But the Comprehension Bill was not so fortunate. Ten bishops, with twenty dignified clergymen, were appointed as a commission to make such alterations in the liturgy and canons, and such plans for the reformation of the ecclesiastical courts as, in their opinion, best suited the exigencies of the times, and were necessary to remove the abuses, and render more efficient the services of the Church. The list of these commissioners comprised such men as Tillotson, Stillingfleet, Sharp, Kidder, Hall, Tenison, and Fowler. They met in the Jerusalem Chamber, and began their labours preparatory to this great comprehensive bill. In order to sanction these changes, Convocation was summoned, and then the storm broke loose. The Jacobites and the discontented cried out they were going to pull the Church down; the High Churchmen declared it was a scheme to hand over the Church to the Presbyterians; the Universities cried that all the men engaged in the plan were traitors to the true faith, and the king himself was not spared. The High Churchmen who were included in the commission fled out of it amain, and Convocation threw out the whole reform as an abomination. Convocation having given this blow to all hopes of ecclesiastical reform, was prorogued to the 24th of January, 1690, and on the 6th of February was dissolved with the Parliament, nor was it suffered to meet again for business till the last year of the reign of William.

The confederates endeavoured to keep their plans profoundly secret till they were ready to burst at once on the devoted King of Prussia; but Frederick was the last man alive to be taken by surprise. The secret was soon betrayed to him, and, at once waiving his dislike of the King of England, he concluded a convention with him in January, 1756, and bound himself, during the disturbances in America, not to allow any foreign troops to pass through any part of Germany to those colonies, where he could prevent it. Having his treasury well supplied, he put his army in order, and in August of that year sent a peremptory demand to Vienna as to the designs of Austria, stating, at the same time, that he would not accept any evasive reply; but the reply being evasive, he at once rushed into Saxony at the head of sixty thousand men, blockaded the King of Saxony in Pirna, and secured the queen in Dresden. By this decisive action Frederick commenced what the Germans style "The Seven Years' War." In the palace of Dresden Frederick made himself master of the secret correspondence and treaties with France, Russia, and Austria, detailing all their designs, which he immediately published, and thus fully justified his proceedings to the world. The very name of Clive brought the war with Oude to a close. Sujah Dowlah was encamped on the borders of Bahar, strongly reinforced by bands of Mahrattas and Afghans, and anxious for another battle. But no sooner did he learn that Clive was returned, than he informed Cossim and Sombre that as he could no longer protect them, they had better shift for themselves. He then dismissed his followers, rode to the English camp, and announced that he was ready to accept such terms of peace as they thought reasonable. Clive proceeded to Benares to settle these terms. The council of Calcutta had determined to strip Sujah Dowlah of all his possessions, but Clive knew that it was far more politic to make friends of powerful princes. He therefore allowed Sujah Dowlah to retain the rank and title of vizier, and gave him back all the rest of Oude, except the districts of Allahabad and Corah, which had been promised to Shah Allum as an imperial domain. On Shah Allum, as Great Mogul, he also settled, on behalf of the Company, an annual payment of twenty-six lacs of rupees. Thus the heir of the great Aurungzebe became the tributary of the East India Company.

In April the French made an attempt to recover Quebec. Brigadier-General Murray had been left in command of the troops, six thousand in number, and the fleet had returned to England. The Marquis de Vaudreuil, now the French governor at Montreal, formed a plan of dropping down the St. Lawrence the moment the ice broke up, and before the mouth of the river was clear for ships to ascend from England. He therefore held in readiness five thousand regular troops, and as many militia, and the moment the ice broke in April, though the ground was still covered with snow, he embarked them in ships and boats under the command of Chevalier de Levis, an officer of reputation. On the 28th of that month they were within sight[139] of Quebec. They had landed higher up than where Wolfe did, and were now at the village of Sillery, not far from Wolfe's place of ascent. Murray, who had only about three thousand men available for such a purpose, the rest having been reduced by sickness, or being needed to man the fortifications, yet ventured to march out against them. He was emulous of the fame of Wolfe, and attacked this overwhelming force with great impetuosity, but was soon compelled to retire into Quebec with the loss of one thousand men killed and wounded. This was a serious matter with their scanty garrison, considering the numbers of the enemy, and the uncertainty of the arrival of succour. Monsieur and the Duke of Orleans hastened to Lyons, and the Duke of Angoulme to Nìmes. Corps of volunteers were called out, and an address[90] to the people was composed by Benjamin Constant, calling on them to defend their liberties against Buonaparte; and a woman on the staircase of the Tuileries exclaimed, "If Louis has not men enough to fight, let him call out the widows and childless mothers who have been rendered such by Napoleon!" Meanwhile the conspiracy of General l'Allemand and his brother at Lille, to carry over the garrison of eight thousand men to Napoleon, was discovered by General Mortier, and defeated. Had this plot succeeded, Louis and his family must have been made prisoners. But that was the extent of the adhesion to the Bourbon cause.

Cumberland was now hunting down the fugitives on all sides. He posted himself at Fort Augustus, which the insurgents had blown up before leaving it, and from that centre he sent out his myrmidons in every direction to hunt out the Highlanders, and shoot them down on the spot or bring them in for execution. Everywhere the unhappy clans were pursued by their hereditary enemies, the Whig clans, especially by the men of Argyllshire, and massacred with the most atrocious cruelty. They stripped their houses and then burned them down, drove away the cattle, and tracking the miserable families into dens and caves, smothered them with burning heather, or thus forced them to rush out upon their bayonets. In all these diabolical proceedings, the Duke of Cumberland and the brutal General Hawley were foremost. "After all," Cumberland (whose wicked work earned him the name of "The Butcher") wrote to the Duke of Newcastle from Fort Augustus, "I am sorry to leave this country in the condition it is in, for all the good that we have done has been a little blood-letting, which has only weakened the madness, but not at all cured it; and I tremble for fear[108] that this vile spot may still be the ruin of this island and our family." If Pitt had possessed the far-seeing genius of his father Chatham, it was at this moment in his power, as the ally of Turkey, to have stepped in and given a blow to the ambitious designs of Russia which would have saved a far more arduous and costly effort for that very purpose afterwards. Russia had spared no pains to insult Britain, especially since the unfortunate contest on account of America. It was certain that if she once obtained Turkey she would become a most troublesome power in the Mediterranean; and it now required only the dispatch of a tolerable fleet to the Baltic, and of another to the Black Sea, to annihilate in a few days every vestige of her maritime force. Such a check would have caused her to recoil from her Eastern aggressions for the purpose of defending her very existence at home. Holland was bound to us by the re-establishment of the Prince of Orange, our fast friend, whom Pitt, with the assistance of Prussia, had restored to the throne, whence he had been driven by his democratic subjects, in spite of the assistance given to the rebels by France; we were at peace with Prussia; France was engrossed inextricably with her own affairs; Denmark was in terror of us; and Sweden longed for nothing so much as to take vengeance for Russian insults and invasions. Catherine's fleets destroyed, Sweden would have full opportunity to ravage her coasts, and to seek the recovery of her Finnish dominions. But Pitt contented himself with diplomacy. Instead of destroying the Russian fleet in the Baltic, or of attacking it in the Mediterranean the moment it commenced its operations on the Turkish dependencies, and then clearing the Black Sea of their ships, he contented himself with issuing a proclamation in the London Gazette, forbidding English seamen to enter any foreign service, and commanding the owners of the vessels engaged by Russia to renounce their contracts. Thus the fleet before Oczakoff was left to operate against the Turks, and the fleet in the Baltic was detained there.

FROM THE PAINTING BY J. M. W. TURNER, R.A., IN THE NATIONAL GALLERY.

The result produced intense excitement, and led to rioting and outrage in the metropolis, and in some of the provincial towns. In London, the Duke of Wellington, the Duke of Cumberland, and the Marquis of Londonderry, were assaulted in the street, and rescued with difficulty from the fury of the mob. Lord Londonderry, who had signalised himself during the debate by the violence of his opposition, was struck senseless from his horse by a shower of stones at the gate of the palace, amidst cries of "Murder him! Cut his throat!" Persons respectably dressed, and wearing ribbons round their arms, took the lead on these occasions, giving orders, and rushing from the crowd. The houses of the Duke of Newcastle, Lord Bristol, and all other anti-Reform peers, had been visited by the mob, and left without glass in their windows. All the shops in town were shut. "The accounts from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and other places," wrote Lord Eldon, "are very uncomfortable. I heard last night that the king was frightened by the appearance of the people outside of St. James's."

His first measure was to establish the Great Northern Alliance. He had obtained information of designs on the part of France and Spain to make a descent on our southern coast, and burn the dockyards of Portsmouth and Plymouth. Before quitting office, in 1761, he had planned this alliance, and he now made endeavours, but in vain, to induce Frederick of Prussia to come into such an alliance. Frederick was too sore at his treatment by the Cabinet of Lord Bute to listen to any proposals from England. Still, this would not have prevented Chatham from prosecuting the object of the alliance with Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Germany, and Holland, had he remained long enough in[191] office. His name carried the utmost weight all over the Continent. His indomitable vigour, and his victorious arms, had been witnessed with wonder. In Paris, Horace Walpole found the news of his return to office produced a panic not to be described. The very mention of his name struck a silence into the most boastful or insolent company.

Grey followed, contending that we ought to avoid the calamities of war by all possible means. A long debate ensued, in the midst of which Mr. Jenkinson declared that on that very day, whilst they were discussing the propriety of sending an ambassador to France, the monarch himself was to be brought to trial, and probably by that hour was condemned to be murdered. All the topics regarding Holland and Belgium were again introduced. Fox was supported by Grey, Francis, Erskine, Whitbread, and Sheridan; but his motion was negatived without a division.

Parliament opened gloomily on the 21st of January, 1806. The total failure of Pitt's new Continental coalition, the surrender of Ulm, the battle of Austerlitz, the retreat of Austria into peace with Napoleon, and of Russia into her northern snows, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, and Belgium nearly all prostrate at the feet of Buonaparte, were killing Pitt. He had sought for renovation in the autumn at Bath; but its salutary waters and atmosphere had failed to restore his spirit, or to remove what Fox called the "Austerlitz look" from his face. He was dying at Putney as the House met, and the king was not in a condition to open the Session personally. The Royal Speech, read by a Commissioner, referred, with just pride, to the great victory of Trafalgar, and had but little to say on the defeat of all our endeavours on the Continent. The Opposition determined to move an amendment to the Address; but this was prevented by the announcement of the death of Pitt on the 23rd, two days after the opening of Parliament. Mr. Lascelles gave notice of a motion for a public funeral in Westminster Abbey. Fox moved that this question should be postponed till after the discussion on the Address, which was considered by Pitt's friends as a great want of generosity in Fox. The amendment was, of course, overruled, and it was voted, on the 27th of January, by a majority of two hundred and fifty-eight against eighty-nine, that Pitt should be buried in Westminster Abbey; which accordingly took place, the royal dukes, the Archbishop of Canterbury, eight bishops, a great number of peers, and about a hundred members of the House of Commons attending.