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Savary accompanied Ferdinand to conduct him safely into the snare. He spoke positively of meeting Napoleon at Burgos; but when they arrived there, they received the information that Napoleon was only yet at Bordeaux, about to proceed to Bayonne. Savary seemed so sure of his victim, that he ventured to leave Ferdinand at Vittoria, and went on to see Napoleon and report progress; probably, also, to receive fresh instructions. The opportunity was not lost by some faithful Spaniards to warn Ferdinand to make his escape during Savary's absence, and to get into one of his distant provinces, where he could, at least, negotiate with Napoleon independently. Ferdinand was astounded, but persuaded himself that Napoleon could not contemplate such treachery. Although the people opposed the Prince's going, Savary prevailed, and on they went.

On the death of Stanhope, Sir Robert Walpole was left without a rival, and he received his commission of First Lord of the Treasury on the 2nd of April, and from this period down to 1742 he continued to direct the government of Great Britain. His chief anxiety now was to restore the public credit. He drew up, as Chairman of the Committee of the Commons, a report of all that had been lost in the late excitements, and of the measures that had been adopted to remedy the costs incurred. Amongst these were the resolutions of the House respecting the seven and a half millions the directors of the South Sea Company had agreed to pay to Government; more than five had been remitted, and we may add that on the clamorous complaints of the Company the remainder was afterwards remitted too. The forfeited estates had been made to clear off a large amount of encumbrance, the credit of the Company's bonds had been maintained, and thirty-three per cent. of the capital paid to the proprietors. Such were the[49] measures adopted by the Commons, and these being stated in the report to the king, a Bill was brought in embodying them all. Many of the proprietors, however, were not satisfied. They were very willing to forget their own folly and greediness, and charge the blame on the Government. On the second reading of Walpole's Bill they thronged the lobby of the House of Commons. The next day the Bill was carried, and gradually produced quiet; but Walpole himself did not escape without severe animadversions. He was accused of having framed his measures in collusion with the Bank, and with a clear eye to his own interest; but he had been strenuously vindicated from the charge, and on the whole the vigour and boldness with which he encountered the storm and quelled it deserve the highest praise, and may well cover a certain amount of self-interest, from which few Ministers are free.

The affairs of Italy were the subject of warm debates in the British Parliament in the Session of 1849. Lord Palmerston was assailed by the Conservatives for having countenanced the Sicilian insurrection, and for having sent Lord Minto to Italy on a mission of conciliation, which they considered an unwarrantable meddling in the affairs of foreign countries. His assailants, he said, belonged to a school which maintained "the right divine to govern wrong," and they therefore stigmatised the Sicilians as rebels. But the Sicilians had had a Constitution for centuries, and their ancient and indisputable rights were confirmed in 1812. As to Lord Minto, he interfered at the instance of the King of Naples himself. The Treaty of Vienna recognised the title of the king as King of the Two Sicilies; "but the recognition of a title was one thing, the overturning of a Constitution another."[See larger version][253]

Great was the excitement when, in pursuance of this recommendation, Mr. Peel introduced the Emancipation Bill on the 5th of March. Everywhere the Protestant press teemed, and the Protestant pulpit rang, with denunciations of Wellington and Peel as arch-traitors. From the highest pinnacle of popularity the Duke fell to the lowest depth of infamy; the laurels won in so many glorious fields were withered by the furious breath of popular execration. Petitions were poured into the House of Commons from all parts of the United Kingdom, and "the pressure from without" was brought to bear against the two Ministers, who were considered the chief delinquents, with a force and vehemence that would have deterred a man of weaker nerves than the Duke of Wellington; but he felt that he had a duty to discharge, and he did not shrink from the consequences. Nor did Mr. Peel. His speech, in introducing the measure, went over the ground[296] he had often traversed in privately debating the question with his friends. Matters could not go on as they were. There must be a united Cabinet to carry on the king's Government effectually. It must be united either on the principle of Catholic Emancipation or Catholic exclusion. It must either concede the Catholic claims, or recall existing rights and privileges. This was impossibleno Government could stand that attempted it; and if it were done, civil war would be inevitable. The House of Commons, trembling in the nice balance of opinion, had at length inclined to concession. Ireland had been governed, since the union, almost invariably by coercive Acts. There was always some political organisation antagonistic to the British Government. The Catholic Association had just been suppressed; but another would soon spring out of its ashes if the Catholic question were not settled. Mr. O'Connell had boasted that he could drive a coach-and-six through the former Act for its suppression; and Lord Eldon had engaged to drive "the meanest conveyance, even a donkey cart, through the Act of 1829." The new member for Oxford (Sir Robert Inglis) also stated that twenty-three counties in Ireland were prepared to follow the example of Clare. "What will you do," asked Mr. Peel, "with that power, that tremendous power, which the elective franchise, exercised under the control of religion, at this moment confers upon the Roman Catholics? What will you do with the thirty or forty seats that will be claimed in Ireland by the persevering efforts of the agitators, directed by the Catholic Association, and carried out by the agency of every priest and bishop in Ireland?" Parliament began to recede; there could be no limit to the retrogression. Such a course would produce a reaction, violent in proportion to the hopes that had been excited. Fresh rigours would become necessary; the re-enactment of the penal code would not be sufficient. They must abolish trial by jury, or, at least, incapacitate Catholics from sitting on juries. Two millions of Protestants must have a complete monopoly of power and privilege in a country which contained five millions of Catholics, who were in most of the country four to onein some districts twenty to oneof the Protestants.When the advanced guard of the Allies came in sight of the Rhine, over which the last of the hated invaders had fled, they raised such shouts of "The Rhine! the Rhine!" that those behind rushed forward, supposing that it was a call to action; but they soon learned the true cause, and joined in a mighty acclamation, that proclaimed the haughty and sanguinary oppressor driven out, and the soil of Germany at length freed from his licentious and marauding legions. It turned out that they had left behind them one hundred and forty thousand prisoners, and seven hundred and ninety-one guns. On the 2nd of November Hanover was again delivered to Great Britain; the Duke of Brunswick, who had maintained his stern hatred to Buonaparte, also returned to his patrimonial domains; the kingdom of Westphalia dissolving like a dream, the different portions of Jerome's ephemeral realm reverted to its former owners. The Confederacy of the Rhine was at an end, the members of it hastening to make peace with the Allies, and save as much of their dominions as they could. Bernadotte, immediately after the defeat of Buonaparte at Leipsic, entered Denmark, and overran the country of that ally of France. The Danish army speedily consented to an armistice, by which it was agreed that the Swedes should occupy Holstein and a part of Schleswig till the French were expelled from all the Danish fortresses. It was already stipulated as the price of his co-operation, that the Crown Prince should receive Norway to add to the Swedish Crown.

As soon as five or six thousand of his troops were landed, Buonaparte commenced his march on Alexandria. The Turks manned the walls, and resisted furiously, incensed at this invasion by a Power with which they were nominally at peace. But the walls were ruinous; the French forced their way over several breaches, and commenced an indiscriminate massacre. The place was abandoned to pillage for four hours. As the Mamelukes were hated by the Arabs and the Copts, and were the military mercenaries of the country, chiefly recruited from Georgia and Circassia, Buonaparte determined to destroy them. He considered that he should thus rid himself of the only formidable power in Egypt, and at the same time conciliate the Bedouins and Fellahs. On the 7th of July he set out on his march for Cairo with his whole force. He marched up the bank of the Nile, but at such a distance as to prevent the soldiers from getting any water to quench their burning thirst. It was all that Buonaparte could do to keep his troops in subordination. For fourteen days this melancholy march was continued, when they came at once in sight of the Pyramids, not far distant from Cairo, and of the army of the Mamelukes, drawn up across their way, headed by Murad Bey. This force consisted of five thousand cavalryMamelukes, mounted on the finest Arabian horses in the world, trained to obey the slightest touch of the rein, to advance, wheel, or fly with wonderful rapidity. The riders were all fine men, armed with sabres, pistols, and blunderbusses of the best English workmanship. They were deemed invincible and were ruthlessly cruel. They presented in appearance the finest body of cavalry in the world, the plumes of their turbans waving in the air, and their arms glittering in the sun. There were, moreover, twenty thousand infantry lying in a slightly-entrenched camp on their right;[467] but these were a mere rabblefellaheen, or, in other words, peasantry, brought from their fields, and armed with matchlocks. They had forty pieces of cannon to defend the camp, but these had no carriages, being mounted on clumsy wooden frames. Buonaparte drew up his army so as to keep out of gunshot of the camp, and to deal only with the cavalry first. He formed his troops into squares to resist the onslaught of the cavalry; and as he saw the Mamelukes come on, he called to his men, "From yonder Pyramids twenty centuries behold your actions!" The Mamelukes came thundering on like a whirlwind, and sending before them the most horrible yells. Murad Bey said he would cut up the French like gourds. One of the French squares was thrown into confusion, but it recovered itself, and the battle was instantly a scene of the most desperate fury. The Mamelukes fought like demons; but, finding that they could not break the French ranks, whilst they and their horses were mown down by musketry and artillery, in despair they flung their pistols at their foes, backed their horses up to them to break them by kicking, and finding all unavailing, fled. Such as were left wounded on the ground crept forward to cut at the legs of the French soldiers. Both cavalry and infantry then, by swimming their horses, or in boats, attempted to cross the Nile, but the greater part were drowned in the attempt. Murad Bey, with the residue of his Mamelukes, escaped into Upper Egypt.

Marriage is one of the fundamental principles of the social system. The law of marriage, therefore, ought to be plain and simple, intelligible to all, and guarded in every possible way against fraud and abuse. Yet the marriage laws of the United Kingdom were long in the most confused, unintelligible, and unsettled state, leading often to ruinous and almost endless litigation. A new Marriage Act was passed in the Session now under review, which, like many Acts of the kind, originated in personal interests affecting the aristocracy. It was said to have mainly arisen out of the marriage of the Marquis of Donegal with Miss May, who was the daughter of a gentleman celebrated for assisting persons of fashion with loans of money. The brother of the marquis sought to set this marriage aside, and to render the children illegitimate, in order that he might himself, should the marquis die without lawful issue, be heir to his title and estates. In law the marriage was invalid; but it was now protected by a retrospective clause in the new Act. By the Marriage Act of 1754 all marriages of minors certified without the assent of certain specified persons were declared null. A Bill was passed by the Commons giving validity to marriages which, according to the existing law, were null, and providing that the marriages of minors, celebrated without due notice, should not be void, but merely voidable, and liable to be annulled only during the minority[226] of the parties, and at the suit of the parents or guardians.[See larger version]Meanwhile these disturbances elsewhere were having a disastrous effect upon the fortunes of the war in Lombardy. At first, indeed, everything pointed to the success of the Italian cause. In May Peschiera fell, and Radetzky, venturing beyond the Quadrilateral, was defeated by Charles Albert at Goito. Already the Italians had rejected the help which Lamartine offered them from France, and Austria in despair appealed to Lord Palmerston for the mediation of Britain. Well would it have been for the Italians if terms could have been arranged. Lord Palmerston, indeed, who had already sent off a private note to the British Minister at Vienna, advising the Austrians to give up their Italian possessions at once, now consented to propose an armistice, while asserting that "things had gone too far to admit of any future connection between Austria and the Italians." But nothing came of the proposal; the Sardinians declined to consent to the armistice, which would only be for the benefit of Radetzky, who was at this moment somewhat hardly pressed; and the maximum of the concessions offered by the Austrian envoy, Baron Hummelauer, was that Lombardy should be freed from its connection with Austria while Venice should be retained. Palmerston considered the surrender insufficient, and the war went on.

On the 8th of April the dissolution of the Peel Administration took place, and on the 18th Lord Melbourne announced the completion of his arrangements. On that occasion Lord Alvanley asked the Premier if he had secured the assistance of Mr. O'Connell and his friends, and if so, upon what terms. Lord Melbourne answered that he did not coincide in opinion with Mr. O'Connell; that he had taken no means to secure his support; that he gave the most decided negative to Lord Alvanley's question; adding, "And if he has been told anything to the contrary, he has been told what is false, and without foundation." In the House of Commons, a few days after, Colonel Sibthorpe spoke of O'Connell as the prompter and adviser of the new Ministry, and said: "I do not like the countenances of the honourable gentlemen opposite, for I believe them to be the index of their minds, and I will oppose them on every point, from the conviction that they could not bring forward anything that would tend to benefit the country. I earnestly hope that we shall have a safe and speedy riddance from such a band." This escapade roused the ire of O'Connell, who instantly rose and said that he thought the gallant colonel's countenance was, at all events, as remarkable as any upon the Ministerial benches. He would not abate him a single hair in point of good-humour. "Elsewhere," he said, "these things may be treated in a different style. There is no creaturenot even a half-maniac or a half-idiotthat may not take upon himself to use that language there which he would know better than to make use of elsewhere; and the bloated buffoon ought to learn the distinction between independent men and those whose votes are not worth purchasing, even if they were in the market."

Amid these popular outbursts the great body of the Spaniards were calmly organising the country for defence. A junta or select committee was elected in each district, and these juntas established communications with each other all over the land. They called on the inhabitants to furnish contributions, the clergy to send in their church plate to the mint, and the common people to enrol themselves as soldiers and to labour at the fortifications. The Spanish soldiers, to a man, went over to the popular side, and in a few days the whole nation was in arms. The crisis of which Buonaparte had warned Murat was come at once, and the fight in Madrid on the 2nd of May was but the beginning of a war which was to topple the invader from his now dizzy height. This made Buonaparte convene a mock national junta, or Assembly of Notables, to sanction the abdication, and the appointment of Joseph Buonaparte as the new monarch. Joseph entered Madrid on the 6th of June, and proclaimed a new constitution.

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The arbitrary crushing of the freedom of the Tyrol, and the handing of it over to the Bavarians as a gift, was not the only oppression of this period of Napoleon's career, which the Germans call his supremacy. He seemed to have put down all opposition on the Continent, except in Spain, and he dictated to all nations according to the arrogance of his will. His general in Poland, Poniatowski, himself a Pole, was employed to crush his countrymen. Poniatowski fell on the Austrians with forty thousand men, and made himself master of Warsaw, whilst the Archduke Ferdinand was besieging Thorn. He then advanced against the archduke, beat him in two battles fought in April and May, and eventually drove the Austrians out of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. Buonaparte then divided Galicia, giving one portion to the Emperor of Russia, and adding the other to the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, which was restored to the King of Saxony. Thus the Poles saw an end of all the high hopes with which Buonaparte had artfully succeeded in inspiring them, in order to induce them to[594] fight his battles for the subjugation of other peoples.LISBON.

The Ministry of Addington was felt to be utterly inadequate to the difficulties of the times. The country felt that Pitt or Fox must soon be called to the helm. Addington had shown a desire to strengthen his administration by bringing into it George Tierney, whom he had appointed Treasurer of the Navy and a Privy Councillor. Pitt, who had an intense dislike to Tierneywith whom he had, in 1798, fought a duelshowed increasing determination, from the introduction of Tierney to the Cabinet, to oppose the Ministry of Addington with all his vigour. An opportunity was given him on the 27th of February. The Hon. Sir Charles Yorke, the Secretary-at-War, had introduced a Bill for consolidating all the existing laws respecting the volunteers. In the debate on the second reading of this Bill on this day, a question was incidentally introduced by Sir Robert Lawley as to the exact state of the king's health, which, he said, concerned the safety of the country as much as the affairs of the volunteers. Fox followed up this idea, and demanded more perfect information on this subject from Ministers. He declared that the House had no information on this important subject, and he asked whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer really had any. He supported the motion for an adjournment which Sir Robert Lawley had made, in order that the House might be put in possession of the truth. Fox made it felt that he was looking forward to the fact of a regency. Addington, on this, declared that there was no necessity for any serious measures, that he was persuaded that the king's indisposition would be of short duration. Pitt made some strong observations on the conduct[495] of Ministers in keeping Parliament in the dark on this head, though he opposed the adjournment.[325]

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