These preparations on the part of Spain were in one particular favourable to the King of Englandthey rendered the Emperor much more conceding. The English envoy at that Courtrather singularly a Swiss of the canton of Bernthe General de St. Saphorin, had found Stahremberg, the Emperor's Minister, very high, and disinclined to listen to the proposals of the King of England regarding Bremen and Verden; but the news of the Spanish armament, and still more of its having sailed from Cadiz to Barcelona, produced a wonderful change. The Imperial Court not only consented to the demands of England, but accepted its mediation with the Turks, by which a considerable force was liberated for the service in Italy. The Emperor acceded to the alliance proposed between England, France, and Germany in order to drive Spain to terms, and which afterwards, when joined by the Dutch, was called the Quadruple Alliance. In France, however, all obstacles to this Treaty were not yet overcome. There was a strong party, headed by the Marshal d'Huxelles, chief of the Council for Foreign Affairs, which strongly opposed this plan of coercing the grandson of Louis XIV. To overcome these obstacles Stanhope went over to Paris, and had several conferences with King Philip; and, supported by Lord Stair and Nancr, all difficulties were removed, and the Alliance was signed in the succeeding August.

The style of St. Paul's, and, indeed, of all Wren's churches, is neither Grecian nor Gothic, but Italian, influenced by the fashion which Bernini, the Italian architect of Louis XIV., had introduced into France. It is a class of architecture of which the Grecian is the basis, but which is so freely innovated upon as to leave little general resemblance. In its different parts we have columns and pilasters of every Grecian and, indeed, Roman order, pediments, peristyles, architraves, and friezes, mingled up with windows of all sorts, and all kinds of recesses and projections, the fa?ades and intercolumniations ornamented with festoons, and wreaths, and human masks, and the whole surmounted by a great Eastern dome, and by campaniles partaking of[159] all the compilations of the main buildings. St. Paul's itself is a noble building, notwithstanding the manifest gleanings from the antique and the medi?val, and their combination into a whole which has nothing original but their combination into one superb design. Besides St. Paul's, the rest of Wren's churches are disappointing, and we cannot avoid lamenting that he had lost the sense of the beauty of Gothic architecture, especially when we call to mind the exquisite churches of that style which adorn so many of the Continental cities. Whilst the exteriors of Wren's churches show heavily in their huddled-up situations in London streets, their interiors, in which much more of the Grecian and Roman styles is introduced, are equally heavy, and wanting in that pliant grace which distinguishes the interiors of Gothic cathedrals. Perhaps the noblest work of Wren next to St. Paul's is Greenwich Hospital, which is more purely Grecian, and therefore displays a more graceful and majestic aspect. The Palace of Hampton Court, attached to the fine old Tudor pile of Cardinal Wolsey, is a great square mass, in which the Dutch taste of William is said to have set aside Wren's original design. But surely William did not compel him to erect that (in such circumstances) ponderous barbarism of a Grecian colonnade in the second quadrangle of Hampton Court, attaching it to a Gothic building. In fact, neither Wren nor Inigo Jones appears to have had the slightest sense of the incongruity of such conjunctions. Jones actually erected a Grecian screen to the beautiful Gothic choir of Winchester Cathedral, and placed a Grecian bishop's throne in it, amid the glorious canopy-work of that choir. The return to a better taste swept these monstrosities away.

Mr. Peel's reflections on the Clare election are deeply interesting. "It afforded," he writes, in his Memoirs, "a decisive proof, not only that the instrument on which the Protestant proprietor had hitherto mainly relied for the maintenance of his political influence had completely failed him, but that, through the combined exertions of the agitator and the priestor, I should rather say, through the contagious sympathies of a common cause among all classes of the Roman Catholic populationthe instrument of defence and supremacy had been converted into a weapon fatal to the authority of the landlord. However men might differ as to the consequences which ought to follow the event, no one denied its vast importance. It was seen by the most intelligent that the Clare election would be the turning-point in the Catholic questionthe point Mr. Smith O'Brien, early in July, gave occasion for another great debate on the state of Ireland, by moving that the House resolve itself into a committee for the purpose of taking into consideration the causes of the discontent prevailing there, with a view to the redress of grievances, and the establishment of a system of just and impartial government in that part of the United Kingdom. The honourable gentleman reviewed the history of the country since the union, discussed the questions of the National Debt and taxation, the Church Establishment, the position of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, Government appointments, Coercive Acts, and land tenure. Lord Eliot, then Chief Secretary of Ireland, answered his arguments at length. A great number of speakers followed, continuing the debate for five nights. At length the House divided, when the numbers wereagainst the motion for a committee, 243; for it, 164. The whole of these vexed questions again came up on the 9th of August, when the Irish Arms Bill was set down for the third reading. On this occasion Sir Robert Peel made some remarks, expressing the feeling of his Government with regard to Ireland, declaring that he viewed the state of things there with deep anxiety and pain. He had hoped that there was a gradual abatement of animosity on account of religious differences; that he saw the gradual influence of those laws which removed the political disabilities of Catholics and established civil equality. He thought he saw, in some respects, a great moral and social improvement; that there was a hope of increasing tranquillity, which would cause the redundant and superfluous capital of England, then seeking vent in foreign and precarious speculations, to flow into Ireland. But the agitation had, in his opinion, blasted all those hopes.

The middle classes at that time, bent on the acquisition of Parliamentary Reform, were anxious that the movement should be conducted strictly within the bounds of legality, and without producing any social disorders. There was, however, a class of agitators who inflamed popular discontent by throwing the blame of the existing distress on machinery, on capitalists, and on the Government. This course of conduct served to encourage mobs of thieves and ruffians both in town and country, who brought disgrace upon the cause of Reform, and gave a pretext for charging the masses of the people with a lawless spirit and revolutionary tendencies. Carlile and Cobbett were the chief incendiaries. Both were brought to trial; Carlile was fined 2,000 and sentenced to two years' imprisonment, but Cobbett was acquitted as the jury were unable to agree.

The continued resistance of the English Government meanwhile was rousing the quick blood of Ireland. The old Catholic Convention of 1793 was revived, and from year to year met and passed increasingly strong resolutions in Dublin. In 1810 its meetings, and the agitation it occasioned throughout the kingdom, became very conspicuous. A private letter was circulated all over the country, recommending the appointment of committees everywhere in order to the preparation of a monster petition. It was resolved that as soon as the Convention met, it should sit in permanence, so as to keep up an incessant action throughout the country. The Government took alarm, and Mr. Wellesley Pole, Secretary of State for Ireland, issued a letter to the sheriffs and chief magistrates throughout Ireland, ordering them to arrest all persons concerned in sending up delegates to this Convention. No sooner was this known in England than Lord Moira in the Lords, and Mr. Ponsonby in the Commons, adverted to the subject, and called for a copy of all correspondence by Government upon it. The demand was resisted in both Houses. On the 4th of April Lord Stanhope moved a resolution that the letter of Mr. Wellesley Pole was a violation of the law,[167] being, in fact, a prohibition of his Majesty's subjects to assemble for the purpose of petitioning Parliament. This was negatived by twenty-one votes against six.

Though the genius and services of Pitt to his country have been overrated, he was a man of great and persevering energies, of remarkable talent and conspicuous oratory; but his temperament was cold, proud, self-glorifying, and imperious, without either the deep insight or the comprehensive grasp of genius.

On the 25th of November Parliament was opened, and the king, in his speech, made a strong appeal to the country for support against the unprovoked war on the part of France and Spain. The Marquis of Rockingham, in proposing an amendment on the Address in the Lords, was extremely severe. He concluded by moving that every part of the Address, except the title, should be expunged, and that, instead of what then stood, a prayer should be inserted that his Majesty would reflect on the extent of territory which marked the opening of his reign, the opulence and power, the reputation abroad, the concord at home, to which he had succeeded, and now on the endangered, impoverished, enfeebled, distracted, and even dismembered, state of the whole, after the enormous grants of his successive Parliaments, and calling on him, as the only[262] remedy of impending ruin, to dismiss his present evil councillors, and summon new and more auspicious ones. The language was crushing, but it derived its force from its undeniable truth. Lord John Cavendish moved a similar amendment in the Commons; and the Opposition declared that it was well that his Majesty's speech expressed trust in Divine Providence, for Providence was the only friend that his Government had now left; and that our arms, both on sea and land, were paralysed by the scandalous practice of putting at the head of the army and navy mere Court favourites, and by the want of all vigour and sagacity of planning and following up our campaigns. Fox went further, and asserted that weakness and stupidity could not effect the wholesale shame and ruin that surrounded us; that there must be treachery somewhere; and that, if this were driven a little further, the people would seize on arms, and chase the miserable Cabinet from its abused seat. Lord North made the best reply that the circumstances admitted; but there were no symptoms of the Ministers resigning, or being removed by the infatuated monarch, and the amendments were rejected in both Houses, as a matter of course.

Joseph Mallord William Turner (born in 1775) has been pronounced as "essentially the great founder of English landscape painting, the greatest poet-artist our nation has yet produced. He excelled in everythingfrom the mere diagram and topographic map to the most consummate truth and the most refined idealism. In every touch of his there was profound thought and meaning." He was unrivalled in storms; as Napoleon said of Kleber, "He wakes on the day of battle." The remark of Admiral Bowles, when looking at Turner's "Wreck of the Minotaur," conveyed the highest compliment to his art"No ship could live in such a sea." His "Man Overboard" is a still higher effort of genius, in conveying an expression of horror and utter despair. He was the best illustrator of our national poets. He made known to Englishmen[432] the beauties of their native land, and made them acquainted with the picturesque on the Continent. He gave our young artists love for colour, and made us the Venetians of the modern school. From "The fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Moorings," to "Wilkie's Burial," and the "Burning of the Houses of Parliament," he let no event of his age pass without record or comment. He died in 1851.