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The Duke earnestly recommended the utmost[89] promptness and liberality as the only means to settle the matter effectually and at once. He said that to give only moderate assistance was sure to enable Buonaparte to protract the contest, and would cost Britain more in the end; that, on the contrary, if Britain found the means of maintaining a great army, he was confident that "the contest would be a very short one, and decidedly successful." And this, in the circumstances, was clearly the best advice. Great Britain, having been no party to the silly arrangement for setting up Buonaparte as a burlesque emperor at the very doors of France, might very well have said to the Allied sovereigns"This is your work; we have no further concern in it; you may finish it as you please." But Britain was sure not to do this; as both the Government and nation had set their mind on hunting down the slippery and mischievous adventurer, they were sure to follow up the pursuit.


In fact, though the Allies still held out, it was useless. Bolingbrokefor St. John had been called in this year to the Upper House as Viscount Bolingbrokeaccompanied by Matthew Prior, had been in Paris since the beginning of August, where they were assisted also by the Abb Gualtier, determined to close the negotiations for England, whether the Allies objected or not. To make this result obvious to the whole world, the troops which Ormonde had brought home were disbanded with all practicable speed. The ostensible cause of Bolingbroke's and Prior's visit to Paris was to settle the interests of the Duke of Savoy and the Elector of Bavaria; but the real one was to remove any remaining impediment to the conclusion of the Treaty of Peace. France and England were quite agreed; Bolingbroke returned to London, and Prior remained as resident at the Court of France, as if the Articles of Peace were, in fact, already signed. A truce, indeed, for four months longer by land and sea was proclaimed in Paris. It was agreed that the Pretender should return to Lorraine; that all hostilities should cease in Italy in consequence of the arrangement of the affairs of the Duke of Savoy; and that the Austrian troops should be allowed to quit Spain and return to Naples.[See larger version]

[See larger version]It was thought time to put a stop to such[559] proceedings, and several of the leaders were arrested, namely, Messrs. Ernest Jones, John Fussell, J. Williams, A. Sharpe, and Y. Vernon. They were committed for sedition, but bail was accepted. At Ashton-under-Lyne, Birmingham, Liverpool, and other places, Chartist and confederate disturbances took place. The police hunted up their leaders, and in some towns seized the papers of the clubs as well as the pikes and fire-arms which they had concealed. There had, in fact, been an extensively ramified conspiracy, the headquarters of which were in the metropolis. On the 11th of August the police, acting upon information they had received, assembled at the station in Tower Street, 700 strong, and suddenly marched to the Angel Tavern in Webber Street, Blackfriars. Surrounding the house, Inspector Butt entered, and found fourteen Chartist leaders in deliberation. In a few minutes they were all quietly secured, and marched to Tower Street. On searching the place the police found pistols loaded to the muzzle, swords, pikes, daggers, and spear-heads, also large quantities of ammunition. Upon one man were found seventy-five rounds of ball cartridge. Some of the prisoners wore iron breastplates. Similar visits were paid to houses in Great Ormond Street, Holborn, and York Street, Westminster, with like results. In the last place the party got notice and dispersed before the police arrived. One man, leaping out of a window, broke his leg. Tow-balls were found amongst them; and from this and other circumstances it was believed they intended to fire the public buildings and to attack the police in every part of London. The whole of the military quartered in London were under arms on the night of the threatened attack, and an unbroken line of communication was kept up between the military and the different bodies of police. Twenty-five of the leaders were committed for felony, bail being refused; their principal leader being a man named Cuffey.

The year 1797 was opened by the suspension of cash payments. The Bank of England had repeatedly represented to Pitt, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, that his enormous demands upon it for specie, as well as paper money, had nearly exhausted its coffers and could not long be continued. The payment of our armies abroad, and the advances to foreign kings, were necessarily made[455] in cash. The Government, in spite of enormous taxation, had already overdrawn its account eleven million six hundred and sixty-eight thousand eight hundred pounds, and the sole balance in the hands of the Bank was reduced to three million eight hundred and twenty-six thousand eight hundred and ninety pounds. Pitt was demanding a fresh loan for Ireland, when a message came from the Bank to say that, in existing circumstances, it could not be complied with. Thus suddenly pulled up, the Privy Council was summoned, and it was concluded to issue an order for stopping all further issue of cash, except to the Government, and except one hundred thousand pounds for the accommodation of private bankers and traders. Paper money was made a legal tender to all other parties, and the Bank was empowered to issue small notes for the accommodation of the public instead of guineas. A Bill was passed for the purpose, and that it might not be considered more than a temporary measure, it was made operative only till June; but it was renewed from time to time by fresh Acts of Parliament. The system was not abolished again till 1819, when Sir Robert Peel brought in his Bill for the resumption of cash payments, and during the whole of that time the depreciation of paper money was comparatively slight.

The confederacy of Spain, Austria, and Sweden against England greatly encouraged the Pretender and his party. His agents were active on almost every coast in Europe, under the able direction of Atterbury. But there were two new allies whom James acquired at this time who did him little service; these were Lord North and the Duke of Wharton. They went over to the Continent, and not only openly avowed themselves as friends of the Pretender, but renounced Protestantism and embraced Popery. Lord North, however, found himself so little trusted at the Pretender's Court, notwithstanding his apostasy, that he went to Spain, entered its service, and there continued till his death, in 1734. Wharton also arrived at Madrid, where he fell in with a congenial spirit. This was Ripperda, the renegade Dutchman, now created a Duke and made Prime Minister of Spain. He had lately returned from a mission to Vienna, and was as full of foolish boastings as Wharton himself. He told the officers of the garrison at Barcelona on landing, that the Emperor would bring one hundred and fifty thousand men into the field; that Prince Eugene had engaged for as many more within six months of the commencement of a war; that in that case France would be pillaged on all sides, the King of Prussia, whom he was pleased to call the Grand Grenadier, would be chased from his country in a single campaign, and King George out of both Hanover by the Emperor, and Great Britain by the Pretender; that so long as he was in authority there should never be peace between France and Spain. Yet to Mr. Stanhope he declared that though he had talked both in Vienna and Spain in favour of the Pretender, he was, nevertheless, as sincerely attached to the interests of his Britannic Majesty as one of his own subjects; that he would prove this on the first opportunity, and that he only talked as he did to please their Catholic majesties,[55] and to avoid being suspected as a traitor, and falling into the hands of the Inquisition, which he knew kept a sharp eye on him as a recent convert.



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In the East Indies we this year sent over from Madras an army and reduced Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East India settlements, and the island of Java, as well as the small island of Madura, so that the last trace of the Dutch power was extinguished in the East, as it was at home by the domination of Buonaparte. In the West Indies we had already made ourselves masters of all the islands of France, Denmark, and Holland; and our troops there had nothing to do but to watch and keep down the attempts at insurrection which French emissaries continued to stir up in the black populations. We had some trouble of this kind in St. Domingo and in Martinique, where the negroes, both free and slaves, united to massacre the whites, and set up a black republic like that of Hayti. But the French settlers united with the English troops in putting them down, and a body of five hundred blacks, in an attempt to burn down the town of St. Pierre, were dispersed with great loss, and many were taken prisoners, and fifteen of them hanged.The new arrangements for the care of the king's person came on first for discussion. On the 25th of January Lord Liverpool introduced a Bill to make the Duke of York guardian of his Majesty's person in place of the late queen. This question was decided with little debate. On the 4th of February a message was brought down from the Regent informing the House of Commons that, in consequence of the demise of her Majesty, fifty-eight thousand pounds became disposable for the general purposes of the Civil List; and recommending that the claims of her late Majesty's servants to the liberality of the House should be considered. Lord Castlereagh moved that the House should go into committee on this subject, as, besides the fifty-eight thousand pounds, there was another sum of one hundred thousand pounds, which had been appropriated to the maintenance of the establishment at Windsor. It was understood that Ministers would propose to reduce the sum for the establishment at Windsor to fifty thousand pounds, but that they would recommend that ten thousand pounds, which her Majesty had received in consideration of her charge of the king, should be transferred to the Duke of York. Mr. Tierney objected to the charge of fifty thousand pounds for the maintenance of the establishment at Windsor. He said he could not conceive how this money was to be spent, or on whom, for certainly it could not be on the king, who, he understood, was in that state of mental and bodily debility which made it necessary that as few persons as possible should be about him, and that his regimen was so very simple that it could cost next to nothing.



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