W. G. Joscelyn, promotion in the army, and his brother made Bishop of Lismore. The king, in the first instance, applied to Lord Shelburne to form a Ministry; but he was bound by engagements to Wentworth House, and honourably refused to take the lead. George then tried Lord Gower as ineffectually, and so was compelled to send for Lord Rockingham, who accepted office, on the condition that peace should be made with America, including the acknowledgment of its independence, if unavoidable; administrative reform, on the basis of Mr. Burke's three Bills; and the expulsion of contractors from Parliament, and revenue officers from the exercise of the elective franchise. The king stood strongly on the retention of Lord Chancellor Thurlow and Lord Stormont in their offices. Rockingham, with reluctance, conceded the retention of Thurlow, but refused that of Stormont. The choice of Lord Rockingham was such as could only have been made where family influence and party cliques had more weight than the proper object of a Ministerthe able management of national affairs. Rockingham, though a very honourable man, was never a man of any ability, and though now only[288] fifty-two, his health and faculties, such as they were, were fast failing. Besides this, there was a violent jealousy between him and Lord Shelburne, who became his colleague, and brought in half of the Cabinet. The shape which the Ministry eventually assumed was this:Lord Rockingham became First Lord of the Treasury and Premier; the Earl of Shelburne and Charles Fox, Secretaries of State; Thurlow, Lord Chancellor; Camden, notwithstanding his age, President of the Council; Duke of Grafton, Privy Seal; Lord John Cavendish, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Keppelmade a viscountFirst Lord of the Admiralty; General Conway, Commander of the Forces; the Duke of Richmond, Master-General of Ordnance; Dunningas Lord AshburtonChancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Burke was not admitted to the Cabinet, for the Whigs were too great sticklers for birth and family; but his indispensable ability insured him the Paymastership of the Forcesby far the most lucrative office in the hands of Government, but the salary of which he was pledged to reduce by his Bill. Pitt was offered a place as Lord of the Treasury; but he had already declared, on the 8th of March, on the debate on Lord John Cavendish's motion, that he would never accept a subordinate situation. Dundas remained in office, as Lord Advocate, and John Lee was made Solicitor-General. Such was the new Administration: it embraced, as leaders, five Rockinghamites and five Shelburnites. The eleventh member of the Cabinet, Thurlow, belonged to neither side, but was the king's man. Fox saw himself in office with him with great repugnance, and Burke felt the slight put upon him in excluding him from the Cabinet.

Notwithstanding the constant wars of this time, British shipping, commerce, colonies, and manufactures made considerable progress. At the commencement of this period the amount of shipping employed in our commerce was altogether 244,788 tons, being 144,264 tons English, and 100,524 foreign; in 1701 the amount of shipping employed was 337,328 tons, of which alone 293,703 were English. In 1702, the end of William's reign, the number of English mercantile vessels was about 3,281, employing 27,196 seamen. The royal navy, at the end of William's reign, amounted to about 159,000 tons, employing some 50,000 sailors, so that the seamen of England must have amounted at that period to nearly 80,000.

On the 28th of October General Hill surprised a French force, under General Drouet, near Estremadura, and completely routed it, taking all the baggage, artillery, ammunition, and stores, with one thousand five hundred prisoners. By this[19] action the whole of that part of Estremadura except Badajoz was cleared of the French. This done, General Hill went into cantonments, and the British army received no further disturbance during the remainder of the year. Thus Wellington had completely maintained the defence of Portugal, and driven back the French from its frontiers. Wherever he had crossed the French in Spain, he had severely beaten them too. The Session of 1850 was creditably distinguished by the establishment of a policy of self-government for our colonies. They had become so numerous and so large as to be utterly unmanageable by the centralised system of the Colonial Office; while the liberal spirit that pervaded the Home Government, leading to the abolition of great monopolies, naturally reacted upon our fellow-subjects settled abroad, and made them discontented without constitutional rights. It was now felt that the time was come for a comprehensive measure of constitutional government for our American and Australian Colonies; and on the 8th of February, Lord John Russell, then Prime Minister, brought the subject before the House of Commons. It was very fully discussed, Sir William Molesworth, Mr. Roebuck, Mr. Labouchere, and others who had taken an active part in colonial affairs, being the principal speakers. With regard to Canada, great progress had already been made in constitutional government. The same might be said of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, in which the practice of administration approximated to that observed in Great Britain. It was determined to introduce representative institutions of a similar kind in Cape Colony. In Australia it was proposed that there should be but one Council, two-thirds elected by the people and one-third nominated by the Governor. Mr. Roebuck objected strongly to the Government measure, because it left the colonists free, to a great extent, to gratify the strong desire almost universally felt among them to have power to choose a Constitution for themselves, instead of[606] having a Constitution sent out to them, cut and dry. He wanted the House to plant at once liberal institutions there, which would spare the colonists the agony of working out a scheme of government for themselves. He declared that "of all the abortions of an incompetent Administration, this was the greatest." A ready-made Constitution had been sent out by the Government to South Africa; why, then, could not Parliament send out a ready-made Constitution to Australia? Lord John Russell replied to Mr. Roebuck's arguments, and after a lengthened debate the Bill was read a second time. There was a strong division of opinion in committee as to whether there should be two Chambers or one. Sir William Molesworth moved an amendment to the effect that there should be two, which was rejected by a majority of 218 against 150. The Bill passed the House of Commons on the 18th of May, and on the 31st was brought into the Lords, where also it was subjected to lengthened discussions and various amendments, which caused it to be sent back to the Commons for consideration on the 1st of August. On the motion of Lord John Russell the amendments were agreed to, and the Bill was passed. This was the principal legislative work of the Session and possessed undoubted merits.

From Boulogne, Buonaparte proceeded to Brussels, Ostend, Antwerp, and so through Belgium, where Josephine met him, to the Rhine. Wherever he appeared, the authorities of the towns, both then and on his return through France, presented him with the most adulatory addresses. One would no longer believe it the same people who had, for[499] ten years, committed such unexampled horrors to destroy the royalty they were now again adoring. The Mayor of Arras, Robespierre's own town, put the climax to all this civic incense by declaring, in his address, that "God made Napoleon, and then rested!"

On the evening of the very day that Louis[91] quitted Paris Buonaparte arrived in it. He had slept on the night of the 19th at Fontainebleau, where, in the preceding April, he had signed his abdication. No sooner had the king departed than the Buonapartists, who were all ready for that event, came forth from their hiding-places. Lavalette resumed his position at the post-office, and thus managed to intercept the proclamations of Louis, and to circulate those of Buonaparte. Exelmans took down the white flag from the Tuileries and hoisted the tricolour, and a host of the adherents of the old Imperial Government, hurrying from all quarters, thronged the avenues to the palace, and filled the court of the Carrousel. There were ex-Ministers of Buonaparte, ex-councillors, ex-chamberlains, in imperial costumein short, every species of officers and courtiers, down to cooks, and butlers, and valets, all crushing forward to re-occupy their places. The remnant of the Beloochee forces were hunted for some weeks by flying columns. At length, Captain Roberts, at the head of one of them, captured the brother of Shere Mahommed and 1,000 of his followers. Another column was attacked by the Ameer himself; but his followers,[593] after the first round of fire, dispersed. The whole military force of the Ameers was now annihilated, and the conquest of Scinde was complete. "I think," said Sir Charles Napier, "I may venture to say that Scinde is now subdued. The Scindian population everywhere express their satisfaction at the change of masters." No doubt the change from Mohammedan to British rule was an advantage to the poor Hindoos; and if it be allowable to do evil that good may come, Lord Ellenborough was justified in the means he had adopted for supplanting the Ameers. Accordingly, on the 5th of June, the queen proceeded to the House of Lords, and stated in a long speech the terms on which it was proposed to make the peace with Francenamely, that Louis XIV. should acknowledge the Protestant succession and remove the Pretender out of France; that Philip should renounce the Crown of Spain[5], should that of France devolve on him; and that the kings of both France and Spain should make solemn engagements for themselves and their heirs that the two kingdoms should never be united under one crown; that Newfoundland, with Placentia, Hudson's Bay, Nova Scotia, or Acadia, as it was then termed by the French, as well as Gibraltar, Port Mahon, and the whole island of Minorca, should be ceded to England; that the Spanish Netherlands, Naples, Sardinia, the Duchy of Milan, and the places on the Tuscan coast, formerly belonging to Spain, should be yielded to Austria, the appropriation of Sicily being not so far determined; that France would make the Rhine the barrier of the Empire, yielding up all places beyond it, and razing the fortresses on the German side as well as in the river; that the barriers of Savoy, the Netherlands, and Prussia, should be made satisfactory to the Allies. The Electoral dignity was to be acknowledged in the House of Hanover.

But the Court had hesitated too long. The people had taken the start of them, and now came sounds which paralysed the Court party with consternation. Scarcely was midnight passed on this eventful 14th of July, when the throngs increased rapidly around the Bastille, and the cries grew fiercer, "Down with it!" "Let us storm it!" De Launay, the governor, had made all necessary preparations, charged a dozen long guns on the towers with balls of a pound and a half each, and disposed his little force to the best advantage. While the democratic leaders were negotiating with the garrison, the crowd grew first impatient, then furious. They advanced impetuously against the first drawbridge. Two men mounted the roof of the guard-house, and, with axes, cut the chains of the bridge, which fell down. The mass of assailants rushed forward towards the second bridge, but were met by a discharge of musketry, which did deadly execution amongst them and brought them to a stand. The firing proceeded at once from the towers and from the loop-holes below. A number of the assailants fell, whilst only two of the muskets fired by the people during the whole day took effect. De Launay now gave orders to fire on the assailants with grape. This drove them back to some distance, but they soon came on more furious than ever. De Launay looked in vain for the promised succour from Besenval or Broglie, and seeing the ever-increasing and ever more raging thousands around, he lost his head, was seized with despair, and resolved to blow up the prison and a great part of the old town near it. Six hundred and thirty-five barrels of gunpowder were deposited in the magazine. Seizing a match, he ran to cast it into an open barrel, and thus send into the air the horrible old fortress, himself, and garrison. With it must inevitably have been destroyed all the quarter of the Bastille, all the Marais, and a great part of the Faubourg St. Antoine. Two uncommissioned officers stopped him by crossing their bayonets. He then attempted to kill himself, but was secured. His head was wholly gonehe was no longer capable of issuing an order.

With the war the manufacture of guns and arms of all kinds was greatly increased, and several important improvements were made in the construction of gun-barrels and their breeches. All kinds of cutlery were improved, but, at the same time, both Government, by contractors, and foreign countries, by merchants, were imposed on by articles that had more show than use, to the serious injury of the British reputation. Knives and razors were sent out of mere iron, and our pioneers and sappers and miners were often supplied with axes, picks, and shovels more resembling lead than iron.

On the 23rd the aspect of the insurgent multitude became more fierce, daring, and determined. Guizot had announced the resignation of his Cabinet; the king had sent for Count Mol, then for M. Thiers, who was asked to form a new Ministry. He declined unless Odillon Barrot became one of his colleagues. The king gave a reluctant consent, but Barrot was not prepared to sanction measures of military repression. Marshal Bugeaud, the hero of Algiers, whose exploits there made his name terrible, had been appointed Commander-in-Chief of the first military division, and of the National Guard of Paris, but the National Guard were not prepared to fight against the people. The people, knowing this, shouted, "Vive la Garde Nationale!" and the National Guard shouted, "Vive la Rforme!" In the evening, about seven o'clock, an immense body of the working classes formed in procession, headed by men carrying blazing torches, and marching along the Boulevards, chanted two lines of the Girondists' song

[See larger version]

In one respect the general election happened at an unseasonable time. It was the driest and warmest summer on record. On the 28th of June, the hottest day in the year, the thermometer stood at eighty-nine and a half degrees in the shade. Several deaths were occasioned by sunstroke; among the victims were a son of Earl Grey, and Mr. Butterworth, the eminent law bookseller, a candidate for Dover. The elections were carried on in many places with great spirit. But, though there were exciting contests, the struggles were not for parties, but for measures. There were three great questions at issue before the nation, and with respect to these pledges were exacted. The principal were the Corn Laws, Catholic Emancipation, and the Slave Trade. In England and Wales one hundred and thirty-three members were returned who had never before sat in Parliament. This large infusion of new blood showed that the constituencies were in earnest. In Ireland the contests turned chiefly on the Catholic question. The organisation of the Catholic Association told now with tremendous effect. In every parish the populace were so excited by inflammatory harangues, delivered in the chapel on Sundays, after public worship, both[254] by priests and laymenthe altar being converted into a platformthat irresistible pressure was brought to bear upon the Roman Catholic electors. The "forty-shilling freeholders" had been multiplied to an enormous extent by the landlords for electioneering purposes. Roman Catholic candidates being out of the question, and the Tory interest predominant in Ireland, electioneering contests had been hitherto in reality less political than personal. They had been contests for pre-eminence between great rival families; consequently, farms were cut up into small holdings, because a cabin and a potato garden gave a man who was little better than a pauper an interest which he could swear was to him worth forty shillings a year. The Protestant landlords who pursued this selfish course little dreamt that the political power they thus created would be turned with terrible effect against themselves; and they could scarcely realise their position when, in county after county, they were driven from the representation, which some of them regarded as an inheritance almost as secure as their estates. The most powerful family in Ireland, and the most influential in the Government, was that of the Beresfords, whose principal estates lay in the county Waterford, and where no one would imagine that their candidate could be opposed with the least prospect of success. But on this occasion they suffered a signal defeat. The forty-shilling freeholders, as well as the better class of Roman Catholic farmers, were so excited by the contest that they went almost to a man against their landlords. In many cases they had got their holdings at low rents on the express condition that their vote should be at the disposal of the landlord. But all such obligations were given to the winds. They followed their priests from every parish to the hustings, surrounded and driven forward by a mass of non-electors armed with sticks and shouting for their church and their country. O'Connell was now in his glory, everywhere directing the storm which he had raised. When the contest was over, many of the landlords retaliated by evicting the tenants who had betrayed their trust and forfeited their pledges. They were tauntingly told that they might go for the means of living to O'Connell and the priests. This was a new ingredient in the cauldron of popular discontent, disaffection, and agrarian crime. The gain of the Catholic party in Ireland, however, was more than counterbalanced by the gain of the opposite party in England and Scotland.

[See larger version]