The whole mode of coming into possession of these papers has something in it revolting to all honourable minds. Franklin, aware of this, insisted that they should not be printed nor made public, but only circulated amongst a select few. But the same motives which had induced Franklin to break his pledged secrecy, operated on the Assembly. They determined to make them public, and therefore pretended that other copies of them had reached them from England, and that they were thus absolved from all conditions of secrecy. This was totally false. The story was invented for the occasion, and the letters, without the name of Whately, to whom they had been addressed, were published by the Assembly. It was left to be inferred by the public, that they had been sent officially to England by the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, and the Assembly voted the writing of them ample evidence of a fixed design on the part of the British Government to destroy the Constitution and establish arbitrary power. A petition was dispatched to be presented by Franklin to the king, calling for the removal of Hutchinson and Oliver from their posts. When these letters were read under these false impressions, sentiments were found in them which assumed a wholly exaggerated character, and the flame produced was, as Franklin and the Assembly intended, of the most furious kind.

With the war the manufacture of guns and arms of all kinds was greatly increased, and several important improvements were made in the construction of gun-barrels and their breeches. All kinds of cutlery were improved, but, at the same time, both Government, by contractors, and foreign countries, by merchants, were imposed on by articles that had more show than use, to the serious injury of the British reputation. Knives and razors were sent out of mere iron, and our pioneers and sappers and miners were often supplied with axes, picks, and shovels more resembling lead than iron. Whilst the French had been thus beating the Austrians out of Italy, and thus rendering abortive our new and lavish subsidy to the Emperor, Ministers had been busy in the election of a new Parliament. This new Parliament assembled on the 6th of October, and was full of patriotism. As Hoche's army had not yet sailed, and as nobody seemed to know its destination, Pitt represented that it probably was for the coast of England, and called for the enrolment of fifteen thousand men from the parishes, half of whom were to be sent into the navy, and for sixty thousand militia and twenty thousand more yeomen cavalry, all which were carried. On the 26th of October Windham, as Secretary at War, announced the whole military force of the country at home and abroad, apart from the troops in the East Indies, which were raised and maintained by the Company, to be one hundred and ninety-six thousand men, and he demanded for their payment five million one hundred and ninety thousand pounds. On the 7th of November Pitt opened his Budget, requiring no less than twenty-seven million nine hundred and forty-five thousand pounds for the total expenditure of the year. There was another loan called for of eighteen million pounds, and though the terms were then considered low, such was the spirit of the nation that the amount was subscribed within two days.


"To call Parliament together on the 27th instant, to ask for indemnity and a sanction of the order by law.

Parliament reassembled, according to the Minister's plan, at the unusually early date of the 22nd of January, 1846. The Queen's Speech, read by her Majesty in person, thus alluded to the topic most prominent in the public mind:

The measure, which was founded on the recommendations of the report, was advocated principally by Lord John Russell, Lord Melbourne, and Mr. C. Hobhouse. The plan was intended to provide for 183 corporations, extending to a population of at least 2,000,000. Many of these corporations governed large and important towns, of which they did not sufficiently represent the property, intelligence, and population. In Bedford the corporation composed only one in seventy of the people, and one-fortieth of the property. In Oxford there were only 1,400 electors, and seldom more than 500 voted at an election. In Norwich 315 of the electors were paupers. In Cambridge there were only 118 freemen, out of a population of 20,000; and while the annual rental was more than 25,000, the property of freemen amounted to little more than 2,000. These were only samples of the strange anomalies that everywhere prevailed. It was obvious to every one that corporations so constituted were altogether unfitted for the objects which they were originally designed to answer. On the contrary, they tended directly to frustrate those objects, and to render the proper government of towns impracticable. They engendered jealousy and distrust between the small governing power and the body of the people. A few persons carrying on the government for their own benefit were connected with a portion of the lower classes, whose votes they purchased and whose habits they demoralised. With such a monopoly the grossest abuses were inevitable. Charitable funds, often large in amount, which had been left for the benefit of the whole people, were either lavishly distributed among the venal dependents of the governing body, squandered on civic feasts, or spent in bribing the freemen in order to secure their votes. In short, the general if not the universal practice had been to use the powers of municipal corporations, not for the good government or benefit of the towns over which they presidednot in order that they might be well and quietly governed in the terms of the charters, but for the sole purpose of establishing an interest which might be useful in the election of members of Parliament.

Rodney, on reaching the West Indies, found, as we shall see, a combined fleet of French under the Count de Guichen, and of Spanish under Admiral Solano; but he could not bring them to an engagement, and, after a brief brush, they eventually eluded him, Solano taking refuge in Havana, and De Guichen convoying the home-bound merchant ships of France. Disappointed in his hopes[272] of a conflict with these foes, Rodney sailed for the North American coasts. Scarcely had he quitted the European waters, however, when the Spaniards took a severe revenge for his victory over them at St. Vincent. Florida Blanca, the Minister of Spain, learnt, through his spies in England, that the English East and West Indian traders were going out under a very foolishly feeble escortin fact, of only two ships of the line. Elated at the news, Florida Blanca collected every vessel that he could, and dispatched them, under Admirals Cordova and Gaston, to intercept this precious prize. The enterprise was most successful. The Spanish fleet lay in wait at the point where the East and West India vessels separate, off the Azores, captured sixty sail of merchantmen, and carried them safe into Cadiz. The two vessels of war escaped, but in the East Indiamen were eighteen hundred soldiers going out to reinforce the troops in the East.

The Hanoverian dynasty and the Walpole Ministry made rapid strides in popularity, and carried all before them. The new Parliament met in January, 1728, and Walpole's party had in the House four hundred and twenty-seven members, all staunch in his support. So strong was the party in power, that several measures were carried which at other times would have raised discontent. It was proposed by Horace Walpole that two hundred and thirty thousand pounds should be voted for maintaining twelve thousand Hessians in the king's service. The Duke of Brunswick was, by treaty, to be paid twenty-five thousand pounds a year for four years for the maintenance of five thousand more troops.

During this brilliant campaign in Italy, Moreau, in Germany, had beaten General Kray in several engagements, advanced to Ulm, and there, crossing the Danube, had overrun a great part of Bavaria, and had made himself master of Munich and menaced Vienna. On hearing of the armistice in Italy, the Emperor demanded one for Austria, to continue till September; and Buonaparte, seeing that the Czar Paul had ceased to support Austria, recommended the Emperor to make peace with[478] France. The Emperor required that Britain should be included in it. But Napoleon demanded a separate negotiation, which Austria was afraid to grant. No sooner was this answer received in Paris than Buonaparte gave the word for renewed and vigorous action, both in Italy and Germany. Moreau advanced by Salzburg towards Vienna, whilst Brune drove the Austrians from the Mincio, and over the Adige and the Brenta to the very vicinity of Venice, whilst Macdonald occupied the passes of the Tyrol, ready to march to the support of the army either in Italy or Germany. The Archduke John met Moreau near Haag, and for a moment worsted him; but on the 2nd of December the two armies came to a general engagement at Hohenlinden, between the rivers Iser and Inn, in which the Austrians were routed, with a loss of ten thousand men. Moreau advanced and occupied Salzburg, and trembling for the safety of Vienna itself, the Emperor hastened to make peace. An armistice was signed on the 25th of December, and the treaty was concluded at Lunville on the 9th of February, 1801. By this treaty all the conditions of the Treaty of Campo Formio were renewed, and the frontier of the Rhine was again ceded to France.

The Cabinet met again on the 25th, when Sir Robert Peel informed his colleagues that, in the position of affairs, he could not abstain from advising the immediate suspension, by Order in Council, of the restrictive law of importation, or the early assembling of Parliament for the purpose of proposing a permanent change. Lord Aberdeen, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and Sir James Graham supported him. The Duke of Wellington gave a reluctant adhesion. It then became known that Lord Stanley had withdrawn from the Ministry, and it was believed that the Duke of Buccleuch intended to follow his example. The majority of the Cabinet had decided in favour of a permanent reduction in the sliding scale; but the position of the Minister was now too uncertain for him to attempt to carry through his measures. A resignation was the only step which could show the true strength of parties, and determine who would and who would not follow the Minister in that course which, if he was to return to power, he had finally resolved to take. On the 5th of December he announced his determination to her Majesty, and the public learned that the Peel Administration was at an end.

This memorable controversy between the Prime Minister and the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, exhibiting a painful conflict of opinion and feeling between the two personages more particularly charged with the government of the country in the midst of a dangerous crisis, was brought to a close by a letter from the Duke of Wellington on the 28th of December. The following is a copy: