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Mr. Vandeleur, made judge of Queen's Bench 3,300 The English took the field in the summer of 1763 against Meer Cossim with six hundred Europeans and one thousand two hundred Sepoys. Major Adams, the commander of this force, was vigorously resisted by Meer Cossim, but drove him from Moorshedabad, gained a decided victory over him on the plains of Geriah, and, after a siege of nine days, reduced Monghyr. Driven to his last place of strength in Patna, and feeling that he must yield that, Meer Cossim determined to give one parting example of his ferocity to his former patrons, as, under their protection, he had given many to his own subjects. He had taken prisoners the English belonging to the factory at Patna, amounting to one hundred and fifty individuals. These he caused to be massacred by a renegade Frenchman in his service, named Sombre. On the 5th of October his soldiers massacred all of them except William Fullarton, a surgeon known to the Nabob. The mangled bodies of the victims were thrown into two wells, which were then filled up with stones. This done, the monster Cossim fled into Oude, and took refuge with its Nabob, Sujah Dowlah. The English immediately entered Patna, which was still reeking with the blood of their countrymen, and proclaimed the deposition of[317] Meer Cossim, and the restoration of Meer Jaffier as Nabob of Bengal.

On the 6th of March, Sir William Molesworth, with a view to bringing the whole colonial administration of the empire before the House of Commons, moved that an Address be presented to her Majesty, expressing the opinion of the House that in the present critical state of many of her foreign possessions "the Colonial Minister should be a person in whose diligence, activity, and firmness the House and the public may be able to place reliance;" and declaring that "her Majesty's present Secretary of State for the Colonies does not enjoy the confidence of the House or the country." The honourable baronet made a speech of two hours' duration, which was a dissertation on colonial policy, containing a survey of the whole of her Majesty's dominions in both hemispheres. He disclaimed all party considerations in bringing forward his motion, or any intention to make an invidious attack on Lord Glenelg. But as the colonies were so numerous, so diversified in races, religions, languages, institutions, interests, and as they were unrepresented in the Imperial Parliament, it was absolutely necessary that the colonial administration should be vigilant, prompt, sagacious, energetic, and firm. Lord Glenelg was wanting in these qualities, and the colonies were all suffering more or less from the errors and deficiencies of this ill-fated Minister, "who had, in the words of Lord Aberdeen, reduced doing nothing to a system." Lord Glenelg was defended by Lord Palmerston, who regarded the attack upon him as an assault upon the Cabinet, which would not allow one of its members to be made a scapegoat. The House divided, when the numbers wereayes, 287; noes, 316; majority for Ministers, 29. Nevertheless the Ministry were greatly damaged by the debate, which emphasised the growing Radical revolt. In the following year Lord Glenelg, having declined to exchange his office for the Auditorship of the Exchequer, resigned.

But long before thisas early, indeed, as the 15th of Aprilnews had reached London of the death of the erratic Emperor Paul, and of the bombardment of Copenhagen by the British fleet. Paul had been won over by Buonaparte to his views, and had been flattered by him by being electedthough irregularly and illegallyGrand-Master of the Knights of Malta. He had been persuaded that the conquest of Malta by the British was an invasion of his rights, and by these and other flatteries Buonaparte had influenced his weak mind to become the agent of his plans in destroying the British ships in the Baltic, and in closing that sea to British commerce. Paul pretended that we had captured Danish convoys, these same convoys being engaged in guarding vessels loaded with materials of war for France, and that thus the independence of the North was menaced by us. On this ground, and on that of the invasion of Malta, he immediately laid an embargo on all British vessels in Russian ports, and as two vessels in the harbour of Narva resisted the attempts to seize them, in consequence of the embargo, he ordered all the British vessels in that port to be burned. In consequence of this sudden and unwarrantable order, contrary to all the laws of nations, about three hundred British vessels were seized, and the officers and crews dragged on shore, put into irons, and sent up the country under menaces of Siberia. Paul next ordered all property of Englishmen in Russia to be seized and sold. Denmarkwith whom we had various rencontres, on account of its men-of-war convoying vessels laden with stores for French portssoon joined Russia. We sent Lord Whitworth to Copenhagen to endeavour to come to some understanding on these matters in 1800, but though a convention was signed, it was not satisfactory. Sweden followed the example of Denmark, and the three Northern Powers entered into a treaty of armed neutrality to resist our search of their vessels in any circumstances. As the consequence of this policy would be to shut us out of all trade with the ports of the Baltic, it was resolved to send a fleet to chastise these Powers and break up their co-operation with France. Mr. Vansittart was despatched to Copenhagen, accompanied by a fleet of eighteen sail of the line, with several frigates and smaller vessels, under command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, with Vice-Admiral Nelson as second. The fleet left the Yarmouth Roads on the 12th of March, 1801, and arriving at the mouth of the Sound, Nelson recommended that they should sail directly up to Copenhagen, and be prepared, on the refusal of our proposals, to bombard the place, as this would not allow them time to get ready their batteries, and thus do all the more damage to our ships and men. But this was deemed too offensive before any attempt at negotiation, and accordingly Mr. Vansittart was sent forward in a frigate with a flag of truce, leaving the fleet at the Scaw. He returned without effecting anything more than what Nelson anticipated. Sir Hyde Parker wasted time in making[481] the needless inquiry by a flag of truce of the Governor of Elsinore, whether the passage of the Sound would be disputed, who replied that it would. It was then proposed to enter by the Belt. Nelson said:"Let it be by the Sound, or the Belt, or anyhowonly don't let us lose an hour."

The Ministry had, as a matter of course, been much weakened by the retirement of Lord Grey; but, having got through the Session, it might have survived to the next meeting of Parliament but for the death of Earl Spencer, which occurred on the 10th of Novemberan event which removed Lord Althorp to the House of Peers. It was supposed that this would lead only to a fresh modification of the Cabinet, by a redistribution of places. For example, Lord John Russell was to succeed Lord Althorp as the leader of the House of Commons. Lord Melbourne's Administration seemed to be quietly acquiesced in, as sufficient for a time; the nation evidently assuming that, in any case, a Liberal Government was the necessary consequence of a reformed Parliament. The public were therefore startled when it was announced on the 15th that the king had dismissed his Ministers. It appeared that Lord Melbourne had waited upon his Majesty at Brighton, on the 14th, to take his commands as to the new arrangements he was about to make. But the king said he considered that Government dissolved by the removal of Lord Althorp; that he did not approve of the intended construction of the Cabinet; that Lord John Russell would make "a wretched figure" as leader of the House, and that Abercromby and Spring-Rice were worse than Russell; that he[378] did not approve of their intended measure with regard to the Irish Church; and concluded by informing Lord Melbourne that he would not impose upon him the task of completing the Ministerial arrangements, but would send for the Duke of Wellington.

In the year 1845 marked symptoms appeared of the approaching total failure of the national food. The early crop had been saved, but throughout the whole country the late crop was lost. As, however, the grain crop was abundant, the loss was not so severely felt. But the Government were so alarmed that they appointed a commission, consisting of Professors Kane, Lindley, and Playfair, eminent chemists, to inquire into the cause of the failure; but all their skill was unavailing to discover the nature of the mysterious agency by which the destruction was effected. The farmers and peasantry were not deterred from putting in an abundant crop of potatoes next year. In the beginning of the season the crops seemed in excellent condition, and there was every prospect of a plentiful harvest; but suddenly the blight came, as if the crop had been everywhere smitten with lightning, or a withering blast had swept over the whole country. "On the 27th of July," said Father Mathew, "I passed from Cork to Dublin, and this doomed plant bloomed in all the luxuriance of an abundant harvest. Returning on the 3rd of August, I beheld one wide waste of putrefying vegetation. In many places the wretched people were seated on the fences of their decaying gardens, wringing their hands and bewailing bitterly the destruction that had left them foodless." First a brown spot appeared on the leaf; the spots gradually increased in number and size until the foliage withered, the stem became brittle, and snapped off immediately when touched. In less than a week the whole process of destruction was accomplished. The fields assumed a blackened appearance; the roots were like pigeons' eggs, which gradually rotted away, and were wholly unfit for food. In one week the chief support of the masses was utterly lost. When such acts as the burning of the Gaspee had been done with impunity, and whilst the American mind was rankling with the Franklin poison of the purloined letters, three vessels arrived at Boston, laden with tea, under the conditions of Lord North's Bill. On the arrival of the ships the commotion was intense. The captains themselves would gladly have sailed away with their obnoxious cargoes in safety, but the governor very foolishly gave orders that they should not pass the ports without a permit from himself, and he sent Admiral Montague to guard the passages out of the harbour with two ships of war. As the evening grew dark, those who had quitted the meeting held on the 16th of December to demand that the ships should be sent home again, were met by mobs of men arrayed as wild Indians, who hurried down to Griffin's Wharf, where the tea ships lay. Rushing tumultuously on board, and hoisting out the tea chests, they emptied them into the sea amid much cheering and noise. Having thus destroyed teas to the amount of eighteen thousand pounds, the triumphant mob retreated to their houses.

On the 23rd of June the king sent down a message to the Commons, recommending them to[301] take into consideration a separate establishment for the Prince of Wales, who had arrived at the age of twenty-one. This young man, whose whole career proved to be one of reckless extravagance and dissipation, was already notorious for his debauched habits, and for his fast accumulating debts. He was a great companion of Fox, and the gambling rous amongst whom that grand orator but spendthrift man was accustomed to spend his time and money, and therefore, as a pet of this Coalition Ministry, the Duke of Portland proposed to grant him one hundred thousand pounds a year. The king, alarmed at the torrent of extravagance and vice which such an income was certain to produce in the prince's career, declared that he could not consent to burden his people, and encourage the prince's habits of expense, by such an allowance. He therefore requested that the grant should amount only to fifty thousand pounds a year, paid out of the Civil List, and fifty thousand pounds as an outfit from Parliamentary funds. The Ministers were compelled to limit themselves to this, though the saving was merely nominal, for the debts on the Civil List were again fast accumulating, and the prince was not at all likely to hesitate to apply to Parliament to wipe off his debts, as well as his father's when they became troublesome to him. Resenting, however, the restraint attempted to be put upon him by his father, the prince the more closely connected himself with Fox and his party, and the country was again scandalised by the repetition of the scenes enacted when Frederick, Prince of Wales, father of George III., was the opponent of his own father, George II., and the associate of his opponents. Such, indeed, had been the family divisions in every reign since the Hanoverian succession. On the 16th of July Parliament was prorogued.

Hail, adamantine steel! magnetic lord!

On the 8th of June the Earl of Liverpool announced to the House of Lords that a Ministry had been formed; that the Prince Regent had been pleased to appoint him First Lord of the Treasury, and to authorise him to complete the Cabinet. Earl Bathurst succeeded Liverpool as Secretary of the Colonies and Secretary at War; Sidmouth became Secretary of the Home Department; the Earl of Harrowby President of the Council; Nicholas Vansittart Chancellor of the Exchequer; Lord Melville, the son of the old late Lord, First Lord of the Admiralty; the Earl of Buckinghamshire President of the Board of Control; Castlereagh Secretary of Foreign Affairs; Mulgrave Master-General of the Ordnance; Eldon Lord Chancellor; Mr. F. Robinson became Vice-President of the Board of Trade and Treasurer of the Navy; Lord Clancarty President of the Board of Trade; Sir Thomas Plumer was made Attorney-General, and Sir William Garrow succeeded him as Solicitor-General. In Ireland, the Duke of Richmond became Lord-Lieutenant; Lord Manners Lord Chancellor; and Mr. Robert Peel, who now first emerged into public notice, Chief Secretary. The Cabinet, thus reconstructed, promised exactly the policy of the late Premier, and, indeed, with increased vigour. On the 17th of June the new Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced the Budgetprofessedly that of Spencer Percevalwhich exceeded the grants of the former year by upwards of six millionsthat having been fifty-six millions twenty-one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine pounds, this being sixty-two millions three hundred and seventy-six thousand three hundred and forty-eight pounds. New taxes were imposed, and two more loans raised and added to the Debt.

Bolingbroke was now Prime Minister, and he hastened to arrange his Cabinet entirely on Jacobite principles. So far as he was concerned, the country was to be handed over to the Pretender and popery on the queen's death. He would not run the risk of a new antagonist in the shape of a Lord Treasurer, but put the Treasury in commission, with Sir William Wyndham at its head. The Privy Seal was given to Atterbury; Bromley was continued as the other Secretary of State; and the Earl of Mar, the rankest of Jacobites, was made Secretary of State for Scotland. Ormonde, long engaged in the Pretender's plot, was made Commander-in-Chiefa most significant appointment; Buckingham was made Lord President, and Harcourt Lord Chancellor. As for the inferior posts, he found great difficulty in filling them up. "The sterility of good men," wrote Erasmus Lewis to Swift, "is incredible." Good men, according to the unprincipled Bolingbroke's notions, were not to be found in a hurry. There were plenty of candidates ready, but it may give an impressive notion of the state of that party, that there was scarcely a man beyond those already appointed whom Bolingbroke could trust. The Cabinet never was completed. What his own notions of moral or political honesty were, may be imagined from the fact that he did not hesitate to attempt a coalition with the Whigs. He gave a dinner-party at his house in Golden Square to Stanhope, Walpole, Craggs, General Cadogan, and other leaders; but though Walpole, when Minister himself, boasted that every man had his price, Bolingbroke had not yet discovered Walpole's price nor that of his colleagues. They to a man demanded, as a sine qua non, that the Pretender should be compelled to remove to Rome, or to some place much farther off than Lorraine, and Bolingbroke assured them that the queen would never consent to such a banishment of her brother. Nothing but the lowest opinion of men's principles could have led Bolingbroke to expect any other result from these Whig leaders. Perhaps he only meant to sound their real views; perhaps only to divert public attention from his real designs, which the very names of his coadjutors in the Ministry must have made patent enough to all men of any penetration. The very same day that he thus gave this Whig dinner he assured Gualtier that his sentiments towards "the king" were just the same as ever, provided his Majesty took such measures as would suit the people of England. Time only was wanting for this traitor-Minister to betray the country to its old despotisms and troubles; but such time was not in the plans of Providence. The end of Anne was approaching faster than was visible to human eyes; but the shrewd and selfish Marlborough had a pretty strong instinct of it, and was drawing nearer and nearer to the scene of action, ready to secure himself whichever way[22] the balance inclined. He was at Ostend, prepared to pass over at an hour's notice, and to the last moment keeping up his correspondence with the two Courts of Hanover and Bar-le-duc. Both despised and suspected him, but feared him at the same time. Such was still his influence, especially with the army, that whichever party he adopted was considered pretty sure to succeed. That it was likely to succeed was equally certain before Marlborough did adopt it. Lockhart of Carnwath, one of the most active and sagacious Jacobites, and likely to be in the secrets of the Jacobite party, says that the Pretender, to test the sincerity of Marlborough, asked the loan of one hundred thousand pounds from him, as a proof of his fidelity. He did not abide the test, but soon afterwards offered twenty thousand pounds to the Electoral Prince, to enable him to come over to England. The moment that Marlborough was prepared, with his deep-rooted love of money, to do that, it might be certainly pronounced that he was confident of the success of the Hanoverians.

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