[See larger version] Both Houses adjourned, by successive motions, to the 10th of March; they then met, and were informed by the Lord Chancellor that, by the blessing of Providence, his Majesty being recovered from his severe indisposition, and able to attend to the public affairs of his kingdom, had issued a commission authorising the holding and continuing of Parliament; and the commission having been read, the Chancellor declared himself commanded to convey to them his Majesty's warmest acknowledgments for the additional proofs they had given of their attachment to his person. Addresses were then moved, as at the commencement of a Session, by both Houses, and also addresses of congratulation to her Majesty the queen; and the same evening the capital was illuminated, and the most sincere joy was evidenced in the happy event of the royal convalescence. On the 8th of April Pitt informed the House that the king had appointed Thursday, the 23rd of that month, as a day of public thanksgiving for his recovery, and that it was his Majesty's intention to go in procession to St. Paul's Cathedral on that day, to return thanks to Almighty God. The House voted thanks for his Majesty's having taken measures for their accommodation on the occasion, and passed a resolution to attend.

But he went on to Smorgony, and there, the remains of the army having come up, he called a council of war on the 5th of December. He told his generals that he had ordered Ney to reorganise the army at Wilna, and had appointed Murat, King of Naples, generalissimo in his absence. He assumed a tone of great confidence, promised his army good winter-quarters beyond the Niemen, and assured them that he was hasting away to present himself directly at the head of one hundred and twenty thousand men to keep the Austrians and Prussians firm to their alliance, and thus to make those he left behind more secure than he could do by staying with them. He then passed through the crowd of his officers, who were drawn up in an avenue as he passed, bidding them adieu with forced and melancholy smiles. He then stepped into a sledge with Caulaincourt and shut themselves in, and Duroc and Lobau followed in another sledge; and thus the man who entered Russia with nearly half a million of men, stole away, leaving the miserable remnant of his vast army to the elements and the Russians!

About a week before the king died the physician delicately announced to him the inevitable catastrophe, when he said, "God's will be done." His sufferings were very great, and during the paroxysms of pain his moans were heard even by the sentinels in the quadrangle. On the night of the 25th of June his difficulty of breathing was unusually painful, and he motioned to his page to alter his position on the couch. Towards three o'clock he felt a sudden attack of faintness, accompanied by a violent discharge of blood. At this moment he attempted to raise his hand to his breast, and ejaculated, "O God, I am dying!" Two or three seconds afterwards he said, "This is death." The physicians were instantly called, but before they arrived the breath of life was gone. A post mortem examination showed ossification of the heart, which was greatly enlarged, and adhering to the neighbouring parts. The liver was not diseased; but the lungs were ulcerated, and there were dropsical symptoms on the skin, on various parts of the body. The king was an unusually large and, at one time, well-proportioned man; but he afterwards became very corpulent. He died on the 26th of June, in the sixty-eighth year of his age and the eleventh of his reign, having been Prince Regent for ten years. During his last illness the bulletins had been unusually deceptive. The king was anxious to put away the idea of dissolution from his own mind, and unwilling that the public should know that his infirmities were so great; and it was said that he required to see the bulletins and to have them altered, so that he was continually announced as being better till the day of his death. His message to both Houses on the 24th of May, however, put an end to all delusion on the subject. He wished to be relieved from the pain and trouble of signing Bills and documents with his own hand. A Bill was therefore passed to enable him to give his assent verbally, but it was jealously guarded against being made a dangerous precedent. The stamp was to be affixed in the king's presence, by his immediate order given by word of mouth. A memorandum of the circumstances must accompany the stamp, and the document stamped must be previously endorsed by three members of the Privy Council; the operation of the Act was limited to the existing Session. The three Commissioners appointed for affixing his Majesty's signature were Lord Farnborough, General Sir W. Keppel, and Major-General A. F. Barnard.

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But the Government was, at that juncture, very far from being a wise Government. Parliament was called together on the 23rd of November, and opened by the Prince Regent in person. In his Speech he spoke of the unsettled state of the country, and recommended measures of repression. The Addresses were in the same tone, and they were commented upon with great warmth by the Opposition, and amendments moved. Zealous debates took place in both Houses, especially in the Commons, where the discussion continued two evenings, and till five o'clock on the third morning. The Addresses, however, were carried in the Lords by one hundred and fifty-nine to thirty-four, and in the Commons by three hundred and eighty-one to one hundred and fifty. The Prince Regent sent down a mass of papers to both Houses relating to the condition of the disturbed districts, and a host of Bills, founded on these, were introduced. In the Lords, on the 29th of November, the Lord Chancellor Eldon introduced one in keeping with his alarms, namely, "An Act to prevent delay in the administration of justice in cases of misdemeanour." This was followed by three others, introduced by Lord Sidmouth; one to prevent the training of persons to the use of arms, and to the practice of military evolutions and exercises, another to prevent and punish blasphemous and pernicious libels. Amongst others, Hone was again at work, and ridiculing the despotically-spirited Ministers in his "Political House that Jack Built." The third was to authorise justices of the peace, in certain disturbed counties, to seize and detain arms collected and kept for purposes dangerous to the public peace. These were to continue in force till 1822. Not thinking he had yet done enough, on the 17th of December Lord Sidmouth brought into the Peers another Bill more effectually to prevent seditious meetings and assemblies, which he proposed should continue in force five years. In the Commons, in addition to all this, on the 3rd, Lord Castlereagh had introduced a Bill for imposing stamp duties and other regulations on newspapers, to prevent blasphemous and seditious libels, as if Sidmouth's Bill on that[153] subject had not fettered the press sufficiently. All these Bills were passed, notwithstanding the strongest remonstrances by the Opposition as so many infringements of the Constitution, and they became known as Sidmouth's and Castlereagh's Six Acts.


On the very day that this report was being read in the House died one of the accused, James Craggs, Secretary of State. His complaint was smallpox; but the state of mind induced by this exposure is supposed to have rendered the malady fatal. His father, who was Postmaster-General, was so shamefully involved in the same dishonest proceedings, that he took poison.

But the Peace of Vienna was now concluded, and, on the 30th of October, Baron Lichtenthurm appeared in the camp of the Tyrolese, and delivered a letter to the leaders from the Archduke John, requesting them peaceably to disperse, and surrender the country to the Bavarians. This was a terrible blow to these brave men. They appeared prostrated by the news, and Hofer announced to Spechbacher, who was still fighting with the Bavarians, that peace was made with France, and that the Tyrol was forgotten! Hofer returned to his native vale of Passeyr, and still held out against the French, and the Italian mercenaries under Rusca, whom he defeated with great slaughter. But traitors were amongst them, who guided the French to their rear. Hofer escaped into the higher Alps, but thirty of the other leaders were taken and shot without mercy. Another traitor guided the French to Hofer's retreat in the high wintry Alps. He had been earnestly implored to quit the country, but he refused. As the French surrounded his hut, on the 17th of February, 1810, he came out calmly and submitted. He was carried to the fortress of Mantua, and Napoleon sent an order that he should be shot within four-and-twenty hours. He would not suffer himself to be blindfolded, nor would he kneel, but exclaimed"I stand before my Creator, and, standing, I will restore to Him the spirit He gave!" Thus died, on the 20th of February, 1810, the brave Hoferanother murdered man, another victim of the sanguinary vengeance of Buonaparte against whatever was patriotic and independent.