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Fox introduced his first Bill on the 20th of November. All went smoothly, and the second reading was ordered for that day week. Then the storm burst. Mr. Grenville (afterwards Lord Grenville) described the Bill as a scheme to put the Company into the hands of Ministers, and to annihilate the prerogatives of the Crown at the same time. He denounced it as one of the most daring and dangerous attempts that had ever been brought into that House. He moved that it should lie over till after Christmas, and there was a strong phalanx ready to support him. Grenville did not press the motion to a division, and the Bill was read a second time on the 27th, when a vehement and long debate took place. Pitt put forth his whole strength against it, Fox for it, and it was carried by two hundred and twenty-nine votes against one hundred and twenty. On the 1st of December it was moved that the Bill be committed, when the Opposition was equally determined. On this occasion Burke, who had made himself profoundly acquainted with Indian affairs, took the lead, and delivered one of his very finest speeches, full of information and eloquence. Pitt resisted the going into Committee with all his power, and pledged himself, if the House would throw out the Bill, to bring in another just as efficacious, and at the same time devoid of its danger. The debate, like the former one, did not close till half-past four in the morning, and then it was with a triumphant majority of two hundred and seventeen against one hundred and three. The Bill, thus carried by such majorities through the Commons, was carried up to the Lords, on the 9th of December, by Fox, accompanied by a numerous body of the Commoners, and it was considered as certain of passing there; but the king and his party, exasperated at the resolute conduct of the Commons, had gone to such lengths to quash the Bill in the Lords as are rarely resorted to by the Crown. As in the Lower House, so here, it was allowed to be read the first time without dividing; but it was attacked with an ominous solemnity by Thurlow, the Duke of Richmond, and Lord Temple, who, since his recall from the Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland, had thrown himself into the Opposition with peculiar vivacity. It was known that he had been frequently closeted with the king of late, and he bluntly declared the Bill infamous. As a matter of fact, he had urged the king to use his personal influence with the House of Lords. Thurlow went further, and, fixing one of his most solemn glances on the Prince of Wales, who was sitting in the House to vote for the Bill, declared that if this measure passed, the crown of England would not be worth wearing;[303] and that if the king allowed it to become law, he would, in fact, have taken it from his head and put it on that of Mr. Fox. On the 15th, when the Bill was proposed for the second reading, the royal proceedings against it were brought at once to light. The Duke of Portland rose and said, before going into the question, he was bound to notice a report which was confidently in circulation, and which, if true, vitally affected the constitution of the country. This was no less than that the king had written a note to Lord Temple, stating that "his Majesty would deem those who voted for the Bill not only not his friends, but his enemies; and that if Lord Temple could put this into still stronger language, he had full authority to do so." William Fortescue, a pension of 3,000 a year.

The French were driven again out of Naples by the end of July. Cardinal Ruffo brought down a wild army of Calabrians, and an army made up of Russians, Turks, Portuguese, and British, completed the expulsion of the Republicans and restored the king. In this restoration Nelson and his squadron took a most effective part; but unfortunately for his fame, he at this time became acquainted with Lady Hamilton, the wife of the British ambassador, and gave himself up entirely to her fascinations. Lady Hamilton was the friend of the Queen of Naples (a sister of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette), and she was said to have instigated Nelson to take a melancholy part in the savage retaliations of the court on the Neapolitan Republicans, but the charge has since been completely disproved. Nelson sent Commodore Trowbridge to Civita Vecchia to blockade it, and both that port and the castle of St. Angelo soon surrendered, and Captain Lewis rowed up the Tiber in his barge, hoisted the British colours on the Capitol, and acted as Governor of Rome till Pius VI., ejected by the French in the previous year, was nominally restored. The poor old man, however, never returned to his kingdom; he died at Valence, on the Rh?ne, on the 29th of August of this year. The election of the new Pope, Pius VII., did not take place till March, 1800. Before the end of the year, nearly all Italy, except Genoa, was cleared of the French.

Pitt hastened up to town, and was graciously received by the king, who told him that he left the choice of his colleagues entirely to himself. Pitt, as twice before, immediately proposed that his brother-in-law, Lord Temple, should be placed at the head of the Treasury. Temple was summoned from Stowe, but was as haughty and unmanageable as ever. He demanded that all the old Ministers should be dismissed, that Lord Lyttelton should have the Privy Seal, Lord Gower be Secretary of State, etc. Pitt could not accede to these terms. This time he did not throw up the offer of the Premiership to oblige his wrong-headed brother-in-law, who had the overweening idea that he was as great a man as Pitt himself. He stood firm, and, after a long interview at North End, Hampstead, where Pitt had taken a house for the time, Temple set off to Stowe again in high dudgeon, declaring that Pitt had thrown off the mask, and never meant to accept his co-operation at all. Lord Camden advised Pitt to stand fast, throw off the Grenvilles, and save the nation without them. He acted on the advice. The inhabitants, men, women, and children, fled in terror from their splendid villas, around the city, into the fort of St. George. A fast-sailing vessel was dispatched to Calcutta, to implore the Governor-General to send them speedy aid of men and money. The forces were called together from different quarters, and Sir Hector Munro at the head of one body, and Colonel Baillie at the head of another, were ordered to combine, and intercept Hyder. First one place of rendezvous and then another was named, but, before the junction could take place, Baillie had managed to allow himself to be surrounded by the whole host of Hyder, and after a brave defence was compelled to surrender, one half of his troops being cut to pieces. The insults and cruelties of the troops of Hyder to their captives were something demoniac. Munro had sent to demand troops from the Nabob of Arcot, for whom the British were always fighting, and received a message of compliments, but no soldiers. On the defeat of Baillie he made a hasty retreat to Mount St. Thomas. Meanwhile, the call for aid had reached Calcutta, and Hastings instantly responded to it with all his indomitable energy. He called together the Council, and demanded that peace should be made at once with the Mahrattas; that every soldier should be shipped off at once to Madras; that fifteen lacs of rupees should be sent without a moment's delay to the Council there; that the incompetent governor, Whitehill, should be removed; and Sir Eyre Coote sent to perform this necessary office, and take the command of the troops. Francis, who was just departing for England, raised as usual his voice in opposition. But Hastings' proposals were all carried. The troops, under Sir Eyre Coote, were hurried off, and messengers dispatched in flying haste to raise money at Moorshedabad, Patna, Benares, Lucknowin short, wherever the authority of Hastings could extort it. At the same time, other officers were sent to negotiate with the Mahrattas for peace. MARIE ANTOINETTE (1783.)

If there wanted anything to prove the truth of Lord Wellington's warnings to the Spanish authorities of the undisciplined condition of their armies, and the incompetency of their generals, it came quickly. Whilst they continued to treat him more like an enemy than a friend, and had issued orders throughout the province where he lay, forbidding the sale of provisions and forage for his army, their own armies were again annihilated. The army of Venegas, which had retreated, on the advance of Sebastiani towards Madrid, into the Sierra Morena, had been taken from him, and given to a young, inexperienced man, General Areizaga. Cuesta, also, had been set aside for one still more incapable, a General Eguia, of whom Lord Wellington had already pronounced that he was a fool. Areizaga, instead of maintaining his strong post in the hills, being joined by the greater part of the army of Estremadura, now commanded by Eguia, imagined that he could beat the united forces of Mortier and Sebastiani, and drive them out of Madrid. With fifty thousand men and sixty pieces of artillery he descended from his hills into the open plains of Oca?a, where he was beaten on the 20th of November, with the loss of all his artillery but five guns, his baggage, military chest, provisions, and everything. There was immense slaughter of his soldiers, and the rest fled into the mountains. The Duke del Parque, who was placed for the protection of the line of the Tagus with another large army, was marching to support this intended conquest of Madrid, when, in the month of October, being strongly posted on the heights of Tamames, he encountered General Marchand, and defeated him. Elated by this success, he no longer trusted to hills and strong positions, but, like Areizaga, advanced boldly into the plains, and on the 28th of November he encountered Kellermann at Alba de Tormes, and received a most thorough defeat. His men, both cavalry and infantry, scarcely stayed to cross swords or bayonets with the French, but, flinging down their arms, and leaving all their baggage and artillery behind them, they fled in every direction. Kellerman pursued and cut them down without mercyaccording to his own account, killing three thousand men and making three hundred prisoners.

In 1823 we behold the starting-point of the liberal system of commercial policy, for which not only England, but all the world, is so much indebtedthe rivulet which gradually expanded into a mighty river bearing incalculable blessings upon its bosom to every nation under heaven. The appointment of Mr. Huskisson as a member of the Government was an immense advantage to the nation. He was a man of great abilities, which he had perseveringly devoted to the study of political economy. He was a complete master of all subjects in which statistics were involved, and was universally looked up to as the highest authority on all financial and commercial questions. As President of the Board of Trade he had ample opportunities of turning his knowledge to account, and to him is mainly due the initiation and direction of the course of commercial policy which a quarter of a century later issued in the complete triumph of Free Trade. Mr. Huskisson was not only intimately acquainted with the whole range of economic, financial, and mercantile subjects, in their details as well as in their principles, he was also a powerful debater, a sound reasoner, and was animated in all he did by a spirit of generous philanthropy. At the same time it is only just to point out that he did but carry out the policy of Mr. Wallace, the Vice-President of the Board of Trade, a statesman whose name is almost forgotten.

After the lapse of a week the House of Commons met again on the 13th of May, when Lord John Russell immediately rose and stated that since he had last addressed them Sir Robert Peel had received authority from her Majesty to form a new Administration; and the right hon. baronet having failed, her Majesty had been graciously pleased to permit that gentleman to state the circumstances which led to the failure. Sir Robert Peel then proceeded to detail all the facts necessary for the explanation of his position to the country. He had waited upon the Queen according to her desire, conveyed at the suggestion of the Duke of Wellington, who had been sent for by her Majesty in the first instance. The Queen candidly avowed to him that she had parted with her late Administration with great regret, as they had given her entire satisfaction. No one, he said, could have expressed feelings more natural and more becoming than her Majesty did on this[462] occasion, and at the same time principles more strictly constitutional with respect to the formation of a new Government. He stated his sense of the difficulties a new Government would have to encounter; but having been a party to the vote that led to those difficulties, nothing should prevent him from tendering to her Majesty every assistance in his power. He accordingly, the next day, submitted the following list for her approval in the formation of a new Ministry:The Duke of Wellington, Lord Lyndhurst, Earl of Aberdeen, Lord Ellenborough, Lord Stanley, Sir James Graham, Sir Henry Hardinge, and Mr. Goulburn. It was not until Thursday that any difficulty or misconception arose to lead to his relinquishing his attempt to form an Administration. His difficulty related to the Ladies of the Household. With reference to all the subordinate appointments below the rank of a Lady of the Bedchamber he proposed no change; and he had hoped that all above that rank would have relieved him of any difficulty by at once relinquishing their offices. This not having been done, he had a verbal communication with her Majesty on the subject, to which he received next day a written answer as follows:

The Guards at the gates stood with tricolour cockades on their hats, and the great ladies of the Court came driving in, for they were not far off. The Duchess of St. Leu had been permitted to remain in Paris, and her house had been the focus of all the Buonapartist adherents and conspiracies. From that centre had been sent summonses to every branch of the Buonaparte family to be in readiness, and all had responded except Cardinal Fesch, Louis Buonaparte, and Eugene Beauharnais, who had too much sense to quit Munich with his wife, the daughter of the Bavarian king. Even Murat, to his ruin, had been induced to declare for Buonaparte once more.