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But our military achievements in the East Indies were on a scale to throw even these successes far into the shade. Lord Wellesley, the Governor-General, was entreated by the Peishwa of Poonah to assist him against the other Mahratta chiefs, Scindiah and Holkar. The Peishwa had been driven out of his territory by these chiefs, aided principally by the military talents of M. Perron, a Frenchman, who had for many years entered, with several other French officers, on the fall of the Mysore power, into the service of Scindiah. He had been extremely successful, and had been rewarded with a wide territory on the Jumna; and when, in 1793, Shah Allum, the Mogul, had been made prisoner, he had been consigned to the custody of M. Perron. The Frenchman had now given his aid to expel the Peishwa, and Lord Wellesley, in sending General Lake to restore the Peishwa, authorised him to attempt to win over M. Perron to the British interest by very brilliant offers of property and distinction, for Perron was deemed avaricious. The temptation, however, failed, both with Perron and his French officers. He took the field in support of Scindiah, with seventeen thousand infantry, from fifteen to twenty thousand Mahratta horse, and a numerous train of artillery.

"No words," says Sir Archibald Alison, "can convey an adequate idea of the astonishment which the announcement of this project of Reform created in the House of Commons and the country. Nothing approaching to it had ever been witnessed before, or has been since. Men's minds were prepared for a change, perhaps a very considerable one, especially in the enfranchising of new cities and towns which were unrepresented; but it never entered into the imagination of any human being out of the Cabinet that so sweeping and entire a change would be proposed, especially by the king's Ministers. The Tories had never dreaded such a revolution; the Radicals had never hoped for it. Astonishment was the universal feeling. Many laughed outright; none thought the Bill could pass. It was supposed by many that Ministers neither intended nor desired it, but wished only to establish a thorn in the side of their adversaries, which should prevent them from holding power if they succeeded in displacing them. So universal was this feeling, that it is now generally admitted that had Sir Robert Peel, instead of permitting the debate to go on, instantly divided the House, on the plea that the proposed measure was too revolutionary to be for a moment entertained, leave to bring in the Bill would have been refused by a large majority. The Cabinet Ministers themselves are known to have thought at the time that their official existence then hung upon a thread." Such a result, however, was most unlikely, as Sir Robert Inglis and other Tory orators were eager to speak, having collected precedents, arguments, and quotations against the Bill. These they proceeded to impart to the House. After a debate of seven nights, the Bill was read a first time, without a division, and the second reading was set down for the 21st of March.

It was no wonder that Spain, feeling the serious effects of this state of things, should resist it; and when she did so, and exerted an unusual degree of vigilance, then the most terrible outcries were raised, and wonderful stories were circulated of Spanish cruelties to our people beyond the Atlantic. At this time the Opposition got hold of one of these, and made the House of Commons and the nation resound with it. It was, that one Captain Robert Jenkins, who had been master of a sloop trading from Jamaica, had been boarded and searched by a Coastguard, and treated in a most barbarous manner, though they could detect no proof of smuggling in his vessel. He said that the Spanish captain had cut off one of his ears, bidding him carry it to his king, and tell his Majesty that if he were present he would treat him in the same manner. This story was now seven years old, but it was not the less warmly received on that account. It excited the utmost horror, and Jenkins was ordered to appear at the bar of the House of Commons on the 16th of March, to give an account of the outrage himself; and it would appear that both he and other witnesses were examined the same day. Jenkins carried his ear about with him wrapped in cotton, to show to those to whom he related the fact, and the indignation was intense. He was asked by a member how he felt when he found himself in the hands of such barbarians, and he replied, "I recommended my soul to God, and my cause to my country." The worthy skipper had probably been crammed with this dramatic sentiment by some of his clever Parliamentary introducers; but its effect was all the same as if it had been a genuine and involuntary expression of his own mind. Researches made at the Admiralty in 1889 proved that he really had lost an ear.

The Irish Viceroy appointed by Lord Grey was the Marquis of Anglesey. The interval between his two viceroyalties extended over a period of nearly two years, during which the Duke of Northumberland was at the head of the Irish Government. The manner in which relief was granted to Roman Catholics, expressly as a concession to violence wrung from the fears of the legislature, confirmed the wildest notions of the people with respect to their own power. The offensive exclusion of O'Connell by the terms of the Emancipation Act deprived the concession of much of its grace and power of conciliation; and now negotiations for making him Master of the Rolls broke down. In consequence of the securities with which the Emancipation Act was associated, the latter part of the year 1829 and the whole of 1830 were miserably distinguished in Ireland by party conflicts and outrages. To the government of the country thus torn and convulsed Lord Anglesey was again called in December of the latter year, and, considering his antecedents, no appointment was likely to prove so popular. "Nevertheless," says Lord Cloncurry, "neither support nor forbearance were accorded to Lord Anglesey. From the moment when it was known that he was reappointed, he was treated by the demagogues as an enemy. And the extraordinary progress of Liberalism made during his lieutenancy must in candour be set down to the account of his courage and perseverance in fighting the cause of the people against both themselves and their enemies." On the eve of his departure for Ireland he wrote to Lord Cloncurry, saying, "O'Connell is my avant-courier. He starts to-day with more mischief in hand than I have yet seen him charged with. I saw him yesterday for an hour and a half. I made no impression upon him whatever; and I am now thoroughly convinced that he is bent upon desperate agitation. All this will produce no change in my course and conduct. For the love of Ireland I deprecate agitation. I know it is the only thing that can prevent her from prospering; for there[327] is in this country a growing spirit to take Ireland by the hand, and a determination not to neglect her and her interests; therefore, I pray for peace and repose. But if the sword is really to be drawn, and with it the scabbard is to be thrown awayif I, who have suffered so much for her, am to become a suspected character, and to be treated as an enemyif, for the protection of the State, I am driven to the dire necessity of again turning soldierwhy, then, I must endeavour to get back into old habits, and to live amongst a people I love in a state of misery and distress."

CHAPTER V. THE REIGN OF GEORGE IV. On the afternoon of this day, Monday, the 11th of May, as the Minister was entering the House, about five o'clock, a man of gentlemanly appearance presented a pistol, and shot him deadat least, he did not survive two minutes. In the confusion and consternation the man might have escaped, but he made no such attempt; he walked up to the fireplace, laid down his pistol on a bench, and said, in answer to those inquiring after the murderer, that he was the person. He gave his name as Bellingham, expressed satisfaction at the deed, but said that he should have been more pleased had it been Lord Leveson Gower. In fact, his prime intention was to shoot Lord Gower, but he had also his resentment against Perceval, and therefore took the opportunity of securing one of his victims. It appeared that he had been a Liverpool merchant, trading to Russia, and that, during the embassy of Lord Leveson Gower at St. Petersburg he had suffered severe and, as he deemed, unjust losses, for assistance in the redress of which with the Russian Government he had in vain sought the good offices of the ambassador. On his return to England he had applied to Perceval; but that Minister did not deem it a case in which Government could interfere, and hence the exasperation of the unhappy man against both diplomatists. The trial of the murderer came on at the Old Bailey, before Chief Justice Mansfield, on the Friday of the same week. A plea of insanity was put in by Bellingham's counsel, and it was demanded that the trial should be postponed till inquiries could be made at Liverpool as to his antecedents. But this plea was overruled. Bellingham himself indignantly rejected the idea of his being insane. He declared that the act was the consequence of a cool determination to punish the Minister for the refusal of justice to him, and he again repeated, in the presence of Lord Leveson Gower, that his chief object had been himself for his cruel disregard of his wrongs. Both Lord Mansfield and the rest of the judges would hear of no delay; a verdict of "Wilful Murder" was brought in by the jury, and they condemned him to be hanged, and he was duly hanged on the following Monday at nine o'clock, exactly the day week of the perpetration of the act.

MEN OF WAR OFF PORTSMOUTH.

During this campaign Catherine had made great progress in her road to Constantinople. Suvaroff had reduced Ismail, a remarkably strong place, which was the key of the lower Danube and the only obstruction of any importance to the Russian advance to the Balkan mountains and to Constantinople. This city had been taken by storm, after a most desperate defence, on the 25th of December, and when, with a little more resistance, the Russians would have been compelled to quit the field by the severity of the season. The carnage on this occasion was of the most frightful kind. The Russians themselves lost nearly ten thousand men, and the Turks thirty thousand peoplemen, women, and children, who were indiscriminately butchered by the orders of Suvaroff, who said to his soldiers, "Brothers, no quarter to-day, for bread is scarce." Every horror possible[375] in war, especially between barbarians, was perpetrated by the Russian hordes in Ismail, who were guilty of the most diabolical atrocities, such as burning whole streets, mosques, and serais. Suvaroff sat down and wrote in Russian rhyme the words quoted by Lord Byron in "Don Juan," "Glory to God and the Empress, Ismail is ours." When Sir Charles Whitworth, the British ambassador, next saw Catherine, she said, in allusion to some strong remonstrances from Britain and Prussia, which took care not to go beyond remonstrances, which were cheap"Since the king, your master, wishes to drive me out of Petersburg I hope he will permit me to retire to Constantinople." The Czarina Catherine still continued her war on the Ottoman empire. The Turks gained several advantages over the Russians on the shores of the Black Sea, and near the Danube, but they were severely repulsed in an attempt to drive the Russians from their conquests between the Black and Caspian Seas, and suffered a terrible slaughter on the banks of the River Kuban. Then Britain, Prussia, Holland, and Austria, from the Congress of Reichenbach, announced to Catherine that they were resolved not to permit further encroachments on Turkey, but Catherine paid not the slightest attention to their remonstrances.

As winter approached, the state of things assumed a more portentous aspect. The leading agitators were themselves dismayed when they looked down the precipice to the edge of which they had brought the nation. O'Connell at the end of September issued an address, urging the people to discontinue their assemblies, and they obeyed. His lieutenants were exceedingly anxious that the Liberal Protestants should take an active part as mediators in order, if possible, to avert a disastrous collision. A good occasion was offered by the visit of Lord Morpeth to Ireland. This enlightened and accomplished noblemanalways the friend of civil and religious liberty, destined to preside over the Government of Ireland, as Viceroy, when the rgime of civil equality was fully established, and to be the congenial interpreter of its spiritwas then invited to a great banquet, which was attended by all the leading friends of civil and religious liberty in and about Dublin, Protestant and Catholic. The Duke of Leinster was in the chair, and Mr. Sheil appealed to him, in the most eloquent terms, by all that was patriotic and glorious in the history of his ancestors the Geraldineswhich for seven hundred years formed a great part of the history of Ireland, and who were in past times considered more Irish than the Irish themselvesto put himself at the head of the Liberal party.

In the meanwhile her Majesty was pleased to communicate to the members of the Privy Council assembled at Buckingham Palace on the 23rd of[467] November, her intention of contracting an alliance with a Prince of the family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The story of her affection for her cousin is well known through Sir Theodore Martin's admirable "Life of the Prince Consort." The declaration was made by her Majesty in the following terms:"I have caused you to be summoned at the present time in order that I may acquaint you with my resolution in a matter which deeply concerns the welfare of my people and the happiness of my future life. It is my intention to ally myself in marriage with the Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Deeply impressed with the solemnity of the engagement which I am about to contract, I have not come to this decision without mature consideration, nor without feeling a strong assurance that, with the blessing of Almighty God, it will at once secure my domestic felicity, and serve the interests of my country. I have thought fit to make this resolution known to you at the earliest period, in order that you may be fully apprised of a matter so highly important to me and to my kingdom, and which, I persuade myself, will be most acceptable to all my loving subjects." Upon this announcement the Council humbly requested that her Majesty's most gracious declaration might be made public, which her Majesty was pleased to order accordingly.

Still more have "The Seasons" and "The Castle of Indolence" of James Thomson retained, and are likely to retain, the public favour. "The Seasons" is a treasury of the life and imagery of the country, animated by a true love of Nature and of God, and abounding in passages of fire, healthy feeling, and strong sense, often of sublime conceptions, in a somewhat stiff and vicious style. "The Castle of Indolence" is a model of metrical harmony and luxurious fancy, in the Spenserian stanza. Another poet of the same time and countryScotlandis Allan Ramsay, who, in his native dialect, has painted the manners and sung the rural loves of Scotland in his "Gentle Shepherd" and his rustic lyrics. Till Burns, no Scottish poet so completely embodied the spirit, feelings, and popular life of his country. Amongst a host of verse-makers, then deemed poets, but who were merely imitators of imitators, we must except Gray, with his nervous lyrics, and, above all, his ever-popular "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." Gray also has a genuine vein of wit and merriment in his verse. Collins was a poet who under happier conditions might have done the greatest things. Parnell's "Hermit," Blair's "Grave," Shenstone's "School Mistress," Akenside's "Imagination," can yet charm some readers, and there are others in great numbers whose works yet figure in collections of the poets, or whose individual poems are selected in anthologies, as Smith, King, Sprat Bishop of Rochester, Duke, Montague Earl of Halifax, Nicholas Rowe, Dyerauthor of the "Fleece," "Grongar Hill," and "Ruins of Rome,"Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire, Fenton, Somervilleauthor of "The Chase," "Field Sports," etc.,Hammondauthor of "Love Elegies,"Lord Lyttelton, Mallet, Mickleauthor of the ballads of "Cumnor Hall," "There's Nae Luck about the House," and translator of the "Lusiad" of Camoens,Shaw, Harte, West, Cawthorne, Lloyd, Gilbert Cooper, Graingerauthor of "The Sugar Cane," and the once popular ballad of "Bryan and Pereene,"Dodsley, poet and bookseller, Boyseauthor of "The Deity," a poem, etc.,Smollettmore remarkable as a novelist and historian,Michael Bruce, Walsh, Falconerauthor of "The Shipwreck,"Yalden, Pattison, Aaron Hill, Broome, Pittthe translator of Virgil,John Philipsauthor of "Cider," a poem, "The Splendid Shilling," etc.,West, and others. In fact, this age produced poets enough to have constituted the rhythmical literature of a nation, had they had as much genius as they had learning.

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