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On the third day Lord King moved that the Bill was not one of State necessity or expediency. This gave occasion to Lord Liverpool, then at the head of the Government, to express his sentiments upon the measure. He declared upon his honour and in his conscience that, if the Bill passed, he believed the king would not marry again. But if the charges against the queen were proved, it was absolutely impossible not to conclude with an enactment for a divorce. Earl Grey replied to Lord Liverpool, and called upon their lordships, from respect for their own character, not to persevere with the measure before them.

Wellington was therefore on the point of entering Paris when, on the same day, the 3rd, he received a flag of truce from the Provisional Government, asking for a military convention between the armies at St. Cloud. This was accepted, and one English and one Prussian officer met three French officers, and the convention was concluded by the agreement that the French army should retire behind the river Loire, and that the Allies should be put in peaceable possession of Paris, with all the defences on the Montmartre side of the city, as well as every other. This convention was signed the next day by Wellington, Blucher, and Davoust, and, according to its stipulation, the French troops evacuated Paris, and marched towards the Loire. Ney and Labdoyre made their exit from the city, knowing that they would be arrested by Louis XVIII., if possible. Notwithstanding these rejoicings, however, there is no doubt that the imprisonment completely broke the spirit of O'Connell. During 1843 he had been urged forward by the impetuosity and warlike spirit of the Young Ireland party, and the excitement of the monster meetings seems to have filled his mind with the notion that he could really wield the physical power of the country in an actual contest with the Queen's forces. His prison reflections dissipated all such illusions. The enforced inactivity, at his time of life, of one accustomed to so much labour and to such constant speaking, no doubt affected his health. Probably the softening of the brain, of which he died, commenced about this time. At all events he was thenceforward an altered man, excessively cautious and timid, with a morbid horror of war and blood, and a rooted dislike of the Young Ireland leaders, which the Old Ireland party did all they could to strengthen. Mr. Smith O'Brien had been the Conservative member for the county of Limerick, and had been opposed to the Repeal agitation; but the moment O'Connell was arrested, he joined the Association, taking the vacant position of leader, and adopting the policy of the Young Ireland party, which avowedly tended to war and revolution. Boasting of a lineal descent from the conqueror of the Danes at Clontarf, and hailed by some of his admirers as one who had a right to wear his crown, the new convert to Repeal seemed determined to go all lengths for the liberation of[534] his country from the Saxon yoke. O'Connell at first seemed to rejoice in the accession of strength to the cause, but signs of jealousy and dislike were soon manifested. In private there was a marked coolness between the two leaders, and when, at the meetings of the Association, any of the Young Ireland orators gave utterance to martial sentiments, they were promptly called to order by O'Connell; but they revenged themselves by frequently outvoting him in committee, which was a grievous mortification to one so long accustomed to almost absolute rule among his followers. He attended Parliament during the Session of 1845-46, diligently performing his duties as a representative, sitting in committees, and taking part in the debates of the House. During his absence the Young Ireland party gained a complete ascendency in the Repeal Association. Mr. Smith O'Brien, who refused to sit on any committee in the House of Commons not connected with Irish business, and was imprisoned in the cellar for his contumacy, made himself an idol with the revolutionary party at home by his refractory spirit and the perversity of his conduct. The other leaders of that party who exerted the greatest influence were Thomas Davis, Charles Gavan Duffy, D'Arcy M'Gee, and Thomas Meagherall men of superior ability, whose organ, the Nation, exerted great influence throughout the country. Ultimately, a series of "peace resolutions," which were proposed in the Repeal Association, pledging its members to abjure the sword as an instrument for redressing the grievances of Ireland, caused an open rupture between the two parties. The Young Irelanders seceded in a body from Conciliation Hall, and established an organisation of their own"The Irish Confederation." From this time the Repeal rent rapidly fell off, and when O'Connell again returned to Dublin he found that the spell of his enchantment, once so potent, was broken; and the famine came soon after, to consummate his affliction and break his heart. Before the sad close of his public career had arrived, and pending the issue of the State trial, O'Connell had a proof of the magnanimity of the English people, of those Saxons whose national character he had so often assailed and maligned. When he appeared at one of the Anti-Corn-Law meetings in Covent Garden Theatre, his reception by the assembled multitude is described as one of the most magnificent displays of popular enthusiasm ever witnessed. They remembered only that his jury was packed, that his judges were prejudiced, and that he had been for thirty years the able and consistent opponent of the Corn Laws. He declared himself that he was not prepared for such a demonstration, even by the experience of the monster meetings. This great triumph on English ground seemed to infuse new life into the veteran agitator, for his speech on that occasion was one of the finest and most effective he ever delivered.

Melbourne returned to town that evening, the bearer of a letter to the Duke. He communicated the state of affairs to Brougham under pledge of secrecy, but the Lord Chancellor promptly went to the Times and gave the editor a report of the circumstances, with the malicious addition"The queen has done it all." The king, furious at the insult, came up to town, and dismissed his Ministers before their successors were appointed. Meanwhile, the Duke went to Brighton on Sunday, and advised the king to send for Sir Robert Peel, who was then in Italy. A messenger was immediately despatched, who in ten days arrived at Rome, and surprised Sir Robert Peel with the announcement of the king's wish that he should return to England forthwith. Next morning the right honourable baronet started for home, and arrived in London on the 9th of December. The Duke of Wellington details the circumstances of this Ministerial crisis in a letter to the Duke of Buckingham. According to his account, the death of the Earl Spencer, which removed Lord Althorp from the House of Commons, from the management of the Government business in that assembly, and from the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, occasioned the greatest difficulty and embarrassment. His personal influence and weight in the House of Commons were the main foundation of the strength of the late Government; and upon his removal it was necessary for the king and his Ministers to consider whether fresh arrangements should be made to enable his Majesty's late servants to conduct the affairs of the country, or whether it was advisable for his Majesty to adopt any other course. The arrangements in contemplation must have reference, not only to men, but to measures, to some of which the king felt the strongest objection. He had also strong objections to some of the members of the Cabinet. The Duke was therefore requested to form an Administration, but he earnestly recommended Sir Robert Peel as the fittest man for the office of Prime Minister. In the meanwhile he offered to hold the offices of First Lord of the Treasury and Home Secretary until Sir Robert Peel's return, Lord Lyndhurst holding the Great Seals temporarily, subject, with all the other arrangements, to Sir Robert Peel's approbation. On the 21st Lord Lyndhurst was gazetted as Lord Chancellor, holding in the interim his office of Chief Baron of the Exchequer, which Lord Brougham, dreading the prospect of idleness, offered to fill without salary, thus saving the country 12,000 a year, an offer which exposed him to censure from his own party, and which he afterwards withdrew. This Bill made it obvious that a great light had broken on the British Government from the American Revolution; it was discovered that the best way to govern and retain our colonies was to allow them to govern themselves. This knowledge was worth all the loss and annoyance of the American Revolution. Fox expressed his approbation of the principle, and all appeared favourable to the passing of the measure. It was allowed to proceed without opposition through its first and second reading, and through the committee; but when it was reported, then came a scene of violent contention, arising not so much from the Bill itself as from the state of parties, and the making a peg of this question on which to hang the conflicting opinions of different members on a very different questionthat of the French Revolution. Not only had Fox and Burke and Sheridan broken up their old friendship on this question, Sheridan being as enthusiastic about the Revolution as Fox, but it had split up the whole Whig party. Burke had published his eloquent "Reflections on the French Revolution," and subsequently, in February of this year, a "Letter to a Member of the National Assembly," in which he had repeated and extended his opinions upon it. The Duke of Portland and Mr. Windham took Burke's view of the nature of the French principles. However, it was not merely in Parliament, but also throughout the country that opinions were divided on the subject. Societies were formed to recommend the introduction of French Revolutionary principles into Great Britain, and many eminent men, especially among the Dissenters, took the lead in them, as we shall presently see. The tendency to despotic government in Britain, and a spreading conviction that Parliament was not truly elected by the people, rendered large numbers favourable to these views. In Parliament, however, the great shock of battle took place between the so long united friends and fellow-labourers in reform, Fox and Burke, and because the Canada Bill affected a French people,[379] it was thought a proper occasion by these statesmen to indulge in a lengthy and violent discussion of their clashing views, in which the proper question before Parliament, the Quebec Bill, was soon lost sight of.

Invasion of Holland by DumouriezHe is defeated at Neerwinden and goes over to the EnemySecond Partition of PolandThe Campaign in the NetherlandsAnd on the RhineThe English Fleets in the Channel and West IndiesSiege of ToulonFirst appearance of Napoleon BuonaparteFall of LyonsThe Reign of TerrorInsurrection in La VendeIts brutal SuppressionWorship of the Goddess of ReasonOpposition to the War in EnglandProsecutions for SeditionTrials in ScotlandDiscussions on the subject in ParliamentArrests of Horne Tooke, Thelwall, Hardy, and othersBattle of the First of JuneThe War in the West IndiesAnnexation of CorsicaThe Campaign of 1794The Prussian SubsidySuccesses of Pichegru against the AustriansThe Struggle for the SambreLoss of BelgiumDanger of HollandThe War in the SouthThe Reign of Terror continuesThe Festival of the Supreme BeingDeath of Robespierre and his AssociatesThe ThermidoriansFinal extinction of PolandThe Portland Whigs join the MinistryTrials of Hardy, Horne Tooke, and their AssociatesOpening of ParliamentThe BudgetAttempts at ReformMarriage of the Prince of WalesHis AllowanceThe French occupy HollandIt becomes a RepublicPrussia and Spain leave the Coalition, but the War continuesCampaigns on the Rhine and in ItalyThe War in La Vende and in BrittanyThe Expedition from England plannedDestruction of the Expedition at QuiberonExtinction of the War in La VendeEstablishment of the DirectoryAttack on George the ThirdThe BudgetPitt's first Negotiations for PeaceFailure of Lord Malmesbury's MissionSuccesses in the West Indies and AfricaExpedition to Bantry BayThe Campaign of 1796Retreat of the FrenchNapoleon's Italian CampaignThe Battles of ArcoleA new British LoanSuspension of Cash PaymentsGrievances of the SeamenMutiny at PortsmouthIts PacificationMutiny at the NoreDescent on the Welsh CoastCampaign of 1797Preliminaries of LeobenTreaty of Campo FormioLord Malmesbury's Mission to Lille.

But the matter was not to be thus peacefully ended. Before Lord Exmouth had cleared out of the Mediterranean, the Algerinesnot in any concert with their Government but in an impulse of pure fanaticismhad rushed down from their castle at Bona on the Christian inhabitants of the town, where a coral fishery was carried on chiefly by Italians and Sicilians, under protection of a treaty made by Britain, and under that of her flag, and committed a brutal massacre on the fishermen, and also pulled down and trampled on the British flag, and pillaged the house of the British vice-consul.

The Spanish junta sent an officer to Lisbon to consult with General Caraffa, the commander of the Spanish auxiliaries, on the best means of withdrawing the troops from that city. Caraffa, who was an Italian, did not seem to fall into the proposal; but this was of less consequence, for his men took the liberty of deserting, first in small numbers and secretly, but soon by a whole regiment at a time, and openly. Junot sent out six hundred men to stop them; but they attacked, killed, and wounded nearly half the detachment, and pursued their march. General Bellesta, who commanded the Spanish troops at Oporto, seized the French general, Quesnel, who had but a small number of men, and marched away for Corunna, carrying Quesnel and his few soldiers prisoners with him. No sooner were the Spaniards gone, however, than the cowardly governor of Oporto put down the rising and declared for the French. But the fire of revolt was flying too fast all over the kingdom for this to succeed. In a few days the people rose again, seized on the arsenal, and armed themselves. They were encouraged by the monks, who rang their bells to call the people out, and by the bishops, who blessed the banners, and offered up public prayers for the enfranchisement of the country in the cathedrals. There was a similarly successful outbreak at Braganza. From one end of the country to the other the rising was complete and enthusiastic. Deputies were dispatched to England to solicit assistance and arms. For a time Junot managed to keep down the population of Lisbon by collecting troops into it, seizing, altogether, four thousand five hundred of the Spaniards, and making them prisoners. Alarmed, however, at his position, and fearing to move any of his forces from the capital, he ordered Loison, who lay at the fortress of Almeida, on the frontiers, to march to Oporto, and suppress the revolt; but General Silviera, a Portuguese nobleman, put himself at the head of the armed population, and successfully defended Oporto. At Beja, Leiria, Evora, and other places, the French managed to put down the insurgents, but not without much bloodshed and severe military executions. But the hour of retribution was fast approaching. Spanish as well as Portuguese deputies appeared in London soliciting aid. They did not ask for men; for, in the pride of their temporary success, they imagined themselves amply able to drive out the French; but they asked for arms, clothes, and ammunition; and they prayed that an army might be sent to Portugal, which would act as a powerful diversion in their favour.

The opening of the year 1840 saw no flagging in the efforts of the Manchester men to bring forward the question, which the Annual Register had just regarded as finally set at rest. It had[484] been determined that a great meeting of delegates should be held in that city. There was no hall large enough to hold half of the then members even of the local association, and it was therefore resolved to construct one. Mr. Cobden owned nearly all of the land then unbuilt on in St. Peter's Fieldthe very site of the Peterloo massacre of 1819. In eleven days one hundred men constructed on this spot a temporary pavilion, which afterwards gave place to the permanent Free Trade Hall, which long continued to be the favourite scene of great political meetings. The Manchester Times described the pavilion as comprising an area of nearly 16,000 square feet. It contained seats for dining 3,800 persons, and 500 more were admitted after the dinner. Among the most conspicuous speakers at the banquet were Daniel O'Connell, Mr. Cobden, and Mr. Milner Gibson; but perhaps the most interesting feature in the proceedings was the operatives' banquet, which took place on the following day. Five thousand working men, overlooked by their wives, sisters, and daughters in the galleries, sat down on that occasion. It was evident from this that the people were emancipating themselves from the advice of evil counsellors, and were beginning to see the importance to their interests of the movement of the League.

CHAPTER V. THE REIGN OF GEORGE IV.