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The prisoners were at once sent to Richmond[532] Bridewell, on the South Circular Road, where the Governor did all in his power to make them comfortable. Good apartments were assigned to them. They dined together every day, and they were permitted to receive, without restriction, the visits of their friends and admirers. The Government was the less disposed to interfere with these indulgences, as their object was not so much punishment as prevention, and besides, the traversers had appealed against the sentence. A majority of the twelve English judges affirmed the judgment of the Court of Queen's Bench, while condemning the counts on which the Irish court relied. An appeal was then made to the House of Lords. The decision was left to the five law lordsLyndhurst, Brougham, Cottenham, Denman, and Campbell. The first two were for a confirmation of the judgment, the last three for reversal. Lord Denman, in pronouncing judgment, said, referring to the tampering with the panel, "If such practices as had taken place in the present instance in Ireland should continue, the trial by jury would become a mockery, a delusion, and a snare," a sentence which was hackneyed by repetition for years afterwards. The news of the reversal reached Dublin on the afternoon of the 5th of September. Great crowds had assembled on the pier at Kingstown, and tremendous cheers broke forth from the multitude when the Holyhead packet approached, and they saw held up a white flag, with the inscription, "Judgment reversed by the House of Lords. O'Connell is free!" The news was everywhere received by the Roman Catholics with wild excitement.[See larger version]

Buonaparte had arrived in Rochefort on the 3rd of Julyonly fifteen days after the battle of Waterloo. The two frigates provided by the Provisional Government to convey him to Americathe Saale and the Medusa, accompanied by the corvette Balladire and the large brig Epervierlay in the Aix roads; but Buonaparte was very sure that the British Government would not permit them to sail. That Government, anticipating such an event as the endeavour of Napoleon to make his escape to Americawhence he might watch his opportunity of once more renewing the troubles of the worldhad, immediately after the battle of Waterloo, placed no less than thirty vessels of different descriptions along the whole coast of France, from Ushant to Cape Finisterre, thus making it impossible for any vessel to pass out of a French port without undergoing the severest search. Napoleon thereupon embarking in a British frigate, the Bellerophon, wrote a theatrical letter, claiming the hospitality of the Prince Regent:These were his first decrees:I. The British Isles were declared in a state of blockade. II. All commerce and correspondence with Britain was forbidden. All British letters were to be seized in the post-houses. III. Every Englishman, of whatever rank or quality, found in France, or the countries allied with her, was declared a prisoner of war. IV. All merchandise or property of any kind belonging to British subjects was declared lawful prize. V. All articles of British manufacture, and articles produced in her colonies, were, in like manner, declared contraband and lawful prize. VI. Half of the produce of the above confiscations was to be employed in the relief of those merchants whose vessels had been captured by British cruisers. VII. All vessels coming from Britain or British colonies were to be refused admission into any harbour in or connected with France. These decrees were to be binding wherever French power extended, but they had no effect in checking the commerce of Britain; the distress to Continental merchants, however, and the exasperation of the people deprived of British manufactures, grew immediately acute. Bourrienne says that the fiscal tyranny thus created became intolerable. At the same time, the desire of revenue induced Buonaparte to allow his decrees to be infringed by the payment of exorbitant licences for the import of British goods. French goods, also, were lauded with incredible impudence, though they were bought only to be thrown into the sea. Hamburg, Bordeaux, Nantes, and other Continental ports solicited, by petitions and deputations, some relaxation of the system, to prevent universal ruin. They declared that general bankruptcy must ensue if it were continued. "Be it so," replied Buonaparte, arrogantly; "the more insolvency on the Continent, the more ruin in England." As they could not bend Buonaparte, merchants, douaniers, magistrates, prefects, generals, all combined in one system of fraudulent papers, bills of lading or certificates, by which British goods were admitted and circulated under other names for sufficient bribes. The only mischief which his embargo did was to the nations of the Continent, especially Holland, Belgium, Germany, and to himself; for his rigour in this respect was one of the things which drove the whole of Europe to abominate his tyranny, and rejoice in his eventual fall.

The name of the prisoner was Edward Oxford. He was about eighteen years of age, and of an[472] unprepossessing countenance. He was a native of Birmingham, which town he had left nine years before. He was last employed at a public-house, "The Hog in the Pond," at the corner of South Molton Street and Oxford Street. His trial for high treason was begun in the Central Criminal Court on Thursday, July 9th, and ended next day. The judges were Lord Denman, Baron Alderson, and Justice Patteson. The jury returned the following special verdict:"We find the prisoner, Edward Oxford, guilty of discharging the contents of two pistols, but whether or not they were loaded with ball has not been satisfactorily proved to us, he being of unsound mind at the time." An argument followed between counsel as to whether this verdict amounted to an absolute acquittal, or an acquittal on the ground of insanity. Lord Denman said that the jury were in a mistake. It was necessary that they should form an opinion as to whether the pistols were loaded with bullets or not; but it appeared they had not applied their minds to that point, and therefore it would be necessary that they should again retire, and say aye or no. Did the prisoner fire a pistol loaded with ball at the Queen? After considerable discussion upon the point, the jury again retired to consider their verdict. During their absence the question was again argued, and it appeared to be the opinion of the judges that the jury were bound to return a verdict of "Guilty" or "Not Guilty" upon the evidence brought before them. After an absence of an hour they returned into court, finding the prisoner "guilty, he being at the same time insane." The sentence was that he should be imprisoned during her Majesty's pleasure, according to the Act 40 George III., providing for cases where crimes were committed by insane persons.The time for the last grand conflict for the recovery of their forfeited throne in Great Britain by the Stuarts was come. The Pretender had grown old and cautious, but the young prince, Charles Edward, who had been permitted by his father, and encouraged by France, to attempt this great object in 1744, had not at all abated his enthusiasm for it, though Providence had appeared to fight against him, and France, after the failure of Dunkirk, had seemed to abandon the design altogether. When he received the news of the battle of Fontenoy he was at the Chateau de Navarre, near Evreux, the seat of his attached friend, the young Duke de Bouillon. He wrote to Murray of Broughton to announce his determination to attempt the enterprise at all hazards. He had been assured by Murray himself that his friends in Scotland discountenanced any rising unless six thousand men and ten thousand stand of arms could be brought over; and that, without these, they would not even engage to join him. The announcement, therefore, that he was coming threw the friends of the old dynasty in Scotland into the greatest alarm. All but the Duke of Perth condemned the enterprise in the strongest terms, and wrote letters to induce him to postpone his voyage. But these remonstrances arrived too late; if, indeed, they would have had any effect had they reached him earlier. Charles Edward had lost no time in making his preparations.

Scarcely had Colonel Forde returned from this expedition, towards the end of the year 1759, when the Dutch, envious of the English success, sent an armament of seven men-of-war and one thousand four hundred soldiers from Java. They landed on the Hooghly, and began committing ravages; but Forde surprised and defeated them, taking every one of their ships. They were glad to apologise, and pay the expenses of the war. In February, 1760, a few weeks after these events, Clive, whose health was failing, set sail for England, where he was received with the highest clat, and made an Irish peer, as Lord Clive, Baron of Plassey. He soon after entered Parliament."MY DEAR LORD ANGLESEY,I have been very sensible, since I received your last letter, that the correspondence which that letter terminated had left us in a relation towards each other which ought not to exist between the Lord-Lieutenant and the king's Minister, and could not continue to exist without great inconvenience and injury to the king's service. I refrained from acting upon this feeling till I should be able to consult with my colleagues, and I took the earliest opportunity which the return to town of those who were absent afforded to obtain their opinion, which concurred with my own. Under these circumstances, having taken the king's pleasure upon the subject, his Majesty has desired me to inform you that he intends to relieve you from the Government of Ireland. I will shortly notify the arrangements which will become necessary in consequence.

[See larger version]THE CHARGE OF THE CAVALRY AT MEEANEE. (See p. 592.)

Catherine of Russia, thus rid of the only two monarchs who were likely to trouble her with scruples, hastened her grand design of absorbing Poland. She professed to be much scandalised and alarmed at the proceedings of the king, who had attended a dinner given by the municipality of Warsaw on the anniversary of the passing of their new Constitution, at which he had not only responded to the toast of his health by drinking to the nation and the municipality, thus sanctioning them as great powers, as the French had done, but had sat complacently amid the loud cries of "Long live Liberty! Long live the nation, and our citizen king, the friend of the Rights of Man!" The Poles had certainly become enthusiastic imitators of the French; they had[397] established clubs in imitation of the clubs of Paris, had sent a deputation to congratulate the French on their Revolution, and had passed various decrees of a Jacobin character. Neither did she lack a sanction from the Poles themselves. There had always been violent parties in that kingdom; and at this time a number of nobles, who opposed the new Constitution, sent a deputation with a memorial to the Empress, at St. Petersburg, inviting her to assist them in restoring the old Constitution. Catherine gave them a ready promise, and, on the 14th of May, Felix Potocki, Branicki, Rzewinski, and eleven other nobles, met at Targowica, and entered into a confederacy for this purpose. This confederacy was followed, only four days after its signing, by a protest issued by Bulgakoff, the Russian Minister, at Warsaw, against the whole of the new institutions and decrees. On the 18th of May, the same day that this proclamation was issued at Warsaw, a hundred thousand Russian troops marched over the Polish frontiers, attended by some of the pro-Russian confederates, and assumed the appearance of an army of occupation.

The peace with Spain was also ratified in London on the 1st of March. By this, Spain, so far as diplomatic contracts could effect it, was for ever separated from France. Philip acknowledged[14] the Protestant succession, and renounced the Pretender. He confirmed the Assiento, or exclusive privilege of the English supplying the Spanish West Indies and South American colonies with slaves, one-fourth of the profit of which the queen reserved to herselfa strange proof of the small idea of the infamy of this traffic which prevailed then in England, whilst so truly benevolent a woman could calmly appropriate money so earned to her own use. Gibraltar and Minorca were also confirmed to England, on condition that the Spanish inhabitants should enjoy their own property and their religion. There was a guarantee given by Philip for the pardon and security of the Catalans. They were to be left in possession of their lives, estates, and honours, with certain exceptions, and even these were at liberty to quit the country and remove to Italy with their effects. But the Catalans, who had taken up arms for Charles of Austria at our suggestion, were greatly incensed at the dishonourable manner in which we had abandoned them and the cause, and, putting no faith in the word of Philip, they still remained in arms, and soon found themselves overrun with French troops, which deluged their country with blood, and compelled them to submit. Amid all the disgraceful circumstances which attended the peace of Utrecht, none reflected more infamy on England than its treatment of the people of Catalonia.THE PRINCE CONSORT.On the 14th of January, 1793, the members of the Convention met, amid a mob surrounding the House, and demanding, "Death to the tyrant! Death to him or to us!" Other crowds crammed the galleries. The debate, which had begun immediately after the king's speech, was renewed, and furious menaces and recriminations between the Girondists and the Mountain were uttered. At length the Convention reduced all the questions to these three: 1st. Is Louis Capet guilty of conspiring against the liberty of the nation and the safety of the State? 2nd. Shall the judgment, whatever it be, be referred to the sanction of the people? 3rd. What punishment shall be inflicted on him?

[See larger version][425]Meanwhile, Sir Robert Peel applied himself with great energy and diligence to the legislative work that he had proposed for his Government. On the 17th he moved for leave to bring in a Bill to relieve Dissenters from the disabilities under which they laboured with regard to the law of marriage. It was felt to be a great grievance that Nonconformists could not be married except according to the rites of the Established Church, to which they had conscientious objections. Attempts had been made by the Whigs to relieve them, but in a hesitating manner, and with only a half recognition of the principle of religious equality. Sir Robert Peel took up the subject in a more liberal spirit and with more enlightened views. He proposed that, so far as the State had to do with marriage, it should assume the form of a civil contract only, leaving the parties to solemnise it with whatever religious ceremonies they chose. The Bill for this purpose met the approval of the House, and would have satisfied the Dissenters if Sir Robert Peel had remained in office long enough to pass it. All the committees of the preceding year were reappointed, in order to redeem, as far as possible, the time lost by the dissolution. A measure was brought forward for the improvement of the resources of the Church of England, by turning some of the larger incomes to better account, and by creating two additional bishoprics, Ripon and Manchester. The Premier did not act towards the Dissenters in the same liberal spirit with regard to academic education as he did with regard to marriage. They were excluded from the privileges of the Universities; and yet when it was proposed to grant a charter to the London University, that it might be able to confer degrees, the Government opposed the motion for an Address to the king on the subject, and were defeated by a majority of 246 to 136.

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On the Rhine there was a good deal of sharp fighting between the French and Austrians. General Bender had been compelled to surrender Luxembourg, on the 7th of July, and allowed to retire with his army of ten thousand men into Germany, on condition of not serving again till exchanged. There then remained little on either bank of the Rhine to restrain the advance of the French, except Mayence on the left bank, and Manheim and Düsseldorf on the right. Pichegru, in August, made himself master of both Düsseldorf and Manheim, and was advancing to the reduction of Heidelberg when he was met by old General Wurmser, and driven back to Manheim. He was, in fact, meditating treachery. Jourdain, who was advancing in another direction to co-operate with Pichegru in the reduction of Mayence, was encountered by Clairfait, and driven back to Düsseldorf. Clairfait then attacked the French forces already investing Mayence, and the garrison making a sally at the same time, the French were completely dispersed, and part retreated north and part south. Wurmser then invested Manheim, and compelled its surrender on the 22nd of November. Pichegru signed an armistice with the Austrians before joining them. Jourdain also retreated.Growth of Material WealthCondition of the Working ClassesThe Charity SchoolsLethargy of the ChurchProposal to abolish Subscription to the ArticlesA Bill for the further Relief of DissentersThe Test and Corporation ActsThe Efforts of Beaufoy and Lord StanhopeAttempts to relieve the QuakersFurther Effort of Lord StanhopeThe Claims of the Roman CatholicsFailure of the Efforts to obtain Catholic EmancipationLay Patronage in ScotlandThe Scottish EpiscopaliansIllustrious DissentersReligion in Wales and IrelandLiteratureThe Novelists: Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, and SterneMinor and later NovelistsScottHistorians: Hume, Robertson, and GibbonMinor HistoriansMiscellaneous LiteratureCriticism, Theology, Biography, and SciencePeriodical LiteratureThe Drama and the DramatistsPoetry: Collins, Shenstone, and GrayGoldsmith and ChurchillMinor PoetsPercy's "Reliques," and Scott's "Border Minstrelsy"Chatterton and OssianJohnson and DarwinCrabbe and CowperPoetasters and GiffordThe Shakespeare ForgeriesMinor SatiresBurnsThe Lake School: Wordsworth, Coleridge, and SoutheyScott, Campbell, Byron, Shelley, and KeatsPoets at the close of the PeriodImprovement of Agricultural ScienceArthur YoungDrainage and RootsImprovements in Road-making: Telford and MacadamBrindley's and Telford's CanalsBridges and HarboursIron RailwaysApplication of the Steam-Engine to Railways and BoatsImprovements in MachineryWedgwoodManufacture of GlassCollieriesUse of Coal in Iron-worksImprovements in various ManufacturesScientific DiscoveriesMusicArchitecturePaintingSculptureEngravingCoins and CoinageManners and Customs.

Meanwhile, the fleet which was to bear Buonaparte to Egypt was lying in various squadrons in the ports of Genoa, Civita Vecchia, and Bastia, ready, when any adverse wind should drive the British fleet from the coast, where it blockaded them, to drop down to Toulon and join the main body. On board of these vessels were thirty thousand men, chiefly from the army of Italy. Nelson, with a numerous fleet, was maintaining the blockade, though the secret of the fleet's destination had been so well kept that it was only surmised that Egypt might be its destination. Buonaparte himself had been recalled to Paris. A sudden message sent him back to Toulon. A gale had driven Nelson's fleet from the coast, and so much damaged it that he was obliged to make for Sardinia to repair. The moment was come; the different squadrons joined from the Italian ports, and the Egyptian armament issued on the 19th of May from Toulon. Napoleon was on the mission destined, he believed, to conquer Egypt, and thus to place not only a powerful barrier between us and our Indian possessions, but, having established a strong empire in Egypt and Syria, to enable France to maintain a large fleet in the Persian Gulf, and to accomplish the invasion and conquest of British India by land or sea, with the aid of Tippoo Sahib, who was once more at war with[466] Britain. Nay, like another Alexander, the boundless ambition of Buonapartean ambition which was his final ruincontemplated the conquest of all Asia and the founding of a giant empire there. "If St. Jean d'Acre," he said to Las Cases, "had yielded to the French arms, a great revolution would have been accomplished in the East. The general-in-chief would have founded an empire there, and the destinies of France would have undergone different combinations from those to which they were subjected." He would have come back and proceeded to the conquest of Europe.In the preamble to the new Bill the object of that extended Bill was candidly avowed, namely, that when "a restless and popish faction are designing and endeavouring to renew the rebellion in this kingdom and an invasion from abroad, it might be destructive to the peace and security of the Government." The Septennial Bill was, in fact, intended as a purely temporary measure, and, though originated by party spirit, it was really of great advantage in days when every general election meant a fresh exercise of the influence of the Crown and the Lords.

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