In April the French made an attempt to recover Quebec. Brigadier-General Murray had been left in command of the troops, six thousand in number, and the fleet had returned to England. The Marquis de Vaudreuil, now the French governor at Montreal, formed a plan of dropping down the St. Lawrence the moment the ice broke up, and before the mouth of the river was clear for ships to ascend from England. He therefore held in readiness five thousand regular troops, and as many militia, and the moment the ice broke in April, though the ground was still covered with snow, he embarked them in ships and boats under the command of Chevalier de Levis, an officer of reputation. On the 28th of that month they were within sight of Quebec. They had landed higher up than where Wolfe did, and were now at the village of Sillery, not far from Wolfe's place of ascent. Murray, who had only about three thousand men available for such a purpose, the rest having been reduced by sickness, or being needed to man the fortifications, yet ventured to march out against them. He was emulous of the fame of Wolfe, and attacked this overwhelming force with great impetuosity, but was soon compelled to retire into Quebec with the loss of one thousand men killed and wounded. This was a serious matter with their scanty garrison, considering the numbers of the enemy, and the uncertainty of the arrival of succour. This all-important question was adjourned to the next day, the 8th of June, when it was debated in a committee of the whole House. As the discussion, however, took place with closed doors, as all great debates of Congress did, to hide the real state of opinion, and to give to the ultimate decision an air of unanimity, the reports of it are meagre and unsatisfactory. We know, however, that Lee, the original mover, was supported by his colleague Wythe, and most energetically by John Adams; that it was as vigorously opposed by John Dickinson and his colleagues, Wilson, of Pennsylvania, Robert Livingstone, of New York, and John Rutledge, of South Carolina. Moreover, a considerable number of members from different States opposed the motion, on the ground, not of its being improper in itself, but, as yet, premature. Six colonies declared for it, including Virginia. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland were at present against it. New York, Delaware, and South Carolina, were not decided to move yet; and it was proposed to give them time to make up their minds. Dr. Zubly, of Georgia, protested against it, and quitted the Congress. To give time for greater unanimity, the subject was postponed till the 1st of July; but, meanwhile, a committee was appointed to draw up a Declaration of Independence. The members of this committee were only five, namely, Thomas Jefferson, of Virginia; John Adams, of Massachusetts; Roger Sherman, of Connecticut; Richard R. Livingstone, of New York; and Benjamin Franklin, of Pennsylvania.
In the meantime, General Gage landed at Boston on the 13th of May. The Port Bill had preceded him a few days, and the tone of the other colonies rendered the Bostonians firmer in their temper than ever. On the 25th of May General Gage announced to the Assembly at Boston the unpleasant fact, that he was bound to remove, on the 1st of June, the Assembly, the courts of justice, and all the public offices, to Salem, in conformity with the late Act. As they petitioned him to set apart a day for fasting, he declined that, and, to prevent further trouble, adjourned them to the 7th of June, to meet at Salem.
Whilst the Gironde was thus weakened by this implacable and incurable feud with the Jacobins, Austria was making unmistakable signs of preparations for that war which Leopold had often threatened, but never commenced. Francis received deputations from the Emigrant princes, ordered the concentration of troops in Flanders, and spoke in so firm a tone of restoring Louis and the old system of things, that the French ambassador at Vienna, M. De Noailles, sent in his resignation, stating that he despaired of inducing the Emperor to listen to the language which had been dictated to him. Two days afterwards, however, Noailles recalled his resignation, saying he had obtained the categorical answer demanded of the Court of Vienna. This was sent in a dispatch from Baron von Cobentzel, the Foreign Minister of Austria. In this document, which was tantamount to a declaration of war, the Court of Vienna declared that it would listen to no terms on behalf of the King of France, except his entire restoration to all the ancient rights of his throne, according to the royal declaration of the 23rd of June, 1789; and the restoration of the domains in Alsace, with all their feudal rights, to the princes of the Empire. Moreover, Prince Kaunitz, the chief Minister of Francis, announced his determination to hold no correspondence with the Government which had usurped authority in France.
The Government of England saw the necessity of coming to some conclusion on the subject of Irish commerce, which should remove the distress, and, as a consequence, the disorder. The Irish Government, at the instigation of the English Administration, sent over Commissioners to consult with the Board of Trade in London, and certain terms being agreed upon, these were introduced by Mr. Orde, the Secretary to the Lord-Lieutenant, to the Irish House of Commons, on the 7th of February. These were, that all articles not of the growth of Great Britain or Ireland should be imported into each country from the other, under the same regulations and duties as were imposed on direct importation, and with the same drawbacks; that all prohibitions in either country against the importation of articles grown, produced, or manufactured in the other should be rescinded, and the duties equalised. There were some other resolutions relating to internal taxation, to facilitate the corn trade, and some details in foreign and international commerce. These, after some debate, were passed on the 11th, and, being agreed to by the Lords, were transmitted to England. 
Napoleon, however, called his Champ-de-Mai together for the electors to this anomalous document; but, to add to the incongruity, the assembly was held in the Champ-de-Mars, and not in May at all, but on the 1st of June. There he and his brothers, even Lucien, who had been wiled back to his assistance, figured in fantastic robes as emperor and princes of the blood, and the electors swore to the Constitution; but the whole was a dead and dreary fiasco. On the 4th the two Chambers, that of Peers and that of Representatives, met. The Peers, who were his own officers and picked men, readily agreed to the Constitution; but not so the Chamber of Representatives. They chose Lanjuinais president, who had been a zealous advocate of Louis XVI., and who had drawn up the list of crimes under which Buonaparte's forfeiture had been pronounced in 1814. They entered into a warm discussion on the propriety of abolishing all titles of honour in that Chamber. They rejected a proposition to bestow on Napoleon the title of Saviour of his Country, and they severely criticised the "additional Act," declaring that "the nation would entertain no plans of aggrandisement; that not even the will of a victorious prince should lead them beyond the boundaries of self-defence." In this state of things Buonaparte was compelled to depart, leaving the refractory chamber to discuss the articles of his new Constitution.