[See larger version] Scilly Islands as one parish) 89

In the spring of 1814 the Americans made a fresh attempt to invade Canada. Wilkinson, who had retreated so precipitately the preceding autumn, was the first to cross the frontier; but he was repulsed and pursued to Sacketts Harbour, where he took refuge. The British burned some of his block-houses and barracks, and carried off great quantities of stores. In April General[108] Drummond, being put across Lake Ontario by Sir James Yeo's squadron, stormed Fort Oswego, destroyed it, and burnt the barracks. In May the British were not so successful in intercepting some naval stores which the Americans were conveying to Sacketts Harbour. They were repulsed with loss. At the beginning of July the American general, Brown, crossed the Niagara with a strong force, attacked and took Fort Erie, and advanced into Canada. General Riall attempted to stop him at Chippeway, with an insufficient force, and was compelled to retreat to near Fort Niagara. There he was reinforced by General Drummond, with a detachment of the troops recently landed from the army of the Peninsula. Riall and Drummond had now about three thousand men, and Brown had five thousand. A severe battle was fought, almost close to the cataract of Niagara, where the veteran Peninsular men defeated Brown, killing and wounding one thousand five hundred of his troops, but having six hundred killed and wounded themselves. They pursued Brown to Chippeway, and thence to Erie. There Drummond rashly attempted the reduction of the fort with his inferior numbers, and was repulsed with loss.

Meanwhile Lord Palmerston had been constant in his appeals to the Austrian Court. When the Hungarian cause became desperate, he had urged Austria to consent to some arrangement which, while maintaining unimpaired the union with the House of Hapsburg, would satisfy the national feelings of the Hungarians. After the surrender of Comorn, he urged the Government to "make a generous use of the successes which it had obtained," and to pay "due regard to the ancient constitutional rights of Hungary." But he received from Prince Schwarzenberg, the Austrian Minister, a scathing reply. "The world," he wrote, "is agitated by a spirit of subversion. England herself is not exempt from this spirit; witness Canada, the island of Cephalonia, and finally unhappy Ireland. But, wherever revolt breaks out within the vast limits of the British Empire, the English Government always knows how to maintain the authority of the law, were it even at the price of torrents of blood. It is not for us to blame her.... We consider it our duty to refrain from expressing our opinion, persuaded as we are that persons are apt to fall into gross errors in making themselves judges of the often so complicated position of foreign affairs." [See larger version] THE STANDARD OF PRINCE CHARLIE'S BODYGUARD, TAKEN AT CULLODEN. (In the possession of Sir Archibald Lamb at Beauport, Sussex.)

The career of Lord Ellenborough as Governor-General of India was one of the most remarkable in its annals. He went out for the purpose of inaugurating a policy of peace, conciliation, and non-intervention. His course from that day was one of constant aggression and war. The conquests of Scinde and Gwalior were planned and prepared for deliberately and in good time; and when the Governments to be subdued were goaded into hostilities, he was ready to pounce upon them with overwhelming force. His friends defended this policy on the ground that, though it was aggressive it was self-defensive; to guard against a possible, but very remote contingencyan invasion of the Sikhs to drive the British out of India. The Governor-General, however, had become entirely too warlike; and since he had smelt powder and tasted blood at Gwalior, the Board of Control, who had already formally censured his Scinde policy, became so alarmed at his martial propensities that they determined on his immediate recall, and sent out Sir Henry Hardinge to rule in his stead.

The year 1839 will be always memorable for the establishment of the system of a uniform penny postage, one of those great reforms distinguishing the age in which we live, which are fraught with vast social changes, and are destined to fructify throughout all time with social benefits to the human race. To one mind pre-eminently the British Empire is indebted for the penny postage. We are now so familiar with its advantages, and its reasonableness seems so obvious, that it is not easy to comprehend the difficulties with which Sir Rowland Hill had to contend in convincing the authorities and the public of the wisdom and feasibility of his plan. Mr. Rowland Hill had written a pamphlet on Post Office Reform in 1837. It took for its starting-point the fact that whereas the postal revenue showed for the past twenty years a positive though slight diminution, it ought to have shown an increase of 507,700 a year, in order to have simply kept pace with the growth of population, and an increase of nearly four times that amount in order to have kept pace with the growth of the analogous though far less exorbitant duties imposed on stage coaches. The population in 1815 was 19,552,000; in 1835 it had increased to 25,605,000. The net revenue arising from the Post Office in 1815 was 1,557,291; in 1835 it had decreased to 1,540,300. At this period the rate of postage actually imposed (beyond the limits of the London District Office) varied from fourpence to one and eightpence for a single letter, which was interpreted to mean a single piece of paper, not exceeding an ounce in weight. A second piece of paper or any other enclosure, however small, constituted a double letter. A single sheet of paper, if it at all exceeded an ounce in weight, was charged with fourfold postage. The average charge on inland general post letters was nearly ninepence for each letter. In London the letter-boxes were only open from eight in the morning to seven p.m., and a letter written after that hour on Friday did not reach Uxbridge earlier than Tuesday morning.