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On hearing of the defeat of Tarleton, Cornwallis advanced rapidly, in order, if possible, to intercept Morgan and his English prisoners at the fords of Catawba. A rise of the water from the rains prevented his crossing that river so soon as he expected, and Morgan joined Greene, both generals, however, retreating behind the Yadkin. The swollen state of the river and the want of boats also detained Lord Cornwallis at the Yadkin, but he finally succeeded in crossing and throwing himself between Greene and the frontiers of Virginia, from which Greene looked for his supplies and reinforcements. Greene continued to retreat till he had also placed the Dan between himself and Cornwallis; but his militia had deserted so rapidly on his flight, that, on reaching the Dan, he had not more than eighty of that body with him. Greene now had the way open to him for retreat into Virginia, and, Cornwallis giving up the chase, marched leisurely to Hillsborough, in North Carolina, where he invited the Royalists to join his standard. Such was his successnumbers of Royalists flocking in to serve with Tarleton's legionthat Greene, alarmed at the consequences of this movement, turned back for the purpose of cutting off all possible reinforcements of this kind, yet avoiding a general engagement. Once more Cornwallis advanced to chastise Greene, and once more Greene beat a retreat. This man?uvring continued till the 15th of March, when Greene having been joined by fresh troops, thought himself strong enough to encounter the English general. He drew up his army on very strong ground near Guildford Court House, where Cornwallis boldly attacked him, and, after a stout battle, completely routed him.

Happily, the prevalence as well as the acerbity of party spirit was restrained by the prosperous state of the country in the winter of 1835-36. There were, indeed, unusual indications of general contentment among the people. Allowing for partial depression in agriculture, all the great branches of national industry were flourishing. The great clothing districts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, both woollen and cotton, were all in a thriving condition. Even in the silk trade of Macclesfield, Coventry, and Spitalfields, there were no complaints, nor yet in the hosiery and lace trades of Nottingham, Derby, and Leicester, while the potteries of Staffordshire, and the iron trade in all its branches, were unusually flourishing. Of course, the shipping interest profited by the internal activity of the various manufactures and trades. Money was cheap, and speculation was rife. The farmers, it is true, complained, but their agricultural distress to a certain extent was felt to be chronic. Farming was considered a poor trade, its profits, on the average, ranging below those of commerce. Most of the farmers being tenants at will, and their rents being liable to increase with their profits, they were not encouraged to invest much in permanent improvements.

It was natural that this mighty turn in affairs[74] on the Continent should be watched in Great Britain with an interest beyond the power of words. Though this happy country had never felt the foot of the haughty invader, no nation in Europe had put forth such energies for the overthrow of the usurper; none had poured forth such a continual flood of wealth to arm, to clothe, to feed the struggling nations, and hold them up against the universal aggressor. Parliament met on the 4th of November, and, in the speech of the Prince Regent and in the speeches in both Houses, one strain of exultation and congratulation on the certain prospect of a close to this unexampled war prevailed. At that very moment the "Corsican upstart" was on his way to Paris, his lost army nearly destroyed, the remains of it chased across the Rhine, and himself advancing to meet a people at length weary of his sanguinary ambition, and sternly demanding peace.

There arose a second school of mezzotint engravers, the chief of whom were Earlom, Reynolds, Daniell, Sutherland, and Westall. The strange but intellectual Blake was both painter and his own engraver, in a style of his own. Towards the end of the reign flourished, chiefly in architectural illustrations, Le Keux, John and Henry, pupils of Bazire, Roffe, Ransom, and Scott; in landscape, William and George Cooke, William and Edward Finden, Byrne, and Pye; in portrait, Charles and James Heath, John Taylor, Skelton, Burnet, Bromley, Robinson, Warren, and Lewis.

The marvellous increase of national wealth in Great Britain since the reign of George III. is to be mainly ascribed to two mechanical agenciesthe spinning-jenny and the steam-engine; both of which, however, would have failed to produce the results that have been attained if there had not been a boundless supply of cotton from the Southern States of America to feed our manufactories with the raw material. The production was estimated in bales, which in 1832 amounted to more than 1,000,000; and in 1839 was upwards of 2,000,000 bales. It appears from Mr. Woodbury's tables, that in 1834 sixty-eight per cent. of all the cotton produced in the world was shipped for England. In this case the demand, enormous as it was, produced an adequate supply. But this demand could not possibly have existed without the inventions of Hargreaves, Arkwright, Crompton, and Cartwright, in the improvement of spinning machinery.

On the 8th of February was fought the great and decisive battle of Sobraon, the name of the tte du pont, at the entrenched camp of the Sikhs, where all the forces of the enemy were now concentrated. The camps extended along both sides of the river, and were defended by 130 pieces of artillery, of which nearly half were of heavy calibre, and which were all served by excellent gunners. The British troops formed a vast semicircle, each end of which touched the river, the village of Sobraon being in the centre, where the enemy were defended by a triple line of works, one within another, flanked by the most formidable redoubts. The battle commenced by the discharge of artillery on both sides, which played with terrific force for three hours. After this the British guns went up at a gallop till they came within 300 yards of the works, where it was intended the assault should be delivered. Halting there, they poured a concentrated fire upon the position for some time. After this the assault was made by the infantry, running. The regiment which led the way was the 10th, supported by the 53rd Queen's and the 43rd and 59th Native Infantry. They were repulsed with dreadful slaughter. The post of honour and of danger was now taken by the Ghoorkas. A desperate struggle with the bayonet ensued; the Sikhs were overpowered by the brigades of Stacey and Wilkinson; but, as the fire of the enemy was now concentrated upon this point, the brave assailants were in danger of being overwhelmed and destroyed. The British Commander-in-Chief seeing this, sent forward the brigades of Ashburnham, as well as Smith's division, against the right of the enemy, while his artillery played furiously upon their whole line. The Sikhs fought with no less valour and determination than the British. Not one of their gunners flinched till he was struck down at his post. Into every gap opened by the artillery they rushed with desperate resolution, repelling the assaulting columns of the British. At length the cavalry, which has so often decided the fate of the day in great battles, were instrumental in achieving the victory. The Sappers and Miners having succeeded in opening a passage through which the horses could enter in single file, the 3rd Queen's Dragoons, under Sir Joseph Thackwell, got inside the works, quickly formed, and galloping along in the rear of the batteries, cut down the gunners as they passed. General Gough promptly followed up this advantage by ordering forward the whole three divisions of the centre and the right. It was then that the fighting may be said to have commenced in earnest. The struggle was long, bloody, and relentless. No quarter was given or asked; the Sikhs fighting like men for whom death had no terrors, and for whom death in battle was the happiest as well as the most glorious exit from life. But they encountered men with hearts as stout and stronger muscle, and they were at length gradually forced back upon the river by the irresistible British bayonet. The bridge at length gave way under the enormous weight, and thousands were precipitated into the water and drowned. But even in the midst of this catastrophe the drowning fanatics would accept no mercy from the Feringhees. Our losses amounted to 320 killed and 2,063 wounded. Of the European officers, thirteen were killed and 101 wounded. The loss of the Sikhs in the battle of Sobraon was estimated at from 10,000 to 13,000 men, the greater number being shot down or drowned in the attempt to cross the bridge. They left in the hands of the victors sixty-seven guns, 200 camel swivels, nineteen standards, and a great quantity of ammunition.

But this declaration did not issue without a violent debate in Congress, where the moderate party stated that the interests of the country were sacrificed to a mischievous war-spirit, and in the east and north of the States there was raised a loud cry for severance, as there had been in the south when Jefferson laid his embargo on American vessels. They complained that if, as was now alleged, the French Emperor had abrogated his Berlin and Milan Decrees in favour of America as early as the 2nd of March, 1811, why was this not communicated to England before the 20th of May, 1812? And when England had long ago declared that she would rescind her Orders in Council when such a notification could be made to her, accompanied by a repeal of the American non-Intercourse Act; and when she did immediately rescind her Orders in Council on this condition, why should there be all this haste to rush into war with Great Britain? They complained bitterly that though Buonaparte was professed to have abrogated his Decrees as early as November, 1810, he had gone on till just lately in seizing American ships, both in the ports of France and by his cruisers at sea. The State of Massachusetts addressed a strong remonstrance to the Federal Government, in which they represented the infamy of the descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers cooperating with the common enemy of civil liberty to bind other nations in chains, and this at the very moment that the European peoples were uniting for their violated liberties.

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.

The Opposition was in ecstasies: it was the first defeat of Ministers on a financial question since the days of Walpole, and in our time the Chancellor would have resigned. The blow seemed to rouse Chatham. Three days after this event, on the 2nd of March, he arrived in town, though swathed in flannel, and scarcely able to move hand or foot. He declared that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and himself could not hold office together. A few days, and Townshend would have been dismissed from office, and the country might have escaped one of its greatest shocks; but, unfortunately, the malady of Chatham returned with redoubled violence, and in a new and more terrible form. He was obliged to refuse seeing any one on State affairs.

In 1792 a measure of relief was passed for the Episcopalians of Scotland. These had fallen into disgrace for their refusal to swear allegiance to the House of Hanover. The conduct of many of them during the rebellion of 1745 had increased the rigour of Government against them, and an Act was passed, the 19 George II., ordering the shutting up of all Episcopalian chapels where the minister had not taken the oath of allegiance, and where he did not pray for the king and royal family. Any clergyman of that church violating these regulations was liable to six months' imprisonment for the first offence, and transportation to one of the American plantations for the second, with perpetual imprisonment did he dare to return thence. No minister was to be held qualified to officiate except he had received letters of orders from an English or Irish bishop of the Protestant Episcopalian Church. All persons frequenting the chapels of such unqualified persons were liable to a penalty of five pounds for the first offence, and two years' imprisonment for the second. But now, the Pretender being dead, and his brother, Cardinal York, being held on account of[169] his clerical character to have forfeited his claim to the Crown, the Scottish Episcopalians came and took the necessary oaths; this Bill was passed removing their disabilities, and the aristocracy of Scotland soon, for the most part, became members of the church when it ceased to be in disgrace.