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. Rancour of the Americans towards EnglandTheir Admiration of NapoleonThe Right of Search and consequent DisputesMadison's warlike DeclarationOpposition in CongressCondition of CanadaCapture of MichilimachimacAn ArmisticeRepulse of the Invasion of CanadaNaval EngagementsNapoleon and the Czar determine on WarAttempts to dissuade NapoleonUnpreparedness of RussiaBernadotte's Advice to AlexanderRashness of NapoleonPolicy of Prussia, Austria and TurkeyOvertures to England and RussiaNapoleon goes to the FrontHis extravagant LanguageThe War beginsDisillusion of the PolesDifficulties of the AdvanceBagration and Barclay de TollyNapoleon pushes onCapture of SmolenskBattle of BorodinoThe Russians evacuate MoscowBuonaparte occupies the CityConflagrations burst outDesperate Position of AffairsMurat and KutusoffDefeat of MuratThe Retreat beginsIts HorrorsCaution of KutusoffPassage of the BeresinaNapoleon leaves the ArmyHis Arrival in ParisResults of the CampaignEngland's Support of RussiaClose of 1812Wellington's improved ProspectsHe advances against Joseph BuonaparteBattle of VittoriaRetreat of the FrenchSoult is sent against WellingtonThe Battle of the PyreneesThe Storming of San SebastianWellington forbids PlunderingHe goes into Winter-quartersCampaign in the south-east of SpainNapoleon's Efforts to renew the CampaignDesertion of Murat and BernadotteAlliance between Prussia and RussiaAustrian Mediation failsEarly Successes of the AlliesBattle of LützenNapoleon's false Account of the BattleOccupation of Hamburg by DavoustBattle of BautzenArmistice of PleisswitzFailure of the NegotiationsThe Fortification of DresdenSuccessive Defeats of the French by the AlliesThe Aid of EnglandBattle of LeipsicRetreat of the French across the RhineThe French Yoke is thrown offCastlereagh summons England to fresh ExertionsLiberation of the PopeFailure of Buonaparte's Attempt to restore FerdinandWellington's Remonstrance with the British MinistryBattles of Orthez and ToulouseTermination of the CampaignExhaustion of FranceThe Allies on the FrontierNapoleon's final EffortsThe Congress of ChtillonThe Allies advance on ParisSurrender of the CapitalA Provisional Government appointedNapoleon abdicates in favour of his SonHis unconditional AbdicationReturn of the BourbonsInsecurity of their PowerTreaty of ParisBad Terms to EnglandVisit of the Monarchs to London.

Our forces on the Italian coast were met by the active spirit of the new King of Naples, Joachim Murat. Sir John Stuart, who had won the splendid victory of Maida, embarked, on the 13th of June, fifteen thousand British troops in Sicily, and proceeded to menace Naples, and create alarm in various quarters, so as to draw the French from Upper Italy, and thus relieve the Austrians. With part of these forces siege was laid to Scylla; with the other Sir John anchored off Cape Miseno, close to Bai? and Puzzuoli, and directly across the bay, about a dozen miles from Naples. The greatest alarm was excited, and nothing would have been easier for Sir John than to have battered the town about the ears of the intruder king; but this the interests of the old king did not permit, especially as Ferdinand's second son, Don Leopold, was present as nominal commander, but he was of no use really, being a most effeminate and incapable person. Sir John then sailed to the islands of Procida and Ischia, compelled the garrisons to capitulate, dismantled the fortifications, and then abandoned these islands. During all this time our warships were scouring the whole of the coasts of Southern Italy, capturing every vessel that ventured out, and keeping the French generals on shore in constant agitation. In the encounters with the enemy's vessels on these coasts many brilliant exploits were performed by our captains, and by none more than by Captain Staines, of the Cyane frigate, who, on the 27th of June, stood a stout but most unequal fight with a Neapolitan frigate and corvette, under the very batteries of Naples. The siege of Scylla was raised by a strong French force, and Sir John Stuart returned to Sicily. Scylla was, however, shortly after abandoned again by the French, and its guns and stores, which appeared to have been left in some panic, fell into the hands of the British.

Whilst the Gironde was thus weakened by this implacable and incurable feud with the Jacobins, Austria was making unmistakable signs of preparations for that war which Leopold had often threatened, but never commenced. Francis received deputations from the Emigrant princes, ordered the concentration of troops in Flanders, and spoke in so firm a tone of restoring Louis and the old system of things, that the French ambassador at Vienna, M. De Noailles, sent in his resignation, stating that he despaired of inducing the Emperor to listen to the language which had been dictated to him. Two days afterwards, however, Noailles recalled his resignation, saying he had obtained the categorical answer demanded of the Court of Vienna. This was sent in a dispatch from Baron von Cobentzel, the Foreign Minister of Austria. In this document, which was tantamount to a declaration of war, the Court of Vienna declared that it would listen to no terms on behalf of the King of France, except his entire restoration to all the ancient rights of his throne, according to the royal declaration of the 23rd of June, 1789; and the restoration of the domains in Alsace, with all their feudal rights, to the princes of the Empire. Moreover, Prince Kaunitz, the chief Minister of Francis, announced his determination to hold no correspondence with the Government which had usurped authority in France.

On the passage, the squadron of Sir John Warren came in sight of the French fleet of Villaret-Joyeuse, of nine ships of the line, but it bore away, and left them to pursue their course. They entered the Bay of Quiberon on the 25th of June and, after much wrangling as to the best situation for landing, they put the troops ashore at the village of Carnac. There they were immediately joined by Georges Cadoudal, d'Allgre, Dubois-Berthollet, and other Chouan chiefs, with about four thousand or five thousand of their wild and bandit-looking soldiers. Along with the Chouans came troops of peasants, crying "Vive le Roi!" and bringing in abundance of fresh eggs, poultry, and other provisions. Puisaye was delighted, and felt confident that all Brittany was ready to rise. But this delusion was soon dissipated. The Emigrants, accustomed to regular armies, looked with contempt on this wild and ragged band, and they, on their part, were not restrained, on the landing of the arms and uniforms, from seizing and carrying them off, without much exertion on the part of Puisaye. There was danger of bloodshed. At length, in about a couple of days, ten thousand of them were put into red coats, and furnished with muskets. But fatal dissensions prevented all operations. Puisaye proposed to march up the country, seize different towns, such as Vannes and Rennes, and take up their position behind the Mayenne; but d'Hervilly refused to march till the troops were formed into regular regiments, and the Emigrants joined him in despising the Chouans, and in complaining that they had not been taken to La Vende to join Charette. Puisaye and d'Hervilly also disputed the supreme command, and Puisaye had to dispatch letters to London, to Count d'Artois, on the subject. At length, after five days had been wasted in this contention, Puisaye proposed that they should endeavour to carry Fort Penthivre, which stood on a small peninsula on Quiberon Bay, and was united to the main land by a sandy isthmus. To this d'Hervilly consented, and Sir John Warren agreed to support him in the attempt. On the 1st of July Warren began to bombard the fort, and on the 3rd, the place being warmly assailed by both the British and the Chouans, the Republicans surrendered. Meanwhile, Puisaye had sent off emissaries all over Brittany, to rouse Scpeaux, Charette, Stofflet, and the rest of the insurgent chiefs. The news of the landing had flown all over Brittany in a few days, and the Royalists were full of joy.


The course of business was suddenly interrupted by the unexpected death of Pelham, the Prime Minister, in 1754. Pelham was but sixty years of age, of a florid and apparently healthy appearance, but at once indolent and too fond of the table. He had been compelled to seek sea-bathing at Scarborough, and on the 7th of January wrote to his brother, the Duke of Newcastle, saying that he never was better; but on the 3rd of March he was taken ill, and on the 6th was a corpse. The king was startled at his death, for his moderation and quiet management had long held together very jarring elements in the Ministry. "Now I shall have no more peace!" exclaimed George, on hearing the news of his decease, and he was only too correct in his prognostic. Pelham was a respectable rather than a great minister. His abilities were by no means shining, but experience had made him a good man of business. Waldegrave gave him credit for being "a frugal steward of the public, averse to Continental extravagances and useless subsidies;" and yet never were more of each perpetrated than during his administration. He had the merit, which he had acquired in the school of Walpole, of preferring peace to war; and Horace Walpole admits that "he lived without abusing his power, and died poor."

Serious differences between Great Britain and the United States of America occupied the attention of both Governments during the years 1841 and 1842, and were brought to a satisfactory[492] termination by the Ashburton Treaty, referred to in the Royal Speech at the opening of Parliament in 1843. The questions at issue, which were keenly debated on both sides, related to the right of search, the Canadian boundary, and the McLeod affair. The Government of Great Britain regarding the slave-trade as an enormous evil and a scandal to the civilised world, entered into arrangements with other nations for its suppression. For that purpose treaties were concluded, securing to each of the contracting parties the mutual right of search under certain limitations. The United States Government declined to be a party to these treaties, and refused to have their vessels searched or interfered with in time of peace upon the high seas under any pretence whatever. Notwithstanding these treaties, however, and the costly measures which Great Britain had recourse to for suppressing the nefarious traffic in human beings, the slave trade was carried on even by some of the nations that had agreed to the treaties; and in order to do this more effectually, they adopted the flag of the United States. For the purpose of preventing this abuse, Great Britain claimed the right of search or of visitation to ascertain the national character of the vessels navigating the African seas, and detaining their papers to see if they were legally provided with documents entitling them to the protection of any country, and especially of the country whose flag they might have hoisted at the time. Lord Palmerston, as Foreign Secretary, argued that while his Government did not claim the right to search American merchantmen in times of peace, a merchantman could not exempt itself from search by merely hoisting a piece of bunting with the United States emblems and colours upon it. It should be shown by the papers that the vessel was entitled to bear the flagthat she was United States property, and navigated according to law. Mr. Stevenson, the American Minister, protested strongly against this doctrine, denying that there was any ground of public right or justice in the claim put forth, since the right of search was, according to the law of nations, a strictly belligerent right. If other nations sought to cover their infamous traffic by the fraudulent use of the American flag, the Government of the United States was not responsible; and in any case it was for that Government to take such steps as might be required to protect its flag from abuse.

Thus shamefully deserted on both hands, Cumberland still led forward his British and Hanoverians against the main body of the French army. The ruggedness of the ground in the[91] narrow valley between the wood of Barr and Fontenoy compelled them to leave the cavalry behind; but the infantry pushed on, dragging with them several pieces of artillery. Cumberland had the advantage of the advice and spirit of his military tutor, General Ligonier, and, in face of a most murderous fire, the young commander hastened on. The batteries right and left mowed them down, and before this comparative handful of men stood massed the vast French army, in a position pronounced by the French impregnable. The dense column of the English, compressed between the wood of Barr and Fontenoy, soon drove the French from their positions, and, still pushing on towards the rear of Fontenoy, threatened to cut off the bridge of Calonne, and with it the enemy's retreat across the river. Both French and English conceived that the battle was decided for the Allies. Marshal K?nigsegg congratulated Cumberland on their victory, and, on the other hand, Saxe warned Louis XV. that it was necessary to retreat. Louis, however, is said to have protested against giving way, and both French and English soon became aware that the Dutch had deserted their post, and that the right wing of the French army remained wholly unengaged. The British and Hanoverian conquerors on their right, when they mounted the French positions, looked out for their left wing, the Dutch, and, to their dismay, beheld them hanging with cowardly inactivity in the distance. The brave Marshal Saxe, at the same moment making the same discovery, called forward the Household Troops, which had been posted to receive the Dutch, and precipitated them on the flank of the British. Foremost in this charge was the Irish Brigade, in the pay of France, who fought like furies against their countrymen. Overwhelmed by numbers, and numbers perfectly fresh, and mowed down by additional artillery which the default of the Dutch had set at liberty, and unsupported by their own cavalry from the confined and rugged nature of the ground, the brave British and Hanoverians were compelled to give way. But they did it in such order and steadiness, disputing every inch of the ground, as excited the admiration of their opponents. The Duke of Cumberland was the last in the retreat, still regardless of his own danger, calling on his men to remember Blenheim and Ramillies; and seeing one of his officers turning to flee, he threatened to shoot him. Thus they gave way slowly, and still fighting, till they reached their horse, which then made a front to cover them, till they were out of the mle; their dastardly allies, the Dutch, then joined them, and they marched away in a body to Ath. Tournay, for which the battle was fought, might have detained the French a long time; but here, again, Dutch treachery did its work. Hertsall, the chief engineer in the Dutch service, betrayed the place to the French, fled to their camp, and then assisted them by his advice. Tournay surrendered in a fortnight, and the citadel the week after. Ghent, Bruges, Oudenarde, and Dendermond fell in rapid succession. Whilst the Allies were covering Antwerp and Brussels, the French attacked and took Ostend, again by the treachery of the governor, who refused to inundate the country.

But, on the 6th of May, a blow fell on Nuncomar from an unexpected quarter. He was arrested and thrown into prison at the suit of a merchant named Mohun Persaud. The charge was, that he had forged a bond five years before. He had been brought to trial for this before the Mayor's Court at Calcuttathe Supreme Court not then being in existence. On this occasion, being in favour with Hastings, he had procured his release; but now, the merchant seeing that Hastings' favour was withdrawn, and that, therefore, he might have a better chance against him, the charge was renewed. Hastings, on the trial, declared before the Supreme Court that neither directly nor indirectly had he promoted the prosecution. The opposition members were highly incensed at this proceeding. Three days after Nuncomar's committal they realised their threat of dismissing the Munny Begum, and appointed Goordas, the son of Nuncomar, to her office. They sent encouraging messages to Nuncomar in his prison, and made violent protests to the judges against the prosecution. Their efforts were useless. The trial came on in due course. One of the judges, Sir Robert Chambers, had endeavoured to have Nuncomar tried on an earlier statute, which included no capital punishment, for forgery was no capital crime by the native laws. But Sir Elijah Impey and the other judges replied that the new Act compelled them to try him on the capital plea, and he had been, on this ground, refused bail. Nuncomar knew nothing of our estimate of forgery, and he could not comprehend how a man of his rank, and a Brahmin of high dignity, should be tried for his life on such a charge. But he was found guilty, and condemned to be hanged. Strong efforts were then made to have him respited till the judgment of the Court of Directors could be taken on the question, but Impey and the other judges declared that it could not be done unless they could assign some sufficient reasons, and they contended that there were no such reasons. Yet the new Acts expressly gave them this power, and, what made it more desirable, was that no native of any rank had been tried by the Supreme Court and the British law, and only one native had ever been capitally convicted for forgery in any of our Indian courts. Moreover, the indignity of hanging a high-caste Brahmin was so outraging to the native feeling that it was deemed most impolitic to perpetrate such an act. All was pleaded in vain; on the 5th of August, 1775, Nuncomar was brought out and publicly hanged, amid the terrified shrieks and yells of the native population, who fled at the sight, and many of them rushed into the sacred Ganges to purify them from the pollution of ever witnessing such a scene. The death of Nuncomar put an end to all hope of procuring any further native evidence against Hastings. The natives were so terrified at this new kind of execution, that nothing could convince them but that, in spite of the opposition of his colleagues, Hastings was all powerful.

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