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There arose a second school of mezzotint engravers, the chief of whom were Earlom, Reynolds, Daniell, Sutherland, and Westall. The strange but intellectual Blake was both painter and his own engraver, in a style of his own. Towards the end of the reign flourished, chiefly in architectural illustrations, Le Keux, John and Henry, pupils of Bazire, Roffe, Ransom, and Scott; in landscape, William and George Cooke, William and Edward Finden, Byrne, and Pye; in portrait, Charles and James Heath, John Taylor, Skelton, Burnet, Bromley, Robinson, Warren, and Lewis.

On the 13th of August, 1836, an Act was passed establishing the Ecclesiastical Commissioners permanently as "one body politic and corporate, by the name of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for England." The number of Commissioners incorporated was thirteen, of whom eight were ex officio members—namely: the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Bishop of London, the Lord Chancellor, the Lord President of the Council, the First Lord of the Treasury, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and one of the Principal Secretaries of State, who was to be nominated by the sign-manual. There were five other Commissioners, including two bishops, who were to be removable at the pleasure of the Crown. The lay members were required to sign a declaration that they were members of the united Church of England and Ireland by law established. A subsequent Act, passed in August, 1840, considerably modified the constitution of this Commission. The following were added to the list of ex officio members: all the Bishops of England and Wales; the Deans of Canterbury, St. Paul's, and Westminster; the two Chief Justices; the Master of the Rolls; the Chief Baron; and the Judges of the Prerogative and Admiralty Courts. By this Act the Crown was empowered to appoint four laymen, and the Archbishop of Canterbury two, in addition to the three appointed under the former Act; and it was provided that, instead of being removable[409] at the pleasure of the Crown, the non ex officio members should continue so long as they should "well demean themselves" in the execution of their duties.The secession of the Duke of Savoy only the more roused the indignation of the Allies. The Dutch breathed a hotter spirit of war just as their power of carrying it on failed; and even the experienced Heinsius made an energetic oration in the States General, declaring that all the fruits of the war would be lost if they consented to the peace proposed. But to avoid it was no longer possible. The English plenipotentiaries pressed the Allies more and more zealously to come in, so much so that they were scarcely safe from the fury of the Dutch populace, who insulted the Earl of Strafford and the Marquis del Borgo, the Minister of the Duke of Savoy, when the news came that the duke had consented to the peace. Every endeavour was made to detach the different Allies one by one. Mr. Thomas Harley was sent to the Elector of Hanover to persuade him to co-operate with her Majesty; but, notwithstanding all risk of injuring his succession to the English Crown, he declined. Similar attempts were made[8] on the King of Prussia and other princes, and with similar results. The English Ministers now began to see the obstacles they had created to the conclusion of a general peace by their base desertion of the Allies. The French, rendered more than ever haughty in their demands by the successes of Villars, raised their terms as fast as any of the Allies appeared disposed to close with those already offered. The Dutch, convinced at length that England would make peace without them, and was bending every energy to draw away their confederates, in October expressed themselves ready to treat, and to yield all pretensions to Douay, Valenciennes, and Mauberg, on condition that Condé and Tournay were included in their barrier; that the commercial tariffs with France should be restored to what they were in 1664; that Sicily should be yielded to Austria, and Strasburg to the Empire. But the French treated these concessions with contempt, and Bolingbroke was forced to admit to Prior that they treated like pedlars, or, what was worse, like attorneys. He conjured Prior "to hide the nakedness of his country" in his intercourse with the French Ministers, and to make the best of the blunders of his countrymen, admitting that they were not much better politicians than the French were poets. But the fault of Bolingbroke and his colleagues was not want of talent, it was want of honesty; and, by their selfish desire to damage their political rivals, they had brought their country into this deplorable dilemma of sacrificing all faith with their allies, of encouraging the unprincipled disposition of the French, who were certain to profit by the division of the Allies, and of abandoning the glory and position of England, or confessing that the Whigs, however much they had erred in entering on such enormous wars, had in truth brought them to the near prospect of a far more satisfactory conclusion than what they were taking up with.The Archduke John, whilst advancing victoriously into Italy, driving the viceroy, Eugene Beauharnais, before him, when he had reached almost to Venice was recalled by the news of the unfortunate battle of Eckmühl, and the orders of the Aulic Council. The Italians had received him with unconcealed joy; for, harsh as the rule of Austria in Italy had been, it was found to be easy in comparison with the yoke of Buonaparte. In common with other peoples, the Italians found that Buonaparte's domination, introduced with lofty pretences of restoring liberty and crushing all old tyrannies, was infinitely more intolerable than the worst of these old tyrannies. It was one enormous drain of military demand. The lifeblood of the nation was drawn as by some infernal and insatiable vampire, to be poured out in all the other lands of Europe for their oppression and curse. Trade vanished, agriculture declined under the baleful incubus; public robbery was added to private wrong; the works of art—the national pride—were stripped from their ancient places, without any regard to public or individual right, and there remained only an incessant pressure of taxation, enforced with insult, and often with violence.

This decided repulse ought to have shown the prince the violence that he was doing to the public sense of decency, and the mischief to his own character; but the disappointment only the more embittered him and increased his miserable obstinacy. Time had no effect in abating his unnatural resentment. Though this parliamentary decision took place in February, he continued so much in the same temper, that the very last day of the following May, his wife being seized with symptoms of labour, he suddenly determined to remove her from Hampton Court, where all the Royal Family then were, and hurry her off to London.SURPRISE OF THE CATO STREET CONSPIRATORS. (See p. 155.)

DEATH OF THE EARL OF CHATHAM. (From the Painting by J. S. Copley, R.A., in the National Gallery, London.)

Prosperity of the Manufacturers—Depression of Agriculture—Resumption of Cash Payments—A restricted Currency—The Budget of 1823—Mr. Huskisson—Change of the Navigation Acts—Budget of 1824—Removal of the Duties on Wool and Silk—Repeal of the Spitalfields Act and the Combination Laws—Speculative Mania—The Crash—Remedial Measures of the Government—Riots and Machine-breaking—Temporary Change in the Corn Laws—Emigration—State of Ireland—Efforts of Lord Wellesley—Condition of the Peasantry—Unlawful Societies—The Bottle Riot—Failure to obtain the Conviction of the Rioters—The Tithe Commutation Act—Revival of the Catholic Question—Peel's Views—The Catholic Association and its Objects—Bill for its Suppression—Plunket's Speech—A new Association formed—Rejection of Burdett's Resolution—Fears of the Moderates—General Election—Its Features—Inquiry into the Bubble Companies—Death of the Duke of York—Canning's vigorous Policy in Portugal—Weakness of the Ministry and Illness of Liverpool—Who was to be his Successor?—Canning's Difficulties—Peel and the Old Tories resign—State of Canning's Health—His arrangements completed—Opposition to Him—His Illness and Death—Collapse of the Goderich Ministry—Wellington forms an Administration—Eldon is omitted—The Battle of Navarino—"The Untoward Event"—Resignation of the Canningites—Grievances of the Dissenters—Lord John Russell's Motion for the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts—Peel's Reply—Progress of the Measure—Lord Eldon's opposition—Public Rejoicings.This avowal in the royal speech called forth John Wilkes in No. 45 of the North Briton, destined to become a famous number indeed. Wilkes had ceased in the North Briton to employ mere initials when commenting on leading men in Parliament or Government; and he now boldly declared that the speech put into the king's mouth by the Ministers was false in its assertion, that the peace was neither honourable to the Crown nor beneficial to the country. This was regarded as a gross insult to his Majesty, though it was avowedly declared to attack only the Ministry; and on the 30th of April Wilkes was arrested upon a general warrant, that is, a warrant not mentioning him or any one by name, but applying to the authors, printers, and publishers of the paper in question. George Grenville, the new Minister, had, of course, the credit of this proceeding; though it was thought that Bute still secretly directed the movements of Government, and that he or the king might be the real author of the order.In order to enable the revenue to furnish the required million surplus for the Sinking Fund, Pitt found it necessary to propose to extend the excise laws to foreign wine, which had hitherto been under the jurisdiction of the Custom House. He contended that, on a moderate calculation, the sum lost to the revenue by the frauds in the trade in wine amounted to upwards of two hundred and eighty thousand pounds per annum. To remedy this, and to prevent at once smuggling and the adulteration of wine, the excise officers were to have free access to the cellars of all who sold wine, but not into private ones. To abate that repugnance to the law which excise laws awaken in the public mind, Pitt stated that the change would not amount to more than thirteen thousand pounds a year, and that not more than one hundred and seventy additional officers would be required, who could add little to the influence of the Crown, as they were by law incapable of voting at elections. He carried his Bill with little difficulty through the Commons; but in the Lords, Lord Loughborough made a decided set against it, and pointed out one most shameful provision in it—namely, that in case of any suit against an exciseman for improper seizure, a jury was prohibited giving more damages than twopence, or any costs of suit, or inflicting a fine of more than one shilling if the exciseman could show a probable cause for such a seizure. Lord Loughborough declared justly that this was a total denial of justice to the complaint against illegal conduct on the part of excisemen, for nothing would be so easy as for the excise to plead false information as a probable cause. It was a disgraceful infringement of the powers of juries, and Lord Loughborough called on Lord Camden to defend the sacred right of juries as he had formerly done. Camden was compelled to confess that the clause was objectionable; but that to attempt an alteration would destroy the Bill for the present Session, and so it was suffered to pass with this monstrous provision.

Thereupon a period of the utmost suspense ensued. The British Cabinet was of very divided mind; there was a strong peace party, headed by Lord Holland and Lord Clarendon, with which Lord John Russell, after much hesitation, eventually threw in his lot. Again and again he threatened resignation, and it needed all the diplomacy of the Prime Minister and the strong remonstrances of the Queen to induce him to remain at his post. Even more serious was the attitude of the French Government. M. Thiers, who had become Prime Minister in March, was furious at the humiliation to which his predecessors' shilly-shally had exposed his country. He blustered about going to war, talked about increasing the fleet and calling out the reserves, and tried to persuade the British ambassador, Sir Henry Bulwer, that the king, his master, was even more bloodthirsty than himself. All in vain; Lord Palmerston had taken the measure of his opponents. He knew that, though Thiers might mean fighting, Louis Philippe had no such intention; he knew, too, that the Pasha, whom the world thought to be invincible, was a mere man of straw. His opinion was justified by the easy success of the joint British, Austrian, and Turkish squadron. Beyrout fell early in September, Saida, the ancient Sidon, surrendered before the end of the month, and on the 3rd of[476] November Commodore Napier reduced to ruins, after a bombardment of only three hours, Acre, the fortress hitherto held to be impregnable, from which even Napoleon had turned away in despair. The fall of Acre settled, for the time being, the Eastern question. Already Louis Philippe had seen the necessity of abandoning words which were not to be followed by deeds. He had refused to countenance the bellicose speech from the throne with which M. Thiers proposed to open the Chambers in October; that Minister had in consequence resigned, and had been succeeded by Marshal Soult with M. Guizot as his Foreign Minister. Still Lord Palmerston refused to readmit France to the European concert until the Egyptian resistance was at an end. However, his more pacific colleagues induced him to allow the French Government to take part in the diplomatic discussion, which led to the ultimate settlement of the crisis in the following July. By that treaty the independence of the Porte was guaranteed by a provision that the Bosphorus and Dardanelles should be closed to ships of war of all Powers in time of peace, while the Pasha was punished for his contumacy by being compelled to surrender the whole of Syria, retaining by way of compensation the hereditary possession of Egypt.

On the evening of the 16th of July Casta?os appeared on the Argonilla, directly opposite to Andujar; the river was fordable in many places from the drought, and the different divisions of the Spaniards crossed in the night. Vedel, seeing the critical situation of the French army, made a rapid movement to regain and keep open the mountainous defile by which he had arrived, but Dupont remained at Andujar till the night of the 18th. Vedel remaining at the pass for Dupont, the latter found himself intercepted at Baylen by the Swiss General, Reding, and whilst engaging him his own Swiss troops went over to Reding. He sent expresses to Vedel to return to his aid, but before this could be accomplished he was defeated, and compelled to surrender. He was enormously encumbered by baggage; for the French, as usual, utterly regardless of the necessity of keeping on good terms with a people over whom they wished to rule, had been pillaging churches and houses of all plate and valuables that they could find. In endeavouring to defend the baggage, Dupont had weakened his front, and occasioned his repulse. Casta?os had not perceived the march of the French; but, by the time his van came up with Reding, he found the French army prisoners. The terms proposed by the French were that they should be allowed to retire upon Madrid with all their arms and baggage. But Casta?os was too well acquainted with the necessities of the French through the intercepted letter to Savary. He insisted that they should pile their arms, give up the greater part of their spoil, and be sent down to San Lucar and Rota, where they should be embarked for France. Whilst Dupont was hesitating on these conditions, he received a note from Vedel, proposing that they should make a simultaneous attack on the Spaniards, and thus have a fresh chance of turning the scale in their own favour. But Dupont saw that this was hopeless; and, moreover, it is said that Casta?os insisted that if Vedel himself did not immediately[556] lay down his arms, he would shoot Dupont. Vedel, who now saw little hope of cutting his way through the mountains, was compelled to obey. The French piled their arms on the 22nd of July, the prisoners amounting to between eighteen and nineteen thousand. They gave up also thirty pieces of cannon.[121]

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Of all the expectants of office in the Wellington Administration, the most bitterly disappointed was the ex-Chancellor, Lord Eldon, to whom official life had from long habit become almost a necessity. He had enjoyed power long enough in reason to admit of his retirement with a contented mind; but the passion for it was never stronger than at the present moment. He hastened to London a few days after Christmas on account of rumours of a dissolution of the Cabinet. Having so often done this when there was a talk of a Ministerial crisis, he was called the "stormy petrel." Believing that he had mainly contributed to bring about the Ministerial catastrophe, he was dreadfully mortified when he saw in the newspapers the list of the new Ministers beginning thus: "Chancellor, Lord Lyndhurst." He had not set his heart this time on the office of Lord Chancellor, he would have been content with the Presidentship of the Council or Privy Seal; but his name was not found in the list at all, nor had he been consulted in any way, or informed about what was going forward during the fortnight that passed before the Ministerial arrangements were completed. This utter neglect of his claims excited his anger and indignation to the utmost, and caused him to indulge in bitter revilings and threats against the new Cabinet. The great Tory lords shared in his resentment, and felt that they were all insulted in his person. Referring to the Ministerial arrangements, he wrote:—"You will observe, Dudley, Huskisson, Grant, Palmerston, and Lyndhurst (five) were all Canningites, with whom the rest were three weeks ago in most violent contest and opposition; these things are to me quite marvellous. How they are all to deal with each other's conduct, as to the late treaty with Turkey and the Navarino battle, is impossible to conjecture. As the first-fruits of this arrangement, the Corporation of London have agreed to petition Parliament to repeal the laws which affect Dissenters."Notwithstanding these addresses and the confident tone of the Queen's Speech, the Funds fell, and there was general dissatisfaction at the conditions of the proposed pacification. In order to stimulate the proceedings and excite a jealousy of the Dutch, St. John professed to discover that they were themselves secretly negotiating with France, and urged that, if we did not take care, they would have the management of the negotiations and not her Majesty. Lord Strafford hastened back to the Hague, and from thence to Utrecht, where he proposed a cessation of arms, which was rejected by the Allies. He then went on to the army, where the Duke of Ormonde was in a situation of the utmost difficulty. He had received orders from Government, in consequence of the clamour in Parliament, to support Prince Eugene at the siege of Quesnoy, which he had invested on the 8th of June, and accordingly he had appeared before the place with such forces as threatened speedily to reduce it. At the same time he had received from the Marquis de Torcy a copy of the articles of peace signed by him, and from the Marquis of Villars the most bitter remonstrances on his conduct, which he did not hesitate to declare most perfidious and disgraceful. On the other hand, Prince Eugene, who did not find the English forces, notwithstanding their presence, rendering any active service, was equally irritated by his proceedings. Ormonde could but reply to each party that such were his orders, and leave the Government to bear the ignominy of it. To extricate themselves from the just censures on this dishonourable policy, St. John instructed Ormonde to demand from Villars the surrender of Dunkirk, which, it was asserted, must be put into the hands of the queen's troops, as a pledge that France would perform all that she had promised, before there could be a cessation of hostilities.The movement going forward in the Established Church of Scotland during this reign related almost exclusively to the subject of patronage. This church, though drawing its origin from Switzerland, a thoroughly Republican country, and rejecting bishops, took good care to vest the right of presenting ministers to parishes in the clergy. The Government insisted on this right continuing in lay patrons; but for some time after the Revolution the people asserted their right to choose their own pastors, and continued to carry it. But in 1698 the General Assembly took the opportunity, when it had been accused by the English Church of throwing the office of choosing ministers amongst the people, to repudiate all such notion on their part. They declared unanimously that "they allowed no power in the people, but only in the pastors of the Church, to appoint and ordain to such offices."

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