In the eyes of the Conservatives the League was now the great cause of the political ferment that had spread throughout the land. In the Quarterly Review for December a long and elaborate indictment had been published against that body, and all who were in any way connected with them, in which it was attempted to show that the means by which the League sought to attain their objects were of the worst kind. The writer of the article hinted that the League's system of levying money for the avowed purpose of forcing Parliament to alter the law of the land was criminally punishable. A Mr. Bailey had stated, at one of the League meetings, that he had heard of a gentleman who, in private company, had said that if one hundred persons cast lots, and the lot should fall upon him, he would take the lot to deprive Sir Robert Peel of life. The teller of this injudicious anecdote added, that "he felt convinced that no such attempt ought to be made under any pretence whatever; but he was persuaded of this, that when Sir Robert Peel went to his grave there would be but few to shed one tear over it." The speaker was a minister of the Gospel, and there could be no doubt that he intended his anecdote only as an illustration of the frenzy to which some persons had been wrought by the political circumstances of the time; but this fact circulated by the great Tory organs, together with all the most violent and excited passages which could be found in the innumerable speeches delivered at League meetings, and in the pamphlets and other publications of that body, tended to create a vague horror of the Leaguers in the minds of that large class who read only writers on that side which accords with their own views.

Bagration, prevented by Jerome of Westphalia from pursuing his route towards Drissa, changed his course towards Minsk; but finding himself outstripped there too, he made for the Beresina, and effected a passage at Bobruisk. He then ascended the Dnieper as far as Mohilev; but, finding himself anticipated by Davoust, he attacked that general in the hope of cutting his way through. In this he failed, after a sharply-contested engagement, and once more he retired down the Dnieper, and crossed at Nevoi-Bikoff, which enabled him to pursue his course for a union with Barclay de Tolly, who was making for Smolensk. Thus Bagration, though running imminent hazard of being cut off, managed to out-man?uvre Napoleon himselfa new event in his campaigns. On his march, his troops had several encounters with the French and Polish cavalry; but Platoff showed great gallantry, and often severely punished the enemy.

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.

Reproduced by Andr & Sleigh, Ld., Bushey, Herts. Meanwhile Lord Palmerston had been constant in his appeals to the Austrian Court. When the Hungarian cause became desperate, he had urged Austria to consent to some arrangement which, while maintaining unimpaired the union with the House of Hapsburg, would satisfy the national feelings of the Hungarians. After the surrender of Comorn, he urged the Government to "make a generous use of the successes which it had obtained," and to pay "due regard to the ancient constitutional rights of Hungary." But he received from Prince Schwarzenberg, the Austrian Minister, a scathing reply. "The world," he wrote, "is agitated by a spirit of subversion. England herself is not exempt from this spirit; witness Canada, the island of Cephalonia, and finally unhappy Ireland. But, wherever revolt breaks out within the vast limits of the British Empire, the English Government always knows how to maintain the authority of the law, were it even at the price of torrents of blood. It is not for us to blame her.... We consider it our duty to refrain from expressing our opinion, persuaded as we are that persons are apt to fall into gross errors in making themselves judges of the often so complicated position of foreign affairs."

Napoleon also exerted himself to excite a rebellion in Ireland. He was the more bent on this, because he saw that it was hopeless to make a direct descent on England itself. He had collected a great fleet in the harbours of Boulogne, Dieppe, Havre, Dunkirk, Ostend, and other smaller ports, many of them capable only of receiving the gunboats in which he proposed to transport his soldiers. He had assembled a very fine army on the heights above Boulogne, called the Army of England, and there continually exercised it, under the inspection of Soult, Ney, Davoust, and Victormen, the pride of his army; but he saw such powerful fleets crowding the Channel, blockading his very ports, cutting out, every now and then, some of his gunboats under the very batteries, and the war-ships of Britain even standing in and firing at him and his suite as they made observations from the cliffs, that, combined with the information that England was almost all one camp, he abandoned the project, for the present, in despair. But Ireland he deemed vulnerable, from the treason of her own children. He assembled all the Irish refugees in Paris, formed the Irish Brigade into the Irish Legion, and sent over active agents to arouse their countrymen in Ireland. Amongst these were Quigley and Robert Emmett, who had been engaged in the Rebellion of 1798. Quigley had been outlawed, and Emmett had been so deeply implicated in that Rebellion with his brother Thomas, who was banished, that he had found it necessary to quit the country. These emissaries soon collected around them, in Dublin, disaffected associates, amongst them being Dowdall, Redmond, and Russell. They formed a central committee, and corresponded with others in different towns, and especially with one Dwyer, who had also been in the former Rebellion, and had ever since maintained himself and a knot of desperate followers in the mountains of Wicklow. The Government received, from time to time, information of the proceedings of these foolish menEmmett being a rash youth of only twenty-two or twenty-three years of agebut they took no precautions; and when, on the 23rd of July, the eve of the Festival of St. James, these desperadoes rushed, at evening, into the streets of Dublin, armed with pikes, old guns, and blunderbusses, the authorities were taken entirely by surprise. There were from two thousand to three thousand soldiers in the Castle, but neither police, soldier, nor officer appeared till the mob had murdered Colonel Brown, who was hastening to the Castle to arouse the troops, and Lord Kilwarden, the Chief Justice, whom they dragged from his carriage as it passed, and killed, along with his nephew, but, at the same time, they allowed the Chief Justice's daughter, who was with them, to depart. Soon after thisbut not before the insurgents had severely wounded a Mr. Clarke, a manufacturer, who was riding to alarm the Castlethe soldiers appeared, and the mob fled at their very sight. The same day Russell had turned out at Belfast, and Quigley at Kildare, but with as little success. Emmett had escaped to the Wicklow mountains to join Dwyer; but having assumed the fatal disguise of French officers, the country people, who hated the French since their appearance under General Humbert, when they had ridiculed the Catholic religion, drove him and twelve of his companions back. In a short time, Emmett, Russell, Redmond, and others were all secured and executed. Dowdall escaped, with Allen and others, out of Ireland; Quigley and Stafford, one of his companions, were admitted as king's evidence, and thus escaped. The project of Napoleon had thus entirely failed, with the sacrifice of some of his leading agents. News now arrived of peace concluded between Britain and France. The French, to whom their possessions were restored, at once ceased hostilities and went to occupy their reacquired settlements. But Tippoo continued the war, bent on taking Mangalore. Nothing could now have prevented the English from completely conquering but the stupidity of the Council of Madras. They sent commissioners to treat with Tippoo, who, once getting them into his camp, made them really prisoners, kept all information from them, and induced them to issue orders to the English officers to cease hostilities. By these orders a junction between Stuart and Colonel Fullarton, and the immediate investment and seizure of Seringapatam, Tippoo's capital, were prevented. Fullarton had overrun a great portion of the southern districts of Mysore, and had entered into close alliance with the Zamorin of Calicut, the Rajah of Travancore, and other rajahs, tributary to Tippoo, all the way from Cochin to Goa. With ample supplies of provisions and other aids from these chiefs, Fullarton was in full march to join Stuart, and laid siege to Seringapatam, when he received peremptory orders to give up the enterprise, as the British were about concluding terms with Tippoo. Exceedingly disconcerted by these commands, which thus frustrated the results of this wonderful campaign, Fullarton, however, had no alternative but to obey, and Tippoo thus held on till he had starved out Campbell, and gained the fort of Mangalore. Then he concluded peace on condition of mutual restitution of all conquests since the war. This peace was signed on the 11th of March, 1784.

Meanwhile, Buonaparte, summoned by the Directory to take the command of the army of England, had arrived in Paris on the 5th of December, 1797, and had taken up his abode in his former residence, in the Rue Chantereine, which the Commune immediately changed, in honour of the conquest of Italy, into the Rue de la Victoire. But it was necessary that Buonaparte should prepare for the invasion of England, for which purpose he had been called home. All France was in transports of joy at the thought of seeing England at last overrun. The Directory had raised their cry of "Delenda est Carthago!" "It is at London," they said, "that all the misfortunes of Europe are manufactured; it is in London that they must be terminated." On the 8th of February, 1798, Napoleon left Paris to obtain information as to the coasts of the English Channel, preparatory to the sailing of the armament. He visited taples, Ambleteuse, Boulogne, Calais, Dunkirk, Furnes, Nieuwport, Ostend, and Walcheren, making at these different ports the necessary surveys, and holding long and earnest conversations with sailors, pilots, smugglers, and fishermen. He returned to Paris on the 22nd, having, in a fortnight, quite satisfied himself that the attempt had better be relinquished so long as England commanded the sea.

It was high time that some measures were taken for preventing clandestine marriages. Nothing could be so loose as the marriage laws, or so scandalous as the practice regarding marriages at this date. No previous public notice or publication of banns was hitherto required, nor was any license requisite. Any clergyman, though of the most infamous character, could perform the ceremony at any time or place, without consent of parents or guardians. The consequence was, that the strangest and most scandalous unions took place, for which there was no remedy, and the results of which were lives of misery and disgrace. The merest children were inveigled into such connections, and the heirs of noble estates were thus entrapped into the most repulsive alliances, and made the victims of the most rapacious and unprincipled of mankind. The Fleet Prison, where were many ruined parsonsruined by their crimes and low habitswas a grand mart for such marriages. A fellow of the name of Keith had[116] acquired great pre-eminence in this line. He used to marry, on an average, six thousand couples every year; and on the news of this Bill, which would stop his trade, he vowed vengeance on the bishops, declaring that he would buy a piece of ground and out-bury them all!

At this juncture, when the eyes of all Europe were turned on the new Republic of America, Congress gave a proof of its utter contempt of those principles of honour which are regarded as the distinguishing characteristics of civilised nations. The convention on which General Burgoyne's army had surrendered was deliberately violated. It had been stipulated that his troops should be conveyed to Boston, and there suffered to embark for England in British transports to be admitted to the port for that purpose. But no sooner did Congress learn this stipulation than it showed the utmost reluctance to comply with it. It was contended that these five thousand men would liberate other five thousand in England to proceed to America. It was therefore determined to find some plea for evading the convention. An article of the convention provided that the English officers should be quartered according to their rank; but they complained that six or seven of them were crowded into one small room, without regard either to rank or comfort. But Burgoyne, finding remonstrance useless at Boston, wrote to Gates reminding him of his engagements in the convention, and declaring such treatment a breach of public faith. This was just one of those expressions that Congress was watching for, and they seized upon it with avidity. "Here," they said, "is a deep and crafty schemea previous notice put in by the British General to justify his future conduct; for, beyond all doubt, he will think himself absolved from his obligation whenever released from his captivity, and go with all his troops to reinforce the army of Howe." Burgoyne offered at once to give Congress any security against such imagined perfidy. But this did not suit Congressits only object was to fasten some imputation on the English as an excuse for detaining them contrary to the convention, and they went on to raise fresh obstacles.


Sir Francis Burdett once wrote a letter of a single sentence to his friend Lord Cloncurry, as follows:"Dear Lord Cloncurry, I should like to know what you think would allay Irish agitation? Yours truly, F. B." It would have taken a volume to answer this question, and perhaps, after all, Sir Francis Burdett would not have been satisfied. George IV. thought that his visit would have had that effect, and appearances for a time seemed to justify his sanguine anticipations. The visit had been long meditated. He set out on a yachting excursion soon after the coronation, and arrived at Plymouth on the 1st of August amidst the huzzas of an immense concourse of people. On the following day the royal squadron departed for Ireland, and anchored in the bay at Holyhead on the 7th. The news of his approach threw the people of Dublin into a paroxysm of joy, to which the newspapers of the day gave expression in the most extravagant terms. The blessing that awaited them seemed too great to be realised. Never had they comforted their hours of despondency or flattered themselves in seasons of imagined felicity, with anything approaching to the reality which fortune was about to shower upon them. The king's name, they declared, was more to them than a tower of strength; it had effected what neither patriots, philosophers, nor moralists could ever accomplish.

Happily, the prevalence as well as the acerbity of party spirit was restrained by the prosperous state of the country in the winter of 1835-36. There were, indeed, unusual indications of general contentment among the people. Allowing for partial depression in agriculture, all the great branches of national industry were flourishing. The great clothing districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, both woollen and cotton, were all in a thriving condition. Even in the silk trade of Macclesfield, Coventry, and Spitalfields, there were no complaints, nor yet in the hosiery and lace trades of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester, while the potteries of Staffordshire, and the iron trade in all its branches, were unusually flourishing. Of course, the shipping interest profited by the internal activity of the various manufactures and trades. Money was cheap, and speculation was rife. The farmers, it is true, complained, but their agricultural distress to a certain extent was felt to be chronic. Farming was considered a poor trade, its profits, on the average, ranging below those of commerce. Most of the farmers being tenants at will, and their rents being liable to increase with their profits, they were not encouraged to invest much in permanent improvements.

Napoleon, seeing that Bernadotte was become King of Sweden contrary to his secret will and to his expectations, determined, however, that he should still serve him. He gave him no respite. He demanded incessantly, and with his usual impetuosity, that Bernadotte should declare war against Great Britain and shut out of the Baltic both British and American merchandise. Alexander regarded him first with suspicion but his spies soon dissipated his fears. They soon perceived that Bernadotte was not disposed to be at once master of a powerful kingdom and the vassal of France. Alexander made offers of friendship; they were accepted by Bernadotte with real or affected pleasure, and his course became clearer. For the next two years there was a great strife to secure the alliance of the Crown Prince; and the proud, disdainful, imperious temper of Napoleon, who could not brook that one who had been created by him out of nothing but a sergeant of marines should presume to exercise an independent will, threw the prize into the hands of the more astute Russian, and decided the fate of Europe and of himself.