison, and he
proceeded to try the validity of his arrest. Chief Justice Pratt, before
whom the case came, held that Wilkes was exempted from arrest by his
privilege as a member; for a member of Parliament is free from arrest on
all charges except those of treason, felony, and breach of the peace,
and a libel, he said, could not be construed as a breach of the peace.
But though the law had failed to punish him, he was pursued by the
vengeance of the Government; he was deprived of his commission in the
militia, and his supporter, Temple, was removed from the Lord
Lieutenancy of Buckinghamshire. The result of the trial was received
with public rejoicings in all corners of England. This dispute between
Government and a scurrilous writer, of most licentious morals, would be
scarcely worth mentioning, although it occupied nearly the whole
session, were it not one of the proofs of the want of harmony existing
between Parliament and those whom Parliament was held to represent. It
was one of several incidents which showed that the venal House of
Commons, consisting of nominees of the Court or great families, was
rapidly ceasing to command the obedience of the people, and that the
machinery of the Constitution was thereby becoming dislocated.

[Sidenote: Wilkes is expelled by the Lower House.]

The question at once came before both Houses. In the House of Lords it
assumed a personal form. Lord Sandwich, a former friend of Wilkes, and
his associate in his greatest debauchery, but now Secretary of State,
did not think it unbecoming to produce an obscene parody on Pope's
"Essay on Man," of which Wilkes was the author, and demand his
punishment. The book had never been published; fourteen copies had been
privately printed; it had come into Sandwich's possession when Wilkes's
house was ransacked, and afterwards by tampering with Wilkes's printer.
Sandwich complained of it as a breach of privilege, for it was addressed
to him. "Awake, my Sandwich!" it began, instead of "Awake, my St. John!"
of Pope's Essay, and ridiculous notes were added, attributed to
Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester, who had annotated Pope's work. In the
House of Commons Wilkes rose and complained of his imprisonment as a
breach of privilege, but he met with little sympathy. By a large
majority No. 45 was voted to be a seditious libel, and ordered to be
burnt by the common hangman. A dangerous riot was the consequence, nor
was the operation completed till a jackboot and petticoat, the popular
emblems of the Princess of Wales and Lord Bute, were committed to the
flames to share the fate of the obnoxious publication. Further
proceedings against Wilkes were postponed by a duel in which he was
engaged with a Mr. Martin, who had grossly insulted him, and in which he
was wounded; but he was eventually expelled from his place in the House.
On the two constitutional questions which were involved in this
quarrel--the construction to be given to the privilege of members and
the legality of general warrants--the popular party was defeated, in
spite of the powerful support of Pitt. In opposition to the Courts of
Law, Parliament held that privilege could not cover a seditious libel;
and Grenville and his majority contrived to shelve a resolution which
was introduced declaring the illegality of general warrants. The whole
question excited the intensest interest; the House is said to have once
sat for seventeen hours. Wilkes, unable to withstand all the assaults
upon him, had, in spite of his popularity, been obliged to withdraw to

Grenville and his ministry had hardly completed this quarrel, in which
they had wantonly embroiled Parliament and people, when they took a
fresh step which, though well intentioned, was destined, from the way in
which it was carried out, to lose England the best of her colonies.

[Sidenote: Origin of the American provinces.]

The thirteen American provinces owed their origin to many different
causes, and were very distinct both in their character and laws. There
was, in the first place, the group of New England provinces,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire (which included what is now
called Vermont), and Rhode Island; these owed their origin to the
Pilgrim Fathers, and though the first zeal of their Puritan religion had
died away, much of the stern character of their original founders
remained among the population: their capital was Boston, almost
surrounded by the sea, and already a port of very considerable
importance and wealth; the Hudson formed their boundary towards the
west. Then there came a group of provinces originally belonging to the
Dutch, and known as the New Netherlands. These had come into the hands
of England during the war between Holland and England in the reign of
Charles II., and had been granted to the Duke of York. New Amsterdam
became New York, and Fort Orange, higher up the stream, Albany. Another
part of the same grant was New Jersey, lying between the Hudson and the
Delaware. This had been given for payment by the Duke of York to Lord
Berkeley and Sir George Carteret; the western part had been subsequently
parted with by Berkeley to the Quakers, and the whole province, which
was surrendered to the Crown in the reign of Queen Anne, was therefore
known commonly as the Jerseys, and was peopled almost exclusively by
Quakers, Presbyterians and Anabaptists. Spreading from their colony in
New Jersey, the Quakers, under their great leader William Penn, had
occupied the large province of Pennsylvania, with its capital
Philadelphia lying inland to the west. One other province belongs to
this group, Maryland, which was regarded as a sort of appendage to
Pennsylvania, but had a separate assembly of its own; the governor
however was generally the same as the Pennsylvanian governor. Below
these two groups were three great colonies, owing their origin to less
easily defined sources. Virginia, south of the Potomac, originally
founded by Raleigh, had then (by a grant of King James I.) passed into
the hands of merchant adventurers. Behaving badly, and quarrelling with
their colonists, they were deprived of their rights, and in 1624 the
colony became a Crown colony. It had been peopled principally by Church
of England men and by men of good English birth. As the oldest colony it
was the best peopled, while the birth and character of its proprietors,
who resembled English gentlemen, caused them to be regarded as the
aristocracy of the colonies. The two Carolinas had been granted to a
number of proprietors in the reign of Charles II., but, as in most other
cases, the original proprietors had quarrelled with the people, and sold
their rights to the Crown. Below these Carolinas was Georgia, founded
for philanthropic purposes as a refuge for insolvent debtors and
persecuted Germans by General Oglethorpe, the originator of the inquiry
into the English prisons in 1728. The only power not English now in
North America was that of Spain, which had received a portion of
Louisiana from the French in exchange for Florida, which they had been
obliged to cede to the English. French influence had disappeared after
the Peace of Paris.

[Sidenote: Constitution of the provinces.]

There was an infinite variety of religion, law and government in these
provinces, but in all a certain assimilation to the English
Constitution; a house of assembly, an upper house or council, sometimes
elected, sometimes nominated by the governor, and the governor himself
in the Crown colonies nominated by the King and the proprietors in
conjunction. The population appears to have been about two and a half

[Sidenote: Restrictions on colonial trade.]

[Sidenote: General suppression of smuggling.]

The old view of the use of colonies was that they should be employed
entirely for the advantage of the mother country. It was held that, by
the mere fact of their existence, and for the protection they received,
they were bound by a debt of gratitude. They were thus the constant
subject of mercantile legislation in favour of the mother country, and
by the existing navigation laws very close restrictions were laid upon
their trade. By those laws the colonies were prohibited from procuring a
large number of articles--those, namely, which formed the chief
manufactures of England--anywhere except from the mother country. They
thus became naturally one of our principal purchasers. Although their
imports into England were considerable, the balance of trade was
constantly against them--that is, taken as a whole, they constantly owed
large sums of money to England. This balance had, of course, from time
to time to be made up by payments in actual money, which was chiefly
procured by the colonies by means of illicit trade, carried on partly
with the West India Islands, but chiefly with the Spanish colonies of
America, and was illicit chiefly in that it broke the customhouse
regulations of Spain. The colonial illicit or free trade, as it was
called, was regarded in point of morality as something quite different
from European smuggling. It was carried on openly and systematically by
the best colonial merchants, and enabled the colonies to get rid of
their timber and those wooden products known under the name of lumber,
and also of a considerable quantity of their farm produce which would
otherwise have been wasted. A wise minister would not have thought of
meddling with such a business, which was in fact the only means by which
the colonists were enabled to carry on conveniently their trade with
England. But Grenville, with his narrow and legal turn of mind, could
see no difference between colonial smuggling and smuggling in England.
This he was determined to put down, and not content with the ordinary
means of repression, English men-of-war were employed in all directions
as customhouse vessels, and naval officers, people said, were degraded
into customhouse officers of the King of Spain. The effect was a
crushing blow to the trade of America. And, as if to render the position
of the colonists still more distressing, in 1764 a series of enactments
were made, laying duties upon various articles for the benefit of
England,--at the same time declaring for the first time the right of
England to raise a revenue from her colonies; and while the quantity of
money in America had been considerably diminished by the stoppage of the
free trade, the present Act was rendered more irksome by ordering all
the duties imposed to be paid in hard cash into the English Exchequer.
It was coupled, too, with another Act stopping the use of paper money in
America. Taken together, this series of arrangements had therefore
produced the following effects--a large branch of commerce, the chief
source of ready money, was destroyed; at the same time more ready money
was demanded by England; and the colonists saw themselves prevented even
from carrying on their domestic trade in the ordinary channels.

[Sidenote: The Stamp Act.]

These measures had produced retaliation from the Americans; it had been
determined that as little trade as possible should be carried on with
England. Lamb was not to be eaten, and lambs were not killed, in order
to increase the stock of sheep for the supply of the wool which was
England's great manufacture; and in all other possible ways men denied
themselves European luxuries. It has been said that the preamble of the
Act for the new duties stated the necessity for raising a revenue from
the English colonies, and at the same time Grenville had proposed a
Stamp Act as one of the means of raising such revenue. With singular
want of wisdom, though with kindly feeling, he put off bringing in a
Bill for the establishment of this tax, which would be an article of
excise or inland duty, till the assemblies of the different colonies had
stated their views with regard to it. The Americans, though probably
without any real legal grounds, drew a line between the levying of
customs and the imposing of an inland tax. It is probable that by the
strict letter of the law they were liable to both, for even the Long
Parliament had only granted temporary exemptions from taxation. But when
their attention was drawn to the intentions and claims of the English
Parliament, and when a tax, new in fact though perhaps not in principle,
was suggested to them, and a year given them to talk it over, it was
natural that their opposition should be roused. Five colonies sent
petitions against the new measures, but they were wholly disregarded,
and the Stamp Act passed without much opposition in Parliament.

[Sidenote: The King's illness.]

[Sidenote: The Regency Bill. 1755.]

The ministry seemed unusually strong--it had triumphed over Wilkes; and
its financial policy, though ruinous, had been accepted--when suddenly
the King became alarmingly ill, suffering from that loss of intellect
which afterwards incapacitated him from reigning. In alarm at this
illness, on his recovery he desired a Regency Bill to be passed. The
natural person to have appointed Regent would have been the Queen. The
King had been hastily married in the first year of his reign (1761) to
the Princess Sophia of Mecklenburg, a marriage which, as it was
contracted chiefly by the influence of the Princess Dowager and Lord
Bute, and without the will of the King, for the purpose of withdrawing
him from his dangerous love for Lady Sarah Lennox, might have been
expected to turn out ill, but which became in fact a happy life-long
union. The King however, instead of suggesting, as was natural, that his
wife should be Regent, desired to keep the appointment in his own hands.
The Government objected to this, without limitations, and suggested that
the King's choice should lie among the Queen and the members of the
Royal Family resident in England. When this Bill was brought forward it
was pertinently asked who the Royal Family were? and it became evident
that the ministry did not themselves know how to define it. They
ultimately concluded, however, that the Princess Dowager was not a
relation of her own son. In making this ridiculous assertion, and
insulting the Princess by excluding her name, they were probably
instigated by the dread of a Bute ministry in case anything should
happen to the King. In pursuance of this policy, Halifax hurried to the
King, and persuaded him that the unpopularity of the Princess Dowager
was such that the introduction of her name in the Bill would infallibly
be followed by its omission on the demand of the Commons, and the
Princess thus exposed to public insult. The King, taken off his guard,
and naturally wishing to spare his mother so public a mark of
disrespect, consented to the omission of her name. The Bill was brought
into the House of Lords and passed, limiting the regency to the Queen
and the descendants of the late King and Queen resident in England. When
the Lord Chancellor--an honest man--explained to the King what he had
done, he was much disturbed, but no entreaties of his could move
Grenville to change the Bill. Upon its introduction into the Lower House
the absence of the name of the Princess was at once remarked, and a
large majority voted for its introduction; thus making obvious to the
King the shameless trick of which he had been the victim. For this he
could not forgive Grenville and Bedford, and at once began arrangements
for getting rid of them.

[Sidenote: Negotiations for a change of ministry.]

[Sidenote: Pitt retires into private life.]

For this purpose he called in the assistance and experience of his uncle
the Duke of Cumberland, whose upright and consistent conduct had given
him an authority and importance which he had not sought. He was a firm
Whig, and had of late years regarded Pitt as the real head of that great
party. To him therefore the Duke now applied. In a long interview Pitt
explained his views and stated his terms. He demanded that an alliance
with the Protestant powers of Europe should be entered into, to balance
the Family Compact, that general warrants should henceforward be
declared illegal, and that officers dismissed for political reasons
should be restored. Everything seemed to promise success, but Pitt
wished to see Temple, to whom he was bound by ties of relationship,
party, personal friendship, and even pecuniary assistance. After his
interview with Temple it was evident that some obstacle had arisen, and
the negotiation was broken off. The fact is, that Temple, infinitely
Pitt's inferior, had come to terms with George Grenville, and was
planning a family Grenville ministry; and Pitt's lofty view of his
obligations to his brother-in-law prevented him from breaking with him.
The King was thus thrown back, bound hand and foot, into the hands of
his old ministry. They would consent to remain in their places if the
King would pledge himself to dismiss Bute from his friendship, to get
rid of Fox, now Lord Holland, from the Paymastership, turn Mr. Stuart
Mackenzie out of his place as Privy Seal for Scotland, make Lord Granby
Commander-in-Chief instead of the Duke of Cumberland, and give Ireland
to the ministry, which meant the dismissal of the Earl of
Northumberland, Bute's son-in-law, from the Lord-Lieutenancy--a mere set
of personal and vindictive conditions, contrasting finely with Pitt's
political demands. Such as they were the King was obliged to accept
them, but he could not bring himself to like or trust his ministry, and
after a strong, though not perhaps unduly strong, representation from
Bedford against the underhand employment of the King's influence against
his own ministers, he determined that he would rid himself of them, even
at the cost of accepting the Whig Houses. Pitt was again applied to,
talked honestly and simply to the Duke of Cumberland, stating as his
terms an European alliance, the abolition of general warrants, the
repeal of the cider tax, and a change in American taxation, thus in his
two sets of terms clearing himself of all complicity with the follies of
the present Government. But Temple refused to take the position of Prime
Minister except as the head of a Grenville administration, and Pitt with
infinite sorrow gave up the negotiation, sold his house at Hayes, and
declared his intention of retiring to Somersetshire, where an admiring
stranger had lately left him the house of Burton-Pynsent.

[Sidenote: Ministry of the Whig Houses.]

The Duke of Cumberland, finding that Pitt was by some means separated
from the great Whig party, applied directly to its acknowledged family
chiefs, who agreed to form a ministry, putting forward as their head
Lord Rockingham, a sporting man of sound sense and large possessions,
but no power of language or popular government.[9] Under him were the
Duke of Grafton with no parliamentary experience, General Conway, a
sensible man, but without any of the gifts of leadership, to whom was
intrusted the management of the House of Commons, and the veteran Duke
of Newcastle, to whom was given the Privy Seal, with a special
perquisite of the patronage of the Church. With the exception of Lord
Chancellor Northington, there was in fact scarcely any one of the
requisite degree of efficiency in the ministry. Its life could not be a
long one. It is fair to say that Burke, who was now first introduced to
public life by Lord Rockingham, speaks highly of him for enlargement of
mind, clear sense, and unshaken fortitude.

[Sidenote: Question of American taxation.]

This weak Government found on its hands a question of difficulty too
great for it. The Stamp Act had been very badly received in America;
there had been riots in many of the towns, involving much loss of
property; the collectors had been obliged to renounce their offices, and
the stamped paper had been destroyed. Virginia had solemnly protested in
regular form through the House of Burgesses; and a Congress of delegates
of nine or ten of the States had met at New York (October), and passed
resolutions, claiming for the provincial assemblies the exclusive right
of taxation. At home the merchants had begun to feel the effects of the
self-denying determination of the Americans, in a diminution of their
trade, and of the enforcement of the laws against smuggling, in the
impossibility of getting money payments for their goods. The sum due is
stated variously at two to three millions. During the recess of
Parliament the writings and proceedings of the ministry had an air of
weakness, and finally, unable to act vigorously themselves, they
determined to put the matter into the hands of Parliament.

[Sidenote: Return of Pitt, and his declaration of views. 1766.]

[Sidenote: The Stamp Act repealed.]

In January Parliament met, and on the 14th the subject was brought
before the House. There was a great debate. Burke then made his maiden
speech, and was followed by Pitt, who had not yet expressed his views,
and had indeed absented himself from the House for a year. Expectation
was raised to the highest pitch, and in a magnificent speech he
declared, what till that moment had in England been scarcely thought of,
that Parliament had _no right_ to tax the colonies, for taxation and
representation went hand in hand. He however, like the Americans, drew a
line between taxation and customs. Customs he regarded in the light of
trade regulations, and therefore in the hands of the Imperial
Legislature. After a speech of weak acquiescence from Conway, Grenville
made an able reply; he exposed the fallacy of distinguishing between
taxes and duties, alleged many instances of the taxation of
unrepresented bodies, and charged the Americans with ingratitude for
declining to pay for a war so entirely in their own interest as the
last. Pitt, though he had spoken, was, contrary to the rules of the
House, called upon by the general voice to speak again. He rose, and
declared himself ready to answer Grenville on every point. His reply was
such as a statesman must make to a lawyer. "I rejoice," he cried, "that
America has resisted; three millions of people so dead to all the
feelings of liberty as voluntarily to submit to be slaves would have
been fit instruments to have made slaves of the rest." He had not come
down with the "statute book doubled down in dog's ears to defend the
cause of liberty," and as to gratitude, he supposed that all the
bounties to America were for English purposes. There was a trade with
America of £3,000,000 a year, and it was trade which carried England
through the last war. "This you owe to America, and shall a miserable
financier come with a boast that he can fetch a peppercorn into the
Exchequer to the loss of millions to the nation?" He closed by stating
his belief that England could crush America to atoms, but the triumph
would be hazardous. If she fell she would fall like the strong man; she
would embrace the pillars of the State, and pull down the Constitution
with her. He advised the immediate and entire repeal of the Stamp Act,
but that the other rights of Parliament, apart from taxation, should be
clearly declared. There was no doubt much weight in Grenville's
instances of imperfect representation, but they were not wisely urged
against Pitt, who in his first speech had himself pointed out in very
trenchant words the wretched state of the representative system in
England. Indeed, he almost alone seems to have understood the real
meaning of the Wilkes riots, and to have wished to bring Parliament and
the people into harmony. Pitt's bold speech encouraged the ministers to
act, and after a long examination of witnesses, among whom Franklin, who
had come over as an agent to oppose the Act, was the most important, the
Repeal of the Stamp Act was proposed and carried amid the enthusiasm of
the mercantile and liberal world on the 21st of February. For this time
Pitt's political wisdom had saved England from a disastrous breach with
her colonies.

[Sidenote: Weakness of the Government.]

[Sidenote: Pitt becomes Lord Chatham and Prime Minister. July 1766.]

Once embarked on a policy of repeal, the Rockingham ministry continued
to reverse the acts of its predecessors. The trade of America was again
fostered, and Dominique and Jamaica were made free ports; the obnoxious
cider tax was ameliorated, general warrants were condemned, as was also
the practice of depriving military officers of their commands for
political opposition. General Conway was himself the last victim of this
practice. Foreign manufactured silks were also prohibited, and thus the
clamours of the Spitalfields weavers were silenced, which, during
Grenville's administration, had produced a riot directed chiefly against
the Duke of Bedford. But, in spite of these healing measures, the
Government was never strong. The King detested it as being distinctly a
party Government, and the abilities of the ministry were not
conspicuous. They tried in vain to induce Pitt to join them. Upon the
failure of this negotiation the King was glad to have recourse again to
that great man. For the third time since the close of his administration
Pitt had the destinies of the nation in his hand. Twice his Quixotic
attachment to his friend Lord Temple had ruined his plans. He had always
aimed at a broader basis of government than mere personal or party
connection, and during his great administration had succeeded in acting
independently. There was something therefore in common between him and
the King, though no doubt their view of the destruction of party was
different. To Pitt it meant the selection of able men of all political
connections, under his own pre-eminent guidance, to form a ministry,
which should work for the national good, and be responsible to the
nation. To the King it meant the selection of efficient administrators,
without any pre-eminent minister, and answerable to himself. There was
apparently, however, enough in common between them to induce Pitt to
accept the administration, and to break off his connection with Temple,
who insisted, as a condition of his support, that the whole of the
Rockingham party should be dismissed. Pitt, on the other hand,
determined on a fusion with that party. Rockingham himself left the
ministry, but his chief supporters remained under Pitt. Grafton was
nominally Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury, Conway and
Shelburne were the Secretaries of State, Charles Townshend Chancellor of
the Exchequer, Lord Northington became Lord President, and was succeeded
as Chancellor by Pitt's friend Pratt, Lord Camden. Pitt himself
surprised the world by taking a peerage as Lord Chatham and the small
office of Privy Seal. In acting thus he no doubt miscalculated his
strength; he felt himself unable from his growing infirmities to
continue to lead the House of Commons, and believed, as he had indeed
good right to believe, that his personal character and influence would
enable him, in whatever position he might be, to blend the ministry from
whatever party he chose them into an harmonious administration. The
effect did not answer his expectations. His acceptance of a peerage was
regarded as the acceptance of a bribe, especially as his avowed
principle in the selection of his colleagues was the same as that
rendered so unpopular by Bute and the King--the destruction of party. He
thus lost his popularity; of party influence he had little or none; he
was deficient in knowledge of party tactics, which during his great
administration had been in the hands of Newcastle. His natural arrogance
had grown on him, and was rendered worse by his irritable state of
health. He tried to win the Bedford party, but would not give them
enough. He introduced a number of Tories and courtiers into the
administration, and thus shocked the great Whig party; and when, as
shortly happened, illness obscured for a time his intellect, the
ministry lost all cohesion and fell to pieces.

[Sidenote: Chatham's comprehensive plans.]

But though thus failing as a tactician, it was impossible for Pitt to be
in office without setting on foot magnificent and beneficial plans. He
immediately began the new foreign policy which he had so often sketched.
Mr. Hans Stanley was despatched to the Courts of Berlin and St.
Petersburg to cement an alliance against the house of Bourbon. But at
Berlin he met but a cold reception. Frederick, whose character was as
mean and selfish as his abilities were great, did not care in the least
for the defence of Protestantism or for the safety of England, now that
his own safety did not depend upon her friendship. Indeed, since Bute's
withdrawal from the war he had hated England heartily, and alleged the
want of continuity in English policy as a reason for engaging in no
alliances. In truth, his mind was already fixed upon his wicked plan for
the dismemberment of Poland. Pitt, now Lord Chatham, was thus foiled at
the outset, and his foreign policy failed. Two other great schemes he
was unable to bring to completion; one for the better government of
Ireland, and the other for what he saw would speedily become a matter of
the greatest importance--the regulation of our Indian conquests. He
intended to do what we have but lately seen done,--assume for the Crown
the sovereignty of India, and confine the Company to their proper and
mercantile pursuits.

In the midst of these vast schemes, having given indications that he
contemplated a Reform Bill, an India Bill, the pacification and better
government of Ireland, alliances which would have forestalled the great
alliances of his son, and a plan which might perhaps have retained
America, Chatham fell ill at Bath, and the Government ceased to have a
natural head.

[Sidenote: Chatham's illness and mental failure. Jan. 1767.]

[Sidenote: Townshend's financial measures.]

While Chatham was thus absent from his post his reckless Chancellor of
the Exchequer brought in a scheme for again raising revenue from
America. The sum was indeed a very small one--£40,000, and raised upon
tea, glass, and paper, and therefore falling, it might be urged, under
the head of those mercantile arrangements which the colonies admitted
the right of Parliament to make; but in the present state of affairs in
America it was a mere act of madness. The repeal of the Stamp Act had
been made conditional on the repayment of property injured in the
riots. This the Assemblies had agreed to only with much grumbling, and
the Assembly of New York had gone so far in its opposition to a
requisition for supplying necessaries to the troops that it had been
suspended. While America was in this irritable condition Townshend's
measure came to inflame the smouldering mass.

[Sidenote: Corruption of Parliament. 1768.]

[Sidenote: Wilkes elected for Middlesex. 1768.]

What Chatham had spoken of as the rotten part of the Constitution was,
early in the year 1768, brought into full play. There was a general
election, in which bribery and the purchase of seats were shamelessly
employed. £4000 is said to have been the average price of a small
borough. Oxford offered to re-elect its members for £7500, to be applied
to the liquidation of a corporation debt; and to show how ridiculously
inefficient the representation was, it may be mentioned that in a
population of eight millions there were only a hundred and sixty
thousand voters. The people were by this time beginning, though perhaps
somewhat blindly, to feel that the representative body did not really
represent them, and, as usual, they fixed upon one individual, and that
not a very worthy one, as a representative of this feeling. Wilkes had
already been a popular martyr and the victim of the vengeance both of
King and Parliament. He now presented himself for election in London. He
was there rejected, but immediately afterwards elected by a large
majority in the county of Middlesex. His election produced riots in
London, and the Government--contrary probably to their own judgment, and
urged by the King--determined to interfere. Wilkes was apprehended as an
outlaw, and riots ensued, which were suppressed only by the use of the
troops. Twenty people were killed and wounded. The military were not
only acquitted when tried upon the charge of murder, but were rewarded
by Government. The anger of the people increased, and in the riots which
ensued in various parts of England the point immediately at issue was
complicated with other social questions, many depressed trades taking
the opportunity of exhibiting their discontent. The Government which had
to deal with this difficulty was the Duke of Grafton's--Chatham
immediately upon his recovery had retired from it, and Lord Shelburne
had also left it. Grafton, without views of his own, had become the mere
tool in the hands of the King and his party. George was set with dogged
obstinacy upon the suppression of insubordination in America and the
destruction of Wilkes in England. Under such circumstances the war with
the people was carried to extremes. When a vacancy occurred in the
representation for Middlesex there was a fresh contest, and Glyn, a
partisan of Wilkes, was elected. In the attendant riots blood had been
shed. The murderers were convicted, but again pardoned and rewarded, and
the anger of the people became still greater. Wilkes's petitions were
neglected, and on his publishing a severe letter against Lord Weymouth,
Secretary of State, the House, instead of leaving the matter to the Law
Courts, declared it a breach of privilege, and unable to pronounce a
libel against a Peer a breach of the privileges of the Commons, they
proceeded, perfectly illegally, to have Wilkes arrested and brought to
the bar of the House, and there tried for libel. Wilkes avowed the
letter, and Lord Barrington, Secretary of War, and one of the "King's
friends," moved his expulsion. A new writ was issued for Middlesex, and
Wilkes was re-elected almost unanimously. The House voted that he could
not sit, and a fresh writ was issued, and Wilkes was again unanimously
elected. Another election was ordered, and this time the Government
contrived to get about three hundred votes for Colonel Luttrell against
eleven hundred given for Wilkes. The House declared that Luttrell was
the member. So iniquitous a decision raised Wilkes into the position of
a great popular leader, and was not carried without many vigorous
protests from the most influential members of the Liberal party. It
tended much to lessen the power of the ministry; both great cities and
great counties held meetings to express their want of confidence in the
present representation and to ask for a dissolution.

[Sidenote: The difficulties in America.]

Nor did the ministry strengthen itself by its dealings with America. The
new imposts of 1767 had been received with great indignation by the
colonists, especially in Massachusetts. There the governor, Francis
Barnard, seems to have been totally destitute of all power of
conciliation. He was backed up by Lord Hillsborough, Colonial Secretary,
scarcely more temperate than himself. The Assembly, in its quarrel with
the governor, issued a circular letter to the other colonies, calling
for their co-operation against the new taxes. They refused to retract
this step at the command of Lord Hillsborough, and were dissolved. The
difficulties of the crisis went on increasing. The customhouse
commissioners were foolish enough to capture and detain an illicit
trader; serious riots were the consequence; the commissioners were
mobbed and their houses robbed. The spirit of resistance spread. The
Society of Sons and Daughters of Liberty, who refused to use imported
goods, multiplied in other colonies. The view of the Government was not
conciliation, but coercion. Troops and ships of war were crowded into
Boston. In England the feeling was strongly against the Americans.
Coercive measures were recommended and applauded; Francis Barnard was
raised to the rank of a Baronet; the conduct of the people of Boston
gravely censured in Parliament; and at length Bedford's section of the
Whigs produced a motion which could hardly fail to excite resistance.
The Duke moved, and the Parliament applauded his motion, that as it was
probable that American juries would sympathize with their countrymen,
the rioters might be withdrawn from their country, in accordance with an
obsolete law of treason of the reign of Henry VIII. This measure, which
seemed to deprive the colonists of their first rights as Englishmen, met
with deserved execration both at home and in America. But to crown all,
and to put the ministers quite in the wrong, some general action on
their part was wanting. This want was supplied when the conciliatory
efforts of Grafton were defeated in his own Cabinet. He suggested the
removal of all taxation of America. English pride forbade the Council to
accept a measure which they thought derogatory to the rights of an
Imperial nation. Therefore, for the mere purpose of asserting the right,
they agreed to the removal of all taxes but one, and insisted that the
tax on tea should be kept. Thus the original principle of the right to
tax was upheld, and the sting still left to rankle in the minds of the

[Sidenote: Letters of Junius.]

The unpopularity which their conduct had brought on the ministry was
increased by the vigorous and bitter assaults of Junius. This anonymous
writer, probably Sir Philip Francis, lost no opportunity of attacking,
with the greatest animosity, the Duke of Grafton and his supporters, not
even sparing the King, and by his bold assaults, excellent style, and by
the mystery which hung over him, drew upon himself much public
attention, and directed men's minds to all the weaknesses of the

[Sidenote: Weakness of the ministry.]

[Sidenote: Camden, Granby and Grafton resign.]

The incompetency of the ministry was indeed becoming obvious. In the
first place it was divided within itself. The Prime Minister, with the
Chancellor and some others, were remnants of the Chatham ministry and
admirers of Chatham's policy. The rest of the Cabinet were either men
who represented Bedford's party, or members of that class whose views
are sufficiently explained by their name, "the King's friends." Grafton,
fonder of hunting and the turf than of politics, had by his indolence
suffered himself to fall under the influence of the last-named party,
and unconstitutional action had been the result which had brought
discontent in England to the verge of open outbreak. Hillsborough, under
the same influence, was hurrying along the road which led to the loss of
America. On this point the Prime Minister had found himself in a
minority in his own Cabinet. France too, under Choiseul, in alliance
with Spain, was beginning to think of revenge for the losses of the
Seven Years' War. A crisis was evidently approaching, and the Opposition
began to close their ranks. Chatham, yielding again to the necessities
of party, made a public profession of friendship with Temple and George
Grenville; and though there was no cordial connection, there was
external alliance between the brothers and the old Whigs under
Rockingham. In the first session of 1770 the storm broke.
Notwithstanding the state of public affairs, the chief topic of the
King's speech was the murrain among "horned beasts,"--a speech not of a
king, but, said Junius, of "a ruined grazier." Chatham at once moved an
amendment when the address in answer to this speech was proposed. He
deplored the want of all European alliances, the fruit of our desertion
of our allies at the Peace of Paris; he blamed the conduct of the
ministry with regard to America, which, he thought, needed much gentle
handling, inveighed strongly against the action of the Lower House in
the case of Wilkes, and ended by moving that that action should at once
be taken into consideration. At the sound of their old leader's voice
his followers in the Cabinet could no longer be silent. Camden declared
he had been a most unwilling party to the persecution of Wilkes, and
though retaining the Seals, attacked and voted against the ministry. In
the Lower House, Granby, one of the most popular men in England,
followed the same course. James Grenville and Dunning, the
Solicitor-General, also resigned. Chatham's motion was lost, but was
followed up by Rockingham, who asked for a night to consider the state
of the nation. Grafton found it nearly impossible to prop up his falling
ministry; the Great Seal went, as Lord Shelburne said, a-begging.
Charles Yorke was indeed induced to take it in spite of his former
political connections, but, overwhelmed apparently by the coldness of
his former friends, he committed suicide. Grafton thus found himself in
no state to meet the Opposition, and in his heart still admiring
Chatham, and much disliking business, he suddenly and unexpectedly gave
in his resignation the very day fixed for Rockingham's motion.

[Sidenote: Want of cordial alliance among the Opposition.]

The Opposition seemed to have everything in their own hands, but there
was no real cordiality between the two sections. The Rockingham party
despised the City friends of Chatham, who, under the leadership of Lord
Mayor Beckford, had become prominent in the Wilkite riots, and since
that time by a somewhat impertinent use of the right which the City
possessed of directly approaching the King with petitions. They dreaded
also the paramount influence the Grenville party were nearly sure to
possess in any joint Government. On the other hand, Chatham despised the
half measures and moderation constantly advocated by the Rockingham
party. The King, with much quickness and decision, took advantage of
this disunion. To him it was of paramount importance to retain his
friends in office, and to avoid a new Parliament elected in the present
excited state of the nation.

[Sidenote: The King sends for Lord North and avoids a dissolution.]

There was only one of the late ministry capable of assuming the position
of Prime Minister. This was Lord North, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and
to him the King immediately and successfully applied, so that while the
different sections of the Opposition were still unable to decide on any
united action, they were astonished to find the old ministry
reconstituted and their opportunity gone. The new Prime Minister was a
man whose unwieldy person and want of grace seemed little to fit him for
the command of a popular assembly. His frame was bulky, his action very
awkward, and his shortsighted, protruding eyes, swollen cheeks and
over-large tongue, enabled Walpole to compare him to a blind trumpeter.
But under this awkward exterior he had great capacity for business and
administration, and much sound sense; he was a first-rate debater, and
gifted with a wonderful sweetness of temper, which enabled him to listen
unmoved, or even to sleep, during the most violent attacks upon himself,
and to turn aside the bitterest invectives with a happy joke. With his
accession to the Premiership the unstable character of the Government
ceased. Resting on the King, making himself no more than an instrument
of the King's will, and thus commanding the support of all royal
influence, from whatever source derived, North was able to bid defiance
to all enemies, till the ill effects of such a system of government and
of the King's policy became so evident, that the clamour for a really
responsible minister grew too loud to be disregarded.

[Sidenote: Triumph of the King's policy.]

Thus is closed the great constitutional struggle of the early part of
the reign--the struggle of the King, supported by the unrepresented
masses, and the more liberal and independent of those who were
represented, against the domination of the House of Commons. It was an
attempt to break those trammels which, under the guise of liberty, the
upper classes, the great lords and landed aristocracy, had succeeded
after the Revolution in laying on both Crown and people. In that
struggle the King had been victorious. But he did not recognize the
alliance which had enabled him to succeed. He did not understand that
the people had other objects much beyond his own. He saw that they felt
thus far with him, that they disliked the comparative servitude in which
he was placed, that they felt hurt at the coercion frequently brought to
bear upon him by the dominant faction, that they were willing and
anxious to assist him in breaking those ties of party, which were little
else than the ties of faction and class. Seeing this, he did not
recognize that the people were equally disinclined for the establishment
of personal government, that they wanted to strengthen the Crown and to
weaken the Whig party, chiefly as a means of attaining to a more
complete system of self-government. He believed that his own power and
his own skill had been chiefly instrumental in the success which had met
his efforts. He had no intention of allowing any of the fruits of that
success to fall to any but himself. Kind-hearted and well-meaning, he
wished to govern for the good of his people, but he distinctly wished to
govern for them and not to let them govern for themselves. It is thus
that during the ministry of North, and of those who preceded him, the
royal influence was constantly employed in repression,--repression of
all popular movements at home, repression of all attempts at liberty in
the colonies; and this principle Lord North, backed by a servile House
of Commons, was able to uphold.

[Sidenote: Grenville's reform of election petitions. 1770.]

The House was indeed notoriously under ministerial influence, and one of
the last acts of Grenville was to attempt a reform in one particular at
least. Disputed elections had hitherto been referred to a Committee of
the whole House, and had thus become the merest party questions, in
which the right and wrong of the case was never thought of. Grenville's
measure, which was carried against considerable opposition, gave the
cognizance of such questions to a select Committee, with judicial
powers, and themselves bound by oath. Even thus justice was not secured,
and though the number of the Committee was subsequently again decreased
and fresh measures taken to secure fair decisions, it has lately been
found necessary to put the settlement of election petitions into the
hands of some of the regular judges. This important measure closed the
career of Grenville; before the year was out he died. Thus Lord North
found himself relieved from an able opponent, while the Opposition lost
one of its chiefs, and became still more disorganized. About the same
time the death of the Marquis of Granby, who by his popularity had
formed a link between Chatham's party and the rest of the Opposition,
still further weakened that body, and left North with comparatively easy
work on his hands.

[Sidenote: Increased irritation in America.]

[Sidenote: Lord North upholds Lord Hillsborough's policy.]

It was the American question which still pressed for solution. Profound
anger had been aroused by Bedford's vindictive proposal, and by the
maintenance even in a single instance of the right to tax. Hitherto the
quarrel had been principally with the New Englanders, but a more general
opposition was evidently approaching when the aristocratic province of
Virginia came forward to take the lead. When a solemn demand in the
House of Burgesses for the repeal of the obnoxious measures of the
English Parliament had only produced a dissolution of the House by the
Governor, Lord Bottetort, an organized opposition was formed by men who
subsequently became the chief actors in the War of Independence. A
declaration, signed by Washington, Patrick Henry, Randolph and
Jefferson, was issued against importing British goods till the
restrictions of 1767 had been withdrawn. In Massachusetts the cry
against the troops and the King's ships was continued, and there too the
legislative assembly was prorogued. The complaint made against the
number of soldiers kept in the province, and the consequent danger of
collision, was not groundless. On the 5th of March a riot took place;
and though Captain Preston, who commanded the soldiers, gave no orders
to fire, the troops were unable to command their temper, and some blood
was shed. This "massacre," as it was called, did much still further to
embitter the feelings of the people of Boston. It is pleasant to see
that even amidst the wild political excitement Preston and his soldiers
got a fair trial, and, being defended by John Adams (afterwards
President), were acquitted. This fray happened the very day that Lord
North in England announced his determination of clinging to the policy
of Lord Hillsborough, and said he was ready to remove all taxes except
that on tea. In vain was it pointed out to him that the value of the tax
was little more than £300 a year, and that the Americans had now made up
their minds on the principle, and did not care for the mere lessening of
burdens. He persisted in his view, saying that the Americans deserved no
indulgence, and his motion was supported in the House, by 204 against
142. For a brief space the American question seemed settled.
Massachusetts and Virginia still continued loud in their expressions of
discontent, but in most parts of the continent the question now seemed
rather a small one, and the hostile measures against English trade were
generally disregarded.

[Sidenote: Affair of the Falkland Islands.]

This period of quiet lasted about three years, during which the ministry
of Lord North constantly acquired strength, though there were not
wanting signs of the great faults which characterized its policy. In the
affair of the Falkland Islands, indeed, in spite of the outcries of the
Opposition, there seems to have been no real lack either of prudence or
firmness. These desert islands had been occupied by the English as a
point of importance in the South Seas. Both French and Spaniards had
turned their attention to them also, and a Spanish settlement, called
Fort Soledad, had been formed on one of the islands. The English had,
however, no idea that their neighbours intended to dispossess them,
when, in June 1770, a force of Spaniards from Buenos Ayres arrived off
Fort Egmont, and obliged the garrison to retire. This outrage in the
midst of peace very nearly plunged the nation into war with Spain and
France; for it was Choiseul who was the instigator of the difficulty,
and the skill of Harris (afterwards Lord Malmesbury), Chargé d'affaires
in Spain, would probably have failed to avert it had not Madame Dubarry,
who had lately gained complete influence over Louis XV., seized the
opportunity to overthrow the minister. On his fall Madame Dubarry's
clique, D'Aiguillon, Terray, and Maupeou, became paramount in France,
and, as might be expected under such circumstances, that country ceased
for a time to have much influence in European politics.

[Sidenote: The liberty of reporting Parliamentary debates.]

Though this affair had on the whole been carried through with success,
there had been a certain quantity of opposition in London, showing the
unpopular character of the Government. Murmurs against the press
warrants had been heard, and opposition to them had been overruled
chiefly by Chatham's influence. But the feeling of discontent broke out
in full force the following year. Great jealousy had always been felt in
Parliament as to reports of the debates held there, and such meagre
accounts as had been published, from the memory of hearers or other
private sources, had habitually been brought out under some disguise and
with an affectation of secrecy. In 1770 this habit had passed into
disuse. The Commons, already angry with the House of Lords for having
excluded strangers, and indignant that, while the Lords secured secrecy
their own debates were publicly reported, resolved to enforce the
existing orders against some of the printers of reports. Among others,
one Miller was summoned to be reprimanded. He however refused to come,
saying he was a livery-man of the City. A messenger sent to fetch him
was himself apprehended and taken before the Lord Mayor, Brass Crosby,
and Aldermen Oliver and Wilkes. These magistrates supported the arrest
and held the messenger to bail. The House was very indignant. As the
Mayor and Oliver were members, they justified in their places in
Parliament what they had done, and were committed to the Tower. This was
a sign for a renewal of the riots attending the Wilkite difficulties.
Mobs filled the streets, and Lord North was ill used. The City took up
the part of its members, who lived in prison at the public expense; and
although the law courts held that the City was in the wrong, appearances
became so threatening that the House let the matter quietly drop; and on
the prorogation in May the prisoners were allowed to leave their
confinement in triumphal procession, and the question was not again
raised. This secured for ever the liberty of reporting.

[Sidenote: Lord North's ministry gathers strength.]

In spite of this victory the popular party in the City was losing
ground, and Wilkes was not the name of power it once had been; while
within the walls of Parliament the ministry was constantly acquiring
strength and the Opposition becoming more and more broken up. Grafton
had again consented to return to office; Lord Sandwich, a follower of
the Duke of Bedford, accepted the Admiralty. Lord Suffolk, the leader of
what was left of Grenville's party, became Secretary of State. The
Opposition was thus reduced to the party of Rockingham and such few
followers as consistently clung to Lord Chatham, but these two sections
could never work well together, and the three Whig propositions of the
year were all lost by want of union. The want of harmony between the
Parliament and the country, and the consequent need of some reform, had
been shown by the late quarrels in the City. Chatham brought in a Bill
with that object, embodying his old plan of increased county
representation. This, as it seemed the only manner of securing an
addition of independent members, and as there was not yet in existence
an important manufacturing and industrial element unrepresented, was
probably the best measure that could have been taken. But it did not
find favour with the Rockingham party, and was put aside. The same fate
attended an effort on the part of the Rockingham party to define the law
of libel, and to give the jury in such cases the right of settling not
only the fact of publication, but the character of the libel. Chatham
thought that measure should have been left for him, and a ridiculous
struggle between the two Whig sections in the House was the result. On
the third question, the dissolution of the present Parliament, which had
been the favourite object of all the City opposition and addresses,
Chatham found himself almost alone. While thus all effective opposition
disappeared, Lord North found his chief parliamentary support in his law
officers. Thurlow, his Attorney-General, and Wedderburn, his Solicitor,
afterwards Lord Loughborough, brought--the one the weight of great legal
knowledge, very strong sense, a wonderful power of invective, and a
determination of character almost brutal; the other a time-serving
readiness and facile elegant eloquence which was always at the service
of his chief.

[Sidenote: Royal Marriage Law. 1772.]

[Sidenote: Fate of the Queen of Denmark.]

Excellent as the King's domestic life was, he did not escape the family
discomforts which so constantly attended the house of Hanover. Two of
his brothers gave him much displeasure by their marriages. The Duke of
Cumberland,[10] a man of libertine life, after scandalizing the world by
appearing as defendant in a case of criminal conversation, married Mrs.
Horton, a sister of that Colonel Luttrell who had been forced upon the
electors of Middlesex; while the Duke of Gloucester now declared his
marriage with Lady Waldegrave, an illegitimate daughter of Sir Edward
Walpole. To guard against such marriages in future, the Royal Marriage
Bill was passed, which forbids any member of the Royal Family, unless
children of princesses married abroad, to marry before the age of
twenty-five without the King's consent. After that age they must give a
twelvemonth's notice of their intended marriage, which may be completed
unless it be petitioned against by both Houses of Parliament. A more
real disgrace than these marriages was the fate of George's sister,
Caroline Matilda, Queen of Denmark. Her husband was a disgusting and
licentious sot, whose villanous conduct so changed her naturally good
disposition, that it was not found difficult for her enemies to gain
credence for a story which connected her name in a disreputable manner
with a certain Struensee, at that time favourite and Prime Minister in
Denmark. This man, a physician by profession, had acquired absolute
control over the King's mind, and had speedily risen to power. His
enemies were of course numerous, and the opportunity offered them by the
Queen's conduct only too favourable. Struensee and the Queen were
suddenly apprehended by night, and the Queen, after some remonstrance
from King George, allowed to retire to Zell, where she died after a few
years, protesting her innocence. Struensee, however, was executed, and
confessed the crime with which he and the Queen were charged.

[Sidenote: Division of Poland.]

[Sidenote: Constitution of Poland.]

[Sidenote: Its peculiar institutions.]

[Sidenote: Treaty of Partition.]

[Sidenote: Balance of Power.]

From such comparatively trivial matters as royal marriages and
misconduct it is necessary to turn to what forms one of the darkest
passages in the political history of Europe. England, under the guidance
of a ministry bound to support the selfish policy of a King whose real
aim was solely the aggrandizement of the Crown, had held selfishly aloof
from foreign affairs. France had just disgraced the last capable and
vigorous minister she possessed, and lay supine under the hands of the
King's scandalous mistress. So these two great countries, to their
eternal disgrace, looked calmly on while the Eastern powers, without
reason or plea of reason, dismembered an old kingdom and reduced a noble
people to slavery. The institutions of Poland were very different from
those of the rest of Europe, and such as lent themselves easily to the
plans of encroaching neighbours. Since the failure of the house of
Jagellon (1572) the monarchy had been elective. So great a prize had
naturally attracted the notice of foreign powers, who sought to secure
the advancement of their own interests by obtaining the election of some
favourite candidate of their own. Faction within the country was the
inevitable consequence, and the arrangements of the constitution made
faction permanent. There was no middle class. The nation had not gone
through the same processes as other Western people. Nobility was easily
obtained, and each member of the nobility ranked as the peer of all the
rest. Below the ranks of the nobility came the serfs. Political power,
and also most of the executive, was vested in this wide aristocratical
democracy. Usually delegates of the nobles constituted a governing
house. Sometimes the whole body could, and did, claim the right of
legislating. In the delegates' house one veto could check the progress
of any law. If to this is added that the nation was divided by fierce
differences in religion, it will be seen that no fairer field for
foreign intrigue can be conceived. Nor, in spite of their individual
bravery, were the Poles in a position to withstand force; the nobility
still clung to their old habit of fighting on horseback, so that, at a
time when modern warfare had fairly begun, there was no infantry but
such as consisted of serfs. The strength of the army still consisted in
an irregular body of light horse. Well might the Czarina Catherine say
that anything might be had from Poland for the trouble of picking it up.
She had made the experiment. On the death of Augustus of Saxony, in
1764, Russia had compelled the Poles to elect a late favourite of the
Empress, Stanislas Poniatowsky, and from the time of his election had in
fact treated Poland as her own property. It had been the hereditary
policy of France to withstand Russian influence in Poland, and during
Choiseul's ministry this policy was continued. The Turks were induced to
make a war with Russia, which, though disastrous to them, no doubt
somewhat lengthened the dying agonies of Poland. The confederates, who
opposed in arms the reigning king and the Russian party, chiefly on the
ground that they had insisted on the rights of the dissidents or
dissenters in opposition to the orthodox Catholics, received constant
though secret help from France. The conduct of Austria also was as yet
ambiguous, and, judging by its natural interests, should have been
opposed to that of Russia. On such hopes the confederates rested.
Occasional success lured them on more rapidly to inevitable ruin. But
France was too far away to give real help. Choiseul fell before the
intrigues of the Dubarry party, and neither nation nor ministry was in a
temper or position to pursue with energy a distant and unselfish policy.
On the other hand, Austria speedily began to see more advantage in
joining the prosperous and rising powers of Eastern Europe than in
trying to prop up against them a falling cause. It became evident that
Russia would soon be absolute master of the kingdom. Frederick of
Prussia could not see such an accession to the power of his dangerous
neighbour without taking some corresponding measures, and as a Prussian
army entered and pillaged ruthlessly all the northern provinces, it
became plain that there existed some understanding between Frederick and
the Empress. The movement of Austrian troops, at first supposed to be
friendly to the confederates, soon proved that Maria Theresa, however
grandly she might write and speak, had joined in the conspiracy of
robbers; and before the year 1772 was over the treaty made early in the
year was declared; and the necessary concessions were wrung with much
violence from the King and legislature, absolutely unable to assert any
will of their own. The final ratification took place in May 1773. The
kingdom was to be partitioned. Each of the three great neighbours was to
receive a portion somewhat in proportion to its size. Russia got 87,500
square miles; Austria 62,500; Prussia only 9,465 square miles, but these
containing the best and most industrious part of the nation. What
remained was formed into an hereditary monarchy in the house of
Stanislas. It is fair to say, as an excuse for the supineness with which
England looked on at this vast national crime, that the best and wisest
of her statesmen had systematically directed their attention to the
depression of the house of Bourbon. In the system of balance of power,
as then understood, nothing was regarded as so likely to prove a check
on the power of that house as the increase of the influence of Russia.
Any movement in favour of Poland must have been in union with France and
in opposition to Russia, and would have tended at first to reverse that
action, which was generally regarded as most consistent with the safety
of English interests. In the face of recent facts (1871), it may be
clearly evident that the dangers of Europe come from the East and not
from the West; but it is not fair to blame statesmen or nations because
they did not foresee the French Revolution and its consequences, nor to
throw indiscriminate censure on the whole system of the balance of power
because it has sometimes produced disasters. As long as the social
constitution of Europe remains the same as it has been since the
breaking up of the feudal system, as long as the feeling of nationality
survives, in some form or other the balance of power is a necessary
safeguard to national independence. The fictitious divisions into which
Europe has by dynastic influences been forced, and the maintenance of
which has been the chief cause of the disrepute into which the system of
balance has fallen, have disappeared, or are disappearing, before more
natural and truly national divisions; but until these in their turn give
way to some wholly new industrial organization the undue preponderance
of one nation must be an object of dread to all the rest, and their
efforts must be directed, as events afford opportunity, to diminishing
that preponderance.

[Sidenote: American affairs. 1773.]

[Sidenote: Dunning's petition rejected. 1774.]

It is fair also to say that the ministry had enough upon their hands
already. Although there had been a comparative cessation of the troubles
in America, there had been many signs that they were by no means over.
The more advanced leaders, indeed, in Massachusetts were too determined
in their views and too skilful as managers of agitation to let the
friends of the English connection, though doubtless considerably the
larger part of the population, carry the day through their inactivity.
The discontent of the colonies had been sedulously kept alive by the
skill and vigour of the leaders of the Opposition party. In the midst of
constant quarrels with their governor, Hutchinson, an American by
birth, the Massachusetts leaders appointed a committee of twenty-one for
the purpose of organizing opposition to the Government. This step was
followed by Virginia, where, in 1773, a corresponding committee of still
wider scope was appointed; and at length two events occurred which
entirely destroyed all hope of a peaceful accommodation. These incidents
were the publication of some letters of Hutchinson, and an arrangement
with the India Company which had in reality no connection with the
quarrel. In June 1773, certain letters were laid before the House of
Representatives of Massachusetts purporting to be written by Hutchinson,
their governor, and his brother-in-law, Oliver, Lieutenant-Governor.
These letters, written in 1767 and the two following years to Whately,
the private secretary of Grenville, were of a private and friendly
character. They took a view favourable to the Government, and stated the
opinion of the writer, that a firm exhibition of authority would best
tend to check the colonial discontent. The letters had been forwarded
from England by Dr. Franklin, who was acting as agent for Massachusetts.
As they were private letters, and Mr. Whately was dead, it is impossible
that Franklin should not have known that they had come into his hands by
unfair means. He had not the least right to use them. Indeed, on sending
them to America he made a stipulation that they should not be published.
Of course such a stipulation in the heat of a political quarrel was
intended to be broken; and they were not only produced and read, and
acknowledged by Hutchinson, but published. Their effect was very great;
it seemed to the Americans as if the English Government had been urged
to all its acts of severity by a party of traitors among themselves. The
House of Representatives at once addressed the King, warmly demanding
the removal of Hutchinson from his place as governor, since he had, they
said, betrayed his trust, and given private, partial, and false
information to Government. The petition was sent to Lord Dartmouth, who
had succeeded Lord Hillsborough as Colonial Secretary, by him it was
laid before the King, who referred it to the Privy Council. The Council,
consisting chiefly of "the King's friends," met in January 1774.
Franklin, as Colonial agent, was present. The petitioners were
represented by Dunning, the great Opposition advocate. The
administration had unwisely given the affair the air of a Government
question by naming Wedderburn, the Solicitor-General, as Hutchinson's
counsel. Dunning contented himself with saying that the petitioners had
no impeachment to make, no facts to prove; they only appealed to the
King's judgment. With most unwise want of reticence, Wedderburn,
feeling himself in the presence of a very favourable audience, gave vent
to a furious diatribe against America, and more especially against
Franklin--a man, he said, to be shunned by all honest men, from whom men
would henceforth hide their papers; in short, a thief. The Council
heard, laughed, and applauded. Franklin stood unmoved, no muscle showing
how much he felt the insult, but it did not miss its mark. For him from
that day no accommodation was possible, and the brown suit in which he
stood was put by, to be worn again only when the treaty declaring
America independent was signed. The petition, in which a people had
expressed their earnest and passionate feelings, was declared frivolous
and vexatious, and Franklin was removed at once from his office of
Deputy Postmaster for the colonies.

[Sidenote: The India Company's difficulties. 1772.]

Wedderburn had, no doubt, in his violent invective only expressed the
feeling of most of the English nation; only a few weeks after the
meeting of the Privy Council news had reached England which was not
likely to render the bitterness between the two people less. In 1772 the
India Company had come to Parliament demanding a loan. Much censure had
been thrown on their officers and their manner of action, and
alterations had been insisted on, which placed the Company very much at
the mercy of Government. As a sort of compensation a Bill was brought in
in their favour, by which they were enabled to export their teas from
their London warehouses to the American colonies free from the English
duties, and liable only to the much smaller duty to be levied in the
colony. This measure would allow the India Company to get rid of a large
surplus stock of tea then lying on hand, and would enable the colonists
to buy their tea considerably cheaper. To the colonists however it bore
another aspect. The whole plan seemed to them a scheme to surprise or
bribe them into compliance with the very measure of taxation they were
so strenuously opposing. This belief was supported by the fact, that all
the consignees who were to receive the tea were warm partisans of
England, and was fostered by the whole body of tea merchants and free
traders, who saw themselves likely to be driven from the market by this
direct tea trade. The opposition party took means to organize a
resistance. The consignees were duly warned. The tea ships entered
Boston harbour, but the captains were so fully convinced of the futility
of their speculation, that they would willingly have again withdrawn.
Some little customhouse formalities detained them; and meanwhile they
were boarded by a body of men dressed as Mohawks, who tossed the
obnoxious tea into the sea. Similar steps, though less violent, were
taken elsewhere, and none of the tea sent over under this disastrous law
found its way into the market.

[Sidenote: The Boston Port Bill. 1774.]

[Sidenote: Massachusetts government Bill.]

Such violence, and such contempt of authority, exasperated the minds of
the English people. Lord North seems still to have inclined to
conciliatory measures, but the remnant of the Bedford party, always
particularly bitter against America, was too powerful for him,
especially as the King's opinion, before which North always yielded with
fatal weakness, was thrown into the scale on the side of severity. Two
measures were devised to punish the refractory colony. By the first,
known as the Boston Port Bill, the customhouse, and consequently all the
trade, was moved from Boston, and the port was declared closed; in fact
the thriving town was rendered desolate. The warehouses stood empty, the
docks and quays were deserted. Salem was chosen to take the place of
Boston; but so strong was the feeling against the Bill, that the very
merchants of Salem, though the benefit would have been all theirs,
petitioned against it. The anger excited by the Bill was not confined to
Boston; a feeling of indignation pervaded all the colonies. Their
sympathy was soon increased by fear for their own liberties; for a
second Bill was introduced, abrogating the old charter of Massachusetts.
Its popular constitution was to be destroyed, and the colony was to
become in the strictest sense a Crown colony; the council was to be
named by the Crown instead of by the people; and the judges, magistrates
and sheriffs were to be nominated and removed by the governor without
consulting the council. All the other colonies naturally felt their
charters insecure.

[Sidenote: Crisis of the quarrel.]

[Sidenote: Acts of the General Congress.]

In fact, all seemed to show that the critical time had come. Attempts
were indeed made subsequently at reconciliation, but they were hollow,
and the proposers of them knew that they were hollow. Henceforward an
appeal to arms became almost certain, and the idea of claiming
independence, as yet only existing in the minds of a few of the leaders,
began to become prevalent. Virginia at once threw in her lot with
Massachusetts. A fast was ordered on account of the Boston Port Act, and
the governor dissolved the assembly. The leaders met at the Raleigh
Tavern, and agreed upon a form of association against trade with
England. Washington, hitherto hopeful of reconciliation, declared his
readiness to raise 1000 men at his own cost for the support of the
people of Massachusetts. In spite of all Government opposition, most of
the colonies accepted the lead of Virginia, kept the fast, and agreed
to the association, while, as a chief step in the direction of general
revolt, a Congress was summoned at Philadelphia, and attended by
representatives of the assemblies of twelve colonies, Georgia alone
being absent. The English, too, understood that the two great Bills were
little short of a declaration of war. Hutchinson was recalled, and
General Gage was made Governor of Massachusetts, while Boston was filled
with troops. Of course a quarrel between the new governor and the
assembly was inevitable. The assembly was dissolved, and refusing to
disperse, collected and sat at Concord, constituting thus in fact a
rebel government, whose orders were implicitly obeyed. Gage had been
obliged to fortify Boston Neck; as a counter measure the Concord
assembly established a permanent committee of public safety, organized
12,000 militia, and enrolled _minute men_, or picked men from the
militia bound to serve at a minute's notice. While things were thus
drifting into war in Massachusetts, the General Congress issued a
Declaration of Rights, setting forth the rights of the colonists as
Englishmen, and declaring that the late Acts were infractions of these
rights, and must be repealed before America would submit, and passed a
resolution forbidding importation from England, the use of imported
goods, and after the interval of a year exportation to England also.
These, and other acts and papers of the Congress, acquired much weight
by being to all appearance issued unanimously, an important advantage
which was only gained after a trial of strength, in which the views of
the advanced leaders were carried by a majority of one. When defeated on
a scheme of reconciliation proposed by Mr. Galloway, and considered as a
test question, the minority wisely accepted their position, and desisted
from all protest, so that all the acts of Congress might have their full

[Sidenote: General election. Anti-American feeling of the nation.]

[Sidenote: Chatham's motions for reconciliation. 1775.]

[Sidenote: North's measure for the same purpose.]

A general election in England in September of this year made it plain
that the temper of the people was no less bitter and determined in the
mother country than in the colonies. A large ministerial majority was
returned ready to support any acts of coercion. The Opposition began by
demanding papers in an amendment on the address, but the real struggle
did not begin till January, when Chatham again expressed his opinion,
moving the immediate repeal of the obnoxious statutes of the preceding
year and the withdrawal of troops from Boston. The majority against him
was overwhelming; none the less did he at once set to work, with
Franklin's help, to prepare a scheme of reconciliation, though Franklin
had probably neither much hope nor much wish that it should succeed. It
was at first fairly received by Lord Dartmouth, the Colonial Secretary,
but again Lord Sandwich and the Bedford party overawed their more
temperate colleague, and it was rejected with scorn. The wisdom of some
step in the same direction seems however to have been plain to Lord
North, who in a short time produced a scheme of his own. This did not go
further than to say, that so long as the colonies taxed themselves with
the approbation of King and Parliament no other taxes ought to be laid
on them. It was much too late for any such trumpery measure.

[Sidenote: Skirmish at Lexington. April 1775.]

[Sidenote: Canada Bill.]

[Sidenote: Fall of Ticonderoga. May.]

It was indeed too late for any schemes of reconciliation, and the appeal
to arms began. General Gage, who in spite of his representations had
been left without reinforcements during the winter, could not see the
preparations made for arming and supplying the militia, carried on by
the provincial Congress, without taking some measures to prevent them.
In April he determined to destroy the stores at Concord. Some
militiamen, who were being drilled at Lexington, only dispersed after
firing upon the troops; and when the soldiers, after destroying such of
the stores as had been left at Concord, began their homeward march, they
found themselves assaulted from behind every hedge and cover, and were
compelled to seek refuge in a very distressed condition with a body of
troops who had been sent to support them. The English loss was 270,
while the rebels lost less than 100 men. This slight success raised the
spirits of the colonists; militiamen crowded in from all quarters, and
General Gage was blockaded in Boston. The rebels even ventured to
attempt an expedition against the neighbouring province of Canada. A
Bill passed the preceding year in England had given a constitution to
Canada. This colony, nearly wholly French, neither understood nor valued
English institutions, and was firmly Roman Catholic in its religion. The
constitution was wisely conceived in a more arbitrary spirit than would
have suited Englishmen, and with great liberality established the Roman
Catholic worship. The Americans, unable to see the wisdom of this, and
Puritan in their own religious beliefs, fancied that Canada must be
smarting under its wrongs, and that they should find hearty sympathy
there. In this belief, and to open the road thither, two New Englanders
raised troops on their own responsibility--Arnold, a horse dealer, and
Ethan Allen--and advanced against the forts which held the valley of
Lakes George and Champlain, which, with the valley of the Hudson, forms
the natural road from New York to Montreal. They speedily seized
Ticonderoga and Crown Point.

[Sidenote: The second Congress assumes sovereign authority.]

[Sidenote: Washington chosen commander-in-chief.]

The first question which met the second General Congress was whether
they should take upon themselves the responsibility of these actions or
accept the conciliatory resolution of Lord North. There was no
hesitation on the part of the Congress. Lord North's proposition was
thrown aside at once; orders were issued against supplying any British
force or officer; a national name was assumed--_The United Colonies_;
coercive measures were decreed against any province which should refuse
to recognize the authority of Congress; and on the flimsy excuse of a
contemplated invasion from Canada, the actions of Allen and Arnold were
acknowledged, and an attack on Canada organized. These were acts of
rebellion and war, and the Congress, conscious that the die was cast,
proceeded to appoint a commander-in-chief. Their choice fell upon
Colonel Washington, a Virginian gentleman, and a member of the Congress,
who had seen some service in the late frontier wars, and was much
respected by his province. He was a powerful, somewhat silent man, of
very strong sense, and great powers of self-control, possessing that
commanding influence which is given by strong passion and enthusiasm
habitually subdued, but just visible under a constant and calm exterior.
His unquestioned honesty, his hatred of disorder, and his great
simplicity of character, fitted him well to give dignity to a cause
which ran the risk, if it fell into inferior hands, of degenerating into
a selfish and riotous uproar.

[Sidenote: Battle of Bunker's Hill. June 17, 1775.]

Washington at once hurried to the seat of war, but before he arrived
another battle had been fought. A narrow channel separates Boston from
another town of the name of Charlestown, behind which rise two masses of
high ground, known as Breed's and Bunker's Hill, from which Boston is
commanded. Breed's Hill is the nearer of the two to Boston. It was
natural to suppose that General Gage, whose forces had been raised to
10,000 men by reinforcements under Generals Clinton, Howe and Burgoyne,
would assume the offensive, and at all events try to secure these hills.
The Americans attempted to forestall him, and some rude defences were
thrown up on the ridge of Breed's Hill. About 2000 English were sent to
dislodge them. The Americans fought well, more than once the English
drew back before their fire, but rallied by Clinton, they eventually
took the position, driving the enemy, more than twice their number, in
disorder along Charlestown Neck, where they were open to the fire of our
ships. More than 800 of the English fell in the desperate struggle.

[Illustration: Battle of Bunker's Hill June 18, 1775.]

[Sidenote: Condition of the American army.]

Although the insurgent troops were justly proud of the gallant stand
they had made against disciplined forces, the army when Washington
joined it was not such as a general would wish to command. Even in the
late battle well authenticated cases of cowardice had occurred among the
officers. The militia regiments of the various states regarded each
other with jealous eyes; there was no sort of uniformity of dress, no
trace of soldierly bearing; the soldiers showed little subordination to
officers scarcely better than themselves; and, worse than all, there was
a fearful deficiency of powder. It taxed the ability and temper of their
new general to the full to bring the motley crowd into order. He exacted
the sternest discipline, drew a sharp line between the officers and men,
procured hunting shirts to supply the lack of uniform, and by
unremitting toil gradually produced a tolerable army. Why General Gage
looked quietly on while this process was being carried out it is
difficult to say. Even setting aside the lack of ammunition, of which
however he was fully informed, he had troops enough to have destroyed
the enemy which were blockading him without difficulty, and might thus
perhaps have ended the war at a blow.

[Sidenote: The Olive Branch Petition.]

The slowness which characterizes the English generals at the beginning
of the war is probably to be traced to the prevalent idea that
reconciliation was still possible, and that the terrible extremity of
civil war might be avoided. Even at this very time the Congress was
sending to the King a last appeal; but this document, known as the Olive
Branch Petition, was not received in England. There was a technical
objection to it which secured its rejection; it purported to come from
the Congress--an illegal and unrecognized body. The Americans could
scarcely indeed have expected that it would have produced any effect. It
held out no hope of concession, but expressed only vague wishes for
reconciliation. It probably served the turn of those who sent it by
allowing them to throw the blame of the future war entirely on the
English. It might have been wise on the part of the ministry, even thus
late, to have accepted overtures of peace, but it would have been a
stretch of wisdom which no man had a right to expect; for the Congress
had undoubtedly by its action assumed a position of complete
independence and hostility which a Government could scarcely be expected
to overlook.

[Sidenote: Attack on Canada.]

Even before the Olive Branch was sent the Congress had determined to
take advantage of the successes of the preceding year, and had
organized, under Generals Montgomery and Arnold, an attack upon Canada,
which General Carleton was ill prepared to repel with less than 1000
British troops. While Montgomery crossed Lake Champlain and pushed on to
Montreal, Arnold, with incredible labour, had made his way up the valley
of the Kennebec, and so down the Chaudière, to Quebec. Unable to prevent
the junction of the armies, Carleton hastened to throw himself into the
capital, and upon the Heights of Abraham succeeded in checking their
advance, with the loss of Montgomery their leader. Arnold could do no
more than keep up a nominal blockade, so ably was the defence conducted,
and the general who superseded him, meeting with no sympathy from the
Canadians, was forced to withdraw in disorder beyond Lake Champlain.

[Sidenote: Howe retires to Halifax. March, 1776.]

Meanwhile the dilatory conduct of Gage, who had now been succeeded by
General Howe, had lost Boston to the English. Washington had at length
found himself strong enough to take and fortify the Dorchester Heights,
which commanded the English lines on Boston Neck. A general engagement,
which could scarcely have ended otherwise than favourably to the
English, would have still rendered the town tenable, and Howe was
inclined to bring on a battle. But a continued course of bad weather
frustrated his plans, and thinking that for military reasons New York,
where the royal party was strong, would make a better base of
operations, he determined to withdraw; he accordingly removed all his
troops to Halifax, there to await promised reinforcements. So long were
the fresh troops in coming that Howe had to leave Halifax without them.
There was considerable difficulty in supplying him. The military
arrangements of England have been constantly found inefficient at the
opening of a war; it was only by purchasing troops at an exorbitant
price from the Duke of Brunswick and the Landgrave of Hesse that the
immediate want could be supplied. It was therefore only on a limited
scale that Howe was enabled to carry out that plan for the arrangement
of the troops which was afterwards continued during the war; and which
consisted of making New York the centre of operations, to be supported
by two subsidiary forces, the one acting in the Southern States, the
other from Canada. In pursuance of this plan, he despatched a force
against Charleston, in Carolina, under General Clinton, while he himself
moved to Sandy Hook, thus threatening New York, whither Washington had
hastened from Boston. He was there joined in July by his brother,
Admiral Lord Howe, and found himself, with his reinforcements and with
the troops which had been sent to Charleston and had returned upon the
failure of the expedition, at the head of nearly 30,000 men.

[Sidenote: Fresh offers of conciliation rejected.]

[Sidenote: Declaration of Independence. July 4, 1776.]

Lord Howe brought with him full powers for himself and his brother the
general, empowering them, in accordance with a late Act of Parliament,
to receive the submission of any colony, and after such submission to
grant pardon and redress. An Imperial nation, defied by its colonies and
not yet beaten, could hardly offer more, and to those not thoroughly
conversant with what was going on in America, it must have seemed that
there was every chance of such terms being accepted. Never as yet had
the chances of the insurgents seemed so small. It is true that the
revolt had become universal; but the spirit of the commercial population
of the Northern States was severely tried, and seemed to be yielding
under the depression of trade caused by the war. The English army was
for the time actually more numerous than that of Washington, whose
troops, nominally but 27,000 strong, were diminished by illness or
absence. Those who remained were in a miserable condition, and consisted
chiefly of men enlisted for short periods, who could scarcely be
properly drilled before they returned to their homes. But the state of
feeling was no longer what it had been. It was no longer a question of
pardon or redress. The more earnest and violent men had, as is usual in
civil commotions, been coming more and more to the front. The idea of a
total separation from England had been rapidly gaining ground;
republican and democratic principles had made their appearance; the
writings of Thomas Paine had been published, and so largely were his
views received, that a declaration, issued by the aristocratic State of
Virginia, served afterwards as the model for the Declaration of the
Rights of Man issued by the revolutionists of France; and already,
before the arrival of Howe with his offer of pardon, the extreme party
had determined to check all lukewarmness and put an end to all chance of
reconciliation by taking an irretrievable step. In June, Lee of Virginia
proposed in Congress that the colonies should declare themselves
independent. The numbers on division proved to be exactly equal, but
Dickinson, the writer of the "Pennsylvanian Farmer's Letters," and the
leader of the moderate party, consented to withdraw, and the motion for
independence was thus carried by a majority of one. The document itself
is not a very powerful one, but shows how abstract political views had
become mingled with the original questions in dispute. It is based on
the Declaration of Virginia, recapitulates all the real or fancied
grievances of the colonies, and, with curious political dishonesty,
attributes them all to the personal tyranny of the King. The Declaration
of Independence, issued on July 4th, reached Washington's army just
before Lord Howe's arrival; it of course rendered his pacific mission
fruitless. The colonies had assumed the position of an independent
nation, and claimed to be treated with all the respect due to such a
position. Howe's letters to Washington were even returned unopened,
because they were not addressed to him by his full military style and

[Illustration: Neighbourhood of NEW YORK October 1776.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Brooklyn. Aug. 27.]

[Sidenote: Washington recovers New Jersey. Jan. 3, 1777.]

To the English nothing now remained but to take advantage of the
superiority of their troops. An attack upon the lines of Brooklyn, at
the end of Long Island, separated from New York only by a narrow
channel, was ordered. The Americans, in about equal numbers, came out of
their intrenchments, and for the first time during the war a battle was
fought in the open field. The victory of the English troops was
immediate and complete. It was due only to Howe's want of vigour in
pressing his success that Washington was able to withdraw his army to
New York, whence, finding it impossible to hold his ground, he retired
ultimately to the mainland, taking up a position at Kingsbridge, and
leaving the city in the hands of the English. It was plain that the
temporary militia of the colonists was useless against regular troops,
and in spite of its republican dread of a standing army, the Congress at
length listened to Washington's repeated representations, and authorized
the enrolment of some regular troops. But for more than a year he was
compelled to do his best with his old militia, and nothing but the
continued and incomprehensible slowness of the English generals saved
him from disaster. Step by step he was driven backwards, till he was
compelled to cross the Delaware and leave the whole of the Jerseys in
the hands of the English. The road to Philadelphia seemed open, and the
Congress, in fear, withdrew to Baltimore. But the English, when they
found that all the boats on the Delaware had been removed, quietly
withdrew into winter quarters upon a very extended line, and waited in
hopes of being able to cross the river on the ice. The time thus wasted
lost them all the advantages they had won, and gave Washington an
opportunity to recover. Eager to strike some blow which should raise the
spirits of the colonists and enable him to fill the ranks of the army,
he determined to take advantage of the weak and extended line of the
English. On Christmas evening, trusting to the effects of the day's
debauch, he crossed the river, and surprised and captured the garrison
of Trenton. Cornwallis, who had the command of the advanced troops of
the English, came to the rescue, but Washington by another night march
swept round the English army, and captured or destroyed two regiments at
Princeton. He was unable to secure, as he had intended, the supplies at
Gloucester, but before long he succeeded in clearing New Jersey of the
English, and confining them, as before, to New York and Rhode Island.

[Sidenote: Threefold plan of the English.]

Howe remained idle till June, thus allowing much time to the Americans,
to whom time was everything. But in June preparations for a great joint
movement were matured. Not only was the main army in New York again to
resume the offensive, but advantage was to be taken of the possession of
Canada, and an attack organized from that country. This branch of the
combined movement was placed under the command of General Burgoyne. The
cleft made by the valley of the Hudson is continued northward by the
Lakes George and Champlain, and a natural road thus formed from Canada
to New York. Down this the Canadian army was to march, assisted by the
co-operation of Clinton, who was to lead troops from New York to meet
it. Thus the disaffected provinces of New England would be severed from
the rest of America.

[Sidenote: Howe's expedition against Philadelphia. Sept. 1777.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Germanstown. Oct. 4.]

Howe's army, which was now comparatively powerful, was expected to make
its way through the Jerseys, and to complete the project of last autumn
by capturing Philadelphia; but, finding Washington ready to oppose his
advance, he suddenly withdrew his troops and embarked them in the fleet.
He appeared for a moment off the mouth of the Delaware, but again,
finding more obstacles than he had expected, took to the sea, and
sailing all round the promontory between the Delaware and the Bay of
Chesapeake, ultimately arrived at the top of that piece of water at the
Head of Elk, nearly as far from Philadelphia as when he started. The
time spent in making this long circuit enabled Washington to be fully
prepared to cover Philadelphia. He took up his position in Brandywine
Creek. He was there quite outmanœuvred. While one division of the
English held the ground in front, another marched round and fell upon
the rear and left flank, and completely routed his army. He still tried
to hold the line of the Schuylkill, but it was passed by the English
with little difficulty, and Philadelphia occupied. The capital was thus
in the hands of the English, but the expeditionary character of the
attack prevented it from being so effectual as a steady advance would
have been, while it rendered the conquest nugatory by separating it
entirely from New York, the real basis of operations. In some degree to
correct this error, it became necessary to secure direct access by sea
by the capture of the forts which held the mouth of the Delaware. For
this purpose the English army was divided, one portion remained at
Germanstown to hold Philadelphia, and the rest were moved to the siege
of the forts. Washington took advantage of the weakness of his immediate
opponents and attacked the troops at Germanstown. At first he was
successful, but a panic, such as not unfrequently seizes young and
half-disciplined troops, changed his half-won victory to defeat. The
forts of the Delaware were at length captured, and the operations of the
English seemed to have been thoroughly successful.

[Sidenote: Washington reorganizes the army.]

It was indeed a moment of intense depression in the American army;
nothing but the extraordinary patience and steadfastness of Washington
could have saved it. Half-disciplined troops, many of them inclined to
desert, or to leave their standards as soon as their short time of
enlistment was over, thousands without shoes, a commissariat
ridiculously incompetent and notoriously fraudulent, a civil power
inclined to meddle and complain of the military arrangements, such were
some of the difficulties with which he had to contend. He managed in
spite of all to keep his army together, and to induce his troops to go
into winter quarters at Valley Forge, a wild but strong position among
the hills on the Schuylkill river a little above Philadelphia. News from
the North came to cheer him in his distressed condition.

[Sidenote: Burgoyne's disasters.]

Though successful in itself, the real object of Howe's expedition had
not been obtained, it had not enabled the army of New York to go to the
assistance of Burgoyne, and that general had been compelled to surrender
with all his army on the 17th of October. In June he had advanced along
the west side of Lake Champlain, and had taken the fortress of
Ticonderoga, Fort Anne, and Fort Edward on the Hudson. Hearing that the
Americans had supplies but slightly guarded at Bennington, on the road
to the Connecticut river, he sent a small detachment to secure them.
This was the beginning of his misfortunes; the difficulties proved
greater than was expected, the expedition failed and had to retire in
haste, with the loss of all its artillery. However, trusting to the
co-operation of the army from New York, and of a force which was to make
its way from the great lakes by Fort Stanwix down the upper Hudson and
join him before Albany, Burgoyne continued to advance. He collected
thirty days' supplies and crossed the Hudson, thus cutting himself off
from Canada, and relying for safety upon his power of opening
communication with New York. The militia of the neighbouring district at
once rose behind him, thus completely severing his communications. His
Indian auxiliaries had left him; he could not rely much on his Canadian
troops, and now found himself in face of General Schuyler with 16,000
men. The help on which he had calculated did not come, Lieutenant
Colonel St. Leger failed before Fort Stanwix, and Clinton was unable to
leave New York. Burgoyne attempted an assault on the American position
before Behmus's Heights, north of Stillwater, but failed. To advance
seemed impossible, he therefore ordered a retreat, though this was
scarcely less difficult. He had told Clinton that he could hold out till
the 12th of October, and when that day came he was still close to
Saratoga, and now neither retreat nor advance was possible. His boats
upon the lake, which afforded him his sole means of procuring supplies
or of transport, had been destroyed; he had no choice but to make some
sort of surrender. On the 17th of October a convention was signed by
which he surrendered his whole force to General Gates, who had assumed
the chief command of the American troops. His army was allowed to march
out of camp with the honours of war to the bank of the river, there to
lay down their arms, and to be forwarded to England, under promise not
to serve again during the war. Though the reception of the prisoners by
both generals and men was most generous, and though Burgoyne lived as a
guest in General Schuyler's house, the terms of the convention were not
honestly fulfilled; Burgoyne, indeed, was allowed to return to England,
but the main part of the army was detained in America for several years.
The blame of this breach of treaty is held to attach to Congress only,
and not to Washington.

[Sidenote: Effect of American affairs on the Parliament. Oct. 1776.]

The autumn session of 1776 had been opened with a speech full of the
successes of the English arms. The battle of Brooklyn, the fall of New
York, the expulsion of the invaders from Canada, were all topics of
congratulation. The feeling of the nation went with the Government, and
the opposition in Parliament dwindled to a very small minority; but in
spite of their weakness they continued to urge conciliatory measures,
and at the beginning of the session, both in the Upper and Lower House,
amendments in that sense were moved to the address. So plain was it,
however, that such efforts were wholly useless, that Lord Rockingham's
party ostentatiously retired from all public questions, attending the
House only during private business. Fox indeed, who had left the
ministry in 1773, and had become the foremost champion of the American
cause, remained in his place, but the rest of the party did not
reappear, till, finding their step worse than useless, they took the
opportunity of a debate upon the Civil List to return to public life.

[Sidenote: Increase of the Civil List.]

This debate arose on a demand for an increase to the Civil List of
£100,000 a year, and £600,000 to pay off the debts already owing. Under
the existing circumstances the necessity for the measure was obvious,
for the King's ordinary tradesmen were unpaid, and his servants' wages
in arrears. The Civil List already amounted to £800,000 a year, and the
known personal frugality of the King and Queen rendered the
disappearance of so large a sum the more scandalous. In fact, nearly
£600,000 had been spent since 1769 in secret service. It was easy to
explain the insufficiency of the Civil List and the permanence of the
ministerial majority in Parliament; not only had the Pension List been
largely increased, but there were a swarm of sinecure officers about the
Court, from grand falconers in the House of Peers to turnspits of the
kitchen who sat in the House of Commons. The Civil List was increased,
but the grant was accompanied by a strong expression, on the part of Sir
Norton Fletcher, of the feeling of the House, that under the existing
pressure of taxation such extravagant use of public money was much to be
blamed,--words which were subsequently formally accepted by the House as
their own.

[Sidenote: Chatham's motion. May 30, 1777.]

[Sidenote: American intrigues with France.]

[Sidenote: France acknowledges the independence of America. Dec. 1777.]

The session closed with another effort on the part of the Opposition. On
this occasion it was Lord Chatham who led the attack. He returned, after
two years of illness, and still swathed in flannel, to move an address,
urging the King to arrest the misfortunes in America. The measures he
advised were unconditional redress of grievances, and repeal of all
penal statutes; in other words, he would have granted all the demands of
the Americans with the exception of their independence. But, while
urging moderate counsels with regard to America, he blazed out at the
idea of an alliance of the colonists with the French, and demanded
instant war. His motion was of course lost. His fears of an alliance
with France were not however unfounded; already, before the Declaration
of Independence, Silas Deane had been sent over to Europe to try and
make some arrangement. If the confession of the culprit is to be
believed, Deane's handiwork was to be seen in the nefarious plans of a
man called John the Painter, who in the December of the preceding year
(1776) had attempted to fire the dockyards of Portsmouth. Again,
immediately after the Declaration of Independence, Adams and Franklin
had been sent over as accredited agents to make a commercial and
defensive alliance with France. But though they had been well received
both by the ministry and by the salons of Paris, where for the time
Franklin was the fashion, their representations were mistrusted, and no
real help was given. The French had no wish to engage in a failing
cause, and continued to keep up an appearance of friendship with
England, even, at the instigation of our ambassador, issuing, though
probably intentionally too late, a _lettre de cachet_ to stop the
Marquis of Lafayette from sailing to join the colonists. He had no
difficulty in avoiding it, and was present with Washington during the
Philadelphian campaign. But the Court of France was in fact only
watching the turn of events. The news of the defeat of Burgoyne had
scarcely reached Europe before the independence of America was
acknowledged and a commercial treaty made. In case of France becoming
involved in the war with England, this treaty was to be extended into
one by which France engaged to supply military assistance on the sole
condition that America should never acknowledge the supremacy of Great

[Sidenote: Chatham's energy in Parliament. Nov. 20, 1777.]

Already, by the time of the meeting of Parliament for the autumn
session, rumours of Burgoyne's difficulties had reached England, though
no news of his final disaster had arrived. The danger of war with
France, to which Chatham had alluded in the spring, seemed to increase,
and men's thoughts began to turn towards the great statesman who had
before saved England in similar difficulties. Nor did Chatham refuse to
respond to the general expectation; not for many years had he shown such
activity as in this session. In moving an amendment on the address, he
demanded the withdrawal of all troops from America, stigmatized with due
severity the employment of savage Indians in the war, and strove to
rouse the national spirit against France. But the energy and eloquence
he exhibited throughout the session were unavailing. He consistently
upheld the view that conquest of America was quite impossible, that it
was worse than useless to carry on the war, and that all the demands of
the colonists should be granted with the exception of independence.
This, he said in the strongest words, it was impossible for England to
grant. He relied, no doubt, on the natural hostility between the
colonists and France, and it is possible that, had he been placed in
office, his policy might have been successful. He was loved and trusted
by the Americans; concessions from his hands might have been received.
He was feared by France; his plan of removing the troops from America
would have left the resources of England free for a foreign war; his
threats and his name might have deterred the French from war. But
certainly no other man could carry out such a policy, and so it was
generally felt; North himself acknowledged the impossibility, and was
most desirous of resigning; Lord George Germaine, who, disgraced at
Minden as a military man, had become as member of the Government the
chief supporter of repressive measures in America, was also preparing to
give up his post. The ministry seemed on the point of giving way, and
indeed the necessity for such a step was increasing rapidly. Early in
December came the terrible news of Saratoga, and three weeks later the
preliminaries of the treaty between France and the colonies were agreed
upon, though the French ministry had not scrupled to cover their
intentions by false statements on the matter.

[Sidenote: The King insists on Lord North retaining office.]

[Sidenote: Lord North's Conciliation Bill.]

[Sidenote: Rupture with France.]

The Opposition began to feel triumphant. Though still quite outvoted in
the House, they knew that the majority turned with the ministry,
whatever it might be; but they did not sufficiently reckon on the King's
obstinacy. He had been right in his boast at the beginning of his reign;
he was thoroughly English; he reflected and sympathized with the most
vulgar feelings and prejudices of the people. The disasters in America
had called out considerable enthusiasm in England; money had been
largely subscribed for keeping up more troops, and the temper of the
nation was evidently for pressing the war with energy, regardless of
consequences. In vain did Lord North express his desire to resign, and
declare the necessity of conciliatory measures. The King, strong in the
popular feeling, reproached him for intending to desert him, as he
called it. On further pressure he gave him leave to apply to Chatham and
the Whigs, but only on the absurd condition, that they should join the
present ministry, serve under Lord North, and carry out the same policy
as the existing Government. He would not hear of the ministry being put
frankly into Chatham's hands. As usual, Lord North yielded, and
consented to stay in office. He even consented to bring in bills
absolutely reversing all his own policy, and which could have come with
good grace only from the Opposition. His Conciliation Bill, now in the
hands of the ministry, was carried without difficulty, and all American
demands, short of independence, were granted; all officers appointed by
Congress acknowledged, and commissioners, with the most ample powers to
discuss and arrange all points of quarrel, appointed. North still wished
that, as this was in fact the Opposition policy, the Opposition should
have the duty of putting it into effect; but the King and the course of
events were too strong for him. The Conciliation Bill had hardly passed
when an open rupture with France took place. The treaty concluded on the
6th of February was notified in insulting terms to the English Court.
Such a treaty was followed by the inevitable withdrawal of ambassadors,
and war with France was in fact upon us.

[Sidenote: Death of Lord Chatham. May 11, 1778.]

To the Opposition it seemed as if the play had been played out. They
were inclined for immediate submission. If England could not conquer
America alone, what hope was there of conquering America joined with
France with the whole house of Bourbon in its wake? They urged the
immediate recognition of the independence of the colonies. Such, as has
been before explained, were not the views of Chatham; his spirit rose
with the idea of war with his old enemy, and he relied on his own
ability, not indeed to conquer, but to conciliate America while he
crushed France. His plan was never put to the test. On the 7th of April
the Duke of Richmond moved in the House of Lords that all troops should
at once be withdrawn from America, and a peace concluded, which of
course implied the independence of the contracting parties. Chatham,
very weak and ill, and against the advice of his friends, went down on
purpose to oppose the motion. Scarcely able to walk, his feeble steps
were supported by his son William and his son-in-law Lord Mahon. After
hearing the Duke of Richmond's motion, he rose with difficulty, and
resting on his crutch, and with his eyes looking unnaturally vivid in
his shrunk face and under his great wig, he proceeded to make a vigorous
reply. His voice was very low, and at times his memory failed, but here
and there his eloquence rose to its old pitch, and he again thrilled his
hearers as he recounted the dangers which England had outlived, and
demanded whether the country which but seventeen years ago was the
terror of the world "was to stoop so low as to tell its ancient
inveterate enemy, Take all we have, only give us peace." The Duke
replied in a weak speech; and Chatham rose again, eager to answer him,
but before he could speak he was seen to gasp, to lay his hand upon his
heart, and to sink back, apparently dying. The death of this greatest of
English statesmen put an end to all hope of a new policy. Unless the
Americans received the conciliatory measures of Lord North well--which
was most unlikely--the war must be fought out. Every honour was paid to
the memory of Chatham. He was voted a public funeral in Westminster
Abbey, and a monument, which is placed over the door at the west end of
the Abbey, and represents him with his arm raised in the act of
speaking. His debts were paid and a large pension settled on his family.
Four Lords protested against these honours and the ministerial people
kept chiefly aloof from his funeral. But the feeling of regret and
admiration was universal. The Duke of Richmond's motion was of course
negatived, and it remained to be seen what the Commissioners could do.

[Sidenote: Laws against Roman Catholics repealed.]

Before that question could be answered a subject was brought before the
notice of Parliament and nation which was destined to play an important
part and to take the place of the American contest as a party test. This
was the question of Catholic relief. The laws still existing against the
members of the Roman Catholic religion were most severe in character.
They had been enacted chiefly in the reign of William III., when England
was still in mortal terror of the restoration of the malign influence of
the Stuarts and their religion, and they bore the marks of their origin;
many of them were indeed, as Dunning said in seconding the motion for
their repeal, a disgrace to humanity. Sir George Savile, member for
Yorkshire and a great Whig leader, moved the repeal of some of them; he
had no intention, he said, of touching the whole penal code against
Catholics, and was willing to substitute a test; but he moved the repeal
of some of the most obnoxious laws. These were the law which punished
the celebration of Catholic worship as felony in a foreigner, as high
treason in a native, and the laws by which the estates of Popish heirs
educated abroad passed to the next Protestant heir, by which a
Protestant heir could take possession of his father's or other
relative's estate during the lifetime of the real proprietor, and by
which Papists could acquire property only by descent. The first law was
so monstrous, and the others so evidently tended to foster the worst
forms of family division and public informing, that their repeal met
with little opposition. Dundas, Lord Advocate, promised a similar Bill
for Scotland. This was the beginning of opposition. The Scotch were
indignant at any sign of toleration, and organized a resistance which
speedily spread into England. The Protestants found a mouthpiece in Lord
George Gordon, a young man of slender intellect, and nearly mad on
religious topics; although his principles were so unsettled that he died
a Jew, he now threw himself with frenzied vehemence into the Protestant
movement. The King, with his usual power of sympathizing with the
narrower views of his people, took up the same side, and during the
remainder of the reign Catholic emancipation served as a test by which
to try whether his ministers would be subservient or not.

[Sidenote: America rejects conciliatory offers.]

Meanwhile the Commissioners under the Conciliatory Bills had reached
America (May 1778). It was at once plain that they were too late. The
French alliance had been made known, and the Americans were as yet full
of enthusiasm for their allies. For a time the influence of Washington
had been shaken. His toilsome but inglorious work of reconstituting the
army of Valley Forge had been unfavourably contrasted with the brilliant
success of Saratoga; Gates, a man in every way his inferior, had been
set up as his rival, and placed at the head of a war committee, which
overruled Washington's advice and wishes. But the ridiculous failure of
a plan which, in the interests of the French, the committee had
suggested for attacking Canada had brought the Congress to reason, and
their trust in Washington had been restored. The division of interests
which had threatened the rising republic was thus healed, and the
Commissioners found a unanimous feeling against entertaining their
suggestions. Nor had the success of the English been such as to assist
their views. After a winter idly spent in Philadelphia, Sir William Howe
had been succeeded by Clinton, who had found it necessary to withdraw
his army to New York, which with Rhode Island were the sole possessions
left to England. The answer which the Commissioners received was
therefore very decided. No such questions as were raised could be
considered till the fleets and armies of England were withdrawn or the
independence of the colonies acknowledged. The Commissioners could only
retire, leaving behind them a manifesto threatening the utmost
severities of war.

[Sidenote: Effect of the alliance between America and France.]

But, in spite of the confidence which the French alliance aroused in the
minds of the Americans, the immediate effect of the treaty was not
advantageous to them. A joint attack upon Rhode Island brought to light
the dislike and jealousy between the new allies which Chatham had
foreseen. The timely arrival of the English fleet compelled the French
admiral, d'Estaing, to leave the coast. The Americans thought themselves
deserted and gave up the siege. Their general, Sullivan, published an
indignant general order, and addressed to d'Estaing a sharp
remonstrance. In deep dudgeon, he ceased for the rest of the year to
assist the Americans, and acted wholly for French interests, trying to
excite a national sympathy in Canada, and finally sailing away to the
West Indies. For the time the French were almost as unpopular with the
colonists as the English. In other respects the year's campaign was
rather in favour of England. Georgia was occupied by an expedition sent
from New York, and the Island of St. Lucia was captured from the French.
But the object of the alliance was really obtained, for the war was no
longer confined to America.

[Sidenote: Weakness of North's ministry.]

Resting on the support of the King, and backed in its American policy by
the general feeling of the nation, North's ministry, in spite of the
poor success which had attended our arms in America, had hitherto had an
appearance of strength. It was now, after a struggle of a few years, to
succumb to a succession of difficulties which brought to light its
inherent inefficiency. The extension of the sphere of the war brought
the first danger. A powerful fleet had been sent into the Channel under
Keppel, which at the mere rumour of the approach of a superior fleet of
the French retired. When strongly reinforced, it brought the enemy to
action off Ushant, but after some hours' fighting the two fleets
withdrew, without the slightest advantage on either side; not one ship
of either nation had struck. To shield himself from the natural
indignation felt at so ridiculous a result, Keppel tried to throw the
blame on Pallisser, his second in command. As Keppel was in opposition,
and Pallisser a Lord of the Admiralty, the recriminations of the
admirals were taken up by their respective parties, and a vehement
parliamentary war arose. At length Keppel succeeded in obtaining a court
martial, but the people as well as the Parliament had joined in the
quarrel; there were violent demonstrations in his favour, and the case
being in fact prejudged, the trial ended in his triumphant acquittal. A
far less complete and unqualified sentence of approval awaited Pallisser
when he in turn was tried. Already it was evident that the hold of
North's ministry was shaken; it had now to face a direct attack in
Parliament. Burgoyne and Howe, both members of the House of Commons,
were eager to throw all the blame of the recent miscarriages upon the
shoulders of the Government; and an attack on the Admiralty was so
successful, that Lord Sandwich was only rescued by a narrow majority
from censure by the declaration of Lord North that he would resign were
the censure carried. In his difficulties Lord North made some overtures
to the Whigs, but all negotiations were rendered abortive by the
restrictions placed on them by the King, who would indeed allow new
ministers to be introduced, but would hear of no new measures. With the
fatal facility which marred his character, North yielded to the King's
stronger will, and remained in office against his own convictions, a
mere official to carry out the policy of his master. His difficulties
were further increased when Spain followed in the wake of France and
also declared war; and the united fleets of the two countries assembled,
apparently with the intention of invading England. In spite of a
considerable exhibition of national spirit, it was all Sir Charles
Hardy, who had command of the Channel fleet, could do to cover the coast
of England and postpone a general engagement. Fortunately, though the
allies were vastly superior in numbers, their ships were ill supplied
and scarcely seaworthy, and they found it necessary to withdraw to their
respective countries, leaving the Channel free.

[Sidenote: Difficulties in Ireland.]

But it was not only from abroad that dangers were gathering round
England. The Irish, whom the people and Government of England have
always regarded as a colony, and treated in the same spirit of jealous
selfishness that had alienated the Americans, began to think of
following the example of these colonists. Their trade had always been
avowedly governed and confined to suit, not Irish, but English
interests. In addition to the usual restrictions, they had been
suffering from an embargo on their provision trade with America, and
their other industries were sinking in the general depression. When they
saw Lord North proposing conciliatory measures, and promising relaxation
of trade restrictions to America, they not unnaturally began to raise
their claims to similar indulgences. Their requests were so reasonable
that some small relief was given, but Lord North was afraid to carry out
to the full a policy of free trade in face of the vigorous opposition of
the great trading cities of England, where, with true commercial
selfishness, any chance of a new competitor was regarded with vehement
dislike. Burke was brave enough to speak heartily in favour of the
Irish, in spite of instructions from his Bristol constituents; his
bravery cost him his seat at the next election. With their fair claims
thus trifled with, the Irish again learnt a lesson from America. What
could not be got by asking might be yielded to an armed nation. On the
pretext of an intended attack by the French on Belfast, soldiers were
demanded. But Ireland had been denuded of troops for the American war;
no troops could be sent. The inhabitants had now their excuse for arming
themselves. Quite without disturbance, and with loyal protestations,
volunteer corps sprang up all over the country; by the end of the year,
in spite of the influence of Government, they numbered 50,000 men. In
the presence of this army, with the Dublin companies in arms before the
doors, the Irish Parliament of 1779 met. The national cause had found an
energetic and eloquent leader in Henry Grattan. He moved an amendment to
the address, demanding free trade as the national right of Ireland. The
amendment passed unopposed, and was carried by the volunteers in triumph
to the castle. Encouraged by this success, backed by the armed force
around them, and by the populace of the city, the Parliament proceeded
to the strong measure of granting supplies for six months only. Such
events at once attracted attention in England, and votes of censure were
moved by the Opposition on the Irish policy of the Government. But Lord
North had also learnt wisdom from American affairs, and early in 1780
he passed Bills acknowledging the commercial equality of Ireland and a
free export of their chief commodities.

[Sidenote: Difficulties from the reform spirit in England.]

But even Ireland was by no means the last of Lord North's troubles. The
feeling against government by influence had been steadily on the
increase. With characteristic selfishness, the mass of the people had
sympathized with the war, which seemed to some rebellion against the
natural supremacy of Englishmen, and which others saw clearly was a
revolt against that commercial system which they regarded as the chief
safeguard of their own interests. But want of success, increased
taxation, and a diminution of trade, began to change the current of
opinion, and men observed with jealousy the impossibility of carrying
any measure against the influence of the Court. The King had completely
triumphed, and by means of his friends, his pensioners, contractors, and
sinecurists, could at all times command a large majority in Parliament.
The Whigs, finding that influence which they had so long wielded thus
transferred to other hands, began to see the enormity of such a system,
and the great leaders of the party, whose territorial power was very
great, put themselves at the head of a reform movement which soon became
important. In the autumn of 1779 motions for economical reform were
brought into the House of Lords. They were rejected; but in December the
general feeling, and the determination of the Whigs to create an
organization outside the House, were shown by a great meeting in York,
attended by a large majority of the freeholders of the county. This
influential meeting was followed by others of the same sort in many
counties, and the organizers of the party went so far as to establish
committees of correspondence on the model of the committees in America.
Twenty-three counties and many large towns, in spite of the constant
opposition of the Government, sent up petitions like the one agreed to
in Yorkshire, demanding a reduction in exorbitant emoluments and the
abolition of sinecures. Sir George Savile presented the Yorkshire
petition on the 8th of February, and three days afterwards Burke
introduced a great measure for economical reform of which he had already
given notice. Lord North found it so impossible to oppose him, that the
Bill passed almost unanimously into Committee. It there, however,
encountered a most vigorous resistance, and was finally destroyed
piecemeal. But the movement, once started, continued its course. Mr.
Crewe introduced a Bill to deprive revenue officers of their votes, and
Sir Philip Clerke another for the exclusion of contractors from the
House. Outside the House the pressure became heavier and heavier, till
at length, on the 6th of April, after a great meeting of the people of
Westminster, where Fox had harangued, and which was thought sufficiently
dangerous to demand the presence of troops, Dunning rose in the House,
and after blaming the ministry for their underhand obstruction to
Burke's Bill, produced the startling resolution, that "it is the opinion
of this Committee that the influence of the Crown has increased, is
increasing, and ought to be diminished." This resolution, with a very
slight alteration, he was enabled to carry against Government by a
majority of eighteen. It was followed by two other resolutions in the
same direction, one declaring the right of the House to reform the Civil
List, the other that the abuses complained of should be immediately
redressed. Both were carried. But when the House again met, and he
proceeded to more detailed motions, Dunning found that the corrupt body
he addressed, though willing enough to affirm abstract resolutions, had
no real liking for reform. His majorities rapidly diminished, and
finally no action was taken upon the resolutions which he had carried.

[Sidenote: The Lord George Gordon riots. June 1780.]

[Sidenote: Trial of Lord George Gordon.]

Scarcely had the ministry managed to escape from Dunning's resolutions
when a new danger came upon them. This time they did not stand alone.
All parties in the House had to join to repel a common enemy. It has
been mentioned that a measure of Sir George Savile's for the alleviation
of the penal laws against Roman Catholics had been carried, and that the
motion of introducing a similar measure for Scotland had caused much
displeasure in that country. The feeling spread, and Protestant
associations formed themselves throughout England, and fixed upon the
crackbrained Lord George Gordon for their chief and representative. The
agitation had been kept up during the last year, and now Lord George
wanted a great demonstration and petition to be got up. He declined to
present the petition unless accompanied by 20,000 followers, who were to
meet in St. George's Fields, adorned with blue cockades. Instead of
20,000, some 60,000 men were present, and proceeded to march across
London Bridge to the Parliament House. There, in Palace Yard, they held
their position unmolested, while they attacked and ill used any
obnoxious Peers, or broke into the lobby of the Lower House, and, with
their excitement kept alive by addresses which Lord George delivered
from the staircase above, demanded that their petition should be at once
attended to. Lord George was brought to some reason by a threat of
personal violence if he continued his foolish behaviour, and the
military at length arriving, the immediate precincts of the Parliament
House were cleared. But though foiled in their wish to intimidate the
House, the mob were by no means satisfied, and the unaccountable and
timorous delay on the part of the executive, whether ministry or
magistrates, allowed the riot to reach such a height that it could be
with difficulty controlled. That night the chapels of the Sardinian and
Bavarian embassies were burnt, and after a day of comparative quiet, the
mob, finding itself unopposed, proceeded to renewed acts of violence.
For four days London was in its hands. The prisons were broken open,
Catholic chapels burnt and sacked, the shops of Catholic tradesmen
pillaged, and the houses of those who were known to be favourable to the
Catholic claims either destroyed, as those of Lord Mansfield and Sir
George Savile, or kept in a state of siege. Johnson tells us how he saw
the mob, quietly and undisturbed, destroying the sessions house in the
Old Bailey. Horace Walpole found Lord Hertford's house barricaded and
the lord himself and his sons loading their muskets in expectation of an
assault. On the 7th the tumult rose to its height. This was the fifth
day of the riots. The town was so intimidated that blue flags and strips
of blue were shown on most houses, and few came out without the blue
cockade. The rioters had long since passed from under the control of
their religious leaders, and were guided by leaders of their own. On
this day more than one attack was made on the Bank, headed by a fellow
mounted on a brewer's horse, with a harness of the chains of Newgate
jingling about him. More chapels were sacked, more prisons opened. No
less than thirty-six fires were blazing at once. The most fearful scene
was in Holborn, where Mr. Langdale's distillery was broken open and set
on fire. There, amid the flames fed by constant supplies of spirit, the
wretched rioters flew upon the liquor, drinking the gin from pails, or
lying grovelling and lapping it from the kennel; many died of actual
drunkenness, many more perished helplessly in the flames. It was time
that something should be done, yet the ministry and magistrates alike
shrank from doing anything. There was a notion abroad that the military
might not act till an hour after the Riot Act had been read by a
magistrate, and courageous magistrates could not be found; nor was it
forgotten that on previous occasions soldiers had been harshly treated
by juries for over zeal. The emergency was one which well suited the
dogged and courageous character of the King. On the 7th he summoned a
Privy Council, and put to it the question whether the soldiers might be
employed without the machinery of the Riot Act. None of the members of
the Council would take the responsibility of recommending such a course,
and the Council had almost separated without doing anything, when George
called upon Wedderburn, who was present as legal assessor, to state the
view of the common law. He unhesitatingly said that a soldier did not
cease to be a citizen, and might, and should, interfere to prevent acts
of felony. This was all the King required. There were 10,000 troops in
London, and he now felt he might act energetically. Orders were sent to
Lord Amherst, the commander-in-chief, to that effect, and that evening
and during the night such vigorous measures were taken that the mob was
at once crushed and the crisis over. The numbers killed and wounded by
the military were not less than 500, and probably very many more, as
many were carried off privately. Undoubtedly the King's decision on this
occasion saved London. Of the prisoners some twenty-nine were executed.
The Lord Mayor was tried and convicted of criminal negligence. Lord
George Gordon was arrested and foolishly tried for high treason.
Wedderburn had meanwhile become Lord Chief Justice, and before him he
was tried. The Judge's address was more like the pleading of an advocate
than the charge of a judge, and people felt it so; the turn of feeling
also had a little changed, and Lord George was acquitted. He died, a
Jew, in 1793 of gaol distemper caught in Newgate, where he had been
confined for libelling the Queen of France. When the House of Commons
again assembled the gigantic Protestant petition was considered. It was
met by five resolutions, the joint work of the political enemies Burke
and North, which declared the continual approval of the Commons of the
late Act of Toleration.

[Sidenote: Gleams of success.]

[Sidenote: Rodney's victory.]

[Sidenote: Capture of Charleston.]

[Sidenote: The interest of the war passes to the South.]

In the midst of these difficulties at home there had been some rays of
comfort from the success of both fleet and army abroad. Early in the
year Rodney had been placed in command of a fleet which was to act in
the West Indies. On his way out he had instructions to relieve
Gibraltar, which had been closely invested since the beginning of the
war with Spain. While carrying out these orders he met the Spanish fleet
off Cape St. Vincent and gained over it a complete victory. Four line of
battle-ships were taken, four destroyed, only four made their escape.
Gibraltar was then relieved, and Minorca also, so that Rodney could
write home that the English were masters of the Mediterranean. He thence
proceeded on his way to the West Indies, where De Guichen, with the
French and Spanish fleets, could not be brought to an engagement, and
where for the time nothing was done. Though Rodney's successes and
those of Admiral Digby in the Bay of Biscay were somewhat neutralized by
the entire destruction of our West and East India fleets, ably planned
and carried out by the Spaniards off the Azores, they raised the spirits
of the Government, coupled as they were with cheering news from the
army. Just as the Gordon riots were suppressed, information arrived that
Charleston, the capital of South Carolina, had fallen into our hands. On
several occasions during the war the eyes of the commanders had been
turned southward. The feeling of loyalty was less shaken there than in
the more northern provinces, and it seemed desirable that the efforts of
England should not be confined to one little spot along the whole of the
enormous seaboard of America. Savannah in Georgia had already been
taken, and in pursuance of a general plan for acting on a more extended
basis, Clinton moved with the bulk of his army from New York and
besieged Charleston. The siege was carried on with vigour and skill, and
General Lincoln found himself obliged to surrender. Clinton set actively
to work to reduce the Carolinas. Virginia, one of the centres of
disaffection, would thus be between two fires, and something more
tangible might be effected than had yet been done by the army at New
York. In fact, the interest of the war was now transferred to the South,
for though Washington and the main American army still lay about New
York, its effect there was only to neutralize the English army opposed
to it, while the active operations which led to the end of the war were
carried on at Carolina and Virginia.

[Sidenote: England alone against all Europe.]

[Sidenote: War with the Dutch.]

[Sidenote: Armed neutrality of the North.]

Before describing the final struggle, it will be well to see the
difficulties under which the English laboured. The war had become a
world-wide one. Not only had the two maritime powers France and Spain
engaged in it, but it was plain that our old rivals the Dutch were soon
going to do so also. Before the end of the year an unusually strong
instance of our determination to insist on the right of searching
neutral ships, when a convoy was searched and captured under the guns of
the convoying ships of war, had raised the anger of the Dutch to a high
pitch. The capture of a vessel containing Mr. Laurens, late President of
the American Congress, and proofs that he was engaged in making an
alliance with the States of Holland, rendered it impossible to avoid a
declaration of war, and Holland was added to our armed opponents. Nor
was this all. The same odious rigour of search nearly brought all the
nations of the North upon us. The Empress of Russia had suffered from it
at the hands of the Spaniards. She therefore, acting probably at the
instigation of the King of Prussia, constituted herself the champion of
neutral rights, and succeeded in uniting the nations of the North in an
armed neutrality in support of the doctrine that neutral ships made
neutral cargoes, and that nothing was contraband of war except what had
been definitely made so by treaty. In other words, she claimed for
neutrals the right of carrying the property of belligerents unmolested,
a right which virtually told against the English only, whose main hope
lay in keeping dominion of the sea and stopping the trade and supplies
of its enemies. The Armed Neutrality also upheld the now generally
received principle that a blockade to be respected must be efficient,
that is, that there must be sufficient force before a blockaded port to
prevent the entrance of trading vessels. The whole maritime power of
Europe was thus arrayed against England, and yet it was only by keeping
the upper hand at sea that she could hope to carry out successfully her
attempts on land. It was impossible to pour large armies into America
and to subdue a continent without some easily accessible base of
operations. This base the sea afforded. It will be seen in the sequel
that the loss of naval supremacy was the immediate cause of the disaster
of Yorktown.

[Sidenote: Arnold's treachery.]

[Sidenote: Trial and death of Major André.]

But as yet the arms of England continued to be successful. Clinton,
leaving Cornwallis to command in the South, had hastened back from
Carolina to New York, that he might be ready to oppose the French fleet,
whose arrival had been threatened. In June the expected armament
arrived, consisting of seven line of battle-ships and 6000 men under the
Count de Rochambeau. The rapidity with which Rhode Island was at once
occupied and placed in a state of defence thwarted the efforts of the
English to regain it, but the British fleet was so much stronger than
that of the enemy that a blockade was maintained around the seaboard of
the province, which paralyzed all action on the part of the French for
the rest of the year. This forced inactivity of Rochambeau gave rise to
one of the best known episodes of the war. Washington left his
headquarters to meet the French general and concert measures for action
if possible. His absence was used for the purpose of carrying out a
piece of treachery which had long been hatching. General Arnold was in
command at West Point on the Hudson, a position of great importance, as
it prevented the occupation of the valley which affords direct
communication between New York and Canada. Married to a royalist wife,
with a feeling that his undoubted genius was not sufficiently valued,
and smarting under a public reprimand for some dishonest practices into
which he had been led by his poverty and love of ostentation, Arnold had
for some time been in secret correspondence with Clinton, making
arrangements for changing sides, and handing over to the English the
important post of which he had charge. The correspondence had been
carried on through Major André, a young and very promising officer, now
Adjutant-General of Clinton's army. Washington's departure seemed to
offer an opportunity for carrying out the plan. To complete the
negotiation a personal interview was required, and Major André, with
instructions from Clinton not to enter the lines of the enemy and to
wear uniform, repaired to the neighbourhood of West Point. When day
dawned the interview was not over, and André was induced to continue it
in a house within the American lines. On leaving he was also imprudent
enough to dress as a civilian. He had already passed the lines on his
homeward journey, when he was accidentally met and stopped by some
militiamen; he avowed himself an English officer, but presented a pass
from Arnold; the pass was disregarded, he was searched, and papers found
in his boot. Under these circumstances there were about him all the
outward marks of a spy, and as such he was treated. Much to the anger of
the English, Washington, refusing to hear any representations in his
favour, brought him to trial before a court of American officers, by
whom he was condemned. He even rejected the last prayer of the
enthusiastic soldier, that he might be saved from a felon's death, and
had him hanged, with all the usual attendant circumstances of
disgrace--a piece of stern but perhaps necessary justice, and, in spite
of the outcry raised at the time, apparently in strict accordance with
the laws of war. Timely information of André's capture enabled Arnold to
escape from his house, where Washington was momentarily expected, and to
obtain shelter on board the English man-of-war which had conveyed André
to the ill-fated meeting. Washington was surprised on reaching Arnold's
house to find no host, but it was not till he had paid a visit to West
Point, and found the commander absent there also, that he discovered the
real state of the case.

[Sidenote: Campaign in Carolina.]

While things were thus at a standstill round New York, the war had been
actively prosecuted in Carolina. Alarmed by the fall of Charleston, the
Americans had sent General Gates to take the command there; they
regarded him as their ablest general, and he figured in some degree as a
rival to Washington. He found the English in possession of a line of
country extending from Pedee river to Fort 96. The main body of the
English, under the command of Lord Rawdon, lay in the neighbourhood of
Camden, towards the centre of this line. Against this position Gates
advanced; his march was a very difficult one; he had to make his way
through a rough uncultivated country, where provisions were not to be
obtained; for several days his troops had to subsist on the peaches
which are there almost indigenous. He was able, in spite of these
difficulties, to bring into the field a force numerically double that of
the English, who were no more than 2000 strong. His troops, however,
were unable to withstand the attack of a well-disciplined force. On the
left and centre they at once threw down their arms and took to flight.
The troops from Maryland and Delaware upon the right showed, it is true,
more firmness, but the victory of the English was complete, and Lord
Cornwallis, who had hurried up to assume the command, improved it to the
utmost. Colonel Tarleton, an officer of indefatigable energy, pushed
rapidly forward, and succeeded in surprising Colonel Sumter, a partisan
officer, on the Catawba, and the whole army moved steadily forward to
Charlotte, with the intention of invading North Carolina. A slight check
sustained by a body of loyal militia, however, alarmed Cornwallis, and,
together with the smallness of the number of troops at his command,
induced him to postpone his forward movement till the following year. In
the interval he and Lord Rawdon, his second in command, were guilty of
acts of most impolitic severity. Such prisoners as could be proved to be
deserters from the royal army, or to have once accepted the royal
Government and to have subsequently joined Gates, were hanged. Some of
the disaffected residents of Charleston were deported to Saint Augustin,
while the property of others was sequestrated. Rawdon in fact went even
further, and ventured to set a price on the head of every rebel. Such
acts went far to alienate the people, and by weakening the security of
the communications increased the difficulties of the following year, and
tended to neutralize the effects of a very promising campaign.

[Sidenote: St. Eustatia captured. 1781.]

The same success which had attended the English arms in Carolina
followed the efforts of the fleet in the early part of the next year;
Rodney captured from the Dutch, who had joined the coalition against
England, the enormously wealthy island of St. Eustatia. Much of the
property collected there belonged however to English owners, and a vast
clamour arose when the admiral declared it all prize of war. He
asserted, and it subsequently became plain, that the island was used as
an entrepôt for the collection of goods which were afterwards to be
supplied to the enemy. Other charges brought against him, accusing him
of hasty and over rigorous action, afterwards proved to be equally ill
founded, for fortunately both military and naval commanders were members
of Parliament, and had full opportunity of vindicating themselves before
the House, and of stripping the charges against them of the
exaggerations which surrounded them. Thus General Vaughan was charged
with forcible removal of all Jews from the island, but was able to
produce a written document from the Jews themselves thanking him for his
considerate treatment of them.

[Sidenote: Delusive character of these early successes.]

These successes soon proved to be delusive. The coalition against
England was becoming too powerful to be withstood. Already a great drawn
battle with the Dutch had been fought off the Doggerbank, and Sir Hyde
Parker had been compelled to withdraw his shattered fleet into English
quarters; and it soon became evident that we had for the present lost
our supremacy of the sea, or at least were unable to keep a commanding
superiority in all parts of the world at once, for to such dimensions
had the war grown. Thus the French made an attack upon Jersey, which was
only saved, when it had already fallen into their hands, by the
intrepidity of Major Pierson, a young soldier of twenty-five, who
himself lost his life by almost the last shot fired; another and more
successful expedition under the Duke of Crillon assaulted Minorca; while
a great armament setting out from France parted midway across the
Atlantic, thus becoming two fleets, one of which, under Bailli de
Suffren, was able to give us full employment in the Indian waters, while
the other, under De Grasse, raised the naval power in the West Indies
above our own. Rodney found himself unable to save the Island of Tobago,
and, broken by the climate, was compelled to return to England. Nor was
his successor Sir Samuel Hood more fortunate; a detached squadron was
found sufficient to counterbalance the English fleet in the West Indies,
while De Grasse sailed with the bulk of his fleet to the American coast,
where his arrival at once turned the balance against us, and deprived us
of that command of the sea which was absolutely necessary for our
success. The fatal effects of this loss were soon to be apparent.

[Sidenote: Battle of Guildford Courthouse. March 15.]

[Sidenote: Hobkirk's Hill. April 25, 1781.]

The first warlike event of the year was an expedition under General
Arnold (who had obtained a command from his new masters) directed
against Virginia, in the hope that such a diversion might assist
Cornwallis in what was intended to be the main effort of the year. It
produced however no great effects beyond the destruction of a
considerable amount of property, and when Cornwallis set himself in
motion, he found himself faced by a more formidable opponent than
General Gates. At the instigation of Washington, Nathaniel Greene, a
self-made general, who had risen from a blacksmith's forge, had been
given command in the South. He proved himself a man of great vigour and
tenacity, and though invariably beaten when opposed to any large body of
English troops, he contrived to recover so quickly, that the barren name
of victory was usually all that was left to the English. The campaign
opened by the defeat of Colonel Tarleton, who had rashly attacked the
Americans under Morgan at Cow-pens; nor could Cornwallis succeed in
getting between the victorious general and Greene's army; their united
forces were compelled however to fall back before Cornwallis' advance
till they had evacuated the whole of North Carolina. Political
necessities checked the English advance, and Cornwallis attempted,
without much success, to consolidate the royal influence in the
province; but, by the middle of March, Greene found himself again in a
position to re-enter Carolina and to give battle to Cornwallis in the
neighbourhood of Guildford. He occupied a position at Guildford
Courthouse; as usual the English were victorious, as usual they reaped
nothing from their victory, for Cornwallis, finding his troops much
diminished in numbers and not meeting with the assistance he expected
from the inhabitants, was compelled to fall back upon Wilmington. Greene
did not long pursue him, for by thus withdrawing to the coast he had
laid open the road into South Carolina, where Rawdon had been left with
a small detachment. Greene saw his opportunity, and pushing boldly
southward, again approached the English post at Camden. Afraid to attack
Rawdon without reinforcements, he occupied a strong position upon
Hobkirk's Hill, about two miles from Camden. There Rawdon thought it
prudent to attack him, and he was driven from his position. The
ludicrous insufficiency of the English troops (there were but 900
engaged in the battle) again prevented them from using their victory,
and Greene was enabled, without risking another engagement, to compel
Rawdon to withdraw his troops to the immediate defence of Charleston.

[Sidenote: Position of the English armies.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Eutaw. Sept. 8.]

Meanwhile two courses had been open to Cornwallis at Wilmington; he
might either hurry in pursuit of Greene and assist the hard pressed
army of Rawdon, or push northward and effect a junction with the
Virginian expedition, which has already been mentioned, under Arnold and
Phillips. To pursue the first course was to give up all his previous
successes, to relinquish all hope of striking a decisive blow; for
independent action his own army, numbering only 1500, was too small: he
decided therefore to march northward, and in May formed a junction with
the expedition, by which the number of his troops was raised to 7000. He
left Wilmington on the day on which the battle of Hobkirk's Hill was
fought. Till the heat of summer compelled a cessation of active
fighting, Cornwallis was always superior to his enemy; but as the autumn
advanced, the Americans, who had been constantly reinforced, were again
a match for him. The three English armies were then acting--the main
body, 10,000 strong, under Clinton at New York--Cornwallis' army, about
7000 strong, on the coast of Virginia--Rawdon's handful of men, now
under the command of Colonel Stewart, a little in advance of Charleston.
Before the close of the year the whole of South Carolina and Georgia
were lost, with the exception of Charleston and Savannah; for Greene,
coming down from his summer position on the Santee Hills, had succeeded,
after a very severe struggle at the Eutaw Springs, in obliging Colonel
Stewart to retire to Charleston Neck, leaving the whole open country to
be overrun by the Americans.

[Sidenote: Cornwallis in Virginia.]

[Sidenote: American armies close round Yorktown.]

[Sidenote: Cornwallis compelled to surrender. Oct. 18, 1781.]

The position of Cornwallis was also becoming critical. Cut off from
support on the south, his only hope was to fight his way northwards to
join Clinton, or to receive large reinforcements from this general by
sea; but it was not likely that Washington would allow his army to be
neutralized by the English troops in New York. It was almost certain
that he would turn his attention southward, join General Wayne in
Virginia, and render a northward movement of the English impossible. The
only real hope was from the sea, but the sea was no longer a secure
basis of operations. The English fleet, now under the command of Admiral
Graves, who had succeeded Arbuthnot, tried its strength against De
Grasse in September. The action was indecisive, but it became evident
that, when all the fleets were joined, the French could muster
thirty-six sail of the line in the Bay of Chesapeake, while the English
force was no more than twenty-five. But as yet the English did not
acknowledge the naval superiority of their enemies, and Cornwallis,
acting as he believed, though apparently erroneously, on instructions
from Clinton, took possession of Yorktown, a village on the high
southern bank of York river, and there awaited assistance. The
defensive position thus taken up by the English army and the want of
energy shown is explained by the news which had reached Clinton, that
the French were thinking of withdrawing if the war should last beyond
the current year. He believed that, could he contrive to weather the
difficulties which surrounded him, the opposition of the Americans,
unable to stand alone, would on the loss of their allies disappear
without further effort on his part. His hope was not unfounded; it was
in truth a critical moment for the Americans. At a meeting between the
American generals and De Grasse, the Admiral had declared that he had
orders not to remain longer than November; the nation was on the verge
of bankruptcy; the New England States, with the selfishness which had
marked them throughout, were ready to give in. It was thus absolutely
necessary for Washington to act quickly and to win some striking
success. What Clinton therefore ought to have foreseen happened;
Washington turned his attention towards Virginia, and undeterred by an
assault on the New England States which Clinton attempted as a
diversion, the mass of the American army began steadily to gather round
Cornwallis. The position which he occupied was not a happy one, it was
in fact untenable without command of the sea, which, as has been
mentioned, had already been lost. He occupied the southern bank of the
York river, there about a mile wide, and on the northern side the little
village of Gloucester. The fortifications were of no great value, and
the advanced posts were at once withdrawn upon the receipt of a despatch
from Clinton, stating that there was every hope that the fleet, with
5000 men, would attempt to relieve the army, and would leave New York
for that purpose in about ten days' time. This was a fatal error, as it
gave the enemy positions commanding the works. The besiegers numbered
18,000, their large and powerful artillery being in part supplied by the
French ships. The first parallel was completed on the 9th of October;
the fire from it was overwhelming: on the 11th the second parallel was
opened, nor could the bravery of the besieged prevent the capture of two
advanced redoubts on the 14th, which were at once included in it. It now
became evident to the besieged that the expected reinforcements had
failed them, and after a brilliant sally, during which many of the
enemy's guns were spiked, Cornwallis, finding all his guns silenced and
his ammunition drawing to a close, felt that he had to choose between
surrender and an effort to withdraw his troops from their untenable
position. He determined to attempt the latter plan; his scheme was a
desperate one; his troops were to be transported in open boats to
Gloucester, they were there to break through the enemy's lines, which
were not strong in that direction, to seize the horses of the besiegers
and of the neighbouring country people, and make their way to New York.
The boats with their loads had already crossed once when a storm arose
which rendered the further prosecution of the plan impossible, and when
morning dawned Cornwallis had no alternative but to make terms. He
agreed to surrender all his troops as prisoners of war, and on the 19th
of October, 4000 British soldiers who remained fit for work marched out
with the honours of war between the long lines of the French and
American army and laid down their arms. It is worth mentioning, as a
strange little piece of professional arrogance, that when marching
between the lines of French on the one side and Americans on the other,
the English officers saluted punctiliously all the French officers as
belonging to a regular army, but refused any acknowledgment to the
Americans. This was virtually the close of the war. The infant Hercules
had strangled its second serpent, as was afterwards portrayed on
Franklin's medal.

[Sidenote: New session of Parliament. Nov. 27.]

[Sidenote: Tottering condition of the Government.]

[Sidenote: Defeat of the ministry on Conway's motion.]

[Sidenote: Lord North's resignation.]

The close of the war under such circumstances of failure could not but
bring with it the fall of the ministry. The news arrived at a striking
time, but two days before the opening of the session. With such a weapon
in their hand, and with the stored-up rancour of ten years of
opposition, the leaders of the Whigs pressed motion after motion against
the Government. Fox and Burke vied with each other in their bitter
assaults, and the young Pitt, who had come into Parliament as member for
Appleby, on the nomination of Sir James Lowther, rapidly assumed a high
position on the same side. The Budget was in itself a proof that Lord
North was yielding; the estimates were so small, that he had to explain
that he intended to give up all notion of a war on a "continental plan
by sending armies to march through the provinces from South to North;"
he would henceforth content himself with holding some important harbours
on the American coast. Outside Parliament, in the metropolitan counties,
vigorous opposition meetings were held, and the public anger was raised
to its climax by a succession of misfortunes which befell our arms.
Admiral Kempenfeldt found himself completely outnumbered in the West
Indies, and the whole of the Leeward Islands, except Barbadoes and
Antigua, were lost. Minorca, which was regarded as of even more
importance than Gibraltar, and the key to the Mediterranean,
surrendered after a gallant defence. The Bailli de Suffren thwarted an
expedition against the Cape of Good Hope, at the same time at home the
Irish difficulties, which will be treated of more at length afterwards,
were becoming most threatening. Under these circumstances, a motion by
General Conway, that the war on the continent of America should be
discontinued was lost by one vote only, and a repetition of the same
motion a week later was carried by a majority of 234 against 215. Lord
George Germaine, who was pledged to the continuance of the war, withdrew
from the Government, and finally a direct vote of no confidence on the
15th of March was only lost by a scanty majority of nine. North saw that
further struggle was hopeless, and on the 20th compelled the King to
allow him to declare the administration at an end. He went out of office
with his usual tact and good humour. A great attack had been arranged
for that evening, which was to be led by Lord Surrey; he and North rose
at the same moment, and the cries from the rival parties could not be
quelled till Fox rose and proposed a formal motion that Lord Surrey be
first heard. With admirable presence of mind, North rose and said that
he would speak to that motion, and prove its inutility by declaring his
government at an end. There is a well-known anecdote of his persistent
good humour; expecting a long debate, the Opposition members had sent
away their carriages, and as they stood awaiting them shivering in the
drizzling rain, Lord North passed through them to get into his.
"Gentlemen," he said, "you see the advantage of being in the secret,"
and drove off.

[Sidenote: Shelburne refuses the Premiership.]

[Sidenote: New Whig Government.]

North's resignation was the complete defeat for the time of the King's
plans; but George III. was a man of the most obstinate and determined
character, and he by no means intended as yet to give up the fight. The
Opposition which had formed the alliance to drive North from office
consisted of two sections. First, the old or Revolution Whigs, as they
liked to call themselves, who, true to their aristocratic principle, had
chosen for their leader the wealthiest but by no means the ablest man
among them, Lord Rockingham, an agriculturist, a sporting man, of
respectable talents and much honesty, though without any of the gifts of
oratory which are necessary for the management of a public body; and
secondly, those Whigs who had owned the leadership of Chatham, and who
now followed the Earl of Shelburne; a party less tied by aristocratic
connections, and representing, as far as could then be represented, the
real liberal interests of the country. To avoid the necessity of
putting himself into the hands of his particular enemies, the Whig
families, it was to this section that the King at once applied. But, as
Chatham had always found, it was of itself far too weak a party in
Parliament to form a satisfactory ministry. Moreover, the eagerness with
which Burke and Dunning had of late years demanded financial reform, and
the share they had taken in driving North from office, made it
impossible for their claims to be ignored. Shelburne therefore refused
the King's request. The King's discomfiture seemed quite complete when
Rockingham accepted office. The ministry consisted of equal numbers of
the two sections of the Liberals. Rockingham, Keppel, Lord John
Cavendish, the Duke of Richmond, and Mr. Fox, of the one party; Lord
Shelburne, Camden, General Conway, Lord Ashburton (Dunning), and the
Duke of Grafton of the other. Strangely enough, the balance between them
was held by the Tory Lord Thurlow, the King's personal friend, who
remained in the position of Lord Chancellor. Pitt haughtily refused to
accept any subordinate office.

[Sidenote: The three questions which met it.]

Three great questions at once presented themselves to the new
administration,--to pacify the clamours of Ireland, to complete the
economical reforms to which they were pledged, and by means of which
they hoped to regain some of the power of which the successful policy of
the King had robbed them, and to bring to conclusion as honourably as
possible the American War.

[Sidenote: The agitation in Ireland.]

In Ireland the agitation had been constantly on the increase since the
conciliatory measures of Lord North in 1780. Free trade had been
granted, but this step towards independence had opened the way to still
further demands; if they had followed the Americans thus far, why not
follow them a step further and demand legislative independence also? The
legislative superiority of England rested mainly upon two Statutes,
Poynings' Law, or the Statute of Drogheda of the reign of Henry VII., by
which all Bills brought forward in the Irish Parliament, except such as
regarded money, were subject to revision or suppression by the English
Privy Council, and the Statute 6 George I., which asserted the right of
the English Parliament to legislate for Ireland. No sooner had Grattan
succeeded in his first agitation, than he proceeded, in spite even of
the wishes of his friends Lord Charlemont and Burke, to set to work the
same machinery for the purpose of obtaining the reversal of these
statutes. As early as April 1780 he had produced, though
unsuccessfully, a motion in the Irish Parliament declaratory of Irish
independence. Since that time his position had become stronger, disputes
in Parliament had excited the national feeling, the volunteers had
completed their organization, and appointed Lord Charlemont their
commander-in-chief. A great meeting of deputies from the volunteers had
been held at Dungannon, which had accepted to the full Grattan's
propositions. With this great armed power behind him, and reinforced by
the influence of the Roman Catholics, whose interests he had lately
espoused, Grattan was enabled on the 16th of April to bring forward a
final and successful address declaring the perfect legislative
independence of Ireland. It was carried unanimously through both Houses.
In face of this pressure, though not blind to the almost inevitable
evils of a dual Government, Fox and Shelburne yielded the point, and the
Statute of George I. was repealed in express terms.

[Sidenote: Economical reforms.]

The ministry had entered upon office supported by a vast agitation
throughout the country, by county meetings, societies and corresponding
associations, and these allies outside the walls of Parliament were
eager for very sweeping measures of reform in all directions, especially
financial reform, limitation of the influence of the Crown, the purity
of the House, and reform of the representation. All these measures had a
political as well as an economical side. They all formed portions of the
avowed politics of the Whigs for breaking the power of the Crown. Both
revenue officers and contractors assisted to uphold Government
influence; the votes of the revenue officers were said to command no
less than seventy boroughs, and contracts, given not because
advantageous to the public, but for political purposes, were but so many
indirect bribes. But the voice of the statesman is apt to be singularly
tempered by his accession to office, and the Government Bills which
Burke introduced in June proved but a weak reflection of his former
measure. Certain obvious abuses were removed, secret service money was
diminished, and a smaller share of it allowed to the Treasury; the
Pension List was cut down, and £300 fixed as the outside limit for a
single pension; the whole Board of Trade, which had proved useless, was
swept away; but the expenses of the Principality of Wales and the
Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, together with many useless offices of
the Household, and public offices, were untouched, and the whole saving
effected was only about £72,000 a year. Burke in thus limiting his
propositions was doubtless acting under pressure from his colleagues.
His own sincerity was proved by the limitation which he set to the
inordinate emolument which as Paymaster he derived from his own office.
But the honesty of the ministry as a whole was somewhat compromised when
they forestalled the action of their own Bill, and hurriedly granted
large pensions, varying from £2600 to £3200, to Lord Grantham, to the
Chancellor, and to Colonel Barré. Still further proof that a limitation
of the royal power and not real reform was the object in view, was given
by the reception accorded to a measure for parliamentary reform
introduced by William Pitt. Chatham had always seen and asserted that
some measure of parliamentary reform was necessary if influence was to
give way to any true national representation. But though constantly
inveighing against Government influence when in the hands of their
opponents, the Whig oligarchs, to whom parliamentary influence was as
necessary as it was to the King himself, had no idea of lessening their
own power, and Pitt's measure for transferring it to the counties, at
that time the chief homes of independence, though ably supported, was
defeated by a majority of twenty, swelled by the open opposition of some
of the ministry and the lukewarmness of others. Fox and the Duke of
Richmond however supported him. Divisions in the Cabinet upon so
important a question, scandals such as the Barré pension and the
unsatisfactory carrying out of promises of economical reform, tended to
lessen the popularity of the ministry. But it was the management of the
great question of all, the completion, namely, of an honourable peace,
which displayed chiefly the weakness of the administration.

[Sidenote: Conclusion of the American War.]

As far as America itself was concerned the fall of Yorktown had
virtually put an end to hostilities, and the declared policy of England
reached no further than the retention of certain posts and harbours. It
may be a question whether this was wise, for it is certain that the
condition of the Americans was very deplorable. Bankrupt and
impoverished, the Congress was in no condition to support the army in a
state of efficiency, and from its factions and intrigues had so lost
public confidence, that Washington was earnestly intreated to make
himself dictator, and take the management of the country into his own
hands. But it was impossible for the Whigs, after the language they had
used in Parliament, where they had not scrupled to rejoice at American
successes, and to speak of the American armies as _our_ armies, to think
of anything but peace at once and on any terms. But though the war with
America thus died out, that with the allied powers of Europe was by no
means ended. Spain and France had joined the Americans with the cry of
independence, absurd enough from such monarchies, but with the real
object of destroying the power of England, and reversing the humiliating
terms forced upon them by the Treaty of 1763. The Dutch had joined the
coalition for commercial objects of its own; they were desirous of
destroying the English Navigation Act and of restoring the freedom of
the sea. The moment seemed to have arrived when all these wishes could
be gratified, and negotiations for a general peace were therefore of a
twofold character and by no means easy to complete, as America was
pledged not to conclude a treaty without her allies. A further
complication arose from the peculiar arrangements of the English
ministry, by which American affairs fell to the lot of Shelburne as Home
Secretary, while Fox, his rival in the ministry, in his capacity of
Foreign Minister had the duty of negotiating with the European powers.
As Dr. Franklin, the most important American diplomatist, was at this
time in Paris, that city became the centre of negotiations, and thither
both ministers sent agents. Mr. Oswald, on the part of Lord Shelburne,
began to open the business with Franklin, while Mr. Thomas Granville was
accredited as plenipotentiary from Fox to arrange matters with M.
Vergennes, the French minister. With singular ingratitude, the
Americans, though bound not to _conclude_ a treaty without their allies,
thought it right to complete all the arrangements except the actual
conclusion secretly and separately with the English, although they had
not thought it beneath them to let their allies undertake all the more
arduous parts of the war. Although there was some difference of opinion
as to the exact manner of granting the independence of America, all
parties in England were agreed that it should be granted, and as this
was the sole point at issue between the countries, there was little to
be done but the arrangement of boundaries and some minor details.

[Sidenote: Exorbitant demands of France.]

Very different was the case with the French; when the basis of the
Treaty of 1763 was proposed it was absolutely refused. It was plainly
asserted that the very object of the war had been to annihilate that
treaty, and hints were thrown out that England would be expected to
surrender even a large part of her East Indian dominions. "Your arms are
too long," said M. de Vergennes, "why not be satisfied with Bengal?"
Before the year was over events happened which caused the French to
lower their tone. The fall of Yorktown and the subsequent failure of the
arms of England had made them believe that her power was gone, and they
confidently looked forward to the success of two great enterprises then
on foot to complete her discomfiture. De Grasse, with a large fleet,
was to join the Spanish fleet in the West Indies, take troops on board,
and seize Jamaica. The fall of Minorca had set De Crillon free to
complete the fall of Gibraltar, with a vast armament which he had been
engaged in organizing. To Rodney was intrusted the duty of protecting
Jamaica; he determined to prevent the junction of the enemy's fleets. A
line of frigates within signal distance extended from St. Lucia to the
French position at Martinique, and the enemy had not been two hours at
sea before he was in pursuit. After some ineffectual efforts he
succeeded in getting to the windward of the enemy, and on the 10th of
April brought the French fleet to action. The number of the fleets was
exactly equal. The superiority in number of men and weight of metal was
in favour of the French. The battle is famous for the introduction into
naval tactics of the manœuvre called breaking the line. Before this
time it was usual to meet the enemy in line, to close up ship to ship,
and win the battle chiefly by hard fighting. The new manœuvre
consisted in advancing in column against the enemy's line, passing
through it, thus breaking it in half, and enveloping one of the halves
with the whole fleet. On the present occasion its use resulted in a
complete victory. The English took or destroyed eight ships; the loss of
the French was very great, being much increased by the crowded state of
their vessels, which had on board the soldiers intended for the Jamaica

[Sidenote: Siege of Gibraltar. Sept. 13.]

In spite of this great success, the ministry continued its efforts at
peace, but so long as there was any hope of securing better terms by the
capture of Gibraltar the French would not come to the point. Nor did the
change of ministry caused by the death of Rockingham change the aspect
of affairs. Gibraltar had now been three years besieged. British fleets
had twice forced the blockade and relieved the garrison. General
Elliot's defence was vigorous, and inspired his troops with confidence.
In the last November a great sally had destroyed the greater part of the
enemy's works, but now a final effort of the united house of Bourbon was
to be made. De Crillon, fresh from his success at Minorca, took the
command, and neglecting the attack from the land side, set his hopes on
a terrific bombardment to be conducted from the sea. He constructed ten
huge floating batteries, with walls of wood and iron seven feet thick,
shot proof and bomb proof; a fleet of more than forty first-rates was in
the harbour, and a fire from 400 pieces of artillery, in answer to which
the English could produce but 100, was to annihilate the fortress.
Elliot was not disheartened; trusting to the natural strength of the
place in other directions, he concentrated the whole of his fire upon
the terrible batteries. For a long while they seemed absolutely
impenetrable, but at length the constant stream of red hot shot took
effect, and at mid-day their fire slackened. Before midnight the largest
of them burst into flames, and eight out of the ten were on fire during
the night. The siege was over, and the fleet, which still waited in the
hope of meeting Lord Howe on his arrival with a relieving squadron, was
driven from the harbour by the weather before he came, so that he was
able to enter and relieve the garrison unmolested.

[Sidenote: Changed tone of French demands.]

[Sidenote: Terms of peace. Jan 20, 1783.]

This great success, following so close upon the West Indian victory,
made it plain to the allies that England was by no means so prostrate as
they had imagined, and there was no longer much difficulty in settling
the preliminaries of a peace. France accepted readily the offers which
had been rejected in the earlier part of the year. The English ceded the
little islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon in the St. Lawrence, and the
African establishments of Senegal and Goree. In the West Indies
everything was restored to the same condition as before the war, with
the exception of Tobago, which was given to France. In the East Indies
the French were permitted to retain their commercial establishments, but
without military occupation. The treaty for the destruction of Dunkirk
was formally given up. With these slight concessions France had to be
satisfied. Spain kept Minorca; and the Floridas were given up to
her--better terms than she had a right to expect. England received in
exchange the Bahamas, which she had already reconquered, and the right
of cutting logwood in Honduras. Holland, with whom the English
Government had in vain attempted a separate treaty, gained nothing by
her rejection of those overtures, but was obliged to agree to a mutual
restoration of conquests, with the exception of the seaport town of
Negapatam, which remained to the English. A provisional treaty had
already been made with America, by which the independence of the States
was formally declared, boundaries settled, and commercial relations
re-established. The only difficulty was the claim for compensation for
loss of property raised by the American loyalists. This however was

[Sidenote: Death of Rockingham. Division of the Whigs.]

[Sidenote: The Shelburne ministry. July 1782.]

The duty of concluding these treaties had not fallen to the same
ministry as had begun them. The composition of the Rockingham ministry
had not been such as to secure its stability; it consisted, as has been
said, of two distinct and equally balanced parties. A rivalry between
the leaders of these parties was inevitable, especially when one of
them was a man so self-asserting and so conscious of his claims as Fox.
United for a moment under the nominal leadership of Rockingham, a man of
great influence though of slender ability, their union was at once
dissolved at the death of that nobleman. Fox refused to serve under
Shelburne, to whom the King at once offered the Premiership, and though
several of the old ministers retained their places, the greater part
followed their leader, and a split, which proved to be final, arose
between the two sections of the Whigs. The new ministry included, as
Chancellor of the Exchequer, William Pitt, as yet but twenty-three years
of age. Already his oratorical power and his aspiring genius had made
him one of the first men of the House, and he was regarded as a worthy
successor of Chatham. Till this period he and Fox had been on friendly
terms, and usually on the same side on political questions, but he had
his father's hatred of faction, or the introduction of personal motives
into politics, and bitterly reproached Fox for his conduct in leaving
the Government. Henceforward they were avowed opponents. Fox's own
explanation of his conduct was as follows. He said that he had written
by the King's orders to Mr. Grenville, then at Paris, to authorize him
to offer to the American agents "to recognize the independence of the
United States in the first instance, and not to reserve it as a
condition of peace." At the same time an official letter, for the same
purpose, was sent by the Earl of Shelburne to Sir Guy Carleton in
America. Mr. Fox, suspecting that this measure though consented to in
the Cabinet, had not the entire approbation of some of his colleagues,
had, in order to prevent any misconception, purposely chosen the most
forcible expressions that the English language could supply; and he
confessed that his joy was so great on finding that the Earl of
Shelburne, in the letter to Sir Guy Carleton, had repeated his very
words, that he carried it immediately to the Marquis of Rockingham, and
told him that their distrust and suspicions of that noble lord's
intentions had been groundless, and were now done away. "Judge then,"
said he, "of my grief and astonishment when, during the illness of my
noble friend, another language was heard in the Cabinet, and the noble
Earl and his friends began to consider the above letter as containing
offers only of a conditional nature, to be recalled if not accepted as
the price of peace. Finding myself thus ensnared and betrayed, and all
confidence destroyed, I quitted a situation in which I found I could not
remain either with honour or safety."

[Sidenote: The coalition ministry under Portland. April 1783.]

The Whig love of office had not been satiated by an eight months' tenure
of it, nor had Lord North's party taken kindly to their loss of power,
and in their greedy desire for personal aggrandizement, the leaders, who
a few months before were speaking of each other as the most corrupt of
the human species, found it consistent with their dignity to combine to
eject Lord Shelburne's Government. They chose as their test question the
terms of the peace. Lord North, probably, conscientiously believed that
they might have been more favourable. Fox had himself offered much
larger concessions to Holland, and had not disapproved either of the
American or French terms, nor did he now offer the smallest suggestion
as to what better terms might have been procured. In parliamentary
influence, however, the coalition was quite irresistible, and at the
opening of the session in the spring Lord Shelburne found himself in a
minority upon resolutions which had been moved condemnatory of the
peace. He at once resigned. After a few ineffectual struggles the King
had to accept the coalition ministry. Nothing could have been more
distasteful to him; he found himself suddenly robbed of the whole
advantage of twenty years of political scheming; he had triumphed on the
fall of the Chatham administration, and for years had been served, as he
would wish to be served, by a very able, popular, upright, but
obsequious minister, only now to be thrown back, apparently bound hand
and foot, into the hands of the hated Whig oligarchy. His policy had
produced a disastrous war, an enormous augmentation of the National
Debt, and an all but universal cry for a better system of economical
government and national representation; while the Whigs, taking
advantage of the opportunity which the ill success of royal Government
gave them, had succeeded in regaining, as it appeared, an unassailable
superiority. In parliamentary influence they were overwhelming; they
numbered among their party Fox and North, the two ablest debaters in the
House, and Burke, the greatest orator. They had also the long official
experience of Lord North's party. Against them were the few remaining
members of the old Chatham party, with no influence on which to rely,
and upheld almost solely by the brilliant promise of young Pitt. The
nominal head of the new Government was the Duke of Portland, for, as
usual with coalitions, a man of no great ability was elected as the
nominal chief. Fox and North were equal Secretaries of State, Lord John
Cavendish was Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Cabinet was completed by
Lord Keppel, Carlisle, and Stormont. The great strength of the new
ministry was speedily shown; a second Bill for parliamentary reform was
rejected by the large majority of 144.

This ministry, which seemed so irresistible, was doomed to be of short
duration, and the factious movement, which seemed to have thwarted for
ever the policy of the King, proved in the sequel the means of
establishing his policy for the rest of the reign. The cause of this
sudden change of fortune was the necessity for some legislation with
regard to the affairs of India, but before relating the final struggle
it will be necessary to give a brief sketch of the course of events in
that country.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Sidenote: Sketch of the history of India.]

For this purpose the history can be broken conveniently into two
periods. There are two classes of difficulties which the English have
had to overcome. First, the rivalry with other European nations, and
secondly, the opposition to their gradual encroachment offered by the
native chiefs and native tribes. The first of these periods may be held
to close at the Peace of 1763, and includes the formation and
establishment by the English of the three Presidencies of Bombay,
Madras, and Bengal, and the practical destruction of all other European

[Sidenote: Foundation of the India Company. 1600.]

The India Company sprang into existence in the first year of the
seventeenth century. In December 1600, the Indian Adventurers were
formed into a chartered company, their monopoly being at first granted
for fifteen years, and subsequently in 1609 rendered perpetual, but
revocable at three years' notice from the Government. It was the
intention of the Company to dispute the trade of the East with two
nations who had already made good their position there. The discovery of
the Cape of Good Hope in 1497 by the Portuguese under Vasco da Gama, had
been followed by nearly a century during which Portugal showed extreme
energy both in arms, in literature, and in mercantile pursuits. The
western coast of India, from Goa northwards to Ormuz in the Persian
Gulf, was more or less completely conquered by the Portuguese from the
native rajahs. In 1580, Portugal was conquered by the Spaniards; its
greatness was at an end. The Dutch had already established important
factories both in India itself and in the Spice Islands, and had with
success contested with the Portuguese their monopoly of the Indian
trade. It was in emulation of the Dutch, and taking advantage of the
depression of Portugal, and in pursuance also of their systematic
opposition to Spain, that the English Company was formed.

[Sidenote: Foundation of Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta.]

[Sidenote: Decline of Portuguese and Dutch competition.]

At first this trade was small but very lucrative. The attention of the
Company was chiefly directed to the exclusion of interlopers, or free
traders, who interfered with their monopoly. Their chief factories were
Surat, near Bombay, which brought them into immediate conflict with the
Portuguese, against whom they assisted the native princes, and Bantam,
in Java, which placed them in conflict with the Dutch, at whose hands,
in 1623, they suffered the famous outrage known as the Massacre of
Amboyna, where ten Englishmen were put to death upon their confession of
conspiracy against the Dutch extorted by torture. Both these positions
were obviously inconvenient, and tended to permanent hostilities. Some
more secure situation was desirable, and in 1640 the Rajah of the
Carnatic allowed the Company to purchase ground close to the deserted
Portuguese settlement of St. Thomé; and the Fort of St. George and the
town of Madras rapidly rose to importance. This town took the place of
Bantam. The marriage-treaty of Charles II. with Catherine of Braganza
gave the town and island of Bombay to the English, and it took the place
of Surat. In Bengal all three rival powers had factories upon the
Hooghly, a branch of the Ganges. Not long after the transference of
their business from Surat to Bombay the English became involved in some
petty hostilities in Bengal, and were compelled to resign their factory,
and found a home lower down the river at a village called Chutternuttee.
They were in fact in great danger of being driven from the country, but
they managed to mollify the anger of Aurungzebe, who was at that time on
the throne of the Moguls, and in 1698 obtained a lease of the village,
there built Fort William, and founded the town of Calcutta. The
Revolution in England threatened for a time to destroy the India
Company. A great rival company, called the New India Company, was
formed, and was supported by the majority of the Commons. But finally,
in 1708, the quarrels were adjusted, and the Companies coalesced to
prevent the destruction of both, which threatened to follow their eager
competition. Their whole capital was made to consist of £3,200,000, lent
to Government at five per cent.; and they had the right of borrowing one
million and a half more. Repeated prolongations of their privileges were
made; in 1712 to 1736, in 1730 to 1769, in 1743 to 1783. Their three
settlements formed separate presidencies or seats of government,
unconnected one with the other, each governed by a president and
council. Events in Europe had practically destroyed the rivalry of
Portugal, which had lost its energy, and moreover, in its dislike of
Spain, had become the close ally of the English. The stress even of the
Dutch competition was very greatly slackened. That country also, in its
dread of France, was generally friendly to England, and from the
position of its settlements its commercial importance was rather in the
islands than in the mainland of India.

[Sidenote: Decline of the Mogul Empire. 1707.]

Aurungzebe had died in 1707, after a very long and glorious reign. He
was the most successful of that line of Indian Emperors generally spoken
of as Great Moguls, and the inheritor of a vast empire founded by Baber,
a descendant of Timor the Tartar, who died in 1530, but whose work was
carried on by his successors, notably by the great Emperor Akbar, whose
reign ended in 1605. Aurungzebe carried the arms of this victorious
empire, now stationed at Delhi, over nearly all the mainland and
peninsula of India. His chief opponent was Sivajee, the founder of the
Mahratta dynasty. This chief, who was never conquered, died young in
1680. On his death for a time the glories of the Mahratta dynasty
declined. The head of this people, the Rajah of Satara, like other
Eastern monarchs, became merely a nominal ruler, his Peishwa or Prime
Minister, whose abode was Poona, became the real head of the race, but
like by far the greater part of the Hindoo rulers of India, the Peishwa
acknowledged the supremacy of the Mogul Empire. Wherever the Mahommedan
arms had been really victorious, the provinces were in the charge of
Subahdars, or Viceroys of the Emperor; the great bulk of the Peninsula,
known as the Deccan, being in the hands of the greatest of their
Viceroys, called the Nizam. The death of Aurungzebe was the signal for
the dissolution of this great power.

[Sidenote: Competition with the French Company.]

[Sidenote: Grandeur of Dupleix's schemes.]

[Sidenote: Success of Dupleix.]

In the midst of the prevalent dissolution a new and most dangerous rival
of the English Company arose. This was the French Company which had been
established under Louis XIV., and which, like the English and Dutch, had
an establishment upon the Hooghly called Chandernagore; a settlement
eighty miles south of Madras called Pondicherry; and to represent our
settlement on the Malabar coast, the two islands of the Mauritius or
Isle of France, and the Isle of Bourbon, won respectively from the Dutch
and Portuguese. In 1744, when the Companies first came into active
competition, two men of great genius were at the head of the French
Presidencies; Labourdonnais at the Mauritius, and Dupleix at
Pondicherry. The dissolution of the Mogul Empire has been not inaptly
compared to the break-up of the Western Empire of Charles the Great. All
the provincial governors who were at all in a position to do so, while
keeping up for a time their nominal dependence upon the central court of
Delhi, rendered themselves practically independent. It was of this state
of dissolution that Dupleix, with singular ability, took advantage. As
he gazed upon the shattered fragments of the decaying empire, on the
rising independence of Hindoo rajah, mogul and nabob, and observed the
constantly increasing power of the Mahrattas from the Western Ghauts,
Dupleix formed the opinion that India was not for the natives, but for
European conquerors, and as Dutch enterprise had sought another
direction, and Portugal was a failing power, the only countries that
could compete for the high position were France and England. Having
settled upon his opponents, he settled also upon his means of offence.
The French Company and its officers must become at once the nominal
feudatories of the Mogul Empire, and without present conquest must so
mingle in all the affairs of the native princes, and so assist them by
means of native levies drilled in the European fashion, as virtually to
master them all. In other words, he invented that system by the
application of which the English power has subsequently been formed. The
war of the Austrian Succession, which broke out in 1744, supplied him
with his opportunity. A network of alliances was formed around the
English settlement, and kept together by the skill of Dupleix and of his
wife, a woman of Portuguese extraction and of extraordinary talents. But
Dupleix's activity was crossed by the equal energy of Labourdonnais,
who, with a fleet hastily gathered, captured Madras. The English
inhabitants surrendered upon terms, the town was to be repurchased for
£440,000. This was in strict accordance with the views of the French
Government, but not in accordance with the views of Dupleix, who wished
to drive the English from the Peninsula. A hot dispute arose between the
two governors. Dupleix induced Labourdonnais to withdraw upon a false
promise of surrendering Madras; and Labourdonnais returning to France,
was there, with the ingratitude the French always showed to their
colonial governors, subjected to several years of imprisonment and a
trial, which was the immediate cause of his death. Retaining Madras, and
with the aid of the Nabob of Arcot, Dupleix was proceeding, in 1747, to
complete his conquest by the capture of Fort St. David. The approach of
the English fleet saved the fortress, and even enabled the English to
make a counter attack upon Pondicherry. It failed, and the fame of
Dupleix and the French was at its height among the natives when the
Peace of 1748 compelled the restitution of conquests. But the plans of
Dupleix were such that no war between the nations was necessary to
enable him to carry them on. It was native quarrels he desired, and such
quarrels arose at the death of the old Nizam El Mulk of the Deccan. His
throne was disputed by his son Nazir Jung and his grandson Mirzapha
Jung. At the same time Chunda Sahib appeared as a claimant for the
viceroyalty of the Carnatic. Both the pretenders found their cause
adopted by Dupleix, who understood well how secure his position would be
did he succeed in establishing by his own power a Nizam of the Deccan
and a Nabob of the Carnatic. Aided by the Marquis de Bussy, as great as
a soldier as Dupleix was as a diplomatist, in 1749 the pretenders and
the French won a victory at Amboor, in which the reigning nabob was
killed. His son, Mahomet Ali, took the title of Nabob of Arcot, but was
obliged to retire to Trichinopoly, while the whole country was in the
hands of his rival. Thus successful in arms in the Carnatic, Dupleix was
equally so by intrigue in the Deccan. In 1750, as the French approached
Nazir Jung's army, a conspiracy which Dupleix had hatched broke out, and
Nazir was murdered. Mirzapha acknowledged his debt of gratitude to the
French, and it was at Pondicherry that he entered upon his rank,
rewarding his European allies with the government of the whole country
from Cape Comorin to the Kistna. Dupleix appeared to have gained his
object. The Company of which he was the governor was accepted as a
ruling power in India; the great princes of the neighbourhood both owed
him their crowns. The only place still holding out against his authority
was Trichinopoly, and thither he directed all his efforts.

[Sidenote: Defeated by Clive.]

It was then that England at last found a champion in Robert Clive.
Unable to summon troops sufficient to relieve Trichinopoly, he
determined to attack Arcot as a diversion. The plan succeeded. Arcot
fell almost without a struggle. 10,000 men were detached from the armies
of Dupleix and Chunda Sahib at Pondicherry, but their attempt to
recapture Arcot was a signal failure; and when Clive secured the
assistance of a band of Mahratta horse under Morari Row, the siege was
raised, and was followed by a victory over Rajah Sahib, son of Chunda
Sahib. Taking the Pagoda of Conjeveram on the way, Clive, in 1752,
turned towards Fort St. David, but was recalled to fight Rajah Sahib,
whom he again conquered in the battle of Coverpauk. He was then at
leisure, in conjunction with Major Lawrence, who had come to assume the
command, to raise the siege of Trichinopoly; and when the besiegers were
themselves besieged in the islands of Seringham in the river Cauvery,
and when Chunda Sahib was there killed, the failure of Dupleix's
measures was complete. The war indeed continued some time longer. Bussy
upheld the French nominee, Salabat Jung, in the Deccan; Dupleix still
kept up hostilities in the Carnatic. But as his fortunes failed, his
employers deserted him. In 1754 he was recalled. A treaty was made
between the Companies, and Dupleix died in poverty and misery a few
years afterwards in Paris.

[Sidenote: The Black Hole of Calcutta. June 1756.]

[Sidenote: Clive's treaty with Meer Jaffier.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Plassey. June 23, 1757.]

In 1753 ill health had compelled Clive to go to England. In 1755 he
returned to India as Governor of Fort St. David, of which he took
possession on the 20th June 1756, having on his way assisted in the
destruction of Gheriah, the sea-girt stronghold of the pirate Angria,
who had long been the terror of the Bombay merchants. On the very day of
Clive's arrival at Madras, Surajah Dowlah, the Nabob of Bengal, a young
man of about nineteen years of age, cruel, effeminate, and debauched,
had captured Fort William and Calcutta. Shelter afforded to a defaulting
revenue officer of his, and the increase of the fortifications of Fort
William, roused a quarrel between him and the English. He advanced upon
Calcutta and captured it, and the world was horrified by the tragedy of
the Black Hole. The prisoners, 146 in number, were thrust into a narrow
chamber some twenty feet square, whence, after a night of unspeakable
horrors, but twenty-three wretched survivors were dragged the following
morning before Surajah Dowlah and sent as prisoners to his capital at
Moorshedabad. The horrors of the Black Hole of Calcutta were beyond
expression terrible; the heat of the night was intense, and as the
agonies of thirst and suffocation came upon them, the prisoners
struggled to the windows for a mouthful of fresh air, careless that they
trod to death their fallen comrades; they insulted the guards in hopes
that they would fire upon them; many died in raving madness. Mr.
Holwell, the chief of those who survived, was so broken that he was
unable to walk from the prison. When the news of this fearful event
reached Madras, it was at once determined to take vengeance upon the
Nabob. After some difficulties Clive was appointed to the command, and
though four months were wasted, partly by contrary winds, partly by the
jealousy of the various English commanders, by the middle of January
1757 Calcutta was regained. This success and a night attack upon his
army excited in the mind of the Nabob such a dread of the English that
he consented to enter into an alliance with them. The temporary
cessation of hostilities with the natives and the arrival of
reinforcements gave Clive an opportunity to destroy the French
settlement of Chandernagore, although the Nabob, to whom the presence
of the French as a counterpoise to the English was of great importance,
had taken it under his protection. This act of open contempt for his
authority excited Surajah Dowlah's anger anew, and afraid to oppose the
English openly he entered into secret negotiations with the French, and
intreated M. Bussy to march from the Deccan to his assistance. His
intrigues became known, and were met by counter intrigues: it was
determined to depose him, and to place Meer Jaffier, his general, on the
throne; and in order to deceive one of his agents named Omichund, who
threatened to betray the conspiracy unless bribed by an enormous sum of
money, Clive was guilty of forging the name of Admiral Watson. The
treaty to which the false signature was appended promised the bribe, but
was a sham treaty. On the real treaty which Admiral Watson had signed
Omichund received nothing. The plot being ripe, Clive openly advanced
towards Moorshedabad, the Nabob's capital, and on the 23rd June 1757 won
with his troops, numbering in all some 3000 men, the great victory of
Plassey over 30,000 of the Nabob's troops. That battle secured the power
of England in Bengal. Surajah Dowlah fled; Meer Jaffier was placed upon
the throne. A sum of nearly £3,000,000 was paid to the Company, to which
was given the entire property of Calcutta itself as far as 600 yards
beyond the Mahratta ditch, and the zemindary or feudal tenure on payment
of rent of all the country between Calcutta and the sea. The English
thus had firm footing in Bengal, and before 1760, when Clive was again
compelled to seek England, he had made two other steps in advance. In
support of Meer Jaffier, he had advanced against and conquered Shah
Allum, the Great Mogul, and for ever freed himself from competition of
the Dutch by capturing the whole of a large squadron which they had sent
to the assistance of their factory at Chinsurah in opposing the advance
of the English.

[Sidenote: Final overthrow of the French power in India. 1761.]

The following year saw the final fall of the French power in India.
While Clive was securing Bengal, the breaking out of the Seven Years'
War had renewed the hostilities in the Carnatic. On this occasion Lally
was the champion of the French. But able and vigorous as a soldier, his
ill-usage of the natives, his eager temper and satirical tongue,
surrounded him with disaffection both among the Indians and his own
troops. At first his advent was marked with success. In the course of
1758 he captured and destroyed Fort St. David and retook Arcot. But,
early in the following year, the disaffection of his troops and the
arrival of Admiral Pocock prevented him from bringing to a successful
issue an assault on Madras, and from this time onwards the English
retained constant superiority. Colonel Coote, a soldier of Clive's
training, took the command; and on the morning of the 22nd January 1760,
won over the French the great battle of Wandewash. The European troops
alone were engaged. It differed from other Indian battles in this
respect, and was a national victory won upon Indian soil. Coote's
sepoys, on congratulating him on his victory, thanked him for having
shown them a battle such as they had never yet seen. The battle of
Wandewash did for Madras what Plassey did for Bengal. The troops of the
English and their allies gradually closed in round Pondicherry, and in
spite of a firm and splendid resistance, that sole remaining stronghold
of the French power surrendered in January 1761; and Lally, like his
predecessors, returned to France only to meet with persecution from his
employers, and finally death upon the scaffold. The Portuguese, Dutch,
and French had thus all disappeared from the political world of India,
though they still kept up trading stations at Pondicherry,
Chandernagore, and Chinsurah. England had secured a sovereign position
in its three Presidencies.

[Sidenote: Contest with native states.]

[Sidenote: Massacre of Patna. 1763.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Buxar. Oct. 1764.]

The further growth of the Empire was at the expense of native tribes,
and carried on in the midst of strange domestic mismanagement. The
English Government at Calcutta, left without the guiding hand of Clive,
soon drifted into fresh quarrels with the natives. Mr. Vansittart was
left as governor, and already, in 1760, he had thought it desirable to
remove Meer Jaffier, the Company's creature, from the throne of
Moorshedabad, and replace him by Meer Cossim, his son-in-law. The step
was an unwise one. The new viceroy was of less malleable materials than
his predecessor, and speedily came to look with great anger at the
constant breaches of the revenue laws perpetrated by the English
traders. He quarrelled especially with a gentleman who occupied the
advanced factory of Patna high up the Ganges. To be out of the influence
of Calcutta, he withdrew his capital from Moorshedabad to Monghir, and
all seemed tending towards war. It was in vain that Mr. Vansittart went
himself to Monghir, arranged for the payment of inland duties, and
received as a sign of peace a present of £70,000. An embassy sent from
Calcutta to complete the pacification was fallen on and murdered at
Moorshedabad, and under the circumstances war became inevitable. The
advance of the English was rapid and triumphant; Moorshedabad fell, and
after a nine days' siege Monghir itself was taken. The Nabob found it
necessary to fly, but before he fled, with the assistance of a renegade
Frenchman called Sombre, he committed a crime similar to that of the
Black Hole of Calcutta. On the 5th October 1763 the whole of the English
residents of the Patna factory (150 in number), enclosed within their
prison walls, were shot down or cut to pieces, and their mangled remains
thrown into two wells. One alone escaped. The Rajah and his instrument
Sombre fled into the district of a neighbouring nabob, Sujah Dowlah of
Oude, at whose court was tarrying, in a condition between exile and
prisoner, the Mogul Shah Allum, who had been driven from his throne at
Delhi by the advance of the Mahrattas. Sujah Dowlah had been appointed
vizier, and virtually wielded all the power that was left to the
descendants of the Moguls. With these allies Sujah Dowlah advanced to
meet the English, and suffered, on the 23rd of October, at Buxar, higher
up the river than Patna, a terrible defeat at the hands of Major Munro.
The fruit of the victory was the person of Shah Allum himself, and
backed now by his authority, the English pressing on in their victorious
course, the following year entered Allahabad, the chief city of Oude.

[Sidenote: Maladministration of the Company.]

[Sidenote: Clive returns to India. May 1765.]

Victory in war and increased dominion had only increased the
maladministration of the India Company, which reached such a pitch, that
in 1765 it became necessary again to despatch Clive to the scene of
action. This was not done without the most vigorous opposition. Two
great parties had long divided the India House in London. Mr. Sullivan
had for some time exercised a paramount authority there. Clive had
appeared as his rival. Both parties lavished their wealth in creating
votes, and a factious struggle arose in the heart of the Company. At
length the general voice seemed to declare that Clive alone could
restore order in the mismanaged Presidency. Clive saw his opportunity.
He publicly refused to go out as long as Sullivan occupied the place of
chairman of the Court of Directors. The proprietors were so frightened
by this threat, that when the day of election of directors arrived,
Sullivan found himself unable to carry more than half of his list of
directors, and Clive's friends were triumphant. He was sent out with
full powers, and authorized to override the opinion of the Council,
although usually the governor was entitled to only one vote. The
struggle for bribes and ill-gotten gain was carried on to the moment of
his arrival. Only a few days before he landed the viceroyalty of Bengal
had been sold, contrary to all justice, to the illegitimate son of Meer
Jaffier for £140,000. But the scene was speedily changed. In two days
Clive and the Committee who accompanied him had mastered the state of
affairs and declared their dictatorial authority. At the dread of his
name alone Sujah Dowlah sought peace. He compelled Meer Cossim and his
agent Sombre, who had organized the massacre of Patna, to leave his
dominions, and a treaty was made in accordance with Clive's view, that
for the present it was better to strengthen than increase our dominions.
By this treaty Sujah Dowlah retained his provinces, surrendering only
the districts of Corah and Allahabad, which were given as an imperial
dominion to Shah Allum. In return the provinces of Bengal, Orissa, and
Bahar, were granted for all administrative purposes to the Company, who
thus became nominal as well as real princes of India. The Nabob of
Bengal was pensioned with a yearly income. This was the beginning of a
system which played a great part in our Indian history. By this means
the Company were secured a revenue of two millions. But even yet Clive
thought it imprudent to place the administration in European hands, and
selected as native Prime Minister a Mahommedan, Mahomed Reza Khan. This
choice was made deliberately, in spite of the claims of Nuncomar, the
chief of the Bengal Brahmins. The rivalry between these two chiefs bore
notable fruit afterwards. Having settled our difficulties with the
natives, Clive turned to domestic reforms; he deprived the military of a
large allowance, called "double batta," which they had received from
Meer Jaffier, and quelled, with incomparable vigour and sagacity, a
mutiny which arose in consequence; he forbade civilians to receive
presents from the native princes, and restrained officials from engaging
in private trading, while he himself set an admirable example of
disinterestedness. Unfortunately he was unable to superintend the
execution of his plans, but was compelled by ill health to return to
England (Jan. 1767).

[Sidenote: Affairs in Madras; rise of Hyder Ali.]

While the events that have been mentioned were going on in Bengal, the
southern Presidency had had its own difficulties to contend with.
Immediately above the plains of the Carnatic lies the hill country of
Mysore, and there a new power had been established by the ablest
opponent we ever met in India, Hyder Ali. A Mahommedan of low birth, a
freebooter, a rebel, and commander-in-chief of the Mysore army, he
succeeded at last in establishing himself on the throne of the Hindoo
Rajah. Sometimes in confederation with the Nizam of the Deccan,
sometimes with the Mahrattas of the Western Ghauts, Hyder kept up a
continual war with the English. His army of 100,000 men was organized in
the European fashion. Though unable to write, his retentive memory
enabled him to be a most dangerous diplomatist, and though beaten in the
field, his activity kept the English army in constant movement and
exhausted the Company's resources. To such an extent was this the case,
that Clive's reforms were counterbalanced, and in 1769 Indian stock fell
sixty per cent.

[Sidenote: Famine in Bengal. 1770.]

[Sidenote: Regulating Act, 1773.]

[Sidenote: Death of Clive.]

Such threatening appearances in the commercial career of the Company,
the constant scandal of their factious struggle in London, and the
anomaly becoming every day more striking of a body of merchants
exercising, and exercising very badly, sovereign rights over large
conquered districts, excited the attention of Parliament. Chatham, as
has been mentioned, intended to have enforced the rights of the Crown;
and the Company only escaped some interference of the kind by offering
to establish supervisors of its own and to pay the English Government
£400,000 a year. But in 1773 matters had become much worse; a fearful
famine had devastated Bengal, corpses choked and infected the Ganges,
the fish and fowl became uneatable, more than half the population are
said to have been swept away. It was felt that no properly conducted
Government could have permitted such an evil; and when in 1772 the
united effects of the Madras wars and the Bengal famine reduced the
funds of the Company to so low an ebb that they had to demand of
Parliament a loan of a million sterling, legislation became inevitable.
At the beginning of the year a Committee of inquiry had reported, and
again in the autumn another secret committee had been named; upon their
report Lord North formed what is known as the Regulating Act. By this he
granted the Company their loan, relieved them of their annual tribute to
the State, and allowed them to export their bonded tea, with what
disastrous effects in America has been already seen. In exchange he
confined their interest to six per cent. till the loan was paid, and
afterwards to eight per cent.; and, proceeding to the organization of
their government, he established a supreme court upon the English model,
made the Governor of Bengal Governor-General of India, and appointed by
name in Parliament a new Council. Warren Hastings, already Governor of
Bengal, was made the first Governor-General; Barwell, a member of the
existing Council, was continued in his office; General Clavering,
Colonel Monson, and Philip Francis, were named as the new members.
During the discussions relative to this Act much blame had been thrown
on Clive, and though a formal vote of censure was mollified by the
words, that "Robert Lord Clive did at the same time render great and
meritorious services to his country," the trouble he underwent preyed
upon a morbid mind and a body weakened by disease so much that he
committed suicide (Nov. 1774).

[Sidenote: Hastings Governor-General.]

The interest which has hitherto centred upon Clive is now transferred to
the career of Warren Hastings. An Indian statesman by profession, and
thoroughly acquainted with the wants both of native and European
populations, he had entered upon the duties of the Government of Bengal
in 1772. The post was not a light one: in India a people in the last
stages of distress, a Government full of abuses, a small dominant
population who believed their sole duty was to acquire wealth rapidly;
in England a factious and fluctuating body of governors whose chief
object was high dividends. Such were the conditions under which Hastings
had to act. A change in the management of the land tax produced a larger
revenue with less oppression; the country, freed from marauders, was in
a better condition to pay taxes; but this was little. Rumours were
afloat that Reza Khan, the finance minister, was peculating largely. On
the accusation of Nuncomar, his old rival, he was apprehended by
Hastings, who either believed the charges or acted in obedience to the
Company's orders. On examination he was acquitted, but not replaced in
his office, nor was Nuncomar appointed to succeed him; the
administration was kept in English hands. The Viceroy, an infant, was
deprived of half his allowance, and a quarrel having arisen between our
old ally Shah Allum, who had made friends with the Mahrattas, and the
English, Allahabad and Corah were resumed and sold to the Vizier of Oude
for fifty lacs of rupees. More than that, for a further sum of forty
lacs English troops were basely let to that prince to destroy his
enemies, the neighbouring Afghan conquerers of Rohilcund. All these
measures seem to have been dictated primarily by a desire for an
increased revenue. It was at this crisis that the Regulating Act took
effect, and the new councillors arrived in the Hooghly. The man of the
most importance and activity among them was Philip Francis, who is now
generally accepted as being the author of "Junius' Letters." The other
two always voted with him, and all three came out with strong prejudices
and a determination to oppose Hastings. The new Governor-General
therefore found himself at once in a permanent minority, for, as before,
he had but one vote in the Council. Barwell, the Indian member of the
new Council, always voted with him. There arose therefore a fierce
struggle for power, and the new councillors made haste to seek on all
sides grounds for attacking Hastings. It was understood that they were
willing to receive any charges against him. Nuncomar, who had been
heavily disappointed at not receiving the vacant place of Reza Khan,
charged him with having been bribed to pardon that great official; and
Francis and his partisans determined to confront Nuncomar with Hastings
at the council board. The Governor-General rightly refused to preside at
what was virtually his own trial; but upon his dissolving the Council
the three new members declared it not dissolved, and continued the
inquiry. Fortune placed in the hands of Hastings the means of freeing
himself from this awkward dilemma. A private charge of forgery was
brought against Nuncomar, and he was tried before the new supreme court.
It is impossible to say how far this charge was fostered by Hastings, he
himself asserted upon oath that he had nothing whatever to do with it;
at all events it was carried to its conclusion, and Sir Elijah Impey and
his colleagues found the charge proved, and condemned Nuncomar to death.
Impey, an old schoolfellow of Hastings, whose career showed him not to
be above suspicion, is by many held to have acted corruptly; but his
colleagues entirely agreed with him, nor does it seem that he did
anything worse than import into India the habits and feelings of Europe
when he suffered the sentence of death to be carried out. No doubt this
was a shock to the moral feelings of the Hindoos, to whom forgery was
not the grave offence that it is to us. However this may be, the death
of Nuncomar secured the supremacy of Hastings. There was no one brave
enough to bring charges either true or false against one whose vengeance
seemed to have struck down the head of their religion. His supremacy was
soon still further secured; by the death of Monson he found himself, by
means of his own casting vote, master of the Council. One more violent
struggle took place, after which he was able to act according to his own
judgment, although constantly thwarted by Francis. In the height of his
difficulties he had lodged a conditional resignation with his agent in
London, and his agent, alarmed by the news from India, had presented it.
Suddenly, in the midst of his triumph in Calcutta, a ship arrived with a
new member of the Council and the news that the Governor-General had
resigned. Hastings positively refused to ratify the act of his agent,
which he declared was unauthorized by him. The bitter contest which
arose from this subject was brought before the Supreme Court of Justice
for arbitration. Sir Elijah Impey again settled the question in
Hastings' favour.

[Sidenote: His opposition to the Mahrattas.]

Hastings could now turn his thoughts to what was his constant object,
the aggrandizement of our power in India, and his view seems to have
been to enter into close alliances with the great Mahommedan Princes,
the Nabob-Vizier of Oude and the Nizam of the Deccan, to render them
dependent on the English by means of large subsidies, and by their
assistance oppose an effectual barrier to the great and increasing power
of the Mahrattas, whom he regarded as the most dangerous rivals to the
English. Affairs in the dependent Presidency of Madras gave him an
opportunity for carrying out this policy. Mismanagement and peculation
had been as rife there as in Bengal. The Rajah of Tanjore, a Mahratta
prince, had been dispossessed in favour of the Nabob of Arcot, an old
ally of the English. This measure was disallowed by the directors at
home. Lord Pigot was sent out as governor to re-establish the Rajah. The
same struggle between the Governor and his Council as had been seen in
Calcutta took place in Madras, but proceeded to even greater
extremities. The Council arrested Lord Pigot, who died a prisoner in
their hands. Thus the policy of restitution was crushed, and the claims
of the Mahratta Rajah of Tanjore were neglected. In Bombay, too,
constant disputes had arisen with the Mahratta chiefs of Poonah, so that
the whole of that great confederacy was ready for war. To appreciate the
importance of such a war, it must be remembered that the Mahrattas had
spread over much of India. The descendants of Sivajee, like the
descendants of most Indian conquerors, had sunk into _rois fainéants_ at
Satara, delegating their real power to their viceroy, called the Peishwa
of Poonah, whose office was hereditary. Dependent offshoots of this
power had established themselves in the hills of the Malwa under the
great princes Sindia and Holkar; in Berar under a prince called the
Bonslah, in Gujerat under the Guicowar, and in the extreme south in
Tanjore; while bands of Mahratta horsemen had, as we have seen, seized
upon Delhi, and expelled for a time Shah Allum, the Great Mogul, who had
however made terms with them, and was now again seated upon his
ancestral throne. With this vast power, already on bad terms with both
the southern Presidencies, it was discovered that the French were
intriguing. With his usual vigour Hastings was determined to forestall
war, which he saw was inevitable. For this purpose, in spite of the
opposition of his Council, an army was at once despatched southward to
act through Bundelcund. The command was given to Colonel Goddard. But
Hastings, who seldom acted a straightforward part, intrigued at the same
time with the Bonslah and with Rajonaut Rao, a deposed Peishwa, now a
refugee in Bombay. Upon the news that France and England had declared
war, still further energy was infused into military affairs; and
Chandernagore, near Calcutta, and Pondicherry, just south of Madras, two
French settlements, were captured. The Mahratta war was not without its
reverses. The Bombay army was surrounded near Poonah, and escaped only
on ignominious terms; but Goddard upheld the honour of the English arms,
and defeated Sindia and Holkar, while Captain Popham took the almost
impregnable castle of Gwalior. The war was regarded as of sufficient
importance to require the presence of the veteran General Sir Eyre
Coote, who was despatched from England to take the command.

[Sidenote: Hastings' policy thwarted by Hyder Ali's advance.]

[Sidenote: Conclusion of the Mysore war.]

But all prospect of carrying out the ambitious schemes of Hastings for
subjugating the Mahrattas was suddenly clouded. News arrived in 1780
that Hyder Ali, who had long been watching his opportunity, had pounced
upon Madras. He saw the English engaged in a vast Indian war, he knew
that their arms were not successful in America, he expected the speedy
arrival of a large French force, his time had come at last, and he flung
himself in irresistible numbers upon the Carnatic. The English were
virtually taken by surprise; one army under Colonel Baylie was
destroyed, a second under Sir Hector Munro saved itself by rapid flight.
In a moment Hastings comprehended the new situation of affairs; the news
reached Calcutta on the 23rd of September, on the 25th he was ready with
a complete new plan of operations. He offered peace and alliance to the
Mahrattas; he embarked all available troops for Madras; in virtue of the
supremacy of Bengal, he ventured to suspend Whitewell, the incompetent
Governor of Madras; he gave the command to Sir Eyre Coote, and sent also
vast sums of money thither. It was to sustain this great effort, without
if possible diminishing the gains of the Company, that Hastings
committed the rest of those acts of oppression which were afterwards
alleged against him. To supply the greed of his employers he had sold
British troops to destroy the Rohillas; in his great struggle for power
he had strained the law in the case of Nuncomar; to support his Mahratta
and Mysore wars he stooped to actions of injustice and cruelty. The
return of Sir Eyre Coote re-established affairs at Madras, he won a
great victory at Porta Novo and a second at Pollilore. The general peace
in 1783 put a conclusion to the war, which had been continued by Tippoo
upon the death of his father Hyder Ali. Hastings had succeeded in
concluding a treaty with the Mahrattas, and had his hands free for
carrying on with energy operations against Mysore, the Dutch, and the
French fleet under De Suffren. All the Dutch settlements had been
captured; five great indecisive battles had been fought between De
Suffren and Sir Edward Hughes; but no striking advantages had been won
over Tippoo, who had even met with some successes on the Malabar coast.
With the European nations terms had been arranged in France; with Tippoo
a peace was made on the conditions of the mutual restorations of

[Sidenote: Robbery of Cheyte Singh.]

[Sidenote: Robbery of the Begums of Oude.]

To return to the conduct of Hastings. On the first alarm of war with
Hyder Ali, he had demanded troops from Cheyte Singh, the Rajah of
Benares, as from a feudatory of the Empire. This demand was annually
renewed, together with the customary tribute of £50,000. Upon this being
delayed it was raised to £500,000. This was still unpaid when Hastings
determined to make a personal visit to Benares. He entered the city with
an absurdly inadequate guard, and put Cheyte Singh under arrest; an
insurrection was the consequence, and Hastings was for a time confined
to his house by the populace and in imminent danger of his life.
Perfectly calm and unmoved in the midst of his dangers, he yielded not
one step; he succeeded in letting the neighbouring troops hear of his
danger; Major Popham came to his rescue, and routed the people of
Benares; Cheyte Singh was driven from his country, a new rajah, with a
much enlarged tribute, was put in his place; his fortress at Bidzegur
and all his property was seized. Hastings at once proceeded to similar
acts in Oude. He entered into a nefarious compact with the Nabob to rob
his mother and grandmother of their money. These two ladies lived at
Fyzabad, the ancient capital of Sujah Dowlah; his son, the reigning
Nabob Asaph Ul Dowlah, had withdrawn to the new city of Lucknow. The
Begums possessed large landed property and Sujah Dowlah's treasure; it
was agreed between Hastings and Asaph Ul Dowlah that this should be
taken from them, the landed property going to the Nabob, the money being
received as payment for heavy arrears due from the Nabob to the English.
A lengthened siege and partial famine did not effect the purpose of the
plunderers; it was found necessary to seize, to imprison, to starve,
and torture two aged eunuchs, the princesses' chief friends and
ministers, before treasure to the amount of about a million could be
wrung from them; the excuse alleged for such unmitigated wickedness was
that the Begums had intrigued for an insurrection in Oude. Again Sir
Elijah Impey was on the spot to give his voice in favour of Hastings
when the rumours on which these charges were based were submitted to

[Sidenote: Displeasure in England.]

[Sidenote: Parliamentary inquiry. 1781.]

[Sidenote: Dundas's Bill. 1783.]

[Sidenote: Fox's India Bill. Nov.]

[Sidenote: Objections to it.]

Whatever excuses might be found for such actions, in the difficulties of
Hastings' position and the peculiarity of Indian habits, it was certain
that the condition and rights of a Company which had become a sovereign
ruler, and was at once under the necessity of demanding a loan to avoid
bankruptcy, and guilty of what could not but sound to English ears as
acts of the cruellest oppression, must form a chief topic of
parliamentary discussion. Accordingly, in 1781, two committees had been
formed to inquire into the affairs of India. Their reports were strongly
condemnatory of the Company's government, and the Secretary of State for
the time being accordingly demanded Hastings' recall. To this the
directors, as by law they had a right to do, refused to listen, but the
matter could not be dropped, and immediately after the formation of the
coalition ministry Mr. Dundas produced a Bill for the regulation of
India. His view was that the Governor-General's power should be
increased, and the office given to some great independent nobleman such
as Lord Cornwallis. Not only was this Bill regarded as a party measure,
and by no means of sufficient breadth for its object, but also it was
felt that the subject was one which should be handled by Government
itself. In pursuance of this view, in the autumn session of the same
year Fox brought forward his great India Bill. The faults to be remedied
were sufficiently obvious; a trading company had by a strange turn of
fortune become a governor of large provinces, and had again and again
engaged in extensive wars. It was plain that the functions of the
merchant and the governor were not only distinct but antagonistic. The
claims of the proprietors for large dividends, and the duty of the
directors to work for the financial benefit of their employers, was
certain to blind them to acts of injustice which had a tendency to fill
their coffers. The main principle of any great India Bill must have been
the resumption by the Crown of its inherent Imperial rights, which it
had suffered accidentally to fall into disuse. Accordingly, Fox proposed
that all the authority which the Company had exercised should be
transferred to a body of seven commissioners, nominated in Parliament
and capable of holding office for four years, after which the vacancies
occurring in that body were to be filled up by the Crown. To them, as
trustees, was to be transferred also the whole property of the Company.
But the management of this property and the commerce of the Company was
placed in the hands of a subordinate council of directors, proprietors
each of them of £2000 stock, acting under and subject to the orders of
the superior council. The vacancies in the subordinate council were to
be filled by the Court of proprietors. There were additional
stipulations for the purpose of checking monopolies, the acceptance of
presents, the hiring out of British forces, and changes in the tenure of
land, regulations in fact attempting to remove the principal known
abuses of the Indian Government. The Bill was a thorough and great Bill,
and the magnitude of the subject, and the freedom which the Government
enjoyed from any party pledges in the matter, should have raised it out
of the sphere of party politics, but it was at once furiously assaulted.
There were raised against it two objections, corresponding to the two
councils which it proposed to erect. First, it was urged that it was
incompatible with the dignity of the Crown that patronage so enormous as
that of India should be vested even for a time in any hands but those of
the King himself.[11] As Lord Thurlow said, when the Bill was before the
House of Lords, "the King will in fact take the diadem with his own
hands and place it on the head of Mr. Fox." What rendered this defect
more glaring was, that the new committee was named in the Act, and that
all seven members of it were strenuous supporters of the present
administration, so that a fresh and overwhelming source of influence was
secured to Mr. Fox's friends. It was urged, secondly, that even granting
the necessity and wisdom of such a transference of political power, the
establishment of the second council for the management of the commerce
of the Company was a violent and unnecessary infraction of chartered
rights. Bad financial management, as apart from their political conduct,
could not be alleged against the Company, nor did it seem probable that
commerce would be better managed under the direction of a parliamentary
Committee, even though working through a subordinate council of
merchants, than if left exclusively in mercantile hands; besides, no
later than 1780, the charter of the Company had been renewed, and to
deprive it of the superintendence of its own trade was a manifest breach
of that charter. Such were the objections raised by the Opposition, and
they were largely echoed in the country, where the coalition, as is
generally the case in England, was highly unpopular. The feeling out of
doors is shown by a well-known caricature which represents the triumphal
procession of Carlo Fox Khan, crowned and riding on a state elephant.
However, the Bill was triumphantly passed through the House of Commons,
where the coalition majority was overwhelming.

[Sidenote: The King procures its rejection.]

[Sidenote: His conduct unconstitutional.]

[Sidenote: Ministers dismissed.]

But the King, who hated his ministers, and whose pride was touched in
its tenderest point by this Bill, was determined that it should never
become law; rather than suffer such indignity he would refuse his assent
to the Bill, exerting a prerogative which had lain dormant since the
reign of William III., or take refuge, as he was fond of threatening, in
Hanover. He was saved from either alternative by a plan suggested to him
by Lords Thurlow and Temple, which, although open to the charge of being
unconstitutional, prevented the Bill from passing the Upper House. These
two noblemen, using the hereditary right of British Peers to advise
their sovereign, drew up and laid before George a strong memorandum
against the Bill, which they called "a plan to take more than half the
royal power, and by that means disable his Majesty for the rest of his
reign;" and Temple suggested that the Bill might be stopped in the House
of Lords if the King would authorize him to express his wishes. The King
upon this supplied him with a paper to show to any Lord he pleased. The
purport of it was, that "his Majesty allowed Earl Temple to say that
whoever voted for the India Bill was not only not his friend, but would
be considered by him as an enemy, and if those words were not strong
enough, Earl Temple might use whatever words he might deem stronger and
more to the purpose." The effect of this intimation, acting upon the
minds of waverers and of those who prided themselves in the name of
King's friends, was to secure a majority against the Bill. On the 17th
of December it was lost by nineteen votes, Lord Stormont, a member of
the ministry voting against it. The King thus assumed the strange
position of the opponent of his own responsible ministers. In fact, he
felt the power of the hated Whigs closing around him, and thought any
measure justifiable which would free him from their grasp and enable him
to assume that position which had been the constant aim of his policy.
Moreover, he no doubt relied somewhat on the unpopularity excited by the
coalition, and on the apparently unprincipled and factious conduct of
the united leaders. That his conduct is incompatible with constitutional
monarchy there can be no doubt. If he disliked his ministers' measures
he had one straightforward course open to him;--he should have dismissed
them; if their majority was overwhelming, he should have dissolved
Parliament; if he could not command a majority in the new Parliament, he
was bound to submit. An underhand opposition to ministers, who are alone
responsible to the nation, is entirely destructive of that confidence
which is necessary to the very existence of a constitutional monarchy.
Of course the uproar raised in the House of Commons was great. Motion
after motion condemnatory of the action of the King in the House of
Lords was carried by great majorities. The ministry determined that the
responsibility of removing them should be left to the King, who,
perceiving the necessary consequence of his late step, on the 18th of
December, sent the under secretaries to tell the ministers they were
dismissed, refusing even to see them personally.

[Sidenote: Pitt accepts the Premiership. 1783.]

[Sidenote: Factious violence of the Opposition. 1784.]

The great Whig party and the great following of Lord North being thus
removed from office, it became a question where a ministry was to be
sought. The only party remaining was the little section of Chatham's
followers, headed by the young Pitt, and reinforced by a portion of the
Tories, with whom they may now be considered as incorporated, although
for several years Pitt's policy was decidedly Liberal. To this youth of
twenty-four the King appealed for assistance, and, relying on his own
genius, he had the audacity to accept the struggle, though conscious
that he must be defeated on every division. There followed a scene
unparalleled in parliamentary history. The Cabinet had to be drawn
almost exclusively from the Upper House; Lord Thurlow became Chancellor,
Earl Gower President of the Council, Duke of Rutland Privy Seal, Lord
Carmarthen and Lord Sydney Secretaries of State, and Lord Howe First
Lord of the Admiralty, and this, with Mr. Pitt himself, was the whole
Cabinet. In the House of Commons he could rely only on Dundas and his
cousin William Grenville. When the writ was moved for a new election for
Appleby on Pitt's taking office, it was received with shouts of
laughter; no pity or favour was extended to the new minister; Dundas
could hardly get a hearing on ministerial business, motions of great
importance were pressed on even though Pitt had not yet taken his seat,
and so certain did Fox feel of restoration to office, that he wrote to
a friend in Dublin that he would not dismiss one member of his household
till after the 12th of January. On that day Pitt was to make his
appearance as Prime Minister. An address had been delivered to the King
praying against either an adjournment or dissolution, for this was the
step which Fox's party chiefly feared. On a favourable reply to this
address, short Christmas holidays had been allowed, and the House had to
meet again on the 12th. In those few days Pitt had got ready an India
Bill, but before he was allowed to produce it Fox had succeeded in
carrying no less than five motions against the Government, one of them
pointing to "unconstitutional abuse of his Majesty's sacred name." In
spite of this Pitt produced his Bill, which was similar in character to
the Bill he afterwards carried; it was lost by a majority of only
twenty-one, which on its second reading was still further diminished to

[Sidenote: Firmness and sagacity of Pitt.]

[Sidenote: Pitt's victory.]

[Sidenote: Dissolution of Parliament and defeat of Whigs. 1784.]

Things began to look a little more encouraging for the minister. He
determined with great wisdom to give the Opposition rope, and urged them
to constant violence by an obstinate refusal to say whether he meant to
dissolve or not. The language of the Opposition had been so violent that
the reaction was becoming strongly marked in the country. "It was a
contest," said Dr. Johnson, "whether the nation should be ruled by the
sceptre of George III. or by the tongue of Fox." All attempts at
mediation failed, although many independent members attempted to effect
it. Fox's hope was, that if Pitt continued to avoid dissolution the 25th
of March would arrive without a new Parliament. On that day the Mutiny
Bill expired, and he hoped by refusing to renew it to compel his rival
to resign. But the tide had now fairly begun to turn; Pitt's bravery was
exciting the sympathy of the people, while the unmeasured virulence of
Fox and his party was constantly damaging them. Pitt, too, had won great
admiration by refusing for himself, although his private means amounted
to scarcely £300 a year, a rich sinecure called the Clerkship of the
Pells. This, with a somewhat ironical pride, he had given to Colonel
Barré in exchange for the pension which the Rockingham ministry had so
scandalously given him. The threats that supplies should be stopped
seemed to many moderate people factious and improper, and numerous
addresses poured in from the Corporation of London and other towns. On
the 8th of March Fox played what may be called his last card; he brought
in a paper under the threatening title of "Representation to the King;"
after many hours of debate it was passed by a majority of one only. It
was plain that the victory of Pitt was secure and that the Opposition
had ruined themselves. Accordingly, when on the next day the Mutiny Bill
came on there was no opposition, and having by firmness and moderation
fairly weathered the storm, Pitt on the 25th recommended the King to
dissolve the Parliament. The elections made it evident that the feeling
of the nation was entirely with Pitt; no less than 160 of Fox's friends
lost their seats--"Fox's martyrs" they were jocosely called. Several
great contests took place, the most notorious of which was that for
Yorkshire, where Wilberforce was brought in triumphantly in opposition
to the great territorial houses, and that for Westminster, where Fox
himself stood against Lord Hood and his old colleague Wray, who had
become a ministerialist. The poll was kept open forty days, amid scenes
of indescribable excitement. For twenty-three days Fox was at the bottom
of the poll, but at length the strenuous canvassing of his friends,
added to the charms of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and other lady
politicians, succeeded in placing him second on the list. As more votes
however were registered than there were voters, obviously some fraud had
been committed, and a scrutiny was granted. Meanwhile, as the Whigs held
illegally, no return was made, Westminster was unrepresented, and room
had to be made for Fox in the close borough of Kirkwall. It was not till
the following session that Pitt, who, with some want of liberality,
upheld the conduct of the High Bailiff in refusing the return, was
defeated in the House on the subject. The representatives took their
seats, and Fox got £2000 damages from the Bailiff.

[Sidenote: Pressing measures.]

[Sidenote: Pitt's Budget.]

The great party struggle of the last year, which had terminated in the
utter discomfiture of the Whigs and the establishment of the new Tory
party under Pitt, had not left much time for the real requirements of
the State. India, Ireland, the finances, parliamentary reform, were all
matters which pressed for immediate attention. Firm in his parliamentary
majority and in the support of the King, Pitt proceeded to handle them.
The finances were naturally in a bad condition at the close of an
unsuccessful war. The funds were standing only at 56 or 57, the unfunded
debt was upwards of £12,000,000, and there was a considerable deficiency
in the Civil List. One of the principal sources of the revenue was
destroyed by systematic smuggling of tea. Men of otherwise respectable
character and considerable capital were embarked in this trade. Large
vessels brought their tea, and lay off at some distance, distributing
their cargoes to small vessels, which landed them here and there on the
coast. Regular receiving-houses were established and lines of carriers
which brought the tea to the towns. It was estimated that the smuggled
tea was at least as much as that which paid duty. Pitt lowered the duty
both for this article and for spirits, the other great smuggled
commodity, so as to withdraw the temptation from the smugglers. The
deficit was made up by a house and window tax; this is known as the
Commutation Tax. An Act called the Hovering Act was also passed, which
extended the limits of the authority of the revenue officers to four
leagues from the coast. Half the unfunded debt Pitt funded, and made up
the deficit, which he considered a little below a million, by taxes on
various commodities. These arrangements though they show no great
novelty, were much applauded at the time.

[Sidenote: Pitt's India Bill. 1784.]

Having thus cleared the way for general legislation, Pitt proceeded to
bring in his India Bill. It was very like the one which had been
defeated the preceding year, and was probably chiefly the work of
Dundas. The fate of Fox's Bills had shown the strength of the India
House, while the necessity for some Government control was acknowledged
by all parties. The present measure was therefore one of compromise. A
new ministerial department was established which should exercise the
whole political control of the Company; this was to be called the Board
of Control. By it was laid the foundation of that system of double
government which continued in force till 1858. All business was to be
carried on in the name of the Company, which retained the whole
patronage except the appointment of the commander-in-chief, and other
higher functionaries, whose appointment was subject to the veto of the
Crown; but the Board of Control absolutely dictated the political
conduct of the Government. Thus the chartered rights of the Company were
left untouched; the balance of influence was not upset by a sudden
change of patronage; the Board of Control, being ministerial, passed in
or out of office with the ministry, but India was secured against
mercantile views of policy by its political management being withdrawn
from the hands of a merchant company. It was certainly a less complete
Bill than its predecessor, it could not be a permanent arrangement, but
tided over the present difficulty, and was carried without serious

[Sidenote: Condition of Ireland.]

[Sidenote: Flood's democratic measure of reform.]

[Sidenote: Pitt's policy for Ireland.]

[Sidenote: Selfish commercial opposition.]

[Sidenote: Pitt recognizes the necessity for a union.]

Much more difficult was the settlement of Ireland. The rational and
patriotic demands of the volunteers, which had led to the legislation of
1780 and 1782, had been satisfied by those measures, but had been
followed, as is always the case in Ireland, by agitation of a more
revolutionary character. The leadership of the movement had passed from
Grattan to Flood, rather a demagogue than a statesman, and the
volunteers, a national and patriotic body, gradually dwindled to
nothing, and in their place arose a clamorous and revolutionary
democracy. The cry put forward was for parliamentary reform, the urgent
necessity for which was indeed obvious. In a Parliament of 300, 116
seats were held by nominees of no more than 25 proprietors. The
Government commanded 186 votes, pledged to them in exchange for the
possession or hope of offices or pensions, 12 members were regarded as
honest supporters of the Government, the regular Opposition was about
82, 30 Whig nominees, and 52 members of the popular party. To this
Parliament Flood introduced a sweeping measure of reform. A scene of
wild uproar was the consequence, the Bill was thrown out by a large
majority; no better success attended its reintroduction in a more
moderate form. The mob rose in wild disorder, and acts of ferocious
cruelty were perpetrated. The leader of this movement outside Parliament
was Napper Tandy, an ironmonger, who did not scruple to intrigue with
the Court of France. Some of the lower priests were also engaged on the
popular side, but as Flood refused the franchise to the Catholics in his
proposition, the main body held aloof from the movement. This state of
disorder Pitt intended to improve by reforming the Parliament in a more
practical and moderate manner and by commercial arrangements. All
attempts at parliamentary reform had however to be abandoned; but the
minister felt that before any vigorous measures could be adopted it was
necessary to grant justice to the people. He determined therefore to
complete the work of 1780, and to establish real commercial equality
between England and Ireland. At the same time he strongly held that
equality of privilege implied equality of burdens. In accordance with
this view eleven resolutions were brought into the Irish Parliament and
accepted without much opposition. By these the restrictions of trade,
which had already been removed as far as regarded Europe and the West
Indies, would be removed in like manner with regard to the rest of the
world; and with regard to imports, England and Ireland would become one
nation, so that goods landed in Ireland could be re-imported into
England without further duty. In exchange for this, all the hereditary
income of the Crown, which was derived chiefly from customs, beyond the
sum of £656,000 was to be applied to the support of the Imperial navy.
Thus the money paid would bear a direct proportion to the advantages
gained by Ireland by the extension of her trade. Pitt, sure of the
economical soundness of the principles on which this Bill was based,
only courted full discussion. He underrated the selfishness of the
commercial interest. On the resolutions being introduced to the English
Parliament, the strongest opposition was raised by merchants and
manufacturers, afraid of a fresh competitor; and Fox and Burke, the
first of whom was confessedly ignorant of the laws of political economy,
turned the opposition to their party purposes. The Bill had to be
altered considerably, restrictions with regard to the Asiatic trade had
to be continued, thus seriously diminishing the advantage granted to
Ireland, while Pitt laid himself open to the charge of encroaching upon
the newly-earned independence of that country by trying to establish the
commercial superiority of England, since all this commercial legislation
was to emanate from the English Parliament. The Whigs took immediate
advantage of this error, and, unable to stop the Bill in the English
Parliament, used all their eloquence to inflame the patriotic feeling of
the Irish. The Bill in its changed form was therefore rejected in Dublin
(August), and Pitt began to feel the necessity for that great measure
which he completed eighteen years afterwards. If either true
parliamentary reform was to be brought about or commercial equality to
be established, not only legislative equality, but legislative union, it
was plain, would be necessary.

[Sidenote: Failure of Pitt's Reform Bill.]

This was not the only defeat which the ministry suffered. It was no more
successful in its efforts at parliamentary reform in England. In fact,
the interest felt in the question had begun to flag; it had been raised
to its utmost by the separation between the representatives of the
people and the people they represented, which had been so obvious during
the administration of Grenville, and by the long and disastrous triumph
of royal influence under Lord North. But Pitt's success rested entirely
upon the will of the constituencies after the late dissolution, and the
people were on the whole satisfied with their representation. But with
Pitt, as with his father, the reform of Parliament had always been a
favourite object; he now produced a Bill by which he hoped to win all
parties to his side, but its very timidity weakened its popularity. He
proposed to disfranchise thirty-six rotten boroughs, and to give the
seventy-two seats thus gained to the counties and to London and
Westminster. Thus far he was true to his old plan, but afraid of the
opposition of borough proprietors, he consented to recognize as a part
of the Constitution their rights of proprietorship, and designed to set
apart a fund of £1,000,000 to satisfy the claims of the possessors of
the boroughs which he wished to destroy. Such as it was the Bill was
rejected by a majority of seventy, and Pitt regarded the question
henceforward as settled against him. It is to be observed that all these
measures, whether successful or not, were such as we should now speak of
as Liberal measures.

[Sidenote: His financial success.]

[Sidenote: Commercial treaty with France. Sept. 1786.]

The success of the Government in its financial schemes, on the other
hand, was marked, although the arrangement which at this time excited
most admiration has since been recognized as based upon an absurd
fallacy. Alarmed at the great increase of the National Debt, and
inspired with an honest wish to reduce it, Pitt produced his plan for a
sinking fund. His taxes had been so successful, and the financial
recovery of the nation at peace and under a firm Government had been
such, that he found himself possessed of a surplus closely bordering on
a million, and suggested that this million should annually be set aside
and vested in commissioners to accumulate at compound interest. It was
to be beyond the control of Government, and this fund with its
accumulations was to be applied, as circumstances permitted, to the
reduction of the debt. The principle is obviously sound as far as it
goes, that is to say, what a nation saves it can clearly apply to the
purpose of reducing its liabilities, but there the matter ends; there is
and can be no peculiar and mysterious power in a sinking fund. But this
was not seen by Pitt, or by those who approved of his plan, and when
times of difficulty arose, the million went on year by year being
religiously set aside, although not only one million, but many millions
were yearly borrowed for the purpose of covering the current expenses of
the year. Interest, and often much higher interest, was thus paid out on
the one side in order that a less interest might be gained on the other.
It was not till the year 1828 that this fallacy was finally exposed by
Lord Grenville, who, strangely enough, had been the chairman of the
committee who first recommended its adoption. It had however been
virtually abandoned in 1807. Although he fell into this error, Pitt's
financial views were generally broad; thus about this time he entered
into a commercial treaty with France, by which, with some very few
exceptions, prohibitory duties between the countries were repealed, a
moderate tariff was established, and the famous Methuen Treaty with
Portugal, which had almost excluded French wines, and changed the habits
of the English nation, giving them a taste for the hot wines of the
Peninsula, was abrogated. He also greatly simplified the custom duties,
supplying their place in some instances with excise or customs levied
inland, a most beneficial measure, but formerly so unpopular that it had
almost proved fatal to the ministry of Walpole, the only great financial
minister England had had during the century.

[Sidenote: Charges against Warren Hastings.]

[Sidenote: Pitt supports them.]

[Sidenote: Consequent impeachment. 1787.]

These measures, important as they were, excited little attention in
comparison with the threatened impeachment of Warren Hastings. Though,
as we have seen, censured, and almost recalled in 1781, the
Governor-General had latterly retained his post unmolested, and came
home in June 1785 on the natural expiration of his office. At home he
was well received, but he had two vindictive enemies in the House of
Commons, one, Edmund Burke, whose imagination had always been strongly
drawn towards the majestic history of Hindostan, and whose hatred of
oppression had been strongly fired by the accounts which had lately been
received from India; the other, Philip Francis, the rancorous and
defeated rival of the late Governor-General; and Hastings had scarcely
arrived in England before Burke gave notice that he should call
attention to his conduct. The feeling in England that Hastings had on
the whole done a great work was so strong, that, although the ministry
had shown him many marks of favour, it is possible that even Burke might
have left him untouched had not his injudicious and wearisome agent,
Major Scott, challenged inquiry. Burke accepted the challenge, and in
April produced specific charges against him, based principally on his
war with the Rohillas and on his conduct to Cheyte Singh and the Begums
of Oude. Hastings, who was always unable to understand the feeling of
the House of Commons, insisted on being personally heard at the bar, and
wearied the House by reading a written document of enormous length,
which occupied a day and a half in reading. On the first charge,
however, with regard to the Rohilla war, a considerable majority was in
his favour; it will be remembered that this belonged to the first period
of his administration, and it was upon this that he had been already
censured; but as Dundas, the original mover of the vote of censure,
urged, with much show of right, the fault was an old one, and had been
condoned by the subsequent appointment of Hastings as Governor-General.
Hastings and his friends believed that his cause had gained the support
of Government and was now secure. Great was their dismay when, upon the
second charge with regard to Cheyte Singh, which was brought forward by
Fox, Pitt rose and declared, that although he regarded Cheyte Singh as
the vassal of the Bengal Empire, and liable to be called on for
assistance, he could not but regard the infliction of a fine of £500,000
for the non-payment of £50,000 as ridiculously and shamefully
exorbitant. On these grounds, he said, he should support the charge, all
his friends voted with him, and Fox's resolution passed by a majority of
forty. This entirely changed the aspect of affairs, but the lateness of
the season (June 1786) rendered it necessary that the completion of the
charges should be postponed till the next year. In the February of that
year Sheridan, in a speech occupying five hours and forty minutes,
produced the charge with regard to the Begums of Oude. So striking was
this piece of oratory that it was deemed necessary to adjourn the House
lest the excitement produced by it should prevent cool judgment of the
matter. Again, and with the same result as before, Pitt both spoke and
voted in favour of the charge. On these and other charges Burke, in May,
founded a resolution of impeachment, and proceeding to the Upper House,
impeached the late Governor-General, who was taken into custody and
admitted to bail. The trial did not actually begin till February 1788.

[Sidenote: Conduct of the Prince of Wales.]

Another question which now arose, and which was in the next year to be
of the greatest importance, was the conduct and character of the Prince
of Wales. True to the traditions and customs of his family, he had
allied himself to the enemies of his father, and not only in his
political but in his domestic life had much outraged the King's
feelings. From the respectable and somewhat repellant family life of the
Court, the princes, one and all, took refuge in a disorderly and
licentious life. The stern propriety of the father, and the somewhat
unlovely rigidity of the mother, undid the work which their thoroughly
domestic character should have done. The Prince of Wales had everything
in his favour upon his entrance into life. Good-looking, of pleasant
manners, of considerable ability, and views at all events nominally
liberal, there was nothing to prevent his great popularity.
Unfortunately the profligacy of his life, which the world might have
pardoned, was the mark of a thoroughly depraved character, which led him
into breaches of honour. This fault became very obvious in the year
1787. For some time he had been clamouring for the payment of his debts,
and on the King's refusal to discharge them, he had in a huff reduced
his establishment and pretended to live like a private gentleman.
Meanwhile he had been entangled in an awkward love affair. Mrs.
Fitzherbert, a Roman Catholic lady, had attracted his attention, and
refused to listen to his advances unless he would marry her. This he
did. Now, by the Act of Settlement, marriage with a Roman Catholic
invalidated all claims to the throne, but by a second statute, the Royal
Marriage Act, any marriage contracted without the royal consent was
null. By pleading the second, the Prince could therefore avoid the
action of the first, but by so doing was virtually taking away the
character of his wife, and obviously evading the law. With this slur
upon his character, he came to the Parliament for the payment of his
debts. The charge against him was raised by Rolle, the member for
Devonshire, and Fox, completely duped by his royal friend, was induced
to give the fact a flat denial. The Prince completed his treachery by
afterwards disavowing his instructions to Fox. Such conduct naturally
produced a temporary coolness between them. After so strong a denial,
however, it was impossible to refuse the Prince's demand, and his debts
were paid, to the amount of £160,000.

[Sidenote: Trial of Warren Hastings. Feb. 1788.]

The work of the last year was completed by the commencement, in
February, of the trial of Warren Hastings. The trial took place in
Westminster Hall, the Peers sitting as judges, presided over by the Lord
Chancellor, and the accusations being supported by the managers
appointed by the House of Commons, assisted by the most eloquent men in
England, among their number, Fox, Burke, Sheridan, and Wyndham. The very
talents of the accusers, together with the exaggerated and unlawyer-like
style of Burke, tended to the safety of the accused. The trial became a
mere exhibition of rhetoric; people crowded to hear the speeches, but
withdrew as the legal points were argued, or the evidence produced,
while Burke's language was so intemperate that the Lord Chancellor and
even the House of Commons censured him. At the same time, in 1789, the
gradual change of popular feeling was shown in the trial of Stockdale
for libel against the promoters of Hastings' trial. He was prosecuted at
the demand of the Commons, at the Government expense, but was acquitted.
Three years afterwards Burke himself renounced sixteen of his charges,
and all interest in the end of the trial gradually disappeared.

[Sidenote: First motion for abolition of the slave trade. May 9, 1788.]

The year was marked not only by the completion of old questions, but by
the appearance of a new one. This was the question of the slave trade.
The horrors of this trade had for many years been before the public, and
the opposition to slavery had so far been organized, that it had been
determined to assault--what it was believed might be overthrown without
much difficulty--the actual trade in slaves, and leave the abolition of
slavery itself for a future occasion. The horrors of the trade could
scarcely be exaggerated. Ships built for the purpose were employed, in
which the allowance of room for a slave was five feet and a half in
length by one foot four inches in breadth. The extreme height between
decks was five feet eight inches, but this was occupied by shelves, upon
which the slaves were packed. Sixteen hours a day they remained below,
chained to the deck, fed upon a pint of water and two feeds of horse
beans. Such conditions of life, for weeks together, in the tropics, not
being conducive to health, they were brought up and forced to jump upon
the deck, under the influence of the whip, for the sake of exercise. If
any difficulty arose, they were tossed overboard without scruple, and
English law courts held underwriters answerable for such loss, as
arising from the natural perils of the sea. No charge of murder, or even
manslaughter, was ever dreamt of. These facts were elicited by a
Parliamentary Committee, presided over by Whitbread, from witnesses who
had previously described the excellent arrangements of the ships and the
cheerful merry dancing of the slaves upon the voyage. Before any action
could be taken upon these revelations, an event occurred which for a
moment threatened the stability of the ministry.

[Sidenote: The King's illness. Nov. 1788.]

[Sidenote: The Regency Bill.]

In November, after some months of illness, the King was declared
incapable of carrying on the business of the country. His illness
assumed the form of insanity, and even if he should survive, as was
thought doubtful, it seemed plain that a regency would be inevitable.
The King's physicians, following the ignorant practice with regard to
lunatics which obtained at that time, prescribed the strictest and most
galling constraints, separated the King from his wife, refused him the
use of knife and fork and razor, and intrusted him to coarse and cruel
servants. Having by this means intensified the symptoms, they proceeded
to pronounce them incurable. Fortunately for the King, Lady Harcourt was
bold enough to recommend Dr. Willis, who, originally a clergyman, had
for nearly thirty years been managing a private asylum for lunatics,
where he had met with much success. On being summoned, he at once
declared he could cure the King, and the Queen and Pitt placed him in
his hands with implicit confidence. Thus when, after some prorogation,
Parliament assembled in December, a committee which had examined the
medical evidence expressed a hope of the King's recovery. Armed with
this report, Pitt moved for an examination of precedents before
arranging the regency, while Fox, forgetful of the Prince's late
duplicity, and clutching eagerly at the power which seemed just within
his grasp, asserted that precedents were useless, as "the heir-apparent
had an inherent right to assume the reins of government." As Pitt
immediately pointed out, this was to rob the Parliament of all power in
the matter, although it had twice been regarded as competent to change
the succession to the throne. The vehemence of the Whig party in fact
overreached itself, and enabled Pitt, who firmly believed that he was on
the point of being driven from office, with a somewhat ostentatious show
of carelessness as to the favour of the future King or Regent, to
produce a Bill nominating indeed the heir-apparent as the Regent, but
under strict limitations. The principle he laid down was that, as the
King would in all probability recover, he should, on resuming his
functions, find things as little altered as possible. He therefore
refused to the Prince of Wales the right of making Peers, or granting
places, in reversion or for any term except during his Majesty's
pleasure, while the care of the King's person and household was left in
the Queen's power. Nothing, probably, but the feeling that the Prince
was thoroughly immoral could have allowed Pitt to produce so stringent a
Bill. It was not indeed passed, for the necessity of passing it was
prevented by the recovery of the King. This had been the work of Dr.
Willis, who, by mingled kindness and firmness, the removal of all the
ridiculous restraints the King's doctors had laid upon him, had
succeeded in restoring his self-respect and bringing him back almost to
his usual state of sanity, although for some weeks longer he
persistently believed, while showing the tenderest affection for the
Queen, that he was deeply in love with one of the ladies of the Court.

[Sidenote: Pre-eminence of Pitt.]

Pitt's faithful adherence to George during his illness, and the firmness
with which he had insisted on keeping things unchanged, though at the
risk of total loss of favour for himself, bound the King to him more
closely than ever, and for many years to come his position was quite
unassailable. Up to this time Pitt's policy had been enlarged and
liberal in all directions. He had contrived to realize his father's
plan, and resting on the authority of the Crown, but independent as a
minister, had destroyed the monopoly of power so long held by the great
Whig factions. This he had done without subserviency and without
deserting the Liberal principles in which he had been trained, but he
could not but feel that he rested primarily on the royal support, and
insensibly his policy had become the royal policy, and he was pledged to
support the influence of the Crown. This gradual and almost unobserved
change was called into active exhibition by the events which were
happening in Europe.



      _First Lords of the Treasury._   |   _Chancellors of the Exchequer._
    Dec.   1783  Pitt.                 | Dec.   1783  Pitt.
    March  1801  Addington.            | March  1801  Addington.
    May    1804  Pitt.                 | May    1804  Pitt.
    Jan.   1806  Grenville.            | Jan.   1806  Petty.
    April  1807  Portland.             | April  1807  Perceval.
    Oct.   1809  Perceval.             | June   1812  Vansittart.
    June   1812  Liverpool.            |

                            _Secretaries of State._
    June 1789   Carmarthen.            | Jan. 1806  Spencer.
                W. Grenville.          |            Fox.
    June 1791   Dundas.                | Sept. 1806 Spencer.
                W. Grenville.          |            Howick.
    July 1794   Portland.              | April 1807 Canning.
                W. Grenville.          |            Hawkesbury.
    March 1801  Pelham.                | Oct. 1809  Wellesley.
                Hawkesbury.            |            Ryder.
    May 1804    Harrowby.              | Feb. 1812  Castlereagh.
                Hawkesbury.            |            Ryder.
                            June 1812 { Castlereagh.
                                      { Sidmouth.

[Sidenote: Effect of the French Revolution in England.]

The year which followed the King's recovery saw the opening of the Great
Revolution in France. This event produced ultimately an entire
alteration in the character of Pitt's policy, and a split between Burke
and Fox which virtually annihilated for the time the Whig party, and
rendered Pitt absolutely pre-eminent; but it was not till more than a
year had passed that its full effect was felt in England, although from
its first outbreak it had a tendency to exaggerate party differences,
and brought into more striking contrast the principles of those who,
like Pitt, desired the maintenance of a strong royal power, of those
who, like Burke, looked no further than the establishment of an
aristocratic constitution, and of those who saw with pleasure every
advance towards the realization of those dreams of class equality which
for more than a century had been stirring in Europe. When at length the
influence of the Revolution became irresistible, England was in a
position abroad to take a leading part in the European opposition to its
principles, and at home social changes had occurred which rendered such
a course of policy inevitable.

[Sidenote: Political development of England.]

Although Pitt was probably aware that he was not a great war minister,
or fitted, as his father had been, to inspire the nation with
enthusiasm in the midst of danger, he by no means forgot to uphold the
dignity of his country; and his management of foreign affairs certainly
raised England from the depression into which she had sunk after the
loss of her colonies, and the disadvantageous peace contracted with
France and Spain at the close of the war.

[Sidenote: Affair of Nootka Sound.]

One of the first instances in which this reviving spirit was shown was
the affair of Nootka Sound. Spain, raising the arrogant claim that to
her belonged the whole west coast of America, seized an English ship in
Nootka Sound, in Vancouver's Island, and destroyed our settlement there.
Upon this, Pitt, drawing closer his alliance with Prussia and Holland,
and going so far as to increase largely the number of men in the navy,
managed to exact from Spain a withdrawal of this claim and a restoration
of English property, granting in exchange an assurance that illicit
trade with the Spanish colonies should be checked.

[Sidenote: Forms an alliance with Holland.]

But far more important than this single exhibition of determination
against a country so decayed as Spain was the successful policy which
Pitt pursued with regard to the general policy of Eastern Europe. The
first opening which occurred was in Holland. In that country there
existed, as usual, a constant strife between two great parties, the
party of the Republicans and the party of the Prince of Orange. Of old
the republican party had meant the party of the aristocratic and wealthy
merchants of the country. The party of the Prince of Orange had almost
without exception been favoured by the bulk of the people. But ideas had
been rapidly growing; republicanism had assumed a somewhat different
meaning. The war between ruler and aristocracy had been changing to a
rivalry between the ruler, supported by the lovers of order and fixed
authority, and those whose views were of a more democratic stamp. But
the democrats of Holland still regarded themselves as the legitimate
descendants of the republican party, and inherited the foreign policy of
their predecessors. Like them, they sought the support and assistance of
France, while the Stadtholder and his friends regarded England as their
chief support. The agitation in Holland had been so vigorous that the
Prince of Orange had been forced to withdraw to Nimeguen, leaving the
Government in the hands of his rivals. In this there was a manifest
danger to England. If the democrats remained in possession of the
country Holland would become little else than a dependency of France,
instead of what it had so often been, the firm ally of England. At the
present moment France was more particularly ready to give it support.
Vergennes, the French minister, was anxious to retain some sort of
prestige for the Government, which was rapidly sinking in power and
credit under the reckless and wasteful management of Calonne. No better
opportunity could have been afforded him than the chance of undertaking
a successful piece of diplomacy, or of war, in behalf of a democratic
party, whose opinions had much in harmony with the rapidly increasing
revolutionary feeling of France. Moreover, the commercial world of
France was full of hostility to the late treaty with England; and as
Vergennes had contracted that treaty, he hoped to wipe out some of his
unpopularity by raising difficulties as to the completion of that part
of it which touched upon the French trade with India. There the Dutch
and French interests both led them to oppose England as far as possible,
and a war would almost certainly have commenced had not Vergennes died.
At the same time Calonne gave place to Lomenie de Brienne, and it was
uncertain what course he would pursue. The question was brought to a
crisis by a curious act of ill-judged violence on the part of the
democrats, who seized upon the person of the Princess of Orange while
she was visiting the Hague, it was believed for the purpose of
attempting some reconciliation. As the Princess of Orange was the sister
of the King of Prussia, he was able to use the attack upon so near a
relative as a fair pretext for interfering on behalf of royalty. He
marched 20,000 men to the frontiers under the Duke of Brunswick, thus
affording Pitt the opportunity he desired of reconnecting England with
European allies. He made common cause with Prussia, promising the
assistance of the English fleet, and sent to demand from France an
explanation of the 15,000 men they had assembled at Givet. The French
refused an explanation, promised assistance to the States-General, and
proceeded to send their troops into the country. The united arms of
Prussia and England were entirely successful, the Stadtholder was
restored to power with even less restriction than usual. The friendship
thus begun ripened into alliance; and Holland, now entirely in the
English interest, joining with England and Prussia, a sort of triple
alliance was entered into for securing the peace of Europe, and to
support the principle of the balance of power, in which Pitt was a firm

[Sidenote: His efforts to oppose Russia.]

The rising influence of Russia was the great object of Pitt's dread. The
progress of that country was very threatening; its vast bulk and unknown
resources, and the success which had hitherto attended its progress
since the time of Peter the Great, had rendered it a very formidable
element in the European system. Chatham had indeed regarded its growth
as advantageous to Europe, the counterpoise at once to the power of the
French and of the Prussians. His son took a different view, justified by
the evident attempts of the Empress to increase her power at the expense
of Turkey, and thus to secure the Black Sea, if not the Mediterranean,
and by the ever-increasing influence which she exercised over both
Prussia and Austria. Even the great Frederick had found himself obliged
to court his formidable neighbour; again and again his brother, Prince
Henry, had visited St. Petersburg; while Joseph II. of Austria was
entirely led away by the Czarina's greatness. Already the greater part
of Poland had been absorbed by that Empire; there now remained two
powers at either extremity of the great mass of Russia which might
easily have suffered a similar treatment. These were Turkey and Sweden.
In the year 1787 the aggression for which Europe was waiting took place.
The Emperor Joseph had a meeting with the Czarina, and travelled with
her in her carriage as she went to visit the Crimea. He was there
thoroughly dazzled by the greatness of the scheme which she unfolded to
him. Turkey and Greece were to be conquered, and the old Empire of the
East to be re-established. In exchange, it was hinted that something
like a Western Empire should be constituted, and Italy, as of old, be
placed under the Austrian sway. But the success of the Czarina and the
Emperor was hampered by the sudden and vigorous assaults upon Russia
from the side of Sweden under its King Gustavus III. This attack in its
turn threatened to be neutralized by the intervention of the Danes, who
were connected in friendship with the Czarina. Such, then, was the
position of affairs which Pitt had to consider, in reference always to
what he believed of vital importance, the European balance,--on the one
side, Austria, Russia, and Denmark; on the other, Turkey and Sweden.

[Sidenote: Alliance with Prussia, Holland and Sweden.]

[Sidenote: Procures the Convention of Reichenbach.]

There were three countries against which Pitt could put in practice what
appears to have been his fixed plan of European action; desirous of
peace, and thinking few questions of sufficient importance to authorise
him in plunging Europe into war, he hoped, by a show of superior power
on the part of himself and his allies, to uphold the dignity of England
and the existing balance of power. He began with the weakest. He drew
closer his friendship with Prussia, and his threats in union with that
power were sufficient to detach Denmark from its allies, thus to rid
Sweden of the enemy in its rear, and to allow it to carry on its
aggressive movements, which seemed so successful as a diversion in
favour of Turkey. An alliance with Holland, Sweden, and Prussia secured
the maintenance of peace on the part of Denmark. He then turned to
Austria; for the danger from the joint attack on Turkey had become
really imminent when the strong fortress of Oczakow had fallen into the
hands of the Czarina's favourite Potemkin. The opportunity was
favourable. Joseph II. had died, in 1790, just as all his plans, whether
of aggressive ambition on the side of Turkey or of domestic reform in
Flanders, had seemed to terminate in failure; while in Flanders a spirit
of insurrection, too powerful for him to suppress, had been excited by
certain reforms which he there introduced. Indeed, domestic dangers had
threatened him on all sides. His successor, Leopold, was desirous of
securing the friendship of French and German powers to aid him in his
election to the Imperial Crown; and under threat of an immediate
invasion from Prussia, which Pitt had instigated, and impressed with the
rising danger to all monarchies from the events which were occurring in
France, he consented to conclude in August 1790 the Convention of
Reichenbach and to withdraw from the Turkish war. Twice, then, Pitt's
policy of intervention, combined with threats, but without actual
warfare, had been thoroughly successful. The position of England began
to stand higher abroad, and the country had again been brought into
close connection with its old German allies.

[Sidenote: Fails in his intervention with Russia.]

His third intervention was less successful. The Czarina, left to herself
both by friends and enemies, persisted in her course, and the fall of
Ismail in December was marked by astonishing barbarities. Pitt thought
to act upon the Russian Empress as, in conjunction with Prussia, he had
acted upon Austria. He demanded that a peace should be made upon the
_status quo_ before the war, and threatened to support his demand by
arms. An increase of the fleet was indeed ordered, but Pitt was mistaken
both in the temper of the English and in that of the Russian Empress.
The isolated threat of one country standing without allies did not seem
to her very terrible; to the people of England the danger of a Russian
aggression was of little importance. Pitt found it necessary to change
his policy and withdraw his threat, and was content to allow Russia to
conclude a peace by which she obtained the territory between the Bug and
the Dniester and the fortress of Oczakow.

[Sidenote: Industrial development of England.]

But it was not only in its political position that England had developed
with extraordinary rapidity after the American War. The whole condition
of those industrial arts which give work to the lower orders was
changed, and an enormous impulse given to the employment of industry. In
spite of the constant complaints of those who were bent upon asserting
the decline of the nation, the population had been gradually increasing
ever since the Revolution of 1688; the rate of increase in the thirty
years preceding 1780 was about 400,000 a year. This increase of
population had already begun to call fresh land into cultivation;
between 1760 and 1770 no less than a thousand enclosure Bills were
passed. The improved processes of husbandry did even more than the mere
extent of cultivable area to increase the productive power of
agriculture. But this agricultural production could never have increased
at the rate it did had it not been that the proportion between consumers
and producers of food was rapidly being altered; for it was this period
which changed England from an agricultural to a manufacturing country,
and placed the weight of population, which had hitherto been greater in
the South, entirely in the North. By successive steps all the great
improvements in spinning and weaving were introduced; the discovery that
iron could be worked as well with pit coal as with charcoal gave an
immense impetus to the second great branch of industry; and the
improvement in the steam engine, which enabled machinery to be worked
irrespective of local peculiarities, spread the manufactures, which had
hitherto nestled among the hills for the sake of obtaining water-power,
into all parts of the coal-producing districts. This burst of industry
of necessity produced great economic changes. The employment of labour
in manufactories tended to increase the population rapidly. The increase
of numbers, the growth of wealth among the manufacturers, called into
activity more skill in agriculture, and demanded the occupation of more
land. Land to which recourse is had under this pressure is naturally the
worse land; it therefore requires more labour to produce its crop, and
the most laboriously produced crop sets the value of the whole; the
prices of the necessaries of life began rapidly to rise. Though the use
of machinery made many things cheaper, and improved methods of husbandry
prevented prices from rising as they would otherwise have done, as a
general rule, while the price of luxuries decreased, the price of
necessaries rose. Wages did not rise with a proportionate rapidity, and
it was still a question whether, if the French war had not intervened,
the relation between food and consumption, between prices and wages,
would have been satisfactorily arranged. It was however evident that all
these improvements, while they created great wealth for the middle and
mercantile classes, by no means rendered the position of the mechanic
and artisan easier, while, at the same time, higher and more intelligent
employment, and the more sedentary life led by the mechanic, were well
suited to foster habits of thought, and to make the half-educated man a
shallow reasoner, ready to accept crude ideas as to the measures best
fitted to produce improvement in the social position of himself and his
class; and such ideas, emanating from France, had been for some time
widely spread among the people.

[Sidenote: Active condition of England abroad and at home.]

Thus, while England had gradually resumed her commanding position
abroad, and was ready with allies to join in any external movement, and
while the growing wealth of the mercantile world was rendering it daily
more certain that any such movement would be in a conservative
direction, the people--increased in numbers and intelligence, but not
bettered in their general condition--were becoming ready to lend a
willing ear to any measures which promised to improve the political
position of their class. And it was just at this time that the French
Revolution broke out.

[Sidenote: Causes of the French Revolution.]

On the 5th of May 1789 the States-General of France was assembled for
the first time since the year 1614. The causes of this momentous event,
which produced nothing less than a complete change in the history of the
world, were of ancient growth; the explosion had been slowly preparing
ever since Louis XIV. had completed the mistaken policy of
centralization, and had been able to say that the King and the State
were one. The power and importance of the Crown had been secured at the
cost of the destruction or degradation of all the conservative elements
of society. The nobility, deprived of their local power, had been
summoned to the capital to swell the splendour of the Court; without
duties they still continued to enjoy privileges, while the
administrative power was practically centred in the hands of the royal
intendants; they were exempt from direct taxation, and known to their
tenantry and dependants only by the feudal dues which they exacted, and
by certain remnants of feudal services they could still claim. The
judicial body, the "nobility of the robe," held their position, not by
merit or by legal knowledge, but by purchase. The upper clergy were
drawn to the Court like the nobles, and lived in splendour, while the
village curé had hardly the means of livelihood. The people, oppressed
by unjust taxation, excluded from all hope of bettering their condition,
saw themselves deserted by their natural guardians and leaders, who
seemed to enjoy wealth wrung from their toil, and honours earned by no
merit of their own, but solely on the ground of birth. The misery of
their position was aggravated by the constant recurrence of famines, and
they saw with rage the corn trade so manipulated by men in the highest
position as to all appearance to increase the scarcity. But an oppressed
people will suffer long in silence unless the temper of the class above
them be such as to favour the expression of their discontent. Such a
temper had been called into existence among the thinking middle classes
by the growth of scepticism and materialistic philosophy. Drawn
originally from English sources, from the writings of the philosophers
of the English Revolution, this form of thought had found its exponent
in Voltaire, from the keen shafts of whose wit no abuse and no
institution was secure. Montesquieu had pushed the same spirit of
inquiry into political and constitutional questions, and Rousseau, more
sentimental and spiritual in his views, had supplied a firmer but no
less revolutionary basis to society than was afforded by the purely
negative teaching of Voltaire. The literary power of these men make them
the best known exponents of the spirit of the time, but the spirit
itself was prevalent everywhere. Thus, while the institutions of the
country were radically bad, they were exposed to the fiercest and most
destructive criticism, and ideas of the possibility and rightfulness of
a happier state of things were suggested to the public mind. The conduct
of the Court and Government was not of a character to blunt the
criticisms directed against them; the finances were in a state of
hopeless disorder. The accession of Louis XVI. had for a moment raised
hopes of a change of system; Turgot, an honest and able man of reforming
views, was summoned to the ministry. But as his plan included of
necessity retrenchment on the part of the Court and the taxation of the
privileged classes, Court, nobles, and magistracy made common cause
against him, and he found their opposition too strong for him. The same
fate attended every effort at reform. Minister after minister was called
to office, content either to follow the old course, which was inevitably
leading to bankruptcy, or obliged to yield before the selfish opposition
of the privileged classes. In turn, Clugny, Necker, and Calonne withdrew
discomfited. At length, in 1787, the Cardinal Lomenie de Brienne
accepted the difficult post. Like his predecessors, he soon found that
there was no resource but the extension of taxation. This brought him
into collision with the Parlement, the chief court of justice, whose
members were drawn from among the privileged class. They contrived for a
while to give their opposition the appearance of a popular movement
against the power of the Crown; they even went so far as to declare that
the right of extending taxation resided in the States-General alone. It
was in vain that the King superseded the Parlement, and produced a new
and by no means injudicious constitution; the mention of the
States-General had seemed to open a new view to the people; nothing
short of them would now be accepted. The new constitution fell
hopelessly to the ground; the King found it necessary to recall Necker,
the only minister who had enjoyed any popular confidence, and his
triumphant return was speedily followed by the meeting of the States.

[Sidenote: Assembly of the States-General. May 5, 1789.]

[Sidenote: The King brought to Paris. Oct. 6.]

The assembling of the States-General, which was by many regarded with
hope as the close of the difficulties of France, proved but the
beginning of troubles. The unprivileged classes had at length obtained
the means of expressing their wants, and would be satisfied with nothing
short of complete revolution. Unfortunately, the King, a well-meaning
man, with a real love for his people, was of a slow intellect, and
easily guided by those around him. He fell into the hands of the princes
and courtiers, and was induced to make common cause with the privileged
classes, which were at first the real object of attack. When the
Commons, or Tiers Etat, declared themselves the real representation of
the nation, and changed the States-General into a National Assembly, he
attempted to check them by a royal sitting, only to find his authority
disregarded. The Commons assembled in the Tennis Court at Versailles
(June 20), swore to perfect the constitution, and became the dominant
power in the nation. An attempt to check their further advance by force
of arms, the collection of troops around Paris, the removal of the
popular minister Necker and the appointment of the Marshal de Broglie to
the command of the army, drove Paris to insurrection. The thorough
untrustworthiness of the army was proved; the Bastille fell (July 14);
the National Guard sprang into existence; and a revolutionary Commune at
the Hôtel de Ville governed the capital. The power of the sword passed
into the hands of the people. Though the Assembly continued the work of
the constitution, though, on the 4th of August, the aristocracy, in a
moment of wild enthusiasm, surrendered all its old feudal rights, the
mistrust of the Parisians, aggravated by the famine and the difficulty
of subsistence, continued to increase. The Court imprudently gave
colour to its mistrust, Lafayette, at the head of the National Guard,
desired to get the management of the Revolution more entirely in his own
hands. On the 6th of October a crowd of National Guards and starving
women marched to Versailles and brought the King in triumph to Paris. He
was followed by the National Assembly, which henceforward worked under
the eyes of the Parisian Commune and people. The prestige of royalty
disappeared, the King was in fact a prisoner in his own capital; the
power had passed even from the National Assembly, and was centred in the
people of Paris.

[Sidenote: Excitement produced in England.]

Such scenes, marked by acts of sanguinary vengeance on the part of the
people, and showing the absolute powerlessness of the old system of
Louis XIV., could not fail to excite the strongest interest in Europe.
Nowhere was this more the case than in England. To some it appeared that
our great enemy was perishing before our eyes of its own natural decay;
while from another point of view, to lovers of liberty, there was a
whole world of hope in the vigorous life exhibited by a people,
downtrodden as the French lower orders were believed to be; to another
party the hurried and irregular vehemence which had marked the changes
in France seemed proof only of an anarchy shocking to all respect for
form or antiquity, and sad evidence against the possibility of an
orderly growth of reform. "The French have shown themselves," said
Burke, "the ablest architects of ruin that have hitherto existed in the
world. They have done their business for us as rivals in a way which
twenty Ramillies or Blenheims could never have done." "How much is it
the greatest event that ever happened in the world and how much the
best," said Fox after the taking of the Bastille. While a third view,
and this at first was Pitt's, rested complacently on the possible
approximation of the Government of France to a constitutional monarchy
similar to that of England.

[Sidenote: First reactionary movement.]

[Sidenote: Rejection of the Abolition of Tests and of the Reform Bill.]

[Sidenote: Burke's "Reflections on the French Revolution."]

The three years which elapsed between 1789 and the end of 1792 drew more
distinctly the line which separated the two first of these opinions, and
proved that the third was untenable. It was clear from the first which
of them would ultimately gain the upper hand among the governing classes
in England. Already, as early as March 1790, a proposition for the
relief of Protestant Dissenters, and for the abolition of Test and
Corporation Acts, which had been lost by only a small majority the
preceding year, was thrown out by overwhelming numbers. A Bill for the
reform of the representation, introduced by Flood, though Pitt had
several times himself brought the subject forward, met with a similar
fate; and shortly after the meeting of the new Parliament on November
25th, Burke issued what may be regarded as the manifesto of his party in
his work entitled "Reflections on the French Revolution." It was called
forth by signs of the sympathy which the French Revolution was meeting
in England. Its more enthusiastic admirers had determined to reap what
advantages they could from the present state of excitement, and two
societies--the Constitutional Society, founded a few years before, and
the Revolution Society, an old established body connected with the
Dissenting interest, and intended to support the principle of the
Revolution of 1688--had entered upon a course of renewed activity. On
its anniversary, in November 1789, the Revolution Society had not only
listened to an inflammatory and revolutionary discourse by Dr. Price, a
Unitarian minister, but had also sent an address of sympathy, signed by
Lord Stanhope, their President, to the National Assembly, by whom it had
been rapturously received. It was upon this text chiefly that Burke
wrote. His book had a wonderful success, 30,000 copies were speedily
sold, and writers have been found bold enough to imply that the safety
of Europe was owing to this work. In truth, Burke saw more clearly than
those around him the inevitable course of the Revolution; he foresaw its
excesses and its miserable end in a military despotism; he saw, too,
that it must of necessity become proselytizing. Terrified by these
dangers, and unable to conceive the excellence of any government unlike
our own, which was at that time a highly aristocratic limited monarchy,
he did not see the truths which the French Revolution embodied, and
which, had they been wisely directed and not rudely assailed, would have
allowed Europe to pass into the new and inevitable phase of progress for
which it is still struggling, without the constant outbreaks of passion
on one side or the other which have marked the last seventy years. This
work drew forth many replies, the most important of which were
Macintosh's "Vindiciæ Gallicæ" and Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man,"--the
first a temperate and excellent work of the man who was afterwards to be
one of the greatest philosophical statesmen in England, the other the
rough but sensible production of a revolutionist by profession.

[Sidenote: The Canada Bill. 1791.]

[Sidenote: Breach between Fox and Burke. May 6, 1791.]

The sentiments which Burke had declared in his essay he soon took an
opportunity of declaring in Parliament. The question before the House
was a new constitution for Canada. This was called for by the extremely
antagonistic character of the inhabitants of the two parts of the
colony. The inhabitants of Lower Canada were French, and used to French
habits, those of Upper Canada entirely English. The province was in
future to be divided, and the constitution of the Upper Province
assimilated as nearly as possible to the English model. Hereditary
peerages even were to be established. The Bill, granting as it did a
sort of self-government to the colony, was a wise one, but Fox opposed
it, and took the opportunity of speaking in high praise of the new
constitution of France. Some days afterwards, upon the same measure,
Burke arose and proceeded to reply, inveighing strongly against the
Revolution. His own side vociferously called him to order; he persisted
in his speech, deploring that he should be obliged to break with his
friends, but ready, as he said, to risk all, and with his last words to
exclaim, "Fly from the French constitution." Fox whispered there was no
loss of friends, but Burke rejoined, "I have done my duty at the price
of my friend; our friendship is at an end." Fox rose afterwards, and
with tears in his eyes repeated that he regarded Burke as his master and
teacher in politics, but he could not withdraw what he had said in
praise of the French constitution; and thus the friendship of years was
severed, and Burke was ranked with the ministerialists.

[Sidenote: The Birmingham riots. July 1791.]

But it was not only in Parliament that the strong division of opinion
caused by the Revolution was beginning to be evident. The conservative
temper of the upper and middle classes was shown clearly in the riots at
Birmingham. The friends of the Revolution had determined to have a
public dinner to celebrate the anniversary of the taking of the
Bastille. The dinner was chiefly planned by Dr. Priestley, a Unitarian
minister, a man of much scientific repute. Hearing that his movement was
unpopular, he attempted to postpone the dinner, from which he was
himself absent; some eighty persons however met, and in the evening a
fierce riot broke out against them; from Thursday till Sunday the riots
continued, Dr. Priestley's house and library were destroyed, and much
wanton mischief done. It was constantly reported, though never proved,
that the magistrates of the district, far from trying to check the
rioters, had been seen urging them on.

[Sidenote: Pitt's policy as yet unchanged.]

Up till this point Pitt had certainly shown no sign of yielding to the
conservative feeling of the country. He had declared distinctly that he
intended to pursue a policy of neutrality, to hold carefully aloof from
any interference in the domestic affairs of France, and had even
entirely neutralized the effect of the Convention of Pilnitz (Aug.
1791) by refusing to accede to the project of concerted action on the
part of European powers which had there been broached. He even felt so
certain of the continuance of peace, that his Budget, in the spring of
the year 1792, was framed entirely upon a peace footing. He suggested
the diminution of the number of sailors by 2000; he allowed the
subsidiary treaty with Hesse to come to an end, and drew up a plan for
the reduction of the interest of the Funds from 4 to 3½ or 3 per cent.
He even continued his measures of improvement; he again supported, in a
speech of unusual excellence, the immediate abolition of the slave
trade, although without success; while, in conjunction with his great
opponent, he carried through a Bill for a change in the libel law known
as Fox's Libel Bill, which placed in the hands of juries the right of
determining not only the fact of the publication of a libel, but the
more important question whether the matter published was in its
character libellous or not. The opposition offered to this Bill by Lord
Chancellor Thurlow cost him his position; the Great Seal was put into
commission. But the crisis had in fact arrived. The events which had
taken place in France, and which continued to take place during the year
1792, and the corresponding excitement aroused in England, were
gradually driving the minister to the persuasion that his peaceful
policy of non-intervention was no longer tenable.

[Sidenote: Progress of the French Revolution.]

[Sidenote: The King's flight to Varennes. June 1791.]

[Sidenote: The Girondin ministry declares war. April 1792.]

[Sidenote: The King suspended. Aug. 10.]

[Sidenote: Massacres of September.]

[Sidenote: Declaration of the Republic. Sept. 21, 1792.]

After its removal to Paris in October 1789, the Assembly, now under the
influence of the Jacobin Club, and watched by the Parisians, proceeded
rapidly in its work of destruction and reconstitution. All local
arrangements and provincial powers disappeared when France was divided
into Departments; the Crown lost its hold upon the judicial system,
which was now grounded upon a popular basis; the Church became a
department of the State, and the necessities of the State were supplied
by selling its vast property, or, as purchasers were not forthcoming, by
issuing bills payable in Church lands, called assignats. It became plain
that the power of the Crown, and with it the power of the executive, was
entirely disappearing. Nothing could save it but one of two courses--the
King might become a traitor to his country, throw himself into the arms
of his brother potentates, and begin a war of kings against peoples, or,
withdrawing from his capital, rally round him all the conservative
elements which yet remained in France. This was the plan of the one
great man of the Revolution, Mirabeau; but Mirabeau died in April 1791;
and in June of the same year the King adopted the other and worse
course, fled from Paris, and was arrested at Varennes. He was brought
back a prisoner, and remained with suspended authority till the Assembly
in September, hurriedly completing its work of constitution-making,
resigned its office. The King then resumed his authority at the head of
the new monarchical constitution, but with power strangely clipped, and
with an Assembly the leading members of which, the Girondins (so called
because their leaders were representatives from the Gironde, a district
near Bordeaux), eager and ambitious men, preferred theoretically a
republic, and believed that their power would be best secured by
plunging France into a war. It is not in fact true to assert, as is
commonly done, that it was the attacks of the combined monarchs of
Europe which drove France to war. Much sympathy was no doubt felt for
the disasters of the royal family, and the representations of the
emigrant nobles and princes had met with some success in Russia and
Sweden. But both those countries were far off. The more immediate
antagonists of France--Austria and Prussia--were prevented by their
domestic jealousies, their fear of Russia, and their relations with
Poland, from at first dreaming of an open assault upon France. It was
for their own ends that the Girondins stirred up the war spirit in
France, and it could best be fostered by exciting the popular feelings
by suggestions of interference on the part of foreign kings with the
new-born liberty of the country, and by hinting that the King himself
was a party to this conspiracy. It was thus, taking advantage of the
sympathy which foreign courts no doubt expressed for the King, that the
Girondins demanded, in an overbearing tone, immediate and satisfactory
replies to their diplomatic questions, and failing these, declared war
upon Austria in the month of April 1792. Their declaration of war was
speedily followed by the reality of that union between Austria and
Prussia which they had falsely urged as an excuse for it. But the
Girondins had overreached themselves: by exciting the popular feeling
against the King they had played directly into the hands of the
Jacobins; and when the King, in June 1792, discarded his Girondin
ministry and attempted to rule with something like independence, it was
only with the aid of the Jacobins that they ultimately returned to
power. For it was by this extreme party, still further excited by the
injudicious and threatening manifesto which the Duke of Brunswick had
issued on the 25th of May, and by the ill success of the opening of the
war, that the great insurrection of the 10th of August was carried out.
The King was suspended from his functions, the Tuileries were taken,
and though the Gironde was nominally restored, the power of the State
was really in the hands of the Jacobins and the revolutionary Commune.
The Legislative Assembly lingered but a few weeks longer, to give place
in September to a National Democratic Convention. The brief space
between the 10th of August and the 21st of September was filled by the
terrible consequences of the unbridled triumph of the people. The
royalist prisoners were murdered in the prisons, the revolutionary
Commune established in Paris, and when the Convention met, in the midst
of fear at home and fear of the advancing Prussians abroad, its first
step was of necessity the declaration of the Republic and the
dethronement of the King.

[Sidenote: Revolutionary character of the war.]

[Sidenote: Edict of Fraternity. Nov. 19, 1792.]

Almost on the same day that the Convention opened, the advance of the
Prussians had been suddenly and unexpectedly checked. Dumouriez had
occupied the Passes of the Argonnes, Kellermann had fought the cannonade
of Valmy, and the Prussians, bargaining for a safe retreat, began to
hurry homeward with ignoble speed. From this time onward the character
of the war changed, and became really dangerous to Europe. A party more
energetic than the Girondins was now in power. Dumouriez had always
recommended the conquest of Belgium for political reasons; but war
assumed a different aspect now that it was in the hands of the Jacobins;
it went hand in hand with the propagation of revolutionary ideas. The
victory of Jemmappes opened the road to Belgium; in the South, Nice and
Savoy completed the desired frontier of the Alps; and the temper in
which these conquests had been achieved was rendered obvious when, a few
days after the battle of Jemmappes, the celebrated decree of the 19th of
November was issued, promising fraternity to all nations desirous of
liberty, and when, two days afterwards, Savoy was formed into a new
department as the Department of Mont Blanc. If further proof was needed
of the character of the war, it was afforded by the peremptory orders
which were issued to disregard all treaty obligations and to open the
navigation of the Scheldt, which treaty after treaty, guaranteed by
France and other countries, had closed, and the opening of which could
not but bring France directly into opposition both to Holland and to
England. The chief points to be remembered as affecting England are the
declaration of war with Austria, sought by the French, and upon old
fashioned principles; the fall of the Girondins, practically completed
on the 10th of August; the union of Austria and Prussia produced by the
war, but not contracted formally till after the death of Leopold; the
advance of the allies, the consequent establishment of the Jacobins; the
massacres of September; the summoning of the Convention; the check to
the allies at Valmy; the renewal of the war of aggression upon different
principles and with different success, those principles being
illustrated by the ordering of the opening of the Scheldt and the
appropriation of Savoy; while in Paris the completion of the second
stage of the Revolution was marked by the suspension and trial of the

[Sidenote: Change of opinion in England as to the Revolution.]

It was thus, with an enlarged knowledge of the principles and inevitable
course of the French Revolution, that Pitt had to choose his conduct,
and that in the course of this year (1792) the English people finally
divided itself into parties, and in Parliament the old party names of
Whig and Tory, which had in fact since the Hanoverian succession lost
their significance, assumed a new meaning. The first movements of the
Revolution were generally hailed with enthusiasm in England. In the
grand march of the first days of the States-General and National
Assembly there was nothing at first obvious to shock English feeling. On
the surface it appeared only as if France had discovered, and was
determined to realize, the same truths which England had already
discovered; the people and the Crown appeared to be preparing to act
hand in hand against the monopoly of the privileged classes, against the
Divine right of kings, and for the establishment of that official
royalty which already existed among us. To the leaders of the Whigs, who
still erroneously believed that that party was the really Liberal party,
there was everything to excite enthusiasm in the movement of the people,
while Pitt himself could scarcely fail to recognize that the very same
process was being carried out to which he owed his own elevation. But,
by extraordinary mismanagement on the part of the French Court, and by
the sluggish, uncertain character of the King, it came to pass that the
cause of royalty became unfortunately and indissolubly connected with
the cause of the privileged classes. The direction of the Revolution was
shifted, and the assault was directed not only against them, but against
the Crown; and not only against the Crown, in the sense that hereditary
kingship was attacked, but also against all vigorous executive of which
the King, even in his official capacity, might be regarded as the
representative. Now Pitt's administration may be regarded as a popular
triumph due to the union of King and people. It was quite untrue in
England that the interests of the Crown and aristocracy were one; the
power of the Crown, in so far as it was antagonistic to the power of the
great families, was favourable to liberty. Nevertheless, the ideas of
the French Revolution did in fact receive considerable sympathy in
England, as was rendered more and more visible daily. The amount of that
sympathy assumed an exaggerated appearance under the influence of the
fear and horror created by the excesses in Paris, and the relation of
classes which had not existed in England, but which those who
sympathized with the Revolution chose to believe existed, did in fact
arise. The choice seemed again to be offered between people and King.
And all the privileged classes, and all the propertied classes,
recognizing that a strong executive meant order, and that a strong
executive was represented by the King, speedily made their choice, and
gathered round the King.

[Sidenote: Formation of a new Tory party.]

There was thus formed a new Tory party, having for its watchword, "The
Old Constitution," refusing to listen to any sound of reform or change,
regarding every measure in a popular direction as a preliminary to
popular excesses, the dominion of the uneducated, and the reign of
socialistic ideas. At the head of this party Pitt, of late so liberal,
placed himself, supported by Burke, the late Whig leader. Conscious of
the strength he had himself derived from the Crown, conscious of the
advances in liberty he had been able to obtain by means of his alliance
with it, and thoroughly shocked with the disorder and violence of
France, Pitt determined that of the two elements of the Constitution,
which seemed to be coming into opposition one with the other, it was the
Crown which at all hazards required the firmest support. To this new
Tory party, before long, the greater part of the Whigs gave in their
adhesion. But as a new Tory party was formed, so was a new Whig party.
Certain large-minded men, such as Grey, saw no reason why a panic should
check such obvious improvements as had already been set on foot. Certain
vehement party men, such as Fox and Sheridan, of large and warm hearts,
rejoiced when their feelings led them in the same direction as their
political opposition, and formed together a small but united band, to
whom the French Revolution was admirable, to whom war with France was
wicked, and every attempt at the repression of disorder a wanton act of

[Sidenote: Sympathy with the Revolution among the lower classes.]

[Sidenote: Revolutionary societies.]

It has been already pointed out that both the social and constitutional
condition of England afforded a good ground on which sympathy for the
Revolution might take root. Not only were the numbers of the labouring
classes largely increased, not only was the condition of the labouring
class changing for the worse, the relations between capital and labour
were in a much less satisfactory state than they now are, every form of
combination among workmen was regarded as a crime, the line between
class and class was very strongly drawn. Country people were
complaining, in England as in France, of the absenteeism of landlords,
the employment of harsh middlemen, and the general resort of all gentry
to London. The Test Act and the penal laws were regarded by those who
were affected by them as relics of persecution, all efforts to relax
them were generally met with scornful rejection, and, before all, the
representation was in a condition which, but for its evil effects, might
be regarded as simply ridiculous. The sympathy which might thus have
been naturally felt was not left without instruction or direction. Those
who most strongly felt its influence speedily formed themselves into
societies, by whose means, in conjunction it seems pretty certain with
assistance from the French themselves, writings and pamphlets, pointing
out every flaw in the condition of England, and often using language
which was certainly seditious, were spread broadcast among the people,
and even among the soldiers. Of these societies by far the most
respectable was one known by the name of the "Friends of the People."
Its object was to excite and keep alive an agitation for the removal of
the inequalities of the representation. It included many men of the
greatest respectability, numbering twenty-eight members of Parliament in
its lists, and such names as Lord John Russell, Grey, Sheridan, Erskine,
and Lord Lauderdale. Far more dangerous were two societies which arose
early in 1792, with branches in many of the chief towns of England.
These were the London Corresponding Society, numbering between 6000 and
7000 members, organized as a secret society, and governed by a small
secret committee of five, and a Society for Constitutional Information,
consisting of the more advanced and thoroughgoing educated men of the
time, and holding opinions of so dangerous a character that the Society
of the Friends of the People thought it necessary to disclaim all
connection with it. It was to check the action of these societies that
the two first retrograde actions of Pitt were directed.

[Sidenote: Rejection of Grey's motion for reform. April 1792.]

The outcome of the work of the Society of the Friends of the People was
a motion brought in by Grey for a general reform of the representation.
To this Pitt refused his support. Two things were necessary, he said, to
induce a man to support a measure--the possibility of carrying it, and
the possibility, when carried, of putting it into execution to the
advantage of the people; both these conditions were now absent, not only
did he believe that in the present state of feeling the Bill would
infallibly be rejected by the House, but also it could not now be
carried out without the greatest danger. The Bill was accordingly lost,
and all chance of carrying reform disappeared. Yet the necessity for it
was made very clear by a petition from the same society presented by
Grey in the following year, which exhibited in all its nakedness the
inefficiency of the representation, and proved that a decided majority
of the House was returned in fact by no more than 154 individuals.

[Sidenote: Proclamation against seditious writings. May 21.]

[Sidenote: Diplomacy of M. Chauvelin.]

But while the respectable reformers were carrying out their efforts by
parliamentary means, the two less scrupulous societies went on issuing
papers and pamphlets to such an extent, that at length it seemed good to
Government to issue a royal proclamation warning the people against
seditious writings, and then to proceed to take legal measures against
them. This proclamation was issued on the 21st of May, and the address
moved in Parliament to thank the King for issuing it may be regarded as
the exact point at which the new division of parties sprang into
existence, for it was supported by many of the chief leaders of the
Whigs, and though an effort made by Pitt to strengthen his party by a
coalition with the Whigs failed for personal reasons, the Duke of
Portland, Wyndham, Thomas Grenville, and others, came back to their
allegiance to the wisdom of Burke, and joined henceforward in the united
Conservative party. It is remarkable also for a second point which
connects it with the international aspect of the French Revolution. M.
Chauvelin had lately been sent over to England, with his far abler
secretary Talleyrand, as minister accredited by the French King. But
Louis' authority was little more than a shadow, and M. Chauvelin already
thought fit to enter upon that peculiar course of foreign diplomacy
which was characteristic of the revolutionists; he drew up a strong
protest against the Proclamation, and demanded that it should be laid
before Parliament. Of course Grenville, the Foreign Minister, had no
alternative but to send back the letter, with a sharp rebuke, explaining
to him what he seemed to have forgotten, the true position of a foreign
minister. This was the beginning of that diplomatic squabble which ended
in M. Chauvelin being dismissed from England.

[Sidenote: Congratulatory addresses sent to France by the societies.

[Sidenote: Riots in Sheffield and Dundee. Nov.]

But before the breaking off of diplomatic intercourse, the open sympathy
expressed for the changes which had taken place in France had begun to
rouse the fear of the governing classes in England. The proclamation
against seditious writings had but little effect compared with the
exciting news of the 10th of August, the massacres of September, and the
retreat of the allies. The societies thought fit to send deputations
with addresses of sympathy to the National Convention. The Revolution
Society sent a present of a thousand pairs of shoes for the army, and
the Corresponding Society, with four or five others of a similar
character, sent a joint address, congratulating the French upon their
republican form of government, especially admiring the outrageous
conduct of the mob on the 10th of August, and even approving the sad
events of September. Nor was their energy confined to words. Riots broke
out in several towns both in England and Scotland. The most important
were those in Sheffield and Dundee. At Sheffield the disturbances took
the form of a regular revolutionary riot. It was on a day appointed for
rejoicing for the success of the French arms; a tree of Liberty was
planted, and the procession passed through the streets, headed by an
enormous picture of Dundas and Burke plunging their daggers into the
heart of Liberty. "They are as resolute and determined a set of villains
as ever I saw," writes an officer who was quartered in the place, "and
will gain their object if it is to be gained; they have debating
societies and correspondence with other towns; they have purchased
firearms, and are trying to corrupt the soldiers." At Dundee almost the
same events took place; again a tree of Liberty was planted, and the
cries of "Liberty," "Equality," "No excise," "No King," were soon
universally heard, though the ostensible cause of the riot had been the
high price of corn.

[Sidenote: The militia called out. Dec.]

This state of affairs--the seditious conduct of the societies, and the
obvious tendency to riot--induced Pitt, in the beginning of December, to
call out the militia. This he could only do legally by alleging
insurrection as the excuse, and it was a somewhat strained construction
of the word to apply it to these outbreaks. But Pitt had now made up his
mind not only for repression in England but for war abroad, and the
summoning of the militia was intended in fact as a first step in that
direction. It was under these circumstances that an autumnal Parliament
was summoned. The discussions naturally turned upon the conduct of the
Government in calling out the militia, but Fox was unable to collect
more than fifty votes to disapprove of the vigilance of the Government
in internal matters.

[Sidenote: Signs of approaching war with France.]

[Sidenote: The Alien Bill. Jan. 4, 1793.]

[Sidenote: Death of Louis XVI. Jan. 21, 1793.]

Much more really important were the indications of the near approach of
war, given by the stress laid by the Government upon the decree of
November, the opening of the Scheldt, and the irregular and
unsatisfactory character of our diplomatic relations with France. From
the beginning of 1793, although there was no declaration of war between
England and France, it was perfectly clear that war was inevitable. An
Alien Bill was introduced, rendered necessary it was urged by the great
assembly of foreigners in England, chiefly royalist emigrants, but also
in part emissaries from the Jacobin government. Foreigners were by this
Bill ordered to state the object of their visit to England, to enter
their names on a register, and to obtain passports for moving to and
fro. The Bill was at once asserted by the French to be an infringement
of Pitt's commercial treaty of 1787, which had promised freedom of
access to French citizens. It was followed by measures even more
stringent. The exportation of all materials of war, the introduction and
circulation of assignats, and the exportation of corn whether English or
foreign, to French ports, were prohibited. While affairs were in this
attitude, the catastrophe for which Europe had breathlessly waited took
place. Louis XVI. was guillotined on the 21st of January 1793. A thrill
of horror ran through all classes of society, nearly the whole of
London, and not the Court only, appeared in deep mourning, and orders
were almost immediately sent to M. Chauvelin to leave England within
eight days. The unofficial connections between him and Lord Grenville
had been kept up ever since the King's suspension, but M. Chauvelin
prided himself upon being in close connection with the Opposition rather
than with the Government, and persisted in separating in his papers the
interests of the Government and of the people. He had offered
explanations and produced a long letter for the same purpose from Le
Brun, the French Foreign Minister, with regard to the decree of the 19th
of November, but the explanation was of a character to increase the
irritation of the English. He had met every measure of the Government
with an angry protest: he justified the opening of the Scheldt; he
complained that he was obliged to enrol himself with the other aliens;
he declared that the prohibitory Bills were distinct breaches of the
treaty of 1787; and he was doubtless glad when the consummation he had
aimed at was reached and he was ordered to leave the country.

[Sidenote: Efforts on the part of Pitt for the continuation of peace.]

Some slight pretence was still kept up on the part of the French of a
desire to keep the peace. M. Maret, well known afterwards as the Duc de
Bassano, was sent over to take M. Chauvelin's place. The object of his
mission is really unknown; he simply notified his arrival to Grenville,
held no communications with him, and very shortly returned to France to
find war already declared. At the same time another indirect offer of
negotiation arose, strangely enough in Belgium, where Dumouriez desired
an opportunity for a diplomatic meeting with Lord Auckland, our
ambassador. It speaks well for Pitt's real desire to treat if treating
were possible, that he at once accepted this proposition, holding that a
general in command of an army might treat, without any implied
recognition of the legitimacy or the stability of the Government which
employed him. But though the required leave was immediately sent to Lord
Auckland, it arrived too late, war had been already declared. It is a
further proof of Pitt's pacific tendencies, that when he agreed to
Dumouriez' proposal an embargo had already been laid upon English
shipping in the French ports, an act of war which he was willing to
overlook as long as any hope of negotiation remained.

[Sidenote: Determination of the French for war.]

But it may be fairly asserted, in spite of all that Fox and his friends
urged, that there was no real opportunity after the massacres of
September of treating with dignity with France. While M. Chauvelin was
attempting on the 27th of December to explain away the November decree,
on the 31st of the same month the Minister of the Marine wrote thus to
the seaports of France: "The Government of England is arming, and the
King of Spain, encouraged by this, is preparing to attack us. These two
tyrannical powers, after persecuting the patriots in their own
territories, think no doubt that they will be able to influence the
judgment about to be pronounced on the tyrant Louis. They hope to
frighten us. But no; a people that has made itself free, a people that
has driven out of the bosom of France the terrible army of the Prussians
and Austrians, this people will not suffer laws to be dictated to them
by a tyrant. The King and his Parliament mean to make war upon us. Will
the republicans of England permit this? Already these freemen show their
discontent, and the repugnance they have to bear arms against their
brothers the French; well, we will fly to their succour, we will make a
descent upon their island, we will lodge there 50,000 caps of liberty,
we will plant the sacred tree, and we will stretch out our arms to our
republican brethren; the tyranny of their government will be
immediately overthrown." In fact, as has more than once happened in our
history, the disturbance of a few reckless men, which our free
constitution permits to show itself without repression, was construed to
mean what it might mean in less free countries. Misinformed by their
emissary Chauvelin who saw but one party, willing to believe what they
liked to believe, and ignorant of the character of the English nation,
the French had persuaded themselves that there was a real division
between the Government and the people of England, and were eager for the

[Sidenote: Reasons for the war.]

That war they declared on the 8th of February, and by thus forestalling
what must have been sooner or later the action of the English ministry,
saved them from much difficulty. For there was considerable difference
of opinion as to what should be the _casus belli_. England was pledged
to neutrality, and was bound to France by a close commercial treaty. The
only two grounds on which, technically, war could be declared, were the
opening of the Scheldt and the destruction of the balance of power by
the appropriation of Savoy. England being under distinct pledge not to
interfere with the internal condition of France, neither the massacres
of September, the establishment of the Republic, nor the death of the
King, could with any justice be alleged as a ground of war. The
appropriation of Savoy was an evident fact, but it was very plausibly
urged that England, being in a state of professed neutrality, had
entirely disregarded the invasion of France by the great Eastern powers,
and had allowed to pass, without observation, the second partition of