[See larger version] The remnant of the Beloochee forces were hunted for some weeks by flying columns. At length, Captain Roberts, at the head of one of them, captured the brother of Shere Mahommed and 1,000 of his followers. Another column was attacked by the Ameer himself; but his followers,[593] after the first round of fire, dispersed. The whole military force of the Ameers was now annihilated, and the conquest of Scinde was complete. "I think," said Sir Charles Napier, "I may venture to say that Scinde is now subdued. The Scindian population everywhere express their satisfaction at the change of masters." No doubt the change from Mohammedan to British rule was an advantage to the poor Hindoos; and if it be allowable to do evil that good may come, Lord Ellenborough was justified in the means he had adopted for supplanting the Ameers.

It was impossible to defend a system like this, and therefore the Conservatives offered no opposition to the principle of the Bill; their aim being to save as much as possible of the old system, which had rendered much more service to them than to the Whigs, and presented a number of barriers to the advance of democratic power. Sir Robert Peel, with Lord Stanley and Sir James Graham, who were now the ablest antagonists their former Whig colleagues had to encounter, pleaded powerfully for the delinquent boroughs; not for absolute acquittal, but for mitigation of punishment. They would not go the length of asserting that freemen were altogether immaculate; for of what body of electors could that be predicated? The question was not whether it was right to admit these men for the first time, but whether they should be deprived of the rights that they and their ancestors had enjoyed for centuries. The Reformers were the first to propose covertly and insidiously, a great and important[389] change in the Reform Bill. What did they mean by first bringing in a Bill which was based on perpetuating the rights of freemen and recognising them as an integral part of the Constitution, and now, within three years, bringing in another intending to deprive them of their rights? Was not this a precedent for breaking up the final settlement, which might be followed on future occasions? Might not another Ministry deem it for their advantage to extinguish the 10 electors? And where was this to stop? Could it stop while a fragment remained of the Reform Actthe boasted second Charter of the people of England? If there were guilty parties, let them be punished. Let convicted boroughs be disfranchised; but let not whole bodies of electors be annihilated because some of their members may have been corrupt. Were the 10 voters perfectly immaculate? and, if not, on what principle were they spared, while the freemen were condemned? The Whigs had created the Reform Act; but nowinfatuated men!they were about to lay murderous hands upon their own offspring.

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. With Spain the prospect of war became every day more imminent. Stanhope quitted that country, and the Spanish Government ordered the seizure of the Prince Frederick, a ship belonging to the South Sea Company. Twenty thousand men were assembled and sent against Gibraltar. All attempts on the great fortress were as useless as former ones had been. The English regarded the attack with even an air of indifference, whilst their guns, sickness, and desertion, were fast cutting off the besiegers. In four months the investing army, being reduced to half its number, drew off with this empty but destructive result.

At this news the Highlanders were filled with exuberant joy. They demanded permission to pursue and attack Cope's soldiers; but the chiefs saw too clearly the grand advantage offered them of descending suddenly into the Lowlands by the road thus left open. Whilst Sir John was making a forced march to Inverness, which he reached on the 29th of August, the Highlanders were descending like one of their own torrents southwards. In two days they traversed the mountains of Badenoch; on the third they reached the Vale of Athol.

The Parliament was punctually opened on the 16th of February, 1714, by the queen, as she had promised at Windsor, though she was obliged to be carried there; for during last autumn she had been obliged, by her gout and obesity, to be raised into her chamber by pulleys, and so let down again, like Henry VIII. After congratulating the two Houses on the peace with Spain, she turned to the subject of the Press, and the rumours spread by it regarding the danger of the Protestant succession. Bolingbroke had been active enough in prosecuting the Press because it was dangerous to the designs which he was cherishing, notwithstanding the affected warmth which he and Oxford had put into the queen's mouth. They had taxed the penny sheets and pamphlets which agitated these questions; but this, according to Swift, had only done their own side mischief. Bolingbroke had, further, arrested eleven printers and publishers in one day. But now the war was opened in Parliament, Lord Wharton, in the House of Peers, called for the prosecution of "The Public Spirit of the Whigs," and the printer and publisher were brought to the bar. These were John Morphew, the publisher, and one John Bache, the printer. But Lord Wharton, who was aiming at higher quarry, said, "We have nothing to do with the printer and publisher, but it highly concerns the honour of this august assembly to find out the villain who is the author of that false and scandalous libel." Oxford denied all knowledge of the author, yet, on retiring from the debate, he sent one hundred pounds to Swift, and promised to do more. Lord Wharton then turned upon the printer, whom he had first affected to disregard, and demanded that he should be closely examined; but the next day the Earl of Mar, one of the secretaries of State, declared that her Majesty had ordered his prosecution. This was to shield him from the Parliamentary inquiry. Here the matter dropped, for Swift was too well screened by his patrons, who had lately rewarded him by Church preferment, and shortly afterwards made him Dean of St. Patrick's, in Dublin.

Completely disheartened by this result, Wolfe for a moment felt despair of his object, and in that despairing mood, on the 9th of September, he wrote to Pitt. He said that, "to the uncommon strength of the country, the enemy had added, for the defence of the river, a great number of floating batteries and boats; that the vigilance of the Indians had prevented their effecting anything by surprise; that he had had a choice of difficulties, and felt at a loss how to proceed; and he concluded with the remark, that his constitution was entirely ruined, without the consolation of having done any considerable service to the State, or without any prospect of it."

On the 20th, at three o'clock in the morning, the voting on this point terminated, and the President declared that there was a majority of three hundred and eighty votes against three hundred and ten, and that there could be no reprieve; the execution must take place without delay. Louis[410] met his death with dignity on the 21st of January, 1793.

In America, such was the state of things, that a British commander there, of the slightest pretence to activity and observation, would have concluded the war by suddenly issuing from his winter quarters, and dispersing the shoeless, shirtless, blanketless, and often almost foodless, army of Washington. His soldiers, amounting to about eleven thousand, were living in huts at Valley Forge, arranged in streets like a town, each hut containing fourteen men. Such was the destitution of shoes, that all the late marches had been tracked in bloodan evil which Washington had endeavoured to mitigate by offering a premium for the best pattern of shoes made of untanned hides. For want of blankets, many of the men were obliged to sit up all night before the camp fires. More than a quarter of the troops were reported unfit for duty, because they were barefoot and otherwise naked. Provisions failed, and on more than one occasion there was an absolute famine in the camp. It was in vain that Washington sent repeated and earnest remonstrances to Congress; its credit was at the lowest ebb. The system of establishing fixed prices for everything had totally failed, as it was certain to do; and Washington, to prevent the total dispersion of his army, was obliged to send out foraging parties, and seize provisions wherever they could be found. He gave certificates for these seizures, but their payment was long delayed, and, when it came,[248] it was only in the Continental bills, which were fearfully depreciated, and contrasted most disadvantageously with the gold in which the British paid for their supplies.

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The British Parliament met on the 21st of January, 1794. The Opposition, on the question of the Address, made a strong remonstrance against the prosecution of the war. They urged the miserable conduct of it, and the failures of the Allies, as arguments for peace. They did not discourage the maintenance of a proper system of self-defence, and therefore acceded to the demands of Ministers for raising the navy to eighty-five thousand men. The production of the Budget by Pitt, on the 2nd of February, gave additional force to their appeals for peace. He stated that the military force of England, including fencibles and volunteers, amounted to a hundred and forty thousand men, and he called for nineteen million nine hundred and thirty-nine thousand pounds for the maintenance of this force, and for the payment of sixty thousand German troops. Besides this, he asked for a loan of eleven million pounds, as well as for the imposition of new taxes. This was an advance in annual expenditure of fifteen million pounds more than only two years ago; and when the manner in which the money was spent was inquired into, the objections became far more serious. It thus appeared that we were not only fighting for Holland and Belgium, but that we were subsidising German princes to fight their own battles. There had been a large subsidy to the King of Prussia, to assist him, in reality, to destroy Poland. We were, in fact, on the threshold of that system of Pitt's, by which Britain engaged to do battle all over Europe with money as well as with men. But remonstrance was in vain. Fox, Grey, and Sheridan, and their party in the Commons, the Marquis of Lansdowne, the Duke of Bedford, and the Whigs in the Peers, made amendment after amendment on these points, but were overwhelmed by Pitt's majorities. Burke, in the Commons, was frantic in advocacy of war, because France was revolutionary and impious.