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Still, Fox took the opportunity to sound the French Government as to the possibility of peace. In a correspondence with Talleyrand he said that Britain would be willing to treat on reasonable terms, the first condition of which was that the Emperor Alexander should be admitted to the treaty. This was at once refused; yet Fox did not give up the attempt, and at length the French Government proposed that a British ambassador should go to Paris, to endeavour to arrange the principles of an agreement. Fox complied. Before a British plenipotentiary was[518] permitted to proceed to Paris, the great points of the negotiation should have been brought forward, and it should have been seen whether there was a probability of agreeing. It should have been understood whether Buonaparte was disposed to surrender Naples again, which Britain demanded; to require the retirement of the Prussians from Hanover, even if nothing was said of Holland and Switzerland. To send a plenipotentiary without having ascertained these points was simply to enable Buonaparte to boast that he had sought to conciliate, and that British rapacity and ambition rendered all his overtures useless. This was exactly what occurred. Lord Yarmouth, late Marquis of Hertford, who had been residing for years in France as one of Buonaparte's dtenus at the Peace of Amiens, was first sent. Lord Yarmouth arrived in Paris towards the end of May, and though it had been settled that the negotiations should, for the present, remain secret, the French had taken care to make every Court in Europe well acquainted with the fact. Then one of the very first demandshaving got the ambassador therewas for the recognition, not only of Buonaparte as emperor, but also of all his family as princes and princesses of the blood. Next they came to the surrender of Naples, but Talleyrand assured Lord Yarmouth that the Emperor, so far from giving up Naples, or any part of Italy, must have Sicily, which was in possession of the British, because Joseph Buonaparte, now made King of Naples, declared that it could not be held without Sicily. France, Talleyrand said, would consent to Britain holding Malta, the Cape of Good Hope, which we had taken again, and would not only restore Hanover to us, but also allow us to seize on the Hanse Towns and Hamburg! We were in fact, to be permitted to set up for marauders, like themselves, and invade neutral States, and appropriate them; but, as for Naples or Sicily being restored, that was impossible. Lord Yarmouth also demanded that Dalmatia, Istria, and Albania should be restored, the last to the Turks, whose empire should regain its entirety. These points were equally resisted. Meanwhile, Prussia had taken the alarm about Hanover, and Russia, fearful of our treating without her, sent to Paris Count d'Oubril. Talleyrand managed to excite jealousies between the British and Russian envoys, to such a degree, that d'Oubril quitted Paris hastily, and returned to St. Petersburg. Instead of peace, the elements of new heartburnings and wars every day developed themselves. Finding that Lord Yarmouth did not succeed. Fox sent over the Earl of Lauderdale, but he got on no better. Buonaparte insisted that Sicily should be given up to Naples, and a little mock monarchy should be created for Ferdinand, the ex-king, in the Balearic Isles, which were to be taken unceremoniously from Spain. Lord Lauderdale, after a month's waste of words, demanded his passports, and returned; and Fox had now had ample proof that no peace was to be effected with Napoleon, except upon the terms of leaving the Continent to his dictation. [See larger version]

BOSTON "BOYS" DISGUISED AS INDIANS THROWING THE TEA CHESTS INTO THE HARBOUR. (See p. 210.) As Sir Francis Burdett had commenced suits, not only against the Speaker, but also against the Sergeant-at-arms, and against Lord Moira, the Governor of the Tower, for his arrest and detention, the House of Commons appointed a select committee to inquire into the proper mode of defence, and it was determined that the Sergeant-at-arms[599] should appear and plead to these indictments, and that the Attorney-General should be directed to defend them. Though these trials did not take place till May and June of the following year, we may here note the result, to close the subject. In the first two, verdicts were obtained favourable to the Government, and in the third the jury, not agreeing, were dismissed. These trials came off before Lord Ellenborough, one of the most steady supporters of Government that ever sat on the judicial bench; and the results probably drew their complexion from this cause, for the feeling of the public continued to be exhibited strongly in favour of the prisoner of the House of Commons. He continued to receive deputations from various parts of the country, expressive of the sympathy of public bodies, and of the necessity of a searching reform of Parliament. Whatever irregularity might have marked the proceedings of the radical baronet, there is no question that the discussions to which they led all over the country produced a decided progress in the cause of a renovation of our dilapidated representation.

In April the inferior prisoners were tried in the Common Pleas. Forster, brigadier Mackintosh, and twenty of their accomplices were condemned; but Forster, Mackintosh, and some of the others, managed, like Wintoun, to escape; so that, of all the crowds of prisoners, only twenty-two in Lancashire and four in London were hanged. Bills of attainder were passed against the Lords Tullibardine, Mar, and many others who were at large. Above a thousand submitted to the king's mercy, and petitioned to be transported to America.

Under Sir Joshua Reynolds a perfect revolution in the art of painting, as practised in England, was effected. He threw aside past traditional fashions, and returned to nature; and his portraits at once excited the consternation of the painters of the day, and placed him in the very first rank of artists. In 1768 was established the Royal Academy, and amongst its foreign members were Benjamin West and Angelica Kauffmann. West produced all his great works in England, and, however much they may now be criticised, they showed an advance on past art in England, and had the merit of introducing modern costume for modern heroes, as in the "Death of General Wolfe," contrary to the advice of even Reynolds himself. Barry made a spasmodic attempt to lead the public back to what he deemed the classical, but in vain; and the successive appearance of Wilson, Gainsborough, and Opie, in different styles, but all genuinely English, established the public in its attachment to the true English school. Wilson, during his lifetime, indeed, was neglected, and died in poverty; but the next generation made the amende to his fame, though too late for his own enjoyment of it. To[202] Paul Sandby we owe the origin of the water-colour school, which afterwards grew so extensive and so rich in production. Amongst eminent painters of this portion of the reign we must mention Wright of Derby, Mortimer, Stubbs and Sawrey, animal painters, and Copley, who, though an American by birth, produced most of his works in England.

Meanwhile, Lafayette and Bailly, summoned by this strange news, had hurried to the H?tel de Ville, where they found the National Guard and the French Guard drawn up, and demanding to be led to Versailles. The French Guard declared that the nation had been insulted by the Flanders regimentthe national cockade trampled on; and that they would go and bring the king to Paris, and then all should be well. Bailly and Lafayette attempted to reason with them; but they, and thousands upon thousands of armed rabble again collected there, only cried, "Bread! bread! Lead us to Versailles!" There was nothing for it but to comply; and at length Lafayette declared that he would conduct them there. He mounted his white horse, and this second army, about three o'clock in the afternoon, marched in the track of the amazons who had already reached Versailles.