Their cannon was both inferior and worse served than that of the English; and when, at one o'clock, the duke began to play on their ranks with his artillery, he made dreadful havoc amongst them. Several times the Highlanders endeavoured to make one of their impetuous rushes, running forward with loud cries, brandishing their swords and firing their pistols; but the steady fire of the English cannon mowed them down and beat them off. Seeing, however, a more determined appearance of a rush, Colonel Belford began to charge with grape shot. This repelled them for a time; but at length, after an hour's cannonade, the Macintoshes succeeded in reaching the first line of the English. Firing their muskets, and then flinging them down, they burst, sword in hand, on Burrel's regiment, and cut their way through it. The second line, however, consisting of Sempill's regiment, received them with a murderous fire. Cumberland had ordered the first rank to kneel down, the second to lean forward, and the third to fire over their heads. By this means, such a terrible triple volley was given them as destroyed them almost en masse. Those left alive, however, with all their ancient fury, continued to hew at[107] Sempill's regiment; but Cumberland had ordered his men not to charge with their bayonets straight before them, but each to thrust at the man fronting his right-hand man. By this means his adversary's target covered him where he was open to the left, and his adversary's right was open to him. This new man?uvre greatly surprised the Highlanders, and made fearful havoc of them. From four to five hundred of them fell between the two lines of the English army. Whilst the Macintoshes were thus immolating themselves on the English bayonets, the Macdonalds on their left stood in sullen inaction, thus abandoning their duty and their unfortunate countrymen from resentment at their post of honour on the right having been denied them. At length, ashamed of their own conduct, they discharged their muskets, and drew their broadswords for a rush; but the Macintoshes were now flying, and the grape-shot and musket-shot came so thickly in their faces, that they, too, turned and gave way. Whilst Charles stood, watching the rout of his army to the right, he called frantically to those who fled wildly by to stand and renew the fight. At this moment Lord Elcho spurred up to him, and urged him to put himself at the head of the yet unbroken left, and make a desperate charge to retrieve the fortune of the day; but the officers around him declared that such a charge was hopeless, and could only lead the men to certain slaughter, and prevent the chance of collecting the scattered troops for a future effort. Though he did not attempt to resist the victorious enemy, which was now hopeless, he seems to have lingered, as if confounded, on the spot, till O'Sullivan and Sheridan, each seizing a rein of his bridle, forced him from the field.

At the same time that we were thus dragged into hostilities with Sweden, we were brought into hostilities with the Czar too in defence of Hanover. Peter had married his niece to the Duke of Mecklenburg, who was on bad terms with his subjects, and the Czar was only too glad to get a footing in Germany by sending a large body of troops into the Duchy. Denmark became immediately alarmed at such a dangerous and unscrupulous neighbour, and remonstrated; whereupon the Czar informed the Danish king that if he murmured he would enter Denmark with his army too. Of course the King of Denmark called on his ally, George of Hanover, for the stipulated aid; and George, who hated the Czar mortally, and was hated by the Czar as intensely in return,[35] at once sent his favourite, Bernsdorff, to Stanhope, who had accompanied him to Hanover, with a demand that "the Czar should be instantly crushed, his ships secured, his person seized, and kept till he should have caused his troops to evacuate both Denmark and Germany."

But if Great Britain was prosperous, the affairs of Canada got into a very disturbed state, and became a source of trouble for some time to the Government in the mother country. To the conflicting elements of race and religion were added the discontents arising from misgovernment by a distant Power not always sufficiently mindful of the interests of the colony. For many years after Lower Canada, a French province, had come into the possession of Britain, a large portion of the country westwardlying along the great lakesnow known as Upper Canada, nearly double the extent of England, was one vast forest, constituting the Indian hunting-ground. In 1791, when by an Act of the Imperial Parliament the colony received a constitution, and was divided into Upper and Lower Canada, with separate legislatures, the amount of the white population in Upper Canada was estimated at 50,000. Twenty years later it had increased to 77,000, and in 1825 emigration had swelled its numbers to 158,000, which in 1830 was increased to 210,000, and in 1834 the population exceeded 320,000, the emigration for the last five years having proceeded at the rate of 12,000 a year. The disturbances which arose in 1834 caused a check to emigration; but when tranquillity was restored it went on rapidly increasing, till, in 1852, it was nearly a million. The increase[397] of wealth was not less remarkable. The total amount of assessable property, in 1830, was 1,854,965; 1835, 3,407,618; 1840, 4,608,843; 1845, 6,393,630. The Ministry being complete, Parliament met on the 2nd of December. It was found that the new Administration had not that influence in the boroughs that Newcastle, who had cultivated it, had; and several members of the Cabinet, Pitt amongst them, had difficulty in getting returned, as was the case with Charles Townshend. In the king's speech, his Majesty was made to speak of the militia, which he was known by everybody to hold in sovereign contempt, as the best and most constitutional means of national defence. He announced also that he had ordered the return of the Hanoverian troops to their own country; and the Duke of Devonshire inserted in the Address from the Lords an expression of thanks for having brought these troops over. Pitt had declared that he would quit the Cabinet if such a vote was passed, and Temple came hurrying down to the HousePitt being absent from the Commons with the goutand declared that he had quitted a sick bed to protest against it. This was an unlucky beginning. It was clear that there was want of unity in the Cabinet at its very birth, and out-of-doors the people were loudly complaining of the scarcity of food, and bread riots were frequent. The king himself could not help ridiculing the speech his new Ministers had composed for him; and a poor printer being arrested for putting another speech into his mouth, George said he hoped the man might receive very lenient punishment, for, as far as he could understand either of the speeches, he thought the printer's the best. To abate the ferment out-of-doors, the Commons passed two Bills: one prohibiting the export of grain, flour, or biscuit; the other prohibiting, for several months, distillation from wheat or barley.

"To propose to Parliament no other measure than that during the sitting before Christmas. To declare an intention of submitting to Parliament immediately after the recess a modification of the existing law, but to decline entering into any details in Parliament with regard to such modification. The general result of the elections was considered to have diminished by fifty the number of votes on which Ministers could depend, and the relation in which they now stood to the more popular part of the representation was stated to be as follows:Of the eighty-two members returned by the forty counties of England, only twenty-eight were steady adherents of the Ministry; forty-seven were avowed adherents of the Opposition, and seven of the neutral cast did not lean much to Government. Of the thirteen popular cities and boroughs (London, Westminster, Aylesbury, etc.), returning twenty-eight members, only three seats were held by decidedly Ministerial men, and twenty-four by men in avowed opposition. There were sixty other places, more or less open, returning 126 members. Of these only forty-seven were Ministerial; all the rest were avowed Opposition men, save eight, whose leaning was rather against the Government than for it. Of the 236 men then returned by elections more or less popular in England, only seventy-nine were Ministerial votes; 141 were in avowed opposition, and sixteen of a neutral cast. The last act of this year, 1794, was the opening of Parliament on the 30th of December. The king, in his speech, was compelled to confess the deplorable defeat of our Allies, and of our own army under the Duke of York. He had to admit that, Robespierre having fallen, there might possibly be a more pacific spirit in France; that Holland, the only ally for whom we were verbally bound to take up arms, was negotiating a peace with the French; that the United States of America had refused to coalesce with the French against us, and had, on the contrary, made a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation with us. Here, then, was an end of all real causes for anything more than a mere defensive war on our part. Yet the speech breathed a most warlike spirit, and made a great deal of the secession of the island of Corsica from France and its adhesion to England. In the same spirit were the Addresses from both Houses carried by overwhelming Ministerial majorities.

Peaceful Accession of George I.His ArrivalTriumph of the WhigsDissolution and General ElectionThe AddressDetermination to Impeach the late MinistersFlight of Bolingbroke and OrmondeImpeachment of OxfordThe Riot ActThe Rebellion of 1715Policy of the Regent OrleansSurrender of the Pretender's ShipsThe Adventures of Ormonde and MarThe Highlands declare for the PretenderMar and ArgyllAdvance of Mackintosh's DetachmentIts Surrender at PrestonBattle of SheriffmuirArrival of the PretenderMutual DisappointmentAdvance of ArgyllFlight of the Pretender to FrancePunishment of the RebelsImpeachment of the Rebel LordsThe Septennial ActThe King goes to HanoverImpossibility of Reconstructing the Grand AllianceNegotiations with FranceDanger of Hanover from Charles XII.And from RussiaAlarm from TownshendTermination of the DisputeFresh Differences between Stanhope and TownshendDismissal of the LatterThe Triple AllianceProject for the Invasion of ScotlandDetection of the PlotDismissal of Townshend and WalpoleThey go into OppositionWalpole's Financial SchemeAttack on CadoganTrial of OxfordCardinal AlberoniOutbreak of Hostilities between Austria and SpainOccupation of SardiniaAlberoni's DiplomacyThe Quadruple AllianceByng in the MediterraneanAlberoni deserted by SavoyDeath of Charles XII.Declaration of War with SpainRepeal of the Schism ActRejection of the Peerage BillAttempted Invasion of BritainDismissal of AlberoniSpain makes PeacePacification of Northern EuropeFinal Rejection of the Peerage BillThe South Sea CompanyThe South Sea BillOpposition of WalpoleRise of South Sea StockRival CompaniesDeath of StanhopePunishment of Ministry and DirectorsSupremacy of WalpoleAtterbury's PlotHis Banishment and the Return of BolingbrokeRejection of Bolingbroke's ServicesA Palace IntrigueFall of CarteretWood's HalfpenceDisturbances in ScotlandPunishment of the Lord Chancellor MacclesfieldThe Patriot PartyComplications AbroadTreaty of ViennaTreaty of HanoverActivity of the JacobitesFalls of Ripperda and of BourbonEnglish PreparationsFolly of the EmperorAttack on GibraltarPreliminaries of PeaceIntrigues against WalpoleDeath of George I.

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Here, then, our history of the political transactions of the reign of George III. terminates. That reign really terminated in 1811, with the appointment of the Regency, which continued the ruling power during the remainder of his life. From that date it is really the history of the Regency that we have been prosecuting. But this was necessary to maintain the unity of the narrative of that most unexampled struggle which was involving the very existence of every nation in Europe. Of all this the poor old, blind, and deranged king knew nothinghad no concern with it. The reins of power had fallen from his hands for ever: his "kingdom was taken from him, and given to another." He had lived to witness the rending away of the great western branch of his empire, and the sun of his intellect went down in the midst of that tempest which threatened to lay in ruins every dynasty around him. We have watched and detailed that mighty shaking of the nations to its end. The events of the few remaining years during which George III. lived but did not rule, were of a totally different character and belong to a totally different story. They are occupied by the national distresses consequent on the war, and the efforts for reform, stimulated by these distresses, the first[119] chapter of which did not close till the achievement of the Reform Bill in 1832.

In the face of such facts it was clear that something must be done, even by a Protectionist Ministry, to diminish the effect of the growing belief that bad legislation was at the bottom of the country's difficulties. In the spring men had looked eagerly for the Budget of the new Ministry. It had been bitterly remarked that at the time when Parliament was prorogued there were nearly 21,000 persons in Leeds whose average earnings were only 11-3/4 d. per weekthat in one district in Manchester alone a gentleman had visited 258 families, consisting of 1,029 individuals, whose average earnings were only 7? d. per head a week; and that while millions were in this deplorable condition, the duty on wheat stood at 24s. 8d. a quarter, and Sir Robert Peel and his colleagues demanded four months' leisure at their country abodes before they would permit the Legislature to take the distress of the people into consideration. At length came the meeting of Parliament, at which the Queen in person read the Speech prepared by her Ministers. It acknowledged with deep regret "the continued distress in the manufacturing districts," and that the sufferings and privations which had resulted from it had been "borne with exemplary patience and forbearance." Finally, her Majesty recommended to the consideration of both Houses "the laws which affect the import of corn and other articles." What was the intention of the Ministers was not then known; but it was already understood that, unlike their rivals, who had proposed a fixed duty, the new Government would attempt some modification of the sliding scale. In the account of these transactions which Sir Robert Peel left to be published by his executors after his death, he says:"One of the first acts of the Government over which I presided (the Government of August, 1841) was to propose a material change in the Corn Law of 1828. I brought the subject under the consideration of my colleagues by means of written memoranda, in preference to proposals made verbally. In the first of these memoranda I recommended my colleagues to undertake the revision of the Corn Laws of 1828, as an act of the Government. In the second, after I had procured their assent to the principle of revision, I submitted a proposal in respect to the extent to which such revision should be carried, and to the details of the new law." Then were seen the first symptoms of that estrangement from his party which reached its climax in 1846. Glaring as was the necessity for change, and evident as it was, even to the body of the landowners, that they must choose between the mild reform of Peel and the more objectionable measure of his antagonists, there were members of the Cabinet who would still have held out for no concession. The Duke of Buckingham retired from the Ministry, and the Duke of Richmond refused to allow his son to move the Address.