After a visit to Paris, Dumouriez arrived at[407] Valenciennes on the 27th of October, and prepared to follow the Austrian commander, Saxe-Teschen, who had been in vain bombarding Lille. On the 5th of November he overtook Saxe-Teschen at Jemappes. The Austrians were strongly posted, but were only about fifteen thousand men opposed to the sixty thousand French; yet they made a vigorous resistance. The battle raged from early in the morning till two in the afternoon, when the Austrians gave way. They retired, however, in good order; and Dumouriez, who had led his forces into the field singing the Marseillaise hymn, did not make much pursuit. Upwards of two thousand men are said to have fallen on each side. The battle placed all Flanders at the mercy of the French; Tournay opened its gates to Labourdonnais, and Courtrai, Menin, and Bruges sent deputies to welcome Dumouriez. Other towns rapidly followed their example. The country had been already Jacobinised, and now fancied it was going to enjoy liberty and equality in alliance with the French. The people were soon undeceived. The French had no intention of anything but, under those pretences, of subduing and preying on the surrounding nations. Flanders had speedy proofs of what every country where the French came had to expect. Jacobin Commissioners arrived from the Convention to levy contributions for the maintenance of the army, as if they were a conquered people. Dumouriez issued an order on entering Mons for the clergy to advance one year's income for the same purpose. Saxe-Teschen and old Marshal Bender evacuated Brussels, and on the 14th Dumouriez entered and took up his headquarters there. He there made heavy forced loans, and soon after arrived what was styled a Committee of Purchases from Paris, headed by Bidermann, the banker, and partner of Clavire, Minister of Finance. This Committee, on which were several Jews, made all the bargains for the army, and paid for themnot in gold but in the worthless assignats of France. The Belgians remonstrated and resisted, but in vain. Dumouriez advanced to Mechlin, having dispatched Labourdonnais to lay siege to Antwerp and Valence, and to reduce Namur. At Mechlin he found a great store of arms and ammunition, which enabled him to equip whole flocks of volunteers who came after him from France. On the 22nd, at Tirlemont, he again overtook Saxe-Teschen, who made another stout resistance, and then retired to Lige, where the Austrians made another stand on the 27th. They were repulsed, but with heavy loss on both sides; and soon afterwards, Antwerp and Valence having surrendered, all the Austrian Netherlands, except Luxembourg, were in the hands of France within a single month. Dumouriez sent forward Miranda, a Peruvian, who had superseded Labourdonnais at Antwerp, to reduce Roermond, and to enter Holland by the seizure of Maestricht; but the Convention were not yet prepared for this invasion of Holland, and Dumouriez pushed on to Aix-la-Chapelle, where he again defeated the Austrians on the 7th of December, and levying heavy contributions there, took up his winter quarters in the ancient city of Charlemagne, and within little more than a day's march of the Rhine. During this debate, the state of Ireland had been repeatedly alluded to, and, on the 13th of December, Lord North brought forward his promised scheme of Irish relief, which consisted in extending the exportation of woollen cloths to wool, and wool-flocks, to all kinds of glass manufactures, and in free trade to the British coloniesprivileges that it seems wonderfully strange to us, at the present day, could ever have been withheld from any portion of the same empire. The critical state of America, no doubt, had much to do with the grant of these privileges, for all of them were conceded.


Prevented by the arrival of Daun from utterly destroying Dresden, though he had done enough to require thirty years of peace to restore it, Frederick marched for Silesia. Laudohn, who was besieging Breslau, quitted it at his approach; but the Prussian king, who found himself surrounded by three armies, cut his way, on the 15th of August, at Liegnitz, through Laudohn's division, which he denominated merely "a[140] scratch." He was instantly, however, called away to defend his own capital from a combined army of Russians under Todleben, and of Austrians under Lacy, another Irishman; but before he could reach them they had forced an entrance, on the 9th of October. The Russians, departing from their usual custom of plunder, touched nothing, but levied a contribution of one million seven hundred thousand dollars on the city. At Frederick's approach they withdrew. Cornwallis now announced to the Royalists of[275] North Carolina that he would soon send a force for their defence, and advanced to Charlotte. He next took measures for punishing those who had pretended to re-accept the allegiance of England only to relapse into a double treachery. He declared that all such being captured should be treated as traitors, and hanged. These severe measures were carried into execution on some of the prisoners taken at Camden and Augusta, and others were shipped off to St. Augustine. This system was as impolitic as it was cruel, for the Americans were certain to adopt it in retaliation, as they did, with a frightful ferocity, when the Royalists were overthrown in South Carolina, and avowedly on this ground. Lord Rawdon, adopting the example, wrote to his officers that he would give ten guineas for the head of any deserter from the volunteers of Ireland, and five only if brought in alive.


These were his first decrees:I. The British Isles were declared in a state of blockade. II. All commerce and correspondence with Britain was forbidden. All British letters were to be seized in the post-houses. III. Every Englishman, of whatever rank or quality, found in France, or the countries allied with her, was declared a prisoner of war. IV. All merchandise or property of any kind belonging to British subjects was declared lawful prize. V. All articles of British manufacture, and articles produced in her colonies, were, in like manner, declared contraband and lawful prize. VI. Half of the produce of the above confiscations was to be employed in the relief of those merchants whose vessels had been captured by British cruisers. VII. All vessels coming from Britain or British colonies were to be refused admission into any harbour in or connected with France. These decrees were to be binding wherever French power extended, but they had no effect in checking the commerce of Britain; the distress to Continental merchants, however, and the exasperation of the people deprived of British manufactures, grew immediately acute. Bourrienne says that the fiscal tyranny thus created became intolerable. At the same time, the desire of revenue induced Buonaparte to allow his decrees to be infringed by the payment of exorbitant licences for the import of British goods. French goods, also, were lauded with incredible impudence, though they were bought only to be thrown into the sea. Hamburg, Bordeaux, Nantes, and other Continental ports solicited, by petitions and deputations, some relaxation of the system, to prevent universal ruin. They declared that general bankruptcy must ensue if it were continued. "Be it so," replied Buonaparte, arrogantly; "the more insolvency on the Continent, the more ruin in England." As they could not bend Buonaparte, merchants, douaniers, magistrates, prefects, generals, all combined in one system of fraudulent papers, bills of lading or certificates, by which British goods were admitted and circulated under other names for sufficient bribes. The only mischief which his embargo did was to the nations of the Continent, especially Holland, Belgium, Germany, and to himself; for his rigour in this respect was one of the things which drove the whole of Europe to abominate his tyranny, and rejoice in his eventual fall. "'Partes ubi se via findit in ambas.'" The Cabinet met again on the 25th, when Sir Robert Peel informed his colleagues that, in the position of affairs, he could not abstain from advising the immediate suspension, by Order in Council, of the restrictive law of importation, or the early assembling of Parliament for the purpose of proposing a permanent change. Lord Aberdeen, Mr. Sidney Herbert, and Sir James Graham supported him. The Duke of Wellington gave a reluctant adhesion. It then became known that Lord Stanley had withdrawn from the Ministry, and it was believed that the Duke of Buccleuch intended to follow his example. The majority of the Cabinet had decided in favour of a permanent reduction in the sliding scale; but the position of the Minister was now too uncertain for him to attempt to carry through his measures. A resignation was the only step which could show the true strength of parties, and determine who would and who would not follow the Minister in that course which, if he was to return to power, he had finally resolved to take. On the 5th of December he announced his determination to her Majesty, and the public learned that the Peel Administration was at an end.

The Duke of Richmond read a paragraph from a newspaper in which the report was stated, naming Lord Temple without any disguise. On this Temple rose, and admitted that he had given certain advice to the king, but would neither admit nor deny that it was of the kind intimated in the report. That the rumour was founded on truth, however, was immediately shown by the division. Numbers of lords who had promised Ministers to vote for the Bill withdrew their support; the Prince of Wales declined voting; and the Opposition carried a resolution for adjournment till the next day, in order to hear evidence in defence of the East India Company. It was clear that the Bill had received its death-blow, and would never pass the Lords after this expression of the royal will, and on the 17th of December it was lost by nineteen votes.


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The first steamboat that was worked for hire in Britain was the Comet, a small vessel with an engine of three horse-power. Two years later the Elizabeth, of eight horse-power, and the Clyde, of fourteen horse-power, were placed upon the river Clyde. Thus Scotland has had the honour of leading the way in this great line of improvement. In 1820 there were but three steam-vessels built and registered in England, four in Scotland, and one in Ireland. In 1826 there were fifty in England, and twenty-two in Scotland, with 9,000 tons burden. The building of steamers proceeded regularly, with an increasing amount of tonnage, till the number rose in 1849 to 1,296 steam-vessels, the aggregate burden of which was 177,310 tons. They were distributed as follows:In the ports of England, 865 vessels, 103,154 tons; Scotland, 166 vessels, 29,206 tons; Ireland, 111 vessels, 26,369 tons; the Channel Islands, 7 vessels, 955 tons; the colonies, 147 vessels, 17,626 tons. A Committee of the House of Commons was appointed in June, 1837, to inquire into the best means of establishing communication by steam with India by way of the Red Sea. During the year arrangements were made for the establishment of a regular monthly steam communication between Great Britain and India by way of the Red Sea upon the following basis:"The Government undertakes the transmission of the monthly mails between Great Britain and Alexandria at the sole charge of the public; and the East India Company undertakes the transmission of these[422] mails between Alexandria and Bombay, upon condition that one-half of the expense incurred in the purchase and navigation of steam-vessels, and of any other expense incurred in the service, is defrayed by the Government, which is to receive the whole money connected with postage of letters between London and Bombay." This arrangement was carried out, and a further economy of time was obtained by the overland route to Marseilles, instead of transmitting the mails by steam-packets from Falmouth through the Strait of Gibraltar. In this way the journey was shortened to the extent of more than 1,000 miles, the direct distance by Marseilles and Malta being 5,238 miles, and by way of Falmouth, 6,310 miles. This system of conveyance was maintained till 1841, when the Government entered into a contract with the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, which undertook to employ powerful steam-vessels for the carrying of letters and passengers between England and Egypt, and between Suez, Ceylon, Madras, and Calcutta, towards the expenses of which the East India Company undertook to contribute 20,000 per annum for five years. After some time there was a further extension of the plan, by which the Government engaged to contribute 50,000 per annum towards the expense of the line of steam-packets between Bombay and Suez, 115,000 per annum for the service between Calcutta and Suez, and 45,000 for the service between Ceylon and Hong Kong, making a total of 210,000 per annum, of which one-third was to be repaid by the East India Company. By these arrangements was obtained a regular and safe steam communication twice a month to India, and once a month to China. We may judge of the extent of the intercourse thus carried on by the fact that in 1836 Great Britain received from Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, and Ceylon about 180,000 letters, and sent to those places in the same year nearly 112,000 letters.

On the 2nd of November the following letter was addressed to the Minister by Lord Stanley, containing an exposition of the grounds on which he dissented from the proposals submitted to the Cabinet:

Washington saw almost with despair the condition of the American army; any other man would have despaired of it altogether. He wrote to Congress that nothing could make soldiers trustworthy but longer terms of service; that, in fact, they ought to be engaged for the whole war, and subjected to a rigid and constant discipline. He complained that the soldiers were much bolder in plundering than fighting; and one of his officers observed that the Pennsylvanian and New England troops would as soon fight each other as the enemy. His Adjutant-General, Reed, declared that discipline was almost impossible amid such a levelling spirit as prevailed. These startling facts made Congress begin in earnest to look out for foreign aid. In the meantime, it voted that the army should be reorganised with eighty-eight[231] battalions, to be enlisted as soon as possible, and to serve during the war; each State to furnish its respective quota, and to name the officers as high as colonels. But Washington had soon to complain that they only voted, and did not carry the plan strenuously into action; that there was a mighty difference between voting battalions and raising men.

To give to this action greater importance in the eyes of the world, Buonaparte called it the Battle of the Pyramids. He then marched to Cairo, which surrendered without opposition. Napoleon called together a council of about forty of the most distinguished sheiks, who were to continue the government of all Lower Egypt, as before his arrival. He professed to listen to their counsels, and in fact to be a Mahometan; he said he was not come to destroy the practice of the doctrines of the Koran, but to complete the mission of Mahomet; he celebrated the feast of the Prophet with some sheik of eminence, and joined in the litanies and worship enjoined by the Koran.


The Duke of Richmond made a feeble reply, and then Chatham rose, in the deepest indignation, to answer the Duke, but the violence of his feelings overcame him; he staggered and fell in a swoon, and would have been prostrated on the[252] floor but for the assistance of some friendly hands. He lay apparently in the agonies of death. The whole House was agitated; the Peers crowded round him in the greatest commotion; all except the Earl of Mansfield, who beheld the fall of his ancient rival almost as unmoved, says Lord Camden, "as the senseless body itself." His youngest son, John Charles Pitt, was there, and exerted himself to render all possible assistance. The insensible orator was carried in the arms of his friends to the house of Mr. Sargent, in Downing Street. By the prompt aid of a physician, he was in some degree recalled to consciousness, and within a few days was conveyed to his own dwelling at Hayes. There he lingered till the morning of May 11th, when he died in the seventieth year of his age.