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Immediately after the termination of the armistice the Russians and Prussians joined the great army of the Austrians, which had been concentrated at Prague. Their plan was to fall upon Buonaparte's rear. Full of activity, that unresting man had been busy, during the whole armistice, in defending his headquarters at Dresden by fortifications. He had cut down all the trees which adorned the public gardens and walks, and used them in a chain of redoubts and field-works, secured by fosses and palisades. He was in possession of the strong mountain fortresses of the vicinity, as well as those of Torgau, Wittenberg, Magdeburg, and others, so that the valley of the Elbe was in his hands; and he had a bridge of boats at K?nigstein, extending his communications to Stolpe: thus guarding against an attack on the side of Bohemia. In the beginning of August he assembled two hundred and fifty thousand men in Saxony and Silesia. Of these, sixty thousand lay at Leipsic under Oudinot, and one hundred thousand in different towns on the borders of Silesia, under Macdonald; he himself lay at Dresden with his Imperial Guard. Eugene Beauharnais he had dispatched to Italy, where he had forty thousand men. Besides these, he had a reserve of Bavarians, under General Wrede, of twenty-five thousand men.

On Tuesday, the 20th of June, the Commons entered on the consideration of the great Protestant petition, praying for the repeal of Sir George Savile's Act for the relief of Catholics. On this occasion Burke and Lord North went hand in hand. Burke drew up five resolutions, which North corrected. These resolutions declared that all attempts to seduce the youth of this kingdom from the Established Church to[271] Popery were criminal in the highest degree, but that all attempts to wrest the Act of 1778 beyond its due meaning, and to the unnecessary injury of Catholics, were equally reprehensible. In the course of July the rioters were brought to trial. Those prisoners confined in the City were tried at the regular Old Bailey Sessions; those on the Surrey side of the river by a Special Commission. The Lord Chief Justice De Grey, being in failing health, resigned, and Wedderburn took his place as Lord Chief Justice, under the title of Lord Loughborough. His appointment gave great satisfaction; but this was considerably abated by his speech at the opening of the Commission, in which he indulged in very severe strictures on the rioters, who had to appear before him as judge. Of the one hundred and thirty-five tried, about one half were convicted, of whom twenty-one were executed, and the rest transported for life. Amongst the convicted was Edward Dennis, the common hangman; but he received a reprieve. The trial of Lord George Gordon, who was foolishly accused of high treason, was postponed through a technical cause till the following January, when he was ably defended by Mr. Kenyon and Mr. Erskine; and the public mind having cooled, he was acquitted. Probably the conviction of his insanity tended largely to this result, which became more and more apparent, his last strange freak being that of turning Jew.

On the 16th of August a party of English soldiers, sent by the Governor of Fort Augustus to reinforce the garrison at Fort William, were assailed by a number of Keppoch's Highlanders in the narrow pass of High Bridge. They attempted to retreat when they found they could not reach their antagonists in their ambush, but they were stopped by a fresh detachment of the followers of Lochiel, and compelled to lay down their arms. Five or six of them were killed, and their leader, Captain Scott, was wounded. They received the kindest treatment from the conquerors, and as the Governor of Fort Augustus refused to trust a surgeon amongst them to dress the wounds of Captain Scott, Lochiel immediately allowed Scott to return to the fort on his parole, and received the rest of the wounded into his house at Auchnacarrie.

There was one irritating circumstance connected with the Emancipation Act: the words, "thereafter to be elected," were introduced for the purpose of preventing O'Connell from taking his seat in virtue of the election of 1828. The Irish Roman Catholics considered this legislating against an individual an act unworthy of the British Senateand, as against the great Catholic advocate, a mean, vindictive, and discreditable deed. But it was admitted that Wellington and Peel were not to blame for it; that on their part it was a pacificatory concession to dogged bigotry in high places. Mr. Fagan states that Mr. O'Connell was willing to give up the county of Clare to Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, and to go into Parliament himself for a borough, adding that he had absolutely offered 3,000 guineas to Sir Edward Denny for the borough of Tralee, which had always been regularly sold, and was, in point of fact, assigned as a fortune under a marriage settlement. Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, however, rather scornfully rejected the offer, and Mr. O'Connell himself appeared in the House of Commons on the 15th of May, to try whether he would be permitted to take his seat. In the course of an hour, we are told, the heads of his speech were arranged, and written on a small card. The event was expected, and the House was crowded to excess. At five o'clock the Speaker called on any new member desiring to be sworn to come to the table. O'Connell accordingly presented himself, introduced by Lords Ebrington and Duncannon. He remained for some time standing at the table, pointing out the oaths he was willing to take, namely, those required by the new Act, and handing in the certificate of his return and qualifications. His refusal to take the oaths of supremacy and abjuration having been reported to the Speaker, he was directed to withdraw, when Mr. Brougham moved that he should be heard at the bar, to account for his refusal. But on the motion of Mr. Peel, after a long discussion, the consideration of the question was deferred till the 18th. The Times of the next day stated that the narrative of the proceeding could convey but an imperfect idea of the silent, the almost breathless attention with which he was received in the House, advancing to and retiring from the table. The benches were filled in an unusual degree with members, and there was no recollection of so large a number of peers brought by curiosity into the House of Commons. The Speaker's expression of countenance and manner towards the honourable gentleman were extremely courteous, and his declaration that he "must withdraw," firm and authoritative. Mr. O'Connell, for a moment, looked round as one who had reason to expect support, and this failing, he bowed most respectfully, and withdrew.

The news of the Treaty of Sch?nbrunn was a death-blow to the hopes and exertions of the Tyrolese. At this moment they had driven the French out of their mountains, and the beautiful Tyrol was free from end to end. Francis II. had been weak enough to give this brave country over again to Bavaria, at the command of Napoleon, and sent the patriotic Tyrolese word to lay down their arms. To understand the chagrin of the people we must recollect the strong attachment of the Tyrolese to the house of Austria and their brilliant actions during this war. It was decided to ignore the message and raise the Tyrol. On the 9th of April the concerted signal was given by planks, bearing little red flags, floating down the Inn, and by sawdust thrown on the lesser streams. On the 10th the whole country was in arms. The Bavarians, under Colonel Wrede, proceeded to blow up the bridges in the Pusterthal, to prevent the approach of the Austrians; but his sappers, sent for the purpose, found themselves picked off by invisible foes, and took to flight. Under Andrew Hofer, an innkeeper of the valley of Passeyr, the Tyrolese defeated the Bavarians in engagement after engagement. After the battle of Aspern, Francis II. sent word that his faithful Tyrolese should be united to Austria for ever, and that he would never conclude a peace in which they were not indissolubly united to his monarchy. But Wagram followed, Francis forgot his promise, and the Tyrol, as we have seen, was again handed over to the French, to clear it for the Bavarians. Lefebvre marched into it with forty thousand men, and an army of Saxons, who had to bear the brunt of the fighting. Hofer and his comrades, Spechbacher, Joachim Haspinger, and Schenk, the host of the "Krug" or "Jug," again roused the country, and destroyed or drove back the Saxons; and when Lefebvre himself appeared near Botzen with all his concentrated forces, they compelled him also to retire from the Tyrol with terrible loss. The French and Saxons were pursued to Salzburg, many prisoners being taken by the way. Hofer was then appointed governor of the Tyrol. He received his credentials at Innsbruck from an emissary of the Archduke, his friends Spechbacher, Mayer, and Haspinger being present on the occasion, and also the priest Douay by whom the patriot was subsequently betrayed. Things being in this position on the arrival of Admiral Lord Howe, he determined still, notwithstanding the Proclamation of Independence, to make every effort to procure a last chance of peace. He deeply regretted the delays which had attended his fleet, and lost no time in sending on shore an intimation that he brought conciliatory overtures. His first act was to dispatch a letter to Franklin, who, in England, had expressed so earnest a desire for accommodation of all differences, informing him of his commission to seek reconciliation, and of his powers for the purpose. But the Declaration being now made, Franklin had no longer a motive to conceal his real sentiments, and he replied in terms which greatly astonished Howe, filling his letters only with complaints of "atrocious injuries," and of what America had endured from "your proud and uninformed nation." Howe next turned to Washington, to whom he dispatched a flag of truce, bearing a letter to the Commander-in-Chief. But as Washington could only be regarded as an insurgent leader, Lord Howe thought he could not officially recognise a title conferred only by the American Congress, and therefore did not address him as "General," but simply as "George Washington, Esquire." Washington refused to treat in any other character than that of Commander-in-Chief of the American forces. He instantly returned Howe's letter, and forwarded the other papers to Congress. One of these was a circular declaration to the late royal Governors, enclosing a copy of Lord Howe's commission, and stating that all who should submit would be pardoned; that any town or province which declared its adhesion to the Crown should at once be exempt from the provisions of all the late Acts of Parliament, especially as regarded their trade; and that, moreover, all such persons as were active in promoting the settlement of their districts should be duly rewarded. The moment Congress received this document they ordered it to be published in the newspapers, that "the people might see how the insidious Court of Great Britain had endeavoured to disarm and amuse them," and that "the few whom hopes of moderation and justice on the part of the British Government had still kept in suspense, might now at length be convinced that the valour alone of their country is to save its liberties." Lord Howe, undeterred by this spirited proceeding of Congress, on the 20th of July sent the Adjutant-General once more to Washington, with another letter, still addressed to "George Washington, Esquire," but adding a number of etceteras. Washington was not to be caught by so shallow an artifice. The proposed interview, like the last, therefore, came to nothing, except that Congress took advantage of these repeated efforts to insinuate that the British were afraid of fighting.

In America, during this time, various encounters had taken place between the English and American forces. Washington, in spite of the severity of the winter weather, was pressing the blockade of Boston. But the difficulties with[223] which he had to contend were so enormous, that, had General Howe had any real notion of them, as he ought to have had, he might have beaten off the American troops over and over again. His troops, it is true, only amounted to about seven thousand, and Washington's to about fifteen thousand; but besides the deficiency of powder in Washington's camp, the terms on which his troops served were such as kept him in constant uncertainty. This was the condition of things when, early in March, Washington commenced acting on the offensive. He threw up entrenchments on Dorchester Heights, overlooking and commanding both Boston town and harbour. Taking advantage of a dark night, on the 4th of March he sent a strong detachment to the Heights, who, before mining, threw up a redoubt, which made it necessary for General Howe to dislodge them, or evacuate the place. It seems amazing, after the affair of Bunker's Hill, that Howe had not seen the necessity of occupying the post himself. He now, however, prepared to attack the redoubt, and the soldiers were eager for the enterprise. The vanguard fell down to Castle William, at which place the ascent was to be made; and on the morrow, the 5th of March, the anniversary of what was termed the Massacre of Boston, the fight was to take place. A violent storm, however, arose, rendering the crossing of the water impracticable. By the time that it ceased, the Americans had so strengthened their works, that it was deemed a useless waste of life to attempt to carry them. The only alternative was the evacuation of Boston. Howe had long been persuaded that it would be much better to make the British headquarters at New York, where there were few American troops, and where the king's friends were numerous; and this certainly was true, unless he had mustered resolution and sought to disperse his enemies when they were in a state of disorder and deficiency of ammunition that insured his certain success. As it was, he was now most ignominiously cooped up, and in hourly jeopardy of being shelled out of the place. He had obtained the permission of his Government for this movement, and he now set about it in earnest. When, however, he came to embark, another example was given of that shameful neglect which pervaded the whole of the British civil department of the military service. When the transports were examined, they were found totally destitute of provisions and forage. No direct compact was made between Howe and Washington regarding the evacuation; but an indirect communication and understanding on the subject was entered intothrough the "select Men" of Bostonthat no injury should be done to the town during it, provided the troops were unmolested in embarking. Before departing, however, the English totally dismantled and partly demolished Castle William. On the 17th, the last of the British troops were on board; and that afternoon Boston was entered in triumph by General Putnam, at the head of the vanguard.

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The king, in his speech on opening Parliament, mentioned the fleets which we had dispatched to the West Indies and South America, and his determination to continue those armaments so as to bring Spain to reason. He professed to rely with confidence on our allies, although we had scarcely one left, whilst in the same breath he admitted the no longer doubtful hostility of France[74] at the very moment that our only allynamely, Austriawas calling on us for assistance, instead of being able to yield us any, should we need it. On the proposal of the address, the Opposition proceeded to condemn the whole management of the war. The Duke of Argyll led the way, and was followed by Chesterfield, Carteret, Bathurst, and others, in a strain of extreme virulence against Walpole, calling him a Minister who for almost twenty years had been demonstrating that he had neither wisdom nor conduct. In the Commons Wyndham was no longer living to carry on the Opposition warfare, but Pitt and Lyttelton more than supplied his place.