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THE PALACE OF THE TUILERIES, PARIS.
In July, 1814, whilst the struggles were going on upon the Canadian frontiers, the British projected an expedition against the very capital of the United States. This was carried into execution about the middle of August. Sir Alexander Cochrane landed General Ross, and a strong body of troops, on the banks of the Patuxent, and accompanied them in a flotilla of launches, armed boats, and small craft up the river itself. On entering the reach at Pig Point they saw the American flotilla, commanded by Commodore Baring, lying seventeen in number. They prepared to attack it, when they saw flames begin to issue from the different vessels, and comprehended that the commodore had deserted them; and it was firmly believed that he had so timed the setting fire to his vessels that they might blow up when the British were close upon them, if they had not already boarded them. Fortunately, the flames had made too much progress, and the British escaped this danger. The vessels blew up one after another, except one, which the British secured. Both soldiers and sailors were highly incensed at this treachery, and prepared to avenge it on Washington itself. On the 24th of August they were encountered at Bladensburg, within five miles of Washington, by eight or nine thousand American troops, posted on the right bank of the Potomac, on a commanding ridge. Madison was on one of the hills, to watch the battle, on the event of which depended the fate of the capital.
The result of this division shook the last resistance of Walpole. When the motion which had been rejected on the 18th of Decemberfor copies of the correspondence with the King of Prussiawas again put, he made no opposition, and it passed without a division. He made, however, one more attempt to carry his measures. In the disputed election of Chippenham he stood his ground against the petition, and was defeated by a majority of one. It was now clear to himself that he must give way. His relatives and friends assured him that to defer longer was only to court more decided discomfiture. On the 31st of January, he, therefore, prepared to depart for his seat at Houghton, and the next morning he demanded of the king, in a private audience, leave to retire. George, on this occasion, evinced a degree of feeling that did him honour. When the old Minister who had served him through so long a course of years knelt to kiss hands, the king embraced him, shed tears, and begged that he would often come to see him. On the 9th of February Sir Robert was created Earl of Orford, and on the 11th he made a formal resignation of all his places.Lord Melbourne on announcing the completion of his arrangements made a general statement of his policy. In forming his Cabinet he had had to contend with difficulties "peculiarly great and arduous, and some of them of a severe and mortifying nature." He had no change of policy to declare. "His Government would be based upon the principles of a safe, prudent, and truly efficient reformprinciples the tendency of which was not to subvert or endanger, but, on the contrary, to improve, strengthen, and establish the institutions of the country; and in regard to ecclesiastical government, every measure contemplated in reference to that subject would have for its end the increase of true piety and religion through the whole of his Majesty's dominions." From the disposition and character popularly ascribed to Lord Melbourne, it could not be expected that he should prove an energetic Reformer. The Earl of Derby mentions a saying of his which often escaped him as a member of Lord Grey's Cabinet. When they had to encounter a difficulty, he would say, "Can't you let it alone?" This accords with the portrait of him presented by Sydney Smith, in his second letter to Archdeacon Singleton.
The removal of this popular and "chivalrous" Viceroy caused universal expressions of grief among the Roman Catholic party. In the Association, O'Connell and Sheil spoke in the most glowing terms of his character and his administration. He quitted Ireland on the 19th of January, 1829, followed from the Castle gates to the pier at Kingstown by an immense concourse of people. In a letter to Dr. Curtis Lord Anglesey gave an extraordinary parting advice for a chief ruler of Ireland, "Agitateagitateagitate!" He was succeeded by the Duke of Northumberland, a man not at all likely to trouble his chief with controversy about anything. His appointment, however, brought back the Conservative aristocracy to the Castle, and had a soothing effect on the Protestant mind, while his administration was mild towards the other party.
The spirit of Choiseul having departed from the French administration, and the king having so unequivocally expressed his intention not to go to war, the Spanish Court hastened to lower its tone and offer conciliatory terms. In December they had proposed, through Prince de Masserano, to disavow the expedition of Buccarelli, if the English Court would disown the menaces of Captain Hunt. This was promptly refused, and orders were sent to Mr. Harris to quit the capital of Spain. He set out in January, 1771, but was speedily recalled; the expedition of Buccarelli was disavowed; the settlement of Port Egmont was conceded, whilst the main question as to the right of either party to the Falklands at large was left to future discussion. So little value, however, did Britain attach to the Falkland Isles, that it abandoned them voluntarily two years afterwards. For many years they were forsaken by both nations; but in 1826 the Republic of Buenos Ayres adopted them as a penal colony, and in 1833 the British finally took possession of them.
Grey and Fox then made an equally brisk attack on the support of Turkey by Ministers. They greatly applauded the Czarina, and Fox affirmed that so far from Turkey soliciting our interference, it had objected to it. On the same day, in the Lords, Lord Fitzwilliam opened the same question. He contended that we had fitted out an expensive armament to prevent the conquest by Russia of Oczakoff, and yet had not done it, but had ended in accepting the very terms that the Czarina had offered in 1790. Ministers replied that, though we had not saved Oczakoff, we had prevented still more extensive attempts by Russia. Though the Opposition, in both cases, was defeated, the attack was renewed on the 27th of February, when the Earl Stanhopean enthusiastic worshipper of the French Revolutionrecommended, as the best means of preventing aggression by Continental monarchs, a close alliance on our part with France. Two days afterwards Mr. Whitbread introduced a string of resolutions in the Commons, condemning the interference of Ministers between Russia and Turkey, and the needless expenditure thus incurred, in fact, going over much the same ground. A strenuous debate followed, in which Grey, Fox, Windham, Francis, Sheridan, and the whole Whig phalanx, took part. On this occasion, Mr. Jenkinson, afterwards Earl of Liverpool, first appeared, and made his maiden speech in defence of Ministers. He showed that the system of aggression had commenced with Russia, and menaced the profoundest dangers to Europe; that Britain had wisely made alliance with Prussia to stem the evil, and he utterly repudiated all notion of the moderation of the Czarina, whose ambition he asserted to be of the most unscrupulous kind.