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A fresh war had broken out with us in India. Tippoo Sahib had resumed hostilities. He conceived the idea of obtaining the aid of an army from France, and of thus driving us, according to his vow, entirely out of India. He opened communications with M. du Fresne, the Governor of Pondicherry, which Britain had very imprudently restored to France at the peace after the American war. M. Leger, civil administrator in England, brought Tippoo's proposals to Paris. Louis replied to the proposal that the matter too keenly reminded him of the endeavour to destroy the power of Britain in America, in which advantage had been taken of his youth, and which he should never cease to regret. He had learned too deeply the severe retribution which the propagation of Republicanism had brought upon him. But, without waiting the arrival of the hoped-for French troops, Tippoo had broken into the territories of the British ally, the Rajah of Travancore, and by the end of 1789 had nearly overrun them. Lieutenant-Colonel Floyd, suddenly attacked by Tippoo with an overwhelming force, had been compelled to retire before him, with severe losses amongst his sepoys. But General Medows advanced from Trichinopoly with fifteen thousand men, and following nearly the route so splendidly opened up by Colonel Fullarton, took several fortresses. Tippoo retreated to his capital, Seringapatam; but there he again threatened Madras; and General Medows was compelled to make a hasty countermarch to prevent that catastrophe. In the meantime, General Abercrombie landed at Tellicherry with seven thousand five hundred men from the presidency of Bombay; took from the Mysoreans all the places which they had gained on the Malabar coast; restored the Hindoo Rajahs, who, in turn, helped him to expel the forces of Tippoo from the territories of the Rajah of Travancore, who was completely re-established. This was the result of the war up to the end of the year 1790; but Tippoo still menaced fresh aggressions.Burnet describes the state of religion and intelligence in the nation at the period of Anne's reign as most lamentable, the clergy as "dead and lifeless: the most remiss in their labours in private, and the least severe in their lives," of all that he had seen amongst all religions at home or abroad; the gentry "the worst instructed and the least knowing of any of their rank that he ever went amongst;" and the common people beyond all conception "ignorant in matters of religion." The words of Atterbury, a high Tory, were quite as strong. A description of the state of religion in the country, drawn up by him, was presented by Convocation to the queen, which stated that "the manifest growth of immorality and profaneness," "the relaxation and decay of the discipline of the Church," the "disregard to all religious places, persons, and things," had scarcely had a parallel in any age. Dr. Calamy, a great Nonconformist, equally complains that the "decay of real religion, both in and out of the Church," was most visible. Under the Georges much the same state of affairs[143] prevailed. The episcopal bench was Whig, though very apathetic; while the clergy were Tory, and disinclined to listen to their superiors.

The Coronation—Fears of Eminent Men—The Cholera—The Waverers—Lord John Russell introduces the third Reform Bill—Its Progress through the Commons—The Second Reading carried in the Lords—Behind the Scenes—Feeling in the Country—Disfranchisement Clauses postponed—Grey resigns—Ebrington's Resolution—Wellington attempts to form a Ministry—Popular fury—The Run on the Bank—Wellington abandons his post—Grey exacts the King's Consent to the creation of Peers—The Opposition withdrawn—The Bill becomes Law—The Irish Reform Bill—The Bill in the Lords—The Scottish Reform Bill—Becomes Law—Result of the Reform Bills—Mr. Stanley in Ireland—The Tithe-proctor—The Church Cess—Tithe Legislation of 1831—Irish Education—Wyse's Report—Stanley's Bill—Its Provisions for Religious Instruction—General Election—New Parliament—The Coercion Bill—The Church Temporalities Bill—The Poor Law Commission—Its Report—Sketch of the Poor Law System—Provisions of the Poor Law Amendment Act—History of the Emancipation Movement—Mr. Stanley's Resolutions—Provisions of the Act of Emancipation—The Dorsetshire Labourers—The Copenhagen Fields Meeting—Other Meetings and Strikes—Sheil and Lord Althorp—O'Connell's Motion on the union—Baron Smith—Littleton's Tithe Bill—Mr. Ward's Motion—Resignation of Mr. Stanley and his Friends—An Indiscreet Speech of the King's—The Debate on Mr. Ward's Motion—Final Collapse of the Cabinet—Retrospect of Lord Grey's Ministry.

[545]The Queen's marriage has been referred to in connection with the proceedings in Parliament. The details of that interesting event, and other incidents affecting her Majesty's happiness which occurred during the year, will now be recorded. The royal party assembled in the morning of the 10th of February at Buckingham Palace, whence it had been arranged that the members of her Majesty's family and those of Prince Albert's, accompanied by the officers of State, should proceed to St. James's Palace. The entire route along which the royal cortège was to pass was lined by the Horse Guards, while the trumpeters, in their State uniforms, were stationed at intervals to announce the approach of the royal bride and bridegroom. First, the Ladies and Gentlemen of her Majesty's Household, in seven royal carriages, arrived at the garden entrance of St. James's Palace; and then followed the splendid State coach containing her Majesty, her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent, and the Mistress of the Robes. The closet behind the Throne Room had been draped with silk and prepared for the reception of the Queen. There her Majesty, attended by her maids of honour, train-bearers, and bridesmaids, remained until the Lord Chamberlain of her Household marshalled the procession to the Chapel Royal. Soon after her Majesty had entered the closet, the clash of "presented arms," the roll of drums and flourish of trumpets outside, told that the bridegroom had arrived. At a quarter to one o'clock the ring was placed upon her Majesty's finger; outside, the guns thundered forth the intelligence; but their loud booming was nearly drowned by the long-continued shouts of acclamation which arose from the thousands who thronged the park. At the conclusion of the service the Queen Dowager cordially embraced and kissed the bride, and the Prince acknowledged Queen Adelaide's congratulations by kissing her hand. The bride and her royal consort drove at once to Buckingham Palace, and the noble assembly that had witnessed the ceremony retired. After a splendid breakfast at Buckingham Palace the bride and bridegroom took their departure for Windsor Castle. The sun shone out in cloudless lustre just at the moment of their leaving the gateway; the vast concourse of people assembled outside the palace hailed this as a happy omen, and as the carriage containing the royal pair drove off, the air was rent with the most enthusiastic cheering.

Following his words by acts, he set off himself, attended only by a few score sepoys, for Benares. Cheyte Sing came out as far as Buxar to meet the offended Governor, and paid him the utmost homage. He continued his journey with the Rajah in his train, and entered the Rajah's capital, the great Mecca of India, the famed city of Benares, on the 14th of August, 1781. He then made more enormous demands than before; and the compliance of the Rajah not being immediate, he ordered Mr. Markham, his own-appointed resident at Benares, to arrest the Rajah in his palace. Cheyte Sing was a timid man, yet the act of arresting him in the midst of his own subjects, and in a place so sacred, and crowded with pilgrims from every part of the East, was a most daring deed. The effect was instantaneous. The people rose in fury, and pouring headlong to the palace with arms in their hands, they cut to pieces Markham and his sepoys. Had Cheyte Sing had the spirit of his people in him, Hastings and his little party would have been butchered in half an hour. But Cheyte Sing only thought of his own safety. He got across the Ganges, and whole troops of his subjects flocked after him. Thence he sent protestations of his innocence of the émeute, and of his readiness to make any conditions. Hastings, though surrounded and besieged in his quarters by a furious mob, deigned no answer to the suppliant Rajah, but busied himself in collecting all the sepoys in the place. But the situation of Hastings was at every turn becoming more critical. The sepoys, sent to seize Cheyte Sing in the palace of Ramnuggur, were repulsed, and many of them, with their commander, killed. The multitude were now more excited than ever, and that night would probably have seen the last of Warren Hastings, had he not contrived to escape from Benares, and to reach the strong fortress of Chunar, situated on a rock several hundred feet above the Ganges, and about seventeen miles below Benares. Cheyte Sing, for a moment, encouraged by the flight of Hastings, put himself at the head of the enraged people, and, appealing to the neighbouring princes as to his treatment, declared he would drive the English out of the country. But troops and money were speedily sent to Hastings from Lucknow, others marched to Chunar from their cantonments, and he found himself safe amid a sufficient force commanded by the brave Major Popham, the conqueror of Gwalior, to defy the thirty thousand undisciplined followers of Cheyte Sing. From the 29th of August to the 20th of September there were different engagements between the British and the forces of Cheyte Sing; but on every occasion, though the Indians fought bravely they were worsted, and on the last-named day, utterly routed at Pateeta. Cheyte Sing did not wait for the arrival of the British troops; he fled into Bundelcund, and never returned again to Benares. Hastings restored order, and set up another puppet Rajah, a nephew of Cheyte Sing, but raised the annual tribute to forty lacs of rupees, or four hundred thousand pounds a year, and placed the mint and the entire jurisdiction of the province in the hands of his own officers.The Queen reached the western entrance of Westminster Abbey at half-past eleven o'clock, and was there met by the great officers of State, the noblemen bearing the regalia, and the bishops carrying the paten, the chalice, and the Bible. The arrangements in the interior of the Abbey were nearly the same as at the previous coronation, but the decorations were in better taste. Galleries had been erected for the accommodation of spectators, to which about 1,000 persons were admitted. There was also a gallery for the members of the House of Commons, and another for foreign ambassadors. Soon after twelve o'clock the grand procession began to enter the choir, in the order observed on former occasions. The Queen was received with the most hearty plaudits[452] from all parts of the building, and when she was proclaimed in the formula—"Sirs, I here present unto you Queen Victoria—the undoubted Queen of this realm. Wherefore, all you who are come this day to do your homage, are you willing to do the same?"—there was a loud and universal burst of cheering, with cries of "God save the Queen." When the crown was placed on her Majesty's head there was again an enthusiastic cry of "God save the Queen," accompanied by the waving of hats and handkerchiefs. At this moment the peers and peeresses put on their coronets, the bishops their caps, and the kings-of-arms their crowns, the trumpets sounding, the drums beating, the Tower and park guns firing by signal. The Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex removing their coronets, did homage in these words:—"I do become your liege man of life and limb, and of earthly worship and faith and truth I will bear unto you to live and die against all manner of folk, so help me God." They touched the crown on the Queen's head, kissed her left cheek, and then retired. It was observed that her Majesty's bearing towards her uncles was very affectionate. The dukes and other peers then performed their homage, the senior of each rank pronouncing the words. As they retired, each peer kissed her Majesty's hand. The Duke of Wellington, Earl Grey, and Lord Melbourne were loudly cheered as they ascended the steps to the throne. Lord Rolle, who was upwards of eighty, stumbled and fell on the steps. The Queen immediately stepped forward, and held out her hand to assist the aged peer. This touching incident called forth the loudly expressed admiration of the entire assembly. While the ceremony of doing homage was being performed, the Earl of Surrey, Treasurer of the Household, was scattering silver medals of the coronation about the choir and the lower galleries, which were scrambled for with great eagerness. The ceremonials did not conclude till past four o'clock.Sir Francis Burdett once wrote a letter of a single sentence to his friend Lord Cloncurry, as follows:—"Dear Lord Cloncurry, I should like to know what you think would allay Irish agitation? Yours truly, F. B." It would have taken a volume to answer this question, and perhaps, after all, Sir Francis Burdett would not have been satisfied. George IV. thought that his visit would have had that effect, and appearances for a time seemed to justify his sanguine anticipations. The visit had been long meditated. He set out on a yachting excursion soon after the coronation, and arrived at Plymouth on the 1st of August amidst the huzzas of an immense concourse of people. On the following day the royal squadron departed for Ireland, and anchored in the bay at Holyhead on the 7th. The news of his approach threw the people of Dublin into a paroxysm of joy, to which the newspapers of the day gave expression in the most extravagant terms. The blessing that awaited them seemed too great to be realised. Never had they comforted their hours of despondency or flattered themselves in seasons of imagined felicity, with anything approaching to the reality which fortune was about to shower upon them. The king's name, they declared, was more to them than a tower of strength; it had effected what neither patriots, philosophers, nor moralists could ever accomplish.

But the Comprehension Bill was not so fortunate. Ten bishops, with twenty dignified clergymen, were appointed as a commission to make such alterations in the liturgy and canons, and such plans for the reformation of the ecclesiastical courts as, in their opinion, best suited the exigencies of the times, and were necessary to remove the abuses, and render more efficient the services of the Church. The list of these commissioners comprised such men as Tillotson, Stillingfleet, Sharp, Kidder, Hall, Tenison, and Fowler. They met in the Jerusalem Chamber, and began their labours preparatory to this great comprehensive bill. In order to sanction these changes, Convocation was summoned, and then the storm broke loose. The Jacobites and the discontented cried out they were going to pull the Church down; the High Churchmen declared it was a scheme to hand over the Church to the Presbyterians; the Universities cried that all the men engaged in the plan were traitors to the true faith, and the king himself was not spared. The High Churchmen who were included in the commission fled out of it amain, and Convocation threw out the whole reform as an abomination. Convocation having given this blow to all hopes of ecclesiastical reform, was prorogued to the 24th of January, 1690, and on the 6th of February was dissolved with the Parliament, nor was it suffered to meet again for business till the last year of the reign of William.

On the 5th of February General Pollock reached Peshawur, and found the troops under Brigadier Wild for the most part sick and disorganised. His first care was to restore the morale of the troops. Even the officers had yielded to an unworthy panic. Some of them openly declared against another attempt to force the Khyber Pass, and one said he would do his best to dissuade every sepoy of his corps from entering it again. Owing to this state of things, Pollock was compelled to remain inactive through the months of February and March, though the eyes of all India were turned upon him, and the most urgent letters reached him from Sale and M'Gregor to hasten to their relief. But the general was resolved not to risk another failure, and his duty was to wait patiently till the health, spirits, and discipline of the troops were restored, and until fresh regiments arrived.

The Archbishop of Canterbury moved the rejection of the Bill; and was supported by the Archbishops of York and Armagh, the Bishops of London, Durham, and Salisbury; Lords Winchilsea, Berkeley, Tenterden, and Eldon. The chief defenders of the measure were Lords Grey, Lansdowne, Plunket, Goderich, and Lyndhurst. On a division, the second reading was carried by 217 against 112. On the 10th of April the Bill was read a third time, by a majority of 104; the numbers being 213 for it, and 109 against it. The sweeping majorities in the Lords were still more astounding than those in the Commons; and they spread the utmost consternation through the ranks of the Conservatives, who felt as if the very foundations of society were giving way, and the pillars of the Constitution were falling. The Lords had hitherto thrown out the Emancipation Bills as fast as they came to them, by majorities varying from forty to fifty. Lord Eldon was their prophet, and the old Conservative peers had followed his guidance implicitly for a quarter of a century; but during that time a generation of hereditary legislators had grown up, who had as thorough a contempt for the ex-Chancellor's antiquated prejudices as he had for their youth and[298] inexperience. Lord Eldon had, however, some compensation for being thus deserted in the House of Peers by many of his followers, and having his authority as a statesman disregarded, as well as for the marked neglect of him by the Ministry, in the sympathy and confidence of the distressed king, who was shocked beyond measure at the conduct of the House of Lords. When a reluctant consent was wrung from his Majesty to have the measure brought forward by the Cabinet, he felt, after all, that he was doing nothing very rash; he had the strongest assurance that the Bill would never pass the Lords. He told Lord Eldon that, after the Ministers had fatigued him by many hours' conversation on the painful subject, he simply said, "Go on." But he also produced copies of letters which he had written, in which he assented to their proceeding with the Bill, adding, certainly, very strong expressions of the pain and misery the consent cost him. In his perplexity he evidently wished to avail himself of Eldon's casuistry to get out of the difficulty by retracting; but the latter was constrained to tell him "it was impossible to maintain that his assent had not been expressed, or to cure the evils which were consequential."But Hastings had scarcely terminated these proceedings, when the new members of Council, appointed under the Regulating Act, arrived. On the 19th of October, 1774, landed the three Councillors, Clavering, Monson, and Francis; Barwell had been some time in India. The presence of the three just arrived was eminently unwelcome to Hastings. He knew that they came with no friendly disposition towards him, and that Philip Francis, in particular, was most hostile. The letter of the Court of Directors recommended unanimity of counsels, but nothing was further from the views of the new members from Europe. As they were three, and Hastings and Barwell only two, they constituted a majority, and from the first moment commenced to undo almost everything that he had done, and carried their object. They denounced, and certainly with justice, the Rohilla war; they demanded that the whole correspondence of Middleton, the agent sent to the court of Oude by Hastings, should be laid before them. Hastings refused to produce much of it, as entirely of a private and personal nature; and they asserted that this was because these letters would not bear the light, and that the whole of Hastings' connection with Sujah Dowlah was the result of mercenary motives. In this they did the Governor-General injustice, for, though he drew money sternly and by every means from the India chiefs and people, it was rather for the Company than for himself. They ordered the recall of Middleton from Oude, deaf to the protests of Hastings that this was stamping his conduct with public odium, and weakening the hands of government in the eyes of the natives. Still, Middleton was recalled, and Mr. Bristow sent in his place. Hastings wrote home in the utmost alarm both to the Directors and to Lord North, prognosticating the greatest confusion and calamity from this state of anarchy; and Sujah Dowlah, regarding the proceedings of the new members of Council as directed against himself, and seeing in astonishment the authority of Hastings apparently at an end, was so greatly terrified that he sickened and died.A strong party, not satisfied with having destroyed Lord Mansfield's town house, set off to burn that at Caen Wood, near Highgate. They were met and turned back by a detachment of cavalry. They were equally disappointed in their intended sack of the Bank of England. They found this mine of wealth guarded by infantry, who had here orders to fire, and did it without scruple, killing and wounding a great many. They were more successful against the prisons. They broke open the King's Bench, the Fleet, the Marshalsea, and all the other prisons except the Poultry Compter, and set at liberty all the prisoners. Before the day had dawned, the whole sky was glaring with the light of conflagrations. The number of separate fires burning at the same time was counted up to thirty-six. Had the weather been stormy, the whole of London must have been laid in ashes; but, providentially, the weather was perfectly calm. The scene of the greatest catastrophe was at the distillery of a Mr. Langdale, on Holborn Bridge. This gentleman was a Catholic, and his stores of spirits were a violent temptation. They broke open his premises in the evening, and destroyed everything. They staved in his hogsheads of spirits, and others collected them in pails and in their hats, and drank voraciously. The kennel ran a mingled river of gin, brandy, and pure alcohol, and men, women, and children were seen on their knees sucking up the stream as it flowed! Fire was set to the premises, and catching the spirits which flooded the floors, the flames shot up to the sky like a volcano. The unhappy wretches, who had stupefied themselves with the fiery fluid, perished like flies in the raging element. No such scene of horror had been seen in all these spectacles of violence and crime. The loss of Mr. Langdale alone was estimated at one hundred thousand pounds.

'Purpurea tollant aul?a Britanni;'

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Mr. Roebuck, the next day, moved a counter-resolution in the following terms:—"That the principles which have hitherto regulated the foreign policy of her Majesty's Government are such as were required to preserve untarnished the honour and dignity of this country, and, in times of unexampled difficulty, the best calculated to maintain peace between England and the various nations of the world." He supported this position in an able and lengthened speech. The chief ground of dispute was the demand of Palmerston for compensation to a person named Don Pacifico, a Jew, and by birth a British subject, who resided at Athens, and whose house had been attacked on a Sunday, his property destroyed, and his family beaten by a mob headed by young noblemen. The Greek Government refused him reparation, and he sought protection from England. There was also the case of Mr. Finlay, whose land was seized in order that it might be converted into a garden for the King of Greece, the owner being refused payment; Lord Aberdeen, when Foreign Secretary, having applied in vain for redress. There was also the case of H.M.S. Fant?me, whose boat's crew had been arrested by Greek soldiers; also other outrages equally serious. Lord Palmerston defended his policy with his wonted spirit and ability, and with triumphant success in a speech which, said Mr. Gladstone, lasted "from the dusk of one day to the dawn of another." Mr. Gladstone arraigned the conduct of the first Minister in sitting down contentedly under the censure of the House of Lords, by sheltering himself under precedents which were in fact no precedents at all. He charged Lord Palmerston with violating international law, by making reprisals upon Greek property to the extent of £80,000 to satisfy the exorbitant demands of Don Pacifico; the fruit of this policy being humiliation, in regard to France, and a lesson received without reply from the autocrat of all the Russia's. Mr. Cobden also assailed the policy of Lord Palmerston, and asked if there was no other way of settling such trifling matters than by sending fifteen ships of war into Greek waters, which had seized several gunboats, and more than forty merchantmen. Lord John Russell defended the policy of the Government, and concluded by declaring that by the verdict of that House and the people of England he was prepared to abide, fully convinced that the Government had preserved at the same time the honour of the country and the blessings of peace. Mr. Disraeli, on the other hand, maintained that the House of Lords had exercised a solemn duty in pronouncing a censure upon the policy which had led to such terrible results. This debate will[607] be rendered for ever memorable in our annals by the speech of Sir Robert Peel. It was one of the best speeches he ever delivered in that House, and it was his last. He argued strongly against intermeddling with the affairs of foreign nations in order to procure for them free institutions, and concluded with the expression of his belief that the cause of constitutional liberty would only be encumbered by our help; whilst by intruding it we should involve Great Britain in incalculable difficulties. When the hour for the division came the House was very full—Ayes—310; Noes, 264; giving the Government a majority of 46.FLORA MACDONALD. (After the Portrait by J. Markluin, 1747.)

SEIZURE OF SIR WILLIAM MACNAGHTEN. (See p. 495.)LORD CLIVE. (After the Portrait by Gainsborough.)

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