The Attorney-General defied the enemies of the administration to point out a single instance in which the Viceroy had deviated from the line of strict impartiality, yet he was the object of most virulent attacks by the fanatical members of the Orange societies in Dublin, and by the Orange press. Their animosity was excited to the utmost by a proceeding which he adopted with reference to the statue of King William III. in College Green. For some years a set of low persons, connected with the Orange lodges, had been in the habit of bedaubing the statue with ridiculous painting and tawdry orange colours, with a fantastic drapery of orange scarves. The Catholics believed that this was done with the avowed purpose of insulting them, and they thought that they had as much right to undress as others had to dress a public statue. On one occasion, therefore, they painted King William with lampblack. Consequently, on the 12th of July, 1822, a serious riot occurred, in the course of which lives were endangered, the tranquillity of the metropolis was disturbed, and evil passions of the most furious kind were engendered in the minds of the parties. As the peace must be preserved, the only course was to put an end to those senseless brawls by ordering that no unauthorised parties should presume to put their hands on a public monument, either for the purpose of decorating or defiling it. But this judicious order the Orangemen felt to be a wrong, which should be resented and avenged by driving Lord Wellesley out of the country. Accordingly, certain members of the Orange Society, amounting to nearly one hundred, entered into a conspiracy to mob him in the theatre. They were supplied with pit-tickets, and assembling early at the door, they rushed in, and took possession of the seat immediately under the Viceregal box. Other parties of them went to the galleries. They agreed upon the watchword, "Look out." They had previously printed handbills, which were freely distributed in and about the theatre, containing insulting expressions, such as "Down with the Popish Government!" Before the Viceroy arrived, they had been crying for groans for the "Popish Lord-Lieutenant," for the house of Wellesley, for the Duke of Wellington. When the marquis arrived he was received with general cheering, that overbore the Orange hisses; but during the playing of the National Anthem the offensive noise became so alarming that some of the audience[248] left the theatre. At this moment a bottle was flung from one of the galleries, which was supposed to be aimed at the head of the Lord-Lieutenant, and which fell near his box. The Emperor of Russia was now fast advancing towards the Vistula in support of Prussia, and the contest appeared likely to take place in Poland; and Buonaparte, with his usual hollow adroitness, held out delusive hopes to the Poles of his restoring their unity and independence, in order to call them into universal action against Russia and Prussia. Amongst the most distinguished of these was the General Dombrowski. Buonaparte sent for him to headquarters, and employed him to raise regiments of his countrymen. By such lures he obtained a considerable number of such men; but his grand scheme was to obtain the presence and the sanction of the great and popular patriot, Kosciusko. If he were to appear and call to arms, all Poland would believe in its destinies, and rise. Kosciusko was living in honourable poverty near Fontainebleau, and Buonaparte had made many attempts to engage him in his service, as he had done Dombrowski; but Kosciusko saw too thoroughly the character of the man. He pleaded the state of his wounds and of his health as incapacitating him for the fatigues of war, but he privately made no secret amongst his friends that he regarded Napoleon as a mere selfish conqueror, who would only use Poland as a tool to enslave other nations, never to enfranchise herself. In vain did Buonaparte now urge him to come forward and fight for his country; he steadfastly declined; but Buonaparte resolved to have the influence of his name, by means true or false. He sent him a proclamation to the Poles, requesting[530] him to put his name to it. The patriot refused, at the risk of being driven from France; but Buonaparte, without ceremony, fixed his name to the address, and published it on the 1st of November. It declared that Kosciusko was coming himself to lead his countrymen to freedom. The effect was instantaneous; all Poland was on fire, and, before the cheat could be discovered, Dombrowski had organised four good Polish regiments.

Whilst these elements of a new convulsion were in active operation, the Allies had settled to some extent the affairs of Europe, and had returned home. On the 30th of May a treaty had been signed at Paris, between Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, with France. The boundaries of France were settled as they existed in 1792; it was decreed that Holland and Belgium should be united to form a strong barrier against France; the independence of Switzerland was restored; the north of Italy was again made over to Austria, including[86] Venice, but not including Sardinia, which was enlarged by the addition of Genoa, out of which Lord William Bentinck, with a British army, had driven the French. Murat had assisted the Austrians to conquer Eugene Beauharnais, and hoped to be allowed to retain Naples, yet having many fears of his new allies, the Austrians, and of the Allies generally. The Pope was again in peaceful possession of his States; the arms and the money of Great Britain had triumphed over Buonaparte, and had restored the monarchs of Europe to their thrones; but it was not to be denied that in restoring them they had restored so many detestable despotisms. On the 9th of April, 1809, the Archduke Charles crossed the Inn, and invaded Bavaria, the ally of France. He issued a manifesto declaring that the cause of Austria was that of the general independence of Germany, and called on those States which had been compelled to bear the yoke of France to throw it off, and stand boldly for the common liberty. The serious discontent of the people of Germany encouraged him to hope that his call would be responded to; but Germany was not yet ripe for an effective reaction. Simultaneously, the Archduke John had descended from the Alps into Italy, and driven the troops of the viceroy, Eugene Beauharnais, before him. He had advanced as far as the Tagliamento, and laid siege to the fortresses of Orobo and Palma Nuova. The Archduke Ferdinand had also marched into Poland, defeated Poniatowski, Buonaparte's general, and taken possession of Warsaw. All so far looked cheering; for the great actor was not yet on the scene. But he quitted Paris on the 11th of April, two days only after the Archduke Charles entered Bavaria, and in a few days was with his army at Donauw?rth. He expressed the utmost contempt for the Austrian troops, saying, in a letter to Massena, that six thousand French ought to beat twelve thousand or fifteen thousand of "those canaille." He greatly disapproved of the manner in which Berthier had disposed of his forces, for he had extended them in a long line from Augsburg to Ratisbon, with a very weak centre. He ordered Davoust and Massena, who commanded the opposite wings, to draw nearer together. That being done, on the 20th of April he made a sudden attack on the Austrians at Abensberg, and defeated them. The next day he renewed the attack at Landshut, and took from them thirty pieces of cannon, nine thousand prisoners, and a great quantity of ammunition and baggage. The following day he advanced against the main position of the Archduke Charles, at Eckmühl, where, by the most skilful man?uvres, he turned all the enemy's positions, and defeated one division after another with all the art and regularity of a game of chess. Charles was thoroughly defeated, and had twenty thousand men taken prisoners, with a loss of fifteen stand of colours, and the greater part of his artillery. The next day the Austrians made a stand to defend the town of Ratisbon. They fought bravely; but, a breach being made in the wall, Marshal Lannes seized a scaling-ladder, and, whilst hundreds of French were falling under the fire of the Austrians, he planted it against the breach, saying, "I will show you that your general is still a grenadier!" The wall was scaled, and a desperate battle ensued in the streets of the town. At one moment, a number of tumbrils loaded with powder were in danger of exploding, and destroying the combatants on both sides; but the Austrians warned the French of the danger, and they mutually combined to remove them. That over, they recommenced the struggle, and the Austrians were driven out of the town, leaving again cannon, much ammunition, and many prisoners in the hands of the French. Whilst watching the mle, Buonaparte was struck on the toe by a spent musket-ball; but he had the wound dressed, and again remounted his[588] horse, and watched with unfailing vigilance the progress of the battle.

With such chimerical fancies, the young Corsican saw the fleet, on a splendid morning, stand out into the Mediterranean, the line-of-battle ships extending for a league, and the semicircle formed by the convoy six leagues in extent. On their way to Malta, the first object of their enterprise, they were joined by a large fleet of transports, bringing the division of General Desaix. On the 10th they were before Valetta, a fortress which, properly defended, would have set the French at defiance for months, before which time the British Admiral would have been upon them, and destroyed the whole scheme of the expedition, and probably its commander and projector with it; but the surrender of the place had been bargained for with the Grand Master, Hompesch, before starting. The once formidable Knights of Malta were now sunk in indolence and sensual sloth, and the French agent had agreed for the surrender for a bribe of six hundred thousand francs to the Grand Master. As General Caffarelli passed through the most formidable defences with Napoleon on their way to the house of the Grand Master, he said to him, "It is well, General, that there was some one within to open the gates for us. We should have had more trouble in entering if the place had been altogether empty." The Nabob of Oude zealously embraced the cause of Meer Cossim. He possessed not only great resources in his own province, but he possessed additional authority with the natives from having received also at his court the titular emperor of Delhi, Shah Allum, who, though driven from his throne and territory by the Mahrattas, was still in the eyes of the people the Great Mogul. With the Great Mogul in his camp, and appointed vizier by him, Sujah Dowlah advanced at the head of fifty thousand men against Major Adams and his little army, now numbering about one thousand two hundred Europeans and eight thousand Sepoys. Before the two armies came in sight of each other Adams died, and the command was assumed by Major, afterwards Sir Hector Munro. Munro led his army to Buxar, more than a hundred miles higher up the Ganges. There, in the month of October, 1764, he came into conflict with the army of Oude, and put it thoroughly to the rout, killing four thousand men and taking one hundred and thirty pieces of cannon and much spoil.

But meanwhile in Italy the French had been completely successful. Buonaparte reached the French headquarters at Nice on the 26th of March, and immediately set himself to organise and inspirit the forces, which were in great disorder; he found the commissariat also in a deplorable condition. The troops amounted to fifty thousand; the Austrians, under the veteran General Beaulieu, to considerably more. The united army of the Sardinians and Austrians, Beaulieu on the left, d'Argenteau in the centre, and Colli with the Piedmontese division on the right, hastened to descend from the Apennines, to which they had retreated at the end of the last campaign. Beaulieu met the French advanced guard at Voltri, near Genoa, on the 11th of April, and drove it back. But d'Argenteau had been stopped in the mountains by the resistance of a body of French, who occupied the old redoubt of Montenotte. Buonaparte, apprised of this, hurried up additional forces to that point, and defeated d'Argenteau before Beaulieu or Colli could succour him. Having now divided the army of the Allies, Buonaparte defeated a strong body of Austrians under General Wukassowich; and having left Colli and the Piedmontese isolated from their Allies, debouched by the valley of Bormida into the plains of Piedmont. Beaulieu retreated to the Po, to stop the way to Milan; and Buonaparte, relieved of his presence, turned against Colli, who was compelled to retreat to Carignano, near Turin. Trembling for his capital, and with his means exhausted, Victor Amadeus made overtures for peace, which were accepted; the terms being the surrender of all the Piedmontese fortresses and the passes of the Alps into the hands of the French, and the perpetual alienation of Nice and Savoy. This humiliation broke the heart of the poor old king, who died on the 16th of October. Buonaparte, however, did not wait for the conclusion of this peace; the truce being signed, he hastened on after Beaulieu whom he defeated and drove across the Po. Beaulieu next posted himself at Lodi, on the Adda; but Buonaparte, after a fierce contest, drove him from the bridge over the Adda on the 10th of May, and with little further opposition pursued him to Milan. Beaulieu still retreated, and threw himself into the fastnesses of the Tyrol. On the 15th Buonaparte made a triumphal entry into Milan, and immediately sent troops to blockade Mantua. Buonaparte then advanced into the Papal States, rifling the Monti de Piet at Bologna and Ferrara. Everywhere contributions were demanded at the point of the bayonet, and French authorities superseded the native ones. Pius VI. made haste to sue for peace, and it was granted on the most exorbitant terms. Fifteen millions of francs must be paid down in cash, six millions in horses and other requisites for the army. A great number of paintings and statues were to be selected from the galleries of art, and five hundred manuscripts from the library of the Vatican. The provinces of Ferrara and Bologna must be ceded; the port and citadel of Ancona, and all the Papal ports, must be closed against the British. This most costly peace was signed on the 23rd of June, and Buonaparte hastened northward to stop the advance of the army of Wurmser, which had been sent through the Tyrol to compete with the rising Corsican. On the 27th of November, only two days after the receipt of the news of the surrender of Lord Cornwallis, Parliament met. The king adverted to the unhappy event, but still declared that he should be betraying his trust, as sovereign of a free people, if he did not refuse to give up the contest; that he still trusted in Divine Providence, and he called for fresh, animated, and united exertions. He turned with more satisfaction to the successes in the East Indies, and the safe arrival of our principal mercantile fleets. In the Lords, the Earl of Shelburne attacked the Address, supported by the Duke of Richmond and the Lords Camden and Rockingham; but the most tempestuous burst of indignant eloquence from the Opposition took place in the Commons. Fox asserted that he had listened to the Address with horror and amazement. He declared himself confounded at the hardihood of Ministers, after such a consummation of their imbecile management, who dared to look the House of Commons in the face. He would not say that they were paid by France, for it was not possible for him to prove the fact; but, if they were not, he avowed that they deserved to be, for they had served the French monarch more faithfully and successfully than ever Ministers served a master. He especially singled out Lord Sandwich for reprobation, as the author of the wretched condition of our fleets, which were inferior in number of ships and their appointments to those of the enemy all over the globe. He called on the House to insist on the total and immediate change of Ministers, and urged the adoption of measures which should, if possible, repair the incalculable injuries they had inflicted on the nation. The Ministers, however, had strength enough to carry the Address by two hundred and eighteen votes against one hundred and twenty-nine; but the debate was resumed on the Address being reported, and then William Pitt delivered a most scathing speech, declaring that so far from our being warranted in pressing this ruinous war, he was satisfied that, if he went from one end of the Treasury bench to the other, such was the condition of the Ministry, he should find that there was not one man who could trust his neighbour; and the truth of this was becoming strikingly evident. Dundas, the Lord Advocate, hitherto one of the staunchest supporters of Lord North, spoke now as in astonishment at the language of the Ministers, declaring that some of them in Council clearly did not give their honest opinions. There were other like symptoms of defection; the sensitive placemen saw that the end of the North Administration was at hand. Lord North, perceiving the ground failing beneath him, lowered his tone, and, on Sir James Lowther, seconded by Mr. Powys, proposing a resolution that the war against America had been an utter failure, he explained that he did not advocate, in future, a continental warfare there, a marching of troops through the provinces, from north to south, but only the retention of ports on the coast, for the protection of our fleets in those seas, and the repulse of the French and Spaniards. Parliament was adjourned on the 20th of December till the 21st of January, and thus closed the year 1781.

On the day after the surrender of Ulm, Buonaparte announced by proclamation to the army that he was going to annihilate the Russians, as he had done the Austrians; that Austria, in fact, had no generals with whom it was any glory to compete; and that Russia was only brought by the gold of England from the ends of the earth, for them to chastise them. At the end of October, accordingly, he commenced his march on Vienna.

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Lord Loftus, 30,000 for boroughs, and made an English marquis.