Wolfe raised batteries at Point Levi and on the island, and bombarded the town, but he could not draw the wary Montcalm from his strong position. In his front lay the river and some unapproachable sandbanks, behind and around him rocks and dense woods inaccessible. Once only he made a rush across the river, and endeavoured, with a detachment of one thousand six hundred men, to gain the batteries on Point Levi; but his troops soon saw the attempt to be hopeless, and retired. No measures were neglected by Wolfe, on his part, to draw Montcalm from his position. He marched along the banks of the Montmorency opposite to him, and made feints as if he would cross it somewhere above him, but to no purposeMontcalm knew his advantage. Wolfe wrote home, that if Montcalm had but shut himself up in Quebec, he could have taken the town very easily, but he could not readily force him from his admirable position. Growing at length impatient, he determined to attack him where he was, and he dispatched Admiral Holmes up the river with a number of transports, as though he contemplated something in that quarter. He then landed, on the 31st of July, a body of troops near the mouth of the Montmorency, which there falls three hundred feet into the St. Lawrence. He had discovered a ford at some distance up the river, and dispatched Brigadier Townshend to cross there and attack Montcalm in flank, whilst he himself, by means of the ships and their boats, gained the beach and attacked in front. The Centurion man-of-war was placed to engage a battery which swept the place of landing, and then the troops were conveyed in boats, which drew little water, towards the shore. Some of these, however, got entangled amongst rocks, and created a delay in getting them off. By this time the French were hurrying down towards the landing-place with their artillery, and began to fire murderously from the banks above upon them. Wolfe, seeing that Townshend would cross the ford before they were ready to co-operate, sent an officer to recall him. At this time, the Grenadiers having reached the beach, rushed forward upon the entrenchments before the rest of the troops could be got out of the boats to support them. They were met by such a destructive fire that they were compelled to fall back with much slaughter. By this time night was setting in, attended by a storm, the roaring of which, mingling with the roar of the mighty St. Lawrence as the tide fell, seemed to warn them to recover their camp. The word was given to re-cross the river, and they made good their retreat without the French attempting to pursue them, though the Indians lurked in the rear to scalp such of the dead and such of the wounded as could not be brought off. On the evening of the 11th he had the satisfaction to find himself close to the enemy, and at daybreak of the 12th the battle began. At first there was so little wind that Rodney was unable to put into execution his long-cherished scheme of breaking right through the centre of the enemy's line, and beating one half before the other could come to the rescue. About noon a breeze sprang up, and afforded the long-desired opportunity. Rodney was now in the van, and after Captain Gardiner, in the Duke, had made the first attempt and fallen back disabled, Rodney's own ship, the Formidable, broke through, followed by the Namur and the Canada. The great end of Rodney was gained. He had cut in two the vast fleet, and his ships doubling on one half threw the whole into confusion. The half to the windward were terribly raked, whilst the half to the leeward were unable to come up to their aid. The battle, however, continued without respite from noon till evening, the leeward half endeavouring to join and return to the charge, but without being able. The most striking part of the action was the attack on the great ship of De Grasse, the Ville de Paris. That huge vessel, the pride of the French navy, towering over all far and near, attracted the ambition of Captain Cornwallis, of the Canada, the brother of Lord Cornwallis, to whose surrender De Grasse had so largely contributed. Captain Cornwallis, as if determined on a noble revenge, attacked the Ville de Paris with fury, hugely as it towered above him, and so well did he ply his guns that he soon reduced the monster almost to a wreck. De Grasse fought desperately, but Hood coming up in the Barfleur, about sunset, to the assistance of Cornwallis, De Grasse was compelled to strike his flag. On board the Ville de Paris were found thirty-six chests of money, intended to pay the conquerors of Jamaica, and on the other ships nearly all the battering trains for that purpose. The remainder of the fleet made all sail, and Rodney pursued, but was stopped by a calm of three days under Guadeloupe, and they escaped. Rodney sailed to Jamaica, which he had thus saved, and was received with acclamations of honour and gratitude. There, however, he received the order for his recall, and returned home. To the eternal dishonour of the Rockingham Administration, on receiving the news of this superb and most important victorya victory which at once restored the drooping glories of Great Britainthey had not the pluck to cancel his recall, though the feeling of the country compelled the Crown to grant him a pension, and to raise him to the peerage by the title of Baron Rodney.

Armed with their Act of Parliament, the Poor Law Commissioners who had been appointed to carry it out hastened to Ireland for the purpose of forming unions, providing workhouses, and making all the necessary arrangements. Mr. Nicholls was accompanied by four Assistant Commissioners, Mr. Gulson, Mr. Earle, Mr. Hawley, and Mr. Voules. They assembled in Dublin on the 9th of October, where they were joined by four Irish Commissioners, namely, Mr. Clements, Mr. Hancock, Mr. O'Donoghue, and Dr. Phelan. The erection of workhouses was proceeded with without loss of time. Reports of the progress made were annually published, and in May, 1842, the whole of Ireland had been formed into 130 unions; all the workhouses were either built or in progress of building, and eighty-one had been declared fit for the reception of the destitute poor. Mr. Nicholls left Ireland in 1842, his functions being delegated to a board consisting of Mr. Gulson and Mr. Power. It was indeed a most providential circumstance that the system had been brought into working order before the potato failure of 1846, as it contributed materially to mitigate the nameless horrors of the awful famine.

But these were by no means the total of the royal troubles at this period. The youngest and most beloved of George III.'s sisters, Caroline Matilda, had been married to Christian VII. of Denmark. This young man was little better than an idiot, and the poor princess was married to him at the age of sixteen. The marriage of this young couple, and their ascent to the throne, were nearly simultaneous; and, contrary to the usual custom of a monarch, it was deemed advisable that he should travel. In his tour he fell in with the celebrated Struensee, a young physician of Altona. Christian VII., like all weak monarchs, must have favourites. Struensee speedily became the perfect master of Christian's mind and actions, and on their return to Copenhagen he was raised to the rank of count, and soon after was made Prime Minister. His enemies were of course numerous, and scandal soon connected his name with that of the queen. All this especially favoured the plans of the base queen dowager, who, in league with the hostile nobles, feigned a plot against the king; obtained from him, in his bed at midnight, an order for the arrest of the queen, Struensee, and others. The queen was seized half dressed. Struensee was executed with especial barbarities; but the King of England interfered to save his sister, and to procure the succession to her son. The unhappy young queen, however, was separated for ever from her two children, and conveyed to Zell, in Hanoverthe same castle or prison where the unhappy wife of George I. had pined away her life. There she died after a few years, protesting her innocence, though Struensee had confessed his guilt. It was the tremendous exertions of O'Connell and his followers that secured the triumph of the Liberal party in this memorable struggle. The first trial of strength was on the election of a Speaker. Parliament met on the 19th of February, 1835, and Lord Francis Egerton, one of the members for Lancashire, moved that Sir C. Manners Sutton, who for eighteen years had filled the chair with the unanimous approbation of all parties in the House, should be re-elected. Mr. Denison, one of the members for Surrey, proposed Mr. Abercromby, a gentleman of high position at[380] the bar, and member for the city of Edinburgh. The division, it was felt on both sides, would be decisive as to the fate of the Government, by showing whether or not it was supported by a majority of the new Parliament which was the response given to the Prime Minister's appeal to the country. The house was the fullest on record, there being 626 members present. Mr. Abercromby was elected by a majority of ten, the numbers being 316 to 306. Sir Charles Sutton was supported by a majority of the English members23, but his opponent had a majority of ten of the Scottish. Still, had the decision been in the hands of the British representatives, Government would have had a majority of 13; but of the Irish members only 41 voted for Sutton, while 61 voted for Abercromby. From this memorable division two things were evident to the Tories, in which the future of England for the next half century was to them distinctly foreshadowed; the first was, that the Ministry was entirely, on party questions, at the mercy of the Irish Catholic members; the second, that the county members of the whole empire were outvoted by the borough members in the proportion of 35 to 20, and that a large majority of the former had declared for the Conservative side.


The main subject for consideration at that moment was the policy of continuing the Act for the suppression of the Catholic Association, which was to expire at the end of the Session of 1828. In connection with this subject a letter from Lord Anglesey came under the Ministry's consideration. "Do keep matters quiet in Parliament," he said, "if possible. The less that is said of Catholic and Protestant the better. It would be presumptuous to form an opinion, or even a sanguine hope, in so short a time, yet I cannot but think there is much reciprocal inclination to get rid of the bugbear, and soften down asperities. I am by no means sure that even the most violent would not be glad of an excuse for being less violent. Even at the Association they are at a loss to keep up the extreme irritation they had accomplished; and if they find they are not violently opposed, and that there is no disposition on the part of Government to coercion, I do believe they will dwindle into moderation. If, however, we have a mind to have a good blaze again, we may at once command it by re-enacting the expiring Bill, and when we have improved it and rendered it perfect, we shall find that it will not be acted upon. In short, I shall back Messrs. O'Connell's and Sheil's, and others' evasions against the Crown lawyers' laws."

Elsewhere, however, Lord Palmerston abstained from interference, particularly in Germany. The immense phlegmatic mass of the Teutonic populationamounting to 43,000,000, spread over 246,000 square miles, and divided into thirty-five sovereign Stateswas powerfully moved by the shock of the French Revolution. Those States existed under every form of government, from absolutism to democracy. They were all united into a Bund or Confederation, the object of which was the maintenance of the independence of Germany, and of its several States. The Confederation consisted of a Diet, composed of the plenipotentiaries of all the States. This Diet was no bad emblem of the German mind and characterfruitful in speculation, free in thought, boundless in utterance, but without strength of will or power of action. The freer spirits demanded more liberal forms of government, and on these being refused, the Revolution broke out in Baden, Hesse-Cassel, and Bavaria. In Saxony the monarchy was saved by bending before the storm of revolution: a new Administration was appointed, which at once issued a programme of policy so liberal that the people were satisfied. Even the King of Hanover yielded to the revolutionary pressure, and called to his councils M. Hub, a Liberal deputy, who had been imprisoned several years for resisting an unconstitutional act of the Crown. On the 20th of March he issued a proclamation, in which he stated that, in compliance with the many representations addressed to him, he had abolished the censorship of the press, granted an amnesty and restoration of rights to all who had been condemned for political offences, and was willing to submit to changes in the Constitution, based upon the responsibility of Ministers to the country. It was not without necessity that such appeals were addressed to the German people. At Frankfort, while the Assembly were occupied in framing a brand-new Constitution, the Republican party in the Chamber appealed out of doors to the passions of the multitude, and excited them to such a pitch that barricades were erected, and the red flag planted in the streets. By midnight the struggle was over, and tranquillity everywhere restored through the exertions of the military.

Exasperated at the failure of this measure, a furious mob broke into the Irish House of Commons on the 15th of April, but they were soon quelled, and two of the ringleaders seized. The magistrates of Dublin were censured for observing the gathering of the mob and taking no measures to prevent its outbreak. The printer and supposed publisher of the Volunteers' Journal were called before the House and reprimanded, and a Bill was brought in and passed, to render publishers more amenable to the law. The spirit of violence still raged through the country. Tumultuous associations were formed under the name of Aggregate Bodies.

In preparation for this movement James the Pretender was to sail secretly to Spain, in readiness to cross to England; and he had already quitted his house in Rome and removed to a villa, the more unobserved to steal away at the appointed moment. Ormonde also had left Madrid and gone to a country seat half way to Bilbao, when the secret of the impending expedition was suddenly revealed by the French Government to that of England. The conspirators had been mad enough to apply to the Regent for five thousand troops, trusting that, notwithstanding his peaceful relations with Britain, he would secretly enjoy creating it some embarrassment. But in this, as in all other views, they proved more sanguine than profound. Sir Luke Schaub, the British Ambassador, was immediately informed of it on condition, it was said, that no one should die for it.

It is scarcely worth while to attempt to expose the assertions due to Napoleon and the mortified vanity of the French, which have declared that Wellington made a bad choice of his battle-field, and that he would have been beaten had not the Prussians come up. These statements have been amply refuted by military authorities. The selection of the field may be supposed to be a good one when it is known that Marlborough had chosen the very same, and was only prevented from fighting on it by the Dutch Commissioners. But no one can examine the field without seeing its strength. Had Wellington been driven from his position, the long villages of Mont St. Jean and Waterloo behind him, succeeded by the beech wood of Soigne, would have enabled him to hold the French in check for daysmuch more for the time sufficient for the whole Prussian force to come up. When it is seen what resistance such a mere farm as La Haye Sainte, or the chateau of Hougomont, enabled the British to make, what would the houses, gardens, and orchards of Mont St. Jean and Waterloo have done, stretching for two miles, backed by the wood of Soignenot a forest choked by underwood, but of clear ground, from which ascended the tall, smooth boles of the beech trees? As to the danger of being defeated had not the Prussians come up, there was none. No advantage through the whole day had been gained by the French, except making an entry into the court-yard of Hougomont, and in capturing La Haye Sainte, from both of which they had long been driven again. The cuirassiers had been completely cut up before the arrival of the Prussians; not a square of infantry had been broken; and when Buonaparte made his last effortthat of hurling his Guards on the British columnsthey were, according to the positive evidence of Marshal Ney, who led them on, totally annihilated. It is true that the Prussians had been for some time engaged on the right of the French, and had stood their ground; but they had been terribly cut up at Planchenoit, and they do not appear to have made much advance till the total rout of the French by the last charge of the British. Wellington had advanced his whole line, and was leading on the pursuit in person when he and Blucher met on the high ground behind La Belle Alliancethat is, beyond the very ground on which Buonaparte had stood the whole day. The Prussians fought bravely, but they did not affect the question of victory or defeat as it regarded the British; they came in, however, to undertake the chase, for which the British were too tired after standing on the field twelve hours, and fighting desperately for eight; and they executed that chase most completely.