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Windham, on the 3rd of April, proposed his plan for the improvement of the army. Till this time enlistments had been for life, which gave men a strong aversion to enter it, and made it the resort chiefly of such as were entrapped in drink, or were the offscouring of society, who became soldiers to enjoy an idle life and often to escape hanging for their desperate crimes. He said that we could not have recourse to conscription in this country, and to get men, and especially a better class of men, we must limit the term of service and increase the pay. To prepare the way for his contemplated regulations, he first moved for the repeal of Pitt's Additional Force Bill. This was strongly opposed by Castlereagh and Canning, who contended that nothing could be better or more flourishing than the condition of the army; and that the repeal of Pitt's Bill was only meant to cast a slur on his memory. Notwithstanding this,[519] the Bill was repealed by a majority, in the Commons, of two hundred and thirty-five against one hundred and nineteen, and in the Lords by a majority of ninety-seven against forty. Windham then moved for a clause in the annual Mutiny Bill, on the 30th of May, for limiting the terms of service. In the infantry, these terms were divided into three, of seven years each; and in the cavalry and artillery three also, the first of ten, the second of six, and the third of five years. At the end of any one of these terms, the soldier could demand his discharge, but his privileges and pensions were to be increased according to the length of his service. Notwithstanding active opposition, the clause was adopted and inserted. He then followed this success by a series of Bills: one for training a certain number of persons liable to be drawn from the militia, not exceeding two hundred thousand; a Bill suspending the ballot for the militia for England for two years, except so far as should be necessary to supply vacancies in any corps fallen below its quota; a Bill, called the Chelsea Hospital Bill, to secure to disabled or discharged soldiers their rightful pensions; a Bill for augmenting the pay of infantry officers of the regular line; and one for settling the relative rank of officers of troops of the line, militia, and yeomanry. To these Bills, which were all passed, was added a vote for the increased pay of sergeants, corporals, and privates of the line, and an augmentation of the Chelsea pensions, and the pensions of officers' widows. Lord Howick moved that the same benefits should be extended to the officers, petty officers, and seamen of the navy, and to the Greenwich pensioners, which was carried. These were, undoubtedly, most substantial measures of justice to the two services; and the results of them soon became apparent enough in their beneficial effects on the condition of the army and navy.

GIBRALTAR.

In Ireland the bulk of the population had been left to the Catholic pastors, who were maintained by their flocks, the property of the Catholic Church having been long transferred by Act of Parliament to the Church of England, or, as it was called, the sister Church of Ireland. The number of parishes in Ireland had been originally only two thousand four hundred and thirty-six, though the population at that time was half that of England; but in 1807 Mr. Wickham stated that, in 1803, these had been consolidated, and reduced to one thousand one hundred and eighty-three. In some of these parishes in the south of Ireland, Mr. Fitzgerald stated that the incomes amounted to one thousand pounds, to one thousand five hundred pounds, and even to three thousand pounds a year; yet that in a considerable number of these highly endowed parishes there was no church whatever. In others there were churches but no Protestant pastors, because there were no Protestants. The provision for religious instruction went wholly, in these cases, to support non-resident, and often very irreligious, clergymen. In fact, no truly religious clergyman ever could[171] hold such a living. The livings were, in fact, looked upon as sinecures to be conferred by Ministers on their relatives or Parliamentary supporters. It was stated that out of one thousand one hundred and eighty-three benefices in Ireland, two hundred and thirty-three were wholly without churches; and Mr. Fitzgerald said, "that where parishes had been consolidated, the services rendered to the people by their clergyman had been diminished in proportion as his income had been augmented; for no place of religious worship was provided within the reach of the inhabitants; nor could such parishioners obtain baptism for their children, or the other rites of the Church; and the consequence was that the Protestant inhabitants, in such places, had disappeared."

On the 26th of August Massena arrived before Almeida, a strongly fortified town not thirty miles from Ciudad Rodrigo. Wellington hoped that it would detain him at least a month, for it had a good Portuguese garrison, commanded by Colonel Cox, an English officer: and he himself drew near, to be able to seize any opportunity of damaging the besiegers. But in the night of the 27th there was a terrible explosion of a powder magazine, which threw down part of the wall, and made the place untenable. Treachery was immediately suspected, and what followed was sufficient proof of it; for the Portuguese major, whom Colonel Cox sent to settle the terms of the capitulation, went over to the French, and was followed by a whole Portuguese regiment with the exception of its British officers. This was a great disappointment to Lord Wellington, whose plan was to detain Massena till the rainy season set in, when he would at once find himself embarrassed by bridgeless floods and in intolerable roads, and, as he hoped and had ordered, in a country without people and without provisions. Progress of the French RevolutionDeath of MirabeauAttempted Flight of the King from ParisAttitude of the Sovereigns of EuropeThe Parties of the Right and of the LeftThe GirondistsDecrees against the EmigrantsNegotiations between Marie Antoinette and PittCondition of the French ArmySession of 1792; Debates on Foreign AffairsMarriage of the Duke of YorkThe Prince of Wales's AllowanceThe BudgetThe Anti-Slavery MovementMagistracy BillAttempts at ReformThe Society of the Friends of the PeopleProclamation against Seditious WritingsFox's Nonconformist Relief BillProrogation of ParliamentAssociations and Counter-AssociationsLord Cornwallis's War against Tippoo SahibCapture of SeringapatamPeace with TippooEmbassy to ChinaDesigns of the Powers against PolandCatherine resolves to strikeInvasion of PolandNeutrality of EnglandConquest of PolandImminence of War between France and AustriaIt is declaredFailure of the French TroopsThe Duke of Brunswick's ProclamationInsurrection of the 10th of AugustMassacre of the SwissSuspension of the KingAscendency of JacobinismDumouriez in the Passes of the ArgonneBattle of ValmyRetreat of the PrussiansOccupation of the Netherlands by the French TroopsCustine in GermanyOccupation of Nice and SavoyEdict of FraternityAbolition of RoyaltyTrial and Death of the KingEffect of the Deed on the ContinentThe Militia called out in EnglandDebates in Parliament on War with FranceThe Alien BillRupture of Diplomatic Relations with FranceWar declared against BritainEfforts to preserve the PeaceThey are Ineffectual.

Lord Durham at once resigned, and was succeeded by Mr. Poulett Thomson, afterwards Lord[448] Sydenham, who fully adopted his policy, which was ably expounded in an important report from the pen of Mr. Charles Buller, with additions by Gibbon Wakefield. It was characterised by profound statesmanship, and was the basis of the sound policy which has made united Canada a great and flourishing State. Meanwhile, the returned prisoners from Bermuda showed their sense of the leniency with which they had been treated by immediately reorganising the rebellion. Sir John Colborne, the commander-in-chief, who had, on Lord Durham's departure, assumed provisionally the government of the colonies, thereupon proclaimed martial law, and stamped out the insurrection. Only twelve of the principal offenders were ultimately brought to trial, of whom ten were sentenced to death, but only four were executed. The persons convicted of treason, or political felony, in Upper Canada, from the 1st of October, 1837, to the 1st of November, 1838, were disposed of as follows:pardoned on giving security, 140; sentenced to confinement in penitentiary, 14; sentenced to banishment, 18; transported to Van Diemen's Land, 27; escaped from Fort Henry, 12. The American prisoners had been sent to Kingston, and tried by court-martial on the 24th of November. Four of them were sentenced to death, and executed, complaining of the deception that had been practised on them with regard to the strength of the anti-British party, and the prospects of the enterprise. Five others were afterwards found guilty and executed. The American Government, though deprecating those executions on grounds of humanity, disclaimed all sanction or encouragement of such piratical invasions, and denied any desire on its part for the annexation of Canada.

These debates were immediately followed by the opening of the Budget on the 23rd of Februaryan opening which was enough to have made any men but such as were then at the head of British affairs pause in their ruinous career. There was a call for one hundred thousand seamen, for one hundred and sixty thousand regulars, and fifty-six thousand militiatotal, two hundred and sixteen thousand soldiers, besides volunteers, fencibles, and foreign troops in British pay, amounting, by land and sea, to at least four hundred thousand men! For their support there were demanded sixteen million and twenty-seven thousand pounds, in addition to other taxes to make up deficiencies and interest on the Debt; the whole revenue demanded was twenty-seven million five hundred thousand pounds. Besides this there was an annual subsidy to the King of Sardinia of two hundred thousand pounds, although there was no prospect whatever of saving him. To raise all this, new duties had to be laid on tea, coffee, raisins, foreign groceries and fruits, foreign timber, insurances, writs, affidavits, hair-powder, licences, etc., and the revenue from the Post Office, while the privilege of franking had to be abridged. The only tax that the compliant aristocracy protested against was that on the powdered pates of their menials; but the country cried lustily and in vain against the increase of taxation, which, gross as it was, was but the beginning of their burdens and of the burden of posterity.

The year 1824 is memorable in Ireland for the establishment of the Catholic Association. The Catholic question had lain dormant since the union. Ireland remained in a state of political stupor. There was a Catholic committee, indeed, under the direction of a gentleman of property, Mr. John Keogh, of Mount Jerome, near Dublin. But his voice was feeble, and seldom heard. The councils of the Roman Catholics were much distracted. Many of the bishops, and most of the gentry, recommended prudence and patience as the best policy. Liberal statesmen in England were willing to make concessions, but the conscientious scruples of George III. had presented an insuperable barrier in the way of civil equality. There was an annual motion on the subjectfirst by Grattan, then by Plunket, and lastly by Burdett; but it attracted very little attention, till the formidable power of the Catholic Association excited general alarm for the stability of British institutions. Adverting to the past history of Irelandher geographical position, her social state in respect of the tenure of property, and the numbers of the respective religious denominations of her peoplethe ablest Conservative statesmen considered that it would be extremely difficult to reconcile the perfect equality of civil privilege, or rather the bona fide practical application of that principle, with those objects on the inviolable maintenance of which the friends and opponents of Catholic Emancipation were completely agreednamely, the Legislative union and the Established Church. There was the danger of abolishing tests which had been established for the express purpose of giving to the legislature a Protestant charactertests which had been established not upon vague constitutional theories, but after practical experience of the evils which had been inflicted and the dangers which had been incurred by the struggles for ascendency at periods not remote from the present. There was the danger that the removal of civil disabilities might materially alter the relations in which the Roman Catholics[249] stood to the State. Sir Robert Peel, in his "Memoirs," recites those difficulties at length, and in all their force. He fully admits that "the Protestant interest" had an especial claim upon his devotion and his faithful service, from the part which he had uniformly taken on the Catholic question, from the confidence reposed in him on that account, and from his position in Parliament as the representative of the University of Oxford.

These great victories, so hardly won with such heavy sacrifices of human life, and accompanied by such heroic achievements, excited the admiration of the British public. The principal actors were munificently rewarded. The Governor-General was created Viscount Hardinge of Lahore, the title being accompanied by a shower of honours from his Sovereign, and a large pension from the East India Company. Sir Hugh Gough was also raised to the peerage, and received from the Company an annual pension of 2,000, with the same amount from Parliament, for three lives. Many of the officers engaged in the Sikh war received promotion and military orders, and a gratuity of twelve months' pay was given to all the soldiers without exception engaged in the campaign.

But Tolly did not mean to remain longer than was necessary for the inhabitants to have made a safe distance; he was afraid of Napoleon making a flank movement and cutting off his way to Moscow. In the night fires broke out all over Smolensk: they could not be the effect only of the French shells; and Buonaparte sat watching them till morning. Soon bridges, houses, church spires, all of wood, were enveloped in roaring flames. The next day, the 18th of August, the French entered the place whilst it was still burning around them. The dead, half consumed, lay around the smoking ruins; and the French army marched through this ghostly scene with military music playing, but with hearts struck with consternation and despair at this proof of the inveterate determination of the Russians to destroy their whole country rather than suffer it to be conquered. Here they were left without shelter, without provisions, without hospitals for the sick, or dressings for the wounded, without a single bed where a man might lie down to die; and all before them was the same. The Cossacks beset the flanks of march, and burnt down all villages, and laid waste all fields ere the French could reach them. Again the officers entreated that they might form an encampment and remain; but Buonaparte replied still, "They must make all haste to Moscow."

SMITH O'BRIEN.