[See larger version] The British, apprised of the views of France, determined to send a fleet and troops to protect[258] the West Indies; but, instead of sending the requisite force from home, the Ministers ordered Clinton to send five thousand men from New York. This was another example of the feeble and penurious manner in which they carried on this war. Clinton had recently sent three thousand five hundred men to Georgia, and now this detachment of five thousand diminished his already insufficient army by eight thousand five hundred men. It was, therefore, utterly impossible that he could take another decisive step in America during this year, and thus Congress was left to strengthen its army and to await fresh reinforcements from France.

But the year 1809 opened with one auspicious circumstance. There was no relief from the necessity of continuing the flight; but the proud Corsican, who hoped to annihilate the "English leopards," was suddenly arrested in his pursuit, and called away to contend with other foes. On the 1st of January he was in Astorga, and from the heights above it could see the straggling rear of the British army. Nothing but the most imperative urgency prevented him from following, and seeking a triumph over the hated Britishbut that urgency was upon him. Pressing dispatches from France informed him that the North was in ferment, and that Austria was taking the field. The intelligence was too serious to admit of a moment's delay; but he made sure that Soult could now conquer the British, and on the 2nd he turned his face northward, and travelled to Paris with a speed equal to that with which he had reached Spain.

Whilst these affairs had been taking place in England, the Emperor had been finding himself less and less able to contend against France and Spain. He had in vain exerted himself to engage the Dutch and English in his quarrel. He called upon them as bound by the faith of treaties; he represented the balance of power for which both Holland and England had made such sacrifices, as more in danger than ever; but none of these pleas moving Walpole or the Dutch, he threatened to withdraw his troops from the Netherlands, and make over that country to France. The threat of the Emperor did not move Walpole; he knew too well that it was but a threat. The Emperor, therefore, was now compelled to come to terms. A treaty was to be entered into under the mediation of the maritime Powers. As Fleury and Walpole, too, were bent on peace, they submitted to all the delays and punctilios of the diplomatists, and finally were rewarded by a peace being concluded between the different parties on these terms:Don Carlos was to retain Naples and Sicily, but he was to resign the possession of Parma and the reversion of Tuscany; of the claimants to the Polish Crown, Augustus was to remain King of Poland, and Stanislaus was to receive, as an equivalent, the Duchy of Lorraine, which, after his decease, was to devolve to the Crown of France. This was an aim which France had had in view for ages, but which neither the genius of Richelieu nor of Mazarin could[66] accomplish. It was rendered comparatively easy now, as the young Duke of Lorraine was about to marry the Empress's only child, the Princess Maria Theresa, and thus to succeed through her to the Empire. Yet the Duke ceded his patrimonial territory with extreme regret, and not till he had received in return the Grand Duchy of Tuscany and a pension from France. The regnant Grand Duke of Tuscany, the last of the Medicis, was on the verge of death, and his decease took place in less than two years, when the Duke of Lorraine was put in possession. France and Sardinia gave their guarantee to the Pragmatic Sanction, and Sardinia obtained, in consequence, Novara, Tortona, and some adjoining districts. England appears to have looked on with strange apathy at this aggrandisement of France by the acquisition of Lorraine, but it was impossible to prevent it, except by a great war, and Walpole was not disposed for even a little one. This treaty is known as the Definitive Peace of Vienna (Nov. 8, 1738).

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In 1732 the new colony of Georgia was founded by General Oglethorpe, and became a silk-growing country, exporting, by the end of this period, 10,000 pounds of raw silk annually.

Parliament met on the 17th of January, 1727. The Royal Speech breathed a decidedly warlike tone. The king informed Parliament that he had received information, on which he could rely, that a secret article of the treaty between Spain and the Emperor bound those parties to place the Pretender on the throne of Great Britain, and that the surrender of Gibraltar and Port Mahon was the price to be paid for this service. He asked whether the public would not regard with indignation the imposition of a Popish Pretender on the nation at such a cost. He added that the King of Spain had ordered his Ambassador to quit the kingdom, leaving behind him a formal demand for the surrender of the above-named places. There was a great ferment in the House. Palm, the Emperor's envoy, wrote to his Imperial master, advising him to disavow any such secret agreement in the treaty at Vienna, and thus allay the excitement in England. But Charles, who owed his throne to the victories of Marlborough, and whose claims on Spain had been prosecuted by Britain at serious cost of men and money, performed this disavowal with as much arrogance as stupidity. He was not contented to say that the King of England was mistaken, but he declared that his speech was false. This gross insult to the head of the nation roused the indignation of all parties, even of the Opposition; and Wyndham, Pulteney, and Shippen denounced it as loudly as any, and supported a motion of Walpole, declaring it an insolent affront. Palm was ordered to quit the kingdom immediately.

Lord Wellington, notwithstanding that the destruction of these armies, on which the defence of Andalusia and the provinces of the south depended, completely proved the justice of his statements to the Junta, was deeply chagrined by the circumstance. "I lament," he said, in his despatches, "that a cause which promised so well a few weeks ago, should have been so completely lost by the ignorance, presumption, and mismanagement of those to whose direction it was entrusted. I declare that, if they had preserved their two armies, or even one of them, the cause was safe. The French could have sent no reinforcements which could have been of any use; time would have been gained; the state of affairs would have daily improved; all the chances were in our favour; and, in the first moment of weakness, occasioned by any diversion on the Continent, or by the growing discontent of the French themselves with the war, the French armies must have been driven out of Spain." Lord Wellington's position was, by the destruction of these armies, left totally open, and he had for some time resolved to retire wholly into Portugal, and had been planning that system of defence which afterwards proved so astonishing to the French. Though he was left with about twenty thousand men to maintain himself against the whole French host in Spain, he never for a moment contemplated quitting the Peninsula, nor despaired of the final result. The experienced eye of Lord Wellington, after the battle of Vimiera, had, at a glance, seen the admirable capability of the mountain ranges of Torres Vedras for the construction of impregnable lines of defence for Lisbon. So far from holding any notion of being driven to his ships, like Sir John Moore, he was satisfied that, by fortifying the defiles through these hills, and keeping our ships on the Tagus and on the coast, he could defy all the armies of France. He proceeded now to Lisbon, where he arrived on the 10th of October, reconnoitred the hills, and, having done so, left with Colonel Fletcher, of the Engineers, a clearly written statement of all that he desired to be done, so as to make the double line of defences complete: to erect batteries on each side of the defiles through which the necessary roads ran, to erect breastworks and entrenchments where required, and to break down the bridges in front of them. He ascertained the precise time it would require to accomplish all this, and, ordering all to be carried on with the utmost quickness, he returned to Badajos, and next proceeded to Seville, to join his brother in urging on the Spanish Government the necessary measures for the defence of the country. After visiting Cadiz[580] with his brother, he returned to his headquarters, where he had scarcely arrived on the 17th of November, when he received the news of the total overthrow of the Spaniards at Oca?a. He then made a deliberate and orderly retreat from Spain, crossing the Tagus at Abrantes, where he left General Hill with his division, supported by General Fane's brigade of heavy horse, and marched to Almeida, and quartered his army there in a more healthy situation. His troops were now also well supplied with provisions. During the long interval of reposethat is, till the following MayWellington actively employed himself in putting life and order into the commissariat, baggage, and conveyance departments; and General Beresford, to whom the important function of disciplining the Portuguese troops was assigned, laboured in that with such effect, that he produced at the next campaign troops which, led by British officers, and mixed with British regiments, fought admirably. The Portuguese were wise enough to allow the British commander full control, and by this means they avoided those defeats and calamities which fell long and heavily on the Spaniards.

The American Congress, which had imagined Gates a greater officer even than Washington, because he had captured Burgoyne through the ability of Arnold, though Washingtonfrom envy, as they supposedhad always held a more correct opinion, now saw their error. No sooner was this victory at Camden achieved, than Cornwallis dispatched Tarleton after General Sumter, who was marching on the other side of the Wateree on his way into South Carolina. Tarleton started after him with a couple of hundred of cavalry, and rode so sharply that he had left half his little force behind him, when he came up with him near Catawba Ford, and fell upon his far superior force without a moment's hesitation, killing and wounding one hundred, and taking captive upwards of two hundred, with all Sumter's baggage, artillery, and one thousand stand of arms.

Parliament was opened by commission on the 29th of January, four days after the formation of the Wellington Ministry. The Royal Speech referred chiefly to the affairs of the East, to the rights of neutral nations violated by the revolting excesses of the Greeks and Turks, to the battle of Navarino with the fleet of an ancient ally, which was lamented as an "untoward event;" but hopes were expressed that it might not lead to further hostilities. The Speech alluded to the increase of exports and the more general employment of the people as indications of returning prosperity. The phrase "untoward" was objected to by Lords Lansdowne and Goderich. Lord Holland denied that our relations with Turkey were those of an alliance; but the Duke of Wellington contended that the Ottoman empire was an ancient ally of Great Britain, that it formed an essential part of the balance of power, and that the maintenance of its independent existence was more than ever necessary as an object of European policy.

Sir Francis Burdett once wrote a letter of a single sentence to his friend Lord Cloncurry, as follows:"Dear Lord Cloncurry, I should like to know what you think would allay Irish agitation? Yours truly, F. B." It would have taken a volume to answer this question, and perhaps, after all, Sir Francis Burdett would not have been satisfied. George IV. thought that his visit would have had that effect, and appearances for a time seemed to justify his sanguine anticipations. The visit had been long meditated. He set out on a yachting excursion soon after the coronation, and arrived at Plymouth on the 1st of August amidst the huzzas of an immense concourse of people. On the following day the royal squadron departed for Ireland, and anchored in the bay at Holyhead on the 7th. The news of his approach threw the people of Dublin into a paroxysm of joy, to which the newspapers of the day gave expression in the most extravagant terms. The blessing that awaited them seemed too great to be realised. Never had they comforted their hours of despondency or flattered themselves in seasons of imagined felicity, with anything approaching to the reality which fortune was about to shower upon them. The king's name, they declared, was more to them than a tower of strength; it had effected what neither patriots, philosophers, nor moralists could ever accomplish.