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These disorders appealed with irresistible force to the Government and the legislature to put an end to a system fraught with so much evil, and threatening the utter disruption of society in Ireland. In the first place, something must be done to meet the wants of the destitute clergy and their families. Accordingly, Mr. Stanley brought in a Bill in May, 1832, authorising the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland to advance 60,000 as a fund for the payment of the clergy, who were unable to collect their tithes for the year 1831. This measure was designed to meet the existing necessity, and was only a preliminary to the promised settlement of the tithe question. It was therefore passed quickly through both Houses, and became law on the 1st of June. But the money thus advanced was not placed on the Consolidated Fund. The Government took upon itself the collection of the arrears of tithes and to reimburse itself for its advances out of the sum that it succeeded in recovering. It was a maxim with Mr. Stanley that the people should be made to respect the law; that they should not be allowed to trample upon it with impunity. The odious task thus assumed produced a state of unparalleled excitement. The people were driven to frenzy, instead of being frightened by the Chief Secretary becoming tithe-collector-general, and the army employed in its collection. The first proceeding of the Government to recover the tithes under the Act of the 1st of June was, therefore, the signal for general war. Bonfires blazed upon the hills, the rallying sounds of horns were heard along the valleys, and the mustering tread of thousands upon the roads, hurrying to the scene of a seizure or an auction. It was a bloody campaign; there was considerable loss of life, and the Church and the Government thus became more obnoxious to the people than ever. Mr. Stanley being the commander-in-chief on one side, and O'Connell on the other, the contest was embittered by their personal antipathies. It was found that the amount of the arrears for the year 1831 was 104,285, and that the whole amount which the Government was able to levy, after putting forward its strength in every possible way, was 12,000, the cost of collection being 15,000, so that the Government was not able to raise as much money as would pay the expenses of the campaign. This was how Mr. Stanley illustrated his favourite sentiment that the people should be made to respect the law. But the Liberal party among the Protestants fully sympathised with the anti-tithe recusants.

The unnatural state of things induced by the war had now brought about a great change in our currency. As we could manage to get in our goods to the Continent by one opening or another, but could not get the produce of the Continent in return, it would have appeared that we must be paid in cash, and that the balance of specie must be in our favour; but this was not the case. By our enormous payments to our troops in Spain, Portugal, and Sicily, as well as in the East and West Indies, and by our heavy subsidies, gold had flowed out of the country so steadily that there appeared very little left in it, and bank paper had taken its place. On the Continent, impoverished as they were, the people tenaciously clung to their gold, and Buonaparte alone could draw it from them in taxes. He always took a heavy military chest with him on his expeditions, and his officers also carried the money necessary for themselves in their belts, or otherwise about their immediate persons. The gold being enormously diminished in quantity in England, was carefully hoarded on all hands, thus again increasing the scarcity, and raising the value of it. The price of bullion had risen from twenty to thirty per cent., and here was a further strong temptation to hoard or send guineas to the melting-pot. This state of things led a certain class of political economists to call for a repeal of the Act for suspension of cash payments, and Francis Horner obtained a committee of inquiry into the causes of the decrease of gold and the increase of paper: and this committee came to the conclusion that the true cause of the evil lay in the excess of paper, and that the way to restrain it would be to allow the demand for gold at the Bank. But the truth was that the cause of the evil was not the excess of paper, but the enormous diminution of gold; and to have opened a legal demand for gold which could not be had would only have produced a panic, and a complete and horrible assassination of all credit and all business. But there were clearer-sighted men in Parliament, who declared that, though bullion had risen in price, bank-notes would still procure twenty shillings' worth of goods in the market, and that they were not, therefore, really depreciated in value. That was true, but guineas had, notwithstanding, risen to a value of five- or six-and-twenty shillings, and might be sold for that. Gold had risen, but paper had not fallen; and gold could not take the place of paper, because it did not, to any great extent, exist in the country; if it had, paper must have fallen ruinously. Mr. Vansittart and his party, therefore, moved resolutions that the resumption of cash payments being already provided for six months after the conclusion of peace, was an arrangement which answered all purposes, and ought not to be disturbed; that this would keep all real excess of paper in check, and leave gold to resume its circulation when, by the natural influence of peace, it flowed again into the country. These were, accordingly, carried.

"The disease by which the plant has been affected has prevailed to the greatest extent in Ireland. The result of this division shook the last resistance of Walpole. When the motion which had been rejected on the 18th of Decemberfor copies of the correspondence with the King of Prussiawas again put, he made no opposition, and it[79] passed without a division. He made, however, one more attempt to carry his measures. In the disputed election of Chippenham he stood his ground against the petition, and was defeated by a majority of one. It was now clear to himself that he must give way. His relatives and friends assured him that to defer longer was only to court more decided discomfiture. On the 31st of January, he, therefore, prepared to depart for his seat at Houghton, and the next morning he demanded of the king, in a private audience, leave to retire. George, on this occasion, evinced a degree of feeling that did him honour. When the old Minister who had served him through so long a course of years knelt to kiss hands, the king embraced him, shed tears, and begged that he would often come to see him. On the 9th of February Sir Robert was created Earl of Orford, and on the 11th he made a formal resignation of all his places.

The example of Oxford, who made an attempt on the life of the Queen, was followed by another crazy youth, named Francis, excited by a similar morbid passion for notoriety. On the 29th of May, 1842, the Queen and Prince Albert were returning to Buckingham Palace down Constitution Hill in a barouche and four, when a man who had been leaning against the wall of the palace garden went up to the carriage, drew a pistol from his pocket, and fired at the Queen. Her Majesty was untouched, and seemed unaware of the danger. The assassin was observed by Prince Albert, and pointed out by him to one of the outriders, who dismounted to pursue him; but he had been at once arrested by other persons. The carriage, which was driving at a rapid pace, no sooner arrived at the palace, than a messenger was sent to the Duchess of Kent to announce the Queen's danger and her safety. The prisoner, John[491] Francis, the son of a machinist or stage carpenter at Covent Garden Theatre, having been twice examined by the Privy Council, was committed to Newgate for trial at the Central Criminal Court on a charge of shooting at the Queen with a loaded pistol. He was only twenty years of age. The trial of Francis took place on the 17th of June, before Chief Justice Tindal, Baron Gurney, and Justice Patteson. The principal witness was Colonel Arbuthnot, one of the equerries who was riding close to the Queen when the shot was fired, and cried out to a policeman, "Secure him!" which was done. Colonel Wylde, another equerry, with several other witnesses, corroborated the testimony of Colonel Arbuthnot; and it appeared that Francis had on the previous day pointed a pistol at the Queen, though he did not fire. For the defence it was alleged that the attempt was the result of distress, and that the prisoner had no design to injure the Queen. The jury retired, and in about half an hour returned into court with a verdict of "Guilty," finding that the pistol was loaded with some destructive substance, besides the wadding and powder. Chief Justice Tindal immediately pronounced sentence of death for high treason, that he should be hanged, beheaded, and divided into four quarters. The sentence was commuted to transportation for life. Washington found no rest at Princeton. Cornwallis no sooner heard the cannonading near Princeton than he immediately comprehended Washington's ruse, and, alarmed for his magazines at New Brunswick, he hastened in that direction. Washington, aware of his approach, found it necessary to give up the attempt on New Brunswick. He therefore hastened across Millstone river, broke down the bridge behind him to stop pursuit, and posted himself on the high ground at Morristown, where there were very strong positions. Here he received additional troops, and entrenched himself. Cornwallis, not aware of the real weakness of Washington's army despite all its additions, again sat down quietly for the winter at New Brunswick. For six months the British army now lay still. Washington, however, lost no time in scouring all quarters of the Jerseys. He made himself master of the coast opposite Staten Island, and seized on Newark, Elizabeth Town, and Woodbridge. The inhabitants had been plundered by the Hessians and English, and now they were plundered again by their own countrymen for having received the English well. Washington exerted himself to suppress this rancorous conduct of the New England and Virginian troops, and issued a proclamation absolving the people of their oaths to the English, and promising them protection on their taking a new oath to Congress. The people of the Jerseys gladly accepted this offer.

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.

By six o'clock in the evening the Allied army had lost ten thousand men in killed and wounded, besides a great number of the dispersed Belgians and other foreigners of the worst class, who had run off, and taken refuge in the wood of Soigne. But the French had suffered more severely; they had lost fifteen thousand in killed and wounded, and had had more than two thousand taken prisoners. At about half-past four, too, firing had been heard on the French right, and it proved to be the advanced division of Bulow. Grouchy had overtaken the Prussians at Wavre, but had been stopped there by General Thielemann, by order of Blucher, and kept from crossing the Dyle till it was too late to prevent the march of Blucher on Waterloo; so that whilst Thielemann was thus holding back Grouchy, who now heard the firing from Waterloo, Blucher was on the track of his advanced division towards the great battle-field. When Buonaparte heard the firing on the right, he thought, or affected to think, that it was Grouchy, whom he had sent for in haste, who was beating the Prussians; but he perceived that he must now make one gigantic effort, or all would be lost the moment that the main armies of the British and Prussians united. Sending, therefore, a force to beat back Bulow, he prepared for one of those thunderbolts which so often had saved him at the last moment. He formed his Imperial Guard into two columns at the bottom of the declivity of La Belle Alliance, and supporting them by four battalions of the Old Guard, and putting Ney at their head, ordered him to break the British squares. That splendid body of men, the French Guards, rushed forward, for the last time, with cries of "Vive l'Empereur!" and Buonaparte rode at their head as well as Ney, as far as the farm of La Haye Sainte. There the great Corsican, who had told his army on joining it this last campaign that he and they must now conquer[100] or die, declined the death by suddenly wheeling his horse aside, and there remaining, still and stiff as a statue of stone, watching the last grand venture. The British right at this moment was wheeling towards Buonaparte's position, so that his Guards were received by a simultaneous fire in front and in the flank. The British soldiers advanced from both sides, as if to close round the French, and poured in one incessant fire, each man independently loading and discharging his piece as fast as he could. The French Guards endeavoured to deploy that they might renew the charge, but under so terrible a fire they found it impossible: they staggered, broke, and melted into a confused mass. As they rolled wildly down the hill, the battalions of the Old Guard tried to check the pursuing British; but at this moment Wellington, who had Maitland's and Adams's brigades of Guards lying on their faces behind the ridge on which he stood, gave the command to charge, and, rushing down the hill, they swept the Old Guard before them. On seeing this, Buonaparte exclaimed, "They are mingled together! All is lost for the present!" and rode from the field. The battle was won. But at the same moment Wellington ordered the advance of the whole line, and the French, quitting every point of their position, began a hasty and confused retreat from the field.

Anne prorogued Parliament on the 16th of July in a speech, in which she felicitated herself on having closed a long and bloody war, which she had inherited, and not occasioned. She trusted also that before the meeting of the next Parliament the commercial interests of France and England would be better understood, so that there would be no longer any obstacle to a good commercial treaty. She said not a word regarding the Pretender, so that it was felt by the Whigs that she had followed the dictates of nature rather than of party in regard to him. On the 8th of August she dissolved Parliament by proclamation, its triennial term having expired. Burnet says it had acquired the name of the Pacific Parliament; and he winds up his[12] own history with the remark that "no assembly but one composed as this was could have sat quiet under such a peace." There was every effort made, however, to impress on the constituencies the high merit of the Parliament in making an advantageous and glorious peace, medals being cast for that purpose bearing the effigy of the queen and a Latin motto laudatory of peace.

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.

Fortunately, Municipal Reform in Scotland did not give much trouble. It was accomplished almost without any discussion or party contention. It was based upon the provisions of the Scottish Reform Bill, which settled the whole matter by the simple rule that the Parliamentary electors of every burgh should be the municipal electors; also that the larger burghs should be divided into wards, each of which should send two representatives to the town council, chosen by the qualified electors within their respective bounds; and that the provost and bailies, corresponding to the English mayor and aldermen, should be chosen by the councillors, and invested with the powers of magistrates in the burgh. The functionaries were to be elected for three years, and then to make way for others elected in the same manner to succeed them. They were invested with the control and administration of all corporate property and patronage of every description.

This Act, which repealed the Test Act, provided another security in lieu of the tests repealed:"And whereas the Protestant Episcopal Church of England and Ireland, and the Protestant Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the doctrine, discipline, and government thereof respectively are by the laws of this realm severally established permanently and inviolably, I., A., B., do solemnly and sincerely, in the presence of God, profess, testify, and declare, upon the true faith of a Christian, that I will never exercise any power, authority, or influence which I may possess by virtue of the office of , to injure or weaken the Protestant Church, as it is by law established in England, or to disturb the said Church, or the bishops and clergy of the said Church, in the possession of any rights and privileges to which such Church, or the said bishops and clergy, are or may be by law entitled."