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.

Not only in Parliament, but everywhere the cry for Reform rose with the distress. Hampden Clubs were founded in every town and village almost throughout the kingdom, the central one[121] being held at the "Crown and Anchor" in the Strand, London, its president being Sir Francis Burdett, and its leading members being William Cobbett, Major Cartwright, Lord Cochrane, Henry Hunt, and others. The object of these clubs was to prosecute the cause of Parliamentary reform, and to unite the Reformers in one system of action. With the spirit of Reform arose, too, that of cheap publications, which has now acquired such a vast power. William Cobbett's Political Register, on the 18th of November, 1816, was reduced from a shilling and a halfpenny to twopence, and thence-forward became a stupendous engine of Reform, being read everywhere by the Reformers, and especially by the working-classes in town and country, by the artisan in the workshop, and the shepherd on the mountain. The great endeavour of Cobbett was to show the people the folly of breaking machinery, and the wisdom of moral union.

The Ministry of "All the Talents"Fox informs Napoleon of a supposed Scheme for his AssassinationFutile Negotiations for PeaceWindham's Army BillsResolutions against the Slave Trade passedInquiry into the Conduct of the Princess of WalesBritish Expeditions: Stuart in CalabriaBattle of MaidaContinued Resistance of the NeapolitansRecapture of the Cape of Good HopeExpedition to Buenos AyresNaval Successes: Victories of Duckworth, Warren, and HoodCochrane's DaredevilryNapoleon's subject KingdomsPrussia makes ComplaintsNapoleon prepares for WarMurder of PalmIsolation of PrussiaImbecility of their Plan of CampaignBattle of JenaNapoleon in BerlinHe seizes BrunswickComplete Subjugation of GermanySettlement of GermanyThe Berlin DecreesNapoleon rouses the PolesCampaign against BenningsenDeath of FoxMinisterial ChangesVotes in SupplyAn Administrative ScandalAbolition of the Slave TradeMeasures of Roman Catholic ReliefDismissal of the Grenville MinistryThe Duke of Portland's CabinetHostile Motions in ParliamentThe General ElectionIrish Coercion BillsFailure of the Expeditions planned by the late Ministry: Buenos AyresThe Expedition to the DardanellesExpedition to AlexandriaAttack on RosettaWithdrawal of the ExpeditionWar between Russia and TurkeySecret Articles of the Treaty of TilsitBombardment of Copenhagen and Capture of the Danish FleetSeizure of HeligolandThe Campaign in EuropeBattle of EylauBenningsen's RetreatNapoleon on the VistulaFall of DantzicBattle of FriedlandAlexander resolves to make PeaceThe Meeting on the NiemenTreaty of Tilsit. In this utter desertion, the king prevailed on Lord North, who was already Chancellor of the Exchequer, to accept Grafton's post of First Lord of the Treasury, with the Premiership. Lord North, eldest son of the Earl of Guildford, was a man of a remarkably mild and pleasant temper, of sound sense, and highly honourable character. He was ungainly in his person and plain of countenance, but he was well versed in the business of Parliament, and particularly dexterous in tagging to motions of the Opposition some paragraph or other which neutralised the whole, or turned it even against them. He was exceedingly near-sighted, so much so, that he once carried off the wig of the old Secretary of the Navy, who sat near him in the House. For the rest, he was of so somnolent a nature that he was frequently seen nodding in the House when Opposition members were pouring out all the vials of their wrath on his head. He thought himself a Whig, but if we are to class him by his principles and his acts of administration, we must pronounce him a Tory.

Such was the position of affairs when Parliament was prorogued on the 9th of August. The Peel Ministry appeared to be as firmly seated as any combination then possible was likely to be, and the agriculturists' monopoly seemed safe at least for another year; but the Government had already received warnings of a coming storm. The weather had been for some time wet and cold, but as yet a general failure of the wheat crop was not anticipated. The trouble approached from a quarter in which no one had looked for it. Early in the month of August Sir Robert Peel had received an account of an extraordinary appearance in the potato crop in the Isle of Wight. On the 11th of August Sir James Graham received a letter from a great potato salesman, indicating that the same mysterious signs were observable throughout the south-eastern counties, and he hastened to communicate the facts to his colleague. These isolated[517] observations soon became confirmed from numerous quarters, and the account was everywhere the same. First a brown spot was observable on the skin of the potato; then the spot became black, the leaves and flowers of whole fields grew shrivelled, black, and putrid; and the crops, wherever the plague appeared, were almost entirely destroyed. From Ireland the most alarming accounts were received, and the newspapers were quickly filled with details of the progress of the "potato disease." It began to be asked what would be done with the unemployed multitudes in that country, whose stock of provisions for the next ten months was gone?

While the Irish Government was in this state of miserable trepidation, the Dublin confederates carried on their proceedings with the most perfect unconcern and consciousness of impunity. Among these proceedings was the sending of a deputation to Paris to seek the aid of the republican Government on behalf of the "oppressed nationality of Ireland." The deputation consisted of Messrs. O'Brien, Meagher, and O'Gorman. They were the bearers of three congratulatory addresses, to which Lamartine gave a magniloquent reply about the great democratic principle"this new Christianity bursting forth at the opportune moment." The destinies of Ireland had always deeply moved the heart of Europe. "The children of that glorious isle of Erin," whose natural genius and pathetic history were equally symbolic of the poetry and the heroism of the nations of the North, would always find in France under the republic a generous response to all its friendly sentiments. But as regarded intervention, the Provisional Government gave the same answer that they had given to Germany, to Belgium, and to Italy. "Where there is a difference of racewhere nations are aliens in bloodintervention is not allowable. We belong to no party in Ireland or elsewhere except to that which contends for justice, for liberty, and for the happiness of the Irish people. We are at peace," continued Lamartine, "and we are desirous of remaining on good terms of equality, not with this or that part of Great Britain, but with Great Britain entire. We believe this peace to be useful and honourable, not only to Great Britain and to the French Republic, but to the human race. We will not commit an act, we will not utter a word, we will not breathe an insinuation, at variance with principles of the reciprocal inviolability of nations which we have proclaimed, and of which the continent of Europe is already gathering the fruits. The fallen monarchy had treaties and diplomatists. Our diplomatists are nationsour treaties are sympathies." The sympathies felt for the Irish revolutionists, however, were barren. Nevertheless the deputation who were complimented as "aliens in blood" shouted "Vive la Rpublique," "Vive Lamartine," who had just declared that the French would be insane were they openly to exchange such sympathy for "unmeaning and partial alliance with even the most legitimate parties in the countries that surrounded them."

His terms were rejected with disdain. Yet he had a last interview with Metternich, in which he hoped to terrify him by a dread of the future preponderance of Russia; but, seeing that it made no impression, he became incensed, and adopted a very insolent tone towards the Austrian Minister. "Well, Metternich," he demanded, "how much has England given you to induce you to play this part towards me?" Metternich received the insult in haughty silence. Buonaparte, to try how far the diplomatist still would preserve his deference towards him, let his hat fall: Metternich let it lie. This was a sign that the Austrian had taken his part; it was, in fact, the signal of war. Yet, at the last moment, Napoleon suddenly assumed a tone of conciliation, and offered very large concessions. He had heard the news of the defeat of Vittoria. But it was too late. The Congress terminated on the 10th of August, and the Allies refused to re-open it. On the 12th of August, two days after the termination of the armistice, Austria declared herself on the side of the Allies, and brought two hundred thousand men to swell their ranks. This redoubtable force was commanded by her general, Prince von Schwarzenberg.

Miserably as Arnold had passed the winter in his camp, as spring approached he again planted his batteries above Quebec, but produced so little effect that Carleton lay still in expectation of his reinforcements on the breaking up of the river. On the 1st of April General Wooster arrived, and took the command, much to the disgust of Arnold, who was sent to command a detachment at[224] Montreal. On the 1st of May, General Thomas, who was to be supreme in command, arrived, and found the forces amounting to about two thousand men. The river was now opening; and on the 6th of May three English ships had made their way up to Quebec, full of troops. Two companies of the 29th Regiment and one hundred marines were immediately landed amid the rejoicings of the inhabitants; and General Carleton gave instant orders to issue forth and attack the American lines. But General Thomas, conscious that, so far from being able to take Quebec, he should be himself taken, unless he decamped with all haste, was already on the move. General Carleton pursued him vigorously, and the retreat of the Americans became a regular rout. They threw themselves into boats at the Three Rivers, leaving behind them all their artillery and stores, as well as the sick, who were numerous, the smallpox having broken out amongst them. Thomas managed to reach Fort Chambly and St. John's on the Sorel; but there he died, having taken the smallpox.

The Chartist trials took place at the September Sessions of the Central Criminal Court. The facts disclosed on the trial revealed, to a larger extent than is usual in such cases, how completely the men who are betrayed into such conspiracies are at the mercy of miscreants who incite them to crime for their own base purposes. The witnesses against Cuffey and others of the Chartists were all voluntary spiesthe chief of whom was a person named Powellwho joined the confederacy, aided in its organisation, and had themselves appointed "presidents" and "generals," with the sole purpose of betraying their dupes, in order that they might be rewarded as informers, or, at all events, well paid as witnesses. It was probably by those double traitors that the simultaneous meetings of the clubs were arranged, so that the police might seize them all at the same time. The trial lasted the entire week. On Saturday the jury returned a verdict of "Guilty" against all the prisoners. The sentence was transportation for life. Others were indicted for misdemeanour only, and were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, with fines. About a score of the minor offenders were allowed to plead not guilty, and let out on their own recognisances. And so ended Chartism.

The prisoners were at once sent to Richmond[532] Bridewell, on the South Circular Road, where the Governor did all in his power to make them comfortable. Good apartments were assigned to them. They dined together every day, and they were permitted to receive, without restriction, the visits of their friends and admirers. The Government was the less disposed to interfere with these indulgences, as their object was not so much punishment as prevention, and besides, the traversers had appealed against the sentence. A majority of the twelve English judges affirmed the judgment of the Court of Queen's Bench, while condemning the counts on which the Irish court relied. An appeal was then made to the House of Lords. The decision was left to the five law lordsLyndhurst, Brougham, Cottenham, Denman, and Campbell. The first two were for a confirmation of the judgment, the last three for reversal. Lord Denman, in pronouncing judgment, said, referring to the tampering with the panel, "If such practices as had taken place in the present instance in Ireland should continue, the trial by jury would become a mockery, a delusion, and a snare," a sentence which was hackneyed by repetition for years afterwards. The news of the reversal reached Dublin on the afternoon of the 5th of September. Great crowds had assembled on the pier at Kingstown, and tremendous cheers broke forth from the multitude when the Holyhead packet approached, and they saw held up a white flag, with the inscription, "Judgment reversed by the House of Lords. O'Connell is free!" The news was everywhere received by the Roman Catholics with wild excitement.

The French Chambers were summoned for the 28th of December, and the king opened them in person, reading a Speech which was vague, vapid, and disappointing. It contained one passage, however, which was sufficiently intelligible. It was a denunciation and a defiance of Reform. He said:"In the midst of the agitation fomented by hostile and blind passions, one conviction sustains and animates meit is that in the Constitutional monarchy, in the union of the great powers of the State, we possess the most assured means of surmounting all obstacles, and of satisfying the moral and material interests of our dear country." Next day a meeting of the Opposition deputies was held in Paris at the Caf Durand, in the Place de la Madeleine, when it was proposed that they should all send in their resignations. This would cause 102 elections, at which the conduct of the Government would be fully discussed at the hustings in different parts of the country. This was objected to by the majority, who were for holding a banquet in defiance of the Government. A committee was appointed to make the arrangements, and the announcement caused the greatest excitement. On the 21st of February, 1848, the Government issued a proclamation forbidding the banquet, which was to take place on the following day. The prohibition was obeyed; the banquet was not held. In the meantime, great numbers of people arrived in Paris from the country, and immense multitudes from all the faubourgs assembled at the Madeleine, in the Champs Elyses, and at the Place de la Concorde, consisting for the most part of workmen and artisans. The people seemed violently agitated, as if prepared for the most desperate issues. The troops were under arms, however, and the king, who was in the gayest humour, laughed with his courtiers at the pretensions of Barrot and the reformers. The excitement, however, increased every moment. When the troops came near the crowd, they were received with hisses and assailed with stones. The Rue Royale, the Rue de Rivoli, and Rue St. Honor, were cleared and occupied by cavalry, and the populace were driven into the back streets, where some barricades were constructed, and some occasional shots exchanged between the military and the insurgents. The principal struggles, however, were between the people and the Municipal Guard, which they abhorred. Wherever they met through the city, the conflict became fierce, sanguinary, and ruthless. But the National Guard had no such animosity against the people; on the contrary, they sympathised with them thoroughly, raised with them the cry of "Vive la Rforme," and refused to act against them. The king could not be got to believe this fact till the last moment.

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