This point settled, the preliminaries of peace were signed at Fontainebleau on the 3rd of November. To console Spain for her losses by her unlucky alliance with France, Louis XV. ceded Louisiana to that country by a private convention. [See larger version]

On the Rhine, the war was carried on quite into the winter. The King of Prussia did not stay longer than to witness the surrender of Mayence; he then hurried away to look after his new Polish territory, and left the army under the command of the Duke of Brunswick. Brunswick, in concert with Wurmser and his Austrians, attacked and drove the French from their lines at Weissenburg, took from them Lauter, and laid siege to Landau. Wurmser then advanced into Alsace, which the Germans claimed as their old rightful territory, and invested Strasburg. But the Convention Commissioners, St. Just and Lebas, defended the place vigorously. They called forces from all quarters; they terrified the people into obedience by the guillotine, Lebas saying that with a little guillotine and plenty of terror he could do anything. But he did not neglect to send for the gallant young Hoche, and put him at the head of the army. Wurmser was compelled to fall back; Hoche marched through the defiles of the Vosges, and, taking Wurmser by surprise, defeated him, made many prisoners, and captured a great part of Wurmser's cannon. In conjunction with Pichegru, Dessaix, and Michaud, he made a desperate attack, on the 26th of December, on the Austrians in the fortified lines of Weissenburg, whence they had so lately driven the French; but the Duke of Brunswick came to their aid, and enabled the Austrians to retire in order. Hoche again took possession of Weissenburg; the Austrians retreated across the Rhine, and the Duke of Brunswick and his Prussians fell back on Mayence. Once there, dissatisfied with the Prussian officers, he resigned his command, he and Wurmser parting with much mutual recrimination. Wurmser was not able long to retain Mayence; and the French not only regained all their old positions, before they retired to winter quarters, but Hoche crossed the lines and wintered in the Palatinate, the scene of so many French devastations in past wars. The French also repulsed the enemy on the Spanish and Sardinian frontiers.

An effort was made to decide the long-agitated question of the emancipation of the Jews in the Session of 1849. On the 19th of February Lord John Russell moved that the House of Commons should go into committee for the purpose of considering the oaths taken by members of Parliament, excepting the Roman Catholic oath, settled in 1829. The oath of allegiance, he said, became a mockery when Cardinal York died, there being no descendants of James II. in existence; he therefore proposed to abolish it. The oath of abjuration, which was aimed against Papal aggression, had now no practical effect but to exclude the Jews from Parliament, which it did by the words "on the true faith of a Christian," which were never meant to exclude Jews, but only to give greater solemnity to the oath. He proposed, therefore, to omit these words when the oath was tendered to a Jew, and this he thought would complete the measure of religious liberty. The House resolved by a large majority214 to 111to go into committee on the subject. He then moved a resolution that it was expedient to alter the Parliamentary oaths so as "to make provision in respect of the said oaths for the relief of her Majesty's subjects professing the Jewish religion." A Bill founded on this resolution was brought in by Lord John Russell. The second reading was carried by a majority of 278 to 185. The third reading, after an important debate, was carried by a majority of 66. In the House of Lords the second reading was moved on the 26th of July, by the Earl of Carlisle, in an able speech, in which he observed that the Jews, though admitted to municipal privileges, were the only religious community debarred from political rights; but there was not, as far as he could see, a single valid objection upon which they could be refused. The Earl of Eglinton objected to their admission on religious grounds; so also did the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Exeter. The former argued that our national Christianity, to which we owed our greatness, would be grievously disparaged by the measure. The latter condemned it as a violation of the distinct contract between the Sovereign and the nationthat the Crown should maintain "to the utmost the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel." The Archbishop of Dublin (Whately), always the powerful champion of religious freedom,[603] contended on the other hand that it was inconsistent with the principles and repugnant to the genius of Christianity that civil disqualifications and penalties should be imposed on those who did not conform to it. Their lordships must either retrace their steps, and exclude from office all who did not belong to the Established Church, or they must, in consistency, consent to the abrogation of this last restriction. The Bill was rejected by a majority of 25the numbers being, for the second reading, 70; against it, 95.

Rodney takes St. EustatiaDestruction of Dutch CommerceLoss of MinorcaNaval ActionsMeeting of ParliamentVehemence of the OppositionLosses in the West IndiesBreaking up of the MinistryTheir Defeat on Conway's MotionLord North's ResignationShelburne refuses the PremiershipNew Whig GovernmentAgitation in IrelandGrattan's Motion for Legislative IndependenceThe Volunteer Meeting at DungannonGrattan's Motion carriedDemands of the Irish Parliament concededFlood's AgitationEconomic ReformsPitt's Motion for Parliamentary ReformUnsuccessful Negotiations for PeaceRodney's Victory over De GrasseLord Howe's ExploitsThe Siege and Relief of GibraltarNegotiations for PeaceFolly of Oswald and Duplicity of ShelburneThe Negotiations continuedFranklin throws over VergennesConclusion of a Secret Treaty between England and AmericaFate of the American RoyalistsAnnouncement of the Peace in ParliamentTerms of Peace with France, Spain, and HollandOpposition to the PeaceCoalition of Fox and NorthFall of ShelburnePitt's Attempt to form a MinistryThe Coalition in OfficeReform and the Prince of WalesFox's India BillIts IntroductionProgress of the MeasureThe King's Letter to TempleReception of the News in the CommonsDismissal of the MinistryPitt forms a CabinetFactious Opposition of FoxPitt's India BillHe refuses to divulge his IntentionsThe Tide begins to TurnAttempt at a CoalitionIncreasing Popularity of PittFox's ResolutionThe Dissolution"Fox's Martyrs." THE ROYAL FAMILY OF FRANCE ON THEIR WAY TO THE ASSEMBLY. (See p. 403.) [585]

This speech, which was regarded as the manifesto of the Reform party, called forth a reply from the Duke of Wellington, which was pregnant with revolution, and which precipitated the[321] downfall of his Administration. He said:"The noble Earl has recommended us not only to put down these disturbances, but to put the country in a state to meet and overthrow the dangers which are likely to arise from the late transactions in France, by the adoption of something like Parliamentary Reform. The noble earl has stated that he is not prepared himself to come forward with any measure of the kind; and I will tell him farther, neither is the Government.... Nay, I will go yet farther, and say that if at this moment I had to form a legislature for any country, particularly for one like this, in the possession of great property of various descriptions, although perhaps I should not form one precisely such as we have, I would endeavour to produce something which would give the same result; namely, a representation of the people containing a large body of the property of the country, and in which the great landed proprietors have a preponderating influence. Further still, I beg to state that not only is the Government not prepared to bring forward any measure of this description, but, in so far as I am concerned, while I have the honour to hold the situation which I now do among his Majesty's counsellors, I shall always feel it my duty to oppose any such measures when brought forward by others." When he sat down the hum of criticism was so loud that he asked a colleagueprobably Lord Lyndhurstthe cause. The answer was, "You have announced the fall of your Government, that is all."

On the 8th of October Murat landed near Pizzo, on the Calabrian coasta coast more than any other in Italy fraught with fierce recollections of the French. His army now consisted of only twenty-eight men; yet, in his utter madness, he advanced at the head of this miserable knot of men, crying, "I am your king, Joachim!" and waving the Neapolitan flag. But the people of Pizzo, headed by an old Bourbon partisan, pursued him, not to join, but to seize him. When they began firing on him, he fled back to his vessels; but the commander, a man who had received the greatest benefits from him, deaf to his cries,[117] pushed out to sea, and left him. His pursuers were instantly upon him, fired at him, and wounded him; then rushing on him, they knocked him down and treated him most cruelly. Women, more like furies than anything else, struck their nails into his face and tore off his hair, and he was only saved from being torn to pieces by the old Bourbon and his soldiers, who beat off these female savages and conveyed him to the prison at Pizzo. The news of his capture was a great delight to Ferdinand. He entertained none of the magnanimity of the Allies, but sent at once officers to try by court-martial and, of course, to condemn him. Some of these officers had been in Murat's service, and had received from him numerous favours, but not the less readily did they sentence him to death; and on the 13th of October, 1815, he was shot in the courtyard of the prison at Pizzowith characteristic bravery refusing to have his eyes bound, and with characteristic vanity bidding the soldiers "save his face, and aim at his heart!"

The prizes of Rodney, including the great Ville de Paris, on their way home were assailed with a violent tempest, and went down, so that the English people had not the gratification of seeing the largest ship in the world, which had been captured by Rodney. The Dutch were encouraged to attempt coming out of the Texel, and waylaying our Baltic merchant fleet, but Lord Howe, with twelve sail-of-the-line, was sent after them, and they quickly ran. His lordship remained there blockading them till the 28th of June, when he was compelled to leave his post and sail westward, with twenty-one ships-of-the-line and some frigates, to watch the great combined fleet of France and Spain, which had issued from Cadiz. The united fleetthirty-six sail-of-the-line, besides frigateskept aloof, however, and allowed him safely to convoy home the Jamaica merchant fleet, guarded by Sir Peter Parker.

The history of Hume was much over-estimated in his own time, in spite of the despotic notions which abound in it. It was held up as a marvel of eloquence and acuteness. But after times always correct the enthusiasm of contemporaries, and Hume's history has been found not in every case trustworthy. When we now, indeed, take up Hume, we are surprised to find it a very plain, clear narrative of events, with many oversights and perversions, and nothing more. We wonder where are the transcendent beauties which threw our readers of the eighteenth century into raptures for which language scarcely gave expression. Whoever will read the correspondence of contemporaries with Hume, will find him eulogised rather as a demi-god than a man, and his works described in extravagant strains of praise.

The audacity of Buonaparte still further excited the indignation of the British Government. Under the name of consuls, he sent over to England and Ireland a number of military officers, whose real business was to act as privileged spies, to prepare plans of all the chief ports, with soundings, and an exact account of the winds with which vessels could go out or come in with most ease, and also at what draught of water the harbours might be entered by large vessels. These agents had been instructed to maintain the utmost secrecy as to their real objects, but they became known, and Ministers announced that any person coming in such a character to this country should be ordered instantly to quit it. Neither was the temper of the nation at all improved by the irritating proceedings of the French authorities on the coasts of France. A law had been passed by the Jacobins, in the most rabid time of the Revolution, condemning any vessel under a hundred tons burden found within four leagues of the French shores, having on board British merchandise. It was taken for granted that this decree was virtually annulled by the Peace of Amiens; but repeated seizures were now made of British merchant vessels driven by stress of weather on the French coasts, and the mere fact of having plates, knives, and forks for the crew, of British make, was used as a plea for confiscation of ships. It was in vain that remonstrances were made to the First Consul: they passed without notice. Such a peace it was evident could not last long. Napoleon was in a mood to brook no control from any quarter; he at this time showed how completely he would crush any creature who offended him when he had the power.

Austria stood in a hesitating position. On the one hand, she felt reluctant to join the Allies and assist in destroying the throne of the Emperor's son-in-law; but at the same time she was anxious to strengthen her own position by giving more strength to her neighbour, Prussia. For this purpose Austria offered her mediation for a peace on terms that would restore Prussia to a more becoming position, and such proposals of mediation were made by the Austrian Minister to Great Britain. But these entirely failed. On the one hand, Napoleon would concede nothing, but declared that he would entirely annihilate Prussia, and would give Silesia to Austria for her assistance in the war; on the other hand, Great Britain declared that there could be no peace unless France disgorged the bulk of her usurpations.

All being ready, on the 6th of January Wellington suddenly pushed forward to Gallegos, and[26] on the 8th invested Ciudad Rodrigo. Nothing could be more unexpected by Marshal Marmont, who had never suspected any attack in winter, and had placed his army in cantonments, and had, moreover, sent several divisions to distant points. On the very first evening Wellington stormed an external redoubt called the Great Teson, and established his first parallel. On the 13th he also carried the convent of Santa Cruz, and on the 14th that of San Francisco. He then established his second parallel, and planted fresh batteries. On the 19th he made two breaches, and, hearing that Marmont was advancing hastily to the relief of the place, he determined to storm at once, though it would be at a more serious exposure of life. The assault was rapid and successful, but the slaughter on both sides was very severe. A thousand killed and wounded were reckoned on each side, and one thousand seven hundred prisoners were taken by the British. What made the British loss the heavier was that General Mackinnon and many of his brigade were killed by the explosion of a powder magazine on the walls. General Craufurd of the Light Division, was killed, and General Vandeleur, Colonel Colborne, and Major Napier were wounded. Much ammunition and a battering train were found in Ciudad Rodrigo. Marmont was astounded at the fall of the place. The Spanish Cortes, who had been so continually hampering and criticising Wellington, now created him Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo. He was also, in England, advanced to the dignity of an earl, and an annuity of two thousand pounds was voted him by Parliament.