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Both the Government and people of Britain responded to these demands with enthusiasm. War with Spain was declared to be at an end; all the Spanish prisoners were freed from confinement, and were sent home in well-provided vessels. The Ministers, and Canning especially, avowed their conviction that the time was come to make an effectual blow at the arrogant power of Buonaparte. Sir Arthur Wellesley was selected to command a force of nine thousand infantry and one regiment of cavalry, which was to sail immediately to the Peninsula, and to act as circumstances should determine. This force sailed from Cork on the 12th of July, and was to be followed by another of ten thousand men. Sir Arthur reached Corunna on the 20th of the same month, and immediately put himself in communication with the junta of Galicia. All was confidence amongst the Spaniards. They assured him, as the deputies in London had assured the Ministers, that they wanted no assistance from foreign troops; that they had men to any amount, full of bravery; they only wanted arms and money. He furnished them with a considerable sum of money, but his experienced mind foresaw that they needed more than they imagined to contend with the troops of Buonaparte. They wanted efficient officers, and thorough discipline, and he felt confident that they must, in their overweening assurance, suffer severe reverses. He warned the junta that Buonaparte, if he met with obstructions in reaching them by land, would endeavour to cross into Asturias by sea, and he advised them to fit out the Spanish ships lying at Ferrol to prevent this; but they replied that they could not divert their attention from their resistance by land, and must leave the[559] protection of their coasts to their British allies. Sir Arthur then sailed directly for Oporto, where he found the Portuguese right glad to have the assistance of a British force, and most willing to co-operate with it, and to have their raw levies trained by British officers. On the 24th of July he opened his communication with the town. The bishop was heading the insurrection, and three thousand men were in drill, but badly armed and equipped. A thousand muskets had been furnished by the British fleet, but many men had no arms except fowling-pieces. Wellesley made arrangements for horses and mules to drag his cannon, and convey his baggage, and then he sailed as far as the Tagus, to ascertain the number and condition of the French forces about Lisbon. Satisfied on this head, he returned, and landed his troops, on the 1st of August, at Figueras, in Mondego Bay. This little place had been taken by the Portuguese insurgents, and was now held by three hundred mariners from British ships. Higher up the river lay five thousand Portuguese regulars, at Coimbra. On the 5th he was joined by General Spencer, from Cadiz, with four thousand men; thus raising his force to thirteen thousand foot and about five hundred cavalry. The greatest rejoicing was at the moment taking place amongst the Portuguese from the news of General Dupont's surrender to Casta?os. These proceedings called forth an opposite class of Associations, in which the clergy of the Establishment took the lead. The bishop and clergy of Worcester, and Dr. Watson, the bishop, and the clergy of Llandaff, met and presented addresses to the king, expressing their abhorrence of the doctrines of these Associations, which made no secret of their demand for "the rights of manliberty and equality, no king, no Parliament;" and they expressed their conviction that this country already possessed more genuine liberty than any other nation whatever. They asserted that the Constitution, the Church, and State had received more improvements since the Revolution in 1688 than in all previous ages; that the Dissenters and Catholics had been greatly relieved, the judges had been rendered independent, and the laws in various ways more liberalised since the accession of his present Majesty than for several reigns previously. They asserted boldly that in no country could men rise from the lowest positions to affluence and honour, by trade, by the practice of the law, by other arts and professions, so well as in this; that the wealth everywhere visible, the general and increasing prosperity, testified to this fact, in happy contrast to the miserable condition of France. They concluded by recommending the formation of counter-associations in all parts of the country, to diffuse such constitutional sentiments and to expose the mischievous fallacies of the Democratic societies. This advice was speedily followed, and every neighbourhood became the arena of conflicting politics. The Democrats, inoculated by the wild views of French licence, injured the cause of real liberty and progress by their advocacy of the mob dominion of Paris; and the Constitutionalists, urged by the alarm and the zeal inspired by opposition, grew intolerant and persecuting. The eyes of thousands who had at first hailed the French Revolution as the happy dawn of a new era of liberty and brotherhood, were now opened by the horrors of the massacres of the French clergy in September of this year, and by the sight of swarms of priests, who had fled for security to London and were everywhere to be seen in the streets, destitute and dejected. A public meeting was called at the London Tavern towards the close of 1792, and a subscription entered into for their relief.

The members of the Government were scarcely less rejoiced at getting rid of the matter than the nation was at their defeat. The most thinking men of their party became greatly alarmed at the state of public feeling, and were in constant dread of a revolution. The most violent language was used by the democratic leaders, and the press abounded with libels against the Government, whose chief members were hooted and pelted as they passed through the streets. This alarming state of things had arrived at its height towards the end of September. The Duke of York, who was then at Brighton, was violent against the queen. He felt confident that the troops must be called out, and he thought he could trust them. On them alone he depended for the preservation of the Throne. The king, at this time, rarely showed himself to any of his subjects. His conduct was an excitement to popular hatred. Mr. W. H. Freemantle, who was well informed as to all that was going forward in the highest quarters, describes the condition of things in letters to the Duke of Buckingham. "You have no idea," he says, "of the state of the town. The funds fell to-day. As to the king forming a Government, after the resignation of all his present servants, with the avowed object of persecuting the queen, it would be impossible; it would be making her the popular object and throwing the country in a flame. Be assured that the king on[213] this subject is no less than mad!" "In the months of October and November," observes the Duke of Buckingham, "it became evident that the frenzy outside the Houses of Parliament was exerting its influence within its walls. The aspect of affairs looked blacker every hour." "Matters here are in a critical state," writes Lord Sidmouth to Mr. Bathurst on the 27th of October. "Fear and faction are actively and not unsuccessfully at work; and it is possible that we may be in a minority, and that the fate of the Government may be decided." Plumer Ward, in his diary, has this entry under date of November 2nd:"Called upon (Wellesley) Pole. He was at breakfast, and we had a long chat. He thought everything very badMinisters, Opposition, king, queen, countryand, what was more, no prospect of getting right. All ties were loosened. Insolence and insubordination out of doors; weakness and wickedness within. 'The Whigs,' he said, 'were already half Radicals, and would be entirely so if we did not give way.' I said his brother, the Duke of Wellington, felt this too, but would not give way nevertheless. Meantime, the king was as merry as a grig. At first he had been annoyed, but was now enjoying himself at Brighton."

In Lancashire and Cheshire the principal roads were paved; but as there grew a necessity for more rapid transit of mails and stage-coaches, we find, from a tour by Adam Walker to the Lakes in 1792, that a better system had been introduced; the paved roads were in many places pulled up, and the stones broken small; and he describes the roads generally as good, or wonderfully improved since the "Tours" of Arthur Young. Except in the county of Derby, the highways were excellent, and broken stones were laid by the roadsides ready for repairs. From this episode of fire and fanaticism we recur to the general theme of the war with Spain, France, and America, in which England was every day becoming more deeply engaged. From the moment that Spain had joined France in the war against us, other Powers, trusting to our embarrassments with our colonies and those great European Powers, had found it a lucrative trade to supply, under neutral flags, warlike materials and other articles to the hostile nations; thus, whilst under a nominal alliance, they actually furnished the sinews of war against us. In this particular, Holland, the next great commercial country to Britain, took the lead. She furnished ammunition and stores to the Spaniards, who all this while were engaged in besieging Gibraltar. Spain had also made a treaty with the Barbary States, by which she cut off our supplies from those countries. To relieve Gibraltar, Admiral Sir George Rodney, who was now appointed to the command of our navy in the West Indies, was ordered to touch there on his way out. On the 8th of January 1780, when he had been a few days out at sea, he came in sight of a Spanish fleet, consisting of five armed vessels, convoying fifteen merchantmen, all of which he captured. These vessels were chiefly laden with wheat, flour, and other provisions, badly needed at Gibraltar, and which he carried in with him, sending the men-of-war to England. On the 16th he fell in with another fleet off Cape St. Vincent, of eleven ships of the line, under Don Juan de Langara, who had come out to intercept the provisions which England sent to Gibraltar. Rodney had a much superior fleet, and the Spanish admiral immediately attempted to regain his port. The weather was very tempestuous, and the coast near the shoal of St. Lucar very dangerous; he therefore stood in as close as possible to the shore, but Rodney boldly thrust his vessels between him and the perilous strand, and commenced a running fight. The engagement began about four o'clock in the evening, and it was, therefore, soon dark; but Rodney, despite the imminent danger of darkness, tempest, and a treacherous shore, continued the fight, and the Spaniards for a time defended themselves bravely. The battle continued till two o'clock in the morning; one ship, the San Domingo, of seventy guns, blew up with six hundred men early in the action; four ships of the line, including the admiral's, of eighty guns, struck, and were carried by Rodney safe into port; two seventy-gun ships ran on the shoal and were lost; and of all the Spanish fleet only four ships escaped to Cadiz.

The garrison of Gibraltar was all this time hard pressed by the Spaniards. Florida Blanca had made a convention with the Emperor of Morocco to refuse the English any supplies; those thrown in by Rodney the year before were nearly exhausted, and they were reduced to grave straits. Admiral Darby was commissioned to convoy one hundred vessels laden with provisions, and to force a way for them into the garrison. Darby not only readily executed his commission, to the great joy of the poor soldiers, but he blockaded the huge Spanish fleet under Admiral Cordova, in the harbour of Cadiz, whilst the stores were landing.

LORD NELSON. (After the Portrait by Sir William Beechey, R.A.) This blow induced Scindiah to sue for peace from General Wellesley in November, and a truce was accordingly entered into with him; but as the Rajah of Berar still kept the field, Wellesley marched against him, and encountered him on the plains of Argaum, about one hundred and twenty miles north of the Purna river. He was surprised to find the treacherous Scindiah, notwithstanding the truce, also encamped with him. Wellesley attacked the allies on the 28th of November, though it was evening when he was ready for action, and there remained only twenty minutes of daylight. But it proved a brilliant moonlight night, and he routed the whole army, and his cavalry pursued the fugitives for several miles, taking many elephants, camels, and much baggage. He captured all their cannon, thirty-eight pieces, and all their ammunition. This done, he hastened[494] to reduce the formidable fortress of Gawilgarh, situated on a lofty rock. On the 15th the outer walls were carried, and the 94th regiment, led on by Captain Campbell, scaled the inner one, opened the gate, and the whole place was soon in possession of the British. This closed the opposition of the Rajah of Berar. On the 17th of December he came to terms, and surrendered to Wellesley the important province of Cuttack and the district of Balasore. Immediately afterwards Scindiah was compelled to treat in earnest. He consented to surrender all the country between the Jumna and the Ganges, with numerous forts and other territories, and agreed to recognise the right of the Peishwa to the domains which the British had conferred upon him. Both he and the Rajah of Berar stipulated to send away all Frenchmen or other Europeans and Americans, and not to employ them again, nor even to employ British subjects, native or European, without the consent of the British Government. Having obtained a favourable episcopal bench, King William now endeavoured to introduce measures of the utmost wisdom and importancemeasures of the truest liberality and the profoundest policynamely, an Act of Toleration of dissent, and an Act of Comprehension, by which it was intended to allow Presbyterian ministers to occupy livings in the Church without denying the validity of their ordination, and also to do away with various things in the ritual of the Church which drove great numbers from its community. By the Act of Tolerationunder the name of "An Act for exempting their Majesties' Protestant subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the penalties of certain laws"dissenters were exempt from all penalties for not attending church and for attending their own chapels, provided that they took the new oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and subscribed to the declaration against Transubstantiation, and also that their chapels were registered, and their services conducted without the doors being locked or barred. As the Quakers would take no oaths, they were allowed to subscribe a declaration of fidelity to the Government, and a profession of their Christian belief.

CONFERENCE BETWEEN THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT, 1835. (See p. 392.)