Through all these arrangements Lord North continued to persist in his resignation. If the king had had any glimmering of what was necessary to save the colonies, he would himself have removed North long ago. But the only man who could take the place with any probability of success, or with any of the confidence of the public, was Lord Chatham, whom the king regarded with increasing aversion. Chatham's pride, which would not stoop an inch to mere outside royalty, feeling the higher royalty of his own mind, so far from seeking office, must himself be sought, and this deeply offended the monarch. Lord North could point to no other efficient successor, and George angrily replied that, as regarded "Lord Chatham and his crew," he would not condescend to send for "that perfidious man" as Prime Minister; he would only do it to offer him and his friends places in the Ministry of Lord North.

This concession, though deemed by the Home Government a large one, did not satisfy the Canadians. They took it as an instalment, but gave no pledge to make the return that was sought, by liquidating the arrears. In their answer to the Governor they said, "The great body of the people of this province, without distinction, consider the extension of the elective principle, and its application to the constitution of the Legislative Council in particular, and the repeal of the Acts passed in Great Britain on matters concerning the internal government of the province, as fully within the jurisdiction of the provincial Parliament, as well as the privileges conferred by such Acts; and the full and unrestrained enjoyment on the part of the legislature and of this House of their legislative and constitutional rights, as being essential to the prosperity and welfare of his Majesty's faithful subjects in Canada, as well as necessary to insure their future confidence in his Government, their future contentment under it, and to remove the causes which have been obstacles to it." Mr. Roebuck had become their champion and paid agent in the British House of Commons, and one of their first acts was to insert the agent's bill for the amount of his expenses (500) in the public accounts. This the Government refused to sanction, whereupon the Assembly took it upon them to pass it themselves without such sanction. The temper exhibited on both sides in these proceedings indicated no sign of a fair prospect of conciliation between the ruler and the ruled, more especially as the British Government exhibited anything but a conciliatory spirit. The discontent and agitation went on increasing during the following year. The Assembly rose in its demands, still persisting in refusing to vote the supplies. They required that the "executive council" of the Governor should be subjected to their control, and that their proceedings should be made public. The Assembly, in fact, had become quite refractory, owing to the violent measures of the democratic party, led on by Papineau, the Canadian O'Connell. But the year 1809 opened with one auspicious circumstance. There was no relief from the necessity of continuing the flight; but the proud Corsican, who hoped to annihilate the "English leopards," was suddenly arrested in his pursuit, and called away to contend with other foes. On the 1st of January he was in Astorga, and from the heights above it could see the straggling rear of the British army. Nothing but the most imperative urgency prevented him from following, and seeking a triumph over the hated Britishbut that urgency was upon him. Pressing dispatches from France informed him that the North was in ferment, and that Austria was taking the field. The intelligence was too serious to admit of a moment's delay; but he made sure that Soult could now conquer the British, and on the 2nd he turned his face northward, and travelled to Paris with a speed equal to that with which he had reached Spain. Amherst had now ten thousand men; and though he had to carry all his baggage and artillery over the Ontario in open boats, and to pass the rapids of the upper St. Lawrence, he made a most able and prosperous march, reducing the fort of ?le Royale on the way, and reached the isle of Montreal on the very same day as Murray, and a day before Haviland. Vaudreuil saw that resistance was hopeless, and capitulated on the 8th of September. The French were, according to contract, sent home, under engagement not to come against us during the remainder of the war. Besides this, Lord Byron chased a squadron of three frigates, convoying twenty store-ships to Quebec, into the Bay of Chaleur, and there destroyed them. Thus all the French possessions in North America, excepting the recent and feeble settlement of New Orleans, remained in our hands.


When the French saw that Ormonde could not induce the mercenary troops to move, they refused to surrender Dunkirk, and an English detachment which arrived there to take possession found the gates shut in their faces. At this insult the British troops burst out into a fury of indignation. The officers as well as the men were beside themselves with shame, and shed tears of mortification, remembering the glorious times under Marlborough. Ormonde himself, thus disgraced, thus helplessfor he had not the satisfaction, even, of being able to avenge himself on the French,thus deserted by the auxiliaries, and made a laughing-stock to all Europe by the crooked and base policy of his Government, retired from before the walls of Dunkirk, and directed his course towards Douay. The Dutch shut their gates against him, and he finally retired in ignominy to England.

Such were the means by which the union of Ireland with Great Britain was accomplished, and it would be idle to argue that a majority in the Irish Parliament was not purchased by places, pensions, peerages, and compensation for suppressed seats. But it was a bargain, made above-board, and in the open market. It was, moreover, in agreement with the sentiment of the age, a borough-owner was thought to have a right "to do what he willed with his own," and Pitt, in one of his own Reform bills, had acted on the theory that boroughs were a species of property. Lord Cornwallis, though he acknowledged that he was engaged in dirty work, declared that the union was imperatively necessary, and could be accomplished only by those means. The Irish Parliament was profoundly corrupt, and from no point of view could its extinction be regretted, but that extinction could be accomplished only by further corruption. Nor is there any proof that the Irish nation as a whole were opposed to the union. It was, of course, hard on a pure patriot like Grattan to be involved in the fate of a corrupt gang of placemen, but, as a Protestant, he only[476] represented the minority. The Catholics were either indifferent, with the indifference resulting from long oppression, or in favour of the measure. They knew that from the Irish Parliament it had become, since the Rebellion, hopeless to expect Catholic emancipation; they believed the assurances of Pitt that a measure for their relief would speedily be introduced in the British Parliament. Had he been able to fulfil his promise, the union would have beento use Macaulay's familiar phrasea union indeed.

Miserably as Arnold had passed the winter in his camp, as spring approached he again planted his batteries above Quebec, but produced so little effect that Carleton lay still in expectation of his reinforcements on the breaking up of the river. On the 1st of April General Wooster arrived, and took the command, much to the disgust of Arnold, who was sent to command a detachment at[224] Montreal. On the 1st of May, General Thomas, who was to be supreme in command, arrived, and found the forces amounting to about two thousand men. The river was now opening; and on the 6th of May three English ships had made their way up to Quebec, full of troops. Two companies of the 29th Regiment and one hundred marines were immediately landed amid the rejoicings of the inhabitants; and General Carleton gave instant orders to issue forth and attack the American lines. But General Thomas, conscious that, so far from being able to take Quebec, he should be himself taken, unless he decamped with all haste, was already on the move. General Carleton pursued him vigorously, and the retreat of the Americans became a regular rout. They threw themselves into boats at the Three Rivers, leaving behind them all their artillery and stores, as well as the sick, who were numerous, the smallpox having broken out amongst them. Thomas managed to reach Fort Chambly and St. John's on the Sorel; but there he died, having taken the smallpox.


Though there had appeared a lull in American affairs for some time, any one who was observant might have seen that all the old enmities were still working in the colonial mind, and that it would require little irritation to call them forth in even an aggravated form. Lord Hillsborough was no longer Governor, but William Legge, Lord Dartmouth. He was a man of high reputation for uprightness and candour; Richardson said that he would be the perfect ideal of his Sir Charles Grandison, if he were not a Methodist; and the poet Cowper, not objecting to his Methodism, described him as "one who wears a coronet and prays." But Lord Dartmouth, with all his superiority of temper and his piety, could not prevent the then stone-blind Cabinet and infatuated king from accomplishing the independence of America.

The minute subdivision of land which placed the population in a state of such complete dependence upon the potato was first encouraged by the landlords, in order to multiply the number of voters, and increase their Parliamentary interest; but subsequently, as the population increased, it became in a great measure the work of the people themselves. The possession of land afforded the only certain means of subsistence, and a farm was therefore divided among the sons of the family, each one, as he was marriedwhich happened earlyreceiving some share, and each daughter also often getting a slice as her marriage-portion. In vain were clauses against subletting inserted in leases; in vain was the erection of new houses prohibited; in vain did the landlord threaten the tenant. The latter relied upon the sympathy of his class to prevent ejectment, and on his own ingenuity to defeat the other impediments to his favourite mode of providing for his family. This process was at length carried to an extreme that became perfectly ludicrous. Instead of each sub-tenant or assignee of a portion of the farm receiving his holding in one compact lot, he obtained a part of each particular quality of land, so that his tenement consisted of a number of scattered patches, each too small to be separately fenced, and exposed to the constant depredations of his neighbours' cattle, thus affording a fruitful source of quarrels, and utterly preventing the possibility of any improved system of husbandry. These small patches, however, were not numerous enough to afford "potato gardens" for the still increasing population, and hence arose the conacre system, by which those who occupied no land were enabled to grow potatoes for themselves. Tempted by the high rent, which varied from 8 to 14 an acre without manure, the farmers gave to the cottiers in their neighbourhood the use of their land merely for the potato crop, generally a quarter of an Irish acre to each. On this the cottier put all the manure he could make by his pig, or the children could scrape off the road during the year, and "planted" his crop of potatoes, which he relied upon as almost the sole support of his family. On it he also fed the pig, which paid the rent, or procured clothes and other necessaries if he had been permitted to pay the rent with his own labour. The labourer thus became a commercial speculator in potatoes. He mortgaged his labour for part of the ensuing year for the rent of his field. If his speculation proved successful, he was able to replace his capital, to fatten his pig, and to support himself and his family, while he cleared off his debt to the farmer. If it failed, his former savings were gone, his heap of manure had been expended to no purpose, and he had lost the means of rendering his pig fit for the market. But his debt to the farmer still remained, and the scanty wages which he could earn at some periods of the year were reduced, not only by the increased number of persons looking for work, but also by the diminished ability of the farmers to employ them. Speculation in potatoes, whether on a large or small scale, had always been hazardous in the southern and westerly portions of Ireland. There had been famines from the failure of that crop at various times, and a remarkably severe one in 1822, when Parliament voted 300,000 for public works and other relief purposes, and subscriptions were raised to the amount of 310,000, of which 44,000 was collected in Ireland. In 1831 violent storms and continual rain brought on another failure of the potato crop in the west of Ireland, particularly along the coast of Galway, Mayo, and Donegal. On this occasion the English public, with ready sympathy, again came forward, and subscriptions were raised, amounting to about[537] 75,000. On several other occasions subsequently, the Government found it necessary to advance money for the relief of Irish misery, invariably occasioned by the failure of the potatoes, and followed by distress and disease. The public and the Legislature had therefore repeated warnings of the danger of having millions of people dependent for existence upon so precarious a crop.

The growth of our commerce during these seventy-two years is shown by the amount of our exports. In 1697that is, nine years after the Revolutionthe amount of exports was only 3,525,907; but in the three next years of peace they rose to 6,709,881. War reduced these again to little more than 5,000,000, and at the end of the reign of Anne, during peace, they rose to 8,000,000. At the end of the reign of George I. the war had so much checked our commerce, that the exports scarcely amounted to that sum, the average of the three years1726, 1727, and 1728being only 7,891,739. By the end of the reign of George II., however (1760), they had risen to 14,693,270. Having by this period driven the fleets of France and Spain from the ocean, we rather extended our commerce than injured it. Thus, during these seventy-two years, our exports had increased from about three millions and a half annually to more than fourteen millions and a half annually, or a yearly difference of upwards of eleven millionsa most substantial growth.

Not at all dismayed by this unrighteous severity, the Scottish Friends of the People met in convention, in Edinburgh, on the 9th of October. At this Convention delegates appeared, not only from most of the large towns of Scotland, but also from London, Sheffield, and Dublin. Letters were also received from the Societies in England. Mr. William Skirving, a friend of Muir and Palmer, as secretary to the Convention, read these letters, and other papers, demanding annual parliaments and universal suffrage. As the British Parliament was considered, and truly, merely a corrupt clique of the representatives of boroughmongers, they proposed to apply directly to the king, that he might urge those necessary reforms on the Legislature.[428] In Scottish fashion, the Reformers opened and closed their sittings with prayer, presenting a striking contrast to the French Revolutionists. On the 6th of November delegates appeared from the Society of United Irishmen, and Margarot and Gerald from the Society of the Friends of the People in London. Margarot stated that five hundred constables had beset the meeting in London, to prevent delegates from getting away to this Convention, but that the manufacturing towns of England were almost all in favour of Reform; that in Sheffield alone there were fifty thousand; that a general union of the Reformers of the United Kingdom would strike terror into their enemies, and compel them to grant annual parliaments and universal suffrage.