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At the time that Tippoo heard of the death of his father, he was, assisted by the French, eagerly pressing on the most inferior force of Colonel Mackenzie, not very far from Seringapatam. Mackenzie being obliged to retire, was suddenly set upon, before daylight, near Paniany, about thirty-five miles from Calicut, by the whole force; but he repulsed them with great slaughter. Tippoo then fell back and made the best of his way to his capital to secure his throne and the treasures of Hyder Ali. He found himself at the age of thirty master of the throne, of an army of nearly one hundred thousand men, and of immense wealth. With these advantages, and the alliance of the French, Tippoo did not doubt of being able to drive the British out of all the south of India. Yet, with his vast army, accompanied by nine hundred French, two thousand Sepoys, and nearly three hundred Kafirs, Tippoo retreated, or appeared to be retreating, before General Stuart, with a force of only fourteen thousand men, of whom three thousand alone were British. He was, in fact, however, hastening to defend the north-west districts of Mysore from another British force on the coast of Canara. This force was that of Colonel Mackenzie, joined by another from Bombay, under General Matthews, who took the chief command in that quarter.The Guards at the gates stood with tricolour cockades on their hats, and the great ladies of the Court came driving in, for they were not far off. The Duchess of St. Leu had been permitted to remain in Paris, and her house had been the focus of all the Buonapartist adherents and conspiracies. From that centre had been sent summonses to every branch of the Buonaparte family to be in readiness, and all had responded except Cardinal Fesch, Louis Buonaparte, and Eugene Beauharnais, who had too much sense to quit Munich with his wife, the daughter of the Bavarian king. Even Murat, to his ruin, had been induced to declare for Buonaparte once more.

On the 24th of April, accordingly, the king proposed, in a speech from the throne, the measure to the Houses in these words. Both Houses sent addresses of affection, and the bill was introduced into the House of Lords; and it was there contended that it was too vague, no person being directly named, except the queen. To remedy this the king sent a new message, naming the five princes of the royal house, with the power of nominating others in the case of the deaths of any of them. Still, on the second reading, Lord Lyttelton declared that this left it perfectly uncertain who would become regent; and he moved an address to the king to name which one of the persons specified he would nominate as regent. But here the Duke of Richmond asked, whether the queen were naturalised; and if not, whether she were capable of acting as regent. He asked, also, who were, strictly speaking, the royal family? The Earl of Denbigh replied, "All who were prayed for;" but the Duke of Bedford contended that those only in the order of succession constituted the royal family. This went at once to exclude the Princess Dowager of Wales, the king's mother; and Halifax, Bedford's colleague, agreed with him. Amidst all this confusion, Lord Halifax hastened away to the king, and advised him to have the name of his mother omitted, lest the Lords should strike it out, and thus make it appear a public insult. The poor bewildered king, taken by surprise, said, "I will consent, if it will satisfy my people."By this treaty almost everything was given up which had kept Spain and Austria in war and conflict for many years, and by themselves and their allies had steeped Europe in blood. The King of Spain agreed to sanction the Ostend Company, to yield the long-contested point regarding the exclusive mastership of the Golden Fleece. He surrendered the right to garrison with Spanish troops the fortresses of Tuscany. He acknowledged the Emperor's right to Naples, Sicily, the Milanese, and Netherlands, and guaranteed what was termed the Pragmatic Sanction; that is, the succession of the hereditary states of Austria in the female line. This was a concession of immense importance to the Emperor, who had only daughters, and whose claim to the Flemish and Italian dominions might thus have been contested by Philip on the Emperor's death. Thus, before the emotions of a family quarrel, fell at once all the mighty questions which had rent and desolated Europe for a quarter of a century! Both the sovereigns engaged to afford mutual support should either be attacked. Charles agreed to bring into the field twenty thousand foot and ten thousand horse, Philip twenty thousand troops and fifteen ships of war.

But the success of the capture only intensified the commotion on shore. The tumult continued the next day; the mob broke the windows of the houses of the commissioners and the custom-house officers; they dragged the collector's boat on shore, and made a bonfire of it. These officers fled for their livesfirst on board the Romney, and then to Castle William, a fortress at the mouth of the harbour. The third day was Sunday, and the Bostonians kept the day with the decorum customary with New Englanders; but on the Monday the riot was resumed with unabated vigour. Placards were carried round the town, calling on the Sons of Liberty to meet on Tuesday at ten o'clock. The Sons of Liberty were members of the non-importation associations, which had been established there, and in many parts of America. They had adopted that designation from a phrase in a speech of Colonel Barr, delivered in Parliament as early as 1765. Daughters of Liberty existed as well as Sons of Liberty, who mutually bound themselves to drink no tea, as well as to wear nothing imported after the passing of these duties. The Government retaliated by pouring troops into the town and summoning ships of war into the harbour.

The Queen did not disturb the Administration which she found in office. The Premier, Lord Melbourne, who was now fifty-eight years old, had had much experience of public life. He had been Chief Secretary for Ireland, Home Secretary, and Prime Minister, to which position he had been called the second time, after the failure of Sir Robert Peel's Administration in the spring of 1835. The young Queen seems to have looked to his counsel with a sort of filial deference; and from the time of her accession to the close of his career he devoted himself to the important task of instructing and guiding his royal mistress in the discharge of her various official dutiesa task of great delicacy, which he performed with so much ability and success as not only to win her gratitude, but to secure also the approbation of the country, and to disarm the hostility of political opponents. No royal pupil, it may be safely said, ever did more credit to a mentor than did Queen Victoria. For the time being, Lord Melbourne took up his residence at Windsor, and acted as the Queen's Secretary.

The distress which had pressed so severely on the people, and which had set them thinking about the most perilous political changes, was intimately connected with the state of the country. Throughout the troubled period of almost incessant war and lavish expenditure between 1797 and 1815, the business of the nation was carried on with an inconvertible paper currency, the precious metals having nearly all departed from the country. Bank notes were issued in such quantities, to meet the exigencies of the Government, that the prices of all commodities were nearly doubled. The Bill which was passed in 1819 providing for the resumption of cash payments had reduced the currency from 48,278,070, which was its amount in 1819, to 26,588,000, in 1822. The consequence was the reduction of prices in the meantime, at the rate of fifty per cent., in all the articles of production and commerce. With this tremendous fall of prices, the amount of liabilities remained unchanged; rents, taxes, and encumbrances were to be paid according to the letter of the contract, while the produce and commoditiesthe sale of which was relied upon to pay themdid not produce more than half the amount that they would have brought at the time of the contracts. The evil of this sudden change was aggravated by the South American Revolution, in consequence of which the annual supply of the precious metals was reduced to a third of its former amount. It was peculiarly unfortunate that this stoppage in the supply of gold and silver occurred at the very time that the Legislature had adopted the principle that paper currency should be regarded as strictly representing gold, and should be at any moment convertible into sovereigns. A paper currency should never be allowed[238] to exceed the available property which it represents, but it is not necessary that its equivalent in gold should be lying idle in the coffers of the Bank, ready to be paid out at any moment the public should be seized with a foolish panic. It is enough that the credit of the State should be pledged for the value of the notes, and that credit should not be strained beyond the resources at its command. The close of 1822 formed the turning-point in the industrial condition of the country. The extreme cheapness of provisions, after three years of comparative privation, enabled those engaged in manufacturing pursuits to purchase many commodities which they had hitherto not been able to afford. This caused a gradual revival of trade, which was greatly stimulated by the opening of new markets for our goods, especially in South America, to which our exports were nearly trebled in value between 1818 and 1823, when the independence of the South American Republics had been established. The confidence of the commercial world was reassured by the conviction that South America would prove an unfailing Dorado for the supply of the precious metals. The bankers, therefore, became more accommodating; the spirit of enterprise again took possession of the national mind, and there was a general expansion of industry by means of a freer use of capital, which gave employment and contentment to the people. This effect was materially promoted by the Small Note Bill which was passed in July, 1822, extending for ten years longer the period during which small notes were to be issued; its termination having been fixed by Peel's Bill for 1823. The average of bank-notes in circulation in 1822 was 17,862,890. In November of the following year it had increased by nearly two millions. The effect of this extension of the small note circulation upon prices was remarkable. Wheat rose from 38s. to 52s., and in 1824 it mounted up to 64s. In the meantime the bullion in the Bank of England increased so much that whereas in 1819 it had been only 3,595,360, in January, 1824, it amounted to 14,200,000. The effect of all these causes combined was the commencement of a reign of national prosperity, which burst upon the country like a brilliant morning sun, chasing away the chilling fogs of despondency, and dissipating the gloom in the popular mind.Bute made overtures to France through the neutral Court of Sardinia. Louis XV. and his Ministers caught at the very first whisper of such a thing with the eagerness of drowning men; a sufficient intimation to an able and cautious minister, that he might safely name his own terms. The ambassadors, however, soon found that the real business of the treaty was transacted between Bute, on the part of Britain, and the Duke de Choiseul, on that of France; and that not through ambassadors, but through Sardinian envoys.

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The remainder of the parliamentary session was occupied with royal marriages and settlements. George III. and his queen, though pious and decorous in their own lives, had the misfortune to have amongst their sons some of the most dissolute and debauched men that ever figured in the corrupt atmosphere of courts. The Prince of Wales was become a very byword for his profligacy and extravagance. The Duke of York was but little better, so far as his means allowed him; and the Duke of Sussex, wishing to marry a woman to whom he was really attached, found the Royal Marriage Act standing in his way.



The Duke arrived at Paris on the 9th of December, having spent more than two months at diplomacy with very unsatisfactory results. He found the king and his Minister, M. de Villele, much cooled in their feelings towards the Spanish Government, in consequence of the tone of moderation it had assumed after its defeat of the Royalist insurgents. The king was now disposed to recall his army of observation, if he could do so with honour, and all he pressed for now was that Spain should so modify her system as to make the Constitution emanate from the king, by resting it upon a royal charter and not upon the will of the people. If this were done, and done in time for him to explain the case to the Parliament, when they met on the 28th of January, everything else, every matter of arrangement and detail, would be left to the undisturbed management of the Spanish Cabinet and Cortes. This was truly very accommodating. If Spain would only recant her constitutionalism, and adopt the absolutist creed of Divine Right, the Allies would not send their armies into the country for the protection of the king against his people. The Duke having reported the altered state of feeling in the French Government, and all that had passed, to Mr. Canning, the Foreign Secretary instructed him to deliver an official note to M. de Villele, containing a direct offer from England to mediate. This offer was declined. On the 20th of December the Duke quitted Paris, and arrived in London early in January. Subsequently the diplomatic war was carried on between M. Chateaubriand and Mr. Canning, both men of genius, and masters of a brilliant style of rhetoric, to which the Duke of Wellington had no pretensions. Mr. Canning, alluding to the[236] proposed armed intervention in Spain, with a view to stamp out the revolution, said, "The spirit of revolutionwhich, shut up within the Pyrenees, might exhaust itself with struggles, trying indeed to Spain, but harmless to her neighbours, when restrictedif called forth from within these precincts by the provocation of foreign attack, might find, perhaps, in other countries fresh aliment for its fury, and might renew throughout Europe the misery of the five-and-twenty years which preceded the peace of 1815."Sir Hercules Langrishe " " 45,000Lord Londonderry, wearied with the labours of the Session, had retired to his country seat at North Cray Farm, near Bexley, in Kent, to recruit his strength, and prepare to take his part as the representative of England at the forthcoming Congress of Verona, which was to be held in October. There, on the 12th of August, he committed suicide by cutting the carotid artery with a penknife. Lord Eldon, in a letter on the subject, says:"I learn, upon the best authority, that for two or three days he was perfectly insane; and the medical men attribute that fact to the operation upon his head of the unceasing attention to business which the last harassing Session (to him) called for." The disease would appear to have been coming on some time before; he had got the idea that he was beset by secret enemiesthat he was the object of conspiracies. He was full of apprehension of being waylaid in the Park, and he felt that his life was every hour in danger. His mind gave way under the pressure of these morbid fears, and he put an end to his existence in the fifty-third year of his age. Impartial history, we think, will come to the conclusion that, with intellectual abilities not much above mediocrity, he owed his success as a statesman, in a great measure, to his fixity of purpose, and to his audacity, courage, and perseverance in adhering to his line of action in the midst of the most formidable difficulties; while the strength of his will was aided by a commanding person, an imperturbable temper, extreme affability, and winning frankness of manner. Of the policy of the Government in which he bore so long a leading part, it must be said that it was narrow, exclusive, jealous of popular rights, favourable to despotism abroad and at home, devoted to the interests of the Throne and the aristocracy, at the expense of social order and national progress. Such, at all events, was the impression of the majority of the nation, and the detestation in which the London populace held his character as a statesman was painfully evinced by the shouts of exultation which followed his coffin into Westminster Abbey, where it was deposited between the remains of Fox and Pitt. This conduct greatly shocked Lord Eldon. "This morning," he writes, "I have been much affected by attending Lord Londonderry to his grave. The concourse of people between St. James's Square and the Abbey was very great; the great bulk of them behaving decorously, some behaving otherwise; but I protest I am almost sorry to have lived till I have seen in England a collection of persons so brutalised as, upon the taking the coffin at the Abbey door out of the hearse, to have received it with cheering for joy that L. was no more. Cobbett and the paper called the[227] Statesman have, by the diabolical publications he and that paper have issued, thus demoralised these wretches."

In the Peninsula, altogether, the French had upwards of two hundred thousand men, but the force which Massena led against Wellington did not amount to more than sixty thousand, Drouet remaining, for the present, in Spain with eighteen thousand men, and Regnier lying in Estremadura[603] with ten or twelve thousand more. To contend against Massena's sixty thousand veterans, Lord Wellington had only twenty-four thousand British on whom he could rely. He had thirty thousand Portuguese regulars, who had been drilled by General Beresford, and had received many British officers. Wellington had great expectation that these troops, mixed judiciously with the British ones, would turn out well; but that had yet to be tried. Besides these, there were numerous bodies of Portuguese militia, who were employed in defending the fortresses in Alemtejo and Algarve, thus protecting the flanks of Wellington's army.In England a remarkable event closed the year 1810the appointment of a Regency. For some time the old malady of the king had returned upon him. He had not attended to open and close the last Session of Parliament, and there was a general impression as to the cause. But on the 25th of October, when Parliament had voted the celebration of a general jubilee, on the king's entrance upon the fiftieth year of his reign, it was announced publicly that his Majesty was no longer capable of conducting public business, and the House of Commons adjourned for a fortnight. This was a melancholy jubilee, so far as the king and his family were concerned; but the nation celebrated it everywhere with an affectionate zeal and loyalty. The royal malady had been precipitated by the death of his favourite daughter Amelia. On the 20th or 21st of October he visited her on her death-bed, and she put on his finger a ring, containing her own hair, and with the motto, "Remember me when I am gone." This simple but sorrowful act completed the mischief in progress, and George retired from the bedside of his dying daughter a confirmed lunatic. The princess died on the 2nd of November, but her father was past consciousness of the event.In vain did Poniatowski remonstrate; he had no means of resistance. The Turks could no longer defend themselves from Russian invasion, much less assist Poland. They applied to Frederick to intercede with Catherine for peace for them. Nothing could so entirely suit Frederick's plans. He sent Prince Henry of Prussia to negotiate with Catherine, who took the opportunity to represent to her the advantages to the three great powers, Russia, Prussia, and Austria, strengthening themselves by appropriating portions of Poland. The Russians, relieved from contention with the Poles, now pushed on their victories against the Turks; drove them over the Danube, and seized some of their most fertile provinces. To complete their ruin, they, aided by England, attacked and destroyed their fleet in the Mediterranean.



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