EARL GREY STREET, NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE. (From a Photograph by Poulton & Son, Lee.)

Whilst the nation was growing every day more Jacobinical, and the danger was becoming more imminent, the queen sent a secret agent to London to sound Pitt. She hoped to win him to an announcement of supporting the throne of France in conjunction with the Continental sovereigns; but Pitt showed his usual reserve. He declared that England would not allow the Revolutionary spirit to put down the monarchy, but he said nothing expressly of supporting the monarch himself; and the queen, who was always suspicious that the Duke of Orleans was aiming at the Crown, and that he had made himself a party in England, was filled with alarm, lest Pitt's words only concealed the idea of such a king. Still the attitude of the Continental Powers became more menacing. The troops of the Emperor, in Belgium and Luxembourg, pressed upon the very frontiers of France, and the numbers of the Emigrants were constantly increasing in the territories of the Electors of Treves, Mayence, and Spires. Two hundred thousand men, in fact, formed a line along the French frontiers from Basle to the Scheldt. ATTACK ON THE ROYAL CARRIAGE. (See p. 448.)

But long before thisas early, indeed, as the 15th of Aprilnews had reached London of the death of the erratic Emperor Paul, and of the bombardment of Copenhagen by the British fleet. Paul had been won over by Buonaparte to his views, and had been flattered by him by being electedthough irregularly and illegallyGrand-Master of the Knights of Malta. He had been persuaded that the conquest of Malta by the British was an invasion of his rights, and by these and other flatteries Buonaparte had influenced his weak mind to become the agent of his plans in destroying the British ships in the Baltic, and in closing that sea to British commerce. Paul pretended that we had captured Danish convoys, these same convoys being engaged in guarding vessels loaded with materials of war for France, and that thus the independence of the North was menaced by us. On this ground, and on that of the invasion of Malta, he immediately laid an embargo on all British vessels in Russian ports, and as two vessels in the harbour of Narva resisted the attempts to seize them, in consequence of the embargo, he ordered all the British vessels in that port to be burned. In consequence of this sudden and unwarrantable order, contrary to all the laws of nations, about three hundred British vessels were seized, and the officers and crews dragged on shore, put into irons, and sent up the country under menaces of Siberia. Paul next ordered all property of Englishmen in Russia to be seized and sold. Denmarkwith whom we had various rencontres, on account of its men-of-war convoying vessels laden with stores for French portssoon joined Russia. We sent Lord Whitworth to Copenhagen to endeavour to come to some understanding on these matters in 1800, but though a convention was signed, it was not satisfactory. Sweden followed the example of Denmark, and the three Northern Powers entered into a treaty of armed neutrality to resist our search of their vessels in any circumstances. As the consequence of this policy would be to shut us out of all trade with the ports of the Baltic, it was resolved to send a fleet to chastise these Powers and break up their co-operation with France. Mr. Vansittart was despatched to Copenhagen, accompanied by a fleet of eighteen sail of the line, with several frigates and smaller vessels, under command of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, with Vice-Admiral Nelson as second. The fleet left the Yarmouth Roads on the 12th of March, 1801, and arriving at the mouth of the Sound, Nelson recommended that they should sail directly up to Copenhagen, and be prepared, on the refusal of our proposals, to bombard the place, as this would not allow them time to get ready their batteries, and thus do all the more damage to our ships and men. But this was deemed too offensive before any attempt at negotiation, and accordingly Mr. Vansittart was sent forward in a frigate with a flag of truce, leaving the fleet at the Scaw. He returned without effecting anything more than what Nelson anticipated. Sir Hyde Parker wasted time in making[481] the needless inquiry by a flag of truce of the Governor of Elsinore, whether the passage of the Sound would be disputed, who replied that it would. It was then proposed to enter by the Belt. Nelson said:"Let it be by the Sound, or the Belt, or anyhowonly don't let us lose an hour."

Walpole ridiculed the notion which had gone abroad that the revenue officers would be increased into quite a standing army, and would endanger the common liberty by their being empowered to enter private dwellings to search for concealed excisable articles. He said the increase would be only a hundred and twenty-six persons and that the Customs now possessed more searching power than he proposed to give to the Excise.

Government, not content with expelling Wilkes from the House of Commons, had commenced an action against him in the Court of King's Bench, where they succeeded in obtaining a verdict against him for a libel in the North Briton. Temple paid the costs, and the City of London[183] turned this defeat into a triumph, by presenting its freedom to the Lord Chief Justice Pratt, for his bold and independent conduct in declaring against the general warrants. They ordered his portrait to be placed in Guildhall; and the example of London was followed by Dublin and many other towns, who presented their freedom and gold snuff-boxes to Pratt. The City of London also gave its thanks to its members for their patriotic conduct.

In the East Indies, immediately afterwards, another severe blow was inflicted on Spain. An expedition sailed from Madras, and Admiral Cornish conveyed in a small fleet a body of men amounting to two thousand three hundred, and consisting of one regiment of the line, in addition to marines and sepoys. Colonel William Draper, afterwards so well known for his spirited contest with the still undiscovered author of "Junius's Letters," was the commander. They landed near Manila, the capital of the Philippine Islands, on the 24th of September, the Spanish garrison there being taken completely by surprise. The whole of the Philippines submitted without further resistance; and Draper, besides being made a knight of the Bath, was, with the naval commanders, thanked by Parliament, as well they might be.

At the approach of the new French levies, Eugene Beauharnais retreated from Magdeburg, and joined them on the Saale. The Allies and Napoleon now lay face to face, the Allies cutting off his advance towards Leipsic and thence to Dresden. He resolved to make a determined attack upon them, and demoralise them by a blow which should make him master of Leipsic, Dresden, and Berlin at once, and give its impression to the whole campaign. In the skirmishes which took place previous to the general engagement at Weissenfels and Poserna on the 29th of April and the 1st of May, Buonaparte gained some advantages; but in the latter action his old commander of the Imperial Guard, Marshal Bessires, was killed. His death was deeply lamented, both by his men, who had served under him from the very commencement of Buonaparte's career, and by Buonaparte himself.

The best feature of "All the Talents" was the sincerity with which they went into the endeavours to suppress the Slave Trade. Pitt had always stood by Wilberforce and the abolitionists, to a certain degree, and had made some of his ablest speeches on this topic; but beyond speaking, he had done little practically to bring his supporters to the necessary tone on the subject. The present Ministry, though comprising several members decidedly hostile to abolition, and other mere lukewarm friends, went with much more spirit into the question, and Lord Henry Petty had canvassed the University of Cambridge, and made many friends of the measure there. The Royal Family were decided opponents to the abolition of the Slave Trade. The Ministry, therefore, deserved praise for their support of Wilberforce and the abolitionists. Clarkson and the Society of Friends had been working indefatigably out of doors to great purpose, and it was now deemed possible to make a preparatory assault on the trade. On the 1st of January the Attorney-General brought in a Bill to prohibit the exportation of slaves from any of the British colonies. This, though it permitted the direct transport of slaves from Africa to those colonies, or to foreign colonies, cut off the convenience of making our islands dep?ts for this trade; and Pitt had already, by an Order in Council, prevented the introduction of slaves into the colonies conquered by us during the war. Wilberforce was so elated by the carrying of the Attorney-General's Bill that he wanted to follow it up by one prohibiting the trade altogether; but Fox and Grenville declared that this was not yet practicable. But on the 10th of April they permitted Wilberforce to move an address to the king, requesting him to use his influence with Foreign Powers for putting down this traffic; and this being carried, Fox moved, in the Commons, a resolution that the House considered the African Slave Trade to be contrary to the principles of justice, humanity, and sound policy, and would, with all practicable expedition, proceed to take effectual measures for its abolition, in such manner and at such period as should seem advisable. This, too, was carried by a hundred and fifteen against fourteen. This was a great step, for it pledged the House of Commons to the declaration that the trade was indefensible, and ought to be put an end to. Still more, to prevent that rush for securing slaves which the fear of the suppression of the trade, at no distant date, might occasion, a Bill was also passed, prohibiting the employment of any vessel in that trade which had not trafficked in it previous to the 1st of August, 1806, or been contracted for before June 10th, 1806. This Act was limited to two years, and, in spite of its benevolent intention, had one serious drawbackthat of causing the vessels employed to be still more crowded, and therefore more fatal to the slaves.


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Far above all other English artists of this period, however, stood William Hogarth (b. 1697). There is no artist of that or any former age who is so thoroughly English. He is a John Bull from head to footsturdy, somewhat headstrong, opinionated, and satirical. He is, indeed, the great satirist of the brush; but his satire, keen as it is, is employed as the instrument of the moralist; the things which he denounces and derides are crimes, follies, and perverted tastes. In his own conduct, as on his canvas, he displayed the same spirit, often knocking down his own interests rather than not express his indignant feeling of what was spurious in art, or unjust towards himself. Hogarth was the first English painter who attracted much notice amongst foreigners, and he still remains one of the most original in genius of the British school. His subjects are not chosen from the loftier regions of life and imagination, but from the very lowest or the most corrupted ones of the life of his country and time. "The Harlot's Progress," "The Rake's Progress," "Marriage la Mode,"[163] "The March to Finchley," "Gín Lane," "Beer Lane," etc., present a series of subjects from which the delicate and sensitive will always revolt, and which have necessarily an air of vulgarity about them, but the purpose consecrates them; for they are not selected to pander to vice and folly, but to expose, to brand, to extirpate them.

Murat hastened in disguise to Naples to consult with his wife, who had as much courage and more judgment than he had; but this availed him nothing. On the 20th of May his generals signed a convention with the Austrians at Casa Lanza, a farmhouse near Capua, to surrender Capua on the 21st, and Naples on the 23rd, on condition that all the Neapolitan officers who took the oath of allegiance to King Ferdinand should retain their respective ranks, honours, and estates. At this news Murat fled out of Naples, and, with a very small attendance, crossed over in a fisherman's boat to the island of Ischia, and his wife went on board the vessel of Commodore Campbell, which, however, she was only able to effect by a guard of three hundred English sailors and marines, for the lazzaroni were all in insurrection. Commodore Campbell, having received Caroline Buonaparte, her property and attendants on board his squadron, then sailed to Gaeta, where were the four children of Murat, took them on board, and conveyed them altogether to Trieste, the Emperor of Austria having given Madame Murat free permission to take up her residence in Austria, under the name of the Countess of Lipano.